Kickstands and Nightstands: Wheels of Wisdom

The time between the New Year’s and MLK holidays is sort of a grace period for getting those New Year’s Resolutions right.

It’s time to get serious now.

Many of  you have vowed to read the Bible every day or have a daily quiet time.  If you’re still looking for a devotional book for 2018, I’ll suggest one.

Wheels of Wisdom: Life Lessons for the Restless Spirit by Tim and Debbie Bishop.

I was drawn to this couple’s story for a couple of reasons. They married for the first time when they were both 52. Their honeymoon was a cross-country bicycle tour across the United States.

You don’t have to be a cycling enthusiast to benefit from their 52 lessons. You may, however, question the “wisdom” of a long bicycle tour as a honeymoon, particularly since it was self-supported (just the two of them) and they didn’t really prepare with an organized training regimen.

Not wisdom, but maybe insanity.

Instead, they gained physical strength as they cycled an average of 67-68 miles each day along mountains and flatlands, back roads, trails and sometimes interstates.

Wheels of Wisdom

Tim and Debbie share experiences from their 2010 honeymoon trip and two subsequent cross-country cycling trips and how each relates to a deeper life lesson.  The Bishops are committed Christians and intersperse Scripture, words of encouragement and questions for personal reflection with their lessons.

In one chapter, Debbie recalls how the headwinds of the South Dakota plains slowed them down to 6 mph and forced them to wait in a small town until conditions improved. That teaches me that when I meet resistance in life, sometimes I need to adjust my pace or take a break instead of stubbornly wrestling with uncontrollable circumstances as I sometimes do.

On another day, the Bishops had misinformation about the terrain on a 90-mile leg between two destinations in Wyoming. They ended up climbing 9,600 feet, way above their previous high of 7,000. A 10-hour riding day turned into 13 hours.

Lesson learned: You can do more than you realize. They write, “When you do tackle something big and the results surprise you, let it be a lesson that you can rise to higher heights in the future if you are willing to attempt the climb.”


The Bishops honeymoon trip is the subject of another book, Two Are Better. For more information on Wheels of Wisdom, Two Are Better and their other books, visit their website


Kickstands and Football Fans-Roll Tide

On the day of college football’s national championship game, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about my recent trip to the Bear Bryant Museum in Tuscaloosa.

I’m somewhat of an Alabama football fan. I default there when things aren’t going well for my Ole Miss Rebels, which was the case this year. Plus, I’m a huge fan of single-topic museums. I can absorb so much more of things like presidential libraries and, oh, places like the Barbed Wire Museum (McLean, TX) or the Museum of Musical Instruments (Phoenix) than the overwhelming Smithsonian, the Met or the Louvre.

And so it goes with the Paul W. “Bear Bryant” Museum on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

One topic.

It is well worth the $2 admission to spend an hour there learning how Alabama came to be the powerhouse it is today. I only paid $1. Turning 60 has its perks.

Actually, the museum’s focus is broader than the 25 years that Bryant spent at Alabama. It covers Alabama football history dating back to its first football team of 1892 and includes the lean years of Mike Dubose and Mike Shula that ultimately led to the hiring of Nick Saban.

The elephant became associated with Alabama in 1930 when a sports writer described the size of the team members to red elephants. Bama outscored its opponents 217-13 that year and won the Rose Bowl and national championship.

There’s even John David Crow’s 1957 Heisman Trophy, which may be more fitting at Texas A&M where Crow played for Bryant. But he was Bryant’s only player to win the Heisman.

A few things I learned:

1926 Rose Bowl: Alabama’s football dominance didn’t begin with Bear Bryant. In 1926, Alabama won its first bowl game and national championship when it defeated the heavily favored Washington Huskies in the Rose Bowl. Before then, college football powerhouses were teams like Harvard, Notre Dame, even Vanderbilt. This was coined “The Game That Changed the South.”

The SEC’s First Year: The Crimson Tide took another big step in developing its reputation when the Southeastern Conference was formed in 1933. Alabama won the conference that year, finishing the season with 130 points to its opponents’ 17. Bama didn’t win every game that year. In its first SEC game ever, the Crimson Tide tied Ole Miss 0-0. Bama also lost to non-conference Fordham 0-2 in a game played in New York City.

The museum has a Waterford crystal replica of Bryant’s signature houndstooth hat, trophies and tickets from every major bowl, jerseys from iconic players like Stabler and Namath.

Bryant’s 1991 win over Auburn gave him 315 wins, at that time making him the winningest coach in college football ever.

For me, the museum has the added appeal because of the things I remember from my childhood — Golden Flake potato chips and bottled Cokes on the set of the Bear Bryant Show, which was carried by my  East Mississippi TV station. And memories of the 1969 game when Alabama beat Ole Miss in the quarterback duel between Scott Hunter and Archie Manning.

Exhibits include artifacts from the early days in the 19th century to current Nick Saban years.

Enjoy the game tonight whomever you’ll be rooting for tonight. As for me and my house: Roll Tide.