Our trip home will hopefully be uneventful. Like today, we’ll mostly be rolling along across this great land. We do have two sightseeing stops planned. We will drive through Arches National Park and have a tour planned through Monument Valley. Otherwise, it’s keep moving west, chasing the sun.
Because of the inherent danger of using cameras while riding a motorcycle, I’ll likely not post much in the way of photographs until we stop in Arches and Monument Valley. If you’ve ever traveled the US Interstate system, you already know what we are seeing. Farm after farm, cow after cow, truck stops and rest areas. Nothing is really different unless you jump off of the Interstate and drive one of the US Highways, like Route 66, 30, or any of the many others that were our primary routes before the Interstates were built.
Today, we rode from Avon, Ohio to Davenport Iowa. Our route skirted Chicago’s South Side, and took us past South Bend, Indiana where my mind chanted “Rudy, Rudy, Rudy” as we went by. Dad and I have joked that no motorcycle trip is complete unless we ride from Cycle Gear store, to Cycle Gear store. This is because on one of our previous trips we did just that. We stopped in Redding, Valencia, Redding again, Salem, Vancouver, and of course our home store of Tacoma before we left. Today, we kept the tradition alive. Yesterday afternoon, we encountered some significant rain. That’s when I discovered one of my waterproof boots, was no longer waterproof. As we approached Cleveland we rode through easily the heaviest rain I’ve ever been in on two wheels. Torrent, might be an understatement. It was in this moment that I discovered the other boot was also no longer waterproof. Cycle Gear, has a 5 year warranty on all of their “in house” brands so we looked up the nearest store that wasn’t behind us and added it to our itinerary. The fine folks there swapped out our boots without even looking up our receipt in their computer system. The shift leader told me to pick any boot in the place and he’d make a straight exchange 1 for 1. FAVOR!!! Once again, God had his hand on me. He has gone before us in the day like a cloud and a pillar of fire by night. We’ve seen so many miracles, divine appointments, and blessings it’s hard to not ride completely and totally undone.
Case in point, this evening at our last gas stop leaving Illinois. We were at the Loves Travel Center at Interstate 80 exit 81 (Utica, IL). We’d gassed our bikes and gone inside to snag a cool beverage before running the last 90 mile leg into Davenport, IA for the night. Dad and I both chose our drinks and I picked up a candy bar. While I grabbed my Midnight Milky Way, I heard the Assistant Manager, Mac, call Dad over to a register he’d just opened. Mac scanned Dad’s drink and Dad tried to swipe his card to pay for it. Mac picked up the card reader and moved it away saying “No, no”. That’s when I walked up. Mac then took my drink and my candy bar, scanned those and said in a deeply meaningful and sincere tone. “Not today…. thank you.” (it’s Memorial Day, he could see our patches on our vests and knew us to be Veterans.) I was blown. It was a moment where I was so glad I still had on my riding glasses and they’d not “transitioned” to indoor clear yet. I shook his hand firmly, squeaked out, “thank you” and left the building.
Friends, patriotism isn’t dead. You just have to get out of the big cities to find it. The USA is brimming with people who love this land and want to see her returned to the nation God built to protect Israel and to be a light of Biblical principles to the world.
A note about Memorial Day. This is my own soap box. You don’t have to agree, but please listen and save judgement till you’ve read it all. This is not my or any other Veteran’s holiday. If you see a Vet on Memorial Day and feel compelled to chat with them, a simple thank you and a handshake is enough. A lot of Vets suffer from survivor’s guilt and other “demons” on Memorial Day. It can be tough to chat with a stranger in those moments. Memorial day is for solemnly remembering our KIA, POW’s who haven’t been returned, and MIA servicemen for they laid down their lives so we can be free. Was I blown away when Mac paid for our snacks, absolutely! Was I grateful, yes! I recognize it was his way of saying “thank you” to those who lie silent in our National Cemeteries and I’m ok with that. However, as a general rule, I’d like to ask each of you to save those gestures for Veteran’s day and honor our dead heroes and not the living one’s on Memorial day.