Saturday, March 23, 2024



I’ve changed the name of this blog, based on the Scripture verse from Daniel displayed in the photograph above. The picture is from a GREAT EXPLOIT of my own, one inspired by the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Tales of exploration have always fascinated me, be it on or under the sea, on land, or in the sky, or beyond. But none have grabbed my attention or inspired me as much as the journey of the Corps of Discovery “to travel from St. Louis to the Western Sea.” I may never travel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea like Captain Nemo, or “Boldly go where no man has gone before,” like the Starship Enterprise, but the trail left behind by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark is more than just doable; it is something that I can touch, feel, and experience for myself. It is something I can DO, and, in fact, have already started doing.

The journey of Lewis and Clark interested me long before the Bicentennial happened in 2003 to 2005. Two events sharpened my interest several years before the nation commemorated the expedition. The first was the establishment of the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, and the corresponding Lewis and Clark Bicycle Trail. I first became a member of Adventure Cycling, a nonprofit group that promotes bicycle travel, while preparing for B.I.K.E.Russia, the mountain biking missions trip that I would co-lead across northwestern Russia in 1997. When Adventure Cycling announced the establishment and mapping of the Lewis and Clark Bicycle Trail, with its completion timed to coincide with the Bicentennial, I knew that it was something I wanted to do right from the start.

Two books, one based in part on the other, also played an incredibly significant part in my decision. I discovered “Ride the River,” by Pastor Larry Christenson at a conference in 2003. Pastor Larry’s book is based on “Undaunted Courage,” by Stephen Ambrose. Both books would play a significant role in my life, but “Ride the River” would change it. Eventually, I would come to own every available copy of the book when it went out of print. I consider it the ultimate devotional for the adventurous Christian. Those two books started a collection that continues to grow even today. I have two shelves in a bookcase in my study devoted to Lewis and Clark, and they are almost full. I have no doubt that they will fill up soon.

To “Ride the River” from “St. Louis to the Western Sea” has become my single greatest “bucket list” item. I’ve already started. I have ridden my bicycle, Discovery II, from St. Louis to Augusta, Missouri, and from Yankton to Pierre, South Dakota. Already I’ve met some fascinating people on the Trail and connected with it. That’s why I’ve also changed the title of the narrative that I’m writing, to “Great Exploits: The Travels of the Two-Wheeled Explorer on the Trail of Lewis and Clark.”

This has been a very peculiar winter in central Minnesota where I live. With the exception of a few inches here and there, it has been a largely snowless winter, whereas last year we had more than double our average snowfall. (I believe that’s how averages are formed.) It has been warm enough that I’ve actually ridden Discovery II in shorts, and yet, when snowshoeing for the first time this year only yesterday. I’m getting ready for the Lewis and Clark Historic Trail Foundation 5K that I have participated in for the past few years. This year, it won’t be my first ride of the year.

Technically, the Lewis and Clark Trail now stretches from Washington DC, through the Cumberland Gap in Maryland, to Pittsburgh, and then down the Ohio River to its confluence with the Mississippi, before proceeding up the Missouri on the way to the Pacific. Wherever my travels take me, I have a River to ride. It’s going to be a Great Exploit and I invite you to come along.