The Washington Times - November 6, 2008, 12:24AM

by Nancy Sathre Vogel  

Montanna, U.S.A…I’m convinced there’s an angel part of us all.  Residing in some hidden recess within each of us is an angel waiting to come out.  The angel sits quietly, waiting. 

Waiting until the time is right and opportunity is staring us in the face.  And then the angel comes out.

When I think back on our past few weeks on the road, what comes to mind are all the angels who have come to our aid in one way or another.  Ordinary people one and all, and yet their angel side came out once they saw us.

Gene and Peggy come to mind.  We were hanging around Missoula, Montana when Gene struck up a conversation with John.  After few minutes he invited us to lunch and desert at local hangouts.

Angel Paige (Photo by Nancy Sathre-Vogel)

Before long, our departure from Missoula kept getting delayed more and more as we enjoyed our conversations with those wonderful folks.

And so it was that we arrived late at our day’s destination only to find that the campground we were relying on didn’t exist.

Paige to the rescue.

“You’re welcome to pitch your tent in my yard,” she said.  “And you’re welcome to use my kitchen to cook your dinner.”

I stood there in awe – a flat, grassy spot for the tent and access to the professional kitchen from Paige’s organic catering business.  Could I ask for more?

That’s when Jason and Tammy – Paige’s neighbors – stepped up to the plate.  Within a few minutes, Jason had four camp chairs set up around our tent and the kids were happily jumping on their trampoline.

Complete strangers one minute; road angels the next.

Tammy and Jason, two more angels (Photo by Nancy Sathre-Vogel)

Or maybe I should talk about Carol and how she rescued us from a cold, wet, windy night.

“John!” I shouted to be heard over the roar of the wind.  “I’m going to the parsonage over there to ask if we can camp behind the church!”

I ran across the road while John frantically prepared the bikes for rain.  A few moments later, a smiling woman answered the door.

“Absolutely!” she exclaimed when I explained our predicament.  “You’re more than welcome to camp behind the church if you want – but you’d probably be more comfortable in the Sunday school room.”

And then there was Laurie – a school counselor who showed us her angel side one evening. 

We were pedaling through a valley lined with ranched.  For mile after mile, we cycled along fences lining both sides of the road – with absolutely no place to camp. 

We turned onto a dirt national forest access road in desperation.  We had no idea how far we would have to ride before reaching public lands.

Not long after, a white car pulled up beside us and the window rolled down. 

“Why don’t you say at my cabin tonight?” Laurie asked.

Why not indeed??

Another ordinary person turned angel was Robert – a musician who happens to enjoy bicycling.  That morning John’s tire had self-destructed, and he put on the spare he had been carrying. 

He knew he needed a new tire soon as the spare wouldn’t last long.  He flagged down Robert as he pedaled past.

“Is there a bike store in town?” John asked.

Robert laughed in return.  “A bike store?  In a town of 400?  Nope – no bike store, but what do you need?”

A few minutes later, all four of us pulled up to Robert’s house where he handed John a huge bag of tires.

“Take your pick,” he instructed.  “You should find something there that’ll work.”

“I look at it this way,” Robert said when we tried to pay him for the tire.  “What goes around, comes around.  The world has been good to me.  I figure the least I can do is pass that on.”

Maybe that what life is all about – passing on the goodness.


The Vogel Family has reached Timbuktu - Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and are riding hard to reach South America before the New Year.  To date, they haver reached many milestones and have set world records for Daryl and Davy as the youngest cyclists to complete the Dalton and Alaskan Highwa.  Watch their journey at Family on Bikes.