Day 1: Logan, Brigham City, and Ogden

So stupidly tired. On the eve of this venture I stayed up way too late getting everything ready, making last minute trips to the store, and writing that first blog post. Then after writing the post, my mind still was refusing to go to sleep. Every scenario for the journey to come started flashing through my mind a million miles an hour. I ended up getting somewhere between 2 and 3 hours of sleep before waking up at about 3:30 to get everything ready and in the car so we could leave at like 4:00-4:30 to try to make it to the Utah/Idaho border at 6:00. It was an early morning.

I started off this journey with my little sister Alia, and one of my old church leaders, Bennett Keller. I don’t think I have really ever told him this, but I have always really looked up to him. He was an adviser for the guys youth group I was in at church when I was around 14. I wasn’t super involved in my church at that age. I went to church about every other week, and didn’t go to any of their activities outside of that. Bennett, for whatever reason, really looked out for me and helped me become more involved at church. He helped me feel important, valued, and looked after. I respect him a lot, and am grateful for the part he played in me really growing to appreciate the role that church played in my life. Since then, both of us have moved to Utah, and he now lives in Logan.

Alia dropped me off at the border of Utah and Idaho, and I was shocked at how cold it was. I didn’t bring anything long-sleeved, so Alia graciously loaned me her sweatshirt. It was a little short and snug, but it got the job done. Bennett drove alongside me for almost 20 miles until we arrived at our first stop, the Logan temple, taking pictures and getting video clips along the way. We made it to the temple and me t up with his family after I awkwardly changed in my car that Alia had been driving.

Bennett, Alia and I entered the temple and did some baptisms for the dead. He and I reminisced on how we used to do this at temple trips in San Diego back when I was a kid. It was cool to do it with him again. We left the temple, grabbed some breakfast and parted ways so he could take care of his family. Sadly, his wife got in an accident while we were in the temple, so we had to drop him off with them. Everyone is ok, but now they’re out of cars, which is a really crappy thing to have happen. After all of that got sorted out I began making my way to the next temple, Brigham City.

The 25 mile bike ride to Brigham City was a perfect combination of exhausting, beautiful and exhilarating. Most of the ride ran through what I think is the Wellsville Mountains by Mantua Lake. Climbing through that canyon felt like an eternity, but the scenery was too beautiful for me to be to upset about the uphill grind. Also, the killer 7 mile downhill more than made up for the climb. When I reached Brigham City, I met up again with Alia who had gone to grab the GoPro batteries I left at my dad’s house because she is an amazing person. Sadly she got a speeding ticket while doing so – such crappy timing for a crappy thing to happen. There we performed some sealing ordinances for our ancestors. The people volunteering there were so old and cute and kind, it was amazing.

During our session, the man leading the meeting paused for a minute while doing our family’s names, got a little emotional, and looked up at Alia and me. “This family is very, very happy today.” We had brought the names of a husband, wife, and all of their kids that we could find, and sealed their family together, so that they can be together forever. That was the strongest I had felt the spirit in the temple in a while. On this journey I am bringing names of my ancestors so either Alia or I can do ordinances for at least one of them in each and every temple we visit. This is something Alia and I have been doing for a while and has been a great way of not only bringing us together, but of helping us feel closer to our ancestors and extended family.

Alia and I went and grabbed lunch. Midday was upon us and the sun was coming out in full force. I hid in the air-conditioned lobby of Costa Vida for a while until Alia finally got me moving. The ride was fun, and Alia and I went into the Ogden temple and did endowment sessions. The whole time I was at this temple, all I could think about was how the last time I was there I was watching my friend Joseph marry his sweetheart. That was such a beautiful day. I really need to catch up with them.

Finally, I biked back to my dads house as the sun was setting on the first day of the Utah Pedal Pilgrimage. I arrived home to a feast my dad had prepped for me just after darkness fully fell. He stayed up with me as I prepped my bike and backpack for the next day’s adventure.

This day was full of interesting and unexpected lessons. First off, be prepared. I can’t believe I didn’t think to bring a jacket or sweater, and I am so thankful Alia was better prepared than I was for the fist leg of my journey. Next, just because you’re an awesome person, doing awesome things for others, doesn’t mean everything is gonna go perfectly for you. I am still shocked about the Kellers getting in an accident and Alia getting a ticket. What impressed me most though is that they remained so positive and supportive of my even when these things happened. Sometimes crap happens, but in the end it is up to us how we choose to react when it does. The ride from Logan to Brigham City was a perfect metaphor for a reward after a long, uphill battle. Finally, although this is a very personal journey for me, there is no way I could do it without the help and support of my friends and family. I think the same goes for life. No one can live our lives for us, but the people we come to know are what make the journey easier, more enjoyable, and worth it in the end.

Daily Stats:

  • Miles Biked: 86.74

  • Temples Visited: 3

  • Ordinances Performed: 4 (baptisms, confirmations, sealings, endowment)

  • Adorable Old People: too many to count

Playlist: Music is constantly playing on my phone as I bike.

  • blink-182: California (new album yeah!)

  • Chance The Rapper (Coloring Book)

  • Jack Garratt

  • Mumford and Sons (Wilder Mind, Sigh No More)

  • Jon Bellion (The Definition)

  • The Avett Brothers (I And Love And You)

  • Youngblood Hawke (random songs)

  • Youth Lagoon (random songs)

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