Day 16: The End
July 28, 2016
I did not sleep well last night. I think I finally fell asleep at around 2 in the morning. And now I’m up at 6. Awesome.
I got dressed. Last time suiting up like this. Mom and I tried to sneak out but Jolene caught us before we left. Mom made me eat a little in the car as we drove north to the Kannaraville rest stop, where we finished up last night. I wanted to sleep in the car a little but the ride wasn't long enough.
Time to hit the road. Right back on I-15, the highway that terrified me so much before this journey started 15 days ago. 39.2 miles until the temple. I decided to ride without music to make this final day of the pilgrimage a little more...something I guess. Just wanted to get rid of distractions so it was just me and my thoughts. Those were some of the most fun miles of the trip because the route was mostly downhill. I think there must of been a few gnarly accidents within the past few days, because there were a good number of obstacles I had to dodge as I was bombing down the shoulder of the I-15. Exploded tires. Broken glass. Chunks of metal and plastic. Definitely made for an exciting ride. I didn’t account for all of the downhill when I was scheduling the day, so I ended up going a lot faster than anticipated. I stopped at a checkpoint, but felt great so I just pushed through to the main checkpoint I needed to get to.
Earlier on in the pilgrimage, I managed to get some media attention. That media attention resulted in more media attention. One Utah television station contacted me and asked if they could do an extended new report on me. Uhhhh YEAH! They had a reporter down in St. George who I was supposed to meet up with to record the end of my journey. We made plans to meet at Exit 13, Washington Pkwy, but because of all of the downhill I ended up getting there way earlier than anticipated.
I chilled in the car with Mom until the reporter showed up. I love my Mom. I love cars too. Air conditioning is amazing. We called him and he kindly accommodated our schedule change, coming over as fast as he could. I set me up with a bunch of GoPros and had me follow him. Then he followed me. Then we rode side by side. There was a lot of stopping and adjusting and starting again. Being filmed is weird. Cool, but weird. Those last 8 miles took a while but they were fun.
Finally I arrived at the temple. Mom was waiting for me there. I went and gave Mom a big hug, then met back up with the reporter. He interviewed me for a bit and then I was finally able to go and get dressed in the temple. (you can watch the news report here if you want)
While I was living in Malaysia I had the opportunity to work very closely with a missionary couple from St. George, the Bodells. They reached out to me during my trip and we made plans to meet up at the St. George Temple. They were so kind and patient with me while I changed the schedule to sooner, then later, then sooner again. Finally, I entered the temple and we went through together.
The St. George temple is beautiful and full of history. I performed the endowment ordinance in this temple. Part of the endowment experience, the temple experience as a whole, is sort of an active plea to have God listen to us. I remember sitting in the temple. And pleading with God to hear me, to accept me, to acknowledge all of the things I had been thinking about, praying about over the course of this journey.
I felt Comfort. I felt Peace. I felt a Love that seemed to speak to me as if to say, “I hear you, Dalin. I love you. I know what’s going on in your life. I always have, and I always will. I’m here for you. You’re doing fine, great even! I know the stuff you’re going through, and everything is going to work out how it should.” It felt as if God was saying, Ok, Dalin, if you’re wanting a big spiritual experience, here you go! It’s hard to write the joy I felt in the temple that day.
Tears began to fill my eyes. My long, crazy, poorly planned adventure had brought me here. Not just to another temple, but closer to God, into His love. There were a lot of things on my mind over the course of this journey. More things than I realized had pushed me to go out and do something crazy. I had things to prove to myself, and challenges and hurts I needed to work through. In this temple, God told me, or I guess helped me realize, that this adventure was worth it.
We finished the ordinance and I said another little prayer saying, ‘thank you,’ and exited the temple. Mom got to meet the Bodells which was great. We talked about Malaysia, about the pilgrimage and about how life was going overall. It was so cool of them to come out and support. Thanks Elder and Sister Bodell.
I got in the air conditioned car with Mom and ate a late lunch. It was about 3 o’clock now, and things were starting to heat up. A lot. Why did I decided to do this trip during July again? Jolene had prepped a lunch of fried chicken and sides per my request two nights prior, but we didn’t make it down that night, so they just gave it to us to eat today. I was so hungry that I scarfed that sucker down. Not the smartest idea.
It was over 100 degrees now, and the afternoon sun wasn’t letting up. I must have been enjoying the air conditioning a little too much, because Mom finally had to tell me to get out of the car and finish this thing. So with a stomach full of fried poultry and gatorade and the heat of the afternoon in full force, I hopped back on my bike for the final stretch.
I weaved my way south through St. George for a bit and then hopped back on the beloved I-15. Holy crap it was hot. And still no music. I started regretting that real quick. The amount of semi trucks on the highway seemed to have tripled. The desert wind blew at me from the south and the west so powerfully that it dried the sweat on my skin before it could cool me. Except, of course, for the area around my eyes which were protected by my sunglasses. And so I rode, eye balls sweating, up the slight but persistent incline. Those last eight miles were the hardest of the whole trip. I felt the exhaustion of the entire trip in every pedal, while the winds from Arizona seemed most determined to push me back.
Then at last! I saw it. The state sign for Arizona. And my Mom! My beautiful, beautiful Mom. I pushed and pedaled and blinked the sweat out of my eyes. I rolled off of the shoulder of the freeway, slowed a bit, bumped the post of the state sign with my front tire, and stopped. I leaned my bike against the post of the sign and hugged Mom.
I did it.
I wanted to kneel and say another prayer of gratitude, but the sunbaked ground was too hot for me knees, and the Grand Canyon State’s sign wasn’t giving me very much shade. So I asian-squated at the base of the sign in the sliver of shade it offered and said my prayer. Mom loaded my bike up while I tried to wrap my head around what we just did. Mom had bought me an icy cool beverage to enjoy.
I was done. The Utah Pedal Pilgrimage was over. We did it.
So I hopped in the car. Mom and I continued to talk about what a crazy thing we had done. I finished my drink, stopped by Jolene and Gary’s to grab some stuff I had forgotten. I do that from time to time. They gave me a gallon of apple juice because I drank so much of it the night before and they’re awesome.
We hopped back in the car and drove back to Provo. I fell asleep in the car. I do that from time to time too.
I did it.
The Utah Pedal Pilgrimage was done.
Miles Bikes: 47.34
Temples Visited: 1
Ordinances Performed: 1 (endowment)
Sweaty Eyeballs: 2
State Lines: 1
Pilgrimages Completed: 1