Tuesday, May 28, 2013

‘Biking Across America: My Coast-to-Coast Adventure and the People I Met Along the Way’ by Paul Stutzman – Book Review

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I was one of the blessed people who had the opportunity to be on the blog tour for a great book by Paul Stutzman called ‘Hiking Through: One Man’s Journey to Peace and Freedom on the Appalachian Trail.’ When I heard he had a new book on a new adventure, I knew it was time to hope on the new blog tour bus!

Discover the Heart of America on this Life-Changing, Cross-Country Bike Adventure.
After Paul Stutzman finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, he found himself longing for another challenge. Trading his hiking boots for a bicycle, Paul set off to discover more of America.
Starting at Neah Bay, Washington, and ending at Key West, Florida, Paul traverses the five-thousand mile distance between the two farthest points in the contiguous United States. Along the way, he encountered every kind of terrain and weather the country had to offer – as well as hundreds of fascinating people who represented the challenges and triumphs of the entire country. Through cold and heat, loneliness and exhaustion, abundance and kindness, Paul pedaled on. His reward – and yours – is a glimpse of an amazing country that inspires us all.
If you long for adventure, love to meet new people, and love this place called America, get ready for the ride of your life.

Here is the biography of the author:

Paul Stutzman is the author of Hiking Through. A former restaurant manager who left his career after his wife’s death from breast cancer, Paul hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. He continues to seek out adventure in new ways every day. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride, he makes his home in Ohio. Find out more at www.paulstutzman.com.

In addition to sharing stories of his trip, Paul also imparts some wonderful nuggets of wisdom. Here is one example:

We are given many choices and pathways in life. I believe God wants the best for each of our lives, but he won’t make the decisions for us. He will give guidance, but he waits for us to make our own choices. And sometimes, I imagine, he probably wishes we would make up our minds and do something so that he can work and meet us on the path we’ve chosen. (p. 13)

Great points!

Paul believed that God had given him confirmation that he should hike the Appalachian Trail. He was looking for the same confirmation for his bike ride across America. He explained what happened next:

Not much later [after his self-imposed deadline arrived], I walked to the post office. Once again, I was reminded that God does indeed work in mysterious ways. In the few minutes I was in the post office, five people asked me when I would be starting my cross-country bike ride.
“I believe it will be this summer,” I told messenger number five, and a sense of relief filled me. The decision had been made. I would ride across America. (p. 14)

Here is another word of wisdom – one I will be implementing and taking to heart:

Our conversation [about the loss of a spouse] reminded me once again that we too often take our loved ones. If you knew you only had a limited number of days to say or do what needs to be said or done, would you change anything about how you live this day?
I will say it for you: your time is limited and the moments are trickling away. (p. 41)

Paul knows well the Way, the Truth, and the Life:

I believe the only remedy for society’s ills is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The only spirit necessary for my natural highs is the Holy Spirit dwelling within me. Some folks might question whether a Christian should indulge in the ornery sense of humor that often pops into my discourse, but my relationship with an almighty God makes it possible to look beyond pain and see humor in most situations.
I believe too that as a son of God I am heir to every part of the country that I traveled on this journey. God owns quite a piece of real estate, and I was inspecting my inheritance and talking to my Father about everything I found. This corner of the universe, I reported, needed some maintenance. There was a weed here and there that needed plucking. (p. 49)

Riding through a section of California prompted Paul to think about his life:

Pedaling through wine country and thinking about those good memories from not so long ago reminded me again how quickly life can change. Today, your family is intact and all is well; but that can all change in a heartbeat. We must cherish each day as we have with each other. We really only have today to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us. Treasure those memories you make with your families. Someday you too may be on a journey where those good memories will sustain you. (p. 62)

Paul encountered so many interesting attractions on his adventure. I was not familiar with this one:

The next day I stopped and toured the famous One-Log House. In the 1940s, a man felled a giant redwood that was supposedly 2,100 years old. Over 8 months’ time, he carved a bedroom, kitchen, and living room out of a thirty-two foot section of the tree trunk. Another enterprising fellow had purchased the one-long house and wheeled it about to fairs and festivals, charging a small admission to see the wonder. It does give a new meaning to the term tree house. (p. 45)

The bike ride across America gave Paul lots of time to contemplate the deepest thoughts in life:

Christians believe that we exist in a small amount of measured time but God exists forever, before and after our dimension. Believers talk about eternity and a world without time. But our thinking here in this world is saturated with the idea of time as a measurement. Even folks that deny God and his creation of the earth need to discover a beginning. They are compelled to come up with theories such as the big bang, evolution, and other explanations for the birth of time, space, and mankind. For unbelievers, talking about a God who has existed forever and an eternity that never end is foolishness.
Even for believers, the concept of forever is hard to comprehend. How can we live forever? How can a person not age? We have no way to grasp this, no way, to understand, because we are so rooted in time. (pp. 213-214)

This book was just as great as the first one! I love Paul’s writing style – and especially his outlook on life! This is a great book for anyone who likes adventure and learning about new places and interesting people; it would be great for grads, dads – and everyone in between! I highly recommend this book, as I did Paul’s first book! He is also working on a book of fiction tentatively titled The Wanderer. I look forward to that book, as well!  

You can order this book by clicking here.

Available May 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. This book was published by Revell Publishers and provided by them for review purposes.

1 comment:

Diane Estrella said...

Great review. Thanks for sharing!

BTW-I have numerous book giveaways going on at my site if you want to stop over and take a look.

Also, I am hosting a "Best of Books" BlogHop if you'd like to check that out and sign up.

Hope you have a wonderful week!!!


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