The following is a reflection from a participant in SEA-TRI-KAN, a cross-state bike tour that is raising support for newly arrived families as they look for employment and begin a new life.
Day 3, June 19, 2015
Yakima to Tri-Cities: 83 miles & 1,150 feet elevation gain
by Shawna Williams
According to the creation story in the book of Genesis, on the third day God created dry land. After riding 83-ish miles through the rolling hills of wine country into the desert-like plains of the Tri-Cities, I feel as though I have become intimately acquainted with “dry-land” and my ears/nostrils have had their fill. When I woke up this morning I was clean, and now I am acutely aware of the layer of dust and grime coating my entire body. But these are merely inconveniences. This morning as we rode, we got to see the sun streaming through acres of cherry trees, giant vines of hops, apricots nearly ripe and rows upon rows of corn stalks. The next miles were staggered with vineyards and dirt mounds, somehow co-existing in dusty harmony as nearby creeks struggled to quench the earth. This land, to put it simply, is the Wild West as I’ve always imagined it. The kind of place Steinbeck would wax poetic about. The pre (or post) garden of Eden. It is beautiful and flourishing and harsh all at the same time. I thought of the peaks and valleys, dry spots and oases in the lives of our refugee friends. The struggles they have faced and yet the moments of beauty and hope that they cling to. It is my hope that Sea-Tri-Kan will provide a road to empowerment for many. The three H’s aside (Hills, Hunger and Heat), today was a beautiful roll.
As the OFFICIAL RIDE MECHANIC (not my word choice), I feel that it is important to note that today we had a record number of flat tires (3), (1) squeaky bottom bracket, (1) loose headset, (1) pedal adjustment and (1) saddle adjustment. It should be noted that only three (3) of these things were addressed by me. We have a very competent team here (despite two of our members falling off of their bikes while sedentary). Tomorrow we will celebrate World Refugee Day by riding 100 miles to the town of Endicott. Your thoughts, prayers and hopes of cloud cover are welcome, but I encourage you to focus your blessings on a refugee you know. They are the true heroes of this ride.