The other day Jayla and I decided to go on a bike ride together. As with many husbands in this valley, it has long been a dream of mine for Jayla to fall in love with cycling. So when she seemed excited about going on an afternoon ride I jumped at the opportunity. We talked about it and decided that it would be cool to combine our bike ride with that grocery store run we so desperately needed. I was thinking that to bike with more weight could be hard, but if we didn’t buy too much stuff how hard could it be to bike back from Aspen? About thirty minutes later, with panniers attached, Jayla and I hit the bike path.
Out of the the Chapel, Jayla turned to go down the Brush Creek bike path. In my mind I was thinking, “That’s a little funny. I might have taken the Owl Creek bike path, but it would be fun to go down and take the Rio Grande all the way into town… “ And so I went with it. In what seemed like minutes we were at the junction where if you turn left you go towards the Woody Creek Tavern. To my surprise, Jayla was turning left! After some confused discussion we realized that she and I had been riding towards different destinations this entire time! While I had assumed we were riding towards the City Market in Aspen, she was planning on getting groceries in El Jebel! I knew I had to think about this. Not only would this be a further ride than I was anticipating, but it would be all uphill coming back home. On the other hand, we had daylight, Jayla seemed ready for it, and this was a route that I had never ridden before (famous last words).
I think you already know what we chose to do. I mean, it was a pretty obvious choice to take the path that is further, steeper, and unknown to get your groceries. What wasn’t so obvious to us was that there would be a point where we had to get off the Rio Grande bike path in order to get to Willits (where the City Market is). So after riding past the Woody Creek Tavern and the old trains (that evidently you can live in… very cool), through the canyon, over the huge bridge that you see on Highway 82, right by Basalt High School, and around the fertile landscapes of Emma WE MISSED A TURN. Now, missing a turn is no big deal if you notice. Our real problem was that we were having too much fun (riding downhill) to realize that we were going too far. The next time I thought about turning was conveniently at the next turn. We took it, and I was confused as to why everything looked so familiar. We rode a little further and on our left were these huge fields and stables that looked liked the polo fields that you see going in the backway to Carbondale. I thought, “That’s weird. How many polo fields does this valley really need?” But hey, it’s Aspen so who knows, maybe there’s a lot of polo going on.
We rode a couple minutes further only to realize that those WERE the polo fields going the back way into Carbondale! We were on Catherine Store Road! We went too far! Although it was still pretty funny to us at this point, we also realized that this excursion was taking a fair amount longer than we thought. So we hustled a bit to make up for lost time and we arrived at City Market. By this point I was starting to get pretty hungry and that burger place in Willits was looking amazing. As we were getting off the bikes Jayla looked at me with a concerning smile. She asked, “Did you remember to bring any money?” Oh no, had we really ridden all that way for groceries and not thought to bring our wallets?
By this point I was very hungry (I even went into Whole Foods to see if they had any samples… they didn’t) and feeling out of control. Periodically, I seem to encounter parts of my life that seem out of control. While these can be uncomfortable, or even painful, they do have a way of reminding me that I’m not in control. In fact, the times when I feel like I have everything handled are the times when I minimize what God is doing in my life. I even wonder if God uses the times when I feel small and out of control to show me how big and all powerful He really is. I mean, think about how out of control you might have felt if you were an Israelite following Moses (a leader who doesn’t even like public speaking) with an army behind you running straight towards the Red Sea… Or how Noah must have felt with a huge half built boat, a town full of critics, and no sea… Or how the Apostle Paul must have felt in jail… Or how any of the disciples must have felt when Jesus said, “Come, follow me.” But in each of these examples where people probably felt like their lives were unraveling, God showed up in a powerful way. So the next time you feel like things are going awry look up for second and ask Him if He’s doing something in your life that you just don’t see yet.
P.S. We made it home. Hungry. Tired. Dark. And thankful.
What a fun story, Coulter!