Larry H. Carter is biking down the path to self-discovery, one pedal-pump at a time.
Brother Carter, a 66-year-old heart-attack survivor and widower, is in the last stages of a cross-country bicycling trek stretching from Washington, D.C., to Salt Lake City. His trip launched from the nation's capital on July 5. In Pennsylvania he traded his mountain bike for a touring bicycle. Since passing through Nauvoo, Ill., on July 30 he's followed the Mormon Trail westward.
The whole way, Brother Carter has been travelling alone without any backup. His five children and 13 grandchildren stay apprised of his progress by reading his blog, www.oldbiker88.blogspot.com. He plans on reaching his final destination — This is the Place Monument overlooking the Salt Lake Valley — on Sept. 14 or 15.
Prior to commencing his trip, Brother Carter reflected on his blog about the meaning he hoped this voyage would hold for him.
"I want to find out at my advanced age whether I can still plan and carry out extensive physical adventures," he wrote. "I want to find out if I could have made it in former pioneer times. Admittedly, my quest will be far different than the pioneers. Theirs was a journey of survival. Mine will be more a journey of self-discovery."
Brother Carter's wife, Kathleen, passed away in 1992, a victim of cancer. He spent the past seven years doing contract work as a database administrator for the U.S. government in Washington, D.C., and it was during that time he suffered his heart attack.
The current bike trip has distilled on Brother Carter a deeper sense of perseverance and patience.
"The ride this week has been against headwinds almost every day," he blogged on Sept. 6. "Climbing gradually against a headwind has tested my resolve and patience, but, as I noted last week, I have received compensating help with both strength and attitude. I do not know what it is about headwinds and me, but if I change direction so does the wind — to stay in my face."
Brother Carter plans to resume residing in his native Utah County, where all his children and grandchildren live, following the fulfillment of his two-wheeled journey.