“How do we get out of here?” That was the question we were asking each other standing by our bikes next to a road jammed with cars.
Seven weeks earlier my wife, Helen, and I had ridden east out of San Diego starting a great bicycle adventure. The goal was our home on the East Coast of Florida. On the way we had crossed deserts, practically been blown off our bikes in a sand storm, camped by rivers, stayed in run-down old cabins, ridden over high mountain passes, and met wonderful people. Now we had lost our planned route in Louisiana and found ourselves on busy highway 190 at the east side of Baton Rouge. Traffic was heavy. There was no room for bicycles. The motorists didn’t have much patience, and it was getting scary. After being forced into the ditch, we pulled off at an intersection looking for an escape from this dangerous situation.
Locating a place to stay for the night, and getting an early start in the morning was our only hope for getting past this precarious place. Consulting the map, we found an interchange on Interstate 12 nearby. There likely would be a motel there where we could spend the night.
Riding under the highway at the interchange, I looked up the entrance ramp. To my surprise, there wasn’t a sign prohibiting bicycles on the interstate highway. We had ridden on the shoulder of interstate highways in places in the west where it was the only way to get from point A to point B. I concluded the Louisiana Highway Department was enlightened. They evidently recognized our dangerous predicament.
Before the crack of dawn the next morning, we were riding east on I-12. All went well for about an hour. Flashing red lights then brought us to a halt. The friendly Louisiana State Trooper pointed out we were not permitted on this highway. He explained the state couldn’t afford a sign. After a brief discussion, he agreed the interstate was the safer of the two options, and gave us permission to continue.
Riding all day we felt pretty special having found this private bike trail on the shoulder of I-12.
The feeling changed dramatically about fifteen miles before Covington, which was our destination for the day. There was a loud thud behind me. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Helen lying motionless under her bike. Dropping mine, I ran back to her.
I have never felt so helpless in my life. Here I was at least fifteen miles from the nearest town with only a bicycle for transportation, and my wife and riding partner was unconscious on the side of the highway. Cars were whizzing past as I tried to make her comfortable. Standing with my eyes closed and tears flowing down my cheeks I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know what to do. Help Helen!”
Opening my eyes I realized my prayer was being answered. A couple of vehicles had stopped. Then I was astonished when an ambulance pulled up. Who had called an ambulance and how had it arrived so fast?
Helen was finally starting to regain consciousness as the EMTs arrived. Her first question was, “Why are all these people in my bedroom?” After checking her out, they offered to take her to a hospital where she could be observed overnight. We thanked them, but declined the offer. She was obviously getting back to her feisty self, and I was confident I could care for her.
As we loaded the bikes on a pick-up that had stopped, and prepared to leave the accident scene, I asked how the ambulance had arrived so fast. It is not usual for them to cruise around looking for customers like a taxi. The EMT’s explained they were responding to a call about an accident a little further down the road. Just as they spotted us they received a call telling them they weren’t needed at the accident, so they stopped to check on Helen.
Before dawn the next morning we were back on I-12 making a dash for Mississippi and our escape from Louisiana.
Over and over on this adventure, the Lord was teaching us we could depend on Him. The ambulance was on its way before Helen had even fallen. The Lord had again demonstrated He is with us even when we put ourselves in impossible predicaments.