I started planning this trip about eight months ago when the Shepherds suggested, well more like insisted, that after 18 years of ministry at Twickenham I take a sabbatical. The only condition was that I couldn't leave until our then underway renovation of our facility was completed. The majority of the renovation is now complete and it's hard to believe that this sabbatical is about to start. People ask me "so what do you do on sabbatical?" The common replies to that question include; "nothing," "anything I want to," or "ride a bicycle across the country."
Ok, I confess that last one might not be that common. I started cycling quite earnestly about 2.5 years ago, due largely to my good friend Roger Harwell, of whom we will speak often in coming days and not always fondly. It was he and I who came up with this idea of cross country biking. I was bragging one day that if I had unlimited time I would just ride across America. He said "really?' and I said "oh yeah, piece of cake." The next day the Shepherds called me in and suggested that I take a sabbatical. Did I mention that Roger is one of the Shepherds? Do you think there was a connection? You see, ever since that time Roger has pretty much made every decision regarding my trip. What kind of bike I ride, what kind of saddle, what kind of panniers etc.. Actually I think it was Bill Bass who really got this thing rolling. Bill had heard me gripe and cry and complain so much about church that I think he just wanted a break from me. Let's move on. What's the plan?
I plan to rent a car and drive to Lubbock, Tx. with my bike on August 30th. Every year for the last 18 years I have been to Texas for the opening of dove season to hunt with my brother. I will hunt for a couple of days until continuing on to San Diego Ca. where I will begin my ride back to St. Augustine FL. I purchased a set of bicycle touring maps from Adventure Cycling (actually Roger purchased them but that's another story). This route (known as the Southern Tier) is the shortest cross country biking route, just over 3000 miles. I have always wanted to do something epic, and this is my attempt.
In all seriousness I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity that Amy, the boys, the Shepherds and the entire body at Twickenham have afforded me. The gift of time is a rare commodity. It is my prayer that God will be honored in some way by this adventure.