BYU senior Dalin Earls biked across Utah as part of a 15-day trip to participate in ordinances at all of the 17 LDS temples within the state this June. After 1,174 miles, Earls has an increased appreciation for temple work and an inspirational story to share.
Earls first came up with the idea of biking around the state while working with a non-profit organization in Malaysia. Reading was a hobby while he worked abroad. Books such as “127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place” inspired Earls to find his own adventure.
“Our lives are like stories and I realized that I want to live an epic story. For myself, I want to be able to look back and say, ‘That was super cool, I had a super cool life,'” Earls said.
Not many people knew about Earls’ upcoming adventure while it was still in the planning stage. Earls did tell was his mother, Yun Lutgen, who supported him during his entire ride.
“As soon as he started, and I saw he was taking it so seriously, I was like ‘Hey, let me help you,'” Lutgen said. “The closer the event got, the more excited I got.”
Earls had very little cycling experience prior to his trip. He mapped out the routes himself and borrowed a road bike and helmet from friends. Initially, Lutgen wanted to bike with her son, Earls said. Lutgen eventually suggested she could best help by working out details and logistics along the way.
“My part was to make sure that he didn’t have to worry about anything except getting on the bike and pedaling,” Lutgen said.
Biking so many miles without training or cycling experience is no small feat, according to avid cyclist and BYU senior Russell Hitchcock.
“He basically completed an event that is longer than what most pros are currently training for,” Hitchcock said. “With the exception of maybe three, Earls biked more miles than any professional race.”
The trip itself took 15 days with 12 days of biking. Sundays, temple visits and sleeping hours were Earls’ only extended breaks from cycling, with one exception. Earls’ stop at the Manti temple conflicted with Pioneer Day.
“Because the temple was closed we had to decide if we should keep going or stay an extra day,” Earls said. “We had to consider, ‘Is this trip more about biking or is it about temples?'”
Earls spent an extra day in Manti because of his determination to visit every temple in Utah.
Earls performed ordinance work for a family name in each temple he stopped at. He said visiting each temple had a strong impact on his personal testimony and appreciation for temple work and temple volunteers. Lutgen said she also felt an increase of appreciation toward the temple as result of the trip.
“It’s just an affirmation of the reason why we go to the temple and the power of the temple,” Lutgen said. “I’m really proud of him and what he is willing to do to appreciate the temples we have access to.”
Earls said since his trip, going to the temple every week has gained more importance in his life.
He said it wasn’t uncommon for him to hear people express excitement or even inspiration when he explained his plan. His trip was intended to be an inspiration to others as much as it was for himself.
“We have these dreams or ideas that come into our mind and we dismiss them as unrealistic or crazy,” Earls said. “There are so many excuses and reasons we allow to prevent us from accomplishing these goals or dreams.”
Earls chronicled his adventure at dallinearls.com.