Posted by: rustymccain | July 7, 2011

Ordinary to Extraordinary!

Just when it seems we are going to have an ordinary day, something extraordinary seems to happen! Today, there was no outrunning the rain. It was raining when we woke up. I checked the radar and if things moved as it looked, we were going to have a window for riding at midday. So, we rested, ate breakfast and slowly prepared to leave. At 9:00, it looked like our window was about to open, so we hit the wet roads. The rain had stopped and the roads were drying, so things started looking good. It was not hot, but it seemed to be about 101% humidity, so we were sweating pretty quickly.

Kansas Wildflowers

Along the way we saw some pretty wildflowers and then some lovely rolling countryside. We ran into the girls along the route at about 14 miles. They had a little mechanical problem that they quickly resolved, then Ray and I took off again. We stopped in the little town of Walnut for a snack, then hit the road for our next stop in the town of Girard. Just another fun day in the saddle. Kind of an ordinary day.

Just Thought I'd Say Hay

Then the extraordinary happened! I happened to notice a small church with a beautiful steeple some two miles in the distance. I made note of it and mentioned how pretty it was to Ray. He agreed. When we got within about a mile of the church, we saw a car headed toward us. It slowed to a stop and a man got out and walked over toward our lane. We didn’t know what was happening, but slowed to a stop to see what he needed. He explained that the church was having lunch, as they do every Thursday and that they encourage everyone, but especially cyclists, to stop in and eat with them. We thanked him for the information and he wished us a good day.

Immanuel Lutheran Church

Though we had just stopped for a snack. I told Ray we couldn’t miss this. We pulled into the church and I stuck my head in the door and asked if this was where the food was. I was told I had the right place and to come on in. Ray and I walked in the door and it was as if the Prodigal Son(s) had returned. Everyone welcomed us to the church. We were a little late and they were toward the end of the mealtime, but the ladies in the kitchen made sure they got us a good meal. And it was good! We sat down and talked with the locals and made some more good friends. It seems that today was a big day for them as they served over 80 people. We talked to a bunch of them and everyone there was so nice to us. We had conversations with young kids all the way up to some very nice seniors. Included at our table were two World War II veterans, one who was celebrating his 86th birthday today and another who was 90 years old. He danced a little jig just to show us what a 90-year-old could do. It was a priceless sight.

Even More New Friends

The church lunch will be one of the highlights of the trip for me. These were normal, hard-working people who, every Thursday, take the time to stop and eat a meal together and ask sojourners to join them, welcoming them like family. It does not restore my faith in people because on this trip, I have never lost it. But it is a major re-enforcement of that faith.

To Kim and all the folks at Immanuel Lutheran Church near Girard, KS, I want to say thank you for taking one of your ordinary Thursdays and making it an extraordinary day for two guys riding their bikes across this great country. You are a big part of what makes it great.

We have now landed in Pittsburg, KS for the night. Interestingly, we will only go through 9 states on our ride. Tomorrow, we leave our 5th state, so 4 more to go. We have our 7th Century (100 mile or more ride) of the trip planned for tomorrow, then we have a rest day in Marshfield, MO. I will have some thoughts to share on our rest day for those who might be interested. Again, thanks to all for all the good thoughts sent our way. You have gotten us over 2,200 miles so far!


  1. Thanks for sharing Rusty. You are reminding those of us reading what kind and generous people make up this great country. Ride strong tomorrow!!

    • Always look forward to your adventures before bedtime. Church people are great cooks. Thanks for that special July 7th post. Rita
      Dexter, Mi. 9:45 p.m. Stay safe.

  2. Another great day! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Rusty and Ray.
    CS Lewis calls those moments “drippings of grace.” We hope you get dripped on a whole lot more.
    Phil, Dave, and Pete

  4. Rusty, we’ve all decided that when you get to Va Beach that you two need to turn around and keep on riding…maybe Maine to Miami.

    Truely enjoying your journey.


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