John Muir and Winds in the Wasteland
Sometimes, you just have to know what you know and the rest...
Yesterday, we drove against a wind worthy of every stanza of Bob Seger's song. It was wild, woolly, and well... comical. Alec had me looking out the side window keeping an eye on our "sail." After the second time we had to exit (as a man was flagging us down with a frenzy worthy of the America's Cup Sailing Championship), I said, "I need to send out an email and get people praying."
Once the prayers started although the wind didn't die down, Alec's remark was, "It feels like we're in this little God Bubble. I still see the wind but it's not so hard driving the RV. The awning never unfurled again!
We arrived in El Paso in the early afternoon, checked in to the airport hotel and waited for the second bike rider to arrive later in the evening. The first phone call came about the time the plane was scheduled to depart DFW. "There has been a delay, some problem with the plane, 45 minutes at least until take off."
There is a famous story about the naturalist John Muir while he was in Yosemite. In the midst of a blinding storm he went out to the porch of his cabin, grabbed hold of a tree and watched and felt the full force of the wind. He wanted to experience it all!
When the second phone call came, I knew it was going to be a John Muir kind of night.
"After we changed planes, as we taxied out toward the runway a fork lift hit the wing and we had to turn back. I'm not going to take the next flight because it won't get me to El Paso until after 1:00 am. I will take the flight in the morning."
Come on! How many times have you ever heard of a fork lift hitting an airplane?
Alec and I both climbed the theoretical tree of circumstance and leaned in.
Today is the most challenging part of the bike ride. The riders leave from downtown El Paso and head through several outlying towns on regular heavily trafficked roads. They are not the safest roads or neighborhoods. Originally the plan was to leave very early this morning to get "through" those areas before traffic and people could pose a danger. Now, they most likely will be on the bikes by 3:00 and ride during the beginning of rush hour. (El Paso is Mountain Time an hour ahead of Dallas and Central Time Zone)
So it goes.
The wind blows where it wants; while we hang on.
There is no accident (a FORKLIFT hitting the second plane) or circumstance that He is not sovereignly in control over.
Pray for MY first experience driving the RV. The current plan is the guys will drive downtown, get the bikes out and start the journey. I will drive the same road ahead of them, although I would like to just drive at the same speed they are riding (roughly 18 miles per hour) I will be about 30 minutes ahead at any given time.
Pray for the safety of the riders.
Pray for the road and weather conditions.
This delay puts the "schedule" off of course, and while there will be days to make up the mileage the issue here in the West Texas wastelands is there is nothing. No campgrounds, few towns and a great deal of "border" issues.
This IS Texas, and we do all have firearms, but...
It is a perfect plan, and good practice at being flexible. Like our "sailing" experience yesterday, today promises to be one heck of a ride!
This is an adventure to be sure, but it is not without purpose. The goal of my son's physical challenge for himself was to raise awareness and finances for the Wounded Warrior Getaway in San Antonio, sponsored by Joni and Friends.
Alec was deeply moved when he participated with me in the spring of 2009 and again in the fall of 2010. Since that time he has often remarked how grateful he is to the men and women who serve our nation. Tying this "road trip" to help get the word out about the event (April 27-May 1) as well as offer people an opportunity to participate financially to help Warrior families attend the event without cost is the sole purpose of "Road Warrior for Real Warriors." When he discussed it with me, he remarked, "When I am having a hard day on the bike, dog-tired trying to make it up the next hill, or go the extra miles - all I have to do is think about the men and women who are putting their life on the line for ME. They are eating the dust and dirt of Iraq and Afghanistan so I can be free! Their families are missing birthdays and holidays so I can get on a stupid bike in Texas and ride. I can do this - I will do this."
Whatever way the winds of your life are currently blowing, cool across your face after a spring rain or like a hurricane sweeping away every ounce of hope, lean in. It cost a soldier and his/her family dearly for you to do so in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
Soldiering on for all the soldiers I deeply cherish and love,
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In the memo, write:
Road Warrior/Alec Johns
Joni and Friends San Antonio
1370 Pantheon Way #165
San Antonio, TX 78232
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