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 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

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 1 [Orlando – Longwood]

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2011

Whoo-whoo!

So….we get up at 4:30am, get our packed trikes out the door, we’re all set and ready to go. We say a prayer, and….

Huh??!!

Before we had gone 1 foot, we realize that Earline….has a flat tire!

What??!!!!

So, here I am, fixing the flat. All I did was pump the tire back up, and….it held! Okay, so….why did it go flat?

Hmmmm.

Fixing flat MPT 2011

At Mt. Sinai, the SHOW Choir [Silent Hands Of Worship] was doing a song at both services, and the SHOW CHOIR TOO also made its debut. Here is a video of some of the S.H.O.W. Choir Too members, getting in some practice praise before they joined the SHOW CHOIR in their song:

S.H.O.W. Choir TOO

After church Earline explained some details about the trikes to interested members:

Explaining trikes at Sinai

We left Mt. Sinai at 1:47pm, and headed north. Earline talked me into stopping at Walmart to get something to eat. We met Ashley, and talked to her about the Lord. She’s a Christian, and makes her own jewelry.

SAMSUNG

THEN, on Forest City Road, who should appear, but Angel, her brother Zeon, and their mother. Angel and Zeon along with their group made a singing and signing presentation at the last Deaf Revival.

Zeon and Angel

After about 15 miles, we made it to the start of the Wekiva Trail on 436, just a half mile east of Forest City Road. For the rest of the day we will be on this Trail and have the luxury of not having to fight traffic. Thank you, God.

San Sebastian trail

Even got to go thru a tunnel! [We really appreciate these tunnels on the trail that allow cyclists to not have to compete with the heavy traffic on 434 and Lake Mary Boulevard.]

Into the tunnel

We got to the Neighborhood Alliance Church which is right on the bike trail in Longwood, just as it was getting dark [around 5:30…..days are SHORTER this time of the year.] We quickly set up our tent….well, sorta quickly. It took a minute to remember how everything fit together! [Thank you, Lynne Wright for helping make our stay at NAC possible!]

Tent setup at NAC

The church was having a monthly fellowship pot-luck tonight, and they invited us! Yea! Scrumptious food [P.S. The brownies were GREAT!!!!], and we even got to participate in a time of thanksgiving and testimony about the goodness of God. AND, we made some new friends….

Lynnette and Earline

Lynette is a Jew by birth, but became a Christian several years ago, and has been a member of NAC for over 15 years! God’s special people!

Several people asked us if we knew Sam and Ann Thompson, who work with some of the youth at St. Augustine, where we’ll be stopping later on our tour….I mean, SEVERAL people. Turns out, God is truly at work, and there is a lot more to this story….stay tuned!

Also had a chance to meet and talk with Pastor Myers, and thank him for his hospitality. What a neat church!

Pastor Myers at NAC

Thank you, God, for a blessed end to our FIRST day of the 2011 Mission POSSIBLE Tour!

TGG,

jon

Day 77 [Greenville, MS – Warfield Point Campground, MS]

MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2010

After our second night in Firehouse #1, we woke up to meet our third crew:

Crew 3

(Willie Duke on the far right from the 2nd team we met is a holdover on to this team.) We also met Fire Marshall Henning who knew somebody down at channel 15, and they sent video journalist and weatherman Zac Schweizer to do a story on us that ran on channel 15 newscasts tonight and tomorrow. (Some of you may have seen it online….unfortunately, by the time we had internet access and time to look for it, we couldn’t find it! Some people also told us that they saw the story on TV.)

And before we left we met Fire Chief Lee Jordan, who is the person Mrs. Carlon Williams called on Saturday night to see if we could stay here at the fire station. Thank you, Chief Jordan!

Fire Chief Lee Jordan

Earline also had to get her last picture in WITH a fire truck….doesn’t she look cute??!!!

Fire Truck ladder1 and Earline

After interviewing with Zac, we ask the firemen what was a good place to eat….we figured THEY would know! They sent us to “Buck’s place” to get a good meal….and boy, was it good! Simple, but enough variety that Earline and I ordered totally different meals, and were both pleasantly surprised by the quality and good taste of our meals. This is ranking now up in the TOP FIVE of “eatin’ places” that we have experienced this summer.

Bucks Place store front

Bucks place with Earline

Here’s Earline with Buck, as well as a photo of Mrs. Buck….don’t know which of you is doing the majority of the cooking, but it was truly good, and you are to be commended!

Buck and Earline

Mrs Buck

After talking with some more folks outside of Buck’s, we headed over to the William Alexander Percy Memorial Library here in Greenville. Earline stayed and worked on the internet, while I went up to UPS to retrieve my replacement Blackberry….YEA!

William Alexander Percy Memorial library

UPS was only a few miles away, so I scooted up there, but when I got there, the sign said ONLY open from 9am to 10am and 5pm to 6pm……what??!! That won’t work….it’s only about 1pm, and we need to be on the road!…..Lord, please help me out here…..what would Benaiah do? [see 2 Samuel 23:20-23]

I am NOT leaving, or waiting until 5pm…..there MUST be somebody here. I triked around the building a couple times. I tried every door around the place……found one! I went in, and found 2 people inside. Just a little office area, and once I explained my story, they didn’t kick me out….yea! AND…they had my phone….I switched the simm and data cards, plugged it in, and YES!, it works.

I put the old phone in the box (okay, ominous music….click here) WITHOUT realizing that all of my contacts were NOT on the simm card or the media card, but in the phone ITSELF……ACK!!) So, I [unknowingly] happily shipped off the old phone, new phone in hand…..but at least I DO have my phone back (Google Maps included, and that IS a good thing!) (I won’t complain.)

Went back to the library, but Earline was having trouble with the internet. I quickly (okay, not too quickly…..actually about an hour’s worth of troubleshooting) discovered that THEIR internet was the culprit, and one staff person admitted that they had been having lots of problems lately with their internet connection.

SOOOOO……

We decided to head out, and find a place to wash our clothes. (Google Maps to the rescue…..well, okay, not quite….GM directed us to a laundromat not too far off our route, yes, but when we got there, it was closed down! (But we found another one right around the corner.)

HA!

Hmmmm…..there were actually quite a few businesses that we saw that were shut down in Greenville. The people we met were all truly nice, but again, this town is hurting economically….and, hmmmm, looks like I see another casino on the edge off town. Hmmmm (see Day 73 and the discussion about Helena, Arkansas and casinos.)

Tried to catch the video Zac did on the news at the laundromat, but we were watching the wrong channel! Ack! Oh, well.

Met this gentlemen from the car wash next door who had a relative who was Deaf.

Laundromat buddy

FINALLY got on the road towards the NEW BRIDGE that we had heard so much about….it actually JUST opened up LAST WEEK, so again we sensed God’s protection and provision going just ahead of us. From Bob’s book we knew of a campground named Warfield Point just on this side of the river, so we headed there as the sun was going down.

I had a flat tire on the way there…..a tack in the road….but I just pulled it out (and just threw it on the road, for some reason….oops….Earline had to go find it), spun the tire, inflated the tire, it held, and off we went.

Love that Flat Attack stuff! (Maybe I should do an ad….maybe they would be a sponsor!…..Mark, you have their number?)

Got to the campground as it was getting dark – set up quickly, and thanked God for another day (and not many mosquitoes here…..we like it!).

TGG,

jon

Day 72 [Co. Rd. 7, AK – Lexa, AK]

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 11, 2010

We left our little alcove in Pastor Cordell’s back yard [where the tent WAS!]…..when, WHOOPS!….

Alcove where we camped

….ACK! I left my glasses in the tent again!

Left glasses in tent again

Finally got underway around 7:30am, continuing south through northeastern Arkansas. After about 20 minutes, I realized that my left front tire was going flat. I checked it – couldn’t find any nails – so I inflated it back up to full pressure, and head down the road. (Was this another Flat Attack success story?!) About another 20 minutes or so, the same tire was going flat again. Same story – not completely flat, but at least “half-flat.”

Again, no nails, no tacks, no pieces of glass…..hmmmm.

I noticed that the valve stem was at a pretty severe angle coming through the rim (at least 45 degrees). I decided to take the whole tire off, straighten that tire, and see if I could see anything else.

Slow leak

The only thing I could see, is a possible start of a cut around half the valve stem – from the severe angle, from the edge of the rim hole? Hmmm. I tried to patch that area with some patch material I had, but the patch was too thick to allow it to pass through the hole. I did not want to use another tube, because I was out of Flat Attack to plug minor holes in the tube.

Fiddled with it a little more, put the tube back on the rim, with the valve at a correct 90 degree angle, pumped it back up, and had no more tire challenges the rest of the day. So was it the valve stem?

I don’t know.

I DO know that it is HOT today! Look at this sky (no shade here!):

Flat hot countryside

One of those big watering rigs went by us on the road – there was a guy at a steering wheel at the very tail end. Interesting!

Tractor pulling irrigation unit

We finally saw a little cloud on the horizon, and I was reminded of the story about Elijah, who sent his servant seven times before he finally saw a little cloud on the horizon [see 1 Kings 18:44]….

Little cloud like a hand 1 Kings 18 44

We saw some more cotton fields….fascinating how some of our favorite clothes originate in fields like this!

(Earline was getting to ready to say that she did NOT want to have her picture taken in no cotton field!….HA!….But knowing that she can CHOOSE to be or not be here makes all the difference. We also understand that all the harvesting now is done by machine!)

Cottonfield and Earline

After the cotton plant flower (or square) dries up, the cotton pod, or boll is formed, which results in the brown leafy bur that holds the white cotton fibers, or locks.

Cotton bulb and cotton

It is so dry here….we saw this tasseled corn field where the plants were only 3 foot high.

Tasseled corn barely 3 ft high

By now it is almost noontime, and we HAD to get out of this heat…..but we needed to get to Helena for our warm shower host.

But how can we continue in this heat?

We saw this little sign in the Family Dollar door window in Hughes, Arknsas:

Family Dollar sign

Hmmmm. Lord, how can we beat this heat?

We went down to the Dollar General store across the road. There we found a portable size IGLOO cooler that we had been looking for for several weeks. [See photo on Earline’s trike of the new cooler at the bottom of this Day’s blog.]

Then I got the idea….no, I have to say that God gave me this idea….how about an UMBRELLA, to block out the sun’s rays?

We found some $6 golf umbrellas in the Dollar General, and fitted them to our trikes…..voila! A little shade so we can continue our journey!

New shade

The folks at the Dollar General were so helpful….helping us think through the umbrella idea, and even gave us some good, cold, icy water. Thanks, Hughes Dollar General…..you’re the best!

Dollar General Hughes AK

We must have looked even weirder now, because more people stopped to take our picture!

Guy taking our picture

But we don’t mind, because now we are sitting cool!

Staying COOL

The umbrellas really did work great. We estimate that having that heat off our shoulders decreased the temp by at least 10 degrees.

At least we were okay until the first semi-truck zoomed on by…..WHOOPS! Shoot….bent a couple of the braces inside the umbrella. So now, Earline and I have to try and warn each other when a big semi approaches!

We saw some new grain bins along the side of the road….

New grain bins

…..and we saw some old ones.

Old grain bins

And if the semis weren’t hard enough on our umbrellas, I got excited when I saw the little wind funnel. “Hey, Earline, it’s okay….I’ve been through these before….they’re fun!”

[NOT thinking about this FRAGILE umbrella overhead….whoops!]

[The picture makes it hard to see, but the field debis was actually twisting around in a tight circle.]

Whirlwind forgot might damage umbrella

[Yes, I bent and broke a couple more braces on the umbrella….ACK!!!]

Holding on tighter now.

I saw this one yard I didn’t understand. The signage LOOKED like he wanted you stop in and partake of his goods and services. But, then again, the razor wire??!!???……

Razor wire

Our Warm Showers contact in Helena said that he had found another place for us to stay….and as we made the turn off of Highway 1 on to 242, there they were! They led us to their home only a couple miles away, they are Christians (and we really enjoyed talking with them), we were able to take those warm showers, and Bill and Carrie were every bit the great warm showers host…..thanks!!

Simmons driveway

Wed nite hosts Bill and Carrie

Only through God’s grace…..

jon

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

TUESDAY, AUGUST 10, 2010

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

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

High and wide MR

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

Huge barge on MR book downriver

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

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

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

Beautiful morning from TSC

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

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

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

Awesome! Thank you, God.

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

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

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

Stretching at TomSawyer CG

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

Leaving the TSC

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

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

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

Natural rider outside W Memphis convenstore

One lady took pictures [SMILE!]:

Lady taking picture of us

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

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

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

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

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

Blow out of tire new from day 35

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

Swapping tires

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

BARN ART alert!

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

Barn art ALERT plantation

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

Whoops!….

…..Deduct points for this oversight:

Implementation of innovation

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

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

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

Pastor Cordell and Jon

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

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 69 [Memphis (Germantown), TN]

SUNDAY, AUGUST 8, 2010

Sunday morning, we headed early back to Rhodes College to pick up our trikes, and head to church at G.E. Patterson’s.

We found the church (we thought), met Miss Nan who sometimes interprets for her Deaf husband (but he wasn’t there….he doesn’t like for his wife to always have to interpret for him)….and heard a great sermon from J.O. Patterson, Jr. (especially funny was his first experience coon-hunting the night before, and his story about his flashlight dying out in the woods.)

Cousin Patterson church

We thought this was G.E. Patterson’s grandson, but we couldn’t figure out why the church service started at 10:00, when the web site had said 11:00????

Well…..it turns out, we were at the wrong church.

Ack!!

The church was kinda dead….it was maybe a 2,000 auditorium with only 200 or 300 people in it…..it’s hard psychologically to get excited when there are so many empty seats (as the wise fellow said, always put out less seats than what you need.)

So whatever the reason – to meet Miss Nan….to hear this wonderful young preacher, or to work it out so that we met Charlese later….for SOME reason, God had us at THAT church.

It could even have been God’s purpose in worshipping there in order that we meet the nice lady from England that we talked to, and comforted, after the service; she had recently experienced the death of her son in some kind of freak shooting. We’ll know for sure some day [ALL will be revealed…..Matthew 10:26].

Speaking of Charlese….we met her when after leaving church, my right front tire BLEW out! (No Flat Attack rescue here). We were right by a gas station (and shade!) when it happened, so Charlese got a chance to try out Earline’s trike while I changed my tire.

Charlese on trike at gas station

After this, Earline and I went to the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, housed in the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.

The Lorraine Motel, Earline watching

This was a very emotional moment for both of us….I know that we have studied Dr. King quite a bit. On vacation a few years ago, we actually ended up in Montgomery, Alabama at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church where he first pastored, and met some of the people that had worshipped in that church with Dr. King who are still living today.

The DVD that we had watched many times called “We Shall Not Be Moved” is also an excellent resource that explains how the church itself was very instrumental in bringing about the success of the Civil Rights movement. And at jab designs, we had even put together a short DVD talking about some facts about Black History that are still misunderstood today, with several excerpts from Dr. King himself.

Yes, it was pretty emotional for both of us.

And then to witness many families visiting the Center on a hot, Memphis afternoon, like this family….

Family getting a picture at Lorraine

….it was wonderfully encouraging to see that there ARE kids being taught significant history, that ARE being given opportunities to learn from past mistakes.

The following picture would not have been possible without the efforts of Dr. King and many others who were inspired and guided by his preaching, his knowledge of God’s Word, and his vision of what an integrated America could be like:

Jon and Earline at Lorraine

It really was a wonderful museum, with TONS of information that you could easily take several days to fully explore. The staff were all very helpful, and BUSY:

Friend at MLKcenter

We met Courtney at the gift shop, who had taken ASL as her foreign language requirement. Good for her!

Courtney at MLK gift shop

Headed back to Kathy and Kevin’s for the night (oofta…..it was almost 15 miles…..which means we’ll have to do this again in the morning to head west into Arkansas!)

ONLY through God’s grace…..

Kevin and Kathy allowed me to do some maintenance on the trikes in their apartment tonight, so that was GREATLY appreciated (switched out several tires to try and stop the flat tires adventure of the past few days…..ha!).

Grateful again for God’s provision,

jon

Day 68 [Tipton, TN – Memphis, TN]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 7, 2010

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

Slept at Comm College last night

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

Bees in trees

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

Went flat after said check tires

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

Love that stuff.

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

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

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

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

Sarah and Earline

We encouraged our server to try some sign language!

Waitress at Breakfast cove practice signs

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

Fixing Earlines flat

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

Dick Moore owl mobile homes

We saw this unique Jesus sign….

Jesus IS dish on hot road to Memphis

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

Pretty entrance to Northridge Woodhaven Cemetery

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

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

Made it to Memphis

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

Trash side of road

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

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

Industrial area air port along route

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

Nice area close to river

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

Mud Island park

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

We could see the Memphis skyline just up ahead:

Memphis skyline

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

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

Go down bridge

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

Statue of Ramssees why not Moses

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

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

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

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

I’m just sayin’….

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

Carolyn watched our trikes for us:

Visitor security Carolyn and Earline

Precious helped us plan our route around the city.

Precious and Earline

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

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

Kathy and Earline on Rhodes campus

Thanks to Robert Smith who helped make that possible.

Robert Smith Kathy Earline

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

Kathy and Kevin try out trikes

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

Thank you, GOD, for Your gracious provision.

TGG,

jon

Day 67 [Ripley, TN – Tipton, TN]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 2010

Good morning, through God’s grace!

Thanking God for the opportunity to get the blog caught up. Choosing to thank Him for my phone dying. All the contacts and messages and communication the next week will have to be done through Earline’s phone.

After some troubleshooting with T-Mobile, we determined that the SIM card and the memory card are probably okay, but that software in rthe phone itself has been corrupted. I might have been able to fix it myself, but the computer software Blackberry Range-In-Motion (RIM) has for the Mac will not work on our old laptop (motorola vs the newer intel chips).

So-o-o-o-o-o……because I bought a warranty for the BB when I got it, T-Mobile agreed to swap out the phone. Of course, the question is……where to?

Hmmmmm.

They ship UPS, so I found a UPS Customer Center in Greenville, Mississippi, where we will probably be next week, and T-Mobile will ship the rerplacement phone there for me to pick up. Whew!

Meantime, I will be out of reach by e-mail or texting until then, except here through Earline’s phone. [Choose to] tell God thank-you.

After the long ride through western Tennessee the night before, I was up most of the night and morning wrestling with these technical issues.

[Not any photos of that, huh?!!]

We got packed up at the Super8, did a late check-out around noon (the lady at the front desk was NOT happy), finished up some more of the mentioned T-Mobile/UPS phone exchange logistics in the lobby of the Super8, and after a Pizza Hut late lunch headed toward Memphis.

Leaving Super 8 in Ripley

I did put out a Warm Showers request to about 4 places in Memphis, like we did in Cape Girardeau (but it will be tough to top the great stay we had at “mom’s” place!).

Decided to stay on Hwy 51 toward Memphis….much more traffic, BUT shorter distance so we can be sure to be in church there on Sunday. We contacted several churches with possible Deaf ministries, but haven’t heard ANYTHING back yet. With my phone [and Goggle Maps] not available, I also wanted to stay closer to the wider range of food and drink choices available on the straighter, but busier route.

We went past Henning, TN, which has a museum set up for Alex Haley, the author of “Roots.” I actually heard Mr. Haley speak at Luther College when I was in school there, as he was in the process of researching that project.

Earline had a flat tire between Haley and Covington. But “Flat Attack” to the rescue. YEA! [Love that stuff!]

UN identical CO2s

As you can see above, the Walmart CO2 cartridges I had are little SHORTER and wouldn’t work in the cartridge container I had, so I tried to stick some filler in the bottom of the housing so that the top would penetrate the cartridge….BUT, that didn’t work either (I’m thinking now that the cartridge housing is damaged in some way), so pumped it back up by hand, spun the tire, and off we went.

Love that Flat Attack stuff.

Saw this beautiful cloud cover north of Covington:

Feathery clouds

Covington was busy. Talked to an attendent at a convenience store whose friend’s daughter was born premature and deaf. At the the age of 2 they had already sent her to the state school for the Deaf. Any thoughts on that?

As we toddled around Covington, we looked and looked for a place to camp…hmmm. No camp sites, no parks….tried to find a church to camp next to…..couldn’t really find anything suitable.

(Did go past this attractive church building):

Stylish Episcopal church Covington

Tried to camp behind a medical building, but a janitor who saw us called the owner and said that we couldn’t stay there.

Ack!!!

Way on the south end of Covington, actually becoming the town of Tipton, we ended up at a school – Dyersburg Community College, where we camped near the back of the campus. (It IS summertime, and it IS a Friday night….so hopefully we’ll be uninterrupted.)

Dark on the school campus

(As I type this it is actually starting to get LIGHT, and we haven’t been interrupted YET….HA! Well, maybe the timing is working in our favor.)

The air seems a little cooler this morning than this past week, so I am grateful.

Okay now, since it is the morning of the 7th….everybody all together….wish Auntie Jo a Happy Birthday!! (you remember her from hosting us while we stayed in Monona, Iowa, with her and Uncle Dan). Hope you have a great one!

Smile Joanita 2

One more joyous announcement….our Melisha (Mee Mee to some of you) (yes, I CHOOSE to spell it that way….ha!) had her little Jameer (Thursday) afternoon:  8/5/2010 at 4:47pm……6lbs-10.9 oz and 19 inches. You can now officially call Earline “Grandma!”

Jameer

One more note…..we were saddened to hear about the death of one of my fellow musicians from New Vision Community Church in Florida. Richard Smilie had a wonderful singing voice, and he and I had planned on doing the music for a conference together next month when we got back from our Tour. The funeral is today. I will miss him.

God bless ALL of you who are faithfully keeping us in your prayers.

TGG,

jon