Day 55

Posted: July 26, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Tonight we’re camped near St. Johnsville, NY.  If the weather cooperates tomorrow I hope to make it to the outskirts of Albany. I’ve been enjoying the ride through New York and could envision more bicycling here in the future.


The reality that my ride across America will be over soon is starting to cross my mind. Mentally and physically, I feel great! When I return, I hope that this experience will continue to inspire me to keep personal wellness a high priority.


Day 54

Posted: July 25, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Just adding up the miles… Today was the third consecutive day over 100 miles since arriving in New York.  That’s a good thing, as tomorrow’s weather forecast is calling for rain and thunderstorms throughout the day.  Riding conditions today ranged from smooth, paved-shoulder highways to single lane trail. My stopping point for the day was in Rome, NY.


My route also took me on the urban streets of Syracuse. I missed out on some nice photo opportunities while navigating downtown traffic, but did get a picture of this Croatian church (which looks much more magnificent in person).


Day 53

Posted: July 24, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Today’s bike ride followed the towpath trail alongside the Erie Canal.  My stopping point tonight was Palmyra, NY.  I had a flat tire right away this morning, with the puncture coming from an unusual object… a fish hook!


Today’s family adventure took Jen, Emma, Norah, and Brennen to Niagara Falls and the Erie Canal Discovery Center in Lockport, NY. The first stop in Niagara was Cave of the Winds on Goat Island. “When you first enter Cave of the Winds, it’s like a mist. When you get to Hurricane Deck, it’s like you are taking a clean shower because the water pours right on you,” Norah reported.

Brennen exclaimed, “I loved it. The water was blue until it splashed, then it was white. There were bubbles like soap.”

“Hurricane Deck was awesome because you get soaked,” Emma shared. “The observation deck was cool because it felt like you were floating in the air over the river.”

At the Erie Canal Discovery Center, we learned how they made the locks in Lockport. There was an interactive interpretative movie narrated by a person playing Benjamin Wright, the lock engineer for the Erie Canal, from the famous ‘Opening of the Erie Canal’ mural by A. Raphael Beck.


“Wright” explained to us why New York needed the Erie Canal and how the canal was dug. Then invited us behind a movie screen to finish the film on a packet boat where we learned how the locks worked. After exploring the center, we went out to the “Flight of Five” and walked along the original canal locks in Lockport.

Day 52

Posted: July 23, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Lake Erie coast…


With a strong west wind, it didn’t take very long to cycle from Erie, PA to the New York state line!


The wind, cooler than usual temperature, and lake shore scenery made the 112 mile ride to western Buffalo, NY very enjoyable. Here are a few pics:




Day 51

Posted: July 22, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012


We’re on to the next state on our cross-country tour!  Today I resumed my bike ride, travelling from Conneaut, OH to Erie, PA.  Of course, that was after wrapping up a wonderful weekend with old friends and new friends in Kent, OH.

This morning I was the guest preacher at Faith Lutheran Church in Kent, where I served as campus pastor for my first five and one-half years of ministry.  Not only was I welcomed to preach and share about LCMS Campus Ministry, but today was also the Baptism of Xavier Voelker, the son of JJ and Tammy Voelker (JJ is the current campus pastor at Kent).
Here’s a picture of Emma with her friend Mildred Edmonds. Emma and Mildred enjoyed having doughnuts together at church when Emma was a preschooler.


Yesterday we visited friends and went to a picnic at one of our favorite parks in Cuyahoga Falls. At the park there was no shortage of other kids for our children to play with.


Toward the end of the day we toured a yurt that was designed and built by our friend Andreas.  Andreas and his wife Jae were Kent State students during my first years in Kent.  Awesome job, Andreas!


Day 50

Posted: July 21, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Rest day from bicyclyng, but check out these resources for those involved with ministry among international students…

Free Resources

Searching for a way to share the Gospel with the international students arriving at your door? The Lutheran Heritage Foundation (LHF) provides free resources to help you tell them about Jesus in the students’ own languages.

LHF has translated and published Lutheran books like Luther’s Small Catechism, A Child’s Garden of Bible Stories, and The Good News About Jesus into more than 70 languages, including Chinese, Tamil, Hindi, Japanese and Russian. These easy-to-understand materials, which simply but thoroughly explain who Jesus is, are available at no charge to those who need them. To see what’s available in the languages of your students, go to or call the LHF office at (800)554-0723.

Day 49

Posted: July 20, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Today I bicycled from Kent to Conneaut, OH. Other than some misty rain in the morning, this was a very comfortable day for cycling. The temperature was fairly cool and the sky was mostly overcast. A big section of today’s route was on the smoothly paved Western Reserve Greenway. Right now I’m waiting at Dairy Queen to be shuttled back to Kent so we can spend the weekend with friends. We’ll be back in Conneaut sometime on Sunday and I’ll continue the bike ride east from here.


Day 48

Posted: July 19, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012


A new riding partner joined me today for the segment of my ride leading to Kent, OH (today’s destination). Guy Russ, the current president of Faith Lutheran Church in Kent, pedaled with me through a steady rain. Jen and I got to know Guy and his family when we lived in Kent, and I truly appreciated the opportunity to ride with him today.


Another treat came in the form of a traditional Libyan meal at the weekly “Chat and Chow” international student outreach at Luther House, across from Kent State University.  Wigide (to my left) and Ramadan (to Jen’s right) were tonight’s cooks.  Leon, a Luther House resident from China (front right), led an evening devotion and prayer before our meal.
Here is Asfaw, who is from Ethiopia and also serves as a Luther House resident, sporting a Peace Lutheran Campus Center shirt that he won at the recent In-Depth Training conference sponsored by ISM, Inc

What a blessing to be a part of the international ministry at Luther House tonight!

Day 47

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012

Another hot day crossing Ohio!  Tonight we are camped at Findley State Park near Wellington, OH.  An early afternoon arrival meant that there was extra time to enjoy the beach at Findley Lake – and enough daylight to cook our evening meal outside.


Just graduated college? Spend a year serving in real campus ministry!

For recent college graduates: consider spending a year working in hands-on real-time campus ministry — serve as a Peer Missionary Volunteer.  A Peer Missionary Volunteer (PMV) works together with his or her assigned campus pastor or ministry worker to assist in day-to-day ministry and reach out with the love of Christ to a campus community. Visit Lutheran Campus Mission Association’s PMV page for more information; if you’re interested specifically in volunteer opportunities in the southeastern United States, check out our partners in that region, Lutheran Campus Initiative.

Day 46

Posted: July 17, 2012 in Bike Ride Across America 2012



Last night, while going over today’s route, we discovered that I would be pedaling near the home of one of our college (UWSP/Peace Lutheran Campus Center) friends, Jenny Keiser. My bicycling destination today was Lindsey, OH (where we’re camped tonight) and Jenny and her husband Brian live near Luckey, OH – right on my route.  Jen called Jenny this morning and we were able to spend time catching up with one another this afternoon.  While Jen and the kids got to visit longer, the Keiser’s house was a perfect rest-break for me in the heat of the day.  Thanks, Jenny, for your hospitality and support!