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Penns Valley Pastor Makes 2,500-mile Bicycle Trip on Route 66

by and on November 13, 2017 5:00 AM

In April 2014, Pastor K.R. Mele and his friend Harold Morgan pedaled their bicycles for 3,178 miles on a combination fundraising and mission trip from Santa Monica, Calif., to St. Augustine, Fla. On Sept. 6 of this year, the pastor and a diverse team of 15 people took off on another cycling odyssey, this time following historic U.S. Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica.

The trip, called Mission 66, took the riders through seven states, covering nearly 2,500 miles and taking 32 days to complete.

Mele, the pastor of Family Life of Penns Valley church, described the trip as a mission trip, designed to spread the Christian gospel to as many people as possible.

“We passed out over 1,000 of these,” said Mele, referring to a small gospel pamphlet. “And we gave out about 70 Gospels of John.”

Mele said the group stopped at five churches along the route, and he preached sermons at three of them. They met many interesting people on the trip, including one of only 13 remaining Navajo code talkers from World War II.

A camper stocked with food and supplies followed the group, who also slept it in at campgrounds along the route. Mele said the group had several flat tires on the ride, which were replaced with tires and tubes donated by Earl’s Bicycle Store in Lewisburg.

He said the group endured some hot weather in the Southwestern states, as well as some very cold mornings with temperatures in the low 40s. “Most days were very nice, but the winds were hard,” he said. “We had some really hard crosswinds and headwinds that beat your body up.”

Mele credits his team of riders for the accomplishments of the trip. “We had a great team, and what was accomplished wouldn’t have been able to be done without a great team of people,” he said.

He feels that spreading the gospel was the most important part of his trip.

“It’s the message, not the miles,” he said. “And it’s the people that we met that really made the trip worthwhile.”


This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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