A journey of a thousand miles…is really, really long.
Day One of the trip was wonderful. We were fresh, the weather was beautiful, and none of the consequences of my planning failures had yet to manifest. Alec and I arrived at our camp feeling like kings of the world.
It seems to me that, while God can teach us during good and gentle times, He most often chooses to teach us through rough times. Perhaps that’s just my situation, since I seem to be a little dense. In any event, Day One was a delight.
Day Two was a journey to the gates of Despair.
It started peacefully enough. After a good night’s sleep, we broke camp and took a little walk around the park, taking pictures and enjoying the morning together. We had a small adventure involving a gander with boundary issues, but nothing to spoil the morning.
Then we got on the bikes.
We pulled out of the park at about 9:30 AM. While still in the driveway—literally, we had not made it to the street—the trailer’s left tire went flat. No problem—it gave me a chance to teach Al how to change a flat tire. Good, manly bonding. I even joked about having had our mishap for the day.
Within three miles, Alec’s rear tire went flat, and the nightmare began. Contrary to what I had thought, these were not thorn-proof tubes, and Alec had ridden through a nasty patch of brush. I patched the tire, we rode ten feet, and the tire was flat again.
I put six patches on that tube before it finally held air.
This was our first Romans 8:28 moment of the trip. In the book of Romans, Paul says that God will bring good even out of bad times if we love and follow him. As we were sitting there working on the tire, another bicyclist happened by, asking if we needed help. I said no, but asked him if this was indeed the Santa Ana River Trail. It wasn’t. Turns out we had made a wrong turn about half a mile back. Without the flat tires to delay us, we would have been way off on the wrong trail.
Sometimes God puts obstacles in our way to let us know that we are on the wrong path.
I sat in the gravel and thorns, pondering this deep truth of God. I thought, “Thank you, Lord, for this great lesson. Now we have truly had our adventure for the day.”
Before we could continue on our journey, we had to find a place to buy new tubes for the bikes. I had fixed enough flat tires for one trip. We rode into town, had lunch (yes, it was already that late), and asked where we could buy inner tubes. We were directed to a drugstore about three miles away. When we arrived, we learned that this particular store does not, in fact, sell bicycle equipment. The nearest place to find bicycle equipment was a sporting goods store about six miles back in the direction from which we had come.
What a charming town.
En route to the sporting goods store, we stopped for water, and were told of a real, honest-to-goodness bicycle shop nearby. I invested a goodly portion of our trip cash in that wonderful place, and emerged with new, nuclear-holocaust proof tubes on both bikes.
Not the trailer.
Oh, the unending depths of my foolishness.
Come back Friday for more—I haven’t even gotten to the skunks yet.