MAY 29, 2010
Dah, dah, DAH…..
[Whispered in a deep voice] “When we last left our fearless, God-blessed servants, they were on their way to Detroit Lakes, MN, trikes in hand, on the mighty Amtrak Empire line.
“Then, about 2:30 am, they were hurriedly deposited on the side of the road, about 50 yards from the lonely Detroit Lakes platform, along with their entire life’s possessions for the next three months. A cool breeze from the south greeted their faces in the darkness.
“They smiled, and took pictures, realizing they were just (according to Google) only about 55 miles from their destination, the headwaters of the Mississippi River.” (cue dramatic opening music)…..
Okay, enough with the third person dramatics! There’s enough here without it…HA!
We put the trike boxes outside the door of the station, and moved all our gear inside. There were about 7 people inside, waiting for another Amtrak train headed south.
One of them was a couple, a Mr. and Mrs. Ron Griffith. He was dropping her off at the station for a trip to visit family. His family was actually responsible years ago for introducing a type of bean into the area as a cash crop, and it is currently the area’s second most prolific crop, behind potatoes.
We brought my trike into the warm station for the purpose of putting it back together. (We’re talking a fairly small room here, maybe 20 x 20. After unfolding my trike, I couldn’t get the chain untwisted, and I couldn’t figure out how the chain routed through the tubes and back axle. Never thought to study that. I DID have the “T” owner’s manual with me, and that helped.
Of course, I am assembling this in front of everybody, and I’m EMBARRASSED that I don’t know how to quickly put it together. ACK!
But we are answering questions about our tour as I attempted to route the chain, and finally Ron and a young oriental gentleman (who never said a word, but helped me figure it out with hand gestures) helped me get the chain routed correctly.
THEN, when I tried to tighten the boom screws and attach the seat, I realized that in my little tools duffle, I had neglected to pack EITHER of the Allen wrench tools. Only the tool that I probably need THE MOST to tighten various screws on the trike.
I just continued to attach what I could.
By this time, most of the folks’ train had come in, so the only ones left were Mrs. Shogren, who was picking up her son, and Mr. Griffith. It was at this point, that Mrs. Shogren said she would go to the 24-hour Walmart and GET an Allen wrench tool for me. AND she wouldn’t take any money. What a blessing!
I truly would have been lost without her offer. Thank you, God!
We then continued to put Earline’s trike together (easier, because of the new way it folds), and added the bottle holders and panniers. We took the trikes outside, tested their maneuverability (to see if I had put them together CORRECTLY), and then added the rest of the gear.
And as you can see, even though it was only a little after 5am, it was already light outside! [Closer to the Arctic Circle.]
FINALLY got everything fully packed on both trikes (for the first time ever!) and Earline toodled around the station, testing her ability to drive it with all the gear on it. She also remarked (as I had done when testing it a couple weeks ago with a 40 lb. bag of bird seed) that it was VERY easy to pedal, and you hardly noticed the extra weight. (Kudos to I.C.E. for their well-made and designed trikes.)
Had some prayer time, and headed over to the Sinclair station just across the railroad tracks to fill up on water and goodies for the trip up to Camp Itasca. At the station they mentioned that they had just opened this gas station on Tuesday for the first time this year! (Thanks, Lord, for your provision.)
Little did we realize how significant that provision was!
We headed out on Hwy 34 for Lake Itasca State Park about 8am on an absolutely GORGEOUS blue-sky day.
Many giggles and frustration as we tried to get clipped in to our clipless pedals. I guess it takes a while to get the hang of it. Especially important for recumbents, though, because without the clips, you can accidently slip off the pedals (something Earline had happen to her later in the day) and experience “leg whip” as your foot and leg get slammed against the horizontal axle, resulting in bruised or even broken bones. (Earline is alright, thankfully.)
The road was 2 lanes, and very busy, but the road had a wide shoulder that we stayed on. We would stop occasionally to catch our breath and stretch our legs. Met Trudy at her mailbox, who until Earline mentioned thanking God for His blessings, was trying to figure out a way to witness to US! Alright!
Met Mr. Leonard Hammer, an elderly gentleman who waved us into into his yard, and talked about a variety of topics, including showing us the bundle of large Northern Pike fish that he had just caught.
We also discovered that he had just lost his wife of (probably) 50-plus years only 6 months earlier. Pray that God comfort Mr. Hammer in his grief at the loss of his wife.
Earline also found out that you CAN tip over on these trikes, trying to turn too fast on a side road with all the extra weight on board. No serious injuries, but she did get a boo-boo. (See the boo-boo?)
Okay….you have to look REAL close!
Headed up Highway 37, which had a lot less traffic. We had to visit mother nature….ahem, you know, relieve our bladders….on the side of road, behind a tree [lots of THOSE]. No convenience stores up here!
As we traveled through some farm country, and some more farm country…..and some more farm country…..well, we’re getting tired….
……(didn’t get much sleep last night….well, actually, I didn’t get ANY), I was getting REALLY sleepy, and found myself dozing off. (One of the hazards, I guess, of the recumbent trikes – they ARE comfortable.)…..and Earline had maybe an hour of sleep on the train.
Not long after the above photo, I suddenly woke up, and found myself headed for the ditch on the LEFT side of the road. Earline was FRANTICALLY blowing on the aluminum whistle I had gotten her for dogs. I averted the ditch, but we were very grateful that there had been no oncoming traffic at that time.
And just a minute or so later, a large semi truck went right past us on the other lane….thank you Lord for your protection!
This ended up seeming like a deserted highway….no stores, not much traffic….
By this time the power on my phone DIED, which had the GPS Google map that I had been using.
We made the turns that I remembered, but it seemed like it was taking us an AWFULLY long time to get to certain intersections. We tried to call Camp Itasca, but after a minute of conversation our signal DIED, and repeated attempts to connect resulted in a “no service available” error message.
We headed up 37 past 113, looking for Hwy. 200. By now our mileage had crept PAST 55 miles, and it looked like we were nowhere close to our destination. Earline didn’t feel she could go on.
Here knees were hurting pretty badly, and this is also when she experienced “leg whip” which didn’t help matters. I tried to help her up some of the hills by holding on to the side of her chair, and pedaling with her, and that seemed to help. (Of course, she didn’t WANT me to help, because then she felt guilty, cuz she knew I was tired, too.)
Mmm….do WE ever treat that God that way? Not asking for His help when we KNOW we need it. Either because we’re too proud, or don’t want to bother Him. (Trust me, He WANTS to be bothered!) If you are a parent, and your child has a need, don’t you as a parent WANT to know about their need? Of course, you do.
We FINALLY reached Hwy. 200, but after turning right we still experienced hill after hill. The sun was going down. HOW MUCH LONGER??!!
I had a little battery operated recharger, that powered up Earline’s phone enough to make a call, and FINALLY found a signal that let me reach Craig at Camp Itasca. Only a couple miles further, he informed us.
Then we went over a bridge over the Mississippi. OUR FIRST river crossing (Bridge #1) on our trikes! (River’s a little smaller here than at LaCrosse, huh??!!)
Here’s a view FROM our first bridge over the Mississippi:
Finally rolled into Camp Itasca, after 78 miles total! We had long ago run out of food and water, so we were VERY grateful (and hungry, and thirsty)!
And Craig and Rosann were wonderful – they had a spot all picked out for us to set up our tent. Rosann actually drove Earline over to the convenience store across the street to get some food and drink.
We quickly got unpacked, set up our tent, enjoyed a quick (and NEEDED) shower, and headed to bed. Thank you, Lord, for safety AND provision. We could not have done it without the strength of Your promises, and the wonderful way that You worked through all the GOOD that people we ran into extended to us.
We are TRULY grateful.