Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 4 - Gila Bend

Here we are at the end of day 4 and it's been quite a ride already. We're in beautiful Gila Bend, AZ which is about 75 miles south of Phoenix. Let me see if I can catch you up on what we've experienced so far....

Yesterday we started the morning in Brawley, CA. Pastor Jim and his wonderful wife Joy hosted the team and we had a great night. Joy sent us off in the morning and we hit the road for Yuma. Almost immediately into the the ride to Yuma my front derailleur stopped working and I lost the ability to shift into any of my lower gears. I rigged it with the help of Bruce Ford and a nice guy at the Shell station who let us borrow his pliers. With my short term fix in place we were off towards Yuma. We merged onto Highway 8 and started making some headway. Fortunately there weren't any hills so my lack of gears wasn't as critical as it could have been. Had that occured on Monday we might have been in trouble.

Pretty much uneventful till we got a few miles outside of the AZ state line - the California Highway Patrol paid us a visit and informed us it's illegal to ride on Route 8 if there are other options. What he didn't say was that the other option was last repaved in 1946. It was the absolute worst road I've ever been on. It shook us and our bikes for what seemed like an hour or so (although I don't think it really was that long). We made it though and as soon as we passed into AZ we got back on 8 for a smoother ride. Onward to Yuma!

Yuma couldn't come quick enough - it was getting very hot and we were tired. We rolled into Foothills Baptist Church around 3pm and met up with our hosts Pastor James Doyle and Don Kelso (a deacon at the church). What a great bunch of folks! Don took me to his house and I was able to get cleaned up. Each of the other guys had a host family as well. It's really cool to see churches coming together to support us. What a privilege. After I got cleaned up and changed Don and I were off to the local bike shop to get my derailleur fixed. We found ourselves at Mr. B's Bicycles and Fitness in Yuma and Dan Hopkins took me in right away and made quick work of fixing my broken parts. All for $15 nonetheless - what a guy! He finished the job and stated, "Next time buy a Trek....much better bike....". I think Don had a lot of fun watching Dan work on the bike. We both thought Dan was a pretty interesting guy. I'm sure glad he was able to take care of me. We had a mountain climb coming on Thursday and I was going to need the extra gears.

Wednesday night at Foothills Baptist is dinner and Bible study so we were able to join the folks at Foothills for both. Very cool. The men cooked a great dinner and Bruce and I went back for seconds! After that, Pastor James taught about prayer using the Lord's Prayer as a model (you know....Our Father who art in heaven.....). It was cool - he used a lot of video in his lesson and I thought that was a nice touch. The folks at Foothills were really welcoming and it was a pleasure to spend the evening with them. I was especially impressed with their Youth Program - it was youth night and there were kids everywhere!

As I mentioned, Don hosted me at his home and it was great to get to know him. He sells magnetic in-soles so if you're ever in Yuma and your nerve endings are bugging you - look him up. In the morning Don took me back to Foothills so we could start up again - he gave me a protein shake and a set of magnetic in-soles of my own. I am grateful for new friends.

6:33am and we're on the road from Yuma to Gila Bend. We were climbing through the Signal Hill Pass less than 5 miles into the ride and our legs weren't even warmed up! It was a much easier climb than Monday so you weren't going to hear any complaints from our group. Chris Shulze and a photographer/journalist from the Navy (MC1 Adrian) joined us for this leg of the ride. We're always grateful to have Chris along. He's a tough Navy guy and he's always funny. Chris is good people. MC1 Adrian was going to document the day and take photos. It was kinda neat to see him along the highway and at various overpasses snapping photos - we all felt like we had paparazzi! Ha!

After 105 miles and some pretty high temps we rolled into Gila Bend with some sore muscles and big appetites. We got cleaned up and headed over to the finest Italian restaurant in all of Gila Bend - it was yummy.

So here we are - calling it a night from GB, Arizona. We'll saddle up in the morning and head down to Eloy, AZ for our final ride of the week. It should be about 75 miles. I'm actually excited to get back on the road (but my butt isn't).

Dont forget to check out the assorted photos from the past few days on-line. You'll find them in the following places:

- Pedal for Haiti (Facebook and Twitter)
- Phxokie - (Monty's Twitter Account)
- Monty's Blog - (

We appreciate you! Thanks for your kind words, comments and prayers - it means the world to us!

Keep spreading the word and we'll keep pedaling!

See you down the road!

James 2:26

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day Two - Complete!

Oh my! It's been quite a journey and we're only two days into it. Where to begin.......

If you haven't read Monty's blog, I would highly recommend you check it out - I'm sure we'll each have different perspectives and stories to tell. Let's see.......

It all started innocently enough back in Del Mar, California on Monday morning. From there we pedaled and pedaled and pedaled some more. About 10 hours of pedaling to be exact. It was a long, hard day. We went from sea level to approximately 4300 feet but not before we ran into quite a few cool things along the way. What a trip.

I found 4 snakes - all dead unfortunately, but 2 of the 4 were Southern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus helleri) - a species I've never seen in person before. I took a picture (it's a little gross though). I also found a nice looking garter and what I think was a juvenile pine snake.

Those were the reptile finds of the day - add to that a couple of fox, camels, wild turkeys and even deer and you've got quite the menagerie of critters.

The day ended in Julian, CA and we were all happy to arrive safely. Becca Matlock and Susan Gibson have gone above and beyond to make sure we're cared for along the way and they have been fantastic. We are very grateful for their sacrifice. Who wants to follow three sweaty guys for 80 miles a day? We're gross....

The scenery has been beautiful and the people we've met along the way have been great. We met a woman and her friend at Subway who took our names and said she and her ladies Bible study would pray for us - how cool is that! We've met a few bikers also (they thought we were crazy too).

After a restful sleep in Julian we coasted 15-20 miles down from 4300 to -113 ft above sea level and then we pedaled another 50 miles or so (for a total of 73) and found ourselves just south of the Sultan Sea in Brawley, CA. It's a good place to be!

We've had the pleasure of spending time with Pastor Tucker and his wife Joy and it's been fantastic! They are passionate about Haiti and we spent the night trading Haiti memories and learning about the many different ministries serving the island. We were also able to spend time with Ryan and Nicki who are involved in serving Haiti and have done some great things. What a great way to spend an evening. The food was awesome, the fellowship was fantastic and the stories were inspiring. Good people!

Tomorrow starts day 3 - We'll cross into Arizona and spend the evening in Yuma. I imagine it'll be hot, I'll even guess that it's gonna be windy - but that's all ok. 75 miles from now - we'll be ready to go again.

Don't forget why we ride. The children in Concrab win in the end. We're close to sponsoring our first 10 kids - consider helping us hit that milestone. Every dollar counts toward the ultimate goal of $36k. Give if you can, spread the word if you can - definitely say a prayer or two but most importantly, pray for Haiti.

Thanks for all the kind words and encouragement on Facebook and Twitter - keep it coming! We love to hear from you.

Also, my laptop is in the shop getting a new screen (thank you friends in Store Ops!) and I'll have it back this weekend. In the meantime I can't update the website so be sure to be checking Monty's blog, this blog, FB and Twitter for on-going updates.

Monty on Twitter: phxokie
Dave on FB and Twitter: pedal for haiti

See you down the road!

James 2:26

Monday, September 20, 2010

Pedal for Haiti Site Updated

We've updated the site to include the first 15 students who'll have an opportunity (or continued opportunity) in New Missions schools. For some of these children it will be there first opportunity to attend a school and receive medical care as well as a guaranteed meal each day. For others it means an opportunity to stay in school when no previous chance existed.

Thanks for joining Monty and I in this mission! Seeing the children's faces and reading about them makes it so much more real. The next big step will be getting out there to see them!

Thanks for sharing in our mission! We appreciate you.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Almost on the road..........

Ok friends.....we are exactly one week out of the big ride. We're going to leave from Del Mar, California next Monday, September 27 and head east until we hit the Atlantic Ocean! As I've noted on the site we've slightly shifted our focus from building a building to filling a building. Let me explain what I mean by that. Originally, it was the goal of Pedal for Haiti to re-build a New Missions School on the Leogane Plain in Haiti. After discussing this goal with our friends at New Missions we determined that it would be easier to measure and much more tangible to focus on sending children to school. We loved the idea and New Missions had a school in mind that we could serve. Where you ask? Concrab. Concrab is a small oceanside village just a short walk from the New Missions compound. It's poverty and need isn't much different from the other 21 schools New Missions runs there on the Leogane Plain. As a matter of fact we had the privilege of visiting Concrab during our October 2009 trip to Haiti. Check out the pictures of the school/church on

The girls in the photo at the top of this post were kind enough to pose for pics while we visited. They have the New Missions yellow and white gingham uniforms on. It's amazing how that pattern effects me now. If I see it anywhere it takes me to Haiti and reminds me of the children.

So, we are going to focus on filling the church/school at Concrab. We would like to see 100 children sponsored as a result of the ride and this is where you come in. Through your giving we can make this happen. Each $360 increment is one more child in the Concrab school. We're already approaching 10 children thanks to your generosity. Remember, you don't have to give $360 - you can give $5 or $10 or $100 - whatever works for you. When you do - you change the life of a child forever. In Haiti, going to school is a big, big deal. If you can go to school, you might be able to redirect your family tree. Going to school is a privilege and children and adults alike know the value. I've sat with mothers who've told me that their one wish is to get their children in school. That they'd give anything to see their children in school. Why you ask? Well there are many reasons - here are a few. Children in New Missions school have opportunity - opportunity for a better life. In a New Missions school they receive a meal a day, they are given special gifts for the holidays and most importantly they are taught biblical life changing truths. Combine all that with medical care and you can begin to see why it's so critical for these children to be part of a New Missions school.

Poverty of education is a terrible reality in Haiti. Its just one of many forms of poverty that grips this nation. Pastor George DeTellis set out 27 years ago to make a change and we can honor his dream - we can be a part of his legacy. New Missions has an opportunity to change the path of an entire country through the development of strong Christian leaders. Those of you who have spent time with New Missions kids or even better New Missions graduates know that this dream is entirely possible. Each child educated, nurtured and loved through the New Missions schools represents another opportunity to change Haiti forever. Through our ride you and I may be part of sponsoring a future lawyer, doctor or government official each capable of leading change in a nation so desperately in need of a brighter tomorrow. We love these kids! We believe in these kids! Help us help them make a change.

We truly love Haiti and it's people. We beleive in Haiti. One child at a time, Haiti is moving into a brighter future. Help us to help those in need. The least of these.

7 days to go! More to come.......