|Bill Dragoo in the Valley of Fire, Nevada|
|A shy Chinese boy hides behind my motorcycle |
on a dike near his home in Xiaguan.
|In Swaziland with a new found buddy.|
Children in Batopilas, Mexico loved to ride the bike.
|Last October my wife and I were in Haiti to work |
with the Mission of Hope.
|Many of their homes were ramshackle huts |
built from leftovers...whatever they could find.
|These plastic buildings were built after the |
earthquake as temporary structures,
only intended to last for one year. It had been
nearly two years when we visited.
|We helped build them new homes from |
concrete with metal roofs...
much better than any they had known before.
| Contemplating the scope of creation |
on The Great Wall of China.
Sure, we can jet over ground hygienically, never being touched by what lies below, but the closer we come to the trail, the more we are affected by our travels. Our understanding is enhanced by each new culture experienced in the raw, natural way God intended, that is, by going outside. Travel erases prejudice, increases awareness of our blessings…and of our obligation to our fellow man. And it heightens the senses. Our presence in lands foreign to us, even for a little while, makes a difference, changes us and sometimes, them. Collectively, as travelers we can share our bounty… and the people we meet give back more…their peace, a taste of their way of life. What a trade?
But I have found our own culture to be fascinating as well, once I left my bubble. Pedaling my bicycle across our continent taught me a lot about kindness. A lone cyclist riding far from home is vulnerable and approachable. A loaded touring bike makes a statement and becomes a conversation piece, a friend-magnet if you will. I have been invited into a number of homes where I was able to rest, clean my bike and gear, and was fed, and then sent on my way with blessings from my hosts. Travel is envied, admired and looked upon with awe by those who don’t, or feel they can’t. There is so much to learn right here in our own country.
I have experienced this “test” backpacking high in the Uncompahgre Wilderness, and racing through the woods on a mountain bike with the competition literally barking at my heels, trying to distract me, hoping to get into my head and slow me down. There is no feeling like giving it your all physically, emotionally…leaving everything you have on a mountain, or on a single track of dirt, rock and roots, and crossing the finish line first, spent. I love that.
|Finishing a solo Trans American bicycle |
ride is quite a feeling.
|In Tiger Leaping Gorge, China.|