WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010
Still no wifi, and not even any phone service here, but I can compose and upload to the blog later.
Wisconsin’s Merrick State Park, just a few miles from Winona, Minnesota. We were trying to make Winona or the Great River Bluffs State Park, but we got a REALLY late start.
We had a really WILD night at the park in Maiden Rock. If you remember from yesterday’s blog, the lightning kept getting closer and closer. And about 2:30am it hit.
WOW, did it hit!
Here are remnants of the storm this morning. As you can see….
….we had an absolutely gorgeous view of Lake Pepin, a naturally occurring “wide spot” in the river.
Last night we had a front row seat of the lightning flashing back and forth in the southeastern sky – a constant light show displaying just a hint of God’s power.
As I was finishing up Tuesday’s notes, I realized that we were indeed going to experience this storm system. Thinking about it, though, I did NOT want to be sitting out in the open with aluminum poles of our tent above us, but when I went to the little pavilion at the north end of the park, I realized it was COMPLETELY metal – roof, girders, bracing, beams…NOT the place I’d want to be in an active lightning storm.
I went back to the tent, explained our situation to Earline, and we prayed. And the storm hit, and we prayed some more.
Whoa, did it blow!
We just hung on to each other, and kept praying. The drunk, cussin’ kids had even given up and drove off. Ha!
The top tent tarp seemed to be flapping too much, and the riverside wall seemed to be collapsing in. Earline tried to talk me out of going outside, but I felt I had to, to see actually what was happening with the tent, and affect possible repairs.
When I got out of the tent, I realized THREE of the corners of the tent had pulled loose. The park apparently had been man-made on a dike of boulders, and the stakes were not holding in the thin layer of topsoil.
I tied off two corners to the trikes, and finally located one of the uprooted stakes, and was able to find a spot between the underground boulders and secured one of corners. I went back inside the tent, Earline helped me get dried off, and we slumbered off and on the rest of the night. But, oh, how the wind howled, and the thunder boomed out across the Lake Pepin valley!!
At 9:00am it was still raining, but calming down, and we started getting ready to ride. The drizzle soon stopped and we were able to squeeze and wipe as much water as we could off of everything, although IN the tent we had stayed basically dry.
As you may have noticed above, we even saw a little blue sky, in between the fast-moving clouds, and finally headed out. It turned out to be a pretty nice day…mostly flat roads right along the river…quite a lot of traffic, including trucks and semis, but the shoulder was for the most part at least 4 foot wide.
Met LOTS of folks one-on-one along the way. John and Marti even passed us on the road and waited at a wayside stop to meet us.
Bill and Barbara were on their way back to Colorado from a visit to the Mayo Clinic.
And Barbara got a chance to test drive the trike.
Lou lives in Orange Park, FL, close to Earline’s brother, and he also got a chance to try out the trike (THAT photo is on HIS camera!)
Kyle, Travis, and David chased us down on their bikes to get a closer look.
Passed some interesting sites (this coal-fired power plant in Alma)….
…this L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NG stairway (good training stairs for track or football, huh?!)….
…..and saw many gorgeous bluffs along the river.
This last picture is from a beautiful little river-front community called Buffalo City. We were trying to make Winona before dark, but as we came around the corner, and just before the sun set, hey, there was Merrick State Park.
AND, we found a paid-for campsite that had been vacated a day early, with showers nearby. YEA!!!
Clean at last, clean at last!