When my truck broke down it was frustrating, inconvenient and the thought of expensive repair bills kept running through my mind.
As mentioned in my last post, I had towed my truck to two different shops, and neither could figure out the issue. Then I took it to the local Ford dealership where it was for over 40 days!
Still, I was able to get around on my bike and handle the necessary errands everyday life brings. Over the past 3 weeks I was able to use a loaner truck the dealership provided but still found myself using my bike except for those times when it wouldn’t be safe because of what I was purchasing, specifically dog food and bottled water.
Then, last Friday I got a call from the dealer, he told me they had identified the problem, completed the repairs and I could pick it up that afternoon. I asked him what the issue was, and he said he would explain it all to me when I picked it up.
When I arrived at the dealership I waited while my service technician assisted other customers. Looking out on the near empty car lot shocked by the lack of vehicles available. There was not a pickup truck to be found! I read that there is a shortage of computer chips necessary to build the sophisticated cars of today and it was impacting dealerships across the country.
Then, he waived me up to his counter. I said to him “it’s been a long time; I’m really interested in learning what the problem was”. He printed off several pages of parts and labor that were needed to get my truck repaired and I remember thinking, this is going to be expensive!
After he pulled up several photos on his computer, he showed me what the problem was, a broken valve spring intake valve to cylinder 8. Not being a mechanic, it didn’t mean anything to me but a large repair bill! He continued explaining the problem to me in as simple terms as he could and going over the many steps they took to identify the problem and make the necessary repairs.
Then the moment of truth! I asked him what the damage was, and he told me that he was able to work with Ford to get it covered under warranty and my total bill was $100.00 for the deductible. WOW! What a huge relief!
We chatted a bit more, I thanked him, and he thanked me for my patience during the ordeal. We shook hands and he handed me my keys. Getting back in my truck felt wonderful!
Looking back over this event, I couldn’t help but feel that it happened when it did for a reason. By this time, I had planned on being in remote areas of Idaho with Ace, exploring, camping and enjoying this beautiful state. But, with Ace’s current health issues, I haven’t been able to get to those places as I had hoped . What if I had been able to get out and explore on my timetable? I may very well have been stranded in an area without cell phone service or near anyone that could have helped me. Not to mention, the costs of getting assistance in the rugged terrain!
I’m not going to say I’m glad this happened, that would be silly. But it has opened my eyes to what is possible when we don’t try too hard to figure out the events in our lives and why they happen when they do. When things don’t seem to be working out as we expect or on our timetable, trust that God has the perfect timetable for the events in our lives.
The gentleman in the photo is Billy. Over the Labor Day holiday in 2017 while riding through Kentucky, I had the pleasure of meeting this incredible soul. I was at a state park and had just got my tent set up and was getting my bike secured. I heard something on the path and then realized it was another cyclist. But this cyclist was different from others I had met on my journey. He rolled up on an old 10 speed bike with a bike trailer in tow. He wasn't a bicycle tourist but his bike was his home. We were the only 2 people in the area and when I approached him and introduced myself, I had no idea how impactful Billy would be on my life.
We sat on a step and started talking about our respective lives. I told him what I was doing...riding my bike across the country in memory of my brother. He told me how awesome that was and asked where I started from and how long I had been on the road. After sharing my story with him, I asked Billy what his story was and I wasn't prepared for what he shared with me. Billy told me that he was a Kentucky native, an Army Veteran and homeless. He had everything he owned in the small trailer attached to his bike. As the conversation continued (which was for hours into the early morning) he reached into a backpack and pulled out two plastic bags containing spaghetti. He generously offered me one which I thanked him for but told him I was fine. He had got the meals from a restaurant several miles away that he had stopped at and swept the kitchen in exchange for the meals. Here he is offering one to me! What a kind and amazing spirit Billy had. We stayed up talking for hours, he told me about his military service and how he had been homeless for many years, cycling around Kentucky, Sleeping where he could doing odd jobs, playing his banjo and singing for food and money.
What happened next touched me so profoundly, He said to me, "Dan I want to give you something". I again told him that wasn't necessary. He stood up, walked to his bike trailer and took out a banjo he had wrapped in blankets. He then leaned against the wall and said "I don't have much but I want to give you this". He then started playing his banjo and sang this beautiful Willie Nelson song.
That was absolutely beautiful and I remember Billy again saying "It's not much but it's all I have". I thanked him, we gave each other a hug and talked a bit more.
Billy is but one of many people I met that touched me and changed my life. When I started my ride, I had no idea what I was doing, didn't have the special bike, clothes or equipment. Still, I decided to do it and I'm so grateful I did. Without having made the decision, I would never have had the joy of meeting Billy and so many other amazing people across the United States. Life isn't always easy...but it is always good.
It's interesting how our lives change, often in ways we couldn't have imagined only a few years ago. In 2019 I became a grandfather for the first time! What an incredible blessing!!! My granddaughter Paisley is such a doll ( I know, I know ALL grandparents say that!) and her smile lights up the room.
In addition to being a new father, my son Nick has been in Alaska serving our country in the Air Force. In just a couple days he will be deploying to the middle east. He has grown into an amazing young man! Seeing him hold his daughter for the first time warmed my heart! "How time flies" is something we hear a lot...it's so true! Don't miss seeing your children grow up and be part of it!
"The Best Gift We Can Give Our Children Is Our Time"
A dear friend who lives in another state and I have a phone call once a month or so. These calls often last two hours or more! We talk about our families our health, personal challenges, victories, faith and so much more...seldom politics. He has taught me so much as he continues his battle with cancer. His unwavering faith, determination and positive outlook are and always have been such an inspiration to me.
As we begin another year I've been reflecting on the past year. Not just mine but of friends too! While the usual new year's resolutions are out there...lose weight, save money, quit smoking etc. more are looking at where they are in their lives. Some have moved to other states to pursue personal dreams, others are looking at possessions in a different way...seeking experiences over things and some are considering if their careers are what they really want to do or is there a bigger calling?
I've never set New Year's Resolutions and I don't plan to this year but I am examining my life in a deeper and more profound way. I have ideas about some things I want to do, passions I want to pursue and hopefully make a positive impact on people...friends, family and total strangers.
Here's to an awesome 2020!