The late night situation in the woods described below happened June 17. But before reading on, we take a moment to remember June 17 one year back when our friends David and Michele lost their dearest Jourdan. Words don’t cover it. Our love, awareness, prayers and offerings of friendship — from us and those reading with us — are with them. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psa34:18 The opportunity to experience the things I’m doing with my sons on this adventure reminds how precious our relationships are. Don’t take any of it for granted. Love: “It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” ICor13
Last Saturday night, June 17, found us 3 guys at the intersection of 2 primitive dirt roads, Wilderness and Broadway, in the middle of a dark Arkansas Ozark Mountain forest. We moved in our own circle of Honda motorcycle light, looking for a place to camp at 10:30. Paul had commented to me earlier on our helmet intercoms that, “We haven’t yet set up a camp in daylight.” There’s work to be done on this TransAmerica Trail ride and often there’s a late start after blog and magazine writing. So we play catch up. We found a fine clearing in the woods with a nice alcove in the trees for our bikes and bods.
In the morning, we motored through the woods on 17 miles of dirt, spying Evans Mountain Full Gospel Church, and I talked the boys into hanging there for a Father’s Day morning. The 3 dozen worshippers gave their special brand of southern-style worship to Jesus and hospitality to us that reminds you you’re not in SoCal this Father’s Day. Greeting time had most everyone in the church hug-greeting every other individual there. They gave us each a friendly bag of Father’s Day Dr. Pepper, fine candy bars and a large bottle of body wash which we all desperately needed but couldn’t carry on our maxed-out bikes.
Of course, church caused a late start and we rode the trail into darkness on red clay mud and gravel Ozark mountain roads. A road-closed sign was posted but when the GPS leads us onward we presuppose we’ll find a way around. After many miles through muddiness and dirt, we encountered a barred and locked gate. “No way. We’re not going back!” I allowed a vandalistic thought: break the chain barring our progress? After discussing options, I noticed that one end of the metal fence was stuck in holes and could be lifted up. The fencing was soon up and on the ground and we proceeded around, replacing it with no harm done. Yes!
…Darkness came and it began to rain. It soon became a deluge as we proceeded up roads of dirt, down rocky paths, with the bad visibility that goes with riding motorcycles in pouring rain. The boys claimed they were ready to make up more miles but the dad knew it was time to call a day and when the GPS led us back to asphalt, I spied Locke Freewill Baptist Church almost right away. Riding around back in the pouring rain, with thunder resounding, there was a fantastic overhang with a cement deck for us and bikes. (Neighbor Dennis was extremely cordial and helpful the next morning.) Barely audible above the loud clatter of rain on the metal roof was the cry of a kitten. Caleb found the small hidden kitten and she snuggled in his sleeping bag for the night. Asleep by midnight. Meow.