Day 22 [Wabasso Beach – Melbourne, FL]

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

[Distance traveled: 30 miles]

Happy Friday! Yes, we are safely at my sister’s after a rough 30 miles into the wind all day.

Before I get started here, though, a did want to clarify something. I have been using the phrase, “Help make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!”…..and many of you have contributed to this “Facing Your Fears” Tour in so many ways, through your prayers, through providing us with ice, through opening up your home to us for a place to stay, and MANY other ways.

And we are SO grateful.

But I did want to clarify, though, that when we talk about contributing to our cause, we are talking about funds that go directly to God’s Hands Agency, and we are NOT talking about funds that go toward these Mission POSSIBLE Tours. These trips are underwritten by Earline and myself, and our jab designs business, and are meant to be an ENCOURAGEMENT for those of you working with us in God’s Hands Agency, and the STRUGGLES that we ALL go through in our daily lives.

Any funds that we are asking you for are going towards the operating budget of God’s Hands Agency for the coming calendar year. We have set a goal of $5,000 for this entire next year, and hope to raise that by the end of December. And we are using our “Go Fund Me” website to collect those funds.

Earline has put together an excellent review of some things that God’s Hands Agency has accomplished in the past year, and when you go to the Go Fund Me site, you can read Earline’s thoughts right there, as well as the Scripture verses, the “lyrics” for all 6 of the Fearless songs! There is a link to Go Fund Me web site on the front page of our God’s Hands Agency web site.

Yesterday I mentioned that as the sun was going down, we were at Wabasso Beach, and were trying to find a place to lay down our head for the night.

Unbeknownst to us, there is hardly ANYTHING at Wabasso Beach [except a great little deli], but no place to stay, except at Sebastian Inlet State Park, which was still 7 miles away, or across the bridge over to Highway 1, ALSO about 7 miles away. What to do?

So at OUR speed, we’re still talking about an hour-and-a-half away.

There did seem to be SOMETHING big to our right….so I stopped at the guard gate to ask for advice, and it turned out to be a Disney Resort – what they call Disney Vero Beach Resort. Miss Diane told us about the lack of any facilities close by, but then she said to hold up, and she would check if they had anything available.

Any they did!

ONE room, a studio apartment for the handicapped, was available. It was not cheap, but our AAA membership provided a $40 discount! How about that! So we decided to take it.

Miss Brenda from the Front Desk met us outside, and you can see her picture in yesterday’s blog.

All we really did was sleep [HA!], but we appreciated the nice place to rest.

We took a quick walk in the morning, and this is indeed a beautiful location.

This was the little porch attached to our room.

Earline on DVB porch

The lodge was huge!

Disney Vero Beach resort

They had a beautiful boardwalk right on the Atlantic.

Me looking at ocean

But as we took these pictures we were freezing! It was colder this morning than yesterday!

[One quick boo-clap here…Disney! Shame on you. In the lobby, 20 feet from the entrance to the breakfast area, you have a hot coffee stand, all pretty and smelling good…..BUT!

There are no cups! Where are the cups?

It turns out that the CUPS cost money – 2 bucks or whatever it was – the CUPS cost money! What? You can’t provide free coffee to your guests? BAD public relations. Even Motel 6 provides free coffee…HEH!]

Okay……one interesting note….I use the term often [and too often FEEL it], that we are ALL going back to the dust. And we are….you KNOW we are.

Whether it is the simple 50-year-old motel, OR this big, fancy Disney resort, ALL show signs of going back to the dust. Even here, the knob on the closest door was loose and almost falling off. The shelf beside the bathroom sink had loose wall anchors on the left hand side, and was tipping dangerously, and the screw for the shower was loose, so that the shower head would not hold up at an angle, but flopped forward, pointing the shower spray at the handle [I fixed that…ha!].

EVERYTHING’s going back to the dust.

And didn’t God make that clear to Adam, that Adam would die, and that death, and disease, and deterioration would be brought into the world because of sin?

And that is EXACTLY what we honestly see all around us.

We had our trikes in the room with us – remember, this was a handicapped room, with wide spaces – and took them by elevator down to the basement. [Only way to ride them in and out!]

Yes do fit in elevator

Oh-oh! This guy doesn’t want Earline to leave!

Earline in fake topiary jaws

After a quick bite at the Wabasso deli, we then bundled up and headed north.

Cold morning Earline on A1A

It was COLD….and the wind was blowing pretty strong in our faces. Brrrrr!

Even EARLINE was wearing her jacket to stay warm!

We hadn’t actually gone too far, but who should we see, but Bob and Fifi from Waldo’s at Vero Beach! It was good to see them, and they had a chance to actually try out our trikes. What fun!

Fifi and Bob on trikes

Most of what we saw again today, though, was this…..straight, flat, and a little monotonous [but nicely manicured shoulders….heh!].

Lot of what we saw

There was a place up by the Sebastian Inlet that you could tell was VERY narrow….maybe only a hundred yards across, from Indian River to the Atlantic. Had some nice views of the river here.

Trikes on wide Indian River

Pelicans

Is the lollipop helping you stay warm?….Ha!

Love that lollipop

Then we saw the bridge over Sebastian Inlet…..hmmmm. Doesn’t look like there’s a bike path. Boo! I guess that is why the sign says to “SHARE THE ROAD.”

SI bridge

Here Earline starts her ascent:

Starting ascent

VERY glad we have these full-sized Slow Moving Vehicle signs….very visible, and familiar.

There was quite a bit of traffic, but during a lull, I was able to get this shot from the top of the bridge:

SI SP view from top

This is what the Inlet looks like over the edge of the railing:

View over edge of railing

You can see people enjoying the view on both sides of the Inlet.

Now for the FUN downhill!

Descent

On the way up to Melbourne Beach, we saw these fun signs:

Biggest turkey

Depressed fisherman

And even this “familiar” sign:

MP sign

YES! The mission IS possible!

And then we had the good fortune to meet Daniel at a local convenience store as we spent a few minutes warming up with coffee and hot chocolate.

Daniel

As you can se, Daniel is a “colorful” fella, and I understand he also does photography. Best wishes on YOUR endeavors, Daniel!

By now, the sun is starting to go down, and it is getting even COLDER….we try to add to our clothes without digging too deep in our panniers.

This is what we came up with.

Sleves in my jacket style

Back side

Yes, that is my jacket, and we slid Earline’s legs into the sleeves…..ha! And it worked!

WHATEVER it takes!

My outfit wasn’t much better….had my rain pants available to cut the effects of the wind, and my hooded sweatshirt helped.

Jon at Sunoco station

I think the only problem, really, was just when Earline went into the convenience store to use the restroom, and she forgot that she had on her “outfit.”

Earline wonder pants

Many “looks” and frivolity….ha! [Someone actually called the cops about these two bikes at the Sunoco station and two strange looking folks hanging around them! Ha!]

Earline getting dark

By now we had been riding over an hour in the dark, and the traffic on A1A was horrible, VERY busy. We eventually went through some neighborhoods over to the Eau Gallie Causeway bridge, but by this time Jyl and Dennis thought it best if they come pick us up….we were still about 8 miles from their house, and almost none of the roads we had to travel had bike lanes or bike paths….not a good idea at night.

[Is this cheating?…no….it is just another example of other folks helping to make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!] [And no, for you accountants, I did not include those 8 miles in the total….ha!]

Thankfully, Dennis has a big van that held both the trikes.

Thanks Dennis

Thanks, Lord, for helping us to survive this day….thank you for a place to stay to rest and recuperate.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 13 [North Hollywood, FL]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2014

[Distance traveled: 2 miles]

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

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

Jon arriving at Kenwood

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

Kenwood courtyard

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

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

Inside room

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

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving wreath

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

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

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

NHMBC screen

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

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

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

Earline interp Eugenia Bonds

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

Cora, Ernest and one other deaf lady

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

Daniel testing trike

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

Earline and Lady J

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

Selfie with EE,EB, and Lady J

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

Jon and EE selfie

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

Only THROUGH GOD’S GRACE,

jon

Day 5 UPDATE [Key West – Bahia Honda Key]

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Only thru God’s grace,

jon

Day -1 [Orlando, FL] 2014 MPT

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014

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.

Solution

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!

Ack!

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.

YEA!

BUT THEN…..my 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.

ACK!

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

Sigh.

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

[Ha!]

[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!]

Whew!

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,

jon

[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 62 [Hwy 1203, KY – Columbus, KY]

SUNDAY, AUGUST 1, 2010

(Still no WiFi….sending this from my Blackberry, wherever we find phone service!)

(Here’s the entry, now, with the added pictures.)

Up with the sun, and saw this beautiful sunrise:

Sunrise from Fellowship tree

(By the way, I DID hear a couple wolves howling last night….don’t tell Earline!) And another view:

Sunrise2 from Fellowship tree

We got cleaned up and packed up just after sunrise (in case one of the Deacons came early!).

Tent outside Beech Grove

I was so glad we had camped under the tree. We had heavy overnight dew, but it was much less under the tree, and we were still trying to dry out from the last 2 days.

We learned that the congregation calls this their Fellowship Tree, because when the weather’s cooler (and they don’t have a Fellowship Hall) they’ll pull up a pick-up, put down the tail gate, and have something to eat by their Fellowship Tree. (Note to “I-CAN”….this is where the term “tailgating” comes from!)

The name of the church is Beech Grove Missionary Baptist Church. We learned that it was the OLDEST church congregation in the county (about 150 years old!), and that many years ago, however, some members of the church had been dismissed from the church for whatever reason, weren’t too happy about it, and had burned down the old church building! Thus the newer facility that you see today. [Oh, no!] [A mess!….see www.MessMinistry.com]

Front of Beech Grove

When the folks started arriving for Sunday School, we realized it was a White congregation. There were about 15 people there for Sunday School. It seemed to be a pretty traditional church – they used the King James Bible, and the first song we sang was “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

The teaching came from Galatians 6, and was really good! This pastor knew his Word!

They were going thru Paul’s letter verse by verse, and talked about some teachers at that time who were trying to add a practice, or a ritual, or a tradition to what Jesus did on the cross….and they were doing it for THEIR own benefit. (It reminded me of Mormons trying to add that you must swear allegiance to Joseph Smith, or Roman Catholics who insist that you pledge devotion to Mary….so this is nothing new….it goes back at least 2,000 years!)

The service at 11am had a few more people come. The trio of Gayla, and her mom, and her mom’s sister sang a song about God protecting us from the storms of life.

Trio singing in church

You could tell their voices all came from the same gene pool – they blended so well together! At the end, I applauded….I was the only one. (Oh, well.)

Pastor David Callison preached from Jonah…how Jonah moved when God called…but the WRONG direction. And when the storm was raging, and the hard core sailors were panicking and crying out to their gods, Jonah, who knew the True God, was in the bottom of the boat, fast asleep.

And Pastor made the point…..are we, as God-knowing Christians, sleeping our lives away, sleeping away our opportunities to study, and witness to others about what God has done for you?! Good lesson.

We did learn that one of the young men in the congregation is dating a Black girl, and that the parents are trying to keep it secret. (Of course, interracial dating is never discouraged in the Bible, but a Christian dating someone who isn’t a Christian IS discouraged.) Maybe God had us at this church for that specific family. Pray for them!

Afterwards the Callison’s took us out to eat in Bardwell….I had the roast beef…..excellent! (And FAST!) Here’s a picture of Pastor and his wife, Rhonda, and their daughter, Mitzi:

Pastor Callison family

Mitzi is confined to a wheelchair, but she goes hunting! Please e-mail Mitzi at callison4@windstream.net, and tell her she needs to write a book about her experiences!

After our meal we triked over to visit Gayla right on the MRT, who had offered to let us use her washer and dryer to clean our musty clothes. AND she and her sister Jennifer even stopped and got us some goodies for the road!

Gayla Earline Jennifer

Thank you! You don’t know how much that ministered to us! Thank you!

After we got packed up we continued south on 1203…this has to be one of the prettiest roads we’ve been on the whole trip….gently rolling hills, VERY little traffic [what, maybe 2 cars in 10 miles?…well, it IS a Sunday afternoon], trees almost up to the side of the road. Very nice!!

Prettiest road

After we got off this road, we headed south on Highway 123 towards Columbus, and when we saw another very dry cornfield, I stopped to show Earline how the corn ears were small and stunted.

Mistake.

The roads through here are slanted around the curves like they were south of Balltown, Iowa. Not a problem for 2-wheeled bicycles, but a definite concern for 3-wheelers. I was carrying the bookbag and the extra food we had just picked up on TOP of my panniers, so I was very top heavy.

Above my single back wheel.

And when I got up off the seat by the 2 front wheels….Whoops!….over I went.

Down I went into the ditch, which thankfully was dry, but I was completely upside down! I didn’t think to get a picture, but here’s Earline, holding my trike after we righted it.

Hold my trike upright

The grass behind Earline hides a ditch that is actually about 2-1/2, 3 feet deep and a couple feet wide. No real damage (thank you, God)….just ripped off one of my mirrors from it’s seating, but it’s fixable. (What kinda mess??!!)

Onward!

A little later I saw all these birds having a townhall meeting on the line.

Birds on wire

Just 2 seconds after I took this picture, they all left the line at once. I guess meeting’s adjourned.

We continued on into Columbus, to stay at the State Park there, on the small bluff overlooking the Mississippi River….and as we were setting up our tent, who should stop by but Gayla and her friend Phil, whom I had traded farming thoughts with earlier at Gayla’s house while we were washing our clothes! They just stopped to check on us. What a nice surprise!

During the presidency of Thomas Jefferson, it was proposed that our nation’s capital be moved from Washington, D.C. to Columbus, Kentucky, because it was more centrally located. The proposal failed in the U.S. Senate by 1 vote.

The park was pretty much deserted after the weekend (I think there are just 4 occupied sites), so we got a fire going from firewood the previous site owner had left, and had a peaceful night, thanking God again for his provision.

Sunset from Columbus Belmont SP

Thanks again to those of you who have been contributing to the cause of GHA….we have personally engaged and shared with over 1,000 people…..yes, over ONE THOUSAND people the past 6 weeks that with God, ALL things are possible!

We have given them ABC sign language cards, Deaf culture cards, and handed out all the GHA flyers we had made in St. Paul, Minnesota…and we need to get more made!

We have been diligently keeping our expenses low to better serve the Deaf, and families, and church cultures that God puts us in contact with. But now we need you to assist us in building on the foundation we are laying here. Some of you have been faithful in your monthly pledges, some have not.

We need you to prayerfully consider doubling your efforts for the Mission Possible Tour, and the work of God’s Hands Agency. If you want to see some of the work we did last year, look at the resources on our web site at www.godshandsagency.com

Contributions can easily be made on our web sites, at GHA’s site using a major credit card or Visa debit card. We are hooked up through Paypal, which is an extremely secure financial site, better than most banks!

Remember, GHA is SOLELY supported by the efforts of friends and partners, and is a 501(c)(3) that permits tax deductible contributions. These next few weeks will be especially difficult, because of the extreme heat.

Pray for us – we have finished almost 1,300 miles, been over 38 bridges already, and have a little over 900 miles to go. Thanks again to ALL of you for your continued prayers and financial support.

Through God’s Grace,

jon

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:

Bridge18

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…..now 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:

Bridge19

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.)

TGG!

jon

Day 2 [Bemidji, MN – Oak Haven Resort, MN]

JUNE 2, 2010

Hard to believe this is only Day 2!

We had a rough day today. Waved by to Brenda [Miles’ better half….smile! He had already gone to work by the time these weary travelers awakened!]:
Brenda Rouland waving bye

Headed up the dirt road hill from their house and….Earline’s trike seized up again!!

What??!! 

But she happened to turn around quick enough in her seat to catch it….the back rack was rubbing on her tire! Looking at the trike WITHOUT her sitting on it, the clearance was fine, but when the bags and her were both sitting on the trike, it brought the rack down far enough to touch the tire! (That was the burning smell she smelled yesterday!)

I noticed the rack DID have a setting to make it sit up higher, so after unloading everything, making the adjustment, and loading everything back on, we were (AGAIN) on our way!

The first little hill out of the property was a doozy, however, and Earline aggravated her leg again. Though we fixed the problem, what the problem CAUSED is going to effect her for a while.

She is in such pain! We limped a couple miles into Bemidji.

We found Paul Bunyan and Babe! Smile!…..
Earline Paul and Babe

[Editor’s note: Bob, yes even the Babe knows you! (see Day -5)]

We sent Bob some pictures of his card and Babe:

Babe knows Bob

Babe knows Bob closeup

One of the ladies at the Tourist Information Center next to PB sent us to the organic/homeopathic store, and one of the clerks recommended an ointment that she said all the bicyclists swore by, called Arniflora, which contains arnica. (Earline said she’ll try ANYTHING.)

We’ve been rubbing it on often. Verdict, Earline? (She says, “Child, I don’t know!”)

While still in Bemidji, we had another MR crossing.

Bridge #8:

Bridge08

We also passed our very first Dairy Queen. (Yea!)

On the way out of town, Earline continued to experience TERRIBLE pain in her right leg below the knee – we would go 100 yards, she stop and try and stretch it out, and then go another 100 yds…..wow, what a trooper! Slow going!

Crossed another bridge – Bridge #9:

Bridge09

Eventually we made it to Oak Haven Resort , and we decided to end the day’s journey there, after about only 15 miles. Earline got some rest, and I worked on the Day 1 blog.

Earline says the pain is so sharp, but once she stops triking the pain mostly goes away. And it’s only the right leg.

She jokes about it, though, and then gets ME thinking of jokes, like “I haven’t heard so much moaning and carrying on since our honeymoon!” (Actually, we never had one, so I guess THIS is our honeymoon.)

Or, “There isn’t enough cheese in the whole state of Wisconsin to go with all that “whine” that I’m hearin’ today!”

Or something like that….

SEE…..now I’ve got all the women mad at me for being ‘insensitive!’

But guys, you know what I mean, right? She IS the “weaker vessel.” (1 Peter 3:7)

(Shoot, if Earline reads this the honeymoon WILL be over……HA!)

HMMMM! Any othe diagnoses from any of YOU concerning her leg pain?

Good night, all…..we’ll try it again tomorrow.

TGG,

jon

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”…..final 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…..read 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?

THANKS!

jon

Day -7 [Orlando, FL]

MAY 24, 2010

Trike in living room

Gradually packing our trikes (for the first time)….has anybody else ever been this delayed getting prepared for a trip?

Figuring out where to put the clothes, where to put the electronics….what do all these pockets mean? What is best?

Cartoon loaded down cyclist

 

I guess we’ll find out.

Once we get the panniers packed with everything we need, then we’ll quickly have to UNPACK (or at least unload), fold the trikes, and see if we can get them to fit into the boxes we got from United.

Pressure’s on! HA! (Looks like it’s gonna be a late night!)

Be strong and of good courage.

jon

Day -17 [Chicago, IL]

MAY 14, 2010

[ACK!] The blog I just resent for Day -18 had some weird spelling suggestions just I just accidentally sent…oops…..(getting used to the new BB – the price for the new BB – the 9700 – was about the same as getting a battery for the old one!…it has some new features that I’m STILL learning to use. It should allow me to, and this is cool, to GPS the route as we accomplish it, and put it on Google Map! Stay tuned)

Experienced graduation at the Recruit Training Center in Chicago this morning. Saw 6 divisions, each with about 80 young men and women, perform and share some of the things they learned the past 8 weeks at the RTC.

I’ll post a video in a couple days of the most EXCELLENT drum corp that performed. [Here it is]

 

Grad line-ups in Chicago

As Earline and I entered the performance hall, who should hand us a program but our son Torin! That was his assigned responsibility today. He looked good!

We were very proud.

Torin handing out programs

 

He is now OFFICIALLY a US Navy sailor, and heads to school on Tuesday.

Pannier alert:  From our hotel room I had a great conversation with Terry at Jandd Mountaineering in San Diego. He was VERY HELPFUL in making some detailed suggestions about our trip. Here’s their web site: http://www.jandd.com/

Also had a wonderful lunch with Earline at the Waukegan Yacht Club on the shores of Lake Michigan (after a guy across the street told us he had heard “some stories, and that it was over-priced”)

Lesson for the day:  don’t believe everything people tell you. We decided to check it out ourselves. And even though the door (and several signs!) said “Members Only,” (Note to MGMT: you might want to take down those signs – we almost turned around and left a couple times!), but we persisted (another WiFi lesson), got to the dining area, and experienced excellent food, very reasonable prices, and outstanding service. Bravo!

Wonder what the other guy’s deal was….probably because he owned a deli, saw the Club as competition, and tried to sabotage their success. It didn’t work! (ANOTHER lesson in there….worry about YOUR OWN darn self. See Proverbs 21:6)

See U tomorrow!

jon