Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Ever had a glimpse of heaven that lasted just a few seconds but stayed with you long after?  On our recent motorcycle trip I did.

It is ironic that it happened the same day as our flat tire (see my previous post).  After the tire replacement we were back on the road and trying to make up time.  It was hard for me to relax. When something scary happens I have a hard time not thinking about how it could have been worse or how it could happen again.  So every little perceived wobble of the bike brought a fresh flush of fear into my stomach and my chest.  I would talk myself down but before long it would flare again.

Those little fears flashed and faded over and over until late afternoon when we arrived in Grand Junction, Colorado and my brother-in-law led us into Monument National Park on what he called the Rim Ride.  Wow!  Miles of red rock canyons with glorious views and lots of pull off points for pictures. It’s one of those places you see on calendars and wonder if it could really be that beautiful.  Believe me, it is.

We took advantage of the pull offs and got off the bikes to walk around, snapping more pictures than we would ever really want. You couldn’t stop though, because every slight rotation of the head brought a new gasp of delight.

At one of the pull offs I walked down a well worn path and stood on a ledge, quietly surveying the landscape.  I was completely alone.  No other tourist was in sight.  I closed my eyes for just a moment and the most amazing thing happened.  I experienced perfect peace.  It came in a silence that was deafening – no birds chirping, no people talking, no motors humming, nothing.  It only lasted for a fraction of a second but I do not remember ever, ever experiencing such a phenomena before.  Perfect silence – perfect peace.  It was followed by the soft whistle of a breeze that lightly stirred the branches of the stubby pine and whispered a message to me that could only have come from the God who assures me He is in control.

For those few seconds I was standing in the palm of His hand and the worries of this world were nonexistent.  It was a beautiful moment I wanted to hold on to forever.  But that’s not the way it works, is it?  Life is what we live every day and perfect peace is what God gives us when He needs to break through. 

Just like I had to take a few steps down that rocky path and stop long enough for Him to give me the gift of silence, real life is a series of challenging events that only a conscious pause and a needy heart can overcome.

I sensed heaven on a red rock ledge in Grand Junction, Colorado.  I climbed back on the bike and my fear flashes were gone, at least for the day.  God always knows what we need.  He always gives it to us when we ask.  He always leaves us with a memory so vivid we have no trouble pulling it out again and again when we need it.  I praise Him for that.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.  Isaiah 26:3

Read Full Post »

Last summer I discovered how hard it is to walk when your feet are broken.  This summer I learned how hard it is to roll when your motorcycle tire goes flat.

The first day of our recent motorcycle tour was relatively uneventful.  We left home about 7:30 a.m. on a gorgeous, clear September morning.  I love the first day of a trip because everything is all neat and tidy, freshly laundered and packed, arranged just so on the motorcycle and looking good.  Within the next couple of days that will change as you load and unload, pack and unpack and wear items for the second and third day in a row (yuk).

Our destination for day one was Twin Falls, Idaho – about 487 miles.  The day was warm, we were soon stripped down to our short sleeved shirts and the miles were piling up behind us.  We arrived in Twin Falls safe and sound, checked into our motel and grabbed dinner.

The next morning we were off by 8:00 a.m.  The ‘boys’ (my husband and brother-in-law) said we had to make time if we were going to do all the exploring in Colorado we had planned.  Because of that we hit the interstate instead of a nice winding scenic route.  I sat back and did what I always do when we are on a freeway, prayed that the steady stream of trucks wouldn’t blow us off the road, that no speeding car would cut us off, and that we would be protected from any other harmful incident. 

Forty eight miles later things came to a crashing halt.  (Luckily the term “crashing” is not being used in the literal sense here.)  My biker hubby sensed something amiss at the first wobble and had the bike slowed and almost stopped when the back tire went completely flat.  We experienced the blow out of a front tire a couple of years ago and it was very scary, the out of control bike propelling us over into the oncoming lane of traffic.  This recent incident was much less dramatic.  However,it still left us sitting on the side of the freeway with 70 mile an hour traffic whizzing by.  Oh the blessing of cell phones!  We were able to call the HOG towing line and get assistance.  A very, very nice young man showed up, loaded the Harley on his flatbed, and hauled us back to Twin Falls.  It did take a few hours out of our travel time but had it not been for one teeny, tiny honey bee flying in the tow truck window and stinging me on the bridge of my nose, it would have been no big deal.

The bee sting definitely made the experience memorable.  My face went numb, my nose and eyes were swollen for a couple of days and I had to make serious threats to keep the boys from taking pictures. 

By shortly after noon we were back on the road and I was reflecting on:

  • How God is always faithful and how the prayer I always say at the start of the day for safety pays off.
  • How keeping things in good working order is key.  That goes for the vehicles we ride and the life we live.
  • How things can go wrong even when you’ve taken every precaution so you need to be prepared with a plan B and an 800 number.  The number for the HOG tow line is always handy on the bike.  My direct line to the Father is within easy access wherever I go.  I access it often.
  • Oh – and nothing spiritual about this one.  You can look good in your leathers, but a bee sting to the nose can definitely take the wind out of your vanity.  Ironic that the tire deflated at about the same rate that my face inflated. 

Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God… Psalm 86:2

Read Full Post »

4,000 plus miles, one bee sting, one flat tire, one rainstorm, a few chilly mornings, several days of sunsine, a couple days of heavy smoke and a good dose of God’s creation painted in red rock valleys and on high mountain peaks that reached right up and touched heaven.  That’s what I’ve experienced in the past ten days from the back seat of a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic motorcycle.  That trip that I wore myself out getting ready for was well worth the effort.

Every day was filled with a new adventure, a changing landscape, laughter, relaxing, some good semi-philosophical discussions and a lot of just silent reflecting.  I love that part of riding – being able to go for hours withiout saying a word.  Getting the chance to just let things roll around in my mind, pondering, analyzing, testing thoughts.  There is such inspiration in the horizon, such beauty in endless miles of fields awaiting harvest.

Vacations are always good, especially when they get you out of your daily pattern and thrust you into new environments where your senses are stimulated, your brain is engaged and you let go of the demands that pull at you on your non-vacation days.  Jesus fully understood the need to get away.  He did it often when the crowds had worn him down and the diciples were zapping his teaching energy.  He also showed us that a vacation doesn’t have to involve weeks of planning and packing or an extended time period.  Sometimes slipping away to a hillside for a few hours on the spur of the moment can be as refreshing as  a five day cruise.  It’s all in the letting go of where you were and embracing where you’ve gone.

So I embraced the rushing rivers that ran beside the highways.  I embraced the golden Aspen trees quivering in the slight breeze.  I embraced the cloudless skies, the distant mountain ranges, the quaint little towns we passed through.   I let go of meaningful, productive conversations and embraced nonsense comments and silly jokes.  I shook off the presure to perform and took on a bit of laziness.  I had conversations with people I didn’t know.  I read the historcal markers whenever I could.  I tried not to check my email and text messages until the very end of the day so I wouldn’t be drawn back into that other world.

I prayed a lot, listened to God a lot, and did the mind-completely-blank thing for miles upon miles.  It was great!

Now I’m back in the thick of work, church, grandkids, meetings, messages and mayhem.  But I refuse to let go of those hard earned and much treasured days.  When I look in the mirrow, I will see my bright red sunburned nose and remember.  As the fall colors here begin to appear I will flash back to the ones in the Colorado Rockies that took my breath away.  I am going to thumb through my pictures again and again.  I’m going to read back through my journal.  I’m going to continue to be thankful for my husband and my brother in law who planned out and navigated the entire route so all I had to do was sit back and enjoy.  And I’m going to look forward to the next opportunity.

In future posts I will share in more detail about parts of our trip but for right now, I just want to get down in black and white that it did happen.  I want indelible proof of the joy and the freedom and fellowship and the love that flowed throughout the journey, wove together into an adventure and a memory, and is now sitting on the front shelf of my heart’s treasure closet.  God is good.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Psalm 118:29

Read Full Post »

Next week marks the start of a ten day motorcycle trip from our home in Washington State to the Colorado Rockies and back again.  It’s called vacation – you know, that thing that brings up visions of rest, relaxation and lazy days.  Of course to get from here to there takes an awful lot of hard work.  Why do we do that to ourselves? We push so hard getting ready to ‘rest and relax’ we are too tired to enjoy it when we have the opportunity.

I’ve been putting in some long days at the office trying to get ahead, to set things up to ward off any crisis  in my absence, and to finish up every loose end so I can return to a clean desk.  After long days at work I’m cleaning, washing and packing at home.  Add to that the planning out of a couple of Sunday worship programs to make it easy for my team while I’m gone while still maintaining the every day schedule of grandkids, meetings, normal life (if there is such a thing) and I’m pretty much frazzled.  My goal is to get away but make it seem like I’m not even gone while at the same time making sure my absence is noted.  Is that twisted or what?

I came home extremely exhausted Tuesday night and my husband’s comment was, “You’d better toughen up because we’re going to have some ten hour days on the bike ahead.”  Imagine how that perked me up!  If you’ve ever motorcycled you know that ten hour days can be brutal.  My first thought after his comment was, “unsubscribe me.”  I don’t want to wear myself out getting ready to wear myself out.

Do you ever feel like life is just a series of trying to get caught up, set up and psyched up for tomorrow so you can start it all over again when tomorrow gets here?  I do, quite often in fact. You don’t have to tell me, dear friends who are reading this right now like Connie and Diane, that I am my own worst enemy.

But, even though I’ll be worn out by departure day, here’s what I’m clinging to, what I know from past experience to be true:

  • I won’t be in the kitchen for ten whole  days.  Someone else will be doing the cooking, the serving and the dishes. That’s a big hallelujah!
  • I won’t be driving.  I’ll be sitting back enjoying the scenery, making up stories in my head, pondering, telling myself jokes (yes, I do that), hugging my guy now and then just for the heck of it, and letting stress and tension blow off my shoulders and fall to the road behind me.
  • I won’t be responsible for making decisions about the route.  That’s all mapped out by my husband.
  • I won’t be donning high heels, pantyhose and business suits for ten whole days.  I’ll be pulling on jeans and t-shirts, hiding my hair under a helmet and looking cool in leather.
  • I won’t be rushing from work to a meeting at church then to home, laundry and meal prep.  I won’t be rushing anywhere.  I’ll be moving at the speed dictated by my ride, breathing deep and smiling the whole time (except maybe on those 10 hour days).
  • In the evenings I’ll be settling down in a nice clean motel room, journaling about the great sights and experiences of the day.
  • I’ll be spending quantity and quality time with my best friend in all the world, my husband of 45 years, something that gets pushed aside too often.
  • I’ll be tired but happy, a little sore but relaxed.  And the one thing I won’t be is busy!  I’m in a hurry to get to that point (which I realize is an oxymoron).
  • And by the way,I won’t be blogging for the next two Mondays or Fridays.  When I return I should have some great stuff to share with you though.

I would covet your prayers for good weather, a safe journey and grace moments each day. God always gives me beautiful insight and speaks to me often as we roar along.  I’m looking forward to those conversations most of all.

It is useless for you to work so hard  from early morning until late at night,  anxiously working for food to eat;  for God gives rest to his loved ones. Psalm 127:2

Read Full Post »

On Friday we leave for an 8 day motorcycle trip and as I prepare I am once again faced with the impossible task of condensing 8 days worth of clothes, makeup and hair tools into the teeny weeny luggage compartment of a Harley Ultra Classic touring bike.  Big bike – little storage by my standards.

I start by putting the bag that fits inside the luggage compartment of the bike on the couch and patting the sides to puff them out so it looks bigger.  I do this several days ahead of time.  I carefully fold into a neat pile four pair of jeans, two turtlenecks in case of cold, six tanks in case of warm, two long sleeve shirts for layering, a sweatshirt, underwear, socks, sandals, tennis shoes, curling iron, hairdryer, makeup, sun screen, assorted hair accessories, book, journal, e reader and nightgown.

I stand back to look and notice the tower of items I’ve placed next to the bag looks like the stepsister’s size 10 foot next to Cinderella’s size 5 slipper.  Not good.

I begin subtracting by pulling out an undergarment.  The stack does not shrink noticeably.  Darn!  I begin to negotiate with myself.  “I can wear a pair of jeans three days instead of two can’t I? “ Out comes one pair.  “It’s June – bound to be warm, right?” Out comes the turtlenecks.  “Who needs tennis shoes?  We’ll be riding not walking.”  Nix the tennis shoes.  “Book or e reader? ”  “Air dry the hair?”

I check the weather reports for areas we will be visiting.  Out come three tanks, back in go the turtlenecks.  I pull out, put in, fold tighter, sigh and start over.  I am an unlimited-luggage-for-the-cruise type girl in a black leather biker world.  I have enough clothes in my closets to make sure I don’t repeat an outfit in any 30 day period.  But I love a guy who sees changing from a black T-shirt with the HD logo to a white T-shirt with the same as a major wardrobe overhaul.  Needless to say he doesn’t understand the packing challenge.

The funny thing is, once we’re on the road I don’t find it quite so difficult to wear the same thing two days in a row or even (gasp) three if necessary.  I’m not so caught up in how I look as I am in the scenery around me.  And, I’m too busy enjoying uninterrupted time with my husband to think about impressing others.

The craziness of multiple projects, plans and people coming at me in a constant deluge disappears the minute I crawl on the bike behind him and we set off on yet another roaring adventure.  This is pure togetherness – so close we are constantly touching, our direction perfectly matched, sharing thoughts and impressions as we sail down the highway. I can almost feel his heartbeat when I wrap my arms around him and our bodies sway in perfect harmony to the movement of the bike. 

We need this trip.  Life has been like a speeding train lately.  It will ramp up again when we return.  But for the next 8 days it will be just us, our timing, our choices, our quiet talks, our laughter, our frayed bond healing.

“Scarcely had I passed them when I found the one my heart loves.  I held him and would not let him go ….”  Song of Songs 3:4

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts