Riding in a car, a person is protected by windows and doors and is enclosed in a temperature-controlled environment regulated for maximum comfort.
But when a person travels by motorcycle, as Richard and Amy Duerksen did to get to Salt Lake City in July, one faces the elements head on.
“In some ways, it feels very freeing and other ways you’ve got very strong winds blowing past you and you smell a lot of things,” Amy Duerksen says, adding later: “On the motorcycle you can just see all the way around. You’re just aware of your environment a lot more.”
The Duerksens—delegates from Koerner Heights Church in Newton, Kan.— packed everything from winter coats to summer clothes for their more than 2,000 mile motorcycle road trip to the 2018 USMB National Convention, a trip that traversed portions of five states and varied in temperature by as much as 55 degrees.
From Newton, the Duerksens headed north on their Harley-Davidson into Nebraska, stopping for night in Sidney when rain—and limited hotel space ahead because of Cheyenne Frontier Days—halted their progress. The next day, the Duerksens rode west across Wyoming into Utah—seeing elk, groundhogs and mule deer along the way.
The desert’s beauty captured Amy’s attention when the couple stopped to cool off at a rest stop near Salt Lake City.
“The rocks were just beautiful,” she says. “It was scorching hot, but it was absolutely beautiful.”
The Duerksens arrived in Salt Lake City in time for supper on Thursday, their two-day trip covering four states and more than 1,000 miles, exchanging the 59-degree temperature in Sidney for 100 blistering degrees in Salt Lake City.
On their way home after the convention, the Duerksens extended their trip in Colorado, stopping at Winter Park and driving up Pikes Peak, where temperatures dropped to 45 degrees.
Amy says she looks for teachable moments from God in what she sees. Driving through the desert of eastern Utah and western Colorado, as well as places marred by fires, reminded her of the importance of walking closely with God to avoid becoming a barren wilderness.
“The Lord was just with us the whole way,” she says. “It’s just a totally different experience, and I just love feeling the nature of it all. My husband likes it, too. You can just see so much more, and you’re so much more aware of things.”
Janae Rempel is the Christian Leader associate editor. She joined the CL staff in September 2017 with six years of experience as a professional journalist. Rempel is an award-winning writer, having received three 2016 Kansas Press Association Awards of Excellence and an Evangelical Press Association Higher Goals award in 2022. Rempel graduated from Tabor College in 2010 with a bachelor of arts in Communications/Journalism and Biblical/Religious Studies. She attends Hillsboro MB Church.