Day 9 [Crosby, MN – Brainerd, MN]

JUNE 9, 2010

What an interesting night we had!

The Nordic Inn Medieval Brew and Bed has an amazing decor, good food, a dog as big as a pony, and a fast-talking viking who “won’t shut up unless you go to your room!”, as he put it.

After pulling on the huge chain ring outside the front door, a viking horn blast announces your arrival, and as the doors swing open, you are greeted by Steinarr and his canine side-kick Thor:

Viking and Thor

To prove that all things ARE possible, here is Earline, who is deathly afraid of dogs, actually petting Thor’s head (with Lady Amber looking on):

Earline petting Thor

There are several resting rooms, beyond the means of these peasants (US!), but I got a picture:

Fancy viking bedroom

Here was the stairs, going up to OUR “Lookout” room (There was a full sized bed and enough room to get by on either side, but we were especially thankful for clean, dry sheets with no rain falling!). The small black rectangle near the top is the doorway to our room:

Lookout room stairs

After a hearty breakfast with carbs and protein (stuffed burritos) (wasn’t my favorite) made by Steinarr himself, we started getting packed up, and it started to rain AGAIN!

I was VERY discouraged, but then…..just at that point…..I heard my “owl”…..which I was hearing for the very first time on our trip. This is the same bird sound that I heard growing up, just outside our farmhouse window in Iowa, and that I mention in a blog while scouting out the Horrible Hundred back in October. (Also a very discouraging time after TEN flat tires in 2 days….here’s the link to THAT story.)

I now understand that it is probably not an owl, but a dove or a pigeon of some sort, but that sound is very comforting to me, and I accept it as a note that God uses to encourage me at times when I have reached a point of disappointment or discouragement, when I have reached the rock bottom of my ability to move forward.

(Or possibly evidence of an angel? Psalm 91 promises as much.)

I consider it a gift of grace.

Do you have such a sound, or thing, or word, that encourages you at your deepest or darkest times?

There are specific Bible verses that also encourage and inspire me at those times, but sometimes I think God reaches out and uses something special from His creation to inspire and encourage us when we need it the most.

So we packed all our gear, covered it with the yellow waterproof covers we got from Terry and Antonia at Jandd Mountaineering. With all the rain the past week, we have been ESPECIALLY grateful for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

As we headed out from the Nordic Inn, the rain was just a drizzle. After going a few blocks, I tried my air horn, and realized it was almost out of air. I stopped to pump it up with my pump, and realized that the attachment plug was no longer on the end (must have come loose…and this is my “flat-insurance” pump!)

What to do? No way I could ever find it.

Pray for no flats…pray we can find a store or bike shop. There was not one listed in Bob’s book in Crosby.

And then…..after just a few more blocks, I see…..a bike store!

What??!!

Bike store in Crosby

We quickly turn around, and head in to Cycle Path and Paddle.

We met the owner, Jenny, and it turns out, she used to be a certified interpreter for the Deaf!

Here’s Earline and Jenny:

Jenny and Earline

More stories and plans were shared, and we headed off to Brainerd with a spare air pump in hand.

The 15 miles to Brainerd were slow going….real breezy, and in our face. The drizzle for the most part had stopped, but Earline’s leg, yes, was STILL bothering her. We wanted to try and get as far as we could, so that the trip the next day could be short and get us into St. Cloud in time for the Deaf softball game, and where we also would find Miles and Brenda Roulan’s daughter.

After finally making it to Brainerd, we are following the MRT path in the book through town, when a guy comes out from the side of his house, kinda flags us down, and asks some questions about our trip. It was a steep hill, and after we finished talking to him, we finished climbing to the top of the hill. We stopped for some reason (maybe to catch our breath!), and before we could continue, this same guy comes running up and asks if we’d like to stay for a meal with some friends they had coming over.

Feeling that this was God’s leading, we decided to take him up on his offer, and triked back to his house.

On-fire Christians, this fine couple (with their own recumbent bicycles in the garage!) made us feel welcome, and let us slide right in with their guests from a close-knit Bible study they used to belong to up North, feeding us and letting us stay the night.

Andy and Sue (By the way, you guys, please give us your contact info! We wanted to let you know we made it safely the next day, but didn’t have a way to do so!) have worked in Israel the past 4 years, I believe it was, and they showed us their huge pumpkin garden, and their maple-syrup-making set-up.

Here’s a picture of the whole crew after supper (Andy and Sue on the left, Craig, Mark, and Steve in the back, and I didn’t catch all the ladies’ names):

Andy and Sue Bible study group

What a DELIGHTFUL evening, and a good opportunity for Earline’s leg to get some rest! Planning to get up the next morning at 3:30 to get on the road and make St. Cloud by nightfall. Good night!

TGG,

jon

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