As mentioned in the last post, the 70-mile distance between Austin and Eureka was intimidating. Even if we’re cranking out 20 miles a day, it’s still a 3 ½ day journey for us without a guarantee of water or new food.
As we walked along, we ended up taking longer than we’d initially planned. What we thought would be a 4-day trip, maximum, was progressively turning into a 6 or 7-day trip, minimum. We knew we had enough water prepared, but our bigger concern was becoming our food supply. While we definitely had enough to survive for a few extra days, there are only so many peanut butter sandwiches and crackers you can eat before you want to avoid peanut butter for the rest of your life. Lindsie and I were starting to hit that point.
Then, to make matters worse, we started to notice that Lindsie’s right cart wheel was starting to look more and more bent out of shape. Like…looked like a cartoon after Daffy Duck runs his bike into a rock bent out of shape. We tried bending it back and forth with minimal success. In fact, I think I actually made it worse as a result of one bending attempt.
Needless to say, we were disheartened. We were running low on our food, we were still two days outside of Eureka, we had no cell phone reception, and we had wheels on Lindsie’s carts that looked like they were about to snap in half and leave us stranded in the desert forever. And it was getting hot.
As Lindsie and I looked at each other, we felt like we were running out of options. So, as usual, we left it up to God. We hugged each other and said a prayer that God would send somebody our way who could help. Whether it was a person with a truck who could drive us into town to get the tire looked at or just someone who knew a thing or two about bike tires, we didn’t care. We just needed help.
And of course, as He has every step of this journey, God answered our prayer.
While we were praying, we noticed an SUV driving by. We finished our prayer, looked around, and wondered what would happen next. About 15 seconds later, that SUV pulled up alongside the road. The driver looked out the window and asked if we needed help. We gave him a resounding “YES, please” and he got out to take a look.
Within seconds he told us the problem – our spokes were WAY too loose. As in, you could pluck them easier than guitar strings loose. He also noticed that our inner tubes for Lindsie’s tires weren’t working the way they should’ve been.
He introduced himself as Richard Smith and mentioned that he was on his way across the state so he and his family could go to church the next morning, run to Walmart, and see family. Rich said he’d grab us some better inner tubes at Walmart and asked if we needed anything else. We mentioned that some extra bread and peanut butter (we recognize that we were ready to give up on peanut butter forever a few minutes before that, but peanut butter doesn’t exactly go bad and it’s filling, whether we get tired of the taste or not). He said he’d get that no problem and would drop it off the next day after church.
Rich asked why we were walking and we told him it was to learn to rely on God and get ourselves out of our “normal” life routine. His short and immediate response was more inspiring and motivating than many sermons we’ve heard in our lives – “My family and I serve the Lord 150%. We’ll be back with that stuff for you as soon as we can be.”
As Rich drove away, Lindsie burst into tears of thankfulness and gratitude, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little choked up myself. Not even 3 minutes before they pulled up, we were both wondering if we’d even make it to Eureka with food in our stomachs and our carts still functional. Suddenly we had a solution for fixing our cart and knew fresh supplies were on the way in less than 24 hours.
And the most incredible thing is that God sent us this family of Road Angels DURING our prayer for help. Not a day later. Not several hours later. Not never. He sent us help IMMEDIATELY upon hearing our prayer.
I’m pretty sure people wouldn’t even believe it if I were writing a fictional story. I barely believe it myself. But the wonders God works can often be too crazy to believe, even when they happen to us.
We stopped on the side of the road, said a prayer of thanks and gratitude, and tightened our spokes. Needless to say, that fixed our problem almost 100%. After taking our afternoon rest, we were able to continue on down the road and keep making progress toward Eureka.
On an interesting side note, Lindsie’s mom’s cousin Nancy, who had recently met up with us in Cold Springs Station with her daughter Deanna, has another daughter, Autumn, who is currently in Nevada herself. Although she lives in Alaska and is part of the fire crews there, Autumn was down here in Nevada fighting some of the summer fires that pop up in this incredibly dry desert.
Autumn met up with us on the road and walked with us for almost two days, heavy backpack and all. It was fun for Lindsie to catch up with her (they hadn’t seen each other since Lindsie was a 3rd grader) and it was great to meet her myself. She spent one night camping with us, which brings us back around to Rich and his family.
Around 10:00 that night, Rich pulled up and dropped off our bike tubes, the requested bread and peanut butter, and much, much more. He and his incredible family—wife RaeAnn and daughters Anastasia and Chloe—also dropped off two gallons of extra water, two bottles of sunscreen (on our list of things to buy in Eureka), a first aid kit, some bags of M&Ms, chapstick, and then the motherlode – 5 freshly cooked and still warm steaks, a bag of ribs, 3 ears of corn on the cob, and an entire bag full of rolls.
We had a feast on our hands at 10:00 p.m. in the middle of the Nevada desert, and Lindsie didn’t hesitate to dive into the steak right then and there, with only her hands for silverware. Ironically enough, Lindsie had just been telling me and Autumn that she really wanted steak and potatoes when we got to Eureka, and, as if God wanted to add a cherry on top of this perfect ice cream sundae, we were given delicious steaks without even asking for them. Talk about a true blessing in every sense of the word.
Rich told us to keep in touch as we got into Eureka so we could connect with them there, and we thanked him as much as we could (which, in our opinion, still wasn’t enough).
The next morning, Autumn walked a half day with us and then headed back to Reno to get back to work. We said farewell to her and continued on to Eureka. That night, the Smiths drove BACK out to drop off some ice water. The reason they made the 30 mile journey to drop off ice water? “We were just sitting on the couch watching TV and thought you guys might want something cold to drink.” Talk about an amazing family.
We made it to Eureka soon after, and the Smiths (and their close, close friends the Moons – Arron, Vicky, and their kids Arron Jr., Jocelyn, Julianna, and Jenavieve) have essentially adopted us. We’ve had a number of delicious homemade breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and we’ve been able to do laundry, clean ourselves up, and—far and away the most important thing—had amazing, spirit-driven conversations about our faith and beliefs.
Everything these two families do is driven and inspired by the Lord, and it is a blessing we can’t even begin to describe. Lindsie and I were afraid we’d feel empty and drained crossing the barren desert, and instead we’ve spent several days in Eureka getting as spiritually and emotionally filled as we have in any other place we’ve visited on this journey.
By the time this post goes live, we’ll already be down the road toward Ely, but we just wanted to share with everyone how incredible the Lord can be when you need provision.
Similarly, Paul writes to the Philippians in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” Later, Paul writes in verse 19, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.”
I’m not sure how many more verses could be more applicable to this situation. I’d imagine there are dozens of similar verses (and if you know of any, please add them to the comments on this post or mention them on the Facebook page so we can mark them in our Bibles), but my point is that God tells us CONSTANTLY throughout the Bible that all we need to do is ask for His help and He will provide. We mentioned that in this post about answered prayers back in California, and there have already been several other times on this journey where God has answered our prayers – as soon as we remembered to ask.
That’s what I’d encourage you to do after reading this post. Take a look at the things you do in your everyday life that worry you, wear you out, or take away from your time with the Lord, and just ask God to lift those burdens. Whether He answers your prayer in seconds like He did with us through the Smith family or He answers it weeks later, God WANTS to help those who trust in Him and ask for His help. It says so right there in the Bible. Want proof?
In the book of James (which has been one of my favorite books to read throughout this cross-country journey…take a look for yourself and you’ll see why within the first three verses), James writes in verse 5, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” And, like I said, there are TONS of verses that back this up completely.
Anyway, this post is getting long, but it’s hard to keep things short when God is relentlessly working miracles in your life.
We are so thankful for the Smith family and the Moon family. Like I said, the conversations have been spiritually filling, the food has been physically feeling, and the sense of peace Lindsie and I have felt in Eureka has been as emotionally filling as any place we’ve been so far. We feel so blessed to be here, and so blessed that we could share yet another incredible story from this journey.
Thanks for reading, as usual. Feel free to leave a comment of support here on the blog, over on the Facebook page, or via email. And, as always, please let us know if you have prayer requests. We have plenty of time for prayer on this walk.
We won’t have internet access for a few days on the road to Ely, so we’ll be back with another update as soon as we’re able.
-Mike and Lindsie