Shannon Seward, now a seasoned cyclist, faces yet another battery of hills in the Ozark range in Missouri. These rolling hills are just some of the hundreds that your cyclists covered by the end of Saturday. We have learned, as we do with each geographic and climate change, to take one pedal stroke at a time. This past week was riddled with triple-digit temperatures, heat indexes as high as 105, and road grades that surpass the Rockies. This week has been full of ups and downs, and not just the kind related to elevation! Read on to discover the exciting Kingdom work we have been privileged to participate in and witness!
Pedal to Plant Cycles Past 3,000 Miles!
The 3,000 mile mark was reached on our Saturday ride into Farmington, Missouri. The remaining distance of 1,200 miles has never felt so short and so long at the same time. Our week began in Chanute, Kansas, where we left from the campground at the break of dawn. The team cycled on through the 44 miles of hills to Girard, Kansas. Unique to the route thus far are signs dedicated just to cyclists! Founded for the “Bikecentennial” in 1976, these green and black signs have kept cyclists on course for many years. Our cyclists have enjoyed them as they sometimes split off into smaller groups to tackle hills at their own pace. As long as the signs haven’t been taken as souvenirs, they will be with us until the Atlantic.
Tuesday’s ride brought Pedal to Plant into our seventh state, Missouri! The team cycled with our new friends from LIving Faith Church of the Nazarene in Girard, Julie and Dawn, for part of our morning ride. They are our fifth and six riders for our #dayridechallenge. There was a ton of interest, but taking half a morning off is a big time commitment, which we understand! the 63 miles to our stopping point in Everton were long and hot. The people in Carthage, Missouri were abundantly gracious and welcoming and provided us with a potluck to remember. Our homestays were generous and blessed us with their hospitality.
The thick, Missouri air was muggy from the get-go on Wednesday morning. We stopped outside of a general store a that sold everything from lug nuts to Hershey’s bars to Crab Rangoon lunch specials. The cashiers blessed us with their words of encouragement. In fact, they had started a composition notebook just for traveling cyclists to sign! After 65 miles of ups and downs, we were grateful for the showers and food waiting for us at the end of the ride. We were thankful that our connection with the Marshfield Church worked out and that we were able to worship alongside a wonderful congregation.
Riding out of the Marshfield parking lot, the team was well rested and ready to tackle the daily ride. In the morning, our very own Documentarian, Broc Mason, and our new friend from Marshfield Naz, Anita, became our seventh and eighth riders for the #dayridechallenge. This is quickly becoming a common option for people who want to get involved with our ministry in a unique way. The hills took a toll, and Broc called it quits after making it 44 miles to lunch, several miles past his other friend, Peter, who rode for half a day as well. The evening service took place at Mountain Grove Church of the Nazarene. The band experienced some technical difficulties in their acoustic set but managed to create a great place to worship, regardless. Testimonies were shared and a lot of stories were swapped. The potluck for dinner rivaled that of Sisters, Oregon, which has become our benchmark for any of the potlucks we have had.
Friday marked Mike Roskam’s first day not completing a day ride from the beginning of the trip. With a raw temperature of 104 degrees and a heat index of 120, Mike listened to his body and knew when enough was enough.This was a major “down” (or “up” because those hurt more) we experienced in the Ozarks that was an unfortunate necessity. The 69 miles of the day were said to be the toughest by our very own Shannon Seward and Korte Zickefoose. A local News reporter by the name of Ken covered our team’s progress through interviews at the Redford Church of the Nazarene. Ken said that, from the cyclists he had talked to, the ride from Houston to Ellington is said to be the most difficult on the TransAm Trail. Regardless of if they are going West to East or East to West. This was some comfort to Mike and to the rest of our crew. Shawn White and Ben Kuhn are technically the only two riders who have the opportunity to have biked every pedal stroke across the states. Luke Zane generously gave up his bike, after Shawn blew a tire going down a rough hill. Several of our riders are just 20 to 50 miles short of completing the whole trail, but technically, these two are our only cyclists to have completed the whole trip!
Saturday was another day of rough roadside experiences. The crew rode 59 miles from Redford to Farmington. While most of our cyclists and many of our vehicles crested hill after hill, Gene Schandorff’s suburban would not have it anymore. Right around the 3,000-mile mark for our cyclists, instead of celebrating, our team was stopping traffic outside of an abandoned bar to get the suburban and trailer off the road. His transmission went out and will not leave Farmington until Thursday, hopefully, fixed by then. On the up side, Kirby Schueler, Extreme Naz Mobilizer, was finally able to ride with the cyclists and become our ninth day rider!
Farmington Nazarene turned out a receptive congregation Sunday morning. The music lead by the Pedal to Plant band, Breath by Breath, was well received and the Spirit was obviously moving in the building. The Livestream for the church went well and the technical difficulties experienced two days previously were nowhere to be seen or heard! Today the team said farewell to Nicole Roskam Davis, leg rider, and Kirby. They each contributed immense personality and energy to the team, and will be missed dearly. The team wrapped up the Sabbath with a BBQ pool party at Senator Romaine’s house, a faithful member of the Farmington Nazarene church.
And with that, as our favorite Kansas girl says “we’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto! (I have waited a long time to be able to write that) Despite all our ups and downs of this week, and as ironically those words are understood by cyclists, we hope to connect with you on social media! Check our Pedal to Plant profiles on Facebook and Instagram to support the team financially and prayerfully!
Churches who’ve hosted us; Churches visited this week are below in bold
- Liberty Bible of Barberton, WA
- Hilltop Church of Astoria, OR
- Tillamook Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Lincoln City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Church on the Hill of McMinnville, OR
- Eugene Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Sisters Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Mission Church of Bend, OR
- John Day Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Baker City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- McCall Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Grangeville Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Missoula First Church of the Nazarene, MT
- Bitterroot Valley Church of the Nazarene, MT
- St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dubois, WY
- Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene, Kinnear, WY
- Riverton Church of the Nazarene, WY
- Jeffrey City Community Church, WY
- St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rawlins, WY
- St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Granby, CO
- High Country Church of the Nazarene, Buena Vista, CO
- Lincoln Park Church of the Nazarene, CO
- Garden City Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Larned New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Indian Hills Church of the Nazarene, Wichita, KS
- Hutchinson First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Newton First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Jefferson Street Baptist Church, Eureka, KS
- Severy Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Church of the Nazarene, Chanute, KS
- Living Faith Church of the Nazarene, Girard, KS
- Carthage Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Marshfield Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Mountain Grove Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Redford Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Farmington Church of the Nazarene, KS
Check back soon with us to follow our pedaling journey across the country! If you’d like more instant updates on where we are, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we will regularly post our status and location!