Thursday, July 2

Gateway to the West

I crossed Illinois in two days. Now, I stand at the gateway to the west - the Mississippi.

I woke up super early this morning after a full nights sleep behind a Lutheran Church in Carbondale, IL. Now, 5:30am probably sounds crazy, but seeing as I just changed time zones a few days ago, my body thinks its still on east coast time - 5:30 is basically 6:30am. This is a good thing, because in reality the heat starts to beat around 10:00/10:30am. So getting off to an early start allowed me to roll into Chester by 11:30. I figure as I continue to go west, and the time zones continue to push back the hour, I'll continue to get up at the east coast 6:30am... or there abouts. I mean, who wants to ride when the suns up in the desert? Not me.

As I said, I've stopped in Chester, IL to take my afternoon rest. I hadn't heard of Chester prior, but after learning it's the home of Popeye, I felt like we go back years. Yes, Popeye as in the spinach eating sailor-man himself - which makes sense after seeing all the barges on the Mississippi.

My first stop was the library. After checking e-mail, facebook, that sort of thing, I asked the library lady where the closest burger place might be. She told me about an all-you-can-eat-buffet that I apparently missed 2 miles back, and then pointed me next door to a Ma and Pa Cafe - my favorite. Walking away, I told her I may be back, seeing that I like to wait out the heat of the day, and she invited me to join the library for a movie at 1pm. A bit curious, I inquired a bit as to what kind of movie date this was turning into. To my chagrin, I learned that each week the library shows a movie for the youth in the area and this week's showing was Bedtime Stories - the latest Adam Sandler flick. I thought to myself, "How could I miss such a film?"

So, after a club sandwich and some fries, I was back to the library. I got back a little earlier than 1 so I took a quick nap outside in the shade. I awoke to van loads of children and mothers walking past, as my place for the nap was beside the entrance. Yay, movie time! I walked in to find a lot more folks had passed me by on the sidewalk than I thought. Everyone and their mother (not exaggerating) was there - most dressed in PJs (just the kids). I felt out of place, yet again, and sat in a comfy chair in the back. The next hour and a half were full of laughter, my own included, and the occasional black screen resulting from when a kid would stand up and walk across in front of the projector to get more popcorn. Yes, they even had popcorn.

All in all, good film. Though, I don't think I'll watch it a second time.

From here, I ride into Missouri (though part of Illinois is on the other side of the Mississippi, strangely enough) and run into the wonderful phenomena of abundant City Parks that allow cyclists to set up a tent within the park. I've run into this before but its been bare - most camping has been in folks yards as even the smallest towns back east had "No Camping" policies within city limits. Apparently Missouri and Kansas are great for this though, so I look forward to the no-hastle camping of which I am about to embark on.

My 4th of July I will be riding from Centerville, MO to Houston, MO. Houston has a population just shy of 2,000 so I'm bound to run into some fireworks. Hopefully they wont be sent in my direction. Which reminds me of a story.

One time I was in San Fransisco for the 4th. I was visiting with my friend Dave, but broke away to see another friend. The plan was that when I was finished hanging out with that friend, I would call Dave and he would come and get me. I called, but no answer. Well, I knew the general direction of where I was going, and since it was 2am, I headed that way. From 2am - 4am I walked Mission St. downtown San Fran. Each block I walked, a different group of kids would shoot bottle rockets at me, as I held the phone, despite having a dead battery, to my ear acting as if someone was on the other side. After not finding the place, I headed back through the gauntlet. A memorable 4th of July. Here's for hoping this one is not held in the same fashion.

Make sure you guys are checking out the music on the side - I'm going to try to put up a string of songs I consider prophetic/theological in some form or fashion. There's been a few already. Watch out, they might get nasty.


skip said...

bring on the harsh music.

here's something to make you a bit 'home' sick.

Corky Crimmins said...

What do you mean they might get nasty??

Your mother

Will said...

Hey, at least you didn't almost get your eye poked out by a bottle rocket! Good luck in the flat plains!

Anonymous said...

I will never forget that fourth of july in san fran. remember when we snuck away one night and sat at that small corner table on the top floor over-looking the city? i remember some of the exact things we talked about :).. and the double fireworks action that went on that watched above that appartment/house? We had a lot of fun memories that holiday! hope this one is a bit safer though with no bottle rockets. give me a call if you get loney :), i'd like to hear from ya. take care!

Anonymous said...

Someday I shall be a great saint-like those you see in the windows of magnificient cathedrals. I will have a soul made of sunlight and skin as clear as the stained glass panels that make their skin, and I will shine like they do now-I will shine with the glory that comes over those who rise up early and seek the Lord....
But I do not shine now---especially not in the morning. In fact, I grimace until noon, I would never be mistaken for a stained glass saint, though at 7 am, I might be grey and grotesque as a gargoyle. By faith I accept that "God's commands are not burdensome," but right now, I am not grown in that measure of grace that frees me to exalt in this particular command to seek Him "early in the morning."
Right now it is dusk and far in the east the sky is already being inked with the shadow that our earth makes of itself and some nearer stars are waking there. I am in a park in Indianapolis, Indiana, and right now these great trees are casting no shadows; the greens of their leaves are holding the last rays of sun already set and the sky in the west is bright and turquoise and it shines like a semiprercious stone-as if any stone could be "semiprecious." And over all that I can see, over my motorcycle and the trunks and limbs of these hardwood giants, over this close-cut lawn and the now-abandoned tennis courts and baseball diamonds, over the sky (still fading, still and newly equisite) and over me, a great peace washes. It comes up from the ground and down from the heavens-a deep peace breathed out by a universe that surrounds itself again by the embrace of its Creator--its God, who is to be sought by His saints in the hours of early morning but condescends to seek out even sinners at dusk and washes them at evening in the peace of His presence and throws round their shoulder the cloak of His acceptance and puts on their fingers the ring of His pleasure--the pleasure He takes in them when he meets them here on the road even before they could get home, when he echoes in the evening the hymn He sang for them at dawn.
Someday I will rise up like the sun in the morning--someday I will shine like the saints who watch from cathedral windows. I know this, not because of any evidence I have produced of myself, but because of the witness of His Scriptures, because of the evidence of His grace, and because of the testimony of this sky that washes over me at dusk.
Washing at Dark-Rich Mullins more great starts and finishes-the wonder of faith ~reli

Tim said...

Hey Nate,
Enjoyed our conversation this morning on the square in Farmington. We basically covered the whole Bible. Please blog your feelings about what you heard from
God as we spoke. I would be very interested to hear. Listened to the music -- very interesting. Thought provoking. Have been blessed by our meeting.
In Christ,
tim & kelley

Bill Crimmins said...

Thanks for keeping us updated Nate.

I drove on July 2 back to Elk Lake for the remainder of the vacation basically until 7/12.

I left at 5:30 and the 7 hour drive turned into more almost
2 AM ish on July 3.

Ran into lots of holiday traffic.

A little later than I like...but I am so glad I came up.

Slept in a little and now Mom and I are just enjoying the day.

Been raining up here since June 29. Expect lots of Sun this weekend.

Tempreture is 75ish.

Luke seems good. Working on getting his finances set for Butler. Not as easy as in the past. Work is going well as usual.

Will and Megan are getting their wedding plans set.

I hear the reherasal dinner is the 4th of August and wedding on the 5th.

Gwen and Laddy are doing well.

Your in my prayers.



Linda said...

Hi Nate. Sorry I haven't posted a comment before this, but Dan and I are following your blog. What a great adventure you're having! Hope it continues well.

I'm about to embark on a much shorter adventure -- I'm going to Ireland for an traditional Irish music festival, then to London for 3 days to see a friend before coming home -- gone 10 days altogether. Being a blogger myself, I'm going to try to write about it while I'm there. I don't think I'll be able to include the same quality of maps -- didn't have time to figure out how to use Google Maps as well as you obviously can. But I do hope to put up some mp3 files using the spiffy new recorder I bought. So, if you have time, check Truffles, Turtles & Tunes and see how I'm doing.

Anonymous said...


You’re a wonderful writer! I have enjoyed keeping up with your blog. It is so fun to know what is going on with you and odd to me that I can even keep up with your family in Mich. just by reading today’s comments :) You are making memories for a lifetime. As you invite God to join you in our daily experiences, He is more and more real to your every need, isn’t He! Praying for your journey.-Pat Norwood