True to our expectations our rain gear was needed on the morning of May 29th. The air was also thick with adrenaline driven excitement and anxiety. Our bikes and gear were loaded for the 26 mile drive to the Makah Indian Reservation and Cape Flattery.
We had with us a large banner that would be prominently displayed at the events we attended over the summer across the county.
The sixteen of us assembled for a group picture before we walked the half mile trail that would lead us to the platform overlooking the Cape.
The view, enhanced by the sound of waves crashing upon the rocks, was exhilarating. More pictures and it was time to return to the vans, unload the bikes, and ride.
The ride across northwest Washington featured narrow roads and no shoulders. Huge logging trucks often blasted past us at speeds exceeding 60 miles per hour.
The margin between us and a disastrous encounter with one of those trucks measured in inches. We got used to it. Our Guardian Angeles developed ulcers.
26 miles qualified as a very short day, but no one was complaining. We regrouped at the trailer park in Clallam Bay where a shed had been made available to us for overnight storage of the bikes.
Whether the ride of the day was a short couple of hours or a butt numbing 100 miles, the afternoon always included Mass. We would gather in whatever space was convenient and Father Matt would unpack his mobile alter “kit”.
He would spend some quiet time pondering the events of the day and craft a 5 minute homily that was relevant to our mission and our experiences. These were among the most treasured of moments.
Day one was in the books with everyone safe. It was a good start.
Next: Part 7, Back to Seattle.
Peace Everyone. Pete
-The message of our mission was always on our minds. In my own effort to quantify poverty in America I drew an analogy from the bicycling that lay ahead of us:
May, 2010. “The Circle of Lives”
A bicycle wheel is 700 millimeters in diameter. That works out to 27.56 inches. The circumference of that wheel is 86.58 inches, or in other words, approximately 7.25 feet. There are 5,280 feet in a mile, so a bicycle wheel rotates 728 times each mile. Our across the United States journey to raise funds and awareness for the cause of ending poverty is 5,000 miles. Therefore, the wheels on each bicycle will rotate 3,640,000 times over the course of this mission. As there are 12 of us riders intending to complete the entire crossing… our combined effort is approximately 43,680,000 revolutions. That is approximately how many people in the United States now live below the “poverty line”. If the thought of the number of times these bicycle wheels will spin as we cross the North American Continent is mind-boggling, then imagine that every one of those revolutions is a hungry child, a homeless father, a destitute mother… a life on the margins of despair.