Day 21 [North Ft. Pierce Beach – Wabasso Beach, FL]

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2014 – THANKSGIVING

[Distance traveled:  22 miles]

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Today make gratitude and thankfulness what you give to God. [Remember the discussion from Day 19.]

I am grateful that we had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people today, from Florida, from other parts of the United States, even from other parts of the world!

It is the reason we only did 22 miles today….but I pray that we ALWAYS be flexible to talk to whomever God might put in our path.

And I am especially grateful for the conversation that I had with the girl in the Kentucky Fried Chicken on this past Saturday night [you can read about the conversation on Day 16.]

Because of the frustration I had with that girl, that quote from Peter that I wished I had told her, I was able to use today. Dave, [name changed], one of the many guys I talked to, say he didn’t want to have anything to do with God and Jesus. And immediately, the thought came to me to tell him, to whisper in his ear, “You know that Jesus is not just a fairy tale.”

I said it twice….and Dave heard me.

And I pray that the Spirit of God continues to speak though those words into Dave’s heart, and that his spiritual eyes will be opened to the truth of Jesus. Jesus is THE truth…you can’t get around it. He lived, He died, He rose again….fact of history.

You either accept it, or you ignore it….that’s the only two choices you’ve got.

And for those of you who read this blog who are praying folks, please pray with me that Dave will come to understand God’s truth.

Thanks!

Last night, after the rain stopped, and before it got dark, Earline and I did a little exploring. The wind was still blowing pretty strong, so we were bundled up.

The little motel that we stayed at was called the German American Motel.

GA Motel

Wait! What is that moving in the middle of the picture?

Zooming in….

Raccoon

AHA!

And it looked like somebody actually stuck out a paper plate with munchies on it for him. [OR….someone has just ended up sharing their supper!….ha!]

Earline and I found this sign on the back side of our motel….

Public beach access

So….WHERE’S the entrance?

Here?

Are you sure

Hmmmmmm.

Okay….going in….

Where ends

Where are we????!!!????

Okay….so THIS is where it comes out….

THIS is where it comes out

And a very secluded beach….plus I am sure the cold kept a few folks away.

Earline with dark sea bkgd2

And the northwest sky behind us was also unusually pretty.

Pretty sky at sunset

Now….

…..how do we get back?

Is this the way?

Is this the way back

It was a little hard to tell!

[It was the right way.]

Then we walked over to Sharky’s to get some pizza.

Mmmmm….pizza.

Pizza at Sharkys

Now, here’s where the plot thickens….the camera that I just took all these pictures with, I LEFT beside the salt and pepper box just to the right of the plate with the knife on it.

Yup.

Walked right out of the place without my camera.

Didn’t think about it until this morning, after I had woken up, and was thinking about the pictures in the Public Access woods….hmmmm…..I don’t remember carrying my camera home, and I remembered sitting it on the side of my plate last night.

So, did the staff find it?

Did somebody else take it?

All my pictures from the whole trip are on that camera!

But nope, I decided NOT to worry.

It is a THING….it is just STUFF…..there are other things more important.

I didn’t even tell Earline until AFTER we had packed and prayed together before starting the day.

So we packed up…..I just put the whole thing in God’s hands…..HE knows where the camera is.

Trikes packed and ready to go

This is what the apartment looked like WITHOUT all our stuff scattered everywhere [heh, heh, heh].

GA Motel inside

And it actually cost LESS than all the FL State Parks we stayed in. And we DIDN’T have to set up our tent, and we DIDN’T have to tear it down again, AND we had a private bathroom and shower.

Kinda makes the camping seem a little overrated, don’t ya think??!!

Hmmmm.

We then head over to Sharky’s but….as we kinda figured, it is Thanksgiving so they’re CLOSED!

Ack! Ack!

Well, I had already put the phone number in my phone, so I called them up, thinking maybe if they did find it, they could mail it, maybe?!?

Ring, ring, ring….it rang MANY times, but no automatic answer, no voice-mail, and THEN….

Someone answered!

I told them the situation, and he said, “great, no problem”…..he was IN the cafe!

His name was Derrick, Derrick Rohn, and he was the son of the owner of the cafe that we had met earlier…..we looked around to see if we could find the camera. We found a little package, paper bag inside of a plastic bag, with the words “couple by the AC” on it, or something like that.

And, looking inside….it was the camera! Yea!

“Couple by the AC” meant that it BELONGED to the couple [US] who had been sitting by the AC.

Whew.

Started out our Thanksgiving with a LOT of gratitude, to God, AND to Sharky’s. Thanks, guys!

Sharkys outside

Got some supplies [and FREE Thanksgiving coffee!] at the Cumberland Farms next door, and had the chance to talked with several folks about our Mission POSSIBLE Tours.

A couple of gray-beards guys had already biked from Vero Beach to our location, a distance of about 15 miles, and got a couple goodies from the CF store, and were headed back to VB. Whoa!

Good for them!

It actually turned out to be a really pretty day today. Yes, the breeze was fairly strong in our face, but it had warmed up nicely from the night before where it got into the 40s, and by the time we hit the road, I would say it was upper 60s….GREAT for triking!

There also was a bike lane almost the entire way today, and fairly new asphalt, so it made for a very pleasant ride.

Sunny north on A1A

Fairly typical A1A today

There was more development than we saw Tuesday, but it was not like all the HIGH-RISE condos south of Palm Beach….these were mostly housing developments where there appeared to be a lot of single family homes only one or two stories tall, or were in the process of being rezoned and marketed. Earline had to check one out….

Earline exploring development

There were a few beachside homes in this area….this one’s lawn was immaculate!

Beach house with immaculate lawn

Some of the entrances to the various developments were colorful and beautifully landscaped. Here were some gorgeous flowers at an entrance:

Lots of housing developments

Even caught a Monarch Butterfly enjoying the flowers:

Monarch

There were not too many services along the way, but we did find a few State and County Parks…

…..wait….I just….I must…..

…..let me photobomb this selfie:

Photobomb this selfie

There…..all better now.

We happened to go past the Navy Seal Museum [Torin, did you know anything about this? We thought about you when we saw it.]

Jon by Navy Seal Museum

And we DID find a few 7-11’s that were open along the way.

Did you know Earline LOVES Slurpees?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Earline, and it has actually been a scene that has been repeated several times over the course of the past 3 weeks:  Slurpee in one hand, and the phone for texting in the other.

Earline on trike in Vero

Ha!

When we got to Vero Beach, we asked one of the workers in 7-11 to recommend places to eat. He told us to go to Waldo’s.

Waldos entrance

Interesting place!

Originally started by a kind of eccentric guy in the 1920s, Waldo Sexton, and apparently the construction was done without any blueprints or building plans….so some of the angles and edges of the facility do not quite square up….ha!

They WERE open, but Earline and I knew that we could not eat heavy for the road, so we ordered one entree and split it between the two of us.

Perusing the menu.

Checking menu at Waldos

It was at Waldo’s that we met Bob and Fifi from Puerto Rico….we enjoyed the time with them! Bob is 75 and actually does a lot of biking himself to this day. He has been a world-class motocross biker….some SERIOUS biking! [Bob, did I get that right? Please correct me if I’m wrong!] [I try….ha!]

Bob and Fifi

Of course, Earline HAD to get a selfie with Fifi!

Selfie time with Fifi and Earline

As we were leaving Waldo’s we had the chance to talk with several other people….Lee is the owner or the manager of Waldo’s itself, and we had some interesting discussion about sign language. Lee’s sister also works for Clark Schools for the Deaf.

Jon and Lee talking about sign language

As we were leaving Vero Beach, we saw these giant turtles that somebody designed, and Earline thought they were cute:

With giant turtle in Vero

Getting late, and because of all the talking we’ve been doing [plus we were riding INTO the wind!], it didn’t look like we were going to make the San Sebastian Inlet State Park. The sun goes down so early now!

We finally ran across an establishment in Wabasso Beach that has some Disney connections, and they had ONE room available. The next closest thing for a place to stay was an hour, hour-and-half away, and Earline was really feeling tired, so we stopped for the night.

A very special thanks to Diane and Brenda who helped MAKE the connections so we could stay for the night. Say “hello” to Brenda!

Earline and Brenda

It was already getting dark….and we got kinda lost….oh, well.

Jon lost at Disney resort

Eventually we FOUND our way, and settled in for the night. And we are grateful.

Thanks, God, for this day….and I mean it…..and not just THANKSGIVING, but EVERY day should start and end with a grateful heart. [See Philippians 2:5-11]

TGG,

jon

Day 16 [Pompano Beach – North Palm Beach, FL]

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2014

[Distance traveled: 43 miles]

The alarm went at 6:00, so we got up and started to pack, even though it was still dark. As it started to get light, I check the clouds, and did not look good – they were dark and moving fast.

Clouds moving dark and fast

BUT!

I went down to check the trikes, and the ground was dry. It was VERY windy, and you could taste the salt in the air….BUT the ground was dry.

Even though there had been some water from the day before on the trikes [and on the shuffleboard court!], the wind, damp as it was, had blown the surfaces dry.

DRY under trikes

And I imagined that maybe this is what the Israelites experienced, as the winds blew the ground dry under the Gulf of Aqaba, the arm of the Red Sea that they crossed over as they fled the Egyptians. Very windy, taste of salt in the air, but still walking on DRY ground.

I also wanted to mention here, that some of you will remember….I SPECIFICALLY asked that you pray and ask God that we not have to pack wet this morning. [See yesterday’s blog.]

And your prayers were ANSWERED!

Remember, in Psalm 37 it says that God DELIGHTS in the details of our lives. The DETAILS.

In the Sermon on the Mount in Chapter 6 of Matthew, Jesus says that “every detail” of the law will remain in place until its purpose is achieved. I like that translation, but even better, I like in the King James version where it says “jot” and “tittle.”

What is THAT?!

Matthew wrote his book in Greek, but the Greek word translated “jot” refers to the smallest word in the Hebrew language, yodh. It is just a little, tiny mark.

And then “tittle,” or “keraia” in the Greek, refers to just the tiny little hook on the end of the letters in Hebrew and Aramaic. Like a serif on a font in the English language. Just the tiny little, curvy hook at the very end of the letter.

In God’s Word, God’s law, He is SO DETAILED that even the little hooks at the ends of the letters that make the words are important to Him! And think about it, as the Creator of EVERYTHING, wouldn’t He HAVE to know how everything is put together?!

That is the kind of detail about you and me that He is interested in….that He DELIGHTS in.

So KNOW that this morning, YOUR prayers WERE answered. Sometimes God says “no,” sometimes He says “wait,” but what we DO know is that He IS able. [See Daniel 3:16-18]

[And we are grateful when He says YES!]

We got all packed up, still not raining on top, although we prepared for it by waterproofing our bags and pulling out our rain suits. [We didn’t asked Him to not have it rain at all…ha!]

As we were packing Ron stopped by, and we had a chance to talk to him about how God helps us face our fears.

Jon and Ron

So as we started north on A1A, Earline prayed for coffee, and there it was! She’s getting good at this….ha!

Praying for coffee

Meanwhile, I had a nice conversation with Patrick, an avid biker himself, a Christian who is concerned about the environment.

Patrick from Pompeno Beach

Earline continued to enjoy her coffee and cream cheese bagel….mmm, mmm.

Hey, wait! Where’s mine?

Hmmmm.

Cream cheese bagel

As we were getting ready to leave, Sean and his dad, Kevin, stopped by and asked good questions about our mission [and we promised to put their picture on the blog….here it is!]:

Sean and dad Kevin

Finally got headed down the road again, but it was starting to drizzle, and then the drizzle got harder, and finally I said, we have to pull to the side and cover up our side bags, and put on our rain gear [that we picked up in Hollywood at the K-Mart.]

I think they worked out pretty good. Earline HAD to take a selfie, which I caught her doing:

Confirm Earline selfie

And here it is:

Earline rain gear selfie

HA!

Picked up a couple goodies at the Deerfield Beach 7-11, and they permitted us to fill up our little round thermos with ice [it holds about 2 lbs of ice for a whole day]. [Thanks. 7-11, you were a life-saver!]

Leaving 7-11 in rain suits

It was not REAL hot today….the winds helped keep us cool, but the WINDS were so strong from the East, not quite in our face, but many times it whipped around the buildings to be in our face for a minute or two. And even when hitting us from the side, it made for slow going. And the winds were whipping the waves so hard, that even when it wasn’t raining, you could feel the salt water spray from the winds.

Not hard but miserable

Here’s Earline modeling her rain gear:

Earline modeling rain gear

But the rain suits WERE hot….and finally the rain calmed down a little, and we said, “THAT’S ENOUGH!” and took them off, after we made a little stop at the Atlantic Dunes Park.

Rain coats off

I have also discovered that I can substitute turkey for SPAM when making my spam/peanut butter/cheese/graham cracker delights. Whoa! I think it’s even BETTER than the SPAM!

What!!! It’s good!

GC sandwiches

It is hard to describe the day we had….even with the rain not coming down on top, there was a constant roar from the wind and the waves, very loud, and there was always the wind pushing us to the side, or even from the front. It DID make for pretty waves. [Lifeguard flag was red.]

Atlantic Dunes County Park view waves

STRONG winds

Notices how all the trees are bending to the right, the west.

I figure that the winds probably slowed us down 2 to 3 miles per hour.

For the most part, drivers were respectful of us. The speed limit here on A1A is only 35 mph, and there were a lot of signs along the way emphasizing laws specifically for cyclists.

3 foot clearance

Sometimes we WERE blocked from the wind by large trees, or beautiful homes, and there were plenty of those. Because we go slower on the trikes, we were able to get a pretty good look into some of the driveways. Some pretty amazing wealth was on display.

Beautiful home 1

Beautiful home 2

Didn’t really see many churches, though….maybe one or two.

Hmmmm.

Many homes DID have Christmas decorations up already:

Time for Christmas

Finally got into the Palm Beach area, and saw some more beautifully landscaped areas.

Jon and landscaping in PB

Earline thru PB road

In “downtown” Palm Beach, it was like Park Avenue on steroids, if you know what I mean. Lots of fancy stores with names I couldn’t pronounce, and we saw more than one Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Lamborghini.

Dntn PB

And yes, they had their Christmas tree up already:

XTree in PB

Earline, would you like one of these under your tree at Christmas?

Yachts for xmas

Oh, my!!

It was after 5pm by this point, and we still had to cross over to West Palm Beach.

Jon looking at PB,WPB bridge

We weren’t sure where to stay, and we really wanted to have a good church to go to tomorrow.

We started to head out of town on Highway 1, and we saw several small “mom and pop” motels, but the area looked really “busy,” if you know what I mean. Lots of people walking the streets, hanging out.

We stopped to get something to eat at a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the consensus in there seemed to be that we go further north to find a place to stay.

I ask the girl that waited on us, Vanessa, who had been working there about 2 months, if she knew a good place to go to church. She said she really didn’t go to church.

And I didn’t know what to say.

But as I thought about it, I DID think of an appropriate response in that situation….I thought it might work well to use what Peter said in 2 Peter 1:16. He said, “we’re not making up clever stories, we’re not telling fairy tales when we talk about Jesus…”

He should know….he was THERE, right??!!

If somebody says that they don’t go to church, simply ask, “You DO know that Jesus is not a fairy tale, right?”, and see how they respond.

And then be prepared to give a “good defense” of what you know to be true.

We proceeded north, then, on A1A, out of West Palm Beach, in the dark. We suddenly heard some loud music coming from our right, and they were apparently having some kind of seafood festival along the beach.

Unfortunately, the winds were still so vicious, that there weren’t many people there. But there WERE enough to engage in some lively conversation with many who were interested in our trikes and our mission.

To the man on the bench who stuck some cash in my hand for God’s Hands Agency: “No, there was not a 50 dollar bill in the bills you gave me. Ha! BUT, thank you for sincerely, and I mean that, for helping us to be an encouragement among the Deaf, Youth, and Families.”

Some of the folks at the festival told us that there were several motels just up the road ahead….but we discovered, yet again, that “just a little ways up the road” in a car is NOT the same as “just a little ways up the road” on a TRIKE!!

Even a cop pulled beside us and said that there was motel just a “tenth of a mile” up ahead.

Heh.

Distance challenged.

But FINALLY, a half mile later, we DID run across a Super8 Motel, and no question, we WERE stopping. Total distance, 43 miles, and Earline’s leg was killing her! [She said she is going to tell stories to her grandkids of how she triked hundreds of miles, and got shot in her leg, and pulled the bullets out with her teeth, and dragged her shot leg another 100 miles just to give a child a fresh cup of water….HA!]

I’ll take care of her, and we just ask you to continue to pray for her left knee, that it continue to get stronger, and that He will CONTINUE to guide us, and protect us under the shadow of His wing.

Good night!

TGG,

jon

Day 9 [Islamorada, Upper Matecumbe Key – Key Largo]

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014

[Distance traveled: 23 miles]

Liquid nitrogen, killer lobsters, and sexy mannequins make up the news from today’s adventures in Facing Your Fears, the 2014 Mission POSSIBLE Tour!

We got kind of a late start today, because I was up until 4:30am working on the blog. [We slept in a little!]

What? A new element in the periodic table?

Cream in the periodic table

It is actually a new ice cream place called SubZero. I happened to stop by the place last night on the way to CVS to grab a Ginger Ale for Earline. Look at these tanks!

Liquid nitro tanks

Yes, folks, that IS liquid nitrogen. [Torin! Remember the freeze pops soaked in liquid nitrogen on the Tiger Cruise? That is some cold liquid!]

In this store it flows out of these faucets into bowls that the attendant shapes into a scoop or two of ice cream.

SUBZERO faucets

Interesting! [And yes, it also tasted quite good!]

Guess who we saw on the road today? James and Paula from the Campground at Long Key. Good to see you!

More bike trail construction detours today, including this one past the marine mammal theatre in Islamorada.

Marine mammal park

Not to be outdone by the mammals, this huge crustacean made its presence known!

Killer lobster

Hey, nephew Dexter! Of DEXAIR fame….we saw this sign on the side of the road….it looks like you have a long lost cousin!

REXAIR

Right on the bike path, we found this Tom Thumb and found chocolate milk, $2 subs, and Honey Buns. Okay, we are happy.

Tom Thumb

We also went across our first drawbridge of this trip. It brought back scary memories of the drawbridge in St. Augustine from our 2011 Mission POSSIBLE Tour.

First drawbridge

We saw this mannequin along the road next to a place that said “Antiques,” and Earline….well, I will let you write your OWN caption for this one!

[Send it to Earline on Facebook!]

Earline and

Finally arrived at the JP State Park about 30 minutes before they closed, but unlike the other parks, they refused to let us in.

JP Coral Reef SP

They said they were full, and that Boy Scouts were in their primitive area….so in 53,000 acres, you only have one primitive area? And you have no accommodations for bikers? [Or trikers?]

[As one State Park official earlier this week put it, they understand that bikers and kayakers may not know exactly when they will reach a certain destination, because of the slow speed that they travel.] [JP Coral Reef SP was the ONLY State Park that would not accept us.]

Here on the Keys you have what is supposedly the most bike-friendly area in Florida, that has a multi-million-dollar bike trail that we saw being worked on this past week, and it goes right past your front door, but you have no room for bikers in your facility?

Hmmmm.

I understand that this is the busiest park in Florida, but this sounds like another taxpayer-funded program that has let success go to their head. If you are not hungry enough, you won’t do whatever it takes to provide the best customer service possible.

Clark Howard on his radio show calls it “customer-no-service.”

See John 13:4-17. [I’ve included a link here in The Message version.] Jesus sets the PATTERN for us. It is servanthood, thinking of others as better than yourself, and being willing to help them, love them, to do what THEY need, over your own needs. Philippians 2 shows the depth of what Jesus did for us: “When the time came, He [Jesus] set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, He stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, He lived a selfless, obedient life…”

Okay, that’s enough rant….I am sure that the ranger we spoke to was following the rules, and doing her job, and that she will probably sleep okay tonight, but having owned a business myself, the MINUTE that you think you don’t need to be the best “servant” you can be for your customers, your business will deteriorate, and you have literally STOLEN from your clients the time and attention that they deserve.

NOW I am finished with my rant.

Sigh.

The ranger DID provide us with a list of other camping facilities in the area, though many on the list did NOT accept tents, or were ten or more miles away, and 30 minutes before sunset were laughably not viable alternatives for us.

Ride in the dark? Don’t want to do THAT!

But God….

We only had a few choices on the list, and only ONE that was close, that accepted tents, AND was in the direction we wanted to go [not backwards]. So that is where we headed, and after asking a few people for help finding it, we DID find it, AND they had 4 tent spaces available.

But God knew our needs, even BEFORE we asked Him. [See Matthew 6:8]

Kings Kamp. They were nice. They were helpful.

And they are privately owned. Hmmmm.

Thanks, God. We appreciate it….we truly do.

Settled in for the night, and had our tent set up, and showers taken, and IN the tent before 8pm.

[Now we DID have some interesting entertainment from some drunk, cussing young people playing “Sweet Home Alabama” at VERY high decibels at 10:30pm….but I’ll let Earline share those details with you.]

Ha!

Grateful, yes, grateful for another day’s journey.

TGG,

jon

Day 92 UPDATE 1 [Highway 39, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2010 UPDATE 1

Good morning!!!….on this FINAL day of the 2010 Mission Possible Tour down the entire length of the Mississippi River Trail. We left St. Bernard State Park at 5:15 this morning, and we’re over halfway to the Pointe a la Hache ferry, where we’ll cross over to the west side of the river, and continue to four miles south of Venice, Louisiana.

It is there that a sign declares “The southernmost point in the state of Louisiana.” YEA! Pray us through (some Elijah-running-speed strength for our legs would be good).

(Know what I mean?!)

(If not, read 1 Kings 18:46.)

Thanks!

TGG, jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Day 91 [New Orleans, LA – St. Bernard State Park, LA]

MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2010

Because of the excellent speed of the internet in the church hall where we were staying, I stayed up until 6:30am last night (this morning) getting completely caught up with the blog (whoo-whoo!).

(Needless to say, I then slept in a little bit this morning….HA!)

We finally left the Canal Boulevard Deaf Baptist Church around 3:00pm.

Leaving Canal Blvd DBC

We saw these cemeteries along Canal Boulevard, where the tombs are all ABOVE ground.

Cemetery on Canal blvd

And then, as we continued down Canal Street…..oh, no, it’s raining again.

Oh no rain on Canal St

It didn’t rain too hard, and by the time we got to the French Quarter, it was only drizzling a little. We were hungry and looked for a place to eat.

In the French Quarter

I turned down a side street, and wondered, what is this….it looks like a red light district. It was then that I realized after looking at a street sign that we were on THE Bourbon Street!

Bourbon Street

Well, we weren’t sure that we trusted the food from the places we were passing, so we continued on out of town, before stopping to eat.

Even though it has been 5 years, we passed so many places that obviously had just been abandoned from the flooding after Katrina.

New Orleans mess 1

Gas station

Weed

Charles Colton middle school

But even this school had a sign in front of it saying the the Colson School will RISE AGAIN.

And we saw other encouraging signs like this church next to some dilapidated buildings…..

Rough street and church

…..and this Think Positive sign.

Think positive

We saw this “Urban Organics” store….ah, what is “Urban Organics?” Ha!

Urban Organics

And then, we saw ANOTHER casino….

Another casino

It looked so nice and fancy…but it gets me to thinking….the money for this nice building, where does it come from? If someone wins a pot, or whatever they call it at the casino, say $500 at a slot machine, where does it come from? The income that the owners of this casino make…..where does IT come from?

It comes from the game.

It comes from the dollars and pennies that people who can’t control their urges spend their food money, and their rent money, and their mortgage money, and their light bill money.

Proverbs 10:2 says that “Ill-gotten gain has no lasting value….“. The King James Bible says “Treasures of wickedness profit nothing….

Let’s not do this to ourselves. Let’s put money into worthwhile endeavors, and let’s invest in people.

‘Nuff said.

We went through several industrial areas as well, and there does seem to continue to be companies surviving along the Mississippi River and using the resources that this huge flow of water provides.

Gas industry

More industrial areas

After it got dark, we pulled into our only Louisiana State Park that we stayed at, St. Bernard State Park. It wasn’t the cheapest park in the world, but it was clean, and it was secure. We knew we had 75 miles yet to go, but we felt it better to get some sleep now, and then continue on early in the morning.

Michael from Texas got us checked in around 9:30pm, and we set the alarm for 2:30am. [WHEW!]

Camp site at St Bernhard State Park

Thanks, Lord, for a place to lay and rest.

TGG,

jon

Day 91 UPDATE [East St. Bernard Hwy., LA]

MONDAY, AUGUST 30, 2010 UPDATE

Left Canal Boulevard Deaf Baptist Church in New Orleans about 3pm. Accidentally ended up on Bourbon Street, looking for a place to eat. Going thru St. Bernard Parish (county) to the State Park, just a few minutes away. We’ll head out around 4am to push through the final 75 miles. Pray us through!

TGG, jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

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 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 30 [Pikes Peak State Park, IA – Guttenburg, IA]

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30, 2010

Slept in a little bit, up at 8:30.

Question for any of you recumbent riders out there: I’ve been experiencing some numbness in my left foot toes. I normally can shake my foot while I’m riding and the feeling comes back. But this past week, the numbness has continued when I’m OFF the trike, even through the night (like right now, at 3:30am). Any ideas?

By the way, Earline’s leg has been feeling much better. Her legs will sometimes ache at night, but she seems to be getting stronger, and she doesn’t have the sharp pains like she did at first. She wears a wrap on each knee, and that seems to help.

Got a chance to view the Mississippi from the Park’s FABULOUS overlook. Check out these photos:

Approach south overlook

Looking east from Pike’s Peak, you can see where the Wisconsin River empties into the Mississippi.

Wisconsin River flowing into MR

Here are barges waiting to be loaded or shipped. In the background you can see the east leg of the MacGregor / Prairie-du-Chien bridge.

Barges waiting to be loaded or shipped

Does the photo below look familiar? Check our the ROUTE page on this web site. The river is almost 3 miles wide at this point [and yes, if the winter is especially cold, the river freezes over, and you can DRIVE from one side to the other!].

Route header photo

Zooming in, you can see the west side of the MacGregor / Prairie bridge. In the distance on the left, you can see the Riverboat casino that we went past yesterday.

West side MacGregor bridge

Tugboat pushing barges

Jon on the overlook

And God sees, DESIGNED every detail…..“The heavens declare His righteousness, and every nation sees His glory.” Psalm 97:6 (In other words, not one person has any excuse….His power and majesty is clearly visible to those who take time to notice.)

Met Lloyd this morning, who has biked all the way from Cairo, Egypt to Capetown, South Africa. He’s also biked across the US a couple times, and Canada.

Earline and Lloyd

The fellow in the Park gift shop knew Uncle Dan (EVERYBODY knows Uncle Dan!….ha!)

Headed down the road towards Guttenberg, again along the top of the ridge with some wonderful, scenic views. Although there was one dip – WHOO! – it was a fun downhill, but a tough uphill. Got passed by a family on bicycles (but no extra gear)…the boys were keeping up with mom and dad for the most part. Now THAT’s family involvement!

Two boys chasing dad

Went down the county road into Guttenberg – got up to 41 MPH. Glad we didn’t have to go UP that hill!

County Road MRT into Guttenburg

Saw a WONDERFUL view of the town as we went down, but I was NOT stopping! Guess you’ll have to come see that for yourself!

Toodled around Guttenburg for a little bit. Real pretty riverfront park. The MRT really should route itself this way….just continue straight on Marina/3rd street. A lot of cute little shops and eating places, too. Just turn right when you get to the end of the park to get over to Hwy 52.

Stopped at a Subway….ask Earline to explain the phrase for the summer: “I hope it’s good and not nasty.”

Met a Pastor and his family who were headed to their vacation place on the island, and they asked if we needed anything! (Well, a place to stay would be nice, and MUCH appreciated!) The daughter Megan gave up her sleeping spot in the backyard camper, so we ask that God give her a special blessing, as well as the whole Duncan Ahrens family.

Ahrens backyard camper

Ahrens family

God used you! And we are extremely grateful. They sometimes have an interpreter at their church, but no Deaf. Earline gave them some tips for seeking out the Deaf.

Thru God’s Grace,

jon

Day 29 [Monona, IA – Pikes Peak State Park, IA]

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010

Frantically trying to finish processing the last of the photos so that you all can be caught up on the blog.

We are leaving Danny and Joanita’s today. And we DID receive all of the packages that all of you left or sent to their house for us. Thank you all!!

And here’s a list of things that we have also lost along the way (which we can’t figure out, because we look SO carefully before we head out each morning):

• A spare yellow, WiFi Pedalers flag, quadrangle shape, and looks like this:

ICE Trike flag 31

• The colorful spiral flag that blew off on the Ford bridge in south Mpls. (Maybe somebody downstream will find it!) They looks like this, before we lost both of them (yes, that is Babe, the Big, Blue Ox in the background):

PB and Babe

• My main, gray and black tire pump, with an air gauge (Topeak Road Morph)

• One 8″ long metal TENT stake (maybe at Maiden Rock after the storm? See Day 22)

• One black USB cord, with a camera connector on one end (I do have a spare of this, but I still wonder where the other one went…hmm!)

Got all packed up and said our good-byes….Joanita sent along an extra batch of brownies (yumm!) as well as some of Susie’s GREAT Amish bread.

Joanita behind jons trike

Danny and Joanita took a quick seat in our trikes…..they look GOOD, don’t you think?

Danny and Joanita on the trikes

We headed out to the Gateway Park (which used to be our land!) and took pictures by the Monona sign. Saw for the first time a special memorial for armed service personnel from Monona (of course, we HAD to get a picture by the NAVY guy!):

War memorial

Navy statue

Monona sign

Went uptown to try and find some Monona postcards (no luck).

After picking up supplies at WalMart in Prairie du Chien last night, we noticed that the wide shoulder that existed on Hwy 52 was gravel, and that the immediate 4 ft. shoulder had a 2 ft. rumble cut groove cut in it – NOT good at all for our trikes. So we decided to take the old Marquette Road, no shoulder, but a lot less traffic.

What a pretty day! All the rain we’ve been thru really makes us appreciate days like this….and some real pretty views of the Iowa countryside from the top of the ridge.

Big round bales on Iowa hayfield

PLUS, we got to go THROUGH the big, little city of Watson:

Big little city of Watson

Yup, that’s it. That’s the whole town! Ha!

We also stopped at a little, country cemetery:

Country cemetery in NE Iowa

Nice and FUN downhill into Marquette (almost 2 miles…..whee!)

Went over the Marquette /Prairie du Chien bridge – Bridge #27, and a view to the south from the bridge:

Bridge27

Looking south from Prairie bridge

Back to Iowa, we HAD to stop and get a picture by the Pink Elephant (it used to be the name of a fancy restaurant up on the bluff; the restaurant no longer exists, but the elephant remains!)

Earline smile with pink elephant

Pick elephants nose

EEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

Riding through MacGregor, we met the Mayor, Miss Gaylinda Hallberg. She sends her greetings to all of you, and says, “Come visit McGregor!”

MacGregor mayor

At the top of the main street saw this pretty Funeral Home, and met the new owner, a Doug DeVries. We found the inside quite charming, actually:

Funeral home in McGregor

Funeral home in MacGregor

As we headed up the hill to Pikes Peak, we met the burger and cigarette lady….it was late, but we think she tried a little too hard to get us to camp in her yard….“It’s a really long hill”…“I’ve got burgers on the grill”….“It’ll be like Ringling Brothers – it’s a real circus around here”…. “I’ve already got one camper”….ah, no thanks. Like Nehemiah on the wall, we did not want to get distracted. [See Nehemiah 4:7-23]

Climbing Pikes Peak hill

Made it up the Pikes Peak hill without too much difficulty – called Danny and Joanita to let them know WE MADE IT – and the entrance to the park was just 100 yards past the top of the hill.

Here is the sunset behind us – a few minutes before we arrived at Pike’s Peak State Park:

Sunset a few minutes before we arrived at Pikes Peak

It was getting late, so we set up quickly. We met (and got some fire starter help from) Ezra and Molly. Earline was able to give Molly some tips on starting her own business. Neat couple.

Continuing on TGG,

jon