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

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2014

[Distance traveled: 32 miles]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

YES!

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

Now on to TODAY.

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

Are you excited?

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

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

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

Ready to leave the Best Western

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

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

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

Original Mac sign

Love the sign.

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

St Mary Thrift Store

And the sign next to the front door said:

And the sign said

Whoa! Can’t hardly beat THAT price!

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

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

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

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

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

St Lucie bridge

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

A separate side path is Earline’s preference.

Separated path up St Lucie bridge

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

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

Going down to go up again

Yup!

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

So….up we go AGAIN!

Indian River Lagoon bridge

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

The view from the top was pretty nice.

View from top

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

Seats at the top

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

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

The road here looked like this:

And then 20 miles

And then some of that:

Some of that

And then, a little bit more of THIS:

Little more of the other thing

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

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

Man fishing with net

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

St Lucie Nuckear Power Plant

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

Pretty alone house for sale

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

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

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

3rd high bridge

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

View from 3rd tall bridge

The view to the north was impressive:

From top of 3rd see guys on pier

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

2 guys on pier

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

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

Restaurants cook

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

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

Earline near dark north of Ft Pierce

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

Fishermen on bridge near dark

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

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

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

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

And ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 92 [St. Bernard State Park, LA – Venice, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2010

Okay…..so the alarm went at 2:30…we heard it….we rationalized that we could sleep a few more minutes (why do we DO this to ourselves….HA!). Well, after a few tries, we did get up a few minutes after 3. We both took showers to help us wake up, and I had some good prayer time right here:

Day 92 prayer closet

Earline thought she heard something….

Did I see something move

Actually, she did! We saw several raccoons terrorizing some garbage cans by the bathrooms…..tried to get a picture, but couldn’t get close enough, and too dark.

After packing and stretching and praying, we headed down Highway 39 about 5:10am…..and the traffic was HEAVY! [What??!?]

We were very thankful for a 6 foot shoulder. We got to English Turn Road, and headed down it, and realized…..no more shoulder! So like English Commander Banks did over 300 years ago, we TURNED AROUND and headed down Highway 39.

We stopped at the corner store and got a Honey Bun for…..ah, energy? Yummmm!!

Honey bun breakfast

We saw some beautiful clouds in the south that the rising sun poured out its light out on….

Southern cloud bank

….but we actually couldn’t see the sun itself, because of this cloud bank….

East cloud bank

….and I looked at the red lining under the cloud, and THEN I remembered: “Red sky at morning, sailors take warning….” (remember? from Matthew?)….

….and I thought, “oh, oh!”

There OVIOUSLY had been quite a bit of rain here during the night, because the tires were picking up the water and SPRAYING US as we went along.

(Hey, Mark, about those fenders….!)

As we continued south along the east side of the Mississippi River, the sky got darker….

OH NO, more rain

….and the sky got heavier….

Rain storm on levee

……and we got soaked again. [Yes, I had climbed the levee to visit mother nature.]

Through the rain

(Already taken the rain suit OFF, because it is so HOT!)

(Of course, after a few minutes, we had to put them back on again, because it started raining again.) (Ack!!)

Finally got to the turn for the ferry, and it was there waiting for us!

Enter ferry

The ferry took off just minutes after we got on board. [Doesn’t Earline look GOOD??!!?] [We’re CLOSE, Honey!]

 

Ferrying across the river

Boy, this River has gotten BIG!

Lookee how BIG

Saw this bumper sticker on one of the cars on the ferry….interesting! Hmmm!

Kiss bumper sticker

This ferry knows where it’s going, right??!!

Ferry knows where going right

We actually got to the other side pretty quickly, and off we were, down the WEST side of the River.

Exit ferry

The road was 4 lanes, and had a nice 8-foot shoulder…..for a while. Then we ran into this:

Road closed

Still had a shoulder for a while….we tried to find someplace to eat, and after a couple tries, someone sent us to Ann’s Restaurant. Just a little trailer…

Anns trailer

…..but Ann was GREAT, and busy!!

Anns restaurant Port Sulpher

And we soon found out why….not only was the food good, but the portions were HUGE. We ordered one Poor Boy cheeseburger, and both of us TOGETHER could hardly finish it. Wow. The phone was ringing, people were lining up, and I think she’s only open from 11 to 2 each day, but the word was out, and the people came by in droves.

Do yourself a favor. Check out Ann’s Restaurant in Port Sulpher. GREAT!

Full of lots of carbohydrates (ha!), we sped on down the road. The shoulder ended in Port Sulpher….and riding got a little tricky.

We had heard about a huge overpass up ahead, and realized even today, in the Mississippi River delta, we had one more hill to climb:

WHAT another hill

We were warned that this road had lots of truck traffic, and that trucks coming over the hill COULD NOT SEE slow traffic over the hump of the road.

So we went cautiously up the hill, and then I stayed at the top while I sent Earline down the other side.

(I did have a nice view of the delta from the top of the overpass.)

View of Gulf from top of overpass

As it turned out, we only had about a dozen vehicles that came over the overpass while we were on it, and only ONE tractor-trailer. Thank you, God!

After we both got safely to the other side, some people stopped to ask questions or take our picture…

Taking pictures

…..Steven Turner stopped to check out WHAT IN THE WORLD we were doing!

Steven Turner and Earline

We saw lots of damage down here as well from the various storms….

House hurt

People told us that Port Sulpher used to be full of homes….but no more. Venice was the same story.

Wrecked house

We saw this Community Prayer Center that had a replica of a Garden Tomb right on the side of the highway….

Community Prayer Center garden tomb

….and we saw a LOT of RV Parks, and temporary housing…..

Temp houses

….and we saw signs of the BP oil spill having an impact on this area. I image the news reporters and oil workers all needed places to stay, and that some of the RV parks and motels probably did pretty well. We also heard, though, that tourists for the most part were scared away, especially the charter fishing industry.

We even saw this sign by some a company trying to take advantage of any possible legal action!

Oil spill claim sign

And then….

…..rain clouds threatened AGAIN.

MORE rainc louds

We did get rained on a LITTLE more, but not too heavy, and we were grateful.

We did have a police officer for the first time all summer, stop beside us and tell us to move on to the shoulder. I explained that the surface was not very good, and had a lot of debris, and that I felt that it was dangerous for us to ride there. I also explained that we had just come all the way from Minnesota, and he said, “well….” and then he took off.

Here’s what the shoulder looked like at the time (it was some kind of sea shell mixture, it looked like)….

Shoulder huh

The Mississippi River was just to our left, and sometimes we could see the top of ships on the other side of the levee.

Ships on MR

We even saw cows on the levee to our right (why do the white birds seem to flock around the cows….hmmm??)….

Cows and birds on levee

As we got to the south end of Venice, and headed out on Tidewater Road, we saw these huge sand bags…

Jon on sand bags

….OOPS….what I did NOT realize is that these huge sand bags had WET sand in them…..ACK!!!!

Oops wet sand

There was lots of industry down in this area, and actually lots of traffic!….

Industry

Lots of cars

Near the end of the trail there was even this huge plant….

TARGA plant

But there was a little more pretty scenery, and a beautiful sunset before we reached the sign…

Near sunset

Sunset on delta

Left side of delta

…..and there it was…..THE SIGN! (even the sign showed evidence of disrepair)

At the sign Earline

Jesus is ONE way

Ack! Getting dark! But still snuck in a couple more pictures.

 

Jon at the sign

Jon and Earline at sign

Just across the road from the sign was a local fisherman, and he shared how the fishing moratorium was hurting so many.

Fisherman at the sign

Diane’s son, and “Sistah Eva’s” nephew Frederick, came with his Jeep to pick us up and take us back to New Orleans.

Everything fit! [Whew!]

Both trikes in the Jeep

Thanks, Frederick! (And thanks to you and the fisherman for taking our picture together.)

Frederick 2

A WONDERFUL end to a long journey!

Thanks to God for His gifts, and His grace. [And a HUGE congratulations to my wife, the FIRST Black woman to cycle the entire Mississippi River Trail on a cycle of ANY kind! Bravo!]

Kiss

Only TGG,

jon

Day 82 [Port Gibson, MS – Natchez State Park, MS]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 21, 2010

In the morning, we had some friends stop by:  4-legged and 2-legged!

4 legged friend

2 legged friends

Our “2-legged friends” had just finished the night shift, but Earline had met them during the night, and they wanted to find out more about learning signing language and the resources that GHA has.

Packed up, said our good-byes…..

Leaving sheriffs car

…..and headed first to a laundromat to do some desperately-needed clothes-washing.

Front of wash and dry

Our trikes drew a lot of attention in this small town, and met several people, including a young man with his family that has a Deaf sister. We tried to encourage him and point them in the direction of some more resources.

We even drew the attention of one of Alvin Taylor’s friends that we had met the other day, a Mr. LaNell Frazier.

LaNell Frazier

On the way out of town, we met Cathy at the Visitor Information Center who was very sweet and helpful.

Cathy at visitor infoc enter

As we headed back to the Trace, we noticed again this unusual foliage covering everything!

Foliage coverage

We got back on the Trace….ooooooo, it is HOT! Let’s sit in the shade for a while…..40 miles to Natchez!

SHADE

My umbrella has gotten so messed up….the slightest wind throws it backwards. So I rigged up some tape, like the wiring I used for the pvc frame I attached earlier this year. Kinda funky looking, but it works!

Funky tape

We saw three more deer dance across the road….still too fast for my camera, but fun to watch.

For the most part, the road is pretty quiet, with only an occasional car.

Natchez trace 2

We did have a group of ladies from Taiwan, Singapore, and several other places who stopped and asked questions about our Mission Tour and took lots of pictures.

Ladies in white car

White car

We also stopped by what is the only remaining way station / boarding house for travelers along the Trace from the early 1800’s. When we got there, the sign said STOP, but I said uh-uh, (I’ve come too far, and I thought it might be a nice insight into the reasoning behind the inns and way stations, for people like ourselves who need places to stay) and walked in to see the cabin and take pictures.

Way station

Bed inside

Tables inside

Here’s the view from the porch of our trikes waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay in the distance.

Trikes WAAAAY in bkgd

Earline took the opportunity to rest her legs.

They say stop

By now it was almost getting dark, and we didn’t know where we were going to stay, when we ran across a sign for Natchez State Park. Yea!! We’ll take it! [We were a LITTLE leery of going to another Mississippi State Park after our experience at the last one, but we figured it couldn’t possibly be that bad. It wasn’t.] [Although the hills going up to it were a little rough!…..ooofta!]

Oooo long dark hill

We found CLEAN bathrooms, GREAT showers, AND a nice campsite to set up our tent. (We’ll show that to you tomorrow.)

Grateful AGAIN for God’s provision and timing!

TGG,

jon

Day 81 [Vicksburg, MS – Port Gibson, MS]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 20, 2010

After staying up late working on the blog, I got up early to put on the tires that Mark had sent me. I actually had to change all 6 tires, rotating some so that the new, more heavy duty tires were on the back under the weight of the panniers.

Fixing tires in Vicksburg

I discovered that the tires had arrived none too soon, because one of Earline’s front original tires was bulging and showing thread!

Bad tire

While I was working I had this pretty moth stop by and visit….camouflage! And it kinda reminded me of a B-2 stealth bomber. AMAZING design!

Stealth bomber moth

Earline and I got packed up, and got ready to head out. Alvin had taken us to get a couple hundred more flyer handouts printed, so with those (AND fresh ice) in hand, Alvin drove us south a ways. He wisely advised us about the danger of Fisher Ferry Road, and took us beyond where the traffic was so heavy. Not only was it a winding road with heavy traffic, but there was NO shoulder, save some grassy areas, and there was a curb on the side of the road in most places that PREVENTED you from even trying to move TO that grassy shoulder…..an accident waiting to happen. Very dangerous.

Thank you, Alvin, for observing and correctly evaluating the need for concern.

He found a pretty spot to drop us off, and helped us get loaded up.

Alvin and Jon packing up

Thanks again, Alvin, for your kindness and generosity. He even broke his “don’t cook in summer” rule, and made us a pound cake. Great!

Pound cake

May God bless you in ways you can’t imagine!

Earline and I headed on to the Natchez Trace, and this was one of the prettiest roads we’ve been on. It is just a 2 lane road, but no commercial traffic of ANY kind is allowed, and the speed limit is 50 miles per hour. The Trace has a very interesting history, and is a popular cycling route.

Natchez Trace Earline

[Still miserably hot, so we had our umbrella’s going again. We did see 2 deer dance across the road in front of us (a wonderful gift from God to watch and admire), but they were too quick for my camera.]

We got off the Trace at Port Gibson, and through some contacts Alvin had, were able to stay right in the County Sheriff’s parking lot.

Courthouse parking lot

But it was just so HOT…..hard to get a good night’s sleep, but we DID have ice in our igloo…..

Ice in our igloo

…..and a fan for our feet…..

Fan for our feet

…..so we are grateful.

Only through God’s grace,

jon

Day 79 [Lake Providence, LA – Vicksburg, MS]

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 18, 2010

Woke up as it was getting light (really warm again last night) and I realized there were DARK CLOUDS from the south headed straight for us!
[Okay, so I didn’t get a picture of THESE clouds, but this sample will suffice…ha!]
[I was….concerned.]
[I really DO hate getting wet.]
[ESPECIALLY when packing!]
[Enough parentheses!]

During the night, we decided that sleeping in our trikes again was NOT an option, so we went around from the front to the back of the church, and set up the tent, and got a FEW hours of sleep!

Spurred on by the approaching dark clouds, we quickly got packed (whoops….so fast that I didn’t get a picture! The tent was right behind where the trikes are.)……

Site behind church

…..and headed TOWARDS the rain. [I know, I know….] Really dark clouds…..but they seemed to kinda dissolve as we rode towards them. Thank you, Mt. Zion Baptist Church for being a place of refuge for us that you didn’t even realize. May God bless you!

Saw this interesting marquee at a church further down the road:

Marquee about texting

I think that message is pretty clear, huh!?!!

Okay, Earline wanted me to go back and take a picture of this armadillo.

Dead armadillo

Yes, the joys of riding in the open air.

We did see (and SMELL!) a fair amount of road kill on our entire trip, and most were in various stages of decay. This one was intact yet for the most part, before the flies and sun got to him. Death is something we saw almost every day on our trip, and death is something we ALL will experience and have to go through.  Best to think about it now while there is time. [See Ecclesiastes 7:2]

Farm equipment lawn ornament alert!

Farm implement lawn ornament mower

And yet again!

FILO rake

The logging industry also seems to be pretty big in this area….note this L-L-L-L-O-O-O-O-N-N-N-N-G-G-G-G stretch of logs:

BIG pile of logs

One thing we had taken note of in Bob’s Bicycling Guide to the Mississippi River Trail is that this stretch of Highway 65 would have a good number of eating places and food service. Because we are moving slower than your average bicyclist this is an important factor for us when choosing a route. (ESPECIALLY ice on these hot summer days is like GOLD to us – the small IGLOO that we picked up a few weeks ago south of West Memphis TRULY was a God-send.)

So small rural roads may be good for weekend trips, or small excursions, and appropriately marked as part of the MRT…..longer, slower, and UNSUPPORTED trips like ours have a much higher need for services – food, water, bathrooms, even ELECTRICITY to charge our phones are things one has to consider when planning a trip like this.

Unfortunately, one of the things we have experienced this summer is that MANY of these roadside eating places and convenience stores have been hit hard by the economy, and closed doors are NOT good for us. Along Highway 65 we saw closed shop after closed shop. The convenience store/cafe in Transylvania…..closed. Other shops along the way…..closed. Between the truck stop we were at last night just south of Lake Providence and Tallulah, a distance of almost 30 miles, there was nothing.

Nothing.

We finally did reach Tallulah, and after getting a couple things at the IGA there, Earline noticed a couple ladies signing in their car in the parking lot. We had the opportunity to talk with them for a good hour, discussing their situation, as well as Deaf culture issues.

They talked about the pathetic lack of services available locally for the Deaf. (If I remember right, they were part of a group of four Deaf that lived together in Sondheimer, Louisiana. They said they had to go to Monroe or Baton Rouge for any services for the Deaf.)

Thank you, Lord, for the timing that allowed us to have this discussion with them! Here’s Elsie and her friend….

Earline with Elsie and her friend

Signing at the IGA

Elsie and Earline

2 Deaf ladies at the IGA

I did not want to be TOO obtrusive with my picture taking, but I did want to get a few photos.

I found out later that they had actually asked US for money….[little did they know!…heh].

BUT, Earline was compassionate, and gave her some of the few dollars we had. God, please bless our kindness…you KNOW our situation.

What do those of you who are Deaf think? Was it a good idea to give her money or not?

We decided to stop in at the Popeyes to grab a quick, inexpensive lunch with the few dollars we had left, and WHILE WE WERE IN LINE ordering our food, Alvin Taylor, our contact from attorney Willie Griffin in Greenville, called from Vicksburg, and said he heard that we were eating at the Popeyes in Tallulah.

WHAT??!!

(HA!…..you never know WHO’S watching you!)

He said that everything was set up [after the casino checked out our web site and confirmed that GHA was a 501(c)(3)] for us to stay in a nice room at one of the casinos in Vicksburg – a WARM SHOWER, a SOFT BED, AND an evening meal and breakfast…..YEAH!

[And I MUST interject here, that I strongly feel that God here was almost IMMEDIATELY answering our prayer to bless our earlier giving….one of those “coincidences” that kept happening to us time and time again along this journey. Just awesome….really!]

AND, it turns out that Mr. Taylor not only knew and had been talking with our evangelist contact Gertrude, but that he ALSO KNEW my contact with the Vicksburg Bridge Commission, Herman Smith, and had been in touch with him! He said he’d meet us up on the other side of the bridge.

Wow….

We took the old US 80 highway about 20 miles over to the old bridge (still a fairly busy road with a number of semis, so be careful.) I seem to remember getting drizzled on a little bit between Tallulah and the bridge, but it was light….and I was GRATEFUL!

Came up to the closed bridge, and Herman Smith was waiting for us.

Entrance to bridge 42 with Herman Smith

Herman helped me load the trikes on the pickup, and we headed across the bridge:

Herman Smith helping unload our trikes

Even though this bridge has been closed to vehicular traffic for some time, there IS a train that runs across it several times a day. And it gets used a lot by various cycling groups. They just have to have a permit / permission / insurance waiver to use it. [An EXPENSIVE permit, from what I understand.] It seems that this bridge is the only bridge across the Mississippi River that is owned entirely by a municipality, county or city. There is apparently a legal battle going on between Warren County which wants to open it up to pedestrian traffic, and the railroad, which doesn’t. It should soon be decided by the courts.

Here, then, are some photos of Bridge #42 (is this our LAST bridge over the MR?…..we’ll see!) (We even happened to catch a train going over at the same time!):

Vicksburg bridge over MR with train

Bridging the gaps over 42

Herman and Jon front of Warren County truck

So, welcome to Vicksburg, Mississippi! (back in State #9)

Mr. Taylor was indeed in the parking lot waiting for us, and led us straight to the casino. What I didn’t realize is that Vicksburg is hilly! In fact, it reminded us of Burlington, Iowa, with all of the hilly streets.

Down Down along the river

Mr. Taylor helped us get checked in, along with some special attention from Lana at the front desk!

Checking in at the hotel

Lana at front desk

Alvin even helped us move our baggage up to the room…..he was SO HELPFUL!….he truly became our special angel with his kindness and helpfulness. He was like an armor-bearer that waited on us with exactly what we needed. He is retired from the Army Corp of Engineers, where he helped with the regulation of levels and study of the Mississippi River. He is now a GOLFER who represents various companies, and has a handicap of only 5 (Pastor Mills, that’s pretty good, right?!!)

Helping us check in

Oh, and did you notice he’s 6 foot 6?!?! Ha! This photo maybe shows it better:

Alvin and Earline

We had a WONDERFUL buffet down in the restaurant, and had a chance a chance to share with some people that Alvin brought to meet us…..he actually became one of our best advocates!

Advocate

2 ladies at dinner

Mickey the Sous Chef even stopped by…..by the way, the broccoli and cheese soup was absolutely scrumptious!

Mickey the Sous Chef

Headed up to nice, dry, soft, bed….exactly what we needed after spending 2 nights sleeping on the ground……thanks, Alvin, And thank you, God, for bringing into our world people who can provide exactly what we need.

TGG,

jon

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

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2010

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

Warfield Point tent site

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

Weird tree seed or fruit

Weird seed fruit on tree

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

Graham crackers and peanut butter and honey

Lovingly prepared, of course, by MY Honey:

Honey making honey

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

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

Warfield Point Campground riverside rain

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

Bridge41

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

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

Texting while triking on 41

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

Nice wide shoulder

Semi not so ominous here

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

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

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

Interesting home on Chicot Lake

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

Guys at 82 and 65

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

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

Martians

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

Beautiful sky north of Eudora

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

Escorting Earline

Officer escort

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

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

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

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

Robot mailbox

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

Welcome to Louisiana State 10

Ack!

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

Well, here SHE is by herself!!

THERE she is

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

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

HA! Oh, well…..

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

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

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

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

Janie and her son

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

Janies 2nd son

Night time picture taking

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

Riding trike

Couple lost child

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

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

Parked in the shadow

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

It was really amazing to see!

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 76 [Greenville, MS]

SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010

After a WONDERFUL night’s sleep (the firemen like to keep their quarters COLD!)…we were up around 6:30 to meet the new shift (in Greenville they do 24 hours on, and 48 hours off.) Some of the old crew posed before heading home….Derrick, Jason, and Captain Buggs:

First crew

The new crew included Willie Dukes and Chief “Earline’s cousin” Tyrone Cook.

Willie Duke

Chief Tyronne

Chief’s cousin actually married into the Hayes family back in Orlando, and Chief Cook has attended church at Mt. Sinai in Orlando!

(Additional note:  We ALSO have discovered that Chief Cook’s uncle lives just 3 blocks from us! Small world!)

We got dressed, and headed to church on our trikes. Even though it was only a mile or so, and we TRIED to go slow so as NOT to sweat, we were perspiring pretty bad by the time we parked at Zion Baptist (sorry, everyone, for being so grungy!).

Or, as Earline says, “Ooooo! It’s HOT!”

Parked at ZBC

Earline and I went to our separate Sunday School classes. Deacon Rosenthal gave a most excellent lesson in our Men’s class, and there was lots participation and discussion.

We had a chance to talk a little bit about our trip when the classes all came together at the end of Sunday School. Zion Baptist is about a quarter the size of Sinai, but the singing was enthusiastic, and the teaching was sound.

There was a female guest speaker who talked faithfulness, from Deuteronomy 7:9. It turns out that this was a SPECIAL SUNDAY for their Pacesetters group that has a mission outreach in the community.

And guess what the theme of the program was??

“With God, all things are possible!” [The SAME as OUR theme! Amazing when things work out like this!]

They even had 2 baptisms. Here are some photos from the service:

Zion Baptist 01

Zion Baptist 02 baptism

Zion Baptist 03

Zion Baptist 04

Zion Baptist 05

Zion Baptist 06

Zion Baptist 07

Then they had a meal after this service (yea!….home cooking!).

Zion Baptist 09

Zion Baptist 08

Pastor Williams and his wife were very kind to us, and even gave us a love offering for GHA. Thank you, God.

THEN we learned that Pastor Williams was speaking at a special service in the afternoon at another church about 3 miles away. We decided to go, and jumped on our trikes and headed over to St. Peter East MBC. It turns out that this was an installation service for the interim pastor to become the full-time pastor – Rev. Lillie C. Gilmore, and a very big deal, because she became the very FIRST female Baptist pastor in the city of Greenville.

I saw more than 15 churches represented, in a sanctuary again less than half the size of Sinai. And the singing….wow! Here’s a sample:

Zion Baptist Choir & Congregation

And some photos from the service at St. Peter East MBC:

SPE 01

SPE 02

SPE 06 Ceremony

Pastor Lillie speaking

Here is Pastor Lillie’s husband, the Rev. A.C. Gilmore [which is probably how they solve the authority issue from the Bible – she has her husband as HER pastor]:

Rev AC Gilmore

I REALLY enjoyed Pastor Williams’ from ZBC teaching…he was “very much” in the Word, and backed up what he was teaching with multiple Scripture references. Great job!

AND they served MORE food after the ceremony (are we in heaven today or what!!!).

SPE 03

SPE 04

Now here’s where it REALLY gets interesting!

AFTER the service Earline went up to get some ice, and met Willie Griffin.

Willie Griffin and Jon

He was interested in our Mission tour, and it turned out that he was an attorney, and knew some folks in Vicksburg, where we were headed. He gave us a couple names, and told us to contact them for a place to stay. (More on THIS story continues tomorrow!)

Afterwards we got some more pictures with Pastor Lillie and others, including a young man who was 16 years old, and had already been preaching for over 2 years.

SPE 05

Young preacher

On the way back to the fire station, we met Shirley, who had seen us the night before, and wanted to try out the trike.

Shirley and Earline

The fireman were out playing some b-ball. Earline said it was exciting to see so many young, Black men being taught and mentored by some older Black men!

BB1

BB2

BB3

BB4

BB5

Alright….you guys have gotten enough attention….get back to work! Ha! [And again, thanks for all YOU do!]

Chief Cook says, ‘No, I didn’t do it!!!” (ha!)

Chief Cook

Tonight I got a chance to work on the blog, and Earline was able to get some e-mail and Facebook contacts caught up, as we made plans to leave in the morning.

Thank-you, God, for opportunities to publicly worship You, and thank You for your WONDERFUL provision.

TGG,

jon

Day 75 [Great River Road State Park, MS – Greenville, MS]

SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 2010

[Again, please excuse our dust as we work around grammatical and technical issues…when we DO get somewhere that has reliable wifi, we will update this blog with correct paragraph spacing and a WHOLE BUNCH of photos (there are already 500 photos here), so check back often!]

Do you realize that there are only about 2 weeks left in our Mission Possible Tour? Hard to believe!

And have you seen the video yet of Earline and I from Day 71 at the Tom Sawyer Campground just south of West Memphis, Arkansas? The link to its posting on YouTube can be found right on the top center of the Home Page of this web site (see if you notice the “something” floating down the river behind us as we’re talking!).

Back to the Great River Road State Park….it should be closed.

As we were coming in at midnight last night, a truck pulled beside us on the road inside the dark park, and said we needed to pay $20, or something like that. It was late [and I don’t remember if we even HAD $20, but we said we’d take care of it in the morning.] [Plus we didn’t know who these folks really were!]

Good thing we didn’t, because I don’t really even think the place was open, and SHOULD be closed, at least until there is some major clean-up completed.

The campground is filthy….I won’t belabor the point, but here are some photos, including from the dining and office area which signage says was open daily, but it was locked down and the doors were chained.

Lonely campsite in GRR State Park

Blown light

Torn shower curtain

3 lights out of 18 working

Plateless socket

Busted railing

Chains on door

Appropriately so, even the bugs know this place needs prayer. I saw my first ever praying mantis, and he hung around our campsite almost all morning.

Praying mantis

Had our morning breakfast of Vienna Sausages and Spam….yummm…..

Vienna sausage

[….doesn’t Earline look excited??!!] Left the campsite and checked the main area.

GRR SP pretty place empty1

I mean, as this last picture shows, it is a pretty area…..that’s the Mississippi River way in the background….but even this area around the office was unkept – cobwebs and leaves unswept, sidewalks cluttered….and totally empty. Really left you with a sad, sick feeling.

Has the economy hurt them as well? Is there mismanagement going on here? Not sure….someone later in the day told us that Hurricane Gustav a few years ago had completely flooded out the place, so maybe that’s part of it….or ALL of it.

Just be forewarned….do NOT bother to go to this mess [in less you check first and see if repairs have been done]….

….and WE proceeded to head south towards Greenville [where my phone should be waiting!]….little knowing….

…..what special things God had in mind for our week to come!!

As we left the Great River Road Campground [the ONLY one leaving, ‘cuz no one else was staying there!], we saw a house with some people around 80–100 yards away [maybe the ones from last night?], and we waved good-bye, but we didn’t go any closer.

As we exited the campground, we saw a payment box, so we left one or two dollars in the box along with a “concerned” note about the campground.

Only right to leave SOMETHING, right?

It is HOT again today….we heard 105 was the forecast. Earline and I still have our umbrellas goin’ on.

Under umbrella at GRRSP

We saw our first farm equipment lawn ornament [FILO] that we had seen in several weeks. [I think they need some pointers, tho, from the folks up north!]

Notice the feisty guard dog protecting the FILO!

Lawn ornament cultivator with dog

At a convenience store in the little village of Beulah, and were again talking to many of the patrons of the store, when we met music minister Eldridge Jenkins. Looking for a church to go to tomorrow morning, we asked him what church he recommended in Greenville, and he didn’t hesitate: Zion Baptist Church, apparently one of the churches where he rotates as music minister.

We called the pastor, and after several tries with our on-again-off-again phone service, we were able to get thru. He recommended the Salvation Army as a place to stay (not what we were hoping for….but we were fine with ANYPLACE God led us.)

Yet another beautiful sunset (The heavens reveal His glory!).

Sunset north of Greenville

It was again dark as we pulled into town (but not nearly as late as last night – only about 9pm). We went to the Salvation Army…we had been trying to call them all late afternoon and evening, but no answer.

And now, no one came to the door. Hmmm.

Weird.

Salvation Army in Greenville

We called Pastor back, but it went to his answering machine.

Okay.

Maybe they’ve gone to bed….now what?

Should we find the church and camp out, like we did at Beech Grove in Kentucky?

What other option is there?

Suddenly, they called back. They had been outside, talking to relatives. They were going to come by with their pickup, and transport us to the local Fire Station #1!! (It turns out the pastor’s wife works downtown and called the Fire Chief for us!)

So the Pastor and his wife showed up at the Salvation Army with their big pick-up truck, we loaded our trikes in the back, and they drove us down to the fire station.

They suggested setting up our tent on the grounds, but the guys at the Fire House said we could sleep in the air-conditioned barracks with them. After the experiences we had the last 2 nights, we enthusiastically said YES!

In the fire house

Jon in firehouse washroom

Earline in firehouse

Jon on bunkbed

Great showers, actually very comfortable bunk beds that the guys slid together for us, WIFI connection!!, the AC was CRANKIN’!, and…..VERY COOL ambiance.

Thanks, guys! (Some photos of y’all in tomorrow’s blog!)

And thank you, God, AGAIN for your protection and provision.

TGG,

jon

Day 74 [Lula, MS – Great River Road State Park, MS]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 2010

After an incredibly warm night in the RV park at the casino, even this turtle was going ouch-eech-ooch-ouch-eek as he tip-toed across the still-warm morning asphalt.

Turtle in RV park

I forgot to mention that the night before we met a young couple that follow jobs around the country as pipeline welders, and they for the first time realized that THEY ACTUALLY USE a lot of “sign language” in the function of their job. Might be an interesting career choose for someone’s who’s Deaf….they DO make real good money.

We headed east and south into the state of Mississippi (State #9!!).

State number 9

It is SO hot again today…..right, Earline?

Hot hot hot

We are again seeing so many dry fields and damaged crops….this is not going to be a good harvest for way too many farmers.

Dried up field

In the town of Friar’s Point we did get a chance to make some great new friends…Prophet (yes, that’s his name), and his brother Bob, who both run convenience stores in this small town.

Prophet and Earline

Even though their mother was an only child, their family consists of 8 boys and 4 girls, and Prophet himself has 12 girls and 5 boys (Carrie….can you imagine the number of grandchildren Prophet has??!!) Prophet says that even he doesn’t know how many grandchildren he has.

(Prophet, if I’ve got these numbers wrong, please send me the correct numbers….if you can remember!….ha!)

Bob let us have lunch at his Quick Stop store….

Bob and us

Bob was an educator and an administrator in the Detroit school system for many years….both of Bob and Prophet were interested in our journey, and future collaborations, and both of them gave us some ice. Thanks, guys!

We continued south on Highway 1….the long, hot, hot, long, hot, hot, lonely, hot Highway 1….

Lonely hot Highway1

….and stopped for more ice. Met a guy named…well, he gave us 3 different names!…but let’s just call him “Heart Attack” like his grandmother does! [I guess he gives her a heart attack!] “Heart Attack” has a good friend who is Deaf, and we encouraged him to grow in the language so that he CAN better communicate with his friend.

Heart Attack

We saw this gorgeous sunset….

Sunset on 1

Sunset on 1B

….and because it was a fairly quiet road, decided to press on in the cooler darkness to the Great River Road State Park.

Look! She’s flying!

Arms wide

As it got dark, we noticed these big lights behind us. But after a little bit, they didn’t seem to be much closer – maybe a little bit. Hmmm! What in the world!???!

As they finally caught up to us, we realized it was a tractor and harvesting machines convoy….these guys were BIG! (which is probably why they were traveling at night – they took up pretty much both lanes!).

Tractor convoy

We finally got to the State Park around midnight, and….well, it was dark…it was spooky….and….well, it was weird.

We took showers [THANK-YOU!], which worked, but nothing else did. Three fluorescent lights out of 16 that came on in my bathroom…wide open electrical sockets…no fans or AC….busted wood railings with exposed nails….no toilet paper….no toilet seats!….

Seat less toilet

….filthy, filthy, filthy….and empty! 40-plus campsites, and not a soul around….we thought we saw one small RV, but it was not there in the morning….it was so hot again, and the mosquitoes were horrible (but at least the cement under us was cool!)

Again, choosing to thank God…but it’s hard.

We’re both pretty miserable…and this is a very depressing place. More photos tomorrow from this weird State Park. And we are STILL choosing to thank God for His provision and promised guidance. (We need you, Lord!)

TGG,

jon

Day 73 [Lexa, AK – Lula, MS]

THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2010

Special message for NEW readers of this blog:

[For those of you new to the blog, please pardon our dust!….er, ah, grammatical and technical imperfections!]

[Most nights, we do NOT have wifi – an internet connection – except thru my Blackberry – which I just got a replacement for [that story is coming up in a couple days] tell God thank-you – but still lost ALL my contacts – still CHOOSE to tell God thank-you – I read this morning in Psalm 50:23, that:

“giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me (God)”….

…actually, that would be a great thing to pray for….if you ALL could pray that I somehow get all my contacts back!] [Or even better, continue to THANK HIM in ALL situation!]

[So what I’m TRYING to say, is that I will upload text about the events of each day to the blog here, and when I do have access to the internet from our laptop, I will upload the photos that go WITH the text….whew!]

Now, to Day 73….we stayed overnight with Bill and Carrie north of Helena / West Helena (yes, that’s the official name now). Bill and Carrie were great hosts, and in the morning Bill even helped me do some repair work on my semi-truck-and-mini-cyclone-damaged umbrella (see yesterday’s blog). Ha! We actually taped wire hanger pieces to the damaged grooved arms of the umbrella (I think we’re on to something….this will work!) Carrie had a chance to try the I.C.E. trike….she’s a natural!

Carrie bookin

[Did we tell you that Bill and Carrie have a grandson name Eli?!]

Carrie and Earline

Miss Loretta came by, and we got her picture as well.

Carrie Earline Loretta

Hey, Miss Loretta in Orlando…Carrie and Bill’s Loretta reminded us so much of YOU!…she was great!

Said our goodbyes, as soon as Bill checked that we hadn’t forgotten anything!

Pretty entryway

Actually, we tried to get lost heading to Helena / West Helena, but Bill checked up on us, and pointed us in the right direction. We even on the way met Eli’s OTHER grandfather.

Proctor family

[Did we tell you that Eli has grandparents named Bill and Carrie?!]

In fact, Bill checked on us one more time (I think we are appearing a little scatterbrained these days).

[Oh, did I mention that Bill AND CARRIE have a grandson named Eli??!!!!!!!] [Ha!]

We finally got into town, and stopped at Walmart for some supplies (wow, is it hot today….over 100 degrees again. We have our umbrellas on again.)

Beatin the heat

We stopped at Wendy’s, explaining our Mission to them, and they were so nice. They gave us a whole bunch of ice (that is like gold to us these days!). Tried to get their picture, but some PEOPLE were NOT cooperating.

Easier to smile picture at Helena Wendys

While we were still at Wendy’s, Kevin Smith stopped by….he was our original point of contact from warmshowers.org.

Kevin Smith and Jon

It turns out that not only did he ALSO bike the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to New Orleans, but his wife works with the Deaf! (Definitely a couple that we need to come back and spend more time with!)

We headed for the bridge across the River into the state of Mississippi. On the way we saw some lush hills…the vines completely cover some of the trees and create odd shapes of foliage. (and there’s hills down HERE along the Mississippi….who knew??!!)

Hills and foliage

Lush banks of MR

We went thru some of old Helena, and saw a LOT of closed stores and shops.

Downtown Helena

Downtown Helena2

Downtown Helena3

Most of the town and cities along the Mississippi River are displaying similar financial hardship – it has been very disheartening to see the economic hardships that so many are experiencing. America…wake up! We are in a mess!

One other note (Florida take heed)….the hardest hit communities (Helena, AK, Dubuque, IA, East St. Louis, IL, etc.) coincidentally seem to have a gambling establishment close by….is it possible that good money that could have been spent on establishing and promoting local businesses has gone instead into the hands of those who establish and promote the game of gambling or lottery, the amusement of casinos?…..just asking.) (see Proverbs 28:19, and Proverbs 23:19-21).

We called ahead to the local police, and made a request for assistance across the bridge…and I’m glad we did. It is a L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-N-G-G bridge. Here’s Bridge #40 (wow, we are WAY past 36 bridges!):

Bridge40

Of course, one reason it was long, is because the Mississippi River is getting wider the further south we go. Compare this picture to ones of the river up in Minnesota [Days 1 through 25]:

Wide river at Helena AK

Here was our escort, and Earline appearing to be running away from him (oooo, it’s HOT, running from all these cops!!)

Escort from the Helena West Helena PD

STOP that lady Earline crossing 40

Thanks, Helena / West Helena…we appreciate it!

One thing that was interesting about this escort that had not happened before, is that everybody went AROUND the police car and us….cars, trucks, even semis, all the way across the bridge, even when the no passing line was on our side!! (This did NOT seem to be a safe situation to us.)

Passing semi

Passing dump truck

Passing cars

Were the police telling them to do this? Not sure…..hmmm.

WAIT!

I DID get a picture of him waving the vehicles around! Whoa!

Officer waving around

Even saw this semi barreling down on the police car as he turned around (this does NOT look good).

Semi vs cop

Our man DID get turned around safely, however…..whew! THANKS, AGAIN!

New state! [Signage tomorrow.]

Our guy turned to head home

By the time we got over the bridge, it was getting late, and Earline saw RVs across the way…there was a camping area next to the casino! We checked it out, and for $16 we were able to pitch our tent, and had full access to the amenities, including showers, indoor pool, and wifi! Sounds great! Whoa!

1st night in state9

Well…..REALITY is a little cruel sometimes.

Yes, there was a pool and showers…but the showers and pool area were NOT air-conditioned or dehumidified….apparently the unit had been busted for some time (but we STILL appreciated the pool), the wifi was VERY weak – the computer couldn’t see it, or if it did, there were ZERO bars, and it was unusable, AND the blacktop that we had to set our tent up on stayed HOT ALL night, and even our air mattress picked up the heat, creating a hot air sauna for us to sleep on (I worked on photos until about 5am, but even then, the air mattress was still miserably hot….rough night.)

VERY rough night.

We WERE grateful for the CASINO accommodations. (Proverbs 13:22 says that “….the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the godly.”)

And, we learned a few things – (do NOT set up on black asphalt that has been exposed to the summer sun) (let me repeat that…..do NOT, EVER, NO WAY, NOT EVER set up on sun-exposed black asphalt) (Ha, do you think we mean it??!!).

But like the wonderful Merlin Carothers always taught, we can truly thank Him in ALL situations, because HE is worthy of our praise and appreciation!

TGG,

jon