Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ready to be done

When I talked to Bob on Monday I asked him what were his thoughts going into the last week of the tour. He said he was getting to the point where he was ready to be done. He didn't say, nor did I get the impression, that he was sick of it, just "ready to be done".

When I talked to Lisa on Tuesday, she too said she was ready to be done. Still enjoying the tour, but once again "ready to be done". In my mind, this attitude will be helpful as they transition off the tour and into "real life".

The border crossing on Monday was smooth thanks to a lot of communication and planning. Lisa said they didn't really need to stop their bikes or give their names. Lisa thought the crossing authorities wanted the cyclists off the bridge.

The riding has been beautiful. Once again back into some hills. Good views, but tough on Lisa's knees. The weather has been cold at night and in the mornings (tough on the knees in the morning) but nice during the day.

Kari and I hope to head out tomorrow around noon and get to the East Coast sometime on Friday. We will hopefully find Liberty Park on Saturday and be there for the tire dipping ceremony. Our thoughts are that we will leave on Sunday after spending sometime prepping the trucks to be returned. Hopefully we will get home on Monday.

Please pray for the remaining riding days of the tour: for safety, for health, for community, that God's name will be praised, and that the cycle of poverty for someone will be ended through the funds and the awareness of the issues. Please pray that the funds will be distributed according to God's will.

Please pray traveling mercies for all of those heading out the the coast to pick up loved ones and all as they head to their homes.

And please pray for our family as we are reunited again, but then as Lisa heads back to Calvin, Kari to finish her High School career at Christian High, me as I start a new full time position, and Bob as he gets back to work. We look forward to reengaging in our church community in person and are so incredibly thankful for their support, the support of our families, camp staff, and friends.


Monday, August 25, 2008

A "different" tour

Lisa surprised me and called Saturday. I didn't expect to hear from them until today. They have had a lot of fun in Canada and have been welcomed warmly by the churches in the area. The scenery and roads sound nice. The weather has been humid, but Lisa said, not all that hot. With the shorter riding days, they have been taking time to do some fun things along the road. One of the fellow riders sent me a picture, but I think it is on the other computer. I will see if I can add it later. I really like the one on Len's site where they are at the driving range. Bob is right next to Lisa...he is the only one wearing a helmet. As my brother Dan so wonderfully wrote in the journal we found after he died... "Bob is a very wise person". Bob took Lisa to the driving range...ONCE...there is a reason there was never another visit. Anyways, they were planning to take a shuttle to the Niagara Falls area for the evening

But Lisa also talked about the "different" flavor that the tour has taken on. Don't get me wrong, she was not complaining, just commenting. The days are shorter with multiple prearranged stops. Although the stops have been nice, some are occurring every 7 miles. What happened to the 25 mile stretches between SAGs? She misses stopping at the local parks, cafes and grocery stores and having people ask about the tour. The people at the prearranged stops all know about the tour and have already shown interest and support in so many different ways. The other day they intentionally went to a cafe for lunch just so that they could talk to people about the tour. They ended up meeting some people who they could talk to about the tour its purpose. I am not sure if Bob and Lisa gave them Shifting Gears devotional books or if they had gotten them somewhere else, but these people wanted them to sign their copies of the book :) It reminds me how difficult it can be to witness in a predominantly christian community. Everybody seems to "know" and it is nothing new to's nice, but it doesn't seem like you make a difference. Sometimes one might need to intentionally go outside the community to share the good news.

Meals are "different". They have only eaten a couple of meals out of the truck...the "newbies" really don't have the experience of the 2 week rotation of meals, helping prepare them, washing your dishes in gray water, packing lunches repetitively...
Many people are being billeted (hosted) at night. New riders make the comment that it feels so good to sleep in a regular bed...after 3 nights in a tent. Try it after 7 weeks in a tent....then it feels REALLY good. People who have been on the tour for 4 days getting haircuts, massages, and pedicures at's nice, but would feel better if you had been on a bike for 7 weeks. Once again, don't get me wrong, those people certainly "deserve" the treats, it just seems you would be able to enjoy them more if you have been without for a longer period of time.

Bob and Lisa have sweep again today. Since they have an extra turn (just the way the schedule worked out with the number of teams and the number of days), it was decided to give them an easier day to do it rather than the second to the last day of the tour. They also have another border crossing back into the USA. Since it is an organized streamlined process, everyone needs to be at the crossing together...that also helps get people up and on the road on time.

It's hard to believe that Kari and I leave on Thursday to "take them home". We are going to be glad to be together again...longterm, but it will be an adjustment for all to "home life", and outside demands. Please pray as the participants, support staff, and our family adjust to the "routine" again.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

In the news

There is a video at this link about the trip...Lisa is in it a couple of times

The only news I am hearing is through the blogs.
I will refer you once again to Len Riemersma's site

Thanks Len!


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Greetings from Canada, Eh?

Sorry we have not updated the blog recently. The internet satelite that we have been connecting to has been down. We have access to internet at the school we are staying at in London.

Today we rode into London, Ontario. Our welcome into Canada has been fantastic. The border crossing went well and there was a fun celebration in a small park (empty lot) just over the border. The celebration went on for a while. Since we were on "sweep" that day, we were able to enjoy coffee time and lunch in the same town. We rode across the St Claire river on a ferry. It was a nice way to cross and go through customs with such a large group. We have had head winds for the last 3 days after a big tail wind on Monday riding out of GR.

The tour is a bit different with 60 + new people. The lines for dinner, showers, bathrooms, etc. are all longer. Here are the top ways that have been suggested to welcome and help out our newest cyclists:

1. Tell them that they WILL be able to organize their laundry baskets and gear bags shortly.
2. Tell them the dish washing water is not really as gross as it looks. We really add a recovery drink mix that makes it look that way.
3. Tell them that our nightly peleton meeting starts at 7:30 SHARP!
4. Give them orange saftey vests rather than yellow. That way it will help us watch out for them.
5. Give them their own dinner line (so they do not slow down ours)
6. Allow them to experience all aspects of the tour by having extra opportunities to clean dinner dishes and load (unload) the gear truck.
7. Give them the prime tent spots (next to the known snorers).
8. Have those that noticed the hills in the last 4 days of riding stand up at the peleton meeting. Then introduce them as the new people.
9. Give them the opportunity to experience a "hose" shower. This will keep the crowds in the other showers down.
10. Hide the functional tire pumps.

Thanks for your continued prayers. It is hard to believe there is only 8 riding days left.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oops, my bad

Well, everything I wrote about yesterday about Lisa and Bob being on sweep was all wrong. They start sweep tonight...sorry.

Tomorrow shouldn't be quite as bad - we will see. Tomorrow everyone needs to be on the road by 7am to ensure a 10am ferry crossing at Marine City.

Today the ride was indeed 95 miles and they once again had a headwind to contend with. But, when they got into camp, one of the girls they were riding with (she started in Madison) had never ridden a century (100 mles in a day). So, off they went in search of 5 more miles. That to me says they are feeling pretty strong.

I was asked by one of the staff members at camp how Lisa and Bob were doing. I told him that they had sweep on a 95 mile day...and to pray for patience. This person told me that asking for patience was dangerous because God doesn't grant patience, he grants opportunities to practice it....hmmmm, I need to think about that one some more.

Not sure what kind of updates I will be able to provide over the next few days. Once they are in Canada, we have to pay significant surcharges for cell phone calls.

Thanks for your interest in Bob and Lisa's journey.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another good-bye

Wow, time really flew by this weekend and at 7:45 this morning we said good-bye again. It was so good to see them again. They are really having a good time. Kari and I also love spending time with the group- it seems like we have gotten to know a few of the riders and staff in the group and many times wish we had taken the opportunity to join them on the trip. At one point I was going to go along as the nurse and they said Kari could help me. We spent a lot of time in prayer asking God for direction, and felt he was directing us to work at camp this year. It has been a good summer at camp, but we still question what it would have been like to be on the tour.

Like I said, we had a busy weekend. Bob spoke in church on Sunday about the contrasts he has seen on the tour and how is eyes have been opened in so many ways. Lisa put together a powerpoint of a few of their pictures and it was shown during the offering. It was good for all of us to be back in church and worship our God amongst such wonderful friends and supporters. After church we put some burgers on the grill and had our parents and siblings and kids over for dinner. Next it was off to the celebration service. It was so good to see so many of you at 5/3rd ballpark praising God, raising awareness and suggesting direction about the issues of poverty, showing support for the cyclists, and asking God for his continued presence on the tour. As much as I wanted to go back to church at night (I am serious on that one) it was time to finish laundry, and spend time together as a family.

Bob and Lisa left this at 7:45 from Calvin, Kari and I went home, packed the rest of our stuff together and headed out for our last session of the summer at Camp Roger. Camp has been a good place for Kari and I to be while Bob and Lisa are gone.

I got a text message from Lisa at 2:32 that they were in for the day. They added 60 new cyclists today, so even with the rookies, Bob and Lisa were able to get in at a decent time. They are doing sweep tomorrow so they were required to help with dinner prep for tonight and then they are to help set up breakfast, pack the gear truck, and "sweep" the riders in tomorrow. I am once again asking for prayers for that day. It might be a tough day for them because they have to ride at a pace that is not what they are used to. They also have a scheduled 95 mile day...something that some of the new people have not done before. Please pray for safety and patience for tomorrow.


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lamont stop hosted by Bob's sisters and their friends

Lisa is trying out another cycling option...she decided to stick with her own bike.
Kari had a lot of fun with her ride with Billy D in frm Grand Haven...Kari likes this cycling option.
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Excuses, excuses, excuses...

let me tell you all of the excuses we have for not updating the blog:
Personally, I think you would rather hear from Bob and Lisa directly rather than my 3rd hand accounts. But, Bob and Lisa have had a very busy week. When their options are showering, eating, setting up the tent, going out for ice cream or starting up the computer, seeing if you have Internet, getting some message that says your cookies are wrong then blogging... you can imagine that blogging often falls off the list.
We also had no idea how many people were following the blog. We knew of family members, a few friends and coworkers, people from Plymouth Heights CRC, but we were shocked to find out today how many total strangers follow the blog. Lisa made the comment today that she expected that once she left GR she figured a lot of people would just forget about the tour. She knew via the mail stops that there were a few people who hadn't forgotten, but had no idea how many people were supporting and praying for them.
So here are my memories of their week:
Monday the blog had just been updated the day before...nice ride. They had a couple of areas with really rough roads and actually had to carry their bikes for a period of time. They also stopped to purchase some cheese and crackers and ate them just before crossing into Illinois. Lisa also broke her rear wheel on Monday. She was able to ride it in and get it to a bike shop, but she was fortunate. They were able to set her up with a temporary wheel, but she had to get it replaced by a more permanent one today.

Tuesday going from Woodstock into Palos Heights and Wednesday morning were very tough days. Not necessarily the number of miles, or the wind. It had more to do with all of the traffic and busy busy roads. Lisa described Wednesday as riding for 50 miles on streets like Burton and 28th street. They never really had a good chance to get into a nice pace. Lisa said she was at the end of her riding group and by the time she got through a light, the group was slowing down for the next one.

Thursday was the day they crossed over into Michigan. We were finally in the same time zone! They had a great ride into South Haven. Lisa wanted to get in quickly and get cleaned up because Derek Van Dyke, a fellow staff member from Camp Roger, went down to South Haven to pick her up and take her to camp for closing night of session 7. She was able to go to Honors Campfire, sing with the Staff as we serenaded the campers, and join us for ice cream afterwards. They left about 11 PM and got back to South Haven at about 12:30.

Friday was a great ride into Grand Haven. Kari and I along with my parents and their friends were able to get too the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds to cheer them on as they finished their ride for the day. The headwinds were starting to pick up as they were finishing their day. They had a very nice stop provided by Graschaap CRC. They are finding more and more of these stops as they go along. Bob's dad also came out to visit them at the conference grounds. World Home Missions provided a steak dinner for the cyclists and their families. It was nice for all of us to have a dinner that actually required a fork and a knife.

On Saturday, the tour riders were joined by about 150 other riders for the ride from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids. We were joined in the ride by Uncle Steve, Cousin Jack and Doug VanderLaan from Plymouth Heights Church. My sisters and friends prepared a great stop for all the riders in the town of Lamont. The stop was greatly appreciated and was at a perfect spot about 25 miles into the ride. It was a fantastic day riding into GR. Their was a wonderful group of people welcoming us and we really felt the support of our church, family, and friends.

We are looking forward to a day off the bikes but we are also looking forward to the last 2 weeks of the tour.

I have been trying to add pictures for the last 20 minutes....grrrr not going well. I will have to try again later.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Madison, WI

Sunday August 10, 2008:
It is Sunday afternoon and I am sitting by the pool of a family in Madison, Wisconsin who offered to have a few of us over for a couple of hours.
The CRC here in Madison is not very big but they welcomed us warmly and had transportation and other opportunities available to us. We are actually staying in the church yard. They have a nice size lot with plenty of room for us. They provided transportation to showers to make things easy on us.
Our ride across Iowa and into Wisconsin consisted of long days. We rode 3 100+ mile days in a row and finished the week with a 72 mile ride into Madison. It is amazing that a 72 mile day seemed almost like a day off compared to the rest of the week. Our ride through Iowa was difficult because of the high mileage days. However, the winds were either cross winds or tail winds and did not cause too much of a problem. The temperature and the humidity are both down which was welcomed compared to the heat of Nebraska.
On Saturday our riding group stopped for a cup of coffee in Dodgeville, WI. We ended up talking to a couple for a while and before they left they had given us a donation for our cause. It is encouraging to meet people like this who are supportive and willing to give.
Our ride on Saturday was on a small ridge going through the farm land of Wisconsin. We could see for many miles in each direction which made for the best scenery we have had in a while.
It was great having Jane & Kari visit at Dordt College. It was good to see them after 6 weeks being apart and there visit helped break up the week.
We are looking forward to next week as we work our way around Lake Michigan and into Grand Rapids. Our average miles for the upcoming week is much lower which will allow us a little more time to stop in the towns along the way.
Please pray for safety as we ride through a bit more traffic going around / through the Chicago suburbs.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Dad and I at the half way point. We had a little sign to hold up!

We made it to Iowa.
And since I have not put pictures up in a while, We made it to Wisconsin.
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I can't believe...

1. I can’t believe that there are only 3 weeks left of the tour. Now that we are 2/3 done, I was looking back at pictures, and it seems like just last week that we were in Seattle dipping our tires at Golden Garden Beach.

2. I can’t believe we are on the east side of the Mississippi River. When we crossed it today I realized that we are on the East side of the country, and Jersey is coming soon.

3. I can’t believe we did 400 miles in 4 days this week! It is crazy to think about, but it was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. The winds were with us most of the days which was a huge answer to prayer. Now our weekly average goes from 95 or 94 miles to somewhere around 65 miles per day. It will be a welcome break from the 90 and 115 mile days.

4. I can’t believe that we will be in Grand Rapids and in church (Plymouth Heights) next Sunday (August 17). I am very excited to be home for a couple days, and it will be nice to be able to see our family and friends again both at church and at the celebration service (get your tickets soon)

5. I can’t believe all of the mail that we receive at each of our mail stops. After a hard week it was so nice to know that all of you are still thinking and praying for us. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Kari and I, along with my parents, are on our way home after a wonderful visit. I will try to share a few details of visit in Northwest Iowa.

We arrived in Sioux Center on Saturday night after a ferry ride across the lake and like a billion mile drive to Northwest Iowa. We stayed with my Uncle Willie and Aunt Joyce Heynen (my mom's sister). We did the "relative thing" on Sunday and I had a great chance to catch up with cousins and kids and grand kids of my cousins. Kari got to experience High School Sunday night "hanging out" and "crusing" in Sioux Center Iowa with her second cousin, Jackson. Hmmm, I don't think I've gotten all the details yet although I know she had some offers to go for motorcycle rides...

On Monday we got up early and went in search of Walter's SAG stop. Walter is a wonderful man who is driving a very big RV as a SAG vehicle and he sets out chairs, 50 gallons of water, puts out his awning and sits there providing assistance to the cyclists as they trickle by over the next 4-5 hours. We found him about 10 miles south of Decatur, Nebraska. Bob and Lisa (and Len) arrived soon after we got there. It was so good to see them! Doug Lutke took some great photos. As soon as I get them from you I will put them up. There is a brief newspaper article and picture at:
Bob and Lisa moved on and we stayed behind to watch the rest of the cyclists come through.

Next we hopped in a different SAG with Betsy Fox, the tour's nurse, and Art Smit. We were quickly introduced to a the role of SAG driver and nurse. Just before we joined her she had to deal with the first moving vehicle vs cyclist accident. The cyclist was able to continue riding, but my understanding is that not much will hold this cyclist back from riding her bike. Betsy is doing a wonderful job and I wonder why I passed up this great opportunity.

We also had the opportunity to take Len Riemersma's camera for the day....Kari and I had a little fun with it. For more details and some good pictures check out his August 4 blog at:
Len is the lead chaplain on the tour and an "old" friend of mine who frequently rides with Bob and Lisa. He maintains a great website/blog and is worth following.

Bob and Lisa were glad to see us, but had another tough riding into the wind. Bob says he doesn't even check directions anymore, instead "if in doubt, turn into the wind". They got to Sioux City mid afternoon, got cleaned up. We arrived soon after, they showed around camp and met a lot of the cyclists and staff. We took them out for dinner and made it back in time for the evening peleton meeting. These are meetings they have every night where they make announcements, keep necessary stats (flat tires and falls), share areas on concern, places they saw God, discuss the plans for the next day, get the weather report, and spend some time in prayer. After a stop at the Dairy Queen my parents, Kari and I returned to Sioux Center for the night.

Tuesday Kari, Dad and I headed over to Dordt College to await the cyclist's arrival. Bob and Lisa got an early start and arrived #2 and 3 for the day. We were hoping to spend as much time as possible together in the afternoon. They had a good day of riding with a nice stop at the CRC in Ireton for smoothies and root beer floats. Dordt did a very nice job of welcoming and hosting the cyclists. The only problem with arriving early is that you need to unload the gear truck. We were able to head over for lunch at my Aunt's house then spent the rest of the afternoon back at Dordt swimming, relaxing , catching up and meeting people. Supper was provided by Pizza Ranch and Dordt College, then over to the Celebration Service. It was a very nice service and neat ministry fair. I didn't take a lot of time at the ministry fair because there was a cyclist who needed the sutures taken out of is face. The cyclist took a fall last week and they were ready to come out. I took out as many as I could find...I hope I got them all. Kari and I were then allowed to stay at Dordt with Bob and Lisa due to my work on the Steering Committee. It was so much fun to see the work, planning, and praying that we did over the past year to year and a half in action these past 36 hours.

The ride for today had the highest mileage of the trip. So Bob and Lisa were anxious to get to bed early and get a break of dawn start. We were up at 5:15AM, and they were on the road at 6:30AM after packing their lunches, prepping their bikes, eating breakfast, packing their gear, waiting out a rain shower, finding their fellow riders for the day, and saying our "good-byes".

I got a call at 3:15PM, they finished their 114 mile day. WOW, I expected that call closer to 7PM. They had a great ride even with a little rain! Tomorrow is another 113 mile day and Friday a 100 mile day. Lots of miles in 3 days. Please pray for Lisa's knee and continued safety.

Kari and I plan to arrive home tomorrow evening along with my parents. We will be heading out to camp yet that night. We get to see Bob and Lisa again in about 10 days...Yeah!

Sorry about the long post... just had so much to tell you. Is it OK if I tell you how proud I am of Bob, Lisa, and the other Sea to Sea cyclists? They are doing an amazing job of getting the word out and collecting funds (currently 1.9 million dollars) for poverty while participating in a pretty grueling trip.
Thanks for checking...

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Sunday August 3:

I am trying to do this blog update while riding on a school bus to a church in Lincoln, Nebraska. The ride is less than smooth and here is minimal space to work.

We have just finished the highest mileage week of the tour. We are glad to have a day off the bikes. It is very warm and humid here. Last night was very uncomfortable. It did not cool off much and the number of trains running through town was amazing. There was a busy set of tracks to the east and west of us and we could hear the trains talking to each other all night long.
As we are getting closer to Michigan, the condition of the roads continues to deteriorate. It is beginning to feel more like home. In the state of Nebraska we have seen little more than small towns and agriculture consisting mainly of corn fields and cows. Thankfully the last few days of riding contained a small section of rolling hills to break the monotony.

Last week we fought head winds at least some of every day but one. Saturday the wind was out of the south east. It was very difficult going east but very easy going north. Fortunately, our day was about half in each direction. Had we fought the wind all day, it would have been extremely difficult. On days with a head wind, it is important to ride in groups so we can help each other break the wind. This is helpful to accomplish the miles but does require more attention to the rider in front of you so as not to run into him. It makes it more difficult to watch the scenery. Oh well. Once you see the first 20 miles of corn fields, they all look the same.

We have several 100+ mile days next week as we cross Iowa. We are praying for the prevailing westerly winds to take over. Once we get through next week, the mileages become a little lower.
This afternoon will consist of bicycle cleaning and maintenance and a little relaxation.

How to keep yourself occupied while biking across Nebraska:

1. Target practice- Try to hit the grasshoppers or bubbles in the tar with your tires in order to make a popping noise.

2. Play Guess What- Attempt to guess what is open in the next town based on the number and size of the grain elevators, water towers, and highways.

3. How Many- Count how many seams in the road you have to pound over before you go crazy.

4. Another version of Guess What- What crop is growing in the field on either side of you, and what crop was in the field before and is now popping up (this game was better in eastern Colorado where there was more than just corn).

5. Perfecting The Wave- Since there is a big motorcycle rally near where we are biking; there are a lot of motorcycles on the road. There is a wave (more of a finger wave) that is common among motorcycles. We are working to perfect ours as the motorcycles drive by.

6. Mind reading- Trying to figure out what the road crew was thinking when they put this horrible road surface down (although we did get some nice newly paved roads on Saturday).

Friday, August 1, 2008

They are in...

and they have been in since about 2:15. They are in York, NB and staying at York College. They stopped a couple of miles out of town and got something to eat at an Applebees.
Since there were headwinds they rode in a tight pace line most of the day. Pace lines are a blessing and a curse. They help break the wind and get you through the miles, but it is generally tense riding and little flexibility about stops.
York College has opened up their laundry facilities and the lounge that has A/C, a big screen TV, and WiFi.
Lisa says she hopes to write a blog about the things she does to keep her mind sharp while riding through Nebraska. Her monologue about it is pretty hilarious
As Lisa says, one more day of riding until we see each other...I say 3 more big sleeps :)

The wait...

It's about this time of night when I have not heard from Bob and Lisa that I begin to stress. I know they had about 95 miles, I have read on other blogs that the headwinds were brutal and the heat was oppressive today. I know they are in God's hands, He has a plan and it is a good one, I just wish they would call SOON.
Kari and I plan to head out tomorrow. We plan to stop in Muskegon and pick up my parents then hop aboard the Lake Express Ferry and get to Sioux Center, Iowa on Saturday night. I would like to back track on their tour from Sioux Center and see if I can find them on Monday. 3 more big sleeps until I see them.