Day 25 [Cocoa – Orlando, FL]

MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2014

[Distance traveled: 47 miles]

OOOOO….4:30 came EARLY!

Got packed up about 5:30, and then headed over to iHOP….literally only 50 feet from our front door!

Yea!

Hmmmm…..French Toast and scrambled eggs….mmmmm.

By the time we finished breakfast it was starting to get light. [As you can see, we actually were put in a handicapped room again, AND there was a ramp right up to the door of our room. How convenient!]

Light at 6,45

Yes, we again were able to fit both the trikes IN our room.

Trikes IN room

So the GOAL today is to MAKE IT HOME!

Earline here multi-tasks, drinking her coffee and posting photos on Facebook:

Earline multitasking

It was pretty cool this morning, maybe mid-to-high 50s, but the weather forecast seemed to indicate that it would warm up fast after the sun came out, and that indeed is what happened.

Gorgeous day….great for triking!

Early start

We came upon our LAST bridge, over the St. John’s River….and there was a truck in the way!

FINAL bridge over the St. Johns River

Turns out there were working on the mechanism that monitors the flow of the river.

Monitoring water flow

And looking over the railing, here is the river they were monitoring:

St Johns River

The St. John’s River, one of the few rivers that flow from South to North in the United States – a few in Wisconsin and Maine, but that’s about it. The St. John’s ends in Jacksonville, FL, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

The watershed area of the river is very marshy, which explains not having much in the way of service for many miles.

No services

Here we stopped under the Beach [B] Line Expressway to take a break in the shade [getting HOT already, although the breeze stayed fairly cool – a very enjoyable ride!] and have a bite to eat:

Sitting under BLine

After going through most of the Scripture I knew, and all the Fearless Songs, we found other ways to amuse ourselves….like looking at cows and bee hives:

Cows and bees….bees chase cows maybe

Whoa, Bessy! So, did the one cow just get stung, or what??!?!!

Then we saw this tower with all these birds on it….hmmmm.

Tower with birds

But what ARE they?! Let’s take a close look.

Closeup tower with birds

Oh-oh….looks like vultures to me!

[Don’t trike too slow, or they might think you’re a potential meal!]

FINALLY reached the overpass on to Highway 50.

But good news/bad news…..yes, this mean we are over halfway home, and it’s only 11:00am….but the road shoulder through Bithlo was so rough, and only about 36 to 40 inches wide…..rough goin’. And THEN, we ran into THIS:

More CONSTRUCTION

The dreaded CONSTRUCTION zone….

CONSTRUCTION

We even had a few sprinkles on our head, but we quickly prayed against THAT demon! Ha!

FINALLY got past the construction area, and we hit the Lokanotosa Trail that starts at Alafaya and goes behind University High School, the ECON Trail, the Cady Way Trail, and the Dinky Train Trail….a trail of TRAILS!

Ha!

That made the last 15 miles MUCH nicer that the earlier part of the day’s journey.

We even got a little of the FLORIDA change of season leaves that we experienced in Rome, Georgia earlier this year at the WinShape Conference Center.

The ECON Trail goes all the way from Rouse Road to Forsyth Road, for 7 pretty miles.

Florida change of seasons

 

It LOOKS like FALL, doesn’t it??!!

Earline up wooden path on Econ Trail

Jon on ECON Trail

However, with 9.5 miles to go, we stopped in the park to use one of the bathrooms and stretch, and Earline experienced the inability to bend her left knee. This is the same one that has been hurting her the whole trip, and she was in a lot of pain. She had already taken 2-800mg Ibuprofen, and popped two more….she wanted to finish the trip!

After a few minutes she was able to proceed, but we had to go slow, and I did my best to find paths that were mostly flat, clear of any traffic.

We proceeded on Hanging Moss over to Semoran, and caught the Cady Way Trail on the south end, where there is no overpass. We went over through the Fashion Square Mall area, crossed the very busy Highway 50 that we had been on earlier, and jumped on Livingston to take us the rest of the way downtown.

We stopped in at the apartment office to say hi to the staff, and who should appear but our nephew DJ [who took us down to Key West back on the 6th] along with his two kids, Zaria and Isaiah!

Great to see them! And then Melisha showed up with Rashord as well. [Melisha helped check the mail for us all the while we were gone.] What a wonderful surprise to see them all!

And, of course, we HAD to get a selfie with all of us:

Family selfie

After about an hour, we chased them all out, got cleaned up, and then went out to treat ourselves with a bite to eat at 4 Rivers, one of Earline’s favorite bar-b-q places.

Then we went over to the hospital, to have them check on Earline’s knee.

Sitting in waiting office

And there we still sit…..it is 2:09am….and they did an x-ray and an ultra-sound on Earline’s knee, and will probably recommend her to an orthopedic doctor to check further the structure of her knee.

Ooops, the doctor just came in, and said the blood was clean, nothing septic, no infection, so they are going to give her a few meds and crutches, and a recommendation to go to Jewett Orthopedic.

Sports medicine….heh. Just triking over 450 miles in 3 weeks qualifies as sports, don’t ya think??!!?

Time to wrap this up. I will do a summary and “reflections” blog entry in a few days, and my goal is to keep this up at least once a week, so you can stay up on any future MPTs [Earline says 3,000 miles is ENOUGH….Ha!], bike/trike news, and spiritual insights that God gives us.

We love you all! And thank you so much for all your prayers and support!

ONLY through God’s grace….

jon

Day 22 [Wabasso Beach – Melbourne, FL]

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

[Distance traveled: 30 miles]

Happy Friday! Yes, we are safely at my sister’s after a rough 30 miles into the wind all day.

Before I get started here, though, a did want to clarify something. I have been using the phrase, “Help make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!”…..and many of you have contributed to this “Facing Your Fears” Tour in so many ways, through your prayers, through providing us with ice, through opening up your home to us for a place to stay, and MANY other ways.

And we are SO grateful.

But I did want to clarify, though, that when we talk about contributing to our cause, we are talking about funds that go directly to God’s Hands Agency, and we are NOT talking about funds that go toward these Mission POSSIBLE Tours. These trips are underwritten by Earline and myself, and our jab designs business, and are meant to be an ENCOURAGEMENT for those of you working with us in God’s Hands Agency, and the STRUGGLES that we ALL go through in our daily lives.

Any funds that we are asking you for are going towards the operating budget of God’s Hands Agency for the coming calendar year. We have set a goal of $5,000 for this entire next year, and hope to raise that by the end of December. And we are using our “Go Fund Me” website to collect those funds.

Earline has put together an excellent review of some things that God’s Hands Agency has accomplished in the past year, and when you go to the Go Fund Me site, you can read Earline’s thoughts right there, as well as the Scripture verses, the “lyrics” for all 6 of the Fearless songs! There is a link to Go Fund Me web site on the front page of our God’s Hands Agency web site.

Yesterday I mentioned that as the sun was going down, we were at Wabasso Beach, and were trying to find a place to lay down our head for the night.

Unbeknownst to us, there is hardly ANYTHING at Wabasso Beach [except a great little deli], but no place to stay, except at Sebastian Inlet State Park, which was still 7 miles away, or across the bridge over to Highway 1, ALSO about 7 miles away. What to do?

So at OUR speed, we’re still talking about an hour-and-a-half away.

There did seem to be SOMETHING big to our right….so I stopped at the guard gate to ask for advice, and it turned out to be a Disney Resort – what they call Disney Vero Beach Resort. Miss Diane told us about the lack of any facilities close by, but then she said to hold up, and she would check if they had anything available.

Any they did!

ONE room, a studio apartment for the handicapped, was available. It was not cheap, but our AAA membership provided a $40 discount! How about that! So we decided to take it.

Miss Brenda from the Front Desk met us outside, and you can see her picture in yesterday’s blog.

All we really did was sleep [HA!], but we appreciated the nice place to rest.

We took a quick walk in the morning, and this is indeed a beautiful location.

This was the little porch attached to our room.

Earline on DVB porch

The lodge was huge!

Disney Vero Beach resort

They had a beautiful boardwalk right on the Atlantic.

Me looking at ocean

But as we took these pictures we were freezing! It was colder this morning than yesterday!

[One quick boo-clap here…Disney! Shame on you. In the lobby, 20 feet from the entrance to the breakfast area, you have a hot coffee stand, all pretty and smelling good…..BUT!

There are no cups! Where are the cups?

It turns out that the CUPS cost money – 2 bucks or whatever it was – the CUPS cost money! What? You can’t provide free coffee to your guests? BAD public relations. Even Motel 6 provides free coffee…HEH!]

Okay……one interesting note….I use the term often [and too often FEEL it], that we are ALL going back to the dust. And we are….you KNOW we are.

Whether it is the simple 50-year-old motel, OR this big, fancy Disney resort, ALL show signs of going back to the dust. Even here, the knob on the closest door was loose and almost falling off. The shelf beside the bathroom sink had loose wall anchors on the left hand side, and was tipping dangerously, and the screw for the shower was loose, so that the shower head would not hold up at an angle, but flopped forward, pointing the shower spray at the handle [I fixed that…ha!].

EVERYTHING’s going back to the dust.

And didn’t God make that clear to Adam, that Adam would die, and that death, and disease, and deterioration would be brought into the world because of sin?

And that is EXACTLY what we honestly see all around us.

We had our trikes in the room with us – remember, this was a handicapped room, with wide spaces – and took them by elevator down to the basement. [Only way to ride them in and out!]

Yes do fit in elevator

Oh-oh! This guy doesn’t want Earline to leave!

Earline in fake topiary jaws

After a quick bite at the Wabasso deli, we then bundled up and headed north.

Cold morning Earline on A1A

It was COLD….and the wind was blowing pretty strong in our faces. Brrrrr!

Even EARLINE was wearing her jacket to stay warm!

We hadn’t actually gone too far, but who should we see, but Bob and Fifi from Waldo’s at Vero Beach! It was good to see them, and they had a chance to actually try out our trikes. What fun!

Fifi and Bob on trikes

Most of what we saw again today, though, was this…..straight, flat, and a little monotonous [but nicely manicured shoulders….heh!].

Lot of what we saw

There was a place up by the Sebastian Inlet that you could tell was VERY narrow….maybe only a hundred yards across, from Indian River to the Atlantic. Had some nice views of the river here.

Trikes on wide Indian River

Pelicans

Is the lollipop helping you stay warm?….Ha!

Love that lollipop

Then we saw the bridge over Sebastian Inlet…..hmmmm. Doesn’t look like there’s a bike path. Boo! I guess that is why the sign says to “SHARE THE ROAD.”

SI bridge

Here Earline starts her ascent:

Starting ascent

VERY glad we have these full-sized Slow Moving Vehicle signs….very visible, and familiar.

There was quite a bit of traffic, but during a lull, I was able to get this shot from the top of the bridge:

SI SP view from top

This is what the Inlet looks like over the edge of the railing:

View over edge of railing

You can see people enjoying the view on both sides of the Inlet.

Now for the FUN downhill!

Descent

On the way up to Melbourne Beach, we saw these fun signs:

Biggest turkey

Depressed fisherman

And even this “familiar” sign:

MP sign

YES! The mission IS possible!

And then we had the good fortune to meet Daniel at a local convenience store as we spent a few minutes warming up with coffee and hot chocolate.

Daniel

As you can se, Daniel is a “colorful” fella, and I understand he also does photography. Best wishes on YOUR endeavors, Daniel!

By now, the sun is starting to go down, and it is getting even COLDER….we try to add to our clothes without digging too deep in our panniers.

This is what we came up with.

Sleves in my jacket style

Back side

Yes, that is my jacket, and we slid Earline’s legs into the sleeves…..ha! And it worked!

WHATEVER it takes!

My outfit wasn’t much better….had my rain pants available to cut the effects of the wind, and my hooded sweatshirt helped.

Jon at Sunoco station

I think the only problem, really, was just when Earline went into the convenience store to use the restroom, and she forgot that she had on her “outfit.”

Earline wonder pants

Many “looks” and frivolity….ha! [Someone actually called the cops about these two bikes at the Sunoco station and two strange looking folks hanging around them! Ha!]

Earline getting dark

By now we had been riding over an hour in the dark, and the traffic on A1A was horrible, VERY busy. We eventually went through some neighborhoods over to the Eau Gallie Causeway bridge, but by this time Jyl and Dennis thought it best if they come pick us up….we were still about 8 miles from their house, and almost none of the roads we had to travel had bike lanes or bike paths….not a good idea at night.

[Is this cheating?…no….it is just another example of other folks helping to make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!] [And no, for you accountants, I did not include those 8 miles in the total….ha!]

Thankfully, Dennis has a big van that held both the trikes.

Thanks Dennis

Thanks, Lord, for helping us to survive this day….thank you for a place to stay to rest and recuperate.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 19 [Stuart – North Ft. Pierce Beach, FL]

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2014

[Distance traveled: 32 miles]

ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! ALERT!

Some of you have wondering how come you can’t make comments on these blogs, or how can you answer the quiz to get a FREE WiFi Pedalers T-Shirt??

You CAN make comments on these blog entries, and you CAN answer the quiz questions, but there is one trick you have to do first:  at the top of every blog entry there is a title.

Example: Day 18 [North Palm Beach – Stuart, FL]

That “TITLE” of that day’s blog entry is actually a LINK! When you click that TITLE, you are transferred to ANOTHER web page that is that blog entry, and that blog entry ALONE.

At the bottom of that single blog entry, you WILL SEE a comment section, where you can make comments, answer quiz questions, AND win a free WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt.

In fact, the FIRST PERSON that comments on THIS DAY’s blog, will win a FREE WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt!

YES!

And I still do NOT have an answer for the question from DAY 12 [Who are the TWO MEN in history that the Bible specifically says did NOT die? Answer correctly on Day 12’s blog….FIRST person to get them BOTH right wins a FREE WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt!

Now on to TODAY.

Today’s excitement includes $1 shorts, 115 Billion Sold, and 3 TALL bridges!

Are you excited?

Well, actually…..today was…..well, kinda boring. Yup.

We did have 3 HIGH bridges for Earline and I to cross, but the stretch from Stuart to Ft. Pierce is….well, there is not much on that section of A1A.

We got ready to leave the Best Western [they were GREAT!], and they had a full breakfast buffet.

Ready to leave the Best Western

In less than a mile, we noticed this MacDonalds sign [now I know this will date some of you], one of the ORIGINAL signs here in Stuart, where they used to list how many million burgers had ben sold around the world.

Remember 5 million, or 10 million, or 20 million?

Well, now they are up to 115,000 million! Whoa!

Original Mac sign

Love the sign.

As we headed out of town, Earline noticed a church THRIFT STORE sign….this is where she LOVES to shop! So we HAD to stop!

St Mary Thrift Store

And the sign next to the front door said:

And the sign said

Whoa! Can’t hardly beat THAT price!

[And I do believe Earline FOUND a few things….ONLY ONE RULE….SHE had to carry whatever she bought on HER trike! Ha!]

On the way out of town we also stopped at a Dollar Store, to pick up some thank-you cards.

Words to the wise will be sufficient:  ALWAYS be sure to make extra effort say thank-you to those who have helped and blessed YOU.

This is a built-in characteristic of every human being, that is reflective of the attitude that GOD Himself has:  in Psalm 50 it says that God does NOT need or desire our sacrificial offerings, EXCEPT the offering of gratitude and thanks. THAT is what He really wants, along with keeping our vows to Him, and asking Him for help when we need it. Check it out.

We hit our first big bridge going east from Stuart over to A1A.

St Lucie bridge

There was a separated path for walkers, bikers, and TRIKERS!

A separate side path is Earline’s preference.

Separated path up St Lucie bridge

And, of course, once you get to the top, going DOWN is the best part of all….

….but WAIT! What is that in the distance….ANOTHER BRIDGE??!!

Going down to go up again

Yup!

Getting to the coast is a 2-part deal here!

So….up we go AGAIN!

Indian River Lagoon bridge

Notice all the birds….there were a lot of crows, or blackbirds, or whatever they were….just “hanging” on the wind. It was so strong from the south here, from right to left, that the birds could literally not flap their wings, but just face the wind and glide up and down. Interesting to see!

The view from the top was pretty nice.

View from top

The bridge engineers had even designed a place to put a couple benches at the top….great!

Seats at the top

I actually did a video of us coming down from the top of this bridge….stay tuned. I hope to get it posted this weekend.

Once we got all the way over to A1A, we curved north, and the wind was behind us. YEA!

The road here looked like this:

And then 20 miles

And then some of that:

Some of that

And then, a little bit more of THIS:

Little more of the other thing

Yeah, it was a little boring….for TWENTY MILES.

But in all fairness, we did see a few interesting things along the way. We happened to catch this fisherman in his hip waders using a net to catch fish [we saw something similar to this on the Sea of Galilee in Israel].

Man fishing with net

We also went past the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Production Plant….BIG!

St Lucie Nuckear Power Plant

And we did see a FEW beautiful homes on the beachfront. This one was sitting all by itself.

Pretty alone house for sale

Actually, this one was for sale. If you’re interested, send me a request in the comments section….I have a phone number. [Seriously!]

Once we finally got to the Jetty Park, and headed west towards Ft. Pierce, the sky was getting pretty dark in the northwest. I hear they had some bad storms up in Orlando today.

But for us…..that made for some pretty sunset photos.

3rd high bridge

And yes, that is yet ANOTHER bridge up ahead. Up we go!

View from 3rd tall bridge

The view to the north was impressive:

From top of 3rd see guys on pier

What are those guys doin’ down there? Let me zoom in.

2 guys on pier

Looks like they’re doin’ some fishin’. We saw a lot of that today from the bridges.

Headed north thru Ft. Pierce so that we could get on the bridge that goes east back out to A1A. Saw this sign outside a little restaurant.

Restaurants cook

Well, at least you are guaranteed that your fish will be FRESH!

Getting dark now, but we have all our lights on our trikes beaming away.

Earline near dark north of Ft Pierce

And one final bridge to cross….a drawbridge, with, yes, a few fishermen still out there fishin’.

Fishermen on bridge near dark

Arrived about 6:00pm at the little German American Motel. Cute place! And big! We’ll try and get some pictures in the morning.

Saw some heavy rain clouds and impressive lightning to the north as we pulled into the motel. God’s power on display.

Had a quick meal at Sharkys across the street, met the owner, and explained to her that we had ridden over 300 miles just to eat at her place! [smile]

Again, God, thanks for YOUR protection, and guidance. With You, TRULY, ALL things are possible….even making it thru a rather mundane day.

And ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 18 [North Palm Beach – Stuart, FL]

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2014

[Distance traveled: 32 miles]

As bad as Saturday was, it was beautiful today. Temperatures in the high 70s, leisurely winds from the SOUTH [YES, it was BEHIND us, pushing us….unusual AND appreciated!], and mostly blue skies.

The wind being behind us most of the day, almost made it feel like we were going downhill much of the day. Here is proof that the wind was behind us….notice the way that the flag is turned:

Flag turned to the north

Instead of mostly under 4 mph on Saturday, today we actually averaged 6 mph.

We left the Super8 around 11am.

[Yes, Earline often works while she rides…how do I tell her that texting and triking don’t mix??!!]

Any advice?

Ha!

Earline rolling out from Super8

Much of our travels today involved crossing over drawbridges, and cruising through beautiful residential areas. Within one mile, we encountered our first drawbridge:

First drawbridge

There was a separate sidewalk along the side of this bridge, so we felt safe crossing this one.

Separate sidealk on first bridge

Here was our view going over the North Palm Beach Waterway.

North Palm Beach waterway

Success getting over the bridge!

Success over first bridge

From there we went through the pretty business area of Palm Beach Gardens, and….

WAIT!

Where’d she go??!!

Oh…..

Stein Mart!

PBG Stein Mart

When the wife says, Stein Mart, the good husband says “yes!”

After Earline comes out, she says it might be worth a trip from Orlando to PBG for THIS Stein Mart! Whoa!

Ha!

From there we went over to the Juno Beach area, and we really liked the feel of this town.

Entering Juno Beach

There were some beautiful access points to the beach:

Inside canopied beach entrance

Here is the view of the canopy from the beach:

View fom beach

And the little views we got of the ocean every once in a while were spectacular:

[Higher-rez photo of a paddle-surfer]

Paddle-surfer

Then we came to ANOTHER draw bridge, that goes over the Jupiter Inlet, the Loxahatchee River, and past the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum….the bridge was being lowered as we approached it, with a long line of cars. Here is the view of the Lighthouse from the bridge:

Lighthouse from bridge

And Earline is getting so brave over the bridges, that she actually took a VIDEO as she went over this bridge [some of you may have already seen it on her Facebook page]. Here is it:

After successfully getting over THAT drawbridge, around the corner to the right we had ANOTHER drawbridge, this one going over the Indian River:

Bridge over Indian River

Bridge lowered, and ready to head across.

Walk bike across span

The sign on the left says: CAUTION, Walk Bike Across Span.

Well, that is NOT going to work for us.

But the BIG problem with THIS one, is that there was a small, raised sidewalk on the side of the bridge, raised up about 8 to 10 inches. Okay….

But as we got to the grated portion of the bridge, the sidewalk narrowed to MAYBE 36 inches, maybe 34!

I really did not want to have to lift the trikes down the curb into the line of traffic, but we have 32 inch trikes, so that did NOT leave much margin for error.

It also meant that we had to stop and take off the right side bag, which sticks out a couple inches beyond the wheels. I also had to fold my right mirror in.

But that seemed to be enough to CAREFULLY proceed the, oh, maybe 100 feet across the grated portion of the bridge, with about an inch or tow to spare!

OOOO, thats a tight one

[This definitely brought back memories of going over the drawbridge in St. Augustine back in 2011!]

Earline’s trike is about an inch narrower than mine, so she did have to take her right side bag off, but she also got across with no problem, then.

We then headed up Jupiter Island, and went past almost 10 miles of gorgeous homes and residences, with a couple parks, and a couple churches [yes, we only saw 2].

Jupiter Island, Earline

One of 2 churches we saw, Christ Memorial Chapel:

Christ Memorial Chapel

We saw a lot of guys out landscaping today:

Trimming bushes

And yes, we saw 2 or 3 guys power blowing the bushes:

Blowing the bushes

WHAT??!!

And we noticed that several of the residences not only had a main entrance or lane, but they ALSO had a service entrance!

Service entrance

My, my, my…..

We then turned to go into Hobe Sound, and that was a pretty, kind of mysterious road. They had all these, obviously planted, knarly trees on each side of the road….it was actually rather beautiful:

Gnarly trees

Gnarly tres

We then headed north on SE Dixie Highway….a fairly new road, and SMOOTH, and the shadows from the sun were getting a little longer, so it was warm, but cool….just a real pleasant ride.

Well, EXCEPT for all the traffic. Whew! Where did they all come from!

After 2 or 3 miles, a Martin County Deputy Sheriff stopped us.

Oh, oh…..EARLINE! Were you speeding?!

He was real polite, almost apologetic. He let us know that Dixie Highway was a VERY busy road [which we had kinda figured out], but that he knew that we had every right to be on the road. [I noticed also that he had a bicycle racked on the back of HIS car.]

Officer Fritchie talking to Jon

He said one person had called in to complain about us being on the road.

[Bigger-picture-challenged….heh!]

We talked about our Mission Tour a little bit, and then he mentioned a trail up ahead, and a possible place to tent for the night. He also mentioned that the State Park that we were headed to did NOT actually officially have any tenting or camping facilities.

God used him to bring us information! And then after we gave him our FACING YOUR FEARS card, he went to his car and gave us his business card. His name was Matt Fritchie, and he told us “God bless you!” as we left him.

Join us in thanking God for him, and for his efforts to help make OUR mission a success!

Earline and I decided to head over to Highway 1 for more service [to pick up some FOOD!], and we soon entered the big little city of Stuart. We stopped at a Publix to pick up a few things, but Earline still had a craving for a slurpee.

And no sooner had we gone maybe half a mile, when….TA-DAH!…..there was a 7-11!

Earline headed in for her slurpee, and I noticed that the door was pried open. I asked the cashier, and she said that the AC was not working. Then we learned that the guy fixing the AC was Deaf, but had just left to get a part that he needed to fix the AC.

Then, I see Earline talking with a big guy outside about our trikes, and he SIGNS to Earline. This is ANOTHER guy, and this guy’s name is Robin, and both of his parents were Deaf!

We had a wonderful time listening to some of Robin’s stories, and he posed with me to spell “HI” for a photo.

Robin

As we reflect on the timing….it is interesting how Earline’s craving for a slurpee coincided with us getting a chance to meet Robin. We DID wait around a while for the AC guy, but it was getting dark, so Earline left him a note and a WiFI Pedaler card.

We finally did reach a hotel near where we have to turn in the morning, and this Best Western with AAA discount was almost cheaper than a campground we stayed at last week. How about that!

Thanks God.

And checking the map, it looks like we are down to only 4 or 5 more days of traveling. We are hoping to be able to share some of our testimony in Melbourne this weekend. Pray for God’s guidance, please, and that He protect us under the shadow of HIS wings! [See Psalm 57:1]

Only Through God’s grace,

jon

Day 16 [Pompano Beach – North Palm Beach, FL]

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014

[Distance traveled: 43 miles]

The alarm went at 6:00, so we got up and started to pack, even though it was still dark. As it started to get light, I check the clouds, and did not look good – they were dark and moving fast.

Clouds moving dark and fast

BUT!

I went down to check the trikes, and the ground was dry. It was VERY windy, and you could taste the salt in the air….BUT the ground was dry.

Even though there had been some water from the day before on the trikes [and on the shuffleboard court!], the wind, damp as it was, had blown the surfaces dry.

DRY under trikes

And I imagined that maybe this is what the Israelites experienced, as the winds blew the ground dry under the Gulf of Aqaba, the arm of the Red Sea that they crossed over as they fled the Egyptians. Very windy, taste of salt in the air, but still walking on DRY ground.

I also wanted to mention here, that some of you will remember….I SPECIFICALLY asked that you pray and ask God that we not have to pack wet this morning. [See yesterday’s blog.]

And your prayers were ANSWERED!

Remember, in Psalm 37 it says that God DELIGHTS in the details of our lives. The DETAILS.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Chapter 6 of Matthew, Jesus says that “every detail” of the law will remain in place until its purpose is achieved. I like that translation, but even better, I like in the King James version where it says “jot” and “tittle.”

What is THAT?!

Matthew wrote his book in Greek, but the Greek word translated “jot” refers to the smallest word in the Hebrew language, yodh. It is just a little, tiny mark.

And then “tittle,” or “keraia” in the Greek, refers to just the tiny little hook on the end of the letters in Hebrew and Aramaic. Like a serif on a font in the English language. Just the tiny little, curvy hook at the very end of the letter.

In God’s Word, God’s law, He is SO DETAILED that even the little hooks at the ends of the letters that make the words are important to Him! And think about it, as the Creator of EVERYTHING, wouldn’t He HAVE to know how everything is put together?!

That is the kind of detail about you and me that He is interested in….that He DELIGHTS in.

So KNOW that this morning, YOUR prayers WERE answered. Sometimes God says “no,” sometimes He says “wait,” but what we DO know is that He IS able. [See Daniel 3:16-18]

[And we are grateful when He says YES!]

We got all packed up, still not raining on top, although we prepared for it by waterproofing our bags and pulling out our rain suits. [We didn’t asked Him to not have it rain at all…ha!]

As we were packing Ron stopped by, and we had a chance to talk to him about how God helps us face our fears.

Jon and Ron

So as we started north on A1A, Earline prayed for coffee, and there it was! She’s getting good at this….ha!

Praying for coffee

Meanwhile, I had a nice conversation with Patrick, an avid biker himself, a Christian who is concerned about the environment.

Patrick from Pompeno Beach

Earline continued to enjoy her coffee and cream cheese bagel….mmm, mmm.

Hey, wait! Where’s mine?

Hmmmm.

Cream cheese bagel

As we were getting ready to leave, Sean and his dad, Kevin, stopped by and asked good questions about our mission [and we promised to put their picture on the blog….here it is!]:

Sean and dad Kevin

Finally got headed down the road again, but it was starting to drizzle, and then the drizzle got harder, and finally I said, we have to pull to the side and cover up our side bags, and put on our rain gear [that we picked up in Hollywood at the K-Mart.]

I think they worked out pretty good. Earline HAD to take a selfie, which I caught her doing:

Confirm Earline selfie

And here it is:

Earline rain gear selfie

HA!

Picked up a couple goodies at the Deerfield Beach 7-11, and they permitted us to fill up our little round thermos with ice [it holds about 2 lbs of ice for a whole day]. [Thanks. 7-11, you were a life-saver!]

Leaving 7-11 in rain suits

It was not REAL hot today….the winds helped keep us cool, but the WINDS were so strong from the East, not quite in our face, but many times it whipped around the buildings to be in our face for a minute or two. And even when hitting us from the side, it made for slow going. And the winds were whipping the waves so hard, that even when it wasn’t raining, you could feel the salt water spray from the winds.

Not hard but miserable

Here’s Earline modeling her rain gear:

Earline modeling rain gear

But the rain suits WERE hot….and finally the rain calmed down a little, and we said, “THAT’S ENOUGH!” and took them off, after we made a little stop at the Atlantic Dunes Park.

Rain coats off

I have also discovered that I can substitute turkey for SPAM when making my spam/peanut butter/cheese/graham cracker delights. Whoa! I think it’s even BETTER than the SPAM!

What!!! It’s good!

GC sandwiches

It is hard to describe the day we had….even with the rain not coming down on top, there was a constant roar from the wind and the waves, very loud, and there was always the wind pushing us to the side, or even from the front. It DID make for pretty waves. [Lifeguard flag was red.]

Atlantic Dunes County Park view waves

STRONG winds

Notices how all the trees are bending to the right, the west.

I figure that the winds probably slowed us down 2 to 3 miles per hour.

For the most part, drivers were respectful of us. The speed limit here on A1A is only 35 mph, and there were a lot of signs along the way emphasizing laws specifically for cyclists.

3 foot clearance

Sometimes we WERE blocked from the wind by large trees, or beautiful homes, and there were plenty of those. Because we go slower on the trikes, we were able to get a pretty good look into some of the driveways. Some pretty amazing wealth was on display.

Beautiful home 1

Beautiful home 2

Didn’t really see many churches, though….maybe one or two.

Hmmmm.

Many homes DID have Christmas decorations up already:

Time for Christmas

Finally got into the Palm Beach area, and saw some more beautifully landscaped areas.

Jon and landscaping in PB

Earline thru PB road

In “downtown” Palm Beach, it was like Park Avenue on steroids, if you know what I mean. Lots of fancy stores with names I couldn’t pronounce, and we saw more than one Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini.

Dntn PB

And yes, they had their Christmas tree up already:

XTree in PB

Earline, would you like one of these under your tree at Christmas?

Yachts for xmas

Oh, my!!

It was after 5pm by this point, and we still had to cross over to West Palm Beach.

Jon looking at PB,WPB bridge

We weren’t sure where to stay, and we really wanted to have a good church to go to tomorrow.

We started to head out of town on Highway 1, and we saw several small “mom and pop” motels, but the area looked really “busy,” if you know what I mean. Lots of people walking the streets, hanging out.

We stopped to get something to eat at a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the consensus in there seemed to be that we go further north to find a place to stay.

I ask the girl that waited on us, Vanessa, who had been working there about 2 months, if she knew a good place to go to church. She said she really didn’t go to church.

And I didn’t know what to say.

But as I thought about it, I DID think of an appropriate response in that situation….I thought it might work well to use what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:16. He said, “we’re not making up clever stories, we’re not telling fairy tales when we talk about Jesus…”

He should know….he was THERE, right??!!

If somebody says that they don’t go to church, simply ask, “You DO know that Jesus is not a fairy tale, right?”, and see how they respond.

And then be prepared to give a “good defense” of what you know to be true.

We proceeded north, then, on A1A, out of West Palm Beach, in the dark. We suddenly heard some loud music coming from our right, and they were apparently having some kind of seafood festival along the beach.

Unfortunately, the winds were still so vicious, that there weren’t many people there. But there WERE enough to engage in some lively conversation with many who were interested in our trikes and our mission.

To the man on the bench who stuck some cash in my hand for God’s Hands Agency: “No, there was not a 50 dollar bill in the bills you gave me. Ha! BUT, thank you for sincerely, and I mean that, for helping us to be an encouragement among the Deaf, Youth, and Families.”

Some of the folks at the festival told us that there were several motels just up the road ahead….but we discovered, yet again, that “just a little ways up the road” in a car is NOT the same as “just a little ways up the road” on a TRIKE!!

Even a cop pulled beside us and said that there was motel just a “tenth of a mile” up ahead.

Heh.

Distance challenged.

But FINALLY, a half mile later, we DID run across a Super8 Motel, and no question, we WERE stopping. Total distance, 43 miles, and Earline’s leg was killing her! [She said she is going to tell stories to her grandkids of how she triked hundreds of miles, and got shot in her leg, and pulled the bullets out with her teeth, and dragged her shot leg another 100 miles just to give a child a fresh cup of water….HA!]

I’ll take care of her, and we just ask you to continue to pray for her left knee, that it continue to get stronger, and that He will CONTINUE to guide us, and protect us under the shadow of His wing.

Good night!

TGG,

jon

Day 14 [North Hollywood – Pompano Beach, FL]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014

[Distance traveled: 18 miles]

Happy Thursday!

[By the way, if you want to be on our mailing list, just text GHA on your phone to 42828 to get started. That will then ask you for your e-mail address, and we can get you on the list!]

It was raining when we woke up [ACK!], so we packed for rain, but it DID stop before we got on the road, and we did not have rain all day, so we were grateful.

But the WIND! Ooooooofta!

[Okay, Ric, how am I REALLY supposed to spell it?!]

Riding into the wind all day, so, yes, it was a STRUGGLE.

And then, we turned on the news tonight for our first TV in a couple weeks, and everybody’s talking about government crisis, and school killings, and threats to kill police, and I’m thinking, wow, nothing’s changed…or, actually it is getting worse.

Fearful?

Yes, there is reason to be afraid….EXCEPT:

God has COMMANDED us to NOT be afraid….why? [Hint: FEARLESS Song #1]

As I think about the last words of that song, though, I was thinking….does God “go” with EVERYONE? WHEREVER they go?

And then my thoughts go back to the matter of trust….when my son Torin was very young, and he would jump into my arms from a ways away, he trusted me to catch him. No doubt, no fear, and I always did.

But, if he did not jump, could I catch him?

No.

He HAD to jump….and maybe that’s why God said we should have faith like a child. [Matthew 19:14 in the Amplified version: “But He said, Leave the children alone! Allow the little ones to come to Me, and do not forbid or restrain or hinder them, for of such [as these] is the kingdom of heaven composed.”

So God is THERE, He is available, but we still have to jump. WE have to trust.

And today, we had MUCH evidence of what happens when you trust God….as we left the motel this morning, Earline stopped to give a flyer to the young man who did her nails yesterday, who believed that Buddhism and Christianity were compatible. [No, they are not, 2+2 cannot equal both 4 and 5.]

Right next door is the SuperCuts where Earline got her hair trimmed yesterday, and she had a chance to share with the young lady from Michigan and her friend that works at Little Caesars about the power of God to FACE your FEARS.

And the young lady from Michigan was moved to tears, and KNEW that God had sent us to give her that message.

Earline with 2 girls front of Supercuts

As we continued down the road, we came to the Ft. Lauderdale airport.

Ft. Lauderdale airport

And then Earline saw something in the road ahead, that jumped into the woods to our right. What was it?

I did not see it….maybe Earline will share about it on her blog [go to earlineblumhagen.com]

[By the way, Earline is also posting on her Facebook page and GHA’s Facebook page, so maybe you will find the answer THERE! Ha!]

She thinks it might have been two baby cougars playing!

There was MUCH construction going on around the airport, especially on the northeast side between the airport and the Port Everglades.

Trying to find way around FT. L airport

I was studying GoogleMaps to find a way around, and saw a route, but the way was blocked, so I went to ask permission to go thru the construction area.

Let us through!

Let me across

Then, we we finally got through the construction, we ran into THIS!

Do NOT Enter

I don’t see THAT on GoogleMaps!

[I guess you can’t always trust GoogleMaps either….ONLY God!]

So we had to go BACK by the construction we just came through, and wind our way through the front of the Port.

Around the entrance to Port Everglades

Stopped at a Firehouse and got a great turkey sub AND they filled all our containers with ice. Thanks, Firehouse!

Then we continued…..WAIT!

Where’d Earline go?

Oh, oh.

There she is.

We had to stop where?

Brand new store, but the prices were not what she expected. [Well it IS in Ft. Lauderdale!]

NOW we continue.

Up a bridge….let’s kick it in!

Oh-oh, another bridge

Oh, the struggle!

The struggle

Made it!

Made it to the top

And the view from the top was nice.

View of cruise ship from top of bridge

View of boats

View from top

But now, it is time to go DOWNHILL!

Wait!

Out of the way!

On a DOWNHILL, MOVE

Ha!

When we got to the beach, the kite surfers were jumping 30 feet in the air, it was so windy!

Earline at Lauderdale beach

Sometimes the condos would protect us from the strong northeast wind, so we were grateful for that.

We had the chance to share our mission with a young man outside of Hess gas station.

Explaining the mission at gas station

And then more of A1A…..

Toodling down A1AAs it was getting dark, Earline’s knee was really hurting again, and we needed a place to stay. But where?

I checked a couple places along the west side of A1A, but they were just too high, or filled up. Lord, we need a place!

So with Earline praying, I checked out another place, and met Nazih and Gabriel. They were both great! AND they gave us an excellent rate. AGAIN we are grateful.

Nazih is 65, and looks in GREAT shape….says he takes vitamins and works out every day [so he appreciated OUR endeavor!].

Gabriel, it turns out, has a sister who is Deaf! His family adopted her when she was 1 and a half years old or so, and the whole family learned sign language. His sister’s name is Jessica, and she is around 31 years old now, and lives in the Tampa area, and is going to a community college down there.

Then we met Donna, who is temporarily living here at Shores Terrace. She’s 28 years old, and originally from New Jersey. She graciously agreed to drive us across the river to 7-11 so Earline could get some coffee! We had much fun talking with her in her clutch-repaired Mustang, and then we had the “adventure” at 7-11….

….Donna had ordered one of 7-11’s scrumptious hot dogs, you know, all smothered with onions and stuff, and the girl behind the counter was great, fixing food, waiting on folks, making pizza, all by herself!

BUT….she thought that Donna was with this other couple standing beside her, so she gave the hot dog to them! I think they may have been from Europe, possibly, and they graciously accepted the hot dog and started eating it!

Donna was wondering where her hot dog was….and as they were trying to figure it out, we have visual evidence of where the dog went!

Donna in 7-11

[Eating Donna’s hot dog it in the background….see it??!!]

The 7-11 hostess finally figured it out, and quickly made another hot dog for Donna, and the couple sheepishly figured out that yes, they had to pay for the extra food they were given.

Much laughter ensued. Ha!

BUt, the real wonder, is that Earline had a chance to share with Donna when we got back to the motel, that with God ALL things are possible, and that she does NOT have to fear, because for those who trust Him, He PROMISES to help them, and strengthen them, WHEREVER they go!

And Donna knew that his was a message just for her.

So know….KNOW that YOUR prayers are being answered.

Continue to pray for Earline’s strength….not only her knee, but her abdomen as well. Not sure if it is her stomach, or what. She had acute pain last night, but was able to find a position in bed that minimized the pain. We did a little research on-line, and found that pancreatitis seemed to best match her symptoms.

But now this morning, she has no pain. So we’re not sure.

We will keep an eye on it, and ask you to pray for wisdom, as well as healing and strength.

We DO KNOW that God is able….and we ask that He continue to bless EACH day.

TGG,

jon

 

Day 12 [Miami – North Hollywood, FL]

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2014

[Distance traveled: 24 miles]

What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday we were hot and sweaty, with all kinds of bug bites from the past week of camping [I counted about 20-25 bug bits on each leg….oh, the scratching!]….and then this morning….it started out warm:

Leaving River Front Hotel in dntn Miami

Here, let me zoom out a little bit:

Zoom out

And even as we exited downtown, Earline still had the SouthSport Cool Rag wrapped around her neck that she got from Cousin Vicki.

Leaving Miami SouthSport Cool Rag

[Earline LOVES her Cool Rag!]

BUT….you could tell something was up, because maybe 10 minutes after we set out this morning, the wind switched, and it started to feel a little cooler.

And then a little became a LOT! Specifically, after riding in temperatures around 85° yesterday, the temp today gradually fell to the current temp of 56 tonight here in North Hollywood, FL, a difference of almost 30 degrees. Brrrrrrrrr.

Bundling up:

It got COLD

And it is still drizzling a little. We did not have HEAVY rain today when we were riding, but it drizzled pretty steady, enough for us to have to cover our side bags.

AND we were riding into the wind….so the miserable factor was pretty high.

It gets dark early now, before even 6pm….so we rode in the dark the last hour of our ride. We did find an inexpensive motel that had HUGE rooms, WiFi, and a laundry, so it is perfect for us….just a mile from Hope Baptist Church where we will be giving a short presentation tomorrow.

And now it sounds like it is raining HARD outside…..OOOOOO, glad we missed this! [Earline says that is what she prayed….God is gracious!]

Condos, condos, and more condos everywhere. And lots of construction going on, especially in Miami Beach and North Beach.

Construction

As we were headed out of downtown Miami, we saw these condos:

Condos and covet

But look at the sign at the bottom of the condo on the left:

Thou shalt covet

What in the world??!!

But isn’t that the way sin always starts out? First it is a little rebellious, maybe cute, and funny. Then it becomes a little more serious. And then it is outright defiance.

So now I guess it is cool marketing to come right out and say the opposite of what the God commands.

And isn’t that really Satan’s device all along?

It goes wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ay back to the Garden of Eden. What was the temptation Satan used?

He said, “Did God RE-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-E-A-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-L-LY say you shouldn’t eat from any tree in the Garden?”

Getting us to question what God said. God’s Word versus man’s word.

And then, as recorded in Genesis 3, Satan told Eve that “You won’t die,” which was an outright lie. But she bought the lie, and we’ve ALL been dying ever since.

All but two, that is. The Bible records 2 people in all of history that did NOT die. Do you know who they were?

A FREE WiFi Pedaler t-shirt to whoever gets the answer right first!

[And to those of you from 2010 who were promised that they MIGHT get a t-shirt….YES! It is actually going to happen! Whoo-whoo!]

Just respond with a comment to this day’s blog entry, and the first right answer gets the t-shirt.

In Psalm 37, it also says that we aren’t supposed to fret about those who are rebellious towards God, or who are outright defiant and wicked:

“Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes….For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the LORD takes care of the godly!”

We did see more evidence of the struggle today:

More evidence of the struggle

And we had our own struggles, having to go over several bridges, including 3 drawbridges:

One of three drawbridges

The last one was when it was dark and drizzling….couldn’t get a good photo.

The Venetian Causeway is how we got from Miami to Miami Beach:

Crossing Venetian Causeway

The ride up A1A was very busy, but slower, because of the construction, business deliveries, residential areas, and even many signs and road markings specifically for bicycles.

A1A

We ran across a 2-story Publix, where we got lunch and a few supplies. This Publix had parking on the first floor, and the store was up on the 2nd floor. They also had an innovative way of getting your grocery cart down to the first floor.

2-story Publix

Again, condos, condos, condos everywhere. Many Trump Tower condos. And these Oceania Island Towers.

Oceania Island

And there was a whole row of houses to our right in Golden Beach, oceanfront homes, that sometimes had the front gate open where we could see in….whoa!

Beautiful home example

Continue to please pray for Earline’s health….her knee seems a little stronger, but it still gives her a lot of pain by the end of the day. And then today she has been experiencing a lot of stomach problems.

God – you know our needs, even BEFORE we ask them. Thanks for Your provision, and YOUR faithfulness to our well-being. Again from Psalm 37, You promised:

“He [God] DELIGHTS in every detail of their [good men’s] lives.” [v. 23]

And DO pray for our short presentation tomorrow night at Hope Baptist here in North Hollywood. This is Elder Elaine’s church, who is a certified interpreter and works with many Deaf down in this area.

Can’t let you go without showing a picture of Mr. “Don’t talk to strangers!” Dennis.

Infamous Mr. Dennis

We had a delightful conversation with him at a bus stop in Sunny Isles. He asked many questions, and seem to quickly grasp what this Mission POSSIBLE Tour is all about. He works right now as a part-time private chauffeur, and recently shaved off his full beard. He was a hoot! Pray for him and his endeavors.

TGG,

jon

Day 11 [Homestead – Miami, FL]

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014

[Distance traveled: 31 miles]

Happy Monday!

The South Dade County Trail starts just behind the RaceTrak at the corner of Hwy 1 and Card Sound Road. From there it continues for some 30 miles all the way to downtown Miami, and that was the route we traveled today.

Sometimes it was just some pavement beside the bus lanes….

BUSway

Sometimes it was woodsy, like in the University of Miami area….

Wooded area trail

Sometimes it was over a wooden bridge….

Earline on wooden bridge

Sometimes over a cement bridge….

Earline on busway bridge

Sometimes UNDER an elevated train bridge….

Earline under L-Train

Sometimes over a metal bridge….

Over a bridge

….and, of course, that meant being able to come DOWN from a metal bridge!

Earline going down bridge

WHEEEEEEEE!

Sometimes it went behind a bus station….

Bus station

Sometimes it went THROUGH a bus station….

THRU bus station

….so basically, a lot of bridges and busses today.

BUSway near downtown

There was even a drawbidge downtown, at the END of the South Dade Trail.

Drawbridge

One GREAT THING the trail did, was go past a SubStation.

SubStation

Earline had GREAT things to say about their Philly cheese-steaks! Mmmm-mmmm!

Philly cheesesteak

They sit right on the bike trail, at the corner of Flagler and Campbell, just north of Homestead. Check ‘em out!

In the SubStation we also had a chance to meet Kevin and Karina. They were both respectful and well-spoken, and we thought very highly of them. They WILL BOTH be in our prayers and thoughts as Kevin plans on joining the Army soon.

Kevin and Karina

One thing that DID concern us today, though, was the number of homeless people that we saw, almost always older men, just sitting, or sleeping in a variety of places. We actually saw one guy talking a leak at the back of one of the bus stops as we rode by.

Ugh.

No wonder many of the bus stops reeked of urine as we rode past.

Miami has got a PROBLEM.

Now we understand that EVERYBODY has a story, or as our niece Coco puts it, everyone has a STRUGGLE. And today, riding on the trail, we saw many examples of The Days of Our Struggle:

Guys sleeping along the Trail…

Guy laying down struggle

White guys approaching cars with cup in hand…

White guy can in hand struggle

Black guys approaching cars with cup in hand….

Black guy can in hand struggle

Or even a makeshift homeless campground, anchored with shopping carts, in the parking garage of the Dadeland Mall….

Makeshift campground at Dade mall

Oh, the STRUGGLE, the STRUGGLE!

Even Philippians 1:30 says:

“We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it.”

FEARLESS Song #1 says: “Have I not commanded you be strong and of good courage??!!”

Commanded!

Beat the struggle! You can do it!

Through God’s grace,

jon

Day 10 [Key Largo – Homestead, FL]

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014

[Distance traveled: 25 miles]

Had a really good night’s sleep at King’s Kamp, and the weather is almost perfect….light breeze, and maybe 75, 80 degrees.

As we were packing, a small C-Class RV pulled up beside us, and it was a young couple from Switzerland! They were in the U.S. for about 3 weeks, and are on their way to Key West.

Earline and Regula had a chance to talk for a while. Regula’s first language is German, so I sprechened a little Deutsch with her. We found out she is a Christian, and an Emergency Room nurse in Switzerland. When we left, we had a chance to have little prayer time with Regula, for their travels and ours.

Regula from Switzerland

After leaving the camp, we went next door to a little eating place called Evelyn’s of Key Largo. What a friendly little restaurant! For those of you familiar with Mr. Quick in Orlando, it was kind of like a fancy Mr. Quick, with a Spanish/Mexican/Keys flavor. [We love Mt. Quick!]

The food was scrumptious, and after we finished eating, one of the waitresses helped Earline fill our water bottles and small igloo with ice. How nice and thoughtful of them! For those of you who read my blog yesterday about customer service….THIS is what I was talking about. THIS is customer service, and we love it! Evelyn’s in Key Largo, about Mile Marker 104, on the north side of the road. Go there, and tell them the Wifi Pedalers sent you!

Headed out of town with bellys full, and fresh ice, and stopped to take a picture of the “You Are Leaving” sign.

Earline take picture of sign

So what exactly does the sign say? Check it out…

Key Largo sign

Oh, NOOOOOOOOOO! Back to reality!!!!!

Ha!

Here’s Earline officially leaving the Keys….you made it! [Only 375 miles to go….whoa!]

Officially leaving the Keys

But we hadn’t even gotten to the first big hill, when….thump, thump!

What?

Did I run over something?

There were some grates along the side of the road, next to the turquoise-painted walls [did you notice?….turquoise – I guess it is a Keys thing].

When I ran over one of those grates, apparently it knocked my tire pump loose, and that’s what I bumped against. Earline picked it up, and it looks like it survived any damage, and I had to reattach it.

Fixing loose pump

NOW we can go over the big hill.

Biggest bridge

When we got to the top, I stuck up my camera to the side and took this picture. [Earline, this is what you didn’t didn’t want to look at….see what you’re missing??!!??] [This is a higher-rez picture.]

Higher rez look over bridge

Then we had fun coming DOWN this hill…got up to 30 MPH going down. WHEEEE!

But that was it pretty much it….over 20 miles of a mostly straight, boring road, and….WAIT!

What does that sign say?

Crocodile crossing

Okay, so let me figure this out.

[Uncle Dan, maybe you can help me with this one.]

First of all, the Florida Department of Transportation wants us to know that there MAY be crocodiles trying to cross the road for the next 6 miles.

Okay, question 1….WHY in the world are they trying to cross the road?

Okay, question 2….if I DO see one trying to cross the road, is there something I am supposed to do?

[This seems especially significant for those of us ON A BICYCLE, OR TRICYCLE, don’t you think??!!?]

Okay, question 3….if I DO see one, and it starts to chase me, can I fight back? This seems to me to be an important fact that I should have figured out BEFORE I actually see one trying to cross the road!

Comments or suggestions are appreciated!

[Isn’t this Mission POSSIBLE Tour called FACING YOUR FEARS? I guess I did not understand that meant I would have to face…a CROCODILE!] [I think song #3 is probably the best song for this situation: “I (God) will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand!”….especially if it is high above the jaws of some ornery crocodile!]

By the way, we did NOT see any crocodiles.

Whew!

So, OTHERWISE, it is basically just a straight shot north, and Earline got a nice picture of the skies.

Facinating clouds in hwy 1

By the way, we had to be careful NOT to drink too much water….there are NO services for this stretch through the swamp…no trees to hide behind, no cornfields….you just have got to hold it!

Whew!

There were some rumble grooves along the side, but for the most part they were within 3 feet of the outside white line of the right lane, and then there would be another 4 to 5 feet of blacktop surface OUTSIDE the rumble grooves for us to ride on. So mostly a smooth ride, and this was also very beneficial for Earline and her knee…it got sore again today, but it was almost 10 miles before it really started to bother her.

She does seem to be getting stronger each day. Thanks God!

FINALLY we arrived at the RaceTrak across from Card Sound Road. YES!

We did look for a church to go to a Sunday night service. Found one not too far away, the new Branches United Methodist Church.

But, alas, apparently they do not have a Sunday evening service.

We then stopped at a Bike Hostel we saw just off the bike trail coming from the Keys. They have got quite a set-up their courtyard…impressive! Even a flowing waterfall that you can drink and swim in! [I hear it IS a little chilly, however! Think warm thoughts.]

Hostel

Bike hostel in Homestead

Thanks, Bonnie, for taking the time to show us around! [I hope I remembered your name right!]

She and Earline, of course, HAD to take a selfie:

Bonnie at Bike Hostel

Alas, they didn’t have any private rooms available, so we found somewhere else close by to stay.

One final thought….and this is from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers.

He writes:

“It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. To do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life.”

….”even the most humbling tasks”….

Our routine these days means unpacking and packing the tent, or gathering up scraps of trash, or Earline helping hold the hand pump still while I pump up the air mattress, or rubbing down Earline’s knee, or putting Cortizone on that mosquito bite that the other person just cannot quite reach…

….ALL these tasks should be done to the glory of God. ALL.

What are some humbling tasks that YOU do? What are you doing where there is “no one paying even the remotest attention to”….THAT is “the true test of a saint’s life.”

May all YOUR tasks today be done in “faithfulness” with gratitude and thanks to God.

“God…working in us.”

Thanks again to ALL of you for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

Day 9 [Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key – Key Largo]

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014

[Distance traveled: 23 miles]

Liquid nitrogen, killer lobsters, and sexy mannequins make up the news from today’s adventures in Facing Your Fears, the 2014 Mission POSSIBLE Tour!

We got kind of a late start today, because I was up until 4:30am working on the blog. [We slept in a little!]

What? A new element in the periodic table?

Cream in the periodic table

It is actually a new ice cream place called SubZero. I happened to stop by the place last night on the way to CVS to grab a Ginger Ale for Earline. Look at these tanks!

Liquid nitro tanks

Yes, folks, that IS liquid nitrogen. [Torin! Remember the freeze pops soaked in liquid nitrogen on the Tiger Cruise? That is some cold liquid!]

In this store it flows out of these faucets into bowls that the attendant shapes into a scoop or two of ice cream.

SUBZERO faucets

Interesting! [And yes, it also tasted quite good!]

Guess who we saw on the road today? James and Paula from the Campground at Long Key. Good to see you!

More bike trail construction detours today, including this one past the marine mammal theatre in Islamorada.

Marine mammal park

Not to be outdone by the mammals, this huge crustacean made its presence known!

Killer lobster

Hey, nephew Dexter! Of DEXAIR fame….we saw this sign on the side of the road….it looks like you have a long lost cousin!

REXAIR

Right on the bike path, we found this Tom Thumb and found chocolate milk, $2 subs, and Honey Buns. Okay, we are happy.

Tom Thumb

We also went across our first drawbridge of this trip. It brought back scary memories of the drawbridge in St. Augustine from our 2011 Mission POSSIBLE Tour.

First drawbridge

We saw this mannequin along the road next to a place that said “Antiques,” and Earline….well, I will let you write your OWN caption for this one!

[Send it to Earline on Facebook!]

Earline and

Finally arrived at the JP State Park about 30 minutes before they closed, but unlike the other parks, they refused to let us in.

JP Coral Reef SP

They said they were full, and that Boy Scouts were in their primitive area….so in 53,000 acres, you only have one primitive area? And you have no accommodations for bikers? [Or trikers?]

[As one State Park official earlier this week put it, they understand that bikers and kayakers may not know exactly when they will reach a certain destination, because of the slow speed that they travel.] [JP Coral Reef SP was the ONLY State Park that would not accept us.]

Here on the Keys you have what is supposedly the most bike-friendly area in Florida, that has a multi-million-dollar bike trail that we saw being worked on this past week, and it goes right past your front door, but you have no room for bikers in your facility?

Hmmmm.

I understand that this is the busiest park in Florida, but this sounds like another taxpayer-funded program that has let success go to their head. If you are not hungry enough, you won’t do whatever it takes to provide the best customer service possible.

Clark Howard on his radio show calls it “customer-no-service.”

See John 13:4-17. [I’ve included a link here in The Message version.] Jesus sets the PATTERN for us. It is servanthood, thinking of others as better than yourself, and being willing to help them, love them, to do what THEY need, over your own needs. Philippians 2 shows the depth of what Jesus did for us: “When the time came, He [Jesus] set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life…”

Okay, that’s enough rant….I am sure that the ranger we spoke to was following the rules, and doing her job, and that she will probably sleep okay tonight, but having owned a business myself, the MINUTE that you think you don’t need to be the best “servant” you can be for your customers, your business will deteriorate, and you have literally STOLEN from your clients the time and attention that they deserve.

NOW I am finished with my rant.

Sigh.

The ranger DID provide us with a list of other camping facilities in the area, though many on the list did NOT accept tents, or were ten or more miles away, and 30 minutes before sunset were laughably not viable alternatives for us.

Ride in the dark? Don’t want to do THAT!

But God….

We only had a few choices on the list, and only ONE that was close, that accepted tents, AND was in the direction we wanted to go [not backwards]. So that is where we headed, and after asking a few people for help finding it, we DID find it, AND they had 4 tent spaces available.

But God knew our needs, even BEFORE we asked Him. [See Matthew 6:8]

Kings Kamp. They were nice. They were helpful.

And they are privately owned. Hmmmm.

Thanks, God. We appreciate it….we truly do.

Settled in for the night, and had our tent set up, and showers taken, and IN the tent before 8pm.

[Now we DID have some interesting entertainment from some drunk, cussing young people playing “Sweet Home Alabama” at VERY high decibels at 10:30pm….but I’ll let Earline share those details with you.]

Ha!

Grateful, yes, grateful for another day’s journey.

TGG,

jon