Wednesday morning, we left our room at the motel at about 6 am and dropped our keys in the box at the motel office. The weather was nice and cool and there was hardly any wind. I loved the wildlife I saw on the way: a herd of bison (we scared them away and it was cool to see them all running together), some turkeys, a turtle (by the racetrack), a lizard, and hawks. We had a lot of hills. I achieved my high speed of (I think) 38 miles per hour going down one, but I'm not sure it was worth it for all the work we had to do going back up. Nah, it was worth it ;).
We ate lunch at the Lois and Ray McBeth Memorial in Lindon, where there was shade and a picnic table. Tom took a nap and I was busy texting...
The hills ended after Anton and the wind started. We made sure to stock up on plenty of drinks and take lots of breaks (I learned I needed to take it easier after the sickness the heat caused me the day before). All in all, we rode 79 miles and I had energy until just a couple miles outside of Cope. We slowed down at the end, but still arrived by about 3:20pm.
We bought some ice cream and other snacks after we settled down in the park. We waited there until we noticed the pastor of the Assembly of God church had returned from his trip to Denver (the church was right across from the park). I called him with the intent of asking him if we could set up our tent in the church's yard. We hadn't expected a place to stay that night based on our phone conversations with him. However, after I got off the phone with him and met him in his yard, he offered us a place to sleep. He cleaned off one bed and showed us to another and let us bring in all our gear.
His name is Dean and he was a gracious host. He's had some health issues over the years (cancer, then negative effects from the radiation) and he lost his wife about 6 years ago. She had been the first diabetic heart transplant in the nation. He shared about his wife and gave us a brochure of her story (which she had written). I still need to finish reading, but it is a great testimony so far.
Dean recognizes the blessings in his life and still glorifies God despite pain (both physical and emotional). Dean called himself a student of the word. He loves God and loves people. Yesterday would have been his wife's birthday and he was glad we could be there with him. I'm also glad we could be there with him. He was caring, loving, and all around wonderful. He talked with us about Cope (with population 40 and where the round trip to buy gas is 40 miles), the farmers around (how they are so busy, that they harvest corn in November), how he got into ministry (he has been a pastor nearly 50 years!), his daily life (having a task list and checking things off, planting all kinds of plants and trees in his yard) and more. He was a complete blessing to us. He fed us what he had available without any reservations and he spoke with a passion for the Lord and a love for his neighbors. He even referred us to pastors that he knew along our route!
A couple things that he said that struck me were (paraphrased): "witnessing is tricky business: you can do it silently through your lifestyle, verbally by speaking the word of God, and the most powerful is by your actions. People will judge you by how your deeds match up with your words." He also said that "you just gotta keep trying everyday. You get up and you do everything to glorify God, you read the Word, and you pray and if you can't do that you gotta commit and follow Jesus the best you can." Lastly, he said "Denominations don't matter. In heaven, God removes all those tags."
Cope was a nice town. We had friendly interactions with everyone we met. God is good. Thank God for Dean and may God bless him, his family, and Cope.
We rode to Cope, Colorado on Wednesday, May 20, 2009.