☀️ 🏞 🚴🏼‍♂️ UPDATE: Once I reach the Texas border today, I will have traveled 2,005 miles & will have only 1,595 miles to go (12 states down & 4 to go).

I’m doing this solo cross country bicycle journey to raise awareness about the acute homeless problem in my hometown of York, PA & to raise funds for Bell Socialization which runs the family homeless shelter there. Due to lack of space, they turn away 700 families per year every year. Many of those families have children & some end up sleeping in their cars.

It’s time for York County to build a new homeless shelter or renovate an existing building so we can address this persistent problem. There is no reason kids should be sleeping in cars.

If you’d like to donate to help Bell Socialization, here’s the direct link. Your donation goes straight from GoFundMe to Bell and is tax deductible. https://gofund.me/55b78754 .

So far, thanks to the generosity of so many people across the United States, we have raised $17,018 for Bell through this solo coast to coast bicycle ride fundraiser. Thank you so much to those of you who have already donated!

🟡 If you’d like to see photos, stories and more from this cross country bicycle journey, please visit this website solely devoted to this ride. http://www.thisclearbluesky.com

🟡 Facebook page 100% dedicated to this journey: https://www.facebook.com/coasttocoastbicycleride/

🟡 Instagram @billswartz3

# COASTtoCOASTbicycleride

(Please share this post if you are so inclined to help raise even more $ for Bell Socialization).

I was happy to learn this evening that I have been accepted into the master’s degree program at Lancaster Theological Seminary which is adjacent to Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA.   I plan to begin classes this fall.  
Among other things, I intend to continue the study of movements for change (King, Gandhi, etc.) and corresponding practical strategies for grassroots community progress and organizing at the local level.  This is a study I began long ago at Colgate University.   I anticipate eventually working in the non-profit realm serving the community in whatever ways I can.

As some are aware, my interest in this is actually not new.  Soon after I finished my undergrad degree at Colgate, I was accepted into the master’s degree program at Colgate Rochester Divinity School / Crozer Theological Seminary (where Martin Luther King Jr. went to school).  At that time, I deferred and moved to Montana for a while.  I then returned to York, worked for Bell Family Shelter & Kinsley Construction, started a property management company, worked on Central Market, Codo & CapLive and life took on its own wonderful momentum.   

I wouldn’t trade any of that for the world.  And I’m so pleased to now have the opportunity to continue my studies in Lancaster Theological Seminary’s Master of Divinity program when I return from my #COASTtoCOASTbicycleride.  

Lancaster Theological Seminary’s program is rigorous, but I’m looking forward to the challenge and the chance to serve our community in whatever way I can.  https://www.lancasterseminary.edu

This is the famous Tommy Blocker (head of the campground at Lake Columbia here in Arkansas). Tommy is a former Vietnam Veteran (a marine who did 3 tours of duty). He let me set up my hammock under the mini pavilion outside house here in the campground. After talking with Tommy earlier this morning and reviewing the updated weather forecast, I decided to ride my bike today after all. We were supposed to have thunderstorms, but now it’s just going to be cloudy which is perfect weather for riding. So I’m heading for the Texas border in Texarkana. Tommy called his half brother Cecil and Cecil recommended a state park right on the lake just north of Texarkana.

Tommy Blocker is a cross between Tommy Lee Jones, Bill Murray and Walter Matthau. His grandmother was a full blooded Cherokee and his grandfather met her when he was coming through Oklahoma with Jessie James. (Yes, that Jessie James. He has a photo of his grandfather with the legendary outlaw).

Tommy showed me a beautiful gun that was handmade by his father. His house was built in 1923 and when he looked at the foundation, he saw that they’d used whiskey barrels as forms when they poured the foundation. You can still see the outline of the wire and the boards.

Tommy is a champion of the underdog, a protector of folks who need a hand and is kind of a celebrity around this area of Lake Columbia, Arkansas. He also caught a 75 pound catfish around midnight one night a few years back and it was so big he had trouble getting it in the boat. On another occasion, waves came up over the side of his small fishing boat and it sank.

I got to hear a lot about Tommy’s adventurous life sitting up on his front porch drinking coffee. When I was finished drinking my coffee, he told me to keep the mug. It says “Honary Arky” and I’m honored. 🙂