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

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2010

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

Warfield Point tent site

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

Weird tree seed or fruit

Weird seed fruit on tree

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

Graham crackers and peanut butter and honey

Lovingly prepared, of course, by MY Honey:

Honey making honey

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

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

Warfield Point Campground riverside rain

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

Bridge41

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

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

Texting while triking on 41

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

Nice wide shoulder

Semi not so ominous here

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

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

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

Interesting home on Chicot Lake

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

Guys at 82 and 65

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

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

Martians

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

Beautiful sky north of Eudora

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

Escorting Earline

Officer escort

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

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

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

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

Robot mailbox

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

Welcome to Louisiana State 10

Ack!

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

Well, here SHE is by herself!!

THERE she is

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

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

HA! Oh, well…..

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

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

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

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

Janie and her son

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

Janies 2nd son

Night time picture taking

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

Riding trike

Couple lost child

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

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

Parked in the shadow

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

It was really amazing to see!

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

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

TGG,

jon

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

MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2010

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

Crew 3

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

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

Fire Chief Lee Jordan

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

Fire Truck ladder1 and Earline

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

Bucks Place store front

Bucks place with Earline

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

Buck and Earline

Mrs Buck

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

William Alexander Percy Memorial library

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

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

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

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

SOOOOO……

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

HA!

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

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

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

Laundromat buddy

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

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

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 70 [Memphis (Germantown), TN – Tom Sawyer Campground, West Memphis, AK]

MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2010

We had to get up around 4:00am, because our warmshower.org hosts needed to leave around 7:30.

Kevin and Kathy were great hosts, and got a chance to try the LOADED trikes before we left.

[But why is Earline holding a dog??!!]

Kathy Kevin Earline Jon

Kathy tries trike

Kevin tries loaded trike

Went to the Fedex Office (Kinkos) and got 200 more copies made of the quarter-page handout. The guy suggested we do colored paper for a dollar more, so we picked flourescent yellow!

Quarter page handout

Then we headed to the bike story (remember, Kevin and Kathy’s place is about 15 miles from downtown, so we had a ways to go.) It was really a pretty ride, though, with some scenery like this:

Pretty scenery on way back to downtown

We also saw this…..well, what is it???!! [Free wifi pedalers t-shirt to the first person who gets it right!][Someday!]

Camouflaged cell tower

After some directions corrections, we found the “Peddlers” (hey, they spelled it wrong!) bike shop. We talked to probably a dozen people or more about our Mission Possible Tour while sitting outside the store.

I picked up a couple tubes (a very blessed decision), a couple CO2 cartridges (a way to fix a flat with no pumping), and a mirror to replace the one I busted in the ditch in Kentucky (my “fix-it” wasn’t staying fixed.)

I had called the Memphis newspaper earlier, and a news photographer called back to see where we were so he could get some pictures. We tried to connect our schedules, and he said he would be heading our way.

He caught up with us on Peobody Avenue, and took some notes and some photos. He said it would probably be a stand-alone photo in tomorrow’s paper. [It was…..here’s the link: Commercial Appeal newspaper]

Commercial Appeal photo

As we approached downtown, we found the funeral home that years ago had Dr. King’s body, and we stopped in to visit. Here is R.S. Lewis & Sons Funeral Home chapel where he lay in state for 6 hours:

MLK bier

We met Christine Hill, who lived just down the street from the funeral home when Dr. King was killed. She is now 81 years old, working hard, and looking good!

Christine Hill

Christine Hill and Earline

We triked over to the RIGHT Patterson church…..

Earline explore Patterson church

…..and met the Media Director, Mr. Willie Douglas. He tried HIS hand at recumbent triking!

Media minister of Patterson church

We talked with him a while, and explored some further collaboration concerning ministry to the Deaf of western Tennessee.

Later on we saw this bumper sticker on the way to the bridge…..now THAT will preach [AGAINST that, I mean!]. (Only a fool says is in his heart that there is no God…..Psalms 14 and 53.]

Born ok 1st time

Now….Interstate 55….even though there IS a separated pedestrian path, well, I get the impression they don’t want us to use it! Look at the weeds! (Earline was NOT happy!)

Entering Interstate 55 walkway

North side Interstate 55

And the walkway was full of glass, metal of various shapes and sizes, and even a basketball goal. [Don’t ask me!] [Didn’t think to get a picture of that, with all the other drama!]

Such as it was……here is Bridge #39:

Bridge39

Semi entering 39 MOVE OVER

Crossing 2391

It was VERY noisy with all the truck traffic, and the clanging railing…I thought I’d try a video to give you the full effect:

Here’s the link to the video of our trek over this bridge, with the trucks zooming by just inches away!!

[Turn your speakers WAY UP to get the FULL effect!]

Welcome to state #8! [Earline! Don’t you want to get out and point at this sign? NO??!!….OK.]

Welcome to state 8

After we finished crossing over the bridge, and going thru more 4-foot weeds!!, we STILL had to ride beside all the interstate traffic for 3 MORE MILES….AND we had to pass a weigh station where ALL the trucks were existing, and then re-entering.

Yes, this was a tense part of the trip (which included convincing Earline that we could NOT take Exit 1, but had to wait to get off at Exit 3C)….convincing her was actually probably the HARDEST part of our trip so far. That, and getting past the truck traffic entering and exiting the weigh station, Exit 2…..after getting off at Exit 3C, the route wound us clockwise around UNDER the interstate highway, and there were TWO MRT signs, one taking us west to West Memphis, the other seemingly point east toward the bridge….on dirt!

I didn’t realize this until later, but I think they wanted us to take the SOUTHBOUND side of the bridge, because one of the MRT signs was actually seeming to point to some very hilly, dirt-bike hills under the bridge that I’m guessing tied into the southbound side of the bridge, something we NEVER could have traversed with our weighted down recumbants….we had taken the only option possible for us.

Wish I had gotten a picture of those signs, but I did not….but I DID get a video of Earline’s, ah, “composure” after getting off the interstate…..it is on the Mission Possible 2010 DVD. [You HAVE to check it out!]

Interesting.

[While updating this entry, I DID find a photo from 2013 on the saltedhash.brydon.net blog…this IS indeed the MRT sign that points to the SOUTH side of the bridge, which with our recumbents, would have unfortunately, been a worse experience than the NORTH side….so we did alright.]

MRT sign southwest side of bridge

Followed the road into West Memphis, and got a couple snacks at a convenience store. Took the left turn on 8th street, which at the time seemed odd, because there was a light at the next block at 9th street. However, the 8th Street turn is correct, because a mile down the road, only 8th street continues south over the railroad tracks.

We saw this signage on a church on 8th street:

NEW St Paul MBC in WM

THEN, just a few blocks down, on the same side of the street, we saw THIS church, and their signage:

OLD St Paul MBC in WM

OLD St Paul MBC sign close up

Now you KNOW that there has to be a story behind these two churches! (I’d like to have been a fly on the wall at THAT meeting!!)

Eighth street brings you right to the entrance off Tom Sawyer Campground. Now this was not the fanciest campground that we went to this summer, but it was one of our favorites.

Why?

It grounds were clean and they had pretty tight security. It was a pretty spot right on the banks of the Mississippi. The bathrooms and showers were easily accessible, clean, AND air conditioned. And the laundry was FREE (we definitely took advantage of that!)

Pam Clarke was helping out in the office. She was a hoot, and was fun to talk to. (So these critters were caught IN the campground??!!…..hmmmm)

Pam Clark and Earline BY CRITTERS

Her son Hezekiah (Shane) got to try out one of the trikes:

Hezekiah Shane tries trike

By now he is back in Afghanistan, with about 4 months of service left…..pray for him! (Psalm 91 would be a good place to start.)

Even got a nice photo of the both of us coming into camp:

TSC Earline and Jon

Here are some photos of our camp site, as well as some of the scenery as the sun went down (warning….the mosquitoes REALLY come out at sunset at this place – worst attack we had all summer. Just remember to be in your tent or RV BEFORE the sun goes down….HA!)

Camping spot in TomSawyer

Sunset at Tom Sawyer campground

Studying some Word.

Studying at sunset

After saying goodbye to new friends in Memphis, and surviving the harrowing bridge into Arkansas, we are ready to continue our journey south tomorrow morning.

Through God’s Grace,

jon

Day 67 [Ripley, TN – Tipton, TN]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 6, 2010

Good morning, through God’s grace!

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

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

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

Hmmmmm.

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

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

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

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

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

Leaving Super 8 in Ripley

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

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

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

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

UN identical CO2s

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

Love that Flat Attack stuff.

Saw this beautiful cloud cover north of Covington:

Feathery clouds

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

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

(Did go past this attractive church building):

Stylish Episcopal church Covington

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

Ack!!!

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

Dark on the school campus

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

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

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

Smile Joanita 2

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

Jameer

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 5 [Lake Winni Resort, MN – Grand Rapids, MN]

JUNE 5, 2010

God’s Word.

One of the things I appreciate about having grown up on a farm, is that you are right out in the middle of God’s creation – it envelopes you – and there are lessons about God’s character, and about life principles, that you can see all around you.

Many of the illustrations used in Proverbs are agricultural concepts.

Proverbs 18:4 – “Wise words are like deep waters; wisdom flows from the wise like a bubbling brook.”

Proverbs 24:30-34 – “I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down. Then, as I looked and thought about it, I learned this lesson: A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.”

And as WE travel OUTDOORS, we are surrounded by God’s creation, and recipients (and victims) of its character….like:

“For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good; He sends rain on the just and the unjust, too.” Matthew 5:45

Earline and Jon in rain
Oh, well.

Ack!!! – yes, it was a wet ride today – we went about 50 miles, and put up in a motel in Grand Rapids, MN to rest Earline’s leg [AND to dry out!].

Yes, she was in quite a bit of pain AGAIN today – the latter part of the ride – but she was able to give it a good hot soak tonight, and we are right next to a Wal-Mart where we will be able to pick up some supplies for her leg that Mark Power of Power On Cycling (where we got our trikes) suggested. (Thanks, Mark!)

Below is our camp site last night at the Lake Winni Campground. We borrowed a long extension cord to be able to have power in our tent, and that worked out so well that I eventually invested in a 50′ cord of our own. Worth the extra weight, and with a 3-pronged outlet on the female end, it allowed us to make sure that our phones would be all charged up every day.

Lake Winni campground

As we got underway today, we stopped at the Winnie One Stop, with Stacie and Pam….

Winnie One Stop

….and ended it at the Country Inn in Grand Rapids, MN, with Lynn making us feel warm and welcomed:

Lynn at the Country Inn

A few days ago at Camp Itasca, we saw wild geese traveling in formation, the ones at the BACK honking and encouraging the ones in FRONT as they fly great distances:

Geese honking

In the book of Hebrews in the Bible it tells us in no uncertain terms that we have a responsibility to encourage and warn each other daily:

“Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, while it is still ‘today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.” Hebrews 3:12-13

Today we saw a baby deer on the side of the road, with the mother deer nowhere in sight – NOT a safe situation for the baby deer. Here it is:

Baby deer side of road

More than likely that baby deer’s mother has the instinct to protect her offspring, and was probably trying to find it as we came toodling down the road (“his rebellious behind!” as Earline would say). That baby deer could easily be attacked by timber wolves or some other predator.

In the same way, God warns US metaphorically in Proverbs:  “The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.” Proverbs 30:17

It was with great sadness that we learned this morning that one of the Deaf community in our home town was arrested for multiple sexual sins that he admitted to taking place over the past 20 years, even though he was very active in local church activities. ALL of us, hearing and deaf alike, must not diminish the importance of being obedient, for Jesus WARNED the disciples, and us, that:

“At judgment day, many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name, we cast out demons in your name, we performed many miracles in your name!’ But I will reply, ‘Go away, you who refused to obey God’s laws…I never knew you. The things you did were unauthorized.’ ” Matthew 7:22-23

We WILL have to stand before Jesus some day….each one of us, and account for the decisions we have made in our lives. I’ve learned some hard lessons myself about obedience.

And though it may seem like He isn’t around, or that He doesn’t care, or that He’s forgotten about us, Peter, who knew Jesus as well as anybody, reminds us, WARNS us in 2 Peter 3:9….

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to REPENT.”

And at the end of the day today, after all the rain we went through, as we arrived in Grand Rapids, we smiled as we were reminded of a promise, and that like ALL of God’s promises, His Word is true, and right, and worthy of our respect and trust.

Rainbow over Walmart
Only TGG,

jon

[P.S….yes, just to the right of this photo is the Judy Garland birthplace attraction, here in Grand Rapids, MN. What a wonderful place for this rainbow to appear!]

 

Day -2 [Detroit Lakes, MN – Camp Itasca, MN]

MAY 29, 2010

Dah, dah, DAH…..

[Whispered in a deep voice] “When we last left our fearless, God-blessed servants, they were on their way to Detroit Lakes, MN, trikes in hand, on the mighty Amtrak Empire line.

“Then, about 2:30 am, they were hurriedly deposited on the side of the road, about 50 yards from the lonely Detroit Lakes platform, along with their entire life’s possessions for the next three months. A cool breeze from the south greeted their faces in the darkness.

“They smiled, and took pictures, realizing they were just (according to Google) only about 55 miles from their destination, the headwaters of the Mississippi River.” (cue dramatic opening music)…..

Okay, enough with the third person dramatics! There’s enough here without it…HA!

Jon off train in DetroitLakes
We put the trike boxes outside the door of the station, and moved all our gear inside. There were about 7 people inside, waiting for another Amtrak train headed south.

One of them was a couple, a Mr. and Mrs. Ron Griffith. He was dropping her off at the station for a trip to visit family. His family was actually responsible years ago for introducing a type of bean into the area as a cash crop, and it is currently the area’s second most prolific crop, behind potatoes.

We brought my trike into the warm station for the purpose of putting it back together. (We’re talking a fairly small room here, maybe 20 x 20. After unfolding my trike, I couldn’t get the chain untwisted, and I couldn’t figure out how the chain routed through the tubes and back axle. Never thought to study that. I DID have the “T” owner’s manual with me, and that helped.

Jon assemble trikes
Of course, I am assembling this in front of everybody, and I’m EMBARRASSED that I don’t know how to quickly put it together. ACK!

But we are answering questions about our tour as I attempted to route the chain, and finally Ron and a young oriental gentleman (who never said a word, but helped me figure it out with hand gestures) helped me get the chain routed correctly.

THEN, when I tried to tighten the boom screws and attach the seat, I realized that in my little tools duffle, I had neglected to pack EITHER of the Allen wrench tools. Only the tool that I probably need THE MOST to tighten various screws on the trike.

DOUBLE ACK!!

I just continued to attach what I could.

By this time, most of the folks’ train had come in, so the only ones left were Mrs. Shogren, who was picking up her son, and Mr. Griffith. It was at this point, that Mrs. Shogren said she would go to the 24-hour Walmart and GET an Allen wrench tool for me. AND she wouldn’t take any money. What a blessing!

I truly would have been lost without her offer. Thank you, God!

We then continued to put Earline’s trike together (easier, because of the new way it folds), and added the bottle holders and panniers. We took the trikes outside, tested their maneuverability (to see if I had put them together CORRECTLY), and then added the rest of the gear.

And as you can see, even though it was only a little after 5am, it was already light outside! [Closer to the Arctic Circle.]

Earline outside Detroit Lakes Station
FINALLY got everything fully packed on both trikes (for the first time ever!) and Earline toodled around the station, testing her ability to drive it with all the gear on it. She also remarked (as I had done when testing it a couple weeks ago with a 40 lb. bag of bird seed) that it was VERY easy to pedal, and you hardly noticed the extra weight. (Kudos to I.C.E. for their well-made and designed trikes.)

Had some prayer time, and headed over to the Sinclair station just across the railroad tracks to fill up on water and goodies for the trip up to Camp Itasca. At the station they mentioned that they had just opened this gas station on Tuesday for the first time this year! (Thanks, Lord, for your provision.)

Little did we realize how significant that provision was!

Earline enjoy blue skies and lakes
We headed out on Hwy 34 for Lake Itasca State Park about 8am on an absolutely GORGEOUS blue-sky day.

Many giggles and frustration as we tried to get clipped in to our clipless pedals. I guess it takes a while to get the hang of it. Especially important for recumbents, though, because without the clips, you can accidently slip off the pedals (something Earline had happen to her later in the day) and experience “leg whip” as your foot and leg get slammed against the horizontal axle, resulting in bruised or even broken bones. (Earline is alright, thankfully.)

The road was 2 lanes, and very busy, but the road had a wide shoulder that we stayed on. We would stop occasionally to catch our breath and stretch our legs. Met Trudy at her mailbox, who until Earline mentioned thanking God for His blessings, was trying to figure out a way to witness to US! Alright!

Met Mr. Leonard Hammer, an elderly gentleman who waved us into into his yard, and talked about a variety of topics, including showing us the bundle of large Northern Pike fish that he had just caught.

We also discovered that he had just lost his wife of (probably) 50-plus years only 6 months earlier. Pray that God comfort Mr. Hammer in his grief at the loss of his wife.

Jon and Mr Hammer
Earline also found out that you CAN tip over on these trikes, trying to turn too fast on a side road with all the extra weight on board. No serious injuries, but she did get a boo-boo. (See the boo-boo?)

Earline tipped over
Okay….you have to look REAL close!

Boo boo close up
Headed up Highway 37, which had a lot less traffic. We had to visit mother nature….ahem, you know, relieve our bladders….on the side of road, behind a tree [lots of THOSE]. No convenience stores up here!

Earline on the road to Itasca
As we traveled through some farm country, and some more farm country…..and some more farm country…..well, we’re getting tired….

Earline in open MN fields
……(didn’t get much sleep last night….well, actually, I didn’t get ANY), I was getting REALLY sleepy, and found myself dozing off. (One of the hazards, I guess, of the recumbent trikes – they ARE comfortable.)…..and Earline had maybe an hour of sleep on the train.

Not long after the above photo, I suddenly woke up, and found myself headed for the ditch on the LEFT side of the road. Earline was FRANTICALLY blowing on the aluminum whistle I had gotten her for dogs. I averted the ditch, but we were very grateful that there had been no oncoming traffic at that time.

And just a minute or so later, a large semi truck went right past us on the other lane….thank you Lord for your protection!

This ended up seeming like a deserted highway….no stores, not much traffic….

Pretty day but EMPTY
By this time the power on my phone DIED, which had the GPS Google map that I had been using.

We made the turns that I remembered, but it seemed like it was taking us an AWFULLY long time to get to certain intersections. We tried to call Camp Itasca, but after a minute of conversation our signal DIED, and repeated attempts to connect resulted in a “no service available” error message.

We headed up 37 past 113, looking for Hwy. 200. By now our mileage had crept PAST 55 miles, and it looked like we were nowhere close to our destination. Earline didn’t feel she could go on.

Here knees were hurting pretty badly, and this is also when she experienced “leg whip” which didn’t help matters. I tried to help her up some of the hills by holding on to the side of her chair, and pedaling with her, and that seemed to help. (Of course, she didn’t WANT me to help, because then she felt guilty, cuz she knew I was tired, too.)

Mmm….do WE ever treat that God that way? Not asking for His help when we KNOW we need it. Either because we’re too proud, or don’t want to bother Him. (Trust me, He WANTS to be bothered!) If you are a parent, and your child has a need, don’t you as a parent WANT to know about their need? Of course, you do.

We FINALLY reached Hwy. 200, but after turning right we still experienced hill after hill. The sun was going down. HOW MUCH LONGER??!!

I had a little battery operated recharger, that powered up Earline’s phone enough to make a call, and FINALLY found a signal that let me reach Craig at Camp Itasca. Only a couple miles further, he informed us.

Then we went over a bridge over the Mississippi. OUR FIRST river crossing (Bridge #1) on our trikes! (River’s a little smaller here than at LaCrosse, huh??!!)

FIRST bridge over MR on Hwy 200
Here’s a view FROM our first bridge over the Mississippi:

View FROM 1st bridge
Finally rolled into Camp Itasca, after 78 miles total! We had long ago run out of food and water, so we were VERY grateful (and hungry, and thirsty)!

And Craig and Rosann were wonderful – they had a spot all picked out for us to set up our tent. Rosann actually drove Earline over to the convenience store across the street to get some food and drink.

We quickly got unpacked, set up our tent, enjoyed a quick (and NEEDED) shower, and headed to bed. Thank you, Lord, for safety AND provision. We could not have done it without the strength of Your promises, and the wonderful way that You worked through all the GOOD that people we ran into extended to us.

We are TRULY grateful.

jon

Another 100??!!

DECEMBER 5, 2009 – 12:59 AM

Yup! I went triking Monday night and did about 40 miles (after the Horrible 100 the relatively flat West Orange Trail seemed easy!!!) Took a little under 3 hours, so 13+ mph.

Then that night, I found out about the 1st annual Holiday Hundred in Seminole County. Hmmmm. More PR, exposure for the WiFi Pedalers. (Got your mile number yet?)

(Side note: Earline had me do a PSA page yesterday, and she included a stat that 90% of Deaf parents have hearing children!….did not realize that….and what we’re finding is that many of these parents think that their “bad” children are that way because of their own deafness, and they feel guilty!) (they often do not realize that HEARING parents have “challenges” with their children, too!)

Back to the Holiday 100….NOW it’s been raining the past few days, and the forecast for tomorrow is rain, at least in the morning. They had been forecasting a high only in the low 50s (BRRR), but I just checked again, and now they’re saying upper 60s for the high. So maybe I won’t have to pull out the long johns!

With wet roads and/or rain, and NO mud shields, and me sitting low on the trike, and some truck going through a mud puddle at the same time as me….well, could be an interesting day! (I WILL take pictures)(this does NOT sound like fun to me, but if it gains some exposure for the WiFi Pedalers and our efforts to help the Deaf through GHA, it will all be worth it.)

By the way, if it stops raining, I WILL be texting to this blog with my phone (like I am now), but I will NOT be putzing around the rest stops like I did for the Horrible 100!! So we’ll see how long it takes this time! HA!

Many thanks again, to Mark and Linda Power of Power On Cycling in Riverview, FL for their sponsorship and help in making possible the trike I’ll be riding tomorrow (they’ve got LOTS of cool stuff on their web site….make some GREAT Christmas gifts!) Go to www.poweroncycling.com

Oooo, tomorrow is TODAY, it’s almost 1:00am, and it is raining hard outside…let me get a few hours of shut-eye, and we’ll see YOU in the a.m.!

jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Blog by E-Mail? Testing….

NOVEMBER 15, 2009 – 1:28 AM

Mmmm….my only question is, if it’s discouraged and some places even illegal to text while driving, is it bad for me to txt while “triking?”

Ha! (I guess we’ll find out…)(!)

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

How to Be Ready for ANYTHING

September 5, 2009

Okay, so going over 2,000 miles is going to take some planning and preparation! Who KNOWS what we might run into…so here is a possible list of items that we might need [smile!]:

Jon - we WILL conquer the River