Day 78 [Warfield Point Campground, MS – Lake Providence, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2010

Our campsite at Warfield Point campground shows how close we were to the Mississippi River……we could hear the barges all night.

Warfield Point tent site

We found this tree next to us, that had this weird seed or fruit on it…..anybody know what it is?

Weird tree seed or fruit

Weird seed fruit on tree

We decided to have…..okay, do we really have a choice?….graham crackers, peanut butter and honey (hey, if John the Baptist could live on locusts and honey, well, we have got it going on! Thank you, God, for your continued provision.)

Graham crackers and peanut butter and honey

Lovingly prepared, of course, by MY Honey:

Honey making honey

[Linda, did you notice we are using the honey-sticks you gave us? They’ve worked out good!]

We ran into some drizzles as we left camp, but our handy-dandy umbrella not only protect us from the hot sun, but also from….well, RAIN.

Warfield Point Campground riverside rain

Hot, yet again today, but we decided to take the umbrellas down before heading over the bridge. Good thing….the winds were a little gusty on the bridge. We were excited to cross this bridge, because it had only been open for ONE WEEK! I think we can safely claim that we are the FIRST recumbents to go across this bridge. We understand that this bridge now is the longest cable-stayed bridge on the Mississippi River (similar to the Cape Girardeau bridge). It WAS long, and here it is, Bridge #41!

Bridge41

At least the new bridge DID have a nice, wide shoulder. [No need for a police escort here!]

Oh, oh…..texting while triking…..do you think she is starting to get comfortable on these bridges??!! (You can see the old bridge in the background).

Texting while triking on 41

Oh, by the way……to experience what some of the older bridges feel like when going over them, I have just posted a video back on Day 70 of the I-55 Memphis bridge pedestrian walkway. Check it out.

Nice wide shoulder

Semi not so ominous here

Some of you might have noticed that our proposed route stayed on the EAST side, the state of Mississippi side of the River, but after realizing that the Arkansas route had an 8-FOOT SHOULDER the entire length of Highway 65, as well as being about 15 miles shorter, we both agreed that we’d try the Arkansas side of the river.

[And again, we’re fighting a proposed schedule here, too….I had made arrangements to pick up some more tires from Mark Power, and he mailed them to Herman Smith, a bridge manager in Vicksburg, MS…so we are tentatively supposed to be there by tomorrow afternoon, and highway 65 should knock 2 to 3 hours off of our arrival time.]

As we left the bridge we saw some beautiful homes on our right, on the banks of Chicot Lake…..I understand this is the largest oxbow lake in North America.

Interesting home on Chicot Lake

At the corner of 82 and 65, off of Chicot Lake, we met this road construction crew that not only gave us water, but guided us through the busy intersection. Thanks, guys!

Guys at 82 and 65

65 turned out to be a very busy road as we suspected, and the shoulder sometimes was closer to 5 foot than 8, but we still were VERY glad for that shoulder the entire way.

Saw this….well….what is it? (Looks like the Martians from War of the Worlds!) A FREE WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt (if we ever get them made!) to the first person who can tell me WHAT THESE ARE??

Martians

Saw this gorgeous skyscape north of Eudora. (The heavens declare/announce/proclaim/tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship……Psalm 19:1)

Beautiful sky north of Eudora

In Eudora…..interesting…..an officer stopped us, and said that somebody had “reported” to him about some bicycles coming through town. He seemed to kinda laugh it off, and he offered to escort us through town. We said “sure,” and he followed us for over 3 miles. Earline was a little suspicious of the offer…..she thought that maybe they were making sure that we went THROUGH their town and didn’t stop! HA!…….well…..maybe…..hmmmm.

Escorting Earline

Officer escort

Thanks for the escort, officer….we DID appreciate it!

Meanwhile, we kept trying to reach the 2 contacts in Vicksburg that attorney Willie Griffin had given us in Greenville. Our phone service was very intermittent in this area, and when I did get through to Alvin Taylor, it said his voice mail service was not set up. Hmmm.

We finally did get ahold of the lady, but she said that she was going into the hospital the next day, and couldn’t help us with a place to stay, but that she knew an evangelist friend who could provide a safe place. We finally then did talk to Miss Gertrude, and she said she’d get back to us. But, we didn’t hear from her…..hmmm…..maybe she tried, but couldn’t get through….well….

We saw this weird mailbox, and I guess I took a picture of it because, well, it’s weird!

Robot mailbox

By now it is getting dark, and we came to the Louisiana state line (Our final state – State #10!!). Here’s a picture of the sign and Earline:

Welcome to Louisiana State 10

Ack!

Okay, so you can’t really see Earline…..after several attempts, I COULD NOT get both the sign and her to show up. Something about the light bouncing back off of the reflective sign….hmmm.

Well, here SHE is by herself!!

THERE she is

Soon after this we had a Louisiana officer stop us…..he was curious…..wondered what we were doing. I gave him our flyer, and explained the Mission Tour. He told us our flashing blue lights on our wheels were ILLEGAL in Louisiana, but when I asked him if he wanted me to turn them off, he said no, that they helped make us more visible. He said the SLOW MOVING VEHICLE SIGNS showed up real well. He asked who was in the other trike (he couldn’t see from the back), and I told him that it was my wife.

He then warned me that there was a rough area in the town coming up that had a lot of Blacks in it, and that we should be careful. I thanked him for his concern, and then I went up to talk to her, and the policeman proceeded to go around us, and then made sure that Earline waved at him as he went by, with a surprised look on his face.

HA! Oh, well…..

We had decided to keep riding because it WAS a wide shoulder, much cooler than riding in the daytime, a straight shot to Vicksburg, and we figured we could make up some time……and we wanted to make Vicksburg before it got too late the next day to make sure that we could get a ride across the river.

I had called ahead, as Bob had suggested in his book, and talked to Herman Smith. The interstate bridge there has been open for 30 years or so, but the old bridge was closed down to traffic around 15 years ago. Large bike groups can apply for permits to go across with the appropriate liability insurance, but individuals or small groups like us can actually get rides across the bridge in a pick-up if you call ahead.

We went through the “bad” section of Lake Providence, and continued to a truck stop that the officer had mentioned would be on the south side of town.

There had been a car that kept turning around, and seemed to be following us, and we thought….what?……hmmm. When we got to the truck stop, Janie and her son stopped to talk to us….apparently THEY had been following us, and hoping to catch up with us at the truck stop.

Janie and her son

They were excited to hear about our Mission Tour and Janie even called another son and daughter to come “check us out.”

Janies 2nd son

Night time picture taking

There was another couple there that tried out the trikes, and donated some money to GHA…..

Riding trike

Couple lost child

It turns out that the couple had recently lost a young child, and were struggling to deal with the grief of that. We had the opportunity to share some words of encouragement, as well as some Scripture that tells of a God who blesses those who mourn, and who fulfills promises to those who cry out for help.

We continued another mile or two down the road, but we were both getting pretty sleepy, so we took a nap in the shadows of a roadside church, that turned into setting up our tent on the backside for a few more hours of sleep.

Parked in the shadow

An interesting thing about this picture….yes, you can see Earline beside a door on the east side of the church, but this location was actually in the shadow of a yard light that sat on the north side of the church. And Earline, sitting in this shadow, it was so dark, that from the main road, only 60, 70 yards away, even with her white clothes on, she could NOT be seen.

It was really amazing to see!

It reminded me of the verse in Psalm 17 where it says that we can “Hide in the shadow of God’s wings.”

Lord, protect us, and give us some refreshing rest. In Jesus name.

TGG,

jon

Day 71 [Tom Sawyer Campground, West Memphis, AK – Co. Rd. 7, AK]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2010

A new night, a new state, but the same story recently –  we had another very uncomfortably warm night last night. I understand the low was around 85 degrees, after highs that have been running around 105 actual temperature.

As you can see, we were RIGHT on the banks of the Mississippi.

High and wide MR

Kinda of reminded me of the Army Corp of Engineers Wildcat Landing Campground in southeast Minnesota, DAY 25, with barges being pushed up and down the river, but of course, the River is much bigger here [AND faster, and much higher than normal….people tell us we should be able to see sand bars, but there are none….it’s running bank to bank.]

Huge barge on MR book downriver

Once the mosquitos disappeared at dawn (Earline wants to know….where do they go? She says that maybe we can create something to KEEP them there!) we opened the tent fly and got an hour of at least some sleep.

We liked this Tom Sawyer Campground. Not the fanciest place, but it was only $12 for the night, a 7# bag of ice was $1, cans of soda pop were 50 cents, and laundry was free. We liked it!

Saw some gorgeous scenery this morning – here is a sampling:

Beautiful morning from TSC

Had a breakfast of graham crackers, honey, and peanut butter (sorta yumm…..ah….sorta….well, maybe not) and the last of the fruit from Gayla and Jennifer from Beech Grove MBC.

We received a wonderful e-mail from a lady in Memphis who saw our photo in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal. Here’s some of the text of that e-mail:

“I saw the photo in this morning’s edition of the Commercial Appeal. Just last night, I began writing a book about our deaf son who went to heaven just 4 months ago. In writing about his life, I hope to not only memorialize his awesome life, but encourage other parents who are faced with the daunting task of raising a hearing impaired child. Nathan was 37 when he took his life, and we will never be the same. BUT we know he went immediately into the arms of Jesus, instantly into a new and perfect body, equipped with ears that now hear music we cannot imagine. If you are still in the Memphis area, I would love to just meet you or speak on the phone briefly to say, ‘Way to go!’ Have a safe and wonderful journey.”

Awesome! Thank you, God.

I got the idea to try and do a flip video, so we spent about 2 hours trying to set that up, and speak to the camera without make TOO many mistakes. HA! And here it is:

Video clip from Tom Sawyer Campground (you can also find this on the home page of the thewifipedalers.com)

Did our warm-ups and stretching…..yes, this is part of our daily routine. We stretch before heading out every morning – we have found that it makes a significant difference in the energy and power we have the first 30 minutes of our day’s ride.

Stretching at TomSawyer CG

Finally packed up and headed out….got some ice from the office.

Leaving the TSC

It took me about an hour to figure out how to get BACK to the road we were supposed to be on from the campground. Cutting across the south side of West Memphis, we only had to backtrack about 2 miles.

Then stopped at convenience store down the road for a little more ice (and Earline got a Honeybun…she REALLY likes them).

Several people talked to us about the trikes and the Tour. We talked about the Deaf, and various stats….one guy asked to test drive:

Natural rider outside W Memphis convenstore

One lady took pictures [SMILE!]:

Lady taking picture of us

I spent another hour on the phone with T-Mobile and UPS…BOTH of them had policies in place that would NOT allow them to hold a package (my replacement phone) shipped to the UPS store. It was actually T-Mobile that went against their own SOP and called UPS to tell them to hold the package in Greenville for me. Thank you, T-Mobile!

We had a couple other phone calls and e-mails to make, so by the time we left the convenience store, it was almost 4:00pm, and our ice was melted. Ack!!….how do we ever get anywhere?!

Went about 3 miles down the road, and POW!…the back tire blew out!!

I had noticed Sunday that it was looking really worn, but I thought I could get another week out of it. (Yes, Andy, this is the brand new tire that I put on to replace one of the original tires on Day 38, so it only lasted 33 days??!) That was around Albany, Illinois, so…..maybe 800 miles? Hmm!

(Of course, having 500 pounds in my panniers probably isn’t the best thing for the tire, huh…..HA!)

Blow out of tire new from day 35

And after putting new tires on my fronts (after Sunday’s blowout) and Earline’s back tire on Sunday night, I was down to one worn spare. I decided to put the new right front tire on the back of the trike (which seems to be wearing out faster), and put the worn spare back on the front. Whew!

Swapping tires

Finally got going again….by now it’s 5:30.

BARN ART alert!

I would call this BARN ART because of the innovative roofing that allows equipment to be stored next to the barn and out of the rain.

Barn art ALERT plantation

Of course, the implementation of that design requires some maintenance, or the design doesn’t work!

Whoops!….

…..Deduct points for this oversight:

Implementation of innovation

Saw a mother and a group of 4 boys on the side of the rode. Apparently the mother’s grandfather had hit a coyote with the truck 2 nights earlier, and she was showing the boys the decaying coyote. We explained about our trip, and handed out some ASL cards.

(No, I did not get a picture of the coyote…wasn’t much left after 2 sunny days anyway!)

Continued past more playful farm dogs (NOT Earline’s favorite) and I felt led to stop at a house by the side of the road, and ask a gentleman there if we could camp in his yard. It turns out he pastored Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Helena, Arkansas for 10 years. He and his wife, Lord willing, will be celebrating their 60 wedding anniversary in December.

Pastor Cordell and Jon

Pastor Cordell gave us permission to camp, and access to water. Thank you, Lord.

Really muggy again tonight, BUT, we had a breeze! (albeit, artificial)….[Earline says the little Walmart battery-operated fan I got her is the BEST gift she ever received….how ’bout that?!!…..guys, take notes….]

I only had one bar or none of phone service, but I was able to get a text message out to Kevin in Helena thru a warmshowers.org connection. He said yes! Yea! [But it’ll be a long day tomorrow….about 65 miles….pray us thru!]

TGG,

jon

Day 68 [Tipton, TN – Memphis, TN]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 2010

Thanking God for a Saturday morning where no one interrupted our sleep! Ha! Here’s what our campsite looked like in the daylight!

Slept at Comm College last night

We had heard a soft buzzing sound all night, and we still heard it when we woke up. Upon closer inspection, we realized that the trees behind us were full of bumblebees! Thank you, God, for your protection.

Bees in trees

As I was reminding Earline to do her ABC Quick-Check (A=Air, B=Brakes, C=Chain Quick=quicklocks) I touched my tire, and…..it went flat!! (the right front)…..it’s a gift !!!!

Went flat after said check tires

Spun the tire, inflated, and it held….Flat Attack to the rescue.

Love that stuff.

Headed south towards Memphis, and Earline mentioned that she SURE would like some coffee, AND….

….over the next hill, there, in the middle of a field….was a breakfast restaurant, Breakfast Cove!

[You know, this is the SECOND time she did this.]

We stopped and had a grateful breakfast. One of the workers named Sarah has a Deaf uncle.

Sarah and Earline

We encouraged our server to try some sign language!

Waitress at Breakfast cove practice signs

We continued south on 51, empowered fro the ride ahead of us. But it wasn’t too long when one of EARLINE’S tires went flat. Pumped up the tire, spun it, and Flat Attack to the rescue….it held! Continued on.

Fixing Earlines flat

SOOOO hot today….had to be 100-plus degrees again. We found a little refuge at (but the heat probably kept most folks away) a trailer sales business, and looked at a double-wide, 70 by 32, and it was simply gorgeous. Interesting how the designers match the 2 sides to provide big, open rooms. (AND the fellow’s mascot is an owl….how could we NOT stop??!!)

Dick Moore owl mobile homes

We saw this unique Jesus sign….

Jesus IS dish on hot road to Memphis

…..and went past this real pretty cemetery entrance (DAH Nursery – are you taking notes??!!)

Pretty entrance to Northridge Woodhaven Cemetery

We stopped at what Earline calls the dirtiest convenience store she had ever been in. Too bad to even take a picture.

We came across the city limits sign for Memphis (Yea! We made it!), but Earline said it was too hot to get out of the trike to point at the sign [see her little hand just above and to the right side of her helmet?]:

Made it to Memphis

We found the turn to the right about 10 miles north of Memphis, and took some shady (yea!), but filthy roads, and these roads were marked with MRT signs.

Trash side of road

We went through a neighborhood where we actually came upon a bust of some kind….somebody in cuffs, police talking to them, a bunch of neighbors all talking and staring…..and then WE come upon the scene….hmmm…..something else to stare at [us!]…..WELL…..

We went past a small airport runway, and an industrial area.

Industrial area air port along route

And then, all of a sudden we ran into this pretty area, and just 1 block later, there was the Riverwalk!

Nice area close to river

Nice park along the river, and because of the heat, we only saw one other runner, one other biker, but a lot of barges.

Mud Island park

There WAS MRT signage, and we went over the bridge from this area (a backwater area of the Mississippi Rive) which is called “Mud Island.”

We could see the Memphis skyline just up ahead:

Memphis skyline

The bridge was pretty tall, and tough to go up, but there IS always the downhill on the other side:

[Wait! SHOULD I have counted this bridge??!! Not really across an active part of the MR, so I didn’t.]

Go down bridge

We triked beside this huge building in the shape of a pyramid, with a big statue of Ramesses the Great in front of it.

Statue of Ramssees why not Moses

Hmmm. Great, huh……so, let me get this straight.

He ONLY tried to REDUCE the population of a subugated culture by KILLING every new-born male baby. He ONLY allowed the greatest civilization on the earth at that time to be DEFEATED and literally DISASSEMBLED, and it’s entire chariot army DESTROYED by a sheep-herder from the area of Midian on the Saudi Arabian peninsula [Moses] with only a staff in his hand…..

……[and, of course, the power of the Almighty God behind him!]

So….WHY are we honoring Ramesses? WHY NOT a statue of Moses??!!

I’m just sayin’….

We went right through downtown Memphis, then headed down to the Visitor Info Center.

Carolyn watched our trikes for us:

Visitor security Carolyn and Earline

Precious helped us plan our route around the city.

Precious and Earline

We went down to Beale Street, and were finally able to get ahold of Kathy and Kevin from warmshowers.org

We planned our evening, dropping the trikes off at Rhodes College.

Kathy and Earline on Rhodes campus

Thanks to Robert Smith who helped make that possible.

Robert Smith Kathy Earline

Kevin and Kathy had JUST THIS PAST FRIDAY themselves returned from a bicycle trip from Memphis to Maine! They had a chance to try out the trikes.

Kathy and Kevin try out trikes

Headed to their house, stopping at Corky’s for bar-b-que…yumm! We finally got to Kevin and Kathy’s place, and got that WARM SHOWER. That web site is aptly named, because after getting grundgy on the road, especially in this heat, the shower feels WONDERFUL!

Thank you, GOD, for Your gracious provision.

TGG,

jon

Day 64 [Cayce, KY – Samburg, TN]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2010

Spent a VERY muggy night suffering in our tent. NO breeze, and I understand the low for the night only reached around 85 degrees.

We were grateful for the place under the tree in front of the Methodist Church here in Cayce, and got up with the sun around 5:30 saw that we wouldn’t startle anyone.

Tuesday morning at Methodist church

Earline mentioned how she was really CRAVING a cup of coffee.

I discovered what happens when you roll up your glasses in the tent!

Cant find glasses

We left a thank-you note in the church door, and headed west towards Hickman, Kentucky about 7:00am. We had gone 2 BLOCKS, when what did we find but a CAFE….open for breakfast…..with COFFEE!! (Earline says “Thank You, God!!!)

Cayce Cafe GREAT French toast

Inside there was a group of about 8 men sitting around a table. I introduced myself, and asked if any of them were members of the Methodist Church. 2 of them were. They hadn’t seen us camped out, but I told them we left a thank-you note!

I handed out quarter page flyers to them, and explained a little about our Mission Possible Tour.

It is HIGHLY recommended that if you are in the area that you stop for breakfast. Excellent food, great prices, and some of the BEST French Toast I have ever had. Truly GREAT!!

THEN, as we were eating, one of the men from the table came over and introduced himself…..his name was Darrell Powell, and he was part of a construction team that goes every year to do construction work for the Deaf in Puerto Rico!!

Darrell Powell Construction Ministry

Apparently the Deaf are very ostracized in Puerto Rico….they can’t get any government assistance, and are generally shunned and labeled as “undesirables” by the rest of their society. Kudos to Darrell and his wife for the wonderful work they are doing for the Deaf!

After we had gone a few miles, the road to Hickman widened……we LOVE roads like this!!!!

We LOVE roads like this

Once we arrived in Hickman, Charlotte Smith of the local paper, The Hickman Courier, stopped us to get a picture and our story. Here’s Charlotte:

Charlotte Smith of Hickman Courier

[Does anybody know if we made it in THIS paper? I wonder….]

While we sitting there talking to Charlotte, a gentleman from Coy’s Place across the street brought us some cold Gatorade…..THANK YOU!!

Guy at Hickman gave Earline Gatorade2

The bluff overlooking the river valley is pretty impressive, but the view wouldn’t have been possible without some aggressive bluff stabilization work. Great ingenuity!

Scenic overlook preserved

Bluff erosion prevention

As we traveled through Hickman, there is like a lower and an upper part of the town. The upper part seemed to have more modern, newer stores and businesses. Some of the lower parts of the town reminded me, though, of Cairo, IL, and they had one area down by the Post Office roped off for demolition.

Lower Hickman KY

You can see a flood gate in the back center part of this picture. In bad flood years the Mississippi has apparently been up near the top of this flood wall. Here you can see a barge just over the top of the flood wall.

Barge at Hickman, KY

MOST of these little towns have been hit hard by the economy these past years. I think the economic impact of the 9-11 hit us deeper than we realize. And the ever-growing lack of support, with increased taxes and regulations from the state and nation’s capitals has combined to drive a lot of businesses OUT of business.

We see it just about every day.

Here another part of the town in the lower section.

Lower Hickman demolition bldg

We finally found the Post Office, and stopped in to get a package of tire supplies that Mark Power from Power On Cycling in Riverview, Florida sent to us. Post Offices WILL hold mail for you that is sent General Delivery for up to 10 days.

That’s good news! Here is the Post Office where I picked up the package.

Marks package received

The BAD news is, it is hard to know what the topography of the Post Office might be. Here is a HUGE hill to the left of the Post Office that I now must go up. [By the way, Earline wisely decided to NOT come back down this hill, after just going up it a few blocks earlier….HA!]

Steep hill from PO

ACTUALLY, the 2-dimensional photo above of the hill doesn’t do the hill justice, because I am at a lower angle taking the picture looking up, and the hill appears kinda flat, which was NOT the case. Let me distort the photo a little to give you a more true idea of what the hill REALLY looked like:

Distorted picture from PO

Now THAT’s more like it REALLY was!

We stopped at a convenience store on the way out of town, and again talked with several locals about our Mission Possible Tour. This is a scene that has been repeated day in and day out throughout the trip:

Hickman southside convenience store

It is SO hot again today….we saw more dried-up cornfields:

DRY cornfield

More dry corn

What is so weird is to see this condition of the fields, and it is NOT THAT FAR SOUTH of where we saw FLOODED fields just north of St. Louis.

Amazing.

We were out in the middle of the fields, with no shade to speak of:

Long stretch of field

Ran across the state line sign out in the middle of one of those fields. State #7! (little different conditions than the LAST state boundary crossing, huh??!!) (Could someone please straighten out the sign?……thank you.)

Tennessee sign state 7

By 1:00pm, because of the heat, we decided to hunker down under some shade we found, and waited there for about 4 hours. So what did we do with our time in the shade out in the middle of nowhere?

Take a look:

Find shade and shave

Find shade and polish

We eventually headed back into the Tennessee heat….it felt like an oven! (We learned later that day that the actual temperature reached 105 that day!):

Back into Tennessee heat

A dad and a little girl named Leia with a cool camera stopped us on the road to take our picture:

Leia and dad and Eric

As you can see in the picture on the left in back, an officer also stopped us and asked if we needed any help. His name was Eric from the Obion County Police Dept., and he graciously offered to escort us almost TEN MILES into the town of Samburg, Tennessee…..wow! Thanks! Here’s Officer Eric behind us:

Erics Obion County police car

Finally got to Samburg, and Reelfoot Lake, and had a nice evening meal lakeside at the Pier Restaurant…..what a relief to be in some air conditioning! We talked with some parents in the restaurant who were teaching their young children sign language. We offered them some resources and encouragement. You can do it!

By now it was dark, and the man at the motel across the street offered us a room at a discount. We are MOST grateful! Thank you, Jesus!

TGG,

jon

Day 63 [Belmont State Park, Columbus, KY – Cayce, KY]

MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2010

After an extremely warm night at Columbus Belmont State Park, we decided to stick around for a few hours until the heat of the day was past. That gave me a chance to get caught up on 2 days worth of blogging, and Earline a chance to do some reading and get some rest.

[Trying some manual spacing today.] [Whoops!….that didn’t work either.]

View of Mississippi River from SP

Barge from CB SP

We met Cathy, one of the park’s hosts, and she was so kind to bring us some ice for our water bottles. It has been so hot – heat indexes well over 100 degrees each day, so ice is like GOLD for us.

About 5pm we headed south through some more rolling hills. (They have some serious hills in even western Kentucky!)

Still have hills in Kentucky

At one point, in the middle of 100s of acres of soybeans and corn as far as we could see, we were getting 5 bars of reception on our phones with no tower in sight, even though last night on top of one of the highest bluffs around, we had no phone service.

What?!

Too much technology for me!

(In other words, I’ve been dealing with technology all my life, and I STILL can’t figure some of this stuff out!…..ack!)

A lady sitting on her porch in Oakton greeted us and asked us if we needed some water or ice….absolutely! Here’s the Stinson family AND Howie Houghton.

Stinson family

Perfect timing! (Thank you, God!) We went past this little church…..and take a close look at the name….

Past little church ins outhern Kentucky

Mt Sinai sign

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church! How about that! I believe this was also in Oakton. They even had a little cemetery in the back.

Mt Sinai cemetery

Continued through some more farmland (and past yet another cemetery)….

Southern Kentucky road

Oakwood cemetery

We got down to Cayce (pronounced “casey”) as we saw another beautiful sunset.

Sunset near Cayce

Stopped at a little convenience store and met Judy Blackburn. Judy was so kind – she made Earline a fat ham sandwich, and gave me a big tall glass of milk. Yea!

Judy and Earline

Please pray for Judy and her daughter, Victoria. At the age of only 30, Victoria was recently diagnosed with the first ever recorded tumor growing in her heart. The Mayo Clinic was involved – complications from the surgery and medications caused her to have a stroke, debilitating her whole right side.

She IS walking again, but much of her right side is still not functioning, and the ability to engage in conversations is a whole new struggle. But they ARE believers, and we do know that with God ALL things ARE possible!

After leaving the convenience store, we met 2 more young ladies and their young son or nephew outside, and spent about 15 minutes talking to them, and explaining our Mission Possible Tour.

By now it was very dark, but I remembered seeing a sign for a Methodist church just around the corner. And sure enough, there it was. There was a big cemetery on the west side of the church, and they had a large cement platform in front by the main entrance. In the corner of that platform, right under a big oak tree is where we set our tent.

Tent in corner of cement

(Here’s a picture of where we set up our tent from the next morning.)

Campsite front of Methodist church

Again, it was dark, who do you ask?….the house to the right might have been the parsonage, but maybe it wasn’t. So….if someone didn’t want us there (we weren’t hiding – we were RIGHT in front), I’m sure they’d let us know….we quickly set up the tent, and laid down to rest.

And there’s something peaceful about laying down right next to a building where they worship God. Even David extolled the idea of living in God’s house. [Psalm 27:4]

Earline says she heard wild dogs and wolves, but that’s another story!

ONLY TGG,

jon

Day 61 [Twente School Road/Hwy 3, IL – Hwy 1203, KY]

SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010

The mosquitoes are dead and we aren’t, so we survived the night. (And we’ve agreed to use the bug bomb only when we AREN’T in the tent….ha!)

I got up around 5:15 as it was just getting light, and noticed what I had not seen last night….literally dozens of garden spiders above our heads, hanging from various support beams of the wooden poles holding up the pavilion roof. Some small, some pretty good sized.

Now spiders kind of freak me out, and I had been doing some pretty intense praying before I noticed them, dangling from their webs. My first thought was, “look at all the danger just over our heads, and how God protected us.” My next thought was, “Wait! Don’t spiders eat mosquitoes? Maybe this was a good thing!”

Alexander pavilion

What I have a question about, though, is something hopefully one of YOU will be able to answer:  after we packed up our things and started to leave, I rode around in the pavilion looking for the spiders to show Earline, and I could not find one!

Huh?!

When it gets light, or hot, do they hide? Where did they go? (Sounds like a special for “Wild Kingdom” or “Animal Planet.”)

We headed out from yet another hospitable (unbeknownest to them) church grounds.

Alexander church sign church pavilion

Alexander church sign

We appreciate it!

And we always leave a thank-you note and a WiFi Pedaler flyer to let them know we were there. We also always try to leave wherever we stay “a little better” than it was when we came.

Like bending back the tumbler plate on “mom’s” guest bedroom door so the door would close easily, fixing someone else’s toilet flapper so water didn’t waste, or here, picking up the pieces of a broken glass bottle that someone had dropped on the northwest corner of the pavilion.

WIFI TIP – Resolve to leave each place better than when you found it! Good habit.

We rode past the Horseshoe Lake camping area that Bob talking about in the Bicycling Guide. It really is a pretty area.

Horseshoe campground area

This also gave Earline a chance to act out Psalm 91:13 (look it up):

Psalm 91 try out

One thing we did notice, is that there didn’t seem to be as much standing water here. Along the Mississippi, yes, because the river is so high….but a couple miles away from the river, like this Horseshoe Lake area….dry.

BARN ART alert! (This certainly must be in memory of SOME barn’s passing.)

Barn art barn mailbox

We learned later in Cairo (pronounced like “Carol” without the “L”), that this area hasn’t had hardly any rain in nearly 2 months! We saw cornfields with browning roots and curled up leaves. What a difference a few miles makes!

We went past the National Cemetery in Mound City, and saw the gravestones of many unknown soldiers who lost their lives in defense of freedom.

Gate of Mound City Nat Cem

Graves at Mound City

They had some verses from a poem by Theodore O’Hara on plaques lining the sides of the driveway. Some of these same verses are on display at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C. Here’s one:

1 of 7 plaques of poem by Theodore O Hara

Also saw this interesting sign from The War Department, Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, dated September 1, 1875, that among other things stated:

“Information having been received of the desecration of soldier’s graves by picnic parties in a National Cemetery, and by vending refreshments therein, it is hereby ordered that hereafter no such practices shall be allowed….”

Vending refreshments??!

Refreshments rule sign

After we left the cemetery, we stopped to rest a minute….it is HOT!

Leaving Illinois cemetery

Later, we passed by this place that was……watering logs? Whatever for? Anybody have any ideas about this?

Watering logs

We finally made it into Cairo….(pause for photo-op)…southernmost town in Illinois….

Welcome to Cairo

….through a tunnel under an overhead road….[hmmm….looks a little unkept]

Under Cairo tunnel

….and headed for what we were TOLD were 2 great bar-b-que places. Stopped at Mac’s on the north side….and left. The “spirit’ of the place just did not seem right….and it was empty….not a good sign. They only had pork, so Earline begged hypertension and we left gracefully. (They did let us get some ice water, so thank you, Mack’s!)

Leaving Macs

Then we stopped by a sign that said Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, and met a member who recommended Schemmwell’s. Here’s 2 sistas in the Lord:

Mount Moriah

Cairo is a very depressing place. One of locals gave us some history….what had been a bustling town of 28,000 is now barely 2,000. We saw many boarded up homes, broken-windowed buildings.

Apparently racial tension was a large factor.

And then there was a mayor who put them millions of dollars in debt which they haven’t recovered from. We were told even the POLICE CARS were repossessed.

We saw one 2-story building burning, gutted out, with yellow police tape around it, and smoke STILL coming from rubble in the center of the ash pile. (I should have gotten some pictures of this, but I was so shocked at the…..the devastation, that I was kind of embarrassed to take a picture of this mess.

We did stop at Schemmwells, and got some sliced bar-b-qued beef….

Inside Schemwells

…Earline and I didn’t want to eat too heavy because of our triking, so we split an entree and each got two sides. It was….how shall I say it….very disappointing.

The place wasn’t much bigger than a Waffle House. There were only 4 customers in there when we got there, and 1 when we left (granted, it was 3 in the afternoon).

But the spirit of excellence was lost somewhere. Our server was pleasant enough, but we had to request her to come clear off the table. When the phone rang, she seemed upset that it was ringing, and that she had to answer it.

The portions were served on styrofoam, and were minuscule. Each of us got a half slice of bread with 2 little strips of beef on it. Together the sandwiches would have barely made a kid’s meal at Subway, and this meal cost us over 9 dollars. (and we drank only water.)

Say something nice!……..okay, well, the sweet sauce they gave me in a bottle was good.

I think the spirit of the town has put a damper on everything here, though.

Pray for them….Cairo, Illinois.

Since we had no T-Mobile phone service in town, we called the local police and asked for police escort across the bridge. (Apparently someone from FLORIDA donated them some cars.) They seemed reluctant, but agreed to help us.

We headed down to the very southern tip of Illinois. The bridge to the right went to Missouri, the bridge (our bridge) to the left went to Kentucky.

Bridges sign

Bridge #37.5 to the right:

Bridge we didnt take

Here we are, waiting for our police escort:

Waiting for the po po

Bridge #38 to Kentucky:

Bridge38

Making the climb on 38

Looking to the right from the bridge, just past the barge, you can the see the Ohio River we are going over, where it runs into the Mississippi River coming in from the right:

Barge under Cairo to KY bridge

How many more bridges over the MR? Three that I know of, but we’ll see. We had 1 or 2 more ferry rides planned, but those might not be in operation, as we found out up at St. Genevieve, Missouri.

As we were going across the bridge, it started to rain!

Ack!

Can’t stop here to put on rain gear. We prayed it didn’t get too heavy….and by the time we got across (long bridge – like the Chain of Rocks bridge) the officer was gone….not sure where he turned around. HAD to have been the little side road of the northeast side of the bridge….we think. Anyway, no picture of him except this.

Cairo police escort

THANKS AGAIN Cairo police for help making this Mission Possible Tour POSSIBLE!

It was starting to rain hard now….Welcome to Kentucky! State number 6!

(Notice the narrow shoulder and rumble grooves? ACK!)

Welcome to Kentucky rain

…..ON with the rain gear….mile later, rain stopped….OOO, this is hot; off with the rain gear. Whoops! It’s starting to rain again. On with the rain gear….WAIT! It’s stopping! Off with the rain gear….(what kinda mess??!!…HA!)

On off again Earline rain gear

Mississippi river rain

Eventually it did stop….and we got to Wycliffle, Kentucky. We met the John Kinder family from Cape Girardeau. John said he used to play tennis with “mom’s” son, Matt. Small world! HA!

Thanks for your encouraging words that you sent through the web site, John! Yes, Psalms 121 and 91 are turning out to be big hits with us this summer.

Looked for a place to camp in town, but nothing looked acceptable or safe (guide us, Lord!). Here’s the bridge we just crossed from the Wycliffe river front.

Bridge we just crossed from Cairo to Wycliffe KY

We saw a big cross through the trees, and thought there might be a church just south of town.

We had 2 four-legged guides follow (guide?) us from down by the river front.

2 friends from riverfront

Earline thought they were going to get run over, and they almost did a couple times, once by a semi that burned MUCH rubber to avoid them.

Finally were able to find the cross, and realize it was just….a cross. On a scenic overlook.

Interesting story…..(Link to the cross at Wycliffe, Kentucky).

Famous Fort Jefferson cross

Cross trikes silouette

It was about an hour before sunset. There were some great views from up on this hill:

Barge from cross scenic view

Scenic sunset from cross

We decided to move on. We rode past this factory…..

Factory amongst woods

….continuing thru some dense woods….

Thick woods

….saw a sign for a Beech Grove Missionary Baptist Church, and……THERE IT WAS, between a cornfield and a soybean field. We decided to camp under a tree on the north side of the church.

(So, let’s see….is this a Black congregation or a White congregation?….we’ll see.) (Either way, we figure we’ve got it covered! Ha!)

We found a faucet on the side of the building, so we were able to take sponge baths. We figured that if someone stopped to ask us what we were doing……we would tell them we were just a little early for church!

Thank you, Lord, for a place to camp, for bringing us safely through the day.

TGG,

jon

Day 60 [Cape Girardeau, MO – Twente School Road/Hwy 3, IL]

FRIDAY, JULY 30, 2010

Wow…hard to believe it’s been 2 months already…only 1 month to go, and less than 990 miles to go.

We said a prayerful good-bye to “mom” today…she had made us eggs this morning (and she milked the cow….MILK) (ha), and I had a chance to get caught up-to-date on the blog this morning.

Squeeze Earline mom

(By the way, for those of you who are new to the blog here, unlike last night at “mom’s” house, many times we do not have WIFI to do the daily blog….but I was able to set it up so that I can e-mail text to the blog from my Blackberry, and I just add pictures later. What I HAVEN’T been able to figure out, though, is how to leave spaces between the paragraphs so that it does not look like one run-on sentence. I have tried space bar spaces, periods, alt-spaces…..nothing has worked. Tonight I am simply trying to put a (P) where a blank line should go. We’ll see if THAT works.)

(It didn’t.)

(By the way #2….tonight we don’t even have phone service, so this blog won’t go out until I have bars in the morning.)

(“Mom”….this is why we didn’t call you tonight…we have no phone service where we’re at.)

(Sure are a lot of parentheses here, huh?!!)

((((((((((yup!)))))))))))

After we left mom’s, we happened to be going right past the SE Missourian, so we stopped in to see if they wanted a story on us…not really, it seems. Like Earline said, you throw the seed on the ground, and some grows, some doesn’t.

We met a fellow cyclist at the library. (Earline had to pee-pee.) David gave us his “I’m big, I’m bad, and I ride a bike” pose:

David at library in CG

We saw this wonderful, elaborate painting on the side a building along Broadway [yes, this is ACTUALLY painted on the building….I did NOT add this in Photoshop]:

2 story Bible verse

We stopped by the floodwall to look at the mural we heard so much about…we really enjoyed the artists’ work….interesting!

Start of flood wall mural

We met Gary and Clodine Metje, who were also looking at the high water on the outside of the floodwall. They just celebrated their 55 wedding anniversary.

Gary Clodine and Earline

You can see how the water is lapping at the bottom of the outside of the flood wall. The river is HIGH!

Outside of floodwall

Stopped and had lunch at a shady shelter at the south end of the mural. Talked to Cyndi, and encouraged her “in the Word.” What we learned later, is that Cyndi had lost one of her patients earlier that day…..thank you God for allowing us to be an inspiration!

Headed across the Mississippi River, back one more time to Illinois, over the Bill Emerson bridge. (Pssst….see the Mormons on their bicycles just ahead of us?!) (We sometimes need to explain to folks that we are NOT Mormon!)

Bridge #37:

Mormons on bridge

Crossing BE bridge

Bridge37

Entering Illinois on Bridge 37

Saw this neat beam of sunlight streaming through the clouds.

Beam of light

The water is high, and running fast, and the swamps on either side of Highway 3 were looking full. Then it started to rain, as we came upon a flagman and single-laning for traffic. He let us go on ahead as the rain started to pour down. We went maybe a few hundred yards when….TA-DAH….we noticed a camping sign to the right…and a pavilion!

We raced for that, and waited out the rain. It poured for a good 30 – 40 minutes. Earline was singing some old hymns, and I got some neat photos (remember to thank God in ALL situations!) (see Hosea 6:6)

Singing in the little pavilion

Jon in the little pavilion

Silhouette Earline

I saw this tugboat pushing a barge downriver….and with the current so strong, boy, was he bookin’!!

Barge thru rain

(It is raining again right now as I write this at about 10:00pm….but we’re nice and dry. I’ll explain.)

When the rain stopped, as we left the little pavilion we discovered was that this was the town of Thebes, and we headed south. The little map at the shelter said we weren’t too far from the Horseshoe Campground, so that’s where we intended to spend the night.

As we continued on Hwy 3, the water on the hot asphalt was creating clouds of steam that created kind of an eerily pretty scene.

Steam on road

By now though, we could hear thunder behind us, and some tremendous lightning. ANOTHER storm!

The storm was coming closer and closer. It looked like we were not going to be able to outrun it. I could see a wall of rain maybe 200 yards behind us.

I stopped to tell Earline to put her rain gear back on, when we noticed a large pavilion to the left, next to a Baptist Church. We raced for that pavilion as it started to rain, and lightning, and more rain….(shelter in a storm).

By now it is only about an hour before dark, and as the rain continued for a bit, we decided to camp right there. There was a house right next to some playground equipment, next to the pavilion, but no one answered the door. (So who DO you ask?)

There were Christmas decorations by the front door, and lots of bird poop under a snowman wind chime….it looked like the house hadn’t been occupied for a while.

We set up the tent, and since we couldn’t stake the tent down, we tried putting each trike on either side, and attached the tent tarp to the stake behind the spokes….and it worked pretty well. It kept the side walls pulled out, creating more room in tent.

Tent set up by Baptist church

We had a little supper (Earline slaved over it all day – and we both agreed it was good!) (Ha!)

Supper is served

The rain has been off and on all evening, but we’re nice and dry….(now if we can just find this mosquito that’s been bothering us all night) (Earlline! Don’t spray that BUG BOMB while we’re IN here!….let me deal with this….good night!)

Through God’s Grace,

jon

Day 39 [Davenport, IA – Winfield, IA]

FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2010

I had set the alarm for 4:45am…..and we were on our way from the Westside Assembly of God Day Care Center about 5:15….didn’t want to scare any of the incoming staff or kids!

I was so glad we had not tried the road southwest of Davenport in the dark, because it was in really rough shape.

LOTS of truck traffic and the wet spring season had made for a cracked and pot-holed road.

There were many what appeared to be limestone production plants…..HUGE building to our left; elevators and augers over out heads from the right; and mysterious fences and “Danger – Explosive” signs to our right, with glimpses of deep holes and quarries just beyond our sight.

Buffalo limestone plant

Buffalo limestone plant2

Mysterious fences

We’ve been seeing deer every once in a while, and this morning was no exception. I understand it is a pretty big problem in East Central Iowa, with HALF of all car body work is made necessary because of collisions with deer!

We DID see a couple deer this morning, but they are usually too quick to catch with the camera.

Down in Muscatine (talk about those re-occurring, heavenly “coincidences”)….clean-up maintenance forced us to find a detour around the area just south of Muscatine, and we discover a NEW, pretty river-side park not mentioned in our MRT guide. The park ran right up to the water’s edge, and then a bike path continued right on top of a small levee for I would guess at least a mile along the northwest side of the Mississippi River.

Detour park discovery

This made for some great views of trucks line up with some kind of grain (maybe white corn?), and an augur continuously loading bins on the barge. (See how weighed down in the water the back of the barge is?)

Loading white corn

Loading barge

Then, using my GPS, we were headed back to the MRT route from the end of the levee, when we happened to see “signing” going on the schoolyard. It turned out to be a YMCA Can Do Camp, and we met the young man “Draven” who had 2 cochlear implants, but was also learning ASL.

Draven at YMCA Can Do camp

If the detour hadn’t been required, then we wouldn’t have found the park, or the levee bike path, or gone past the park where Draven was. All we can say is “Thank you, God!”

We went down the roads through “Muscatine Island” with some very HEAVY truck traffic.

(We heard a rumor that the inspectors were out and about today, and trucks were taking a lot of back roads to avoid the inspectors….interesting!)

Headed along the Mississippi and Iowa River flats towards Burlington, when we were picked up by Cousin Jeff and his trailer, which held our trikes quite nicely.

Jeff took us over to their farm, where he and Gayle (my second cousin) live. It was good to see Gayle again! And just a few miles away also lives one of my FIRST cousins, Vicki (Suckow) Schroeder!

It’s like a family reunion! (A few days later, I found out ANOTHER first cousin lives just 8 miles south! Ha!)

We decided to head over to Vicki and John’s place for supper.

Earline and I (AND Jaxon!) had steaks that Cousin John had EXPERTLY prepared at their house in Mt. Pleasant.

Patiently waiting for chef John

Afterwards Cousin Jeff and Gayle brought over Dairy Queen (yea!) that we all sat around and enjoyed along with Vicki’s brownies made especially for me (boy, we are getting spoiled!). A very nice evening with relatives we hadn’t seen for years.

Icing Jons brownies

Jeff John Vicki

Vicki Gayle Earline

And I know God smiles when He sees the love that we all hold for each other.

TGG,

jon

Day 30 [Pikes Peak State Park, IA – Guttenburg, IA]

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2010

Slept in a little bit, up at 8:30.

Question for any of you recumbent riders out there: I’ve been experiencing some numbness in my left foot toes. I normally can shake my foot while I’m riding and the feeling comes back. But this past week, the numbness has continued when I’m OFF the trike, even through the night (like right now, at 3:30am). Any ideas?

By the way, Earline’s leg has been feeling much better. Her legs will sometimes ache at night, but she seems to be getting stronger, and she doesn’t have the sharp pains like she did at first. She wears a wrap on each knee, and that seems to help.

Got a chance to view the Mississippi from the Park’s FABULOUS overlook. Check out these photos:

Approach south overlook

Looking east from Pike’s Peak, you can see where the Wisconsin River empties into the Mississippi.

Wisconsin River flowing into MR

Here are barges waiting to be loaded or shipped. In the background you can see the east leg of the MacGregor / Prairie-du-Chien bridge.

Barges waiting to be loaded or shipped

Does the photo below look familiar? Check our the ROUTE page on this web site. The river is almost 3 miles wide at this point [and yes, if the winter is especially cold, the river freezes over, and you can DRIVE from one side to the other!].

Route header photo

Zooming in, you can see the west side of the MacGregor / Prairie bridge. In the distance on the left, you can see the Riverboat casino that we went past yesterday.

West side MacGregor bridge

Tugboat pushing barges

Jon on the overlook

And God sees, DESIGNED every detail…..“The heavens declare His righteousness, and every nation sees His glory.” Psalm 97:6 (In other words, not one person has any excuse….His power and majesty is clearly visible to those who take time to notice.)

Met Lloyd this morning, who has biked all the way from Cairo, Egypt to Capetown, South Africa. He’s also biked across the US a couple times, and Canada.

Earline and Lloyd

The fellow in the Park gift shop knew Uncle Dan (EVERYBODY knows Uncle Dan!….ha!)

Headed down the road towards Guttenberg, again along the top of the ridge with some wonderful, scenic views. Although there was one dip – WHOO! – it was a fun downhill, but a tough uphill. Got passed by a family on bicycles (but no extra gear)…the boys were keeping up with mom and dad for the most part. Now THAT’s family involvement!

Two boys chasing dad

Went down the county road into Guttenberg – got up to 41 MPH. Glad we didn’t have to go UP that hill!

County Road MRT into Guttenburg

Saw a WONDERFUL view of the town as we went down, but I was NOT stopping! Guess you’ll have to come see that for yourself!

Toodled around Guttenburg for a little bit. Real pretty riverfront park. The MRT really should route itself this way….just continue straight on Marina/3rd street. A lot of cute little shops and eating places, too. Just turn right when you get to the end of the park to get over to Hwy 52.

Stopped at a Subway….ask Earline to explain the phrase for the summer: “I hope it’s good and not nasty.”

Met a Pastor and his family who were headed to their vacation place on the island, and they asked if we needed anything! (Well, a place to stay would be nice, and MUCH appreciated!) The daughter Megan gave up her sleeping spot in the backyard camper, so we ask that God give her a special blessing, as well as the whole Duncan Ahrens family.

Ahrens backyard camper

Ahrens family

God used you! And we are extremely grateful. They sometimes have an interpreter at their church, but no Deaf. Earline gave them some tips for seeking out the Deaf.

Thru God’s Grace,

jon

Day 25 [Brownsville, MN – Waterville & Monona, IA]

FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

Woke up close to river, with tugboats pushing their barges up and down the river.

Wildcat Landing Campground2

Barge beside Wildcat

We slept in until 8:30 (but Earline says that isn’t sleeping in when you don’t go to bed until 3am!!) Well…..maybe…..

We stayed next to a neat family there on an annual trip to this area. Here is James Kammes and his son Kaden, getting prepped for some fishing:

James Kammes and Kaden

And here is Grandpa Bob, giving Kaden some sage advice on the finer points of catching the BIG ONE:

Grandpa Bob and Kaden

Also camped next to us on the west side was Dr. Terry and his wife Michelle. Not only was he excited about our long trek down the river and his own vintage bicycle, but he noticed Earline’s scar and asked about it….apparently he specializes in open heart surgeries, and using technologies that make such surgeries less intrusive.

Terry and Michelle

Again headed south went through some more great scenery, and the last of our trip through Minnesota:

On the road in SE MN

But now, it’s time for a NEW state….one familiar to me….IOWA!

Look another state

Thank you, “Vanna!”

It looks like it gets cold in the winter time in Iowa, too. [Like I don’t know….why do you think I moved to FLORIDA!] Check out THIS stack of firewood:

Gets cold even in northern Iowa LOGS

When we got to New Albin, I had $2 in my pocket, but we soon discovered that it was a special promotional day put on by the local bank….free BEER and BRAT! (root beer) Thank you, God!

Festival in New Albin

And we even got free entertainment – the Good Friends Trio out of Decorah, Iowa.

Good Friends Trio from Decorah

Full of brats and beer, we continued on our way….gotta make it to Monona by tonight!

We had been seeing these large white worms in the fields the past few weeks, but we finally saw how they were created:

Wrapping big round bales in white cocoon

The wheel on the platform kept turning around, as the white wrap encircled each bale, with the farmer loading another bale just in time to connect it to the previous bale. And now you have protected feed for the cattle without the expense of a building. Interesting!

In Lansing, because the day was getting away from us, we made a decision to make an adjustment to a more direct route, with help from a guy named Jon as well as Allie in the convenience store there. Because our cell phones were not working, they let us make a call to Uncle Danny and Aunt Joanita to let them know that we were close and not to worry! Allie had lost hearing in one ear, and expressed an interest in sign language. Be sure to check out th resources at www.godshandsagency.com

Wave hi, Allie!

Allie and Jon

Headed southwest of Lansing, up the Lansing hill towards Waterville, and on to Monona.

Here is an aerial view of our route out of Lansing:

Aerial view of our route south of Lansing

The climb was very steep going up from Lansing, and the traffic was heavy, making our progress slow. We even saw some deer on the right hand side headed up the hill. We could also see lightning in the distance ahead of us…oh, no!

[THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS FROM AN UPDATE I SENT FROM MY BLACKBERRY AT 11:30PM, FRIDAY NIGHT. -jon]

Just wanted to let everyone know we arrived safely at Danny and Joanita’s in Monona about 10:30 tonight, thanks to some special angels from Waterville named Tim and Kristin.

Tim and Kristin

Kristin said they had seen us passing by when they were in their boat on the river. Then when headed home with their boat, they passed us on the road.

They knew about an oncoming storm that we didn’t know about. From their home, Kristin was so convicted about our plight, that she told her husband that they needed to find us.

So they actually came looking for us with their pickup.

Did all of you who are praying for us understand what we said?

They came LOOKING for us.

The Spirit of God Himself convicted Kristin to such a point that she urged Tim to go out into a gathering storm to find us.

They picked us up outside of Waterville, Tim helped me load the fully-loaded trikes on to their pickup, and they DROVE us all the way to Monona as the lightning flashed all around us.

Awesome! Simply an awesome God we serve, because He continues to bring people like Tim and Kristin into our lives. All of you together (and you KNOW who you are) have helped to make this Mission Possible Tour POSSIBLE.

What is God doing in YOUR life?

With God, it is absolutely true that ALL things are possible. [from Matthew 19:26]

TGG,

jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

P.S. Danny and Joanita were happy to see us!

Dan and Joanita