Thursday October 6th
I woke up and began my ride in the dark. I wanted to get an early start to a full day of riding. I had to recon a Central PA chapter ride out near State College, PA and then head south to the rally. On the way out I checked out a new road told to me by my friend Rusty Bucket, that was nice. Next, I did the whole recon, even stopping for a scenic photo.
Everything is a go for next weeks' ride, so that was a relief. I wanted to take the "scenic route" down to southern VA, but it was a little past noon, so I didn't have the time. In this case I had to slab it all the way down Interstate 81, and VA is a LONG state! Over 200 miles of slab, uggh. I made decent time, stopping once for lunch, once for gas, and I only hit a slow down in traffic twice. Just as an FYI, 81 mph or higher on a highway is a reckless driving misdemeanor in VA, so watch your speed there. Not that I would go that fast on a public road. I did see some scenic views of the Shenandoah Valley and it was nice to be welcomed again by friends once I arrived at the hotel. Our first dinner together was a quaint bar/restaurant in Marion, which oddly enough was the best dinner we had that weekend. After that we sat in the lobby at the hotel and made plans for the next day. 623 miles that day.
Friday, October 7th
Rajin Cajun, our North Carolina chapter leader, led the first ride going south beginning a desperate attempt to avoid the rain. That stinkin Hurricane! We had some dry patches where we were able to get our bikes leaned over and scrub off treads near the edge of the tire. We rode some famous roads, drove through a cool stone arch, saw great scenery, stopped a neat old country store, and enjoyed the day despite getting stuck behind a Wal-mart truck in the rain, not fun. Lunch was at an old quaint restaurant that had really good food and friendly service. Actually, most of the people down here have been very friendly and welcoming. It was common for folks to stop and ask where we are going, where we are from, and wishing us well in our journey. Our dinner stop was at a sports bar, but the food was ordinary and the service average, but we did find a fun ice cream shop, and that was a plus. Also, tonight with the rain coming back in earnest, we took a cab from the hotel to the restaurant. The cabs and their drivers were "interesting", being that they were old police cars and the drivers were old characters. It was part of the fun that was had down there with good friends, old and new. While I was at dinner I had to chat with "patwhereitsat" about he and his families recent encounters with injury, accidents, and illness. VA_SV also told me of his new adventures in his job. PatS was there from Ohio and his wife who is writing a book, all really good conversations that day. 167 miles that day.
Saturday October 8th
The day started with a strong mist/drizzle. With a hurricane off the coast we knew we were going to get rain, so the goal was to stay out of the yellow/red bands of the radar. We went through some fantastic roads, with decreasing radius turns with rock faces on one side and the cliff on the other. And the roads were wet and plastered with leaves. As rajin' cajun said, "it increases the pucker factor, when you go around corners like that with wet leaves on the road". But except for me having my bike fall over on a soft shoulder when I stopped to take a picture, we had no mishaps. We had a neat stop at an old fashioned gas station/general store and they sold everything from shirts to food to camouflage hunting gear. It was a cool store. Each stop was punctuated by checking the radar and determining our next route. Jcmathis and his wife were leading this day's ride and he would routinely lose us on the wet roads. He must have grit in his tires! We had lunch at a Ruby Tuesdays that jc was in earlier this year for a visit for college, talk about deja vu! We only saw a couple of dry patches that day and rain had resumed come evening. One riders daughter and friend joined us at the hotel to visit since they go to college close by. We had dinner at a nice hotel in Marion and the food was okay. The service was slow and they ran out of peanut butter chocolate cake. Who let's that happen, right!? We got back to the hotel that night and discussed when folk were leaving tomorrow and when we wanted to meet up for the Spring Rally at this location. (mark your calendars!) We shook hands, hugged, and wished each other well. 211 miles this day.
Sunday October 9th
I was up early around 6:00 am to eat breakfast and to be ready to roll by 7:00 am. After checking out of the hotel, I got on the silver sled and got started. After 2 hours I stopped in Staunton, VA for fuel and a snack. I rode on to Carlisle,PA for lunch and fuel, then east toward home. I stopped along the way to buy my wife and kids some chocolate. I was home around 3:00 pm and did I mention that all the rain was gone, yep, just my luck! 510 miles today. 1511 miles for the whole rally, it's time for some new tires!
Below is a lesson I shared on Friday and one I wanted to share on Saturday, but I didn't want to have folk standing out in the wind and rain to read it. It's about Joseph, son of Jacob.
His life account is in Genesis 29-50. In his family there was a history of two things, deception and favoritism. His great grandfather Abraham twice lied to different people that Sarah really wasn't his wife, but indeed she was. His grandfather Isaac and grandmother Rebekah both had their favorite children. Isaac liked Esau, and Rebekah preferred Jacob. Rebekah with Jacob conspired to have Esau trade away the his birthright as the firstborn child for a bowl of soup. Then Jacob dressed as his brother and deceived his almost blind father Isaac telling him that he was Esau, his brother. He then also received the blessing intended for Esau. Jacob then fled to his uncle's home in a far away land. There he was tricked into marrying the older daughter of his uncle, Leah, and not the one he wanted, Rachel. Within a few weeks he married them both, but preferred Rachel, again favoritism.
One thing God has a heart for is the poor, the down trodden, the least of these. He loves us all equally, but when one of his children gets a bad time, He begins to work in their life. So Leah, although she was unwanted, became pregnant first bearing Jacob a son. In that culture, a son was preferred and seen as a blessing. In fact, Leah had four sons until she had a patch of infertility. Rachel was beside herself with grief due to her barrenness and gave her servant Bilhah to bear children for her. Bilhah had two sons for Rachel and Jacob. Now Leah wasn't feeling as the favorite gave her servant Zilpah to Jacob to have children for her. She bore him two sons as well for Leah.
Within a few years Leah had two more sons and a daughter before Rachel had a single child. But God had mercy on Rachel and gave her two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Tragically, she died giving birth to Benjamin. And Joseph grew up being the favored son of his father Jacob. This of course aroused envy and jealousy in his brothers, but that's next lessons text.
In four places (Romans 2:11, Galatians 2:6, Ephesians 6:9, and Colossians 3:25) God is being described as having no favoritism. The passage that wraps our lesson comes from James 2:1-13 which says: Favoritism Forbidden
1 My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. 2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?
8 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right. 9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 11 For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.
12 Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
I found that this passage addresses how God wants us to treat everyone the same and His judgement awaits anyone who is not merciful. God has a heart for all people and so should we. But there is more to this story!
Now as we look at Joseph we see that he is the "oddball" of the family. He treats everyone equally and he rarely lies or deceives. In fact, this point is especially irritating to his brothers when he tells them of his dreams. He mentions how sheaves of grain bow down to him and the moon and stars bow to him also. His brothers are infuriated and fake his death, sell Joseph into slavery, and lie to their father about it. Joseph is taken to the captain of Pharaoh's guard, Potiphar. He sees that Joseph is a man of integrity and soon puts him in charge of everything in his whole house. Even though Potiphar's wife tries to seduce him, Joseph remains a man of truth. He refuses her advances, she lies about it and he gets sent to prison for it. But, God was with him and soon he was seen by prison officials as a man who is in God's favor. Now, he is in charge of the prison and everything is going well until dreams start occurring. Two of Pharaoh's officials displease him and are sent to prison. Each has a dream that Joseph is able to interpret. One official will be restored, the other executed. Now Joseph could have told both men happy endings, but he was a man that told the truth, even when it hurt. Joseph asked the official that would be restored to remember him when he came before Pharaoh, but he did not. Two years later, Pharaoh had dreams and Joseph was called up to interpret them. He did so with truth and wisdom. This so impressed Pharaoh that he promote Joseph to second in command of all of Egypt. He did very well in that role eventually reuniting with his family and being restored to his brothers, but that's another lesson. The Scripture for us today is Proverbs 2:1-11 which says:
1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2 turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding—
3 indeed, if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding,
4 and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
7 He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
8 for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
9 Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.
10 For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
11 Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
Here we see the Teacher in Proverbs admonish us to seek after wisdom, to store and accept His teachings, to cry out of understanding and insight. If we do this we will be happy and successful, right!?? Um no. But if we look and search for these things as a treasure hunter searches for silver and gold, then we will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Lofty and worthy treasures indeed! And having wisdom, discretion, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord will bring success to you. You will find favor with God by living a life of integrity and faithfulness. Let's look to Joseph's life and how he played such a pivotal part in his family and the nation of Israel. His life of integrity and faithfulness to God blessed and protected his family. And when that family left Egypt 400 years later, it had become a people and a nation. May we all live such lives for our God. I will try to post up my pictures here soon.