Sunday, July 17, 2016

Finding a Balance

Peddling a bike requires a good sense of balance if you're going to move forward.  

Life is like that, too.  We struggle for stability as we juggle our family commitments, work, and all the other activities that give our lives meaning and purpose.  Rest is often our last priority.  Yet, rest is vital to recharge our souls. 

Full-time RVers have told us that one of the paradoxes of life on the road is how people neglect time to relax.  Just because we're on a perpetual vacation doesn't mean we need to cram all the sightseeing we can into our stay at a particular location.  Ha!  No doubt you're thinking, "Gee, I wish I had this problem!"  Granted, it's not a big issue, but Tim and I are still trying to find a good balance. 

During our first six months of living in our RV, we've spent 10 weeks working on Habitat for Humanity construction sites, 10 weeks seeing the sights, four weeks harvesting wheat on my family's farm, and two weeks hanging out while mechanics gave the Dawntreader some much needed attention.  Stated another way, we've spent 54% of our time working, 38% playing and 8% (ugh!) at the repair shop.

The start of this week in the Black Hills was a flurry of fun as we visited one sight after another.  However, we've slowed down these past two days, partly out of necessity (the laundry needed to be done) and partly out of choice (we needed a breather).

So yesterday we slept in before starting the laundry.  Tim did some maintenance chores while I wrote blog posts which I'll publish once we find an Internet connection.  (Starbucks, where are you?)

By noon we'd regained enough energy to take our bikes to the Rochford Trailhead to ride a different, more isolated section of the George S. Mickelson Bike Trail than the one we'd navigated on Monday.  Rochford, SD is an unincorporated community hidden in the center of the Black Hills.  There's not much to the town but the volunteer fire station.  It doubles as a good landmark for finding the trailhead.  

Climbing aboard our bikes, we peddled up a gradual incline north towards the town of  Deadwood, following the route once taken by the Burlington Northern Railroad.  

The trail ran beside the south fork of Rapid Creek. 

It's a lovely stream that flows southeast into the Pactola Reservoir 32 miles away.  

A railroad tunnel lends itself to a good photo op as well as some trepidation.  It's a little scary to point your wheels into utter darkness and hope you will emerge safely on the other side.  

But there was light at the end of the tunnel. I conquered my fear and boldly peddled through the passage not once but twice.

On the return trip, we zipped down the hillside, passing the trailhead where our car was parked to search for the Mystic Falls I'd seen on the drive to Rochford.  Water rushed down three tiers of rocks, creating a symphony of sound that soothed our weary souls. 

In fact, my muscles were so spent, I made Tim cycle back alone to fetch the car. 

This is actually a poster in the Crazy Horse Monument visitors' center.

Later that evening, we drove to the Crazy Horse Monument to view a laser light show displayed against the hillside.  

Again from a visitor's center poster, this diagram shows what the carving will look like when it is completed. 

In 1939, Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear sent a request to a young sculptor who had won recognition at the 1939 World's Fair, asking him to carve a likeness of Crazy Horse on a mountain in the Black Hills to show that Native Americas, too, have noteworthy heroes.  

Korcazk and Ruth Ziolkowski

The sculptor, Korcazk Ziolkowski (pronounced "Core-chalk Jewel-cuff-ski"), made this monumental task his life's work.  Some would say it was his obsession.  

He dynamited, jack  hammered and chiseled the mountain with very little funding or help.  

The sheer size of his undertaking is breathtaking.  The four figures of Mount Rushmore would easily fit within the area of Crazy Horse's carved head. Korsazk died in 1982, but his wife and children continued his work, making no predictions of when it will be completed.  

This model shows what the final craving will be.

Looking at what remains to be done, I doubt it will be finished in my lifetime.

Today we hiked seven miles along the 23-mile long Deerfield Trail.  We began at the trailhead in Silver City which bypassed the steep elevation of the trail leading up from Highway 385.  The trail crossed the Slate Creek numerous times, giving us picture-perfect vistas to enjoy.  Along the way, we took turns praying for our children, our families, friends in need and our church.

As I've rested these past two days, I've thought about the balance Christ demonstrated in His short time on earth.  Luke 2:52 states, "And Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man."

Wisdom is not only knowing facts, but using them in a way that helps others.  Stature stands for the physical health I've been given and should try to maintain.  Favor with God is something I can't earn--Christ's death on the cross paid my debt.  And, I'm to love those around me; that's what finding favor with man means to me. 

Life is a balancing act, isn't it?


  1. Love following how you and Tim are living out your lives together. We can't wait to do the same (although the only bikes on our trips would probably be Harleys-don't think we could still bike like you two do!). Thanks for sharing your journeys!

    1. A Harley would be a great way to see the USA! We'll have to meet up with you two once you are on the road. Keep us informed of your plans!