September Journey Day 1

I appreciate those who responded to my request for prayers yesterday. They are what got me through a challenging day.
Mom and Dad dropped me and my bicycle off at the Iowa State Capitol building, then continued to Bloomington, Illinois. I wandered around the Capitol grounds while waiting for people to arrive for the StopETP event, and saw for the first time the Holocaust Memorial, which included a panel of Michael Luick-Thrams’ writing describing how Iowa Quakers provided refuge for people fleeing Europe during WWII.

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Eventually a small group gathered for our delivery of a petition for the removal of Richard W. Lozier, Jr. from the Iowa Utilities Board, because of his close ties to the fossil fuel industry. Patricia was there from Des Moines Valley Friends Meeting, and people from Bold Iowa and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. We were politely heard out in the Governor’s office and the petition accepted.

Christine Nobiss from Indigenous Iowa arrived a little late, but live streamed comments from outside the Governor’s office. Christine spoke to us at Iowa Yearly Meeting (Conservative) this summer about building bridges between Quakers and indigenous people.

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Then I began the 40-mile bicycle trip to Bear Creek meeting that I was concerned about. I had been riding close to 20 miles almost every other day on a bike trail going North from Indianola, but it is all downhill, then uphill on the way back. And I usually wasn’t that tired at the end, so I was hopeful that, if the trip to Bear Creek was pretty flat, and since I had plenty of time, I wouldn’t have much trouble.
Some of the stress was that I had never ridden on these trails before, so I was hoping I’d be able to find my way, and that the trails were mostly flat. Thank goodness for Google Maps. After having to share the road (with bike paths) through downtown Des Moines, the trails left traffic behind at Greys Lake, going along the Des Moines River. It was amazing to ride through mile after mile of beautiful woods. You would barely know you were riding through the middle of a city. At 62nd street the trail came up to street level, right where a McDonalds was located, so I had lunch there.
I was looking forward to reaching the Racoon River Valley Trail, both because that would indicate I was well along the way, and the route was straight, so I wouldn’t have to be worrying about whether I was still on the right path or not. As my friend and former co-worker Kristin suggested yesterday, I did reach the point along the trail when like as with running you feel you can go for miles and miles effortlessly.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last for the entire trip. Where things got really difficult was when I left the paved bicycle trail to go south on H, a gravel road. I soon came upon a huge hill that went up and up. I had already learned it was better to just walk the bike on hills like that. I wondered how many more there would be, but knew I only had about 6 miles to go. Eventually I reached Bear Creek Road after a few more, smaller hills, which I recognized from years ago when I used to run that direction from the meetinghouse.
It was about 6 pm when I arrived. I was really glad to find that Jackie Leckband, the meeting’s clerk, had left some granola bars and Powerade, that quickly disappeared. Jackie had previously indicated she could pick me up in her pickup truck if needed.
We had left a sleeping bag and some food at the meetinghouse last weekend, so I started to heat up supper, when Jackie arrived with some more food, which was really thoughtful. So we had dinner together. It wasn’t long after that I climbed into the loft of the cottage on the meetinghouse grounds and went to bed, thankful for the prayers and that I made it here.

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