Day -1 [Orlando, FL] 2014 MPT


Well, everybody is still buzzing about the election returns from last night, but much as I would love to sit and prognosticate, I have trikes to prep!

I’ve got Earline’s trike finished, mostly work that needed to be done on her tires and side bag bar, and now I’m working on mine:

Trikes with panniers

Remember, this is a different trike for me, so I am having to do some modifying as I go. One thing I discovered with the new trike rack from Catrike that they just released a few months ago for this model, is that it doesn’t have the thoughtfulness of design that the ICE Trike rack on Earline’s trike has. Take a look:

Earline’s rack has bars that extend down along the side of the rear wheel, preventing the pannier from getting too close to the wheel.

Earline trike rack

Sadly, my new rack does not have the long descenders:

Notice bottom of side bar

Notice where the bottom of my rack ends, and how the bag is almost touching the wheel. Sigh. I am going to have to take the time to deal with this.

Ended up with this idea/solution: taking some PVC thick pipe, about 16 inches long, and adding it to the existing frame.


Just one heavy duty 3/4 inch, I think it is, and cut it to the length you need, with the edges filed and rounded so as not to cut:

Pipe end

Then I wrapped the entire pipe with gaffers tape:

Wrapped with tape

Finished wrap

And then attached it to the existing frame:

Attached to rack

Voila! Now it will keep the bottom of the bag from brushing up against the moving tire.

So now to finish prepping my tires.

Jon trike on side

It turns out, I had an ADVENTURE trying to prep the tires on my trike…I WANTED to put some Flat Attack goop in my tires like I put in Earline’s. If you want more info on Flat Attack, you’ll have to go back to our 2010 blog, and read about the instances where Flat Attack SAVED us! Yes! [Love that stuff!]

Flat Attack goop

BUT….when I tried to install it on MY tires like I did Earline’s, I realized that the tool included in with the Flat Attack for removing the valve cores of the tubes so that you can pour the stuff INTO the tube…well, the tool doesn’t work on my PRESTA valves. Grrr.

Presta valve

NOW what do I do?

Well, I TRIED to remove the valve manually myself with a pliers and a vice grip, but that did not seem to work, and I ended up busting the valve of two tubes!


So, I called up Orange Cycle which is only a few miles north of where I live, and YES, they have a tool for removing the Presta valve core.


BUT THEN… goodness, how does it work??!!

Presta vavle tool

So, MORE research online….and I see some photos and some videos, [it seems that the long silver piece is an extender for guys with wide BIKE rims. The actual TOOL is the little black piece.] but I cannot seem to get it to work! I cannot see how the little black tool accomplishes the REMOVING of the valve core….I doesn’t seem to attach in any way, shape, or form to my Presta valve? Hmmmm!

So, MORE research…and I discover that there are Presta valve tubes that do NOT have removable cores. In fact, one guy said that MOST Presta valve tubes do NOT have removable cores. What??!!? Only Continental tubes had them, that he knew of.


So all this work and time, and I STILL cannot put any Flat Attack goop in my tires.


[This is one of those, ‘okay….praise God in all situations….yeah, right….hmmm…..okay…..grrrrrr……all right…..praise the Lord…..hmmmm….sigh adventures’]


[Okay, maybe I don’t even feel like ‘Ha-ing’….bleh!] [See Psalm 77:9-14]

So I put the tire back on the rim….THEN it turns out I noticed that I had put it on backwards. [Yes, normally the tread is only supposed to go one specific direction….I forgot about that. And I had it ALL the way on, so I had to take it ALL the way off, flip it, and then put it back ALL the way on again!]


Now, I know, some of you are probably bored silly with this stuff, if you have even got this far in this day’s blog at all. BUT, I wanted to give you at least one detailed experience at what it takes to maintain and fix these trikes, so that they can be reliable and safe vehicles for us to ride. And now I just heard my “Cuckoo Cow Clock” strike 12, and I am STILL not finished packing.

Sometimes I do not know how these Mission Possible Tours POSSIBLY get done!

Gonna catch a few hours a sleep, and then get up and finish packing, and get ready to head to down to Key West.

Lesson in all this? One thing that comes to mind is that there are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many details required at even getting these trikes up and running, and I know that our bodies are INFINITELY more complex and detailed than these trikes, and YET, God enthusiastically promises in Psalm 37 that He: “delights in EVERY detail of the lives of the godly!” Wow!

I don’t know how He does that…but then, He’s GOD, and I am NOT! Ha!

Good night. Thanks, God, for YOUR help and protection.

Because it is ONLY thru YOUR grace that we thrive and persist,


[WOW….just as I entered my name, my computer CRASHED….it has been acting a little squirrelly the last week or so. Really, I thought I lost everything, and that it would take ANOTHER hour and a half to recreate it, but then I just hit “Edit draft” at the top, and it came back. Why, I don’t know, but I AM TRULY grateful. TRULY.

So, the moral of the story, Save, SAVE, SAVE!]

Good night!

Day 86 [Baton Rouge, LA]


After struggling to crawl out of our air mattress hole (see yesterday’s blog!), we got some more e-mailing, letter writing, and blogging caught up. Walker invited us out to lunch at Mike Andrews Seafood, just a few blocks away.

Walker and Betha brought their grandson Christian with them, and a little later on, their daughter Leslie came in. Like many other CODAs (child of deaf adult), she is an excellent signer, and uses her skills to help support herself and her son.

5 of us a tMike Andrews Seafood

Leslie and Christian

Grandpa and Christian

After our nice lunch, Betha had the opportunity to try out Earline’s ICE Trike…..she looks to be enjoying herself!

Betha on the ICE trike

For the Wednesday night service / Bible study at First Baptist Deaf Church we decided to do the Sermon on the Mount, along with some special singing, and sharing about our Mission Possible Tour.

We got to hear their Deaf praise team lead a couple songs. We really enjoyed their ministry, especially the anointed signing of Faye Hayes, the girl in the center of the front row… is a sampling:

Worship team at First Baptist Deaf Church in Baton Rouge

Fay Hayes

Singing at FBDC of BR

We have already talked with them about the possibility of coming and sharing with us in Orlando some time on the future. You have got to hear these folks….they love the Lord, and they’re fun!

We had the opportunity to meet and enjoy Pastor Michael Mack earlier in the day. Here’s Pastor at the evening service, and after the service with his family:

Pastor Austin

Austin family

The church had a sweet and giving spirit about it, and we appreciate the opportunity to meet them, and share our testimony and our talents with them. God bless you!



Day 73 [Lexa, AK – Lula, MS]


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

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!):


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.


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… 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!



Day 40 [Winfield & Burlington, IA]


Saturday was a day of rest and catch-up, along with planning for Sunday’s activities.

Jon and Gayle at Gayle and Jeffs house

I got in a quick picture with Gayle before trying to spend some time on the blog. Earline got a chance to see and learn some REAL farm concepts from cousin Jeff, like rolls of tile for the fields, corn tassels and corn silk, and big, rugged farm tractors.

Jeff and a roll of tile

Jeff explains tassels and corn silk

Big blue tractor

Jeff gives Earline to chance to take a look “under the hood.”

Big yellow tractor insides

We took the trikes and signage down to the Symphonic Blast in Burlington. Met the Southeast Iowa Symphony Manager – Kate Gerst, the “farmer-conductor” – Bob McConnell, and a spokesman from KBUR, Steve Hexom.

Manager Conductor Announcer

Here’s a look at the performing symphony, and the huge crowd that turned out on this gorgeous night!

SE Iowa Orchestra



The conductor was kind to mention our endeavor, our Mission POSSIBLE Tour, and because of that, a young man from the Burlington Hawk Eye newspaper, came and made an appointment to interview us for tomorrow for a story in their paper. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the fireworks near the end of the concert (along with the 1812 Overture and some peppy patriotic music) were THE best fireworks that Earline and I had ever seen. Bravo!

Fireworks1 in Crapo Park

Fireworks2 in Crapo Park

Trikes and signage

Always TGG,


Day 28 [Monona, Iowa]

MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2010

Today we tried to get as much visiting done as we could before we head out of town tomorrow.

Saw the small manufacturing plant in Monona where Susie works, where they receive things like tractor parts from foundrys, and take those parts and do detailed cutting and drilling to prep them for assembly lines at other companies.

Susie gives tour of her work place

We visited Tom Neuhaus, who was a co-captain of the local wrestling team with me senior year of high school.

Tom Neuhaus and Jon

We visited a couple local cemeteries, and saw where my father’s body lies, and where my mom’s body will be laid to rest.

Jon by folks tombstone

We also saw Uncle Danny and Aunt Joanita’s headstone, as well as that of my Grandpa Arno and Grandma Hazel Blumhagen.

Grandpa Arno Grandma Hazel

This cemetery also had some interesting rules that must be strictly observed.

Cemetery rules

We saw some headstones that went as far back as the 1850’s. This bizarre headstone was in the shape of a tree trunk, with a scroll on the side, and a dead bird carved on the top. Does anybody have any idea what possible reason or significance for the dead bird?

Scroll and dead bird

We also stopped at Uncle Dan’s office and met his office mate, Terry Cushman, who took a little ride on the trike. Terry also gave us a great, personal contact in New Orleans that we will be following up on.

Terry Cushman on trike

We also had a chance to go out to the farm where I was raised, and meet the family that is living there right now.

Farm I grew up on

They were very hospitable and let me show Earline all around the place. Their names are Terrie and Jessie Moses… they are with her sister’s family who happened by at the same time:

Terry and Jessie Moses and family

Their son tried to hide from photos with his bicycle, but I got him! Ha!

Terrie and Jessies son

We also had a chance to stop by the Monona Historical Society where Joanita volunteers, and the museum that they are developing. Here are some photos from the museum, as well as Earline having a chance to try on some hats over 100 years old!

Dining room in museum

More carvings from Elmer Sr

Elmer Marting shows carvings

Here is an 1855 dress worn by local Dr. Kettlekamp’s wife’s mother.

1855 dress worn by Dr Kettlekamps wifes mother


Fan tastik

Hats worn over 100 years ago

Earline tries on a hat

Finally, at the end of day, we had a chance to restock some supplies at the WalMart over in Prairie du Chien, and also visit the Dairy Queen there that, yes, is STILL open after all these years!!!! Excellent…..and DQ #7:

Jon at Prairie du Chien DQ

Thank you again so much for your daily prayers and financial support.

Thru Jesus,


Day 14 [St. Cloud, MN – Monticello, MN]

JUNE 14, 2010

Up bright and early to head to the Twin Cities….put all of our gear on a cart, and someone asked, “How do you fit all of that stuff on your trikes?” So, here it is…..what do you think? (Of course, you who have been following our Mission POSSIBLE Tour already know!)

Cart with all our things

By the way….Miss Earline was giggling about my new, two-tone ankles….hmmmm….WAIT! Should I be offended?

My two tone ankles

Went up past Whitney Park, which is where we left off on Thursday night, and had a chance to cross this bridge, just completed a couple years ago. Bridge #18:


Nice, wide pedestrian/bike path on the south side. A scenic lookout right in the middle of the bridge:

Scenic lookout on 18

But what made this bridge especially INTERESTING is the bike path loop at the east end of the bridge:

Whirly at east end of 18

Many “wheeeees” and “whoop-whoops” as we went down this loop!

Headed south along the east side of the Mississippi, and ran into the Clemens Munsinger Gardens. Yes, by this time it was [AGAIN] drizzling pretty hard, but the plants and flowers and grass seemed to be enjoying it, don’t you think? Here’s a picture of Earline, ah, taking a picture:

Picture of Earline taking a picture

Wet Munsinger Gardens caretaker

See the poor groundskeeper working in the rain? One fellow we talked to said that they had to lay off a bunch of workers, and that they were 3-4 weeks behind schedule with their planting. Here is Earline sipping a “spot of tea”….in the rain:

Ah yes sipping tea

We even had our own personal guide….here’s Bob and Earline.

Bob and Earline

Bob said he lived just down the block and gave us some history about the area. He told us about Mr. Clemens, who donated a lot of the land for the garden, and even paid for plants and people to plant them. His wife apparently had MS, and struggled with it for most of her life. Here is a statue honoring the two of them in one of the gardens:

Touching statue of the Clemens

We also ran across this plant, or tree, which we have seen in several yards across Northern Minnesota. Someone called it a “Fleece” plant. Anyone know more about this?

Fleece tree

Even our ICE trikes seemed to be enjoying the rain… you can see where all the gear from the cart in the first photo entry of this day’s blog goes!

Wet prepared trikes in Clemens Munsinger Gardens

Some people have been asking where Earline’s flag is….the best we can figure out, someone apparently stole the flag from Earline’s trike while we were in church last Sunday….we had the trikes locked up at was (we didn’t know at the time) the back side of the church, which faced a fairly busy residential street. (I guess they draw some attention!) As soon as I can get T to send me another one, we’ll be matching again. (And yes, for some of you ladies who might have guessed, that is quilt bunting hanging from the back of her trike.)

After we left the Gardens, we came to another bridge, that had a steep switch-back that we had to go up. From the you-don’t-know-what-you-can-do-until-you-go-out-and-DO-IT department, here is the ramp that MY WIFE climbed all by herself! [Who is this REALLY???]

Dont know what you can do

And here is Bridge #19:


We headed south, then, from St. Cloud State University, out of St. Cloud and down to Clearwater, MN. (DAIRY QUEEN alert….there IS a Dairy Queen in Clearwater!)

There is about a mile-long bike path along the north side of 75 that we took into and out of Clearwater. We saw this sign on the east side of Clearwater:

Deaf child sign

What do you think….is this sign a GOOD thing or a BAD thing?

ALERT, anyone else who is considering biking the MRT….there is NO paved shoulder along 75 between Clearwater and Monticello, except where there happened to be a side road or an intersection. (You can see Interstate 94, paralleling this road on the right side of the picture.) Hwy 75 is a pretty busy road, so be careful…..this is what we encountered:

Gravel shoulder

Went past an interesting mailbox holder…..a mailman receiving mail from, well, the mailman!

Mailbox mailman

As we got into Monticello, there is a bike path along the south side of the road, into and out of Monticello. Prayed about God providing a place for us to stay….but none was offered, so we ended up staying at a simple, but DRY motel called AmericInn in Monticello. (It is STILL drizzling.)



Day 3 [Oak Haven Resort, MN – Becker’s Resort, MN]

JUNE 3, 2010

Raining as we speak. (It’s such a nice, gentle rain, I keep dozing off trying to finish this blog!)

Whoa! SOMETHING just tipped over the garbage can 15 feet from our tent! (Is it a bear??!!) (I’m guessing a raccoon.)

We can still hear it digging in the can – we put our pizza plate in there, the cardboard bottom, and there WERE some crumbs left on it. I am NOT chasing some stupid raccoon in this rain….kinda scary, though. What if it IS a bear? (Sounds small, though, like a raccoon, and they’re persistent enough to tip over a garbage can.)

(And Earline SO has to use the bathroom….who will win THIS battle of wits?!) (Yes, it is STILL raining.)

We actually did go about 30 miles today. Earline’s right leg was better this morning, but later this afternoon she was experiencing a lot of the same pain as yesterday. Keep praying, please.

Again, the day started out absolutely gorgeous! (but a little chilly and foggy – the outdoor thermometer at Oak Haven said 47 degrees at 7am!!). Brrrrrr!

I actually thought I could see some Northern Lights last night, but they were really faint [which means Earline could NEVER see them….ha!].

Here’s a pretty photo of the morning fog:
Foggy morning

Did I mention that the owners, Mike and Debbie were from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and that her folks (last name Martins), were from Postville (same as my mom), Iowa? Mike and Debbie were great. Here’s Debbie and Earline:
Debbie and Earline

There was also a Mennonite family staying at the camp. Earline taught one of the girls a few signs, and the family made a donation to GHA:
Earline and Mennonite girl

We crossed 3 bridges today…

Bridge #10

Bridge10 other side

Bridge #11

Current Update:  Earline just braved the elements, mace in hand. (Hoo-ahh!)

Back to yesterday……Oh, I didn’t tell you. We heard they were doing construction on Hwy. 39, but 2 locals said it was NORTH of Hwy. 12, so it shouldn’t affect us. When we got to Hwy. 12 off of 33, 5 miles west of Pennington (population 52), a highway sign said Hwy. 39 was closed SOUTH of Pennington, the way we needed to go.

What to do?

[Time out for a current event….Earline just found a bug crawling on her. Hard to kill – looked like a little tick, probably from her recent outdoor adventure. Isn’t camping fun?!]

[Tell God thank you that she was able to catch it before it latched on to her!]

Well, we stopped at the house at the southeast corner of 12 and 39 and talked to Barb. She said the road south WAS open – just 2 or 3, 100-yd patches of dirt that were passable. She gave us some cold water bottles (thanks, Barb) and we headed south.

Came to the first patch – a little spongy, and more like 300 yds, but I was able to push Earline through (on her “broke” leg).

1st spongy road segment
1st spongy road segment MADE IT
EARLINE! Let your face SHOW IT!

Next we crossed Bridge #12:

The 2nd dirt patch was about the same distance, but harder packed, so we made it through that one pretty easy.

2nd spongy road segment

But now the THIRD patch….OOOPS! They were still working on it!! (around 5:15pm).

What could we do?

The stop/slow-sign-holder guy said they were sending cars back around a detour. (Don’t you know that a detour for cars of 15 MILES is NOT the same as a detour for bikes or trikes!)

Then suddenly he said to follow the bulldozer. They were laying down a hard path for us to cross!

Thank you, God!

Bulldozer smoothing a path

EXCEPT…..well, it WASN’T a hard path. (I’m sure that was their intention, but it was TOO SOFT for us.)

As I plunged into the path he made, after about 10 feet my tires sank about 3 inches into the sandy clay….no more forward progress!! I couldn’t move!


Earth mover and Earline

Earline saw my struggle, so she jumped up to sit in the trike to steer, and I started pushing. And it was TOUGH going!

After about 150 yds, I was exhausted. Then the young guy from one of the huge earth movers came OFF his rig to help push.

One of the other guys then remembered that they had a flatbed, so they went back to the other side, loaded Earline’s trike on the flatbed, and carried it across!

Moving Earlines trike with flatbed

Talk about parting of the Red Sea! Whew!

Or maybe the parting of the Jordan River….remember? Joshua 3:8-17….the men carrying the Ark of the Covenant FIRST had to step into the water, and THEN it began to back up so they could cross. Many acts of faith are this way….we have to step out in faith, and then we can watch the miraculous happen.

As I triked on to the swath that the bulldozer laid out for me, I didn’t know if could make it….AND I DIDN’T! But as I pushed Earline (and couldn’t complete the way across that way either!) events were put in place that made our crossing possible! The guy in the earth mover saw that I needed help, and jumped out to do so, helping me push Earline and my trike across.

Us pushing the trike reminded another fellow that there was a flatbed at their disposal that could help transport the other trike. And “all of a sudden,” our circumstances went from being told “we would have to go back around” to “we made it to the other side!!”

What faith can YOU display today that will set the miraculous in play for YOU?


HA!……my trike looks like it has been off-roading!


Singing praises to God, we headed on through Chippewa National Forest, and got to Becker’s Campground, right on the banks of the Mississippi (3 nights in a row!), pitching our tent JUST before it started to rain.

Thanks, God. G’nite!



Day -6 [Orlando, FL – Washington, D.C.]

MAY 25, 2010

Wow….say it backwards….WOW….say it upside down….MOM !!!

We were BOTH up all night. We are on the train right now (not too far from Torin…just stopped in Jesup, GA, headed on our up way thru coastal South Carolina.)

Don’t know exactly what I could have done differently….deleted doing some of the things that were on our “to-do” list? But most of the things on our list were really necessary TO DO!

As Earline says, it’s all about “time management.”

I hate rushing. I seriously do.

I would’ve LIKED to have had our trikes all geared up and packed 2 weeks ago. I would have LIKED a nice “spiritual experience,” easing into the train station a COUPLE HOURS ahead of time, prayerfully and smoothly submitting our trikes for transport, checking our baggage at the counter, and quietly (and tearfully) saying goodbye to friends and associates.

Didn’t happen. Not even close.

I was frantically trying to get our panniers and accessories mounted on the trikes Monday night so that we could pack them, so at least we could have a fairly good idea of what we wanted to take or not take with us on this 3-month excursion.

Kids, do NOT try this at home…..HA! (I AM SERIOUS!)

I finished prepping Earline’s trike at 5am. Mine at 6am.

Earline prepped trike in living room
Earline’s prepped trike.

Jons prepped trike
Jon’s prepped trike.

Then we had to figure out WHAT to pack, and WHERE to pack it. What will fit and what won’t.

Panniers are interesting creatures. Especially the good ones, like ours that we got from Jandd Mountaineering in San Diego. Lots of little compartments. Wonderful, sturdy construction. Obviously a LOT of thought and research went into designing and making these bags.

Trouble is, I don’t KNOW the history. I don’t KNOW the REASONS FOR those thoughtful designs. (Maybe some kind of user’s manual, or a guidelines sheet?) Ack!…I wouldn’t have had time to read it anyway!

Finally finished packing, and then had to UNPACK the trikes so that they could be boxed and shipped. (I did NOT know what I was doing…much praying and sweating.) (BLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBL.)

THANK-YOU, Phyllis for all your help in packing the trikes! (Phyllis throws a mean shipping tape roll!)

So Earline and I are frantically packing, grabbing and going (sorry, Miss Pat, that we left the house SUCH a mess!!)….and we arrived at the station about 35 minutes before we were scheduled to leave.

Not good.

Amtrak said “uh-uh”…..said the trike boxes were too big (not nice, and long and skinny like the Amtrak branded bike boxes. And they were a LITTLE heavy.) (Okay, so I threw a pannier or 2 in each box to “fill them out a little”… weight, 80 and 85 pounds…whoops…..the limit is 50 pounds.)

They made us ship them as freight the next day (for an additional $100). If we waited until tomorrow ourselves to travel with the trikes, it would have cost us an ADDITIONAL $200.

So we are traveling tonight, sans trikes, and they will HOPEFULLY arrive by the same train albeit a day LATER in Minneapolis/St. Paul on Friday evening.

Getting on Amtrak in Orlando
Some folks boarding our train.

One other note that folks might be interested in. The most they would insure the trikes for is $500. After much angst and cajoling on our part, they upped it to $1500 for the 2 of them.

The question I want to ask at our next layover station: “Is $500 your bicycle rate or your maximum freight rate? If freight rate, does that mean you never carry freight worth more than $500?”

Just wondering.

Or if it’s your bike rate, why was I charged freight rate, just because it’s shorter and fatter? The overall linear dimensions were less than Amtrak’s own available bike boxes (VERY long, close to 8 feet, but only 8″ wide.

(Aha! It’s discrimination against height-challenged tricycles!)

(Actually, Amtrak’s bike boxes are bulimic!…..Travel healthy. Go trikes.)

So we dragged ALL our luggage on the train (we were too late to check them…ALL of them.) (Well, except, of course, the bags I stuffed in the bike boxes!)

Thanks AGAIN, Phyllis, for helping us get everything thrown unto the train! (Hopefully we’ll be able to check our bags the next 2 legs.)

I sure hope we didn’t forget anything important! (Did I pack Bob Robinson’s guidebook of the Mississippi River Trail? Sure hope so! I guess we’ll find when we unpack!)

(I DID find out later when unpacking the boxes that I DID forget something CRUCIAL… about THAT challenge in Day -2.)

I faked this photo
I faked this photo…..I really did!

Oh-oh. Just had some AWFUL train food….YUCK! Earline had some vegetable pasta that wasn’t too bad, but our table-mate’s (Harold) medium-cooked steak bellered at him when he tried to take a bite.

I had some Mahi Mahi fish that was dry, and the cup of broth they supplied with it actually stunk! (Stank?) Phwew. (Earline had a great idea to put some RANCH dressing on the fish – that made it actually, ah, kinda good!)

But I am NOT complaining.

I am truly grateful for this opportunity. It’s exciting! And as Earline stresses, we’re pedaling with PURPOSE.

I have got to believe that God has some very specific reasons for this trip.

Alright….sleep time. Pray for our strength, okay?



Day -8 [Orlando, FL and Plymouth, FL]

MAY 23, 2010

Wow….I’m going to need that 3 day train ride to sleep!! Up all night – finished the DVD for this morning’s service about 5am.

Great time with the CORE group – handed out assignments for the summer!

Rushed back home, because I still had to do the program for this afternoon’s prayer service. Here it is:

What a humbling service – had over 150 people or so come, people I haven’t seen for a long time, new friends that I met for the first time – very thought provoking. Reinforcing what I have been saying – that so many people are investing not only dollars but their energies and prayer time in make this trip successful. And THAT is a beautiful thing.

As you can see on the program, we did a foot-washing of 11 various leaders in areas of our non-profit, God’s Hands Agency [GHA], who have been instrumental in growing and expanding our efforts and work with the Deaf in Central Florida.

GRATITUDE is SO important!

Many tears.

Received the letters from Pastor Mills, just like Nehemiah receiving letters of recommendation from the king. I am also including here PDFs (portable document format) of those items.

Letter of Recommendation  /  Evangelism Certificate

Will finish up errands in the morning, pack the trikes out with hopefully EVERYTHING we need, and THEN, tear them down and try to fit them in boxes. (Should be INTERESTING!)



Day -9 [Orlando, FL]

MAY 22, 2010

Cartoon man cluttered desk

Working CRAZY busy today / WILD Saturday:  jab designs’ projects that we need to complete before we leave, trying to think if we have EVERYTHING we need to the trip. Reviewing other riders who have listed their supplies, like Don Saito, who rode all AROUND the United States last year.

Problems with our printer (ACK!). Flags came today (Whew – thank you, Ti!). Gotta do a DVD for church tomorrow. Gotta go!

Though God’s Grace,