I have been asked why I would want to cross the United States on a bike. My reasons are many. One reason and probably the main reason is that I think that God gave us the World - the United States to enjoy. I look at our earth as a Gift from God. The earth is Gods canvass and I want to not only see it but experience it. One can see the US from the internet or by car, but to truly experience it I think you have to live it and expend some sort of effort to enjoy it. I remember my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, the picture of it is on the side panel of this blog. Working to cycle up that particular hill to get to Jalama Beach, Ca made that peek of blue so amazing. It etched itself onto my memory and I will never forget it.
So I want to ride my bike across America to live the first verse of America the Beautiful. The words, if you don't remember them, are as follows:
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
I cannot wait to cycle in spacious skys. How blue will the skys be? Will the sky over Montana be bluer that the skies over West Virginia? How many gray skys? Hopefully not many or only when I am really hot!
I have seen pictures of the amber waves of grain, but what will it be like to be able to smell the grain as you pass it? To get off the bike and run your hand through it?
I am scared of the purple mountains! Will my mountains be purple or will they be more clay or orange colored? I guarantee they will be majestic. I hope my training is preparing me to cross those mountains. I will be on the recumbent which will make it a little more difficult as compared to a standard bike. I really want to make it up them without being sagged.
Fruited plain - how many different orchards will we cycle by? I am guessing we will pass apple orchards, but I really don't know. I am clueless what other fruit crops we might pass. I am guessing we will see corn, but we have corn here in Mississippi. I wonder how many road side vegetable and fruit stands will we cycle by? I will stop at one and eat fresh road side fruit while riding my bike. I remember a ride in Texas in June 2007. George Elizondo stopped at a fruit stand and bought us all fresh peaches. I can still taste the peach and feel the juice run down my arm. Do you remember the last time you had road side fruit? Is it etched in your memory?
Brotherhood? That will be interesting to see. I am sure that we will come across many more good people than we will mean spirited ones.
From sea to shining sea! Wow! I was talking to my sister the other day and she indicated that she really could not comprehend riding a bike across the US. I wonder if I really do? Writing "from sea to shining sea" is easy, but how hard will it be to cycle from sea to shining sea? I can't wait to smell the oceans - each of them and feel their spray on my face. It is a tradition when cycling across America that you dip the back wheel of your bike in the Pacific Ocean at the start of your cross country and the front wheel of your bike in the Atlantic Ocean the last day of your ride. I will get to do this!
GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON ME - by far the most important line in this great song. God has shed and is shedding his grace on me. I feel so lucky. I don't believe in coincidence. Too many things have lined up just right for me to be able to train and plan on this ride. GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON ME!
This is why I want to ride my bike across the United States.