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 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 13 [North Hollywood, FL]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2014

[Distance traveled: 2 miles]

A day to rest Earline’s leg, and a day to do some repairs, and a day to get laundry done. Yea!

When we came in last night it was dark and still drizzling….[okay maybe it was not THAT bad, but some of you up north DO have MUCH snow….be careful!]….

Jon arriving at Kenwood

But this morning we could see better the cute little courtyard here at the Kenwood Motel.

Kenwood courtyard

And in the far right corner of the photo, you can see the washer and dryer. So convenient! Thanks, God.

The room also worked out great for us, because they were nice and big, AND both trikes fit thru the door. That is a BIG plus…otherwise we would have to dismantle the panniers, which is fairly easy on Earline’s trike, but on mine, so so much.

Inside room

[I made sure that I wiped off the tires with a rag before we brought them into the room….we want to be courteous and GRATEFUL for a gift like this room.]

[And honestly, we did not watch a minute of TV….too much to DO!]

Real cool this morning, in the mid 50s, but the forecast is for close to 70 degrees tomorrow, so we’re good!

Tonight we had the opportunity to minister at Elder Elaine’s church, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church here in North Hollywood where Elder Connail Johnson is the Pastor. [Another plus of the motel is that it was only a mile to the church, so add just 2 miles to our distance traveled. Ha!]

It was a cute little church, and the people were very warm and hospitable. We sensed a spirit of deep love for the Lord, and were impressed with how many young men boldly expressed their love for God. One of the ladies created this beautiful Thanksgiving wreath:

Thanksgiving wreath

When the first young man spoke at the beginning of the service, I had a hard time hearing what he was saying. It might have because of the music they were playing during his talk. Probably my fault, because I am involved in the music ministry at Iglesia Gracia de Dios in Orlando, and one side of my brain was trying to hear the Word, and the other side was saying, “oh, listen to that transition, oh, that was a nice melody, oh, did they just modulate there?, oh, they need to pull pack the mids on that section, and up the highs, oh, that was a nice harmony, oh….etc., etc. ACK!”

They did eventually turn the music down, and that helped….whew!

The young men in the back were able to pull up our blog and put it on the screen in the front of the church. I had never seen that done before with our blog…great!

NHMBC screen

Earline and I then shared a little about our ministry to the Deaf, and why we do these Mission POSSIBLE Tours. Earline also talked a little about Facing Your Fears, including getting your hair trimmed at Supercuts. Sometimes things don’t turn out like we hope….I will let HER explain!

And finally, I taught the congregation Joshua 1:9, the first of the FEARLESS songs. They did great!

Pastor Johnson was home sick tonight, so please pray for his health! Elder Elaine gave Earline the opportunity to interpret the message, then, from Eugenia Bonds, who we found out after the service has a Deaf daughter in Orlando! Small world!

Earline interp Eugenia Bonds

Earline was interpreting for two Deaf ladies [I remember Cora on the right from our Deaf revival last year at Mt. Sinai], and Ernest on the front row, who is learning sign language.

Cora, Ernest and one other deaf lady

After the service, some of the folks had an opportunity to sit down in the trikes and test them out. Here’s Daniel, who loves the Lord, and got married only about 4 MONTHS ago. [Earline, we HAVE to tell them about the GORGEOUS Winshape marriage retreat center up in Mt. Berry, GA. See Day -2.]

Daniel testing trike

Pastor’s wife, “Lady J” WAS at the service, and took a picture with Earline.

Earline and Lady J

Earline, [OF COURSE! Ha!], got a selfie with Elder Elaine and Lady J:

Selfie with EE,EB, and Lady J

But not to be outdone, I ALSO got a selfie with Elder Elaine!

Jon and EE selfie

We are grateful for the opportunity to share our story, and how EACH of us has a special part in the body of Christ where we can thrive and be useful in building up HIS Kingdom.

Only THROUGH GOD’S GRACE,

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

Blog Construction FINISHED!

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014

Blog reconstruction finished! [He says somewhat optimistically!]

I have to laugh, because technically, you NEVER finish “doing” a blog….it is an ongoing work in progress.

Going through the past 4 years, it was fun to review all of the adventures from our past Mission Possible Tours. And, of course, we are only two weeks away in preparation of our NEXT tour, this one called “Facing Your Fears”, as we travel the 500 miles from Key West to Orlando. ALL of our MPTs have had the underlying theme that “With God, ALL Things Are Possible”, and this is especially relevant this year. We are calling this 2014 MPT “Facing Your Fears” because, as you know, Earline is deathly afraid of bridges, and we WILL be going over the SEVEN-MILE Bridge on our way up the Keys.

ACK!

Of course, all of this will also help us to try and raise Deaf awareness, and raise funds for the coming year for God’s Hands Agency. Stay tuned for updated information on the GHA web site so YOU can join us, and help us Cultivate Servant Leaders for Jesus among the Deaf, Youth and Families.

I did just get confirmation that we will be joining up with KEM, Keys Evangelistic Ministries, in Key West and Big Coppitt Key. We’re EXCITED to see what the Lord has in mind for us with Pastor Bill and his ministry.

Our theme verse for this trip will be from Joshua 1:9…“Have I not commanded you be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. For the Lord your God is with you, WHEREVER you go!”

These is the first of 6 songs I wrote a few years ago when one of our churches was studying the book “Fearless” by Max Lucado. There were six verses about fear that they asked us to memorize, and I had the idea that they would be easier to memorize if they were put to music. So….

….what kind of music style would help one be fearless?

I figured it had to be either Polka or Caribbean Island Music!

Can you possibly sing a song in either one of these styles and NOT smile??!! HA!

Thinking that Polka might not be familiar enough to enough people [hmmm!]…..I decided to give all the songs an “island” style. We hope to have those songs available for you on CDs before we leave on this year’s tour.

It was also odd to look back, and saw that I had only one blog entry in 2012, and none in 2013. But then I realized we HAVE been pretty busy….after our 2010 MPT, we felt that it would be better if we moved from our house to an “empty-nest” apartment, because that would make it easier for us to take extended trips like these Mission Possible Tours. So we moved to downtown Orlando. And anyone that has moved a whole household knows what a challenge THAT is! Whew! Three years later, I think we are ALMOST totally unpacked!

Earline and I also did a Mission Trip to Israel with Zion’s Hope last year, and I hope to have reflections from that trip up on a blog in the near future. Here we are at the start of the trip in Tel Aviv.

Jon and Earline in Tel Aviv

I DID do a number of day trips all directions from Orlando this past year: North to Sanford and Debary….

Over St. Johns bridge

….West to Clermont and Sugarloaf Mountain, South to Kissimmee, and East to Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa. [THAT was a LONG trip….about 112 miles in one day!] [WHEW!]

Overpass over Highway 1

Trike at the beach

Well, if I am going to get these Fearless CDs done, I have to get busy! PLEASE pray for us, that our efforts be protected and blessed by the Creator, the God of this universe. He IS worthy of our trust!

Only through God’s grace,

jon

Day 14, part 2 [Geneva – Orlando] Final Thoughts

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2011

With this entry I’ll wrap up the final day of the 2011 Mission POSSIBLE Tour, and give a few final thoughts on the past 2 weeks.

The First Baptist Geneva pavilion we stayed in is at the edge of a huge field of several acres, with a volleyball court, basketball court, and even a soccer field. Earline took this picture of 3 crosses also in that field.

Three crosses at Geneva

Pastor Mike and Timothy stopped by to say goodbye. Thanks Pastor Mike, and thanks to First Baptist Church of Geneva. We appreciate you!

As we headed south, I “felt” that we needed to get off of the shorter Geneva Drive to Oviedo, and take the longer Snow Hill Road route. [Geneva Drive has no shoulder and MUCH traffic.]

And after a mile on Snow Hill Road, we saw this sign:

Deaf person sign

Does anyone know who this sign is referring to?

Not only was Snow Hill Road a pretty road with much less traffic, but when we got to Chuluota and Hwy 419, the wind was behind us and we had a nice 4 foot shoulder!

And then….oh, oh…..I forgot about this bridge, too. Over the Econ River…..at least this one was flat!

Looking over edge of Econ bridge

Eventually we got thru Oviedo and to the start of the South Seminole trail….last time we were here there was simply a sign that said, “End of Trail.” But now, as you can see, they ARE building a bike trail bridge over Red Bug Lake Road…..looks great!

End of Seminole Trail

The trail was a nice change after fighting all the traffic from the past 2 weeks.

South Seminole Trail

And then….lookie, here….OOPS! Yet one MORE bridge. [Guess I forgot about this one, too!] This is the bike trail bridge over Semoran Boulevard, between Aloma and University.

Approaching Semoran Ave bridge

A little bit of a steep pitch to this one, but Earline couldn’t stop, because a couple young kids were zooming up it beside her on their bikes. That would be embarrassing!

Couldn’t help but feel secure on this bridge, though….the only traffic was under it, and much fencing meant you had a web of protection.

Semoran bridge

The Cady Way Trail is one of the oldest trails in the city….I used to ride it when the Navy Base officers golf course was right beside it. As we got closer to Fashion Square Mall, the clouds started looking menacing….Seriously? The forecast earlier today was for 0% chance of rain!!! What happened??!!?

Dark clouds

We started feeling drops, BIG drops, so we covered up our side bags, and by the time we got to the Colonial Plaza area, it was started to become a nasty drizzle.

No rain to ride in for 2 weeks [okay, maybe a little in Crescent City], and now, 5 miles from home, we start getting wet??!!? What??!! Well, it turns out, that maybe there was a reason.

We snapped a quick picture of the “Jesus Car” of pro caddie Fred LeVeque. Interesting!

Jesus Car, Fred Le Veques

Earline suggested we duck into TooJay’s for a quick soup and sandwich to wait out the rain. Lot of older folks eating there [which is ALWAYS a sign I look for], and huge menu, AND…. our hostess knew sign language! Why?

Because not only was her son hard-of-hearing, and getting pretty good in ASL, but her fiancé was hard-of-hearing, his siblings were Deaf, and their parents were Deaf! Wow….thanks, Lord, for making it possible to establish more contacts, and help fulfill a need.

We also met Miss Gail, whose daughter and son-in-law own a bike shop in Orlando, Retro Cycle….gonna have to stop by and say hi!

By now it was dark, but we just turned on all our lights, and headed down Livingston Street, which has a bike lane all the way into downtown.

Triking on Livingston

Down Orange Avenue to Church Street, with a quick stop for a Christmas photo at the same place we did a promo shot before our 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour.

Steps for Christmas card

A special thank-you to ALL of you who contributed food and lodging, to help make our 2011 Mission POSSIBLE Tour POSSIBLE!

A couple things we learned about triking in Florida….this time of the year was a GREAT time to go if you like cool weather and dry conditions. And we also quickly noticed that bugs don’t seem to like this time of the year….which was absolutely fine with us!

Road-wise….we quickly realized that Florida just does not have many roads….at least not all the small, country roads that we noticed and used a lot last summer. Looking on a map, there is a reason that there are a lot of “blank” places on the map….Florida has lot of swamps!

So when triking or “biking” in Florida, you will have to get used to riding alongside lots of busy roads, with much traffic.

[So, Earline, what will our NEXT trip be?? Do I hear Key West, anyone?]

Our burden for the Deaf increased even more, at least from my standpoint. So many of the seniors at FSDB that we talked to had no clue what what they would be doing next year. That has to change!

Skills need to be taught and encouraged….needs of OTHERS need to brought to their attention, and personalities and passions need to be examined and nurtured so that these kids can not only feel fulfilled, but know that they are called to be active and needed members of the body of Christ.

Our Show and Tell Mission Tour to Dallas this past summer taught us that. [See Ephesians 4:16]

The need is great and the laborers are few…please continue to pray for the people and circumstances that I have mentioned in this blog. YOUR prayers DO make a difference. We saw them at work the past 2 weeks.

Thanks again, everybody….we love you!

And especially, thank you, Heavenly Father, for Your guidance, Your strength, and Your love.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 14, UPDATE 4

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2011

Hmmmm!

It looks like there was a REASON for us to stop at TooJay’s!

Our hostess, Krystal, has a hard-of-hearing son, her fiancé is hard-of-hearing, and his brother, sister, and both parents are Deaf! She said she attends New Beginnings Church on 436, and they have an ASL interpreter!

[And now, the rain has stopped.]

Thanks, Lord, for YOUR timing in the details of our lives. [see Psalm 37:23]

Day 13 [Port Orange – Geneva]

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2011

Only 2 more days to go!

Up at 4:30am, and worked on the blog for the past 2 days. Then we got packed and headed out about 9:00am. We stayed last night at the Dusk to Dawn Motel, an older but clean motel that was recommended to us by a pastor at a Christian thrift store we saw just after we got off the Port Orange bridge.

Dusk to Dawn motel

After inspecting Earline’s tires before we headed out, I knew we had to go straight to Walmart, to see if I could find a matching tire to the one right-sized tire that I was able to find Wednesday night in St. Augustine.

I knew that we would be going right past a Walmart on our way out of town, and 20 minutes later we saw it. They had the tire I needed, and I proceeded to change both of her front tires right in front of the store.

One problem with the Flat Attack goop that plugs punctures most excellently….if you need to release air from the valve, I find it does tend to clog the VALVE, which made taking the tires off MUCH more difficult.

Switching out Earlines tires

Once I got the tires off, you can see why I needed to switch out to new ones as soon as possible:

Wear on tire

I accidently punctured one of the tubes as I was inserting it in the new tire, so I had to swap out the tube for the one tire. Then after we got down the road a couple miles, and Earline was complaining about being so tired and not being able to pedal with any power, I noticed that the other new tire was flat.

I tried to pump it up, but couldn’t get it to hold any air, so I took that tire off, and discovered that the tube was twisted and pinched inside the tire. I took it completely off, but was unable to get the tube to hold any air, and could not see where it was leaking!

So….we replaced that tube as well. [Which means we are operating today with NO spare tubes….not a good situation.] So after changing both tires twice, we finally headed out towards Geneva, but it was past noon, and I was not in a good mood.

Nevertheless, what did Paul say? In 2 Corinthians 6:4, he mentioned that they “patiently endured” troubles and hardships.

Patiently endured, huh….

Well, okay.

Almost all the day was spent on busy 415….much traffic and small shoulders [with lots of button bumpers thrown in for fun…these were usually ON the white line. So if the shoulder was too narrow for the trike, you had to straddle the white line by, you guessed it…. crossing over the bumpers.]

Patient endurance, huh?….mmm, hmmm.

We DID see 2 or 3 “Share the Road” signs….so at least SOMEONE was thinking about us!

Share the road

No button bumpers above, but they soon appeared….like when this wide load was going by us.

Oversize load go by

We passed by a landfill with this old fire truck sitting proudly at the top. [And it was up there because…..????]

Old fire truck

I had told Earline that the Port Orange bridge was THE last big bridge we had to go over, and that the only “bridge” left really wasn’t a bridge, but just a highway that was slightly elevated over the St. Johns River [nothing like the Acosta bridge].

She said that if it goes over something, it is a bridge.

O.K…..yes, ma’am.

Pass over St Johns bridge

Oh, and then there is….ah, well, like maybe I….ah, er, kinda forgot about the Lake Jesup bridge. But then again, it is not really like a BRIDGE bridge….you know what I’m sayin’?

Lake Jesup bridge

And it had a nice, wide shoulder….right???!!!

A little later we went past a farm that raised goats and sheep and emu. It was feeding time! [No….the caretaker said she had already fed them…..this was just SNACKS!]

Feeding time

The emu sure is an odd looking creature.

Then one of them walked right up to me, and said to me, “You sure are an odd looking creature!”

Emu

I had been talking with Asst. Pastor Mike Johnson about our late start from Port Orange, and thought we might not arrive at First Baptist Geneva until after dark…..maybe 7:30 to 8:00. But we made good time today…..less wind than yesterday, but we still pulled into Geneva around 5:30pm…..yea!

And guess what?! Pastor Mike and his wife worked many years on the mission field in Russia, working with the Deaf! How about that!

First Baptist Geneva let us put up our tent in their pavilion out back, so we have a dry spot with a roof over our heads and access to the bathrooms. Thanks, God, for AGAIN seeing to our needs.

[The outlets are turned off at the switchbox, but the computer has a good battery in it, and at the end of this blog I am still at 43%…..yea!]

Tent at 1st Baptist Geneva

Thank you, First Baptist Geneva, for YOUR grace and hospitality. Thank you for being obedient to Deuteronomy 10:18 & 19.

Only Through God’s Grace,

jon

Day 11 [St. Augustine and FSDB]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30, 2014

We spent the morning with the Thompson’s, had a wonderful breakfast, and then got some more rest, washed some clothes, worked on the blog, and prepped for the program that we would be doing in the Music Building at FSDB [Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind] tonight.

I got the trikes ready for the ride over to FSDB [minus the panniers.]

Trikes in Thomas yard

UNLIKE the shoes and clothes of the Israelites those 40 years in the desert, our tires seem to be wearing out rather quickly. I’ll probabably make a run to the Walmart tonight to see if I can find something to get us home with.

The Thompsons treated us to a taco place just walking distance from the house – blackened fish wrapped in a soft and hard shell – good eatin’!

As it was getting dark, and heading over to FSDB, we needed to cross over the [dreaded] Lion’s Bridge.

Lions Bridge at sunset

You can just see the red and white guard bar in a vertical position behind the post with the flashers on it. That’s what came down the when we tried to cross yesterday!

But we were ready this time! Just took off our side bags before attempting the narrow drawbridge walkway.

Narrow draw bridge path

At the school security gate, we were again helped by Ron Stafford. The reflective sign on the wall blew out this picture, but I wanted to include it because Ron was so helpful and pleasant to Earline and me. Thanks, Ron!

Ron Stafford security

There was a Young Life leader’s meeting and prayer time before the program started, with Don Lohr going through the agenda. [Whoops! It likes like someone – girl in the middle of the picture – was up late last night studying!….Many of the leaders are actually students at Flagler College…..Psst: Maybe just remember to cover your mouth when you yawn next time – you never know who might be taking a picture!] [And yes, Caleb, I remembered your name!]

Don Lohr and leaders

I also went ahead and tuned up the guitar for a guitar for a warm-up song I would be doing, with some help from Trevor, a sophomore blind student at FSDB.

Jon tune guitar

After the leaders went and got the kids, they had a fun and goofy mixer to get the kids warmed up – kind of like a cakewalk chairs game. This game had different colored tape on the floor that you had to run to and hope that your shapes’ color wouldn’t be eliminated when the music stopped.

Colored shapes mixer

[And yes, Caleb, I DID remember your name!]

I estimate there were around 120-140 students there….not only those who participate in Young Life, but also from some other Christian groups that serve the students. Here is a small portion of the students that were there.

Some of the students

Earline and I shared about not only last year’s Mission Possible Tour, but this year’s 400 mile trip.

We did [of course!] “Deep and Wide”, sharing how the Mississippi River is not only only as much as 7 miles wide through Lake Winni, but is at times during floods more than 50 feet deep in some sections of the river. And then we talked about God’s love, and how Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 expresses his desire for us to understand how deep, and wide, and long and high God’s love for us truly is.

After we had seen the vulture on the road past De Leon Springs, we had written a little song about not being afraid: “Birds, dogs, bridges, and bears – I will not be afraid.” And we talked about how perfect love, the type of LOVE that God demonstrates for us, CASTS OUT fear!

You know, road kill will preach. If you aren’t careful spiritually, you can get RUN OVER by the cares of this world. And if you’re DEAD, if you’re not moving and growing spiritually….if you’re not reading His Word and actively using the gifts that God has given YOU….Satan, like a vulture that will only eat dead stuff, will keep nibbling away at you until you are only a dried, dead carcass that one can barely recognize on the road of life…..AMEN!

Afterwards it was DONUT TIME, with many gooey delights to enjoy. We met Q and Kelly.

Q and EEB and Kerry

Q is a senior and actually lives in Orlando, not far from us. He even volunteered to use his young, strong muscles to help us move some things next week….thanks, Q!

Afterwards the Young Life crew went to the Village Inn for free pie night. How do you guys stay thin??!! [Ah, yes. Young, fast metabolism is a wonderful thing.] [And yes, Caleb, I STILL remember your name!]

Pie at Village Inn

Sam and Ann treated us to some pie, as well…..thanks, guys!

Sam and Ann and us at PIE

And thank YOU, Lord God, for allowing us to minister at FSDB….may Your Words have a lasting effect on the lives and thoughts of those who saw and heard what YOU had to say through us.

TGG,

jon

[Yes, Caleb, I STILL remember your name!]

Day 10 [Jacksonville – Saint Augustine]

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011

I got up at 4:45am, and went to the outhouse…not really outhouses per se, but you did have to go “outside” to get to them. And they did not have hot water. I decided, however, that I HAD to wash my hair, so there I am, 5:00 in the morning, sticking my head in the sink and running cold water over it to get clean.

Hot water is a LUXURY! May we never forget to be grateful for the little pleasures that God allows us to have!

Got all packed up and ready to leave as it was getting light. [You can see the “outhouses” in the background.]

Ready to leave Jax

We had some prayer time before heading out….Pastor Kenneth was there, but where was Pastor Pat?! [smile] [She actually did wake up soon enough to text us and tease us as we were leaving!]

Prayer time before leaving

We got over to Highway 1, and proceeded to head south to St. Augustine….in this part of Florida, the only choices are A1A on the coast, Interstate 95 [which bikes and trikes can’t use], or Highway 1….4 lanes and VERY busy. But it DID have a shoulder the whole way.

Still cloudy and very cool

Yes, it was busy, but that also meant that there were more convenience stores along the way that we took full advantage of, and we were grateful for that.

Busy Hwy 1

Once we got south of 295/9A, we did get a freshly black-topped road with bicycle signage that lasted for several miles, so that was nice.

Bike lane signage

It was pretty much a straight shot the whole way….just mile after mile after mile, heading south/southeast. It is kind of hard to get a photograph to show this, but maybe this one with a train going by gives you some idea….we could sometimes literally see, I would guess, 5 to 7 miles of road and electrical line poles.

LOOOOOONG road and train

We stopped for lunch in the sunshine, beside an overpass that looked like it went to some new golf resort, or retirement community. [Yes, I had my graham cracker, peanut butter, and Spam sandwich….mmm, mmm, mmm.]

Lunch time

FINALLY made it to St. Augustine. [Actually, we made good time, in about 7 hours….I think all the semis and dump trucks whizzing by us gave us a little boost of air every time they went by!]

St Augustine sign

Does Earline look tired? She said she was. We need to find you a DQ!!

Earline tired at sign

We stopped in at FSDB and talked with Ron Stafford at the security gate. He said that they indeed had received the e-mail that we would be coming on campus the next evening at 6:00pm for a presentation with Young Life at the Music Building.

A quick stop at the DQ [ah, yes]….

DQ in SA

We continued on to the Lion’s Bridge drawbridge, and Earline didn’t seem TOO concerned….NOT a big bridge, and a separated walkway [with LOTS of joggers and cyclists].

Little did we know the adventure ahead of us!

[See, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be kinda neat if Earline got to see the drawbridge work…..oh,oh.]

Ready to cross Lions bridge

The walkway climb to the drawbridge was more than wide enough for us to maneuver comfortably.

Separated bike path

HOWEVER…..

….the walkway over the drawbridge itself was not. I would guess probably 36 inches.

Well, my trike is 33 inches wide [Earline’s, 31], and when I tried to go thru the drawbridge walkway, I got STUCK! My side bags stick out a few inches on each side, and I couldn’t get through.

THEN, the bells starting dinging, lights started flashing….what??!!

Apparently the drawbridge was about to be raised!

NOW what do we do??!!

Well, this older gentlemen stepped out of the gatehouse with a reflective vest on, briskly walked towards us, seemingly asking “what in the world were we doing??!!”

So the man is talking fast, Earline is talking behind me, the bells are still ringing, the lights are still flashing, cars are backing up at the red and white striped guard bar BEHIND us, and I didn’t understand the man’s question, so he asked [rather sternly], “Don’t you speak English?!”

So I just said, yes, but I didn’t quite catch his question.

He then asked, will it fit? And I said, with the side bags off, that I thought that, yes, it would. [Even though my custom handlebars stick out an inch or so on each side!] I also said that Earline’s trike was more narrow, so she shouldn’t have any problem.

So he waved us on through, and I proceeded across the drawbridge, with about a half inch to spare on each side!

Then once we got across the drawbridge, the black gate closed behind us, but the red and white guard bar AHEAD of us was down, and we couldn’t get through.

We were stuck!

However, I guess that was okay, because our walkie-talkies were apparently on the same channel as the bridge staff, and we could hear them talking about the bikers that were caught between the gate and the guard bar, and that apparently it was going to be alright for them to raise the drawbridge.

So there we sat, all by ourselves, while the drawbridge was slowly raised. I DID get a picture of that!

Stuck on drawbridge

Talk about drama!…..HA!

We WILL have to go back across the bridge to go to the school for our presentation, but at least now we have a little better understanding of what we need to do to get across.

We continued on a few more blocks to the home of Sam and Ann Thompson, that everyone at Neighborhood Alliance Church in Longwood asked about, and had a delightful time of fellowship [and teasing] with Sam and his family.

Sam and Ann EEB and Grace Ann

Thank you again, Lord, for your blessing and your provision in times of boredom [the long ride on Highway 1], AND excitement [Lion’s Bridge].

TGG,

jon