Closing Thoughts for the 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2010

Earlier this week I already saw my first Christmas decorations in a shopping center in Orlando, and then I remembered that Esther, my next-farm-neighbor growing up, had recently reminded me that I had not yet put a summary up on the blog.

Whoops.

So let’s get to it:

The WiFi Pedalers 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour Closing Thoughts

Jon and Earline FINAL on 42

I’ll be covering a lot of things in this summary, including:

• The TOP 5 Eating Places that we ran across this past summer.

• The WORST and BEST Bridges we crossed of the 42 bridges we went over (from a TRIKING standpoint!]

• The WORST and BEST Sections of the Mississippi River Trail that we experienced (Remember, there is an MRT on both sides of the river for much of the way south of the Twin Cities, so you may have some different stories to share….we’d love to hear them!)

• GOOD SurprisesBAD SurprisesBEST Views of the Mississippi River, and MORE. Let’s get started!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

First, some things I thought we may not really need, but brought anyway, and used….a LOT:

• Old pair of tennis shoes

• A pair of jeans

• A big, honking LED light…didn’t like the weight, but used the darn thing a LOT

• Waterproof covers for the panniers (MUCH thanks to Terry and his wife from Jannd Mountaineering for their foresight)

• A simple, inexpensive, needle-nosed pliers

• Extra rechargeable batteries and recharger for recharging the cell-phones, GPS, walkie-talkies, etc. when you can’t find electricity!

• The hand pump for the air mattress….it was super-bulky, but my arms got exercise, it was much lighter than a battery pak for blowing up the mattress, and the $10 pump lasted almost all summer (I did eventually strip the plastic threads the end of August).

Some essentials things to bring with you (for summer touring):

• LOTS of suncreen. This became part of our morning ritual, and we STILL turned colors [Earline turned PURPLE!]

• Flat Attack tube juice (LOVE that stuff…probably prevented at least a dozen flats)

• A couple vacuum thermoses each (you’ll need and appreciate the ice that lasts more than 2 hours)

• A (or 2) set of Allen wrenches…do NOT forget this (like I did!)

• Enough tires and tubes for the unexpected (we went through two sets each)

• The ground cloth under the tent (worth the extra effort to protect your tent)

• Bungie cords of a variety of shapes and sizes

• An 50-foot electrical cord with at least a 3-way at the end (it can be small in width/capacity, but you’ll need the length)

• A small fan for the tent at night (Earline says it is the best gift I ever gave her)

• Patch kits for repairing the tent, or the air mattress

• A tarp to cover your bike/trike at night

• Batteries for your various devices

• The full-sized SMV (slow moving vehicle) signs were an excellent choice, especially for night riding. These were seen on various construction vehicles and farm equipment throughout the trip, and it was an easily recognizable and FAMILIAR warning of caution to other vehicles. We got the ones that reflected to 1200, which were up to the current State of Illinois standards, and only a couple bucks more than the 600 foot reflective signs (around $12 a piece). I have seen a lot of “cutesy” smaller SMV signs, more flexible and lightweight, but these are NOT FAMILIAR to drivers. You can avoid the weight of the signs on metal backing by just getting the adhesive signs, and sticked them on some plastic cardboard cut to size.

Okay….NOW, some award giving!

First, the Top 5…okay, Top SIX eating places of the 2010 Mission Possible Tour

Yes, we had great bar-b-q eating in Memphis (and great tasting water!); we found 12 Dairy Queens we took advantage of along the route (but none south of Cahokia, IL…hmmmm, need to call DQ to get that FIXED!); the Happy Hours at Steak and Shake that were a pleasant surprise (and RIGHT on time); places like Cape Girardeau, Baton Rouge…..LOTS of good eating in a lot of towns and cities.

And I can’t move forward before FIRST mentioning all the GREAT meals we had at the homes of the families that we stayed with this summer. Final tally:  we stayed with 14 families (including 3 connections through warm.showers.org). These and MANY other stats, photos and videos are available on the new 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour DVD just completed, which will soon available on this web site. Stay tuned!

We can’t really put our favorite eating places in some kind of arbitrary order, because each had a speciality or a characteristic that warrants recognition. So, here are our SIX favorite eating places, in alphabetical order:

Ann’s Trailer in Port Sulpher, LA (had to go thru a couple locals to find this place, but WORTH the effort….HUGE Poor-Boy sandwiches, literally DOUBLE what you expect) Link to our visit on Day 92

Anns trailer

Breitbach Restaurant in Balltown, IA – Excellent customer service. It is Iowa’s oldest restaurant that has AMAZINGLY risen from the ashes TWICE in the last five years (see the February 2010 Reader’s Digest for this great story!) Link to our visit on the night of Day 31

Breitbach Country Inn

Buck’s Restaurant in Greenville, Mississippi (Both…and that’s a rarity…BOTH Earline and I got happy with the GREAT TASTE of the food here.) (We understand that MRS. Buck does most of the cooking….BRAVO!) (AND….thanks to Firehouse #1 in Greenville for recommending Buck’s….you were right!) At Buck’s on Day 77

Bucks Place store front

Cayce Cafe in Cayce, KY (the BEST French Toast I have ever eaten, period, and GREAT prices – if you’re anywhere between St. Louis and Memphis, you need to stop here!) Our morning visit to the Cayce Cafe

Cayce Cafe GREAT French toast

Julie’s Cafe in Albany, Illinois – a great little menu, neat desserts, an excellent view of the river (with supplied binoculars) AND the owner waited on us! (How’s THAT for service!) Lunch at Julie’s

Julie fom Julies Cafe

And last, but not least…..the Royal Family Restaurant in Little Falls, MN – a GREAT little buffet, and good prices, but what makes this place stand out is the HUGE mugs of coffee and hot chocolate that you can wrap your cold Minnesota hands around….EXCELLENT! Our grateful lunch at the Royal Family Diner

Sorry…NO PHOTO! But they are right in the center of town, on the northeast corner of one of the main intersections. They’ve been there for years….just ask one of the locals!

WORST BRIDGES

Tie – Bridge #26 in Hastings, MN and Bridge #39 in Memphis, TN. Well, enough has been said. To review, follow the link through these photos.

#26 – Hastings, MN….this was just a scary, shaky bridge with MUCH traffic, and a narrow, 4-foot sidewalk raised up just 4 inches on the one side. (This biker had to get on the shoulder so that WE could get by!)

Hasting meeting biker

Oh, and a quick note to the Minnesota Department of Transportation:  the following photo shows an MRT sign, but the arrows need to be rotated clockwise 90 degrees. We saw this sign just after we crossed the Hastings bridge, headed north, and we were making a right hand turn to head down into Prescott, Wisconsin. The MRT does NOT go north from this intersection.

Arrows need to be turned clockwise 90 degrees

#39 – Memphis, TN….Okay, you’ve seen the video (if you haven’t, check it out). The DVD even has a LONGER video of this crossing, with a view of the water through the railing…..it is scary.) Now, granted this is an Interstate Highway, I-55…..so should we NOT have gone on it? What other choice is there?

On page 143 of Bob Robinson’s  “Bicycling Guide” book, he has a picture of himself on what looks to be the north side of the bridge, heading west, on the same side that we crossed on, but we certainly did not FEEL welcome. Look at these photos of the entrance and exit of the pedestrian walkway.

(Does Earline look like she’s fussin’? Ah….well, yes….ah….that would be an accurate statement!)

Entering Interstate 55 walkway

Bridge 39 path

Exit for Bridge 39

What was also curious, is that after we took Exit 3 (thank you Bob, for telling us NOT to take Exit 1, and for a working GPS on my phone that CONFIRMED that advice, because it took all that and MORE to convince my nervous-wreck wife NOT to take Exit #1!!!!)….where was I….oh, AFTER we took Exit 3 and took the video of our reactions to that Bridge #39 crossing that is on the DVD, we noticed a couple MRT signs.

As we were sitting on the road that looped UNDERNEATH I-55 just east of Exit 3, one sign was directing us to continue west on the south side of I-55 on a frontage road that would take us into West Memphis, Arkansas.

But the other MRT sign, was sitting on the southeast shoulder of that road underneath I-55, and was facing toward that west, so that you would see it if you were COMING FROM West Memphis. (And there was NO road there, though we COULD see what looked like “off-road” dirt trails in the humps and ridges looking East under the highway).

(Wish I had a picture of this. WAIT! I found one….here it is….)

MRT sign southwest side of bridge

Is THAT the official MRT trail, which I imagine might then take you to the SOUTH side pedestrian pathway of the Memphis bridge? Maybe THAT side is maintained, but with all our gear, going on those dirt trails would NOT have been an option.

Hmmmmm.

So, I guess we took the only option available. I understand that there IS planning taking place to make the train bridge on the north side of this interstate into a PEDESTRIAN bridge, so that would be GREAT!

And now, our FAVORITE bridge….YEA!!!!

#19 in St. Cloud/Sauk Rapids, MN – wide shoulders, scenic view turn-outs, and a wonderful (at least in the direction WE were going) downhill spiral ramp at the end. Link to more photos from Day 14 of Bridge #19, our favorite!

Bridge 19 in St Cloud

Also we enjoyed and appreciated the wide separated lanes of other bridges in St. Cloud and Minneapolis, and even the recently remodeled Eads bridge in St. Louis….the bike lane there was a little narrow, not much over 3 feet, but clean, with several little scenic view turnouts of the river and the Arch. Nice.

Arch from Eads Bridge

Worst routes or sections of the MRT

5. The 2 miles of bike path north of LaCrescent, MN – VERY creepy, narrow, lots of debris, sitting water, AND lots of spider webs. EEWWWW! (and for extra points, try doing this path at night with a dying headlight….you know, just for FUN!…..HA!)

4. The lack of signage along the Illinois side of the MRT, especially north of the Quad Cities. It switched often between roads, and bike paths, and shoulders, and sidewalks, and….ACK!!! Without help and guidance from SEVERAL locals (one couple even personally GUIDED us to the Government Bridge) we would have been completely lost (just keep the river on the right, the river on the right, the river on the right….)

3. The roads in Cass County in Northern Minnesota….cold winters have dealt harshly with roads in this county. It seemed like every ten-twenty feet there would be a crack running across the pavement, with some obvious (but unsuccessful) attempts to fill in the cracks with blacktop, making for a very rOuGh RiDe….oomph!Now, when we would switch county lines, like into Itasca County….much better. Seems to be some obvious financial challenges in Cass County. Hope you can get that fixed!

2. The 10 miles from East Dubuque to Galena, a construction area with cement barricades on the left side of the east-bound lane, and rumble grooves along the right edge (now officially, this road is NOT part of the MRT, but we encountered RUMBLE GROOVES several other places along the route…..so ANYWHERE we encountered rumble grooves, like from Elsberry to Winfield, Missouri)….a smooth blacktop, but a very BUSY road, and just 2 to 3 feet of shoulder with 18 inches of rumble grooves in the middle of that shoulder.

Rumble grooves for closing thoughts

Where do you ride?

NOT fun.

(The ONLY exception to this, of course, where there was, say, an eight foot shoulder, like between Cayce and Hickman, Kentucky, and the rumble grooves were way to the inside edge of the shoulder, so we could ride safely and smoothly outside of that. We LIKED those roads!!!!!)

We LOVE roads like this 1

And finally…..the #1 worst section of the MRT….the 10 miles south of Quincy, IL….many grain elevators along the river, and many semi-trucks supplying those elevators. NO shoulder of any kind on this 2-laned road, and a minimal grassy area to pull off on. A very hectic, unpleasant stretch of road.

But, NOW….

Our FAVORITE sections of the MRT

6. The ride south of Nauvoo, IL. Fairly decent shoulder, not too much debris, and right on the river, with shady overhanging bluff trees on the left, and scenic views of the river on your right (even saw ICE on this 100 degree day on one of the ravines on the left) (there IS a scientific reason…..see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cave)

Between Nauvoo and Hamilton

5. The Natchez Trace (saw 5 deer in 2 days – neat!)…..there is no shoulder, but NO commercial traffic allowed, so very little traffic, truly a peaceful and tranquil ride (well, okay, maybe a little boring!)(after a couple days of trees and, well, trees and, again, trees, we were ready to move on!)

Natchez Trace Earline

4. The Illinois route as it STARTED at Savannah, IL (some areas still under construction), but a separated route for about 10 miles through woodsy areas, over little bridges….shaping up to be a real pretty ride.

South of Savannah

3. The route through the Twin Cities, some industrial areas, but MANY beautiful, woodsy secluded areas, interesting sights and local attractions, AND well signed and maintained.

South side of Stone Arch bridge

2. The ride along the top of the bluffs from North Buena Vista to Balltown and even past Balltown….truly amazing, jaw-dropping vistas

Approach downhill by Balltown

View of MR from Balltown

1. The 6-1/2 miles of 1203 around Bardwell, Kentucky from Hwy 51/62 to Hwy 123; no shoulder, but a smooth road, gently rolling hills, trees overhanging the road, very pretty, and maybe 3 or 4 vehicles the entire distance!…just simply a GREAT, peaceful ride. We LOVED it!

Smooth 1203

And now….

Most UNPLEASANT surprises and the most WONDERFUL surprises about the ride down the Mississippi River (we obviously did not ride BOTH sides of the Mississippi, so I don’t hesitate to tell you about OUR surprises, because I am sure YOU can find MANY more!)

BAD SURPRISES

6. Discovering the only real flaw in riding recumbent tricycles:  slanted or tapered roads (my center of gravity was a little high with Earline’s books on TOP of my panniers!) We both tipped over one time.

5. The coolness, the poor customer service attitude of a certain tourist attendant at the “Welcome” Center in Galena, IL

4. The abundance of rain, which made for some miserable riding, and responsible for the closed ferry at Modoc, IL. This IS the dock…..HA! (And you can SEE the ferry on the other side….c’mon!)

Dock and ferry at Modoc

3. The lack of WiFi, phone service, gps, or even electricity…ACK. Words to the wise: Plan ahead – we got MUCH use out of our little Ryobi charger which kept two 4-volt batteries charged up which in turn could recharge our phone (AND my GPS….that is, WHEN I could get a satellite connection!)

2. The high percentage of devastation of many towns along the entire route—closed stores, businesses, and boarded up homes, indicative of the current economy, especially still in New Orleans, and even MORE especially, Cairo, IL.

1. The truly awful condition of the Great River Road State Park in Mississippi

But now….

….our GOOD SURPRISES!

7. How much BETTER food tasted after being outdoors so much. (yes, even graham crackers, peanut butter, and honey were edible after the 20th time) (we were ESPECIALLY fond of the plums that Philip and Ana gave us from the organic store – amazing flavor!).

6. The CYCLING HOSTEL in Chester, IL, donated by the Local Fraternal Order of Eagles. (Chester is also on a major East/West cross-country cycling route). Way to see a need and fill it…YEA!!!

Chester hostel

5. The ACCURACY of the book “Bicycling Guide to the MRT” ….a huge APPLAUSE to Bob Robinson for the literally THOUSANDS of details that you WILL need to know about the Mississippi River Trail…..close to PERFECT! (the ONLY mistake that I found, besides some expected updating, was the distance between the start of CR X56 by the big church at the west end of McGregor, Iowa, and the turn on Marina Road in Guttenburg, Iowa. The distance listed is 6.3 miles, but my odometer read closer to 17 miles, and I confirmed that on Google maps with their distance measurement tool….they show the distance to be 17.4 miles.)

I also did get really confused north of Rock Island/Moline—couldn’t get the book to match what I was seeing, but I think this was not so much the book’s fault as that of the COMPLETE LACK of signage in Illinois.

4. How long ice will STAY ice in a thermos, esp. a vacuum thermos. Earline had a silver vacuum thermos she brought for coffee, but we soon discovered that it would hold ice for almost 2 DAYS (we called it her “Silver Bullet!”….OUTSTANDING!) However, a sad discovery was that even if we had access to a freezer the night before (which we usually didn’t) the ice just did NOT stay ice very long in our insulated Polar Bottles. I consider these bottle a complete waste of money.

We did an experiment one day, and froze one of the Polar Bottles solid ice, and a Zephyr Hills water bottle solid ice….you know, just the thin plastic water bottle that you buy in paks of 24 in the store. The Zephyr Hills bottle kept ice LONGER than the “INSULATED” Polar Bottle! The only thing nice I can say about the Polar Bottle is that it is a convenient size and shape for drinking liquid, but that’s it. But the THERMOSes….great stuff. NEXT trip (shhhhhhh…..don’t tell Earline)…..we’ll only have the vacuum thermos…absolutely worth the extra weight.

3. The number of CHRISTIAN messages we ran across throughout the trip….the cross at Wycliffe KY, the JESUS IS satellite dish north of Memphis, the HE IS RISEN wheel in TN, the sign in the Family Dollar in Hughes, AK, and others. Christianity is Alive and Well in America…..BE ENCOURAGED!

Decorated wagon wheel

Family Dollar sign

2. THE CAVES…simply amazing!! The cool air on a sweltering day was SCRUMPTIOUS! Link to the CAVES

CAVES

1. The way God “coincidently” SUPPLIED NEEDS (I guess we should have understood this better).

For example, the “Oasis” at top of the Prescott, Wisconsin hill; the tent stake we found at Nauvoo State Park after we had just lost one; funds from the St. Louis church just we we needed them; the delicious brownies from Aunt Joanita and the scrumptious Amish bread from cousin Susie (hey, we had just had 2 days of very hard riding, and these goodies truly “hit the spot!”)….

…..the continued places “developing” for us to stay – from the Roulands at the end of our VERY first day (when Earline was in a lot of pain), to meeting James on the trail, to the pavilions that appeared JUST when we needed them, to the Beech Grove MB church that just “HAPPENED” to appear out in the middle of nowhere when the sun was going down…..

…..the graciousness of Jandd Moutaineering in San Diego, who had the thought to donate waterproof covers for our panniers, which got MUCH use THIS particular summer; the service attitude of Mark Power of Power On Cycling from where we got our trikes….his tubes and tires arrived JUST IN TIME, even the exact day we needed them….

….and it ALL pointed us again and again to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus teaches his disciples AND us that God knows our needs even BEFORE we ask Him!

And we have proof. Period.

BEST VIEW OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

The roads around Balltown, Iowa, and the view from the old Columbus-Belmont State Park in Kentucky are stiff competition, but the winner here has to be Pike Peak State Park south of Macgregor, Iowa. Truly beautiful!

Pikes Peak 2

Pikes Peak 1

FAVORITE signs along the route

(By the way, this is a good place to mention it….even though Baton Rouge is not officially on the Louisiana MRT route, we went that way because of the invite we had from a Deaf church in Baton Rouge, as well as from the Louisiana School for the Deaf right next to it. And we DID notice that there WAS a Mississippi River Trail SIGN underneath the I-10 bridge in Baton Rouge, right on the levee.

MRT sign by levee in Baton Rouge

There is talk of eventually being able to ride the top of the levee all the way from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, so it looks like that plan is being implemented.)

And now our three FAVORITE signs!

3. The Coon and Seafood / “FRESH Coon” sign north of Baton Rouge, LA

Fresh coon

2. Entering and Leaving Watson, Iowa (Less than 10 miles from the MR, we happened to catch THIS sign because of the side trip we took to my boyhood home of Monona, Iowa.)

Watson

And finally, our FAVORITE sign on the MRT…..

1. You have reached the SOUTHERNMOST POINT in LA

Southernmost Point

The PRETTIEST sunset that we saw all summer.

It has to be the one we saw as we approached New Orleans on the levee on the northwest side of the city. The hard rains we endured earlier in the day were NOT pleasant, that is for sure; but the storms DID make for some beautiful, colorful skies.

Levee sunset

And personally, here are my three most favorite memories about the MP tour:

3. Warm showers wherever can find them – after a day of long, hot riding…..I’ll never take warm, clean water for granted again! (esp. the aptly named warmshowers.org web site, just for cyclists – all 3 hosts we had were EXCELLENT)

2. People’s generosity and encouragement – from Pastor Scott and Believer’s Temple Word Fellowship in St. Louis, Pastor and First Lady Williams from Zion Baptist Church in Greenville, MS, all the people of Swedesburg Lutheran Church in Iowa……

……all my various cousins along the route; Sharon Black from Mt. Sinai (the song she left on our voice-mail is ON the DVD!); the lady with disfigured face in Warsaw, Illinois who bought water for us; the man of simple means in Mounds, Illinois who gave us $5; Big Al, who gave us a place to lay our heads at 1am; and ESPECIALLY Mr. Alvin Taylor who was SO gracious in helping to supply our needs; and many, many more….

AND, my NUMBER ONE favorite memory of the Mission POSSIBLE Tour:

1. Listening to Earline sing old hymns as we were riding…doesn’t get any better than that.

Silhouette Earline

And finally, WHY did God have us go on this Mission POSSIBLE Tour?

I can think of several Deaf individuals, and a few Deaf groups that we personally ministered to, any of which might have been THE specific reason He had us go on this trip.

And I can think of several HEARING individuals, among the literally THOUSANDS of people we personally ministered to this summer, encouraging them, boldly declaring without reservation or hesitation, that TRULY, with God, ALL things are possible [see Matthew 19:26]…..any of whom might have been THE reason He took us on this journey.

Or even those individuals who said that this BLOG has personally ministered to them.

Are YOU one of those individuals? If so, would you let us know? You can do it here, and publicly share it with others who are reading this blog….OR, you can do it privately, by going to the contact page here on the web site, and send us your testimony that way.

We would appreciate it, and would LOVE to hear from you.

And as always…..it has ALWAYS been….

…..ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 64 [Cayce, KY – Samburg, TN]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 3, 2010

Spent a VERY muggy night suffering in our tent. NO breeze, and I understand the low for the night only reached around 85 degrees.

We were grateful for the place under the tree in front of the Methodist Church here in Cayce, and got up with the sun around 5:30 saw that we wouldn’t startle anyone.

Tuesday morning at Methodist church

Earline mentioned how she was really CRAVING a cup of coffee.

I discovered what happens when you roll up your glasses in the tent!

Cant find glasses

We left a thank-you note in the church door, and headed west towards Hickman, Kentucky about 7:00am. We had gone 2 BLOCKS, when what did we find but a CAFE….open for breakfast…..with COFFEE!! (Earline says “Thank You, God!!!)

Cayce Cafe GREAT French toast

Inside there was a group of about 8 men sitting around a table. I introduced myself, and asked if any of them were members of the Methodist Church. 2 of them were. They hadn’t seen us camped out, but I told them we left a thank-you note!

I handed out quarter page flyers to them, and explained a little about our Mission Possible Tour.

It is HIGHLY recommended that if you are in the area that you stop for breakfast. Excellent food, great prices, and some of the BEST French Toast I have ever had. Truly GREAT!!

THEN, as we were eating, one of the men from the table came over and introduced himself…..his name was Darrell Powell, and he was part of a construction team that goes every year to do construction work for the Deaf in Puerto Rico!!

Darrell Powell Construction Ministry

Apparently the Deaf are very ostracized in Puerto Rico….they can’t get any government assistance, and are generally shunned and labeled as “undesirables” by the rest of their society. Kudos to Darrell and his wife for the wonderful work they are doing for the Deaf!

After we had gone a few miles, the road to Hickman widened……we LOVE roads like this!!!!

We LOVE roads like this

Once we arrived in Hickman, Charlotte Smith of the local paper, The Hickman Courier, stopped us to get a picture and our story. Here’s Charlotte:

Charlotte Smith of Hickman Courier

[Does anybody know if we made it in THIS paper? I wonder….]

While we sitting there talking to Charlotte, a gentleman from Coy’s Place across the street brought us some cold Gatorade…..THANK YOU!!

Guy at Hickman gave Earline Gatorade2

The bluff overlooking the river valley is pretty impressive, but the view wouldn’t have been possible without some aggressive bluff stabilization work. Great ingenuity!

Scenic overlook preserved

Bluff erosion prevention

As we traveled through Hickman, there is like a lower and an upper part of the town. The upper part seemed to have more modern, newer stores and businesses. Some of the lower parts of the town reminded me, though, of Cairo, IL, and they had one area down by the Post Office roped off for demolition.

Lower Hickman KY

You can see a flood gate in the back center part of this picture. In bad flood years the Mississippi has apparently been up near the top of this flood wall. Here you can see a barge just over the top of the flood wall.

Barge at Hickman, KY

MOST of these little towns have been hit hard by the economy these past years. I think the economic impact of the 9-11 hit us deeper than we realize. And the ever-growing lack of support, with increased taxes and regulations from the state and nation’s capitals has combined to drive a lot of businesses OUT of business.

We see it just about every day.

Here another part of the town in the lower section.

Lower Hickman demolition bldg

We finally found the Post Office, and stopped in to get a package of tire supplies that Mark Power from Power On Cycling in Riverview, Florida sent to us. Post Offices WILL hold mail for you that is sent General Delivery for up to 10 days.

That’s good news! Here is the Post Office where I picked up the package.

Marks package received

The BAD news is, it is hard to know what the topography of the Post Office might be. Here is a HUGE hill to the left of the Post Office that I now must go up. [By the way, Earline wisely decided to NOT come back down this hill, after just going up it a few blocks earlier….HA!]

Steep hill from PO

ACTUALLY, the 2-dimensional photo above of the hill doesn’t do the hill justice, because I am at a lower angle taking the picture looking up, and the hill appears kinda flat, which was NOT the case. Let me distort the photo a little to give you a more true idea of what the hill REALLY looked like:

Distorted picture from PO

Now THAT’s more like it REALLY was!

We stopped at a convenience store on the way out of town, and again talked with several locals about our Mission Possible Tour. This is a scene that has been repeated day in and day out throughout the trip:

Hickman southside convenience store

It is SO hot again today….we saw more dried-up cornfields:

DRY cornfield

More dry corn

What is so weird is to see this condition of the fields, and it is NOT THAT FAR SOUTH of where we saw FLOODED fields just north of St. Louis.

Amazing.

We were out in the middle of the fields, with no shade to speak of:

Long stretch of field

Ran across the state line sign out in the middle of one of those fields. State #7! (little different conditions than the LAST state boundary crossing, huh??!!) (Could someone please straighten out the sign?……thank you.)

Tennessee sign state 7

By 1:00pm, because of the heat, we decided to hunker down under some shade we found, and waited there for about 4 hours. So what did we do with our time in the shade out in the middle of nowhere?

Take a look:

Find shade and shave

Find shade and polish

We eventually headed back into the Tennessee heat….it felt like an oven! (We learned later that day that the actual temperature reached 105 that day!):

Back into Tennessee heat

A dad and a little girl named Leia with a cool camera stopped us on the road to take our picture:

Leia and dad and Eric

As you can see in the picture on the left in back, an officer also stopped us and asked if we needed any help. His name was Eric from the Obion County Police Dept., and he graciously offered to escort us almost TEN MILES into the town of Samburg, Tennessee…..wow! Thanks! Here’s Officer Eric behind us:

Erics Obion County police car

Finally got to Samburg, and Reelfoot Lake, and had a nice evening meal lakeside at the Pier Restaurant…..what a relief to be in some air conditioning! We talked with some parents in the restaurant who were teaching their young children sign language. We offered them some resources and encouragement. You can do it!

By now it was dark, and the man at the motel across the street offered us a room at a discount. We are MOST grateful! Thank you, Jesus!

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 -11 [Orlando, FL and Riverview, FL]

MAY 20, 2010

Wow, days are all really a blur now. They say the days right before a trip are the most productive, and I’d have to say that’s right. Running many errands – dropped off the custom made flags to get them laminated for the trip (should last a little longer than the “poor man’s laminate” that I had on them before….hey! They lasted over 4 months, just putting overlapping, clear shipping tape on both sides of the paper flag. Took about an hour to “coat” each one by hand.)

Less TIME this time around, so I am having the service bureau laminate the 12×18 size for me. Here’s what they look like:

ICE Trike flag

 

We’re also getting additional flags that will go on TOP of these flags for additional visibility. I wanted one that matched the color of this home-made flag, with additional durability for flopping around, that will hopefully attract attention and warn motorists on busy highways that we are near. (Remember, at only 40 mph, you will go 1200 feet, about a quarter of a mile, once around the track, in only 20 seconds. That’s how much time vehicles will have to see us and make adjustments to their driving. Of course, at faster speeds, the time shrinks even more.)

I actually found these flags on Mark Power’s site….they are designed and made by SoundWinds / AirArts out in Portland, Oregon, specifically David Ti. (I just realized this – the guy who I talked to on the phone called himself “T.” Hmmm – what you bet that this is the same guy who DESIGNED them!) A lot of pretty and unusual designs – and that’s the POINT, right!!??!!

Attract attention and BE SEEN.

But here’s where Mr. T gets some EXTRA special space-time on our blog:

I had ordered only one, to match the one that I THOUGHT Mark had.

BROWNIE POINTS #1:  When he realized how much shipping was (MORE than the flag, because of the pole), he called me to confirm that I wanted to spend that much on shipping. Good job!

When I got down to PowerOn (story coming up), I realized that the only SoundWinds flag that they had was some pastel-colored butterfly…..pretty, but UH-UH!

So I quick called Portland….but NO ANSWER….let’s see….about 3:30 our time, that means it’s only 12:30 their time, and I know UPS comes to his establishment early. IF they hadn’t come yet, if he’s at lunch now, I’m thinking, “no way is he going to get this message after lunch and BEFORE UPS gets there”…..ACK!

I call back a half hour later…..STILL goes to voice-mail…..double-ACK!! (or more correctly….ACK!-ACK!) (HMMM! Kinda like the Aflac duck!)

BROWNIE POINTS #2: Finally, about an hour later, I get a call from Ti, and by some quirk of fate (and God’s favor!) the UPS truck is LATE today, and he has someone run down to abscound the package before UPS gets it (YEA!) so they can put another flag in it and rush it back down (4 flights Ti said) (Oh, no!!!). So Earline and I have matching flags for Sunday….WAY TO GO SoundWinds!!

Here’s what we and SoundWinds went to all the trouble for:

Sound Winds flag for our trip

I think it will match rather nicely!

Back to PowerOn (literally)….sorry, I didn’t take pictures – mistake there. I’ll try not to let that happen again. I spent most of the afternoon at Mark’s, with both trikes “up on the rack”….a stand that holds the trikes about 4 feet off the ground so that they are MUCH easier to work on (I tried to convince Earline that we need to take one on the trip with us….of course, she’d have to carry it. (I have a lot of OTHER stuff to carry!) She was NOT enthusiastic.

We cleaned them (mine actually had a lot of gook on the chain), removing dirt from various places. But having gone over 1400 miles already since November, I guess that’s understandable.

We fixed the chain path on Earline’s. Take a note, those of you have a minimal distance between your waist and your toes. (HA!) A shorter distance between the pedals and the seat will alter the angle of the chain, and Earline was having her chain jump off the front gears whenever she pedaled backwards (she likes to do that, if you remember from the video!). Mark just did a simple adjustment to the tube, putting in a couple spacers that moved the chain further out from the center boom, creating a straighter line up to the front gears.

Mark also showed me how to remove and add links to the chain. I showed him my modified headrest. Took a short, white piece of thick PVC pipe from Home Depot (cost, about $1), put in in the oven at 200 degrees. (that’s Fahrenheit for you British types). Gave it about 10 minutes, until the pipe starts to curve in the oven on its own. Take it out (yes, with GLOVES on), and shape it how you want. Leave it a little wider than your seat tubes, so that there is still a little tension on the cooled down pipe to make it fit snugly.

It cools down (and stiffens) rather quickly, but if you don’t like your hardening shape, put it back in the oven and try again. (Thanks to Peter at peter.ca who started my thinking on this path.)

Also prepped all six of the tires with liner on the inside, to help prevent incidental punctures and lessen the chance of a flat tire . (I’ve already had 4 in the past 5 months.) Also put some “goop” on the inside to flow to the scene of any puncture (kinda like blood coagulating!). See Flat Attack tire sealant. [LOVE that stuff!]

Cudos to Mark again, who gave us LOTS of tips (like a whistle for Earline to scare away the big, bad doggies) and lots of supplies to ensure our safe and successful trip. THANKS AGAIN Mark and Linda – you guys are THE BEST!

Gotta go!

TGG,

jon

DAY -20 / Leading up to the start of the Mission POSSIBLE Tour 2010

MAY 11, 2010

Jon and Earline front of steps 55W

Wow! Hard to believe it’s been over 2 months since I put anything down on the blog here. But I can understand, because on the weeks leading up to the start of a journey such as what we’re attempting, it truly gets crazy busy!

Even looking at OTHER blogs of individuals doing similar trips, there is a noticeable lack of entries in the weeks leading up to the start. NOW I know why! Ha!

But I want to change all that. Even though my head is just about falling on to my keyboard, I want to make a commitment to all of you to count down the final 3 weeks before the trip. I will be helpful to those of you planning similar excursions, and for those of you praying for us (and we DO solicit your prayers). It will give you something very specific to pray for!

[Let’s see what God does, so we can brag on Him….right? Right!]

As you can see above, Earline has HER trike now, thanks to the very gracious help from Power On Cycling. Here’s a photo of Earline getting fitted:

Mark Power fitting Earline to her trike

I DID order some specific items for the trip today, things like shoes for Earline – the kind that clip into the pedals, which are supposed to enhance the ability of pedaling (that’s what we’ve heard – we actually don’t know – neither of us has ever used the “clip-in,” or what they call “clip-less” pedals before!)

Should be interesting….mmmm!

Also ordered some rather large SMV signs today (Slow Moving Vehicle). These are pretty common in the Midwest, especially used by farmers taking tractors and wagons on to fast traffic roads. I learned today that Illinois (which we’ll be going through, has some very specific rules for the SMV signs) (need to be seen at 1200 feet, 4 football fields away, which is what these latest SMV signs provide).

SMV sign
I’ve seen bikes with little flexible 3-inch SMV stickers slapped on the back of their panniers, but I don’t think that is especially helpful when there are trucks coming up behind you going 40 plus miles an hour. (Like I experienced this morning on John Young Parkway….WHOOSH! I got a GOOD little boost from the air of those trucks!…HA!) These signs ARE full-size….which truckers and farmers will be used to seeing. I figured out a way to attach them on the back of the rear pannier rack, wrapped around the back flashing red light. (Remember, 10 mph is about 15 feet per SECOND, so 40 mph is 60 feet in ONE second….so 1200 feet is only 20 seconds at 40 mph!……and only 13 seconds at 60 mph!)

I want to be SEEN! (If you’ve seen my trike go down the road at night, you know what I mean!) Plus we will also have gaudy flags flapping around 5 feet above our heads, so that should also help the visibility.

Gotta sign off for now…almost midnight, and I have some programs to do yet…..yes….now I AM grateful, trust me, but PLEASE pray for some powerful, God-inspired strength to help me, to help both Earline and I…get through the next 3 weeks.

Pray specifically for wisdom for 3 logistic areas, please….we do NOT have our train tickets yet – we have some friends in the biz, and trying to see what is the best way to proceed – some train stations are unmanned, so even if we got off the train close to the start of our trip in Minnesota, the trikes wouldn’t be able to get off the train with us! [Wow.] It looks like the closest might be Mpls/St. Paul, and that’s still several hours by car away from Lake Itasca (the start of the Mississippi).

Pray for HOW we CAN get the trikes up there….Amtrak has some cardboard boxes specifically for bikes, but our TRIKES I don’t think are skinny enough to fit in them, even when dismantled somewhat! [Our tikes DO fold.]:

Trike folding

Also pray for panniers (the bags that hold all our clothing and supplies, etc.). I am getting conflicting info on what brands are the best, and we DO need something to carry our stuff! Lord, give us wisdom!

That’s enough for now. THANKS to ALL of you!

[WHOOPS! Pray also that we know what clothes to bring! We have planning all along for HOT weather – but I checked on Bemidji, Minnesota yesterday, and they had a low of 29 and a high of only 48! BRRRRRR!]

jon

Some final thoughts on yesterday’s HH, and a few pictures

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 – 10:25 PM

Failure? Some might call it that. Realistically it was a goal not achieved. It’s true that I didn’t have all the facts. When I got to Rest Stop #4 around 3:30, Tom was so gracious to bring me water even after the rest stop closed. But THEN….he let me know that if I was still riding after dark that for insurance reasons they would have to pull me off the route. I was shocked! I didn’t remember reading that anywhere, but I must have missed it. I thought back immediately to all the “putzin’ ” around I had done up to that point.

Monteverde convenience store
Now doesn’t this trike look noticeable enough to ride after dark?!!? Actually, this was at the Montverde convenience store. By now all the Rest Stops were closed, and Nature WAS calling. I guess the camera flash reflected off the the shiny spots. This was probably around 15 minutes before I was pulled off the route.

Blogging and texting from my phone, taking pictures. I did have a little mechanical difficulty when one of my brake lines came unhooked, and it took maybe 15 minutes or so to figure out how to fix that. The main culprit was the first rest stop. There must have been 30 or 40 people line up at the 4 porta-pottys when I got there. That took some time. I walked around trying to find Earl – I thought he said he’d be at the first rest stop. But I couldn’t find him, and talked with a nice lady volunteer to see if she knew Earl, but we couldn’t figure out who he was (I later saw him at rest stop #3…..HEY, EARL!)

I was walking around looking at all the food, gathering ideas for our own trip next summer; I took pictures of a couple groups in front of the fire truck, I had my picture taken:

Firetruck at HH
Jon! Stop taking pictures and get busy!

I met Phil Mix and his friend Paul, that were riding their I.C.E. trikes; we discussed what a good dealer Mark Power at Power On Cycling in Riverview, FL was (that’s where they got their trikes).

Mark and Linda
Mark and Linda Power

Phil also noticed a loose bolt on my trike, so he fixed that (so perhaps there was a critical purpose for meeting Phil and having that large bolt tightened – it was more than one full turn loose!).

Phil Mix
Phil Mix and banana consumed. Thanks for the fix-it, Phil! You can see some folks lined up behind Phil, but most of the people at the porta-pottys had cleared out by now.

And I talked with some other folks – I easily spent 30 to 45 minutes at that first stop. Well, you live and you learn.

And, like Earline said, isn’t that what family life is like? You set goals: you succeed at some and you fail at others. But the question is, how do you respond to those failures? If you fall down, you get back up, you learn, and the next time you do better, you make more informed decisions.

And STILL with all the extracurricular stuff I did, I guess I still almost finished before dark – my finish would have probably been around 6:30, 6:45. And considering I had only ridden a trike any significant distance only 2x before this in my life: each time about 25 miles or so when I rented the Sun trike at the Lake County Line, once on the West Orange Trail, and once when I went up to Sugarloaf to make sure I could make it up that hill with a trike….so, this time, 92 miles….I guess I did alright. Not hurting TOO much today….HA!

And I DID finish this morning. And I DID go up EVERY hill without stopping. The 3 steepest pitches (IMHO) were:

3) The Scrub Jay Rd. pitch up from 561A

2) One of the Buckhill Road pitches headed south from 455 – can’t remember which one – 1st or 2nd one, I think. (there’s so MANY!)

1) That darn little pitch up from Old Hwy 50 called Forestwood

The FUNNEST to go down: Ta-Dah! It’s a tie between Sugarloaf SE and North Ridge – did some SERIOUS whoopin’ going down those two hills. What speed did your computers say? Had to be close to 50.

Well, enough of that….what most of you want is PICTURES! Here’s a few:

Trikes in PT
Yes, both trikes fit INSIDE the PT Cruiser.

Trek booth at HH
Outside the Trek booth on Saturday

Iowa bent
An early bent made in Iowa

Earline and Keiron
Earline and Keiron at our table on Saturday

Early morning fog on Lake Minneola
Some early morning fog on Lake Minneola

Gettingwarmedupfortheride
Getting warmed up before the ride

Howard on his bent
Howard on his “bicycle” bent

Nervous for the ride to start
Do I look nervous? I AM!

Prayer before the ride
Moment of reflection and prayer before the ride. Now THAT’S cool!

Start of the HH
AND THEY’RE OFF…..Start of the 100 mile ride

West Side of Lake Minneola
West side of Lake Minneola

West Side of Lake Minneola2
2nd photo from the west side of Lake Minneola [I actually STOPPED and took these pictures…..ack!]

Northridge Assent
Here we go! First big Climb, up Northridge Boulevard – people clumping, walking, falling….

North Ridge assent2
But this is FUN! It really is [keep telling yourself that!]….

Third time tower
A THIRD look at the tower on Scrub Jay Rd. (the same one in 2 previous blogs). Look at the blue sky! (and say, did everyone stay under 15 MPH when going DOWN the hills…..NOT!)

Haybalesinthecountry

Some of you hundred-ers might remember these hay bales out on, I think, Lake Emma Road. Here, and on Villa City Road, it was so peaceful! Wonderful ride.

Top of SugarLoaf
From the TOP of Sugarloaf…..beautiful, huh?! But late!! (with a SAG truck nervously watching just to the left of this picture!) Also, take note of the SINKING sun….ack!

Of course, it was not much later that I ran out of daylight and was forced to stop my travels. SO…..

Backatthesamespottofinishitoff
Back to the same spot I got stopped at last night.

BackatthespotIgotpickedup
Notice the one flag had suffered some battle damage! There’re pieces of it somewhere (probably on the Sugarloaf downhill!).

Fosgate tower
Remember the tower on Fosgate? Wonder what it would look like from the bottom looking up? (Now that’s a weird picture!)

Top of North Ridge
This HAS to be a fond memory….the last thing you remember seeing before falling off the North Ridge cliff! Wheeeeee!

Cheerleaders reception
FINISHED!…..and a cheerleader’s reception….cool. Way cool.

 

HH 2009 century.cdr

Rider Pak Pick-Ups / Day before the Ride

NOVEMBER 14, 2009

Okay – just slept for 6 hours (cuz I got NONE last night), and now [11:30 PM] I have to get up in 5 hours to head over to Clermont to get ready for the Horrible 100, but I did want to send out a few thoughts quick.

This blogging thing is still new to me, so I appreciate your patience. I’m going to try and set it up here now to send you blogs FROM the ride (how about WHILE going up Sugarloaf….

Sugarloaf with clear skies

….now that would be cool). (And if I ever upgrade my phone, I should be able to send you pictures from the road, too!) (2 cools)

I’ve got some pictures from today’s pre-day race, but you’ll have to wait until next week for me to load these here.

We had set up a booth, and showed off the ICE Trikes that Power On Cycling supplied for the weekend. We had a chance to meet many wonderful folks like some of you, and some of you had a chance to even sit in them and take a little spin. I will be riding the T tomorrow, oops, I mean, TODAY. Earline will stay with the booth while I’m riding, and be showing off the Q that we also have along.

So, let me get a few more hours of shut-eye….the weather looks like it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous, and they’re expecting as many as 2,000 riders, so this should be interesting. Even if everyone was spread out over the 100 miles evenly, that’s 20 riders per mile, or one rider every 250 feet! I’m taking the camera WITH ME, and should get some GREAT pictures. (Remember, on a trike you can do that!)

Lord bless!

jon

 

Our Test-Driving Experiences

AUGUST 31, 2009

Interesting summer! What we learned:

There are good dealers, and there are bad dealers. There are owners/managers who do what they say they’re going to do, and there are those who don’t. [Guess where I want to spend my money?!]

So let me start out by saying kudos to these folks:

Eric in Jensen Beach, who introduced me to the Hase trikes, and for hooking us up with White Willie and Gail in Polk City. Wonderful folks! They spent a lot of time with us, let us experience their Hase Kettweisel, and taught us a lot. Thanks!

Regis and Cindy at Hampton’s Edge were very nice to us, and let us test ride their Hase and ICE Trikes. (and right on Withlacoochee Rail Trail….what a great place for a bike shop!) Earline loved the feel of the Hase, though it was a little bumpy. Very short turning radius, which was nice. And the feature that lets you hook two trikes together seemed like a excellent idea for our long journey which could have unexpected “challenges” along the way. Also tried an ICE Q and T that they had. The ICE was very noisy when freewheeling, and that was a concern.

Also kudos to Charlie and the gang up at Suncoast Bicycles Plus in Inverness. They stayed late for us, answered all our many questions, and even followed up….what a concept! Thanks! But you know – after testing the Trice Q and T, the feel of the TerraTrike was, well, just not as solid, if you know what we mean. Nice trike, and the folks at TerraTrike tech support were quick to answer e-mails, and very helpful.

Jon on Terretrike at Suncoast

Same goes to the guys at ICE. They answered often (well, I had a lot of questions!), and it seemed like it was a different guy each time – Chris, Neil, John, etc. They especially addressed the question of the noisy ratchet of the chain, and not only said the freehubs of the latest wheels were quieter, but also gave the practical advice of packing the ratchet area with grease.

Jon on ICE Trike down at PowerOn

Torin and I went over one more time to Hampton’s Edge, and test drove the Hase and ICE T side by side. It was easier to tell then that the T was indeed a smoother ride, and also discovered, that the T could go faster than the Kettweisel in the highest gear. Interesting! Just a wider gearing it seems.

One more kudo goes out to Mark and his wife at Power On Cycling down in Riverview. Even when their AC wasn’t working, they were nice and helpful! Went down there a couple times, most recently a few weeks ago with Earline, and she had here first chance to test drive the T. She like the adjustable seat, the height of the seat, and the smoothness of the ride. Thanks, Mark, for taking time to answer all our many questions!

Mark Power

 

I mentioned the height – that is one thing that concerns many recumbent riders. And our experience with Catrikes seemed to bear this out. The first Catrike I rode was not adjusted well, and was a horrible test drive. Wobbly, and a lot of what is called brake steer. But then, down at Atlantic Bike, a young fellow down there knew how to adjust them correctly, and we both had a much better experience. Actually, a very good experience. Very comfortable, even with the seat attached to the frame (and therefore not adjustable.) But then again…..

Of course, with flags, etc., you can really increase your visibility, but we had an experience with a Post Office truck that just could not see us passing beside him. It took a “whoa!” from him and a quick punch of the brakes to keep from running us over (okay, so maybe he was in a hurry to go to lunch!). Now we know folks have been successful with this trike, for example Lucinda Chandler who went solo across the entire southern U.S.

But for Earline and myself, especially along the Mississippi River, which is still a major north-south thoroughfare with some heavy traffic areas (the Twin Cities, St. Louis, Memphis, New Orleans) and at least 3 dozen bridges that we will be crossing, I would feel a little more comfortable sitting up just a little bit higher.

Another big plus is the T’s ability to FOLD [we have to ship these trikes to Northern Minnesota]. The Catrike and the Hase do not.

So that’s some quick thoughts about our test drives. Any questions about the many more details about trike comparisons that I’m not including here, shoot me an e-mail at jabdesigns@mindspring.com.

jon