Day 21 [North Ft. Pierce Beach – Wabasso Beach, FL]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2014 – THANKSGIVING

[Distance traveled:  22 miles]

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today make gratitude and thankfulness what you give to God. [Remember the discussion from Day 19.]

I am grateful that we had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people today, from Florida, from other parts of the United States, even from other parts of the world!

It is the reason we only did 22 miles today….but I pray that we ALWAYS be flexible to talk to whomever God might put in our path.

And I am especially grateful for the conversation that I had with the girl in the Kentucky Fried Chicken on this past Saturday night [you can read about the conversation on Day 16.]

Because of the frustration I had with that girl, that quote from Peter that I wished I had told her, I was able to use today. Dave, [name changed], one of the many guys I talked to, say he didn’t want to have anything to do with God and Jesus. And immediately, the thought came to me to tell him, to whisper in his ear, “You know that Jesus is not just a fairy tale.”

I said it twice….and Dave heard me.

And I pray that the Spirit of God continues to speak though those words into Dave’s heart, and that his spiritual eyes will be opened to the truth of Jesus. Jesus is THE truth…you can’t get around it. He lived, He died, He rose again….fact of history.

You either accept it, or you ignore it….that’s the only two choices you’ve got.

And for those of you who read this blog who are praying folks, please pray with me that Dave will come to understand God’s truth.

Thanks!

Last night, after the rain stopped, and before it got dark, Earline and I did a little exploring. The wind was still blowing pretty strong, so we were bundled up.

The little motel that we stayed at was called the German American Motel.

GA Motel

Wait! What is that moving in the middle of the picture?

Zooming in….

Raccoon

AHA!

And it looked like somebody actually stuck out a paper plate with munchies on it for him. [OR….someone has just ended up sharing their supper!….ha!]

Earline and I found this sign on the back side of our motel….

Public beach access

So….WHERE’S the entrance?

Here?

Are you sure

Hmmmmmm.

Okay….going in….

Where ends

Where are we????!!!????

Okay….so THIS is where it comes out….

THIS is where it comes out

And a very secluded beach….plus I am sure the cold kept a few folks away.

Earline with dark sea bkgd2

And the northwest sky behind us was also unusually pretty.

Pretty sky at sunset

Now….

…..how do we get back?

Is this the way?

Is this the way back

It was a little hard to tell!

[It was the right way.]

Then we walked over to Sharky’s to get some pizza.

Mmmmm….pizza.

Pizza at Sharkys

Now, here’s where the plot thickens….the camera that I just took all these pictures with, I LEFT beside the salt and pepper box just to the right of the plate with the knife on it.

Yup.

Walked right out of the place without my camera.

Didn’t think about it until this morning, after I had woken up, and was thinking about the pictures in the Public Access woods….hmmmm…..I don’t remember carrying my camera home, and I remembered sitting it on the side of my plate last night.

So, did the staff find it?

Did somebody else take it?

All my pictures from the whole trip are on that camera!

But nope, I decided NOT to worry.

It is a THING….it is just STUFF…..there are other things more important.

I didn’t even tell Earline until AFTER we had packed and prayed together before starting the day.

So we packed up…..I just put the whole thing in God’s hands…..HE knows where the camera is.

Trikes packed and ready to go

This is what the apartment looked like WITHOUT all our stuff scattered everywhere [heh, heh, heh].

GA Motel inside

And it actually cost LESS than all the FL State Parks we stayed in. And we DIDN’T have to set up our tent, and we DIDN’T have to tear it down again, AND we had a private bathroom and shower.

Kinda makes the camping seem a little overrated, don’t ya think??!!

Hmmmm.

We then head over to Sharky’s but….as we kinda figured, it is Thanksgiving so they’re CLOSED!

Ack! Ack!

Well, I had already put the phone number in my phone, so I called them up, thinking maybe if they did find it, they could mail it, maybe?!?

Ring, ring, ring….it rang MANY times, but no automatic answer, no voice-mail, and THEN….

Someone answered!

I told them the situation, and he said, “great, no problem”…..he was IN the cafe!

His name was Derrick, Derrick Rohn, and he was the son of the owner of the cafe that we had met earlier…..we looked around to see if we could find the camera. We found a little package, paper bag inside of a plastic bag, with the words “couple by the AC” on it, or something like that.

And, looking inside….it was the camera! Yea!

“Couple by the AC” meant that it BELONGED to the couple [US] who had been sitting by the AC.

Whew.

Started out our Thanksgiving with a LOT of gratitude, to God, AND to Sharky’s. Thanks, guys!

Sharkys outside

Got some supplies [and FREE Thanksgiving coffee!] at the Cumberland Farms next door, and had the chance to talked with several folks about our Mission POSSIBLE Tours.

A couple of gray-beards guys had already biked from Vero Beach to our location, a distance of about 15 miles, and got a couple goodies from the CF store, and were headed back to VB. Whoa!

Good for them!

It actually turned out to be a really pretty day today. Yes, the breeze was fairly strong in our face, but it had warmed up nicely from the night before where it got into the 40s, and by the time we hit the road, I would say it was upper 60s….GREAT for triking!

There also was a bike lane almost the entire way today, and fairly new asphalt, so it made for a very pleasant ride.

Sunny north on A1A

Fairly typical A1A today

There was more development than we saw Tuesday, but it was not like all the HIGH-RISE condos south of Palm Beach….these were mostly housing developments where there appeared to be a lot of single family homes only one or two stories tall, or were in the process of being rezoned and marketed. Earline had to check one out….

Earline exploring development

There were a few beachside homes in this area….this one’s lawn was immaculate!

Beach house with immaculate lawn

Some of the entrances to the various developments were colorful and beautifully landscaped. Here were some gorgeous flowers at an entrance:

Lots of housing developments

Even caught a Monarch Butterfly enjoying the flowers:

Monarch

There were not too many services along the way, but we did find a few State and County Parks…

…..wait….I just….I must…..

…..let me photobomb this selfie:

Photobomb this selfie

There…..all better now.

We happened to go past the Navy Seal Museum [Torin, did you know anything about this? We thought about you when we saw it.]

Jon by Navy Seal Museum

And we DID find a few 7-11’s that were open along the way.

Did you know Earline LOVES Slurpees?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Earline, and it has actually been a scene that has been repeated several times over the course of the past 3 weeks:  Slurpee in one hand, and the phone for texting in the other.

Earline on trike in Vero

Ha!

When we got to Vero Beach, we asked one of the workers in 7-11 to recommend places to eat. He told us to go to Waldo’s.

Waldos entrance

Interesting place!

Originally started by a kind of eccentric guy in the 1920s, Waldo Sexton, and apparently the construction was done without any blueprints or building plans….so some of the angles and edges of the facility do not quite square up….ha!

They WERE open, but Earline and I knew that we could not eat heavy for the road, so we ordered one entree and split it between the two of us.

Perusing the menu.

Checking menu at Waldos

It was at Waldo’s that we met Bob and Fifi from Puerto Rico….we enjoyed the time with them! Bob is 75 and actually does a lot of biking himself to this day. He has been a world-class motocross biker….some SERIOUS biking! [Bob, did I get that right? Please correct me if I’m wrong!] [I try….ha!]

Bob and Fifi

Of course, Earline HAD to get a selfie with Fifi!

Selfie time with Fifi and Earline

As we were leaving Waldo’s we had the chance to talk with several other people….Lee is the owner or the manager of Waldo’s itself, and we had some interesting discussion about sign language. Lee’s sister also works for Clark Schools for the Deaf.

Jon and Lee talking about sign language

As we were leaving Vero Beach, we saw these giant turtles that somebody designed, and Earline thought they were cute:

With giant turtle in Vero

Getting late, and because of all the talking we’ve been doing [plus we were riding INTO the wind!], it didn’t look like we were going to make the San Sebastian Inlet State Park. The sun goes down so early now!

We finally ran across an establishment in Wabasso Beach that has some Disney connections, and they had ONE room available. The next closest thing for a place to stay was an hour, hour-and-half away, and Earline was really feeling tired, so we stopped for the night.

A very special thanks to Diane and Brenda who helped MAKE the connections so we could stay for the night. Say “hello” to Brenda!

Earline and Brenda

It was already getting dark….and we got kinda lost….oh, well.

Jon lost at Disney resort

Eventually we FOUND our way, and settled in for the night. And we are grateful.

Thanks, God, for this day….and I mean it…..and not just THANKSGIVING, but EVERY day should start and end with a grateful heart. [See Philippians 2:5-11]

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

Day 8 [Long Key – Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key]

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014

[Distance traveled: 16 miles]

Good Friday morning!

I actually got up before the sun, and got some really nice shots of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean. Now I KNOW sunrise shots can be a dime a dozen, but we were there! We saw this! And seeing such a pretty sunrise, well, it does something to you…there’s a sense of joy, of comfort, of wonder. Do yourself a favor and check one out, just for YOU.

Let me share OUR sunrise with you:

Sunrise 1

Sunrise 2

Sunrise 3

Sunrise 4

Sunrise 5

Sunrise 6

Sunrise 7

Sunrise 8

And we could see all this FROM our tent:

Sunrise from our tent

Here’s another view of our campsite:

Another view of campsite

Just a little after this, though, the sky got overcast [which we actually WELCOMED, because the sun was making us really SWEAT while we packed. Ha!].

Of course, I HAD to get the sand out of the tent!

Sand out

Paula from next door brought us some coffee…thank you!

Then someone noticed a group of porpoises swimming by, and our neighbor on the other side went out to investigate….he said he saw 6 or 7 adults and one baby porpoise. Neat!

Family of porpoises

With the clouds on the west looking threatening, we decided to pack as if it would rain. [Our 2010 MPT taught us how to do that REAL well!]

After leaving Long Key State Park, we ran across a wide bike path, and being separated from all the truck traffic is ALWAYS preferred!

Wide path

It looks like there is a lot of work being done on making some nice trails along the water. And remember, we are STILL surrounded by a lot of water.

LOTS of water out there

Even this bridge we came across has construction work being done on it.

Construction on bridge

Sometimes the trail was nice….

Sometimes nice

And sometimes it was NOT so nice….

Sometimes not so nice

When we crossed over into Islamorada, we stopped at Bud & Mary’s to order sandwiches, and especially cole slaw, to get the bad taste out of our mouth of the AWFUL cole slaw we had yesterday. [It lingers, it lingers….]

Good cole slaw

Then, as we started to look for a place to stay, we first went to the motel that the biker from Canada we had met at Curry Hammock State Park recommended.

But when we found the place, it was sold out! Why?

It seems that there is a big NASCAR race event in Homestead this weekend, so ALL the motels are full, even down this far. Even talked to the local Chamber of Commerce that said all campsites were full, all hotels were FULL except for 4, and they gave PRICES that were from $169 a night to $350 a night.

ACK!

Can’t raise money for a non-profit THAT way! And Earline’s knee NEEDED some rest!

And we needed to wash clothes! [Truly!]

AND, I need to get this blog caught up.

So what happened?

We knew we needed to wash clothes, so we were directed to a brand new laundromat that was on our route, called SeaFoam. Earline and I encouraged each other that God knew what He was doing, and that He WOULD help us find  place to stay!

SeaFoam

So we went to the laundromat, and then I happened to notice a motel across the street. Can’t hurt to check, right?

Well, not only was it the cutest little place, it SMELLED clean, and they had ONE room left! AND it was about HALF the price of the other motels with rooms left. AND the clerk gave me a 10% discount on top of that. I asked her why, and she said, “Because I can!”

Wow.

Well, as a result, we DID get our clothes washed, we DID find a place to stay, and I DID get 3 days worth of blog caught up.

Wow.

Say it backwards.

Wow.

Say it upside down.

MOM.

Ha!

Grateful AGAIN for God’s providence, and looking forward to what ELSE He might have planned!

TGG,

jon

Day 7 [Little Crawl Key – Long Key]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014

[Distance traveled: 13 miles]

Happy Thursday!

After setting up in the dark last night, and I’ll admit, not having a very good attitude about it, and then having to grumble my way through a cold shower, and THEN losing about an hour’s work trying to blog with my phone’s tiny screen…..I don’t know why God gave me a good night’s sleep, but He did.

I got up shortly after the sun did….oooo, wet! HEAVY dew last night. We were about 70 yards from the ocean, and I walked around some trees to the left, and found a little alcove with a picnic bench. There I stood and just watched the wind rippling the waves a little, and I sang “How Great Thou Art” to God….just between me and Him.

The WORDS to that song….I mean, it STARTS OUT:

“O, Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder; Thy power throughout the universe displayed.”

Down here in the Keys, you don’t find many city lights, and the starry sky has been spectacular. Earline said she had never seen stars like this. I told her that I grew up with stars like this.

I remember the night at Bahia Honda….you could easily see the Milky Way. And when the moon came out, even though it was only half visible [“first quarter” for you astronomical types], it was SO bright that you could even read by it.

And how interesting that, as postulated by the book and DVD Privileged Planet, the ONE PLACE in the universe that we know of that has human beings that can admire and appreciate a beautifully designed and coordinated system of stars and moons, and planets, just “happens” to be situated in a VERY unique location in our galaxy, not obstructed by a dense galactic core of stars, or enveloped by clouds of gases; instead the Earth is positioned PERFECTLY where the entirety of the universe is laid out before our seeing eyes IN ALMOST ALL DIRECTIONS, to look, and to contemplate, and to wonder.

Folks, folks, folks….a tornado in a junkyard does NOT make a jumbo jet. Anyone who has ever been raised on a farm, or biked across the country, KNOWS that things just naturally break, and rust, and fall apart. Anyone who has aged beyond 40 or 50 knows that their body is breaking down, it is going back to the dust.

Evolution is such a sneaky word…natural evolution, things changing or adapting, yes, we can see that, but evolution from a rock to a living cell, from an ape to a man, evolution that adds information to something and becomes something more complex, has NEVER been shown to occur, and is a damnable lie.

Any modern-day cellular biologist knows it, any astronomer with half a brain knows it, and if we just open our eyes to the BEAUTY of the world around us….well, we should know it, too.

Our educational system will be so ashamed one day, by the foolishness that they have allowed to be promoted.

In Romans 1, verse 20, Paul makes it pretty clear: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have NO EXCUSE for not knowing God.”

After letting the sun dry the dew off our tent, we slowly got packed up. While packing, we met a nice couple from Vancouver, Canada. Gary and Linda, who are celebrating their 40th anniversary, and have canoe races and running adventures with their 4 sons.

Gary and Linda

As you can see in Linda’s hand, we have been passing out dozens and dozens of our quarter-page info cards and tracts, just letting everyone know that “With God, ALL things are possible!”

We finally got underway around 11am (Why does it take us so long to pack?!). One reason is that we were looking for a couple items that we could not find.

We lost a tent stake….could not find it. I am guessing that we maybe left it in the Bahia Honda campground. And my sunglasses that wrap around my existing glasses….where are they?

You can see the closely cropped area where our tent was, in the background. Hard to miss anything there!

Where we camped

Can’t find them. We checked at the bathhouse of “cold shower” fame, as well as at the registration cabin where we first checked in, but nothing there either.

Hmmmm.

Earline is really hurting this morning, so we are taking our time.

Leaving CHSP

You can see the barrels that we had to do some navigating around….it seems as if the final design is going to be something like this: eight-foot shoulders with rumble grooves and bumpers between the traffic and the bike lane. We like this!

8-foot shoulder

Wait!

Something moving!

What is it??!!?

Yes, we have seen a few of these iguanas along the way, sometimes sunning ON the path, but this is the first that I was able to snatch a picture of it. Let me make this picture big so that Earline can see it clearly! [She says she does NOT want to see it! Ha!]

Iguana

Saw this DEAD END sign, but one of the locals said the bike path goes all the way across the bridge. So we took his advice, and it did! Nice to have a separated path.

Dead End not

It was so pretty today. And we saw a lot of cyclists, too. Most of them headed the other direction.

Cyclist

You could see miles and miles of blue water and skies!

Here’s a higher rez photo of the views we saw today.

Beautiful horizon

We stopped at a pretty spot and got some more photos, with Earline and her knee wrap.

Pretty spot by shore

Knee wrap by shore

We went over the Long Key bridge which was pretty long – maybe 2 miles – but it DID have a separated path for cyclists and pedestrians, especially fishermen. Not nearly as hair-raising as the 7-mile bridge.

Long Key bridge

Even saw some fish being caught!

Fish being caught

Speaking of fish “biting,” the mosquitoes and “no-see-ums” have been biting, too! Not too bad, thanks to the cooler weather and some mosquito control we saw.

Mosquito control

Finally made it ten miles, and with Earline’s knee still hurting, we pulled in early at the Long Key State Park. We liked this park, and we had a spot right next to the ocean (and the bath house so that Earline did not have to walk too far, thanks to our Park Ranger from Christmas, FL!).

And as we were setting up, we made new friends with James and Paula from Virginia.

Paula and James from VA

Here’s a sneak peek of tomorrow’s sunrise from our campsite….some SPECTACULAR shots of God’s handiwork.

Sneak peek

And as I had earlier watched the moon come up over the far horizon, I happened to catch a shooting star go a good long ways, from east to west, across maybe 45° of the horizon. Wow.

Thanks, God.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 6 [Bahia Honda Key – Little Crawl Key]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

[Distance traveled: 21 miles]

Tonight we are at Curry Hammock State Park on Little Crawl Key.

Here was our campsite at Bahia Honda State Park:

Campsite at Bahia

There were some very FAT pigeons that looked a little TOO tame….

Fat pigeons

…so I tested them, to se if they’d been “trained” to go after food….I took a few small rocks by the table…

Tiny rocks

….and tossed them in the middle of pigeons. Yowzer! Mass hysteria!

Mass hysteria

SOMEBODY’s been feeding these birds. So now you know – if anyone ever calls you “bird-brained”, do NOT take it as a compliment! Ha!

The beach and the grounds really WERE beautiful at Bahia Honda.

Bahia beach

Bahia grounds

South facing campsites

They even had a little cafe on property, and Ora and Rhonda made us some great sandwiches to eat and take with us [with  little help from “BatMan!”]

Ora, BatMan, and Rhonda

OKAY!

Now it’s time to tackle the 7-MILER!

And it didn’t take too long to reach the start of it….here’s Earline’s first view of the bridge:

Earline shoots photo of 7-mile bridge

Here’s what she saw….one mile to go!

One mile to go

And at the start:

At the start

No potty breaks for the next 7 miles!

The beginning….the shoulder was not too bad, maybe 5, 5-and-a-half feet. But I should mention here….one thing I had been trying to figure out, is….where was the picture taken of the bridge that we have on our flyers, and on the front of the GodsHandsAgency.com site, as well as the front of the WiFiPedalers.com site?

Well, I have since learned that the bridge really has three parts:

1) the west end

2) the “hump” that lets ships pass under the bridge

3) and the east end.

But the two ends are NOT equal.

The west end is almost 5 miles long, while the east end is only about 2 miles long. And because of the curve of the bridge, I realized that the picture was taken from north of the east end of the bridge, looking back at the bridge, in a west, southwesterly direction, as if you were pointed at Key West.

In that photo, you really don’t see ANY of the 5-mile southwest stretch of the bridge!

That is why at the start of the bridge, headed east, you really can barely see the hump at the far end.

Along the 5-mile beginning

After we had a gone a couple miles, we stopped and took a couple pictures…..a lot of water out there! Are we halfway yet?

Whew are we halfway

Approaching the hump:

Approach the hump

For the next three pictures, where Earline is climbing the hump, at the very top, and then descending the hump, I am going to insert them here at a larger size, for those of you with BIG screens. It may look the same size as the other photos here, but you should be able to click on the photo itself, and bring up a much larger and clearer version of the photo.

Here are 3 higher resolution photos of Earline at the top of the 7-Mile Bridge:

Earline climbing hump

Earline at top of hump

Down the hump

I am grateful that we had no storms or high winds on our trip over the bridge, or any flat tires!

When we got to the other end, it was time to celebrate!

With God’s help, and only by His grace, I did this!

With Gods help I did this

Slurpee reward time!

Slurpee

Well, after all the excitement today, Earline’s knee was REALLY starting to bother her, similar to what she experienced the first few days of the 2010 Mission Possible Tour. We ran across a Walgreens in Marathon Key, and picked up a wrap for Earline’s knee to help support it. We decided to limit our day to only about 20 miles, and camp at the Curry Hammock State Park.

Actually “decided” is probably not the right word, because by the time we got to CHSP, it was only about 20 minutes before sunset (when the park closes). The park ranger told us they had a grassy area where we could pitch our tent, beside a man from Canada on bicycle, and two girls from Minnesota also traveling by bicycle to Key West.

So Earline hobbled around on her wrapped knee, we struggled to get the tent set up in the dark….

Headlight

….and then the hot water in the men’s shower was not working.

Ack!!!!

BUT….

FEARS FACED, and FEARS CONQUERED….now we have to take care of that knee, because we still have over 400 miles to go!

Only through God’s grace,

jon

Day 5 [Key West – Bahia Honda Key]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

[Distance traveled: 28 miles]

[This is SO much easier, typing with all fingers instead of just my right thumb! LOL!]

As I mentioned in the update, after we went 5 miles, we had a flat on a bridge!

But I am getting ahead of myself….FIRST we said our good-byes at Keys Presbyterian. Pastor Bill Welzien and Elder Tim Warner were super, and it made for a great start to our mission tour. Be sure to check out KEM, Keys Evangelistic Ministries, and their work at Mallory Square every week.

All packed up in the morning, and Earline is yet on the phone [to many of YOU!].

Packed up at KEYS

I have heard some rumor about a discussion on Facebook about Earline’s Bling-Bling cap…where do YOU stand?

Earline cap

At least, I guess, we’ll be more visible on the road! Ha!

Leaving Keys….EARLINE! Remember to shift down so you can make it up the driveway!

Shift down

We stopped at a convenience store just down the road, and I had chance to share our mission with Manuel, who was a “conch”….that’s someone who is a native to the Keys.

Manuel

And then I let this gentleman borrow my air pump to try and pump up his tire….unfortunately, the tire didn’t hold the patch, so it wouldn’t hold air. Pray for him and his tire!

Fix tire

Then 5 miles down the road, we had our OWN flat tire!

Jon fix flat

As I mentioned in the Day 5 UPDATE, Earline helped me carry the trike (it was the back tire) back off the bridge, where could disassemble the entire back end, panniers, tires, and all, and discover what was wrong.

It was a weird flat…the hole was a slice on the TOP of the tire, on the inner surface. It looked to be a defect in the tire, where wire became exposed and sliced the tire.

Here’s the cut in the tube [the Flat Attack goop in it TRIED to fill the hole, green goop all over, but it was just to big to seal]:

Slice in tube

And here’s the BRAND NEW tire right beside where the slice was in the tube:

Wire on tire

Hmmmm!

Finally got things switched out with one of the used tires I had brought along, and we got back on the road.

It was a beautiful day – sun was powerful, but there was a cool breeze that made for a pleasant ride.

Now this IS the Keys, so there are LOTS of bridges….in fact, we learned that there are 42 bridges, the exact SAME number that we rode over on our way down the Mississippi River back in 2010.

Sometimes we had to ride on the shoulder, even though there looks to be a separate bike path to the right:

Earline on shoulder on bridge

That’s because sometimes the way was BLOCKED!

Whoops, a fence

Apparently this is a work in progress. Many times there WERE separate bike lanes and paths, but other times….not so much. And I understand that the 7-miles bridge does NOT have a separate bike path, so we will be ON THE SHOULDER of that one.

Sometimes the path would even be separate from Hwy 1….but most often it would be right next to the highway.

Separated from Hwy 1

On this day, we happened to go thru Big Pine Key, which is actually a sanctuary for the Endangered Species of Key Deer….I understand the current population is only several hundred deer. Many are apparently killed by automobiles, and the speed limit thru here is only 35 mph at night.

Deer sign

The story of these deer is an interesting story. Read more here at NWF.

OOPS! Were we speeding through here? Nope, I guess it was the two motorcycles that just passed us.

Police stop motorcycles

Then Earline freaked out when she saw this….“Are we going over THAT??!!??”

Old bridge

No, but apparently in the past this WAS the bridge that people used to use. Here’s what we DID have to go over to reach our campsite:

Left, not right

[The one on the LEFT, NOT the one on the right….hmmm!]

Got settled in just before sunset, and grateful for a pleasant day’s ride. As I mentioned in the update, we are staying tonight at the Bahia Honda State Park, just on the west end of the 7-mile bridge. As we were setting up our tent we had the opportunity for many minutes to talk with the Redmonds and the Dunns who are also camping here tonight, and they asked many wonderful questions about our ministry, and our efforts with the Deaf community. It is the opportunity to share with nice folks like this that makes our mission that much more gratifying.

Through God’s grace,

jon

Day 7 UPDATE [Long Key]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014

This is not fun. I had just typed 7 or 8 paragraphs for an update to today’s travels, and my phone froze, just froze, and it’s all gone. An hour’s worth of work. It’s all gone.

ACK!

As you have probably surmised, we AGAIN do not have internet access. So I am having to type this all in with my right thumb on a flat, tiny screen.

Sigh.

Earline’s left knee is really hurting her again. We only went about 13 miles today, so we could set up camp early and let her get some rest. We are staying at Long Key State Park. I rubbed her knee down with some arnica, she took some pain medication, and she’s sleeping now. Tomorrow we’ll see how she feels in the morning.

Islamadora is about 20 miles away, but a biker we met told us about an inexpensive motel where Earline could soak her knee in a bathtub and I could have access to the internet and get the blog caught up.

The little Freedom Hotspot I had picked up for this trip is not providing the 4G internet access I had hoped for.

I mean, it’s not like this place is WAY further south than any other part of the continental U.S…..oh, well, maybe it is. Ha!

Well….

I’ll just keep processing the photos, and I’ll upload them when I can.

God KNOWS what we need….even BEFORE we ask Him. [Matthew, chapter 6]

[Save draft! Save draft!]

[Okay, so NOW if it crashes I won’t lose EVERTHING!]

The Keys are an interesting place…almost everyone we meet is from someplace else! It is kind of like a 100-mile long International Drive, if you know what I mean. So it is hard to figure the best way to engage people, and promote the ministry of GHA.

We have resolved to continue to spend time talking with the people God puts in front of us…we have truly met some wonderful people, from places like Minnesota, Virginia, North Carolina, and Canada! Lots of folks from Canada [wouldn’t have anything to do with escaping that Arctic blast, would it?!?! Ha!]

Well, let me get busy on the photos, and let’s ALL just “lay hands” across the miles on Earline’s knee and pray for healing. We DO so need all of your prayers and financial support as we strive to be an example to ALL of you, that TRULY, with God, ALL things ARE possible, and that you CAN face your fears because of God’s grace, and love, for every single one of you.

[Where God’s love is, there is NO FEAR!] [from song #6 on the FEARLESS CD]

TGG,

jon

Day 6 UPDATE [Little Crawl Key]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

Staying at Curry Hammock State Park on Little Crawl Key. No internet tonight again, and not even electricity! Ack. So I have to be brief.

We DID successfully traverse the 7-Mile Bridge today! Whoo-whoo! It took us exactly 90 minutes. Got some GREAT photos!

However, Earline’s leg, her left knee, is REALLY bothering her (only when she moves it!, she says), much like it did the start of the 2010 MPT. Rubbing her knee with Arnica, and dousing herself with ibuprofen, she hopes it will be better by morning. Keep praying!

Total mileage today – 20 miles. Hopefully tomorrow I can upload some photos. Earline’s Facebook page has some from today.

ONLY thru God’s grace,

jon

Day 6 UPDATE [Bahia Honda Key]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

8:45 A.M. Today’s the day! Packing up, and then first thing we head over the 7-mile bridge! Thanks for your prayers! 460 miles to go…

[I am going to try and insert a picture of our campsite here.]

image

Thru God’s grace,

jon

Day 5 UPDATE [Key West – Bahia Honda Key]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Unable to get internet thru my hotspot, so I am unable to blog, but it looks like I CAN access my blog software thru my phone, so I will just give you a quick update, and submit a full blog with photos at a later date.

THANKS for your prayers! Total mileage today, over 28 miles, but we had only gone about 5 miles when we had a tire blow-out on Earline’s trike while ON a bridge! Ack!

It was a weird flat…the hole was a slice on the TOP of the tire, on the inner surface. It looked to be a defect in the tire, where wire became exposed and sliced the tire.

Earline helped me carry the trike (it was the back tire) back off the bridge, where could disassemble the entire back end, panniers, tires, and all, and discover what was wrong.

After an hour or so we continued on our way, and a BEAUTIFUL day it was. Earline has been experiencing some stomach problems (not related to the triking, I don’t think, LOL), so DO pray for her health.

It MIGHT be related to the fear of going over the 7-mile bridge tomorrow, but she says it isn’t. The adventure with the flat tire on the bridge was actually a good dry run for us today, and we discussed how we would handle fixing a flat if it happened 3 miles from either end of the 7-mile bridge.

In FEARLESS Song #3, God ASSURES us that for those of us committed to HIS leading in our lives, that He will strengthen us, that He WILL help us. and He WILL hold us up with power to make it thru circumstances that would otherwise beat us down. Outstanding!

And if we can visually make that more clear to folks thru our “crazy” tricycle Mission POSSIBLE Tours, if God can use us in this way to bring folks closer to Him, and more appreciative of His grace….then WE are comforted in knowing that we HAVE made a difference, and not “gone to the grave empty” as the late Dr. Myles Monroe would say.

We are staying tonight at the Bahia Honda State Park, just on the west end of the 7-mile bridge. As we were setting up our tent we had the opportunity for many minutes to talk with the Redmonds and the Dunns who are also camping here tonight, and they asked many wonderful questions about our ministry, and our efforts with the Deaf community. It is the opportunity to share with nice folks like this that makes our mission that much more gratifying.

Well, this update is turning to be a little more than a normal update! But, thanks for listening, and thanks for your prayers. YOU do truly help make the Mission POSSIBLE!

Only thru God’s grace,

jon