Day 20 [North Ft. Pierce Beach]


When I poked my head out the door at 8:00 this morning and saw this….


And then about 30 minutes later it was blowing, and raining even harder…..I guess the bad weather from yesterday in Orlando finally caught up with us, huh!

Windy, and getting colder [okay, COOLER, for you folks up North…ha!]

So…..we made the executive decision to stay in today. Probably needed some rest after going almost 65 miles in the last 2 days.

One quick comment about the goings-on in Ferguson, Missouri. As some of you know, we went through that area on our 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour, and had the opportunity to speak a few minutes at a Wednesday night Bible study at the nearby Believer’s Temple Word Fellowship Church where Dr. Calvin Scott is the pastor. These folks were so warm and kind to us, and they had over 100 folks out on a rainy Wednesday night for Bible study! Yea!

We pray for them and for the peace of that whole area.

And I appreciate the wisdom of a tight end from the New Orleans Saints football team, Ben Watson, who wasn’t afraid to tell it, that the bottom line problem in the Ferguson case and its aftermath is SIN. The sin of pride, and big egos, and greed.

Pray that people in that area will allow God to use them to learn from Him, to gain Heavenly Wisdom to combat what satan would use for destruction, and to bring us ALL closer the TRUTH of God’s Word.

Resting up for tomorrow’s ride up A1A [guess the wind won’t be behind us tomorrow, heh!!].

Thanks for ALL of YOUR prayers. We love you.

Through God’s grace,



Day 17 [North Palm Beach, FL]


[Distance traveled; 2 miles]

When we woke up this morning, we asked God to help us find church, so I googled “church” around our location, and found Lighthouse Baptist Church just a mile away. We quickly got ready….

….[see, now this is A TRUE SERVANT’S heart….ironing my clothes for me before church]….

Doing whatever it takes

….and had a quick continental breakfast in the motel lobby, and headed to church.

Heading to church

Arriving at Lighthouse

We started to leave our trikes out front, but I got the idea that it might rain, so we brought them inside the gate, and under a roof.

Trikes at Lighthouse

And the church was an excellent one!

Welcome to Lighthouse

Sunday School was small, but lively, and there was real depth of understanding about the Word evident from many in attendance. We especially appreciated Miss Sue, and her leadership of the class. God is pleased! YES!

And the worship service was a little different than what we were used to….not really a sermon, per se, and that might be because of the nature of THIS service.

Dr. Mike Butzberger is the Pastor, and he was all over the Word, and even helped lead the music with two other ladies.

Worship team

This service in particular was their Sunday-before-Thanksgiving, their annual “giving thanks to God” service. Pastor Mike showed the verse, John 1:16 where it says: “We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—blessing upon blessing heaped upon us!”

And then Psalm 22:22: “I will praise you to all my brothers; I will stand up before the congregation and testify of the wonderful things you have done.”

There was a microphone set up at the front of the church, and people would come up and share giving reasons for thanking God….although I think only one round was intended, there ended up being 4 rounds, as the kids got involved, and it almost became a little competition to see who could give the most thanks.

THAT loosened up some of the adults, and as time went on, more folks came forward to share.

Pastor then shared some tidbits in between all this, and the service flowed nicely.

Afterwards Earline got a selfie with Ola and Linda.

Earline, Ola, and Linda

Pray for Linda….she and her husband are taking care of a very sick son-in-law, who has a cyst on his stomach that they are trying to dry up, and in the meantime he has lost over 40 pounds….no eating or drinking for a while until the doctors can get this cyst closed up.

We met Jason and his wife, Kathy, who has a pretty voice and is part of the Praise Team. Jason’s mom, Jane, is also a cyclist, and often goes 10 miles a day. Alright!

Kathy, Jason, and Jane

And Jason encouraged Earline with YOLO [you only live once], and therefore you CAN conquer your fears, because fear, like life, is fleeting.

Jon got in a quick picture with Dr. B and his wife:

Pastor Mike and his wife

And immediately after we took this picture, we noticed it was RAINING outside!


We did not bring ANY rain gear. But I really think God had a plan in mind, because we were NOT interested in riding in the rain, and GOD wanted us to hang around a little longer.

Turns out that Jeannie was waiting outside [but UNDER the roof] to talk to Earline, because she sensed that Earline had been sent here to this service today to talk specifically to her. We had a good chat, and I had a chance to let Michael try out the trike.

Jeannie and her son Michael

And after we finished talking with Jeannie and Michael….the rain stopped!

Earline, Michael, and Jeannie

In fact, it must have stopped a little earlier, because by the time we unlocked our trikes and said our goodbyes, even the roads were dry!

[LOVE those heavenly coincidences!]

AGAIN, we are grateful.

This afternoon washed clothes, got caught up on the blog, and watched an interesting documentary on TV about Banksy art in New York City while chowing down on some Papa Johns pizza. Mmm-mmm.

Through God’s grace,


Day 3 [Key West, FL]


Happy Sunday!

Well, I do believe that today was the SHORTEST distance we have ever had to go to a church service. I remember, I did live in a church for 4 months during my senior year of college for an internship as a youth director, but my apartment there was was at the far end of the church, and I had to walk a ways, where this was just down the stairs and under our apartment, so I think this trip to church wins!


[Also DARE NOT BE LATE for this church…no excuse there!]

At the 9:30 Sunday School, Elder Tim Warner lead us into an interesting study of the Greek words for love. One thing he pointed out that I didn’t know was the first instance of the word LOVE in the Bible is….

Well, do you know?


Got it?

The answer is….

….I’ll tell you at the end of the blog! [smile]

In the 11:00 church service, Pastor Bill tackled the difficult subject of the event of salvation being a decision of an individual versus God’s enabling. This was based on Ephesians 2:1-10. Excellent study.

Pastor’s wife Sessie led us in music worship:


Here’s Pastor Bill talking to one the attendees, Lois, after the service:

Lois and Pastor Bill

Then Pastor and his wife invited us to their home for lunch. Wonderful food and fellowship!

Then, we were ALLOWED to come to the evening service, too! Woo-woo!




Again, Pastor Bill gave an interesting and thorough study on Simon the magician in Acts 8:4-25, and the difference between the Gospel as a narrative, Acts as church history, or didactical teaching from an epistle. Deep teaching that Pastor Bill was able to share clearly and with understanding. THANKS!

Here is Pastor Bill with Earline and I:

Jon, Earline, Bill

The church has many paintings on the walls that were actually painted by the Welzien’s daughter Abigail….here are 2 that she did – the Pillars of Fire and Cloud in the desert:

Pillars of fire and cloud

Abigail’s web site is

We also had a chance to meet their daughter Priscilla, and her “good friend” Doug who just finished 5 years in the Navy, and a week from tomorrow will start work as a civilian air traffic controller here at the Navy Training Center we rode past yesterday. God bless your efforts, Doug, and thank you for honoring God with YOUR testimony!

Priscilla and Doug

Earline made a new friend, too, with Judy, who we prayed together with for her friend who had a leaky house boat. God, please fix his boat, and make it obvious to him that it was YOUR doing! Amen!

Earline and Judy

THANK YOU Keys Presbyterian Church for your fellowship and your friendship.

Tomorrow we will stay in one more day to do some repair on the trikes, clean clothes, and avoid any rain left over from today!

[It has been raining pretty much all day, and right now at 11:55pm, is raining quite hard! THANKS, GOD, that we were not traveling today…YES!]

Only through God’s grace,


[Oh, I almost forgot! The answer to the first instance of the word “love” in the Bible? It is not until the 22nd chapter of Genesis. Check out verse 2. And it is a pattern of life, of sacrifice, that flows throughout the Bible until God Himself offers Himself on the cross. See Philippians 2:5-11.]

Day 14, part 1 [Geneva – Orlando]


Last day!

Slept in a little this morning, up at 7:15am…packing up now and getting ready to head out. It looks like it is going to be a BEAUTIFUL day.

Lord, forgive me for my grumbling from yesterday, and today as I’m riding “let heaven fill my thoughts [don’t think only about things here on earth]” [from Colossians 3:2].

Here’s our home last night in the light of day.

Early morning last day

Thank you, Father, for THIS day that you created!



Day 10 [Jacksonville – Saint Augustine]


I got up at 4:45am, and went to the outhouse…not really outhouses per se, but you did have to go “outside” to get to them. And they did not have hot water. I decided, however, that I HAD to wash my hair, so there I am, 5:00 in the morning, sticking my head in the sink and running cold water over it to get clean.

Hot water is a LUXURY! May we never forget to be grateful for the little pleasures that God allows us to have!

Got all packed up and ready to leave as it was getting light. [You can see the “outhouses” in the background.]

Ready to leave Jax

We had some prayer time before heading out….Pastor Kenneth was there, but where was Pastor Pat?! [smile] [She actually did wake up soon enough to text us and tease us as we were leaving!]

Prayer time before leaving

We got over to Highway 1, and proceeded to head south to St. Augustine….in this part of Florida, the only choices are A1A on the coast, Interstate 95 [which bikes and trikes can’t use], or Highway 1….4 lanes and VERY busy. But it DID have a shoulder the whole way.

Still cloudy and very cool

Yes, it was busy, but that also meant that there were more convenience stores along the way that we took full advantage of, and we were grateful for that.

Busy Hwy 1

Once we got south of 295/9A, we did get a freshly black-topped road with bicycle signage that lasted for several miles, so that was nice.

Bike lane signage

It was pretty much a straight shot the whole way….just mile after mile after mile, heading south/southeast. It is kind of hard to get a photograph to show this, but maybe this one with a train going by gives you some idea….we could sometimes literally see, I would guess, 5 to 7 miles of road and electrical line poles.

LOOOOOONG road and train

We stopped for lunch in the sunshine, beside an overpass that looked like it went to some new golf resort, or retirement community. [Yes, I had my graham cracker, peanut butter, and Spam sandwich….mmm, mmm, mmm.]

Lunch time

FINALLY made it to St. Augustine. [Actually, we made good time, in about 7 hours….I think all the semis and dump trucks whizzing by us gave us a little boost of air every time they went by!]

St Augustine sign

Does Earline look tired? She said she was. We need to find you a DQ!!

Earline tired at sign

We stopped in at FSDB and talked with Ron Stafford at the security gate. He said that they indeed had received the e-mail that we would be coming on campus the next evening at 6:00pm for a presentation with Young Life at the Music Building.

A quick stop at the DQ [ah, yes]….

DQ in SA

We continued on to the Lion’s Bridge drawbridge, and Earline didn’t seem TOO concerned….NOT a big bridge, and a separated walkway [with LOTS of joggers and cyclists].

Little did we know the adventure ahead of us!

[See, I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be kinda neat if Earline got to see the drawbridge work…..oh,oh.]

Ready to cross Lions bridge

The walkway climb to the drawbridge was more than wide enough for us to maneuver comfortably.

Separated bike path


….the walkway over the drawbridge itself was not. I would guess probably 36 inches.

Well, my trike is 33 inches wide [Earline’s, 31], and when I tried to go thru the drawbridge walkway, I got STUCK! My side bags stick out a few inches on each side, and I couldn’t get through.

THEN, the bells starting dinging, lights started flashing….what??!!

Apparently the drawbridge was about to be raised!

NOW what do we do??!!

Well, this older gentlemen stepped out of the gatehouse with a reflective vest on, briskly walked towards us, seemingly asking “what in the world were we doing??!!”

So the man is talking fast, Earline is talking behind me, the bells are still ringing, the lights are still flashing, cars are backing up at the red and white striped guard bar BEHIND us, and I didn’t understand the man’s question, so he asked [rather sternly], “Don’t you speak English?!”

So I just said, yes, but I didn’t quite catch his question.

He then asked, will it fit? And I said, with the side bags off, that I thought that, yes, it would. [Even though my custom handlebars stick out an inch or so on each side!] I also said that Earline’s trike was more narrow, so she shouldn’t have any problem.

So he waved us on through, and I proceeded across the drawbridge, with about a half inch to spare on each side!

Then once we got across the drawbridge, the black gate closed behind us, but the red and white guard bar AHEAD of us was down, and we couldn’t get through.

We were stuck!

However, I guess that was okay, because our walkie-talkies were apparently on the same channel as the bridge staff, and we could hear them talking about the bikers that were caught between the gate and the guard bar, and that apparently it was going to be alright for them to raise the drawbridge.

So there we sat, all by ourselves, while the drawbridge was slowly raised. I DID get a picture of that!

Stuck on drawbridge

Talk about drama!…..HA!

We WILL have to go back across the bridge to go to the school for our presentation, but at least now we have a little better understanding of what we need to do to get across.

We continued on a few more blocks to the home of Sam and Ann Thompson, that everyone at Neighborhood Alliance Church in Longwood asked about, and had a delightful time of fellowship [and teasing] with Sam and his family.

Sam and Ann EEB and Grace Ann

Thank you again, Lord, for your blessing and your provision in times of boredom [the long ride on Highway 1], AND excitement [Lion’s Bridge].



Day 9 [Jacksonville]


The forecast is 80% chance of rain today….and we aren’t triking! What a great timing! Thanks, God!

I quickly in the morning loaded up the dirty clothes and headed by trike to a laundromat only a mile away [I can see on radar the showers won’t arrive until around noon], and Earline prepared for a leadership meeting for some ladies from FBDA [the Florida chapter of the National Deaf Black Advocates].

In the afternoon Earline had her meeting….they discussed the purpose of agendas, and about knowing and accomplishing your mission statement.

3 Ladies of FDBA

Earline at Leadership Meeting

After I got back from washing clothes, I set the computer on a table outside [the fellowship building had aluminum sides and roof, and I couldn’t get a good satellite signal inside], and worked on the blog as the rain came.

Table working on blog

And it got COLD! Temperature probably dropped 20, 25 degrees in a matter of an hour or 2. In the evening, Pastor Pat and her husband Pastor Kenneth took us out for a wonderful meal at Golden Corral [How are we supposed to lose any weight on our trip?….ha!].

Pastors Kenneth and Pat Cochran

We then headed back for one last night in our little room.

Accomodations at EDC

Back at the Fellowship Hall, while I worked on the blog, Pastor Pat, Earline, Rose, and Sam had a long discussion about Deaf ministry, and life, and….well, around 8:00pm I heard them talking about closing in prayer, and around 10:00pm I heard them….talking about closing in prayer! Ha!

Rose EEB Pat and Sam

Thanks Lord, for a day of discussion, of learning, of organizing, and of trying to be more like YOU.



Day 75 [Great River Road State Park, MS – Greenville, MS]


[Again, please excuse our dust as we work around grammatical and technical issues…when we DO get somewhere that has reliable wifi, we will update this blog with correct paragraph spacing and a WHOLE BUNCH of photos (there are already 500 photos here), so check back often!]

Do you realize that there are only about 2 weeks left in our Mission Possible Tour? Hard to believe!

And have you seen the video yet of Earline and I from Day 71 at the Tom Sawyer Campground just south of West Memphis, Arkansas? The link to its posting on YouTube can be found right on the top center of the Home Page of this web site (see if you notice the “something” floating down the river behind us as we’re talking!).

Back to the Great River Road State Park….it should be closed.

As we were coming in at midnight last night, a truck pulled beside us on the road inside the dark park, and said we needed to pay $20, or something like that. It was late [and I don’t remember if we even HAD $20, but we said we’d take care of it in the morning.] [Plus we didn’t know who these folks really were!]

Good thing we didn’t, because I don’t really even think the place was open, and SHOULD be closed, at least until there is some major clean-up completed.

The campground is filthy….I won’t belabor the point, but here are some photos, including from the dining and office area which signage says was open daily, but it was locked down and the doors were chained.

Lonely campsite in GRR State Park

Blown light

Torn shower curtain

3 lights out of 18 working

Plateless socket

Busted railing

Chains on door

Appropriately so, even the bugs know this place needs prayer. I saw my first ever praying mantis, and he hung around our campsite almost all morning.

Praying mantis

Had our morning breakfast of Vienna Sausages and Spam….yummm…..

Vienna sausage

[….doesn’t Earline look excited??!!] Left the campsite and checked the main area.

GRR SP pretty place empty1

I mean, as this last picture shows, it is a pretty area…..that’s the Mississippi River way in the background….but even this area around the office was unkept – cobwebs and leaves unswept, sidewalks cluttered….and totally empty. Really left you with a sad, sick feeling.

Has the economy hurt them as well? Is there mismanagement going on here? Not sure….someone later in the day told us that Hurricane Gustav a few years ago had completely flooded out the place, so maybe that’s part of it….or ALL of it.

Just be forewarned….do NOT bother to go to this mess [in less you check first and see if repairs have been done]….

….and WE proceeded to head south towards Greenville [where my phone should be waiting!]….little knowing….

…..what special things God had in mind for our week to come!!

As we left the Great River Road Campground [the ONLY one leaving, ‘cuz no one else was staying there!], we saw a house with some people around 80–100 yards away [maybe the ones from last night?], and we waved good-bye, but we didn’t go any closer.

As we exited the campground, we saw a payment box, so we left one or two dollars in the box along with a “concerned” note about the campground.

Only right to leave SOMETHING, right?

It is HOT again today….we heard 105 was the forecast. Earline and I still have our umbrellas goin’ on.

Under umbrella at GRRSP

We saw our first farm equipment lawn ornament [FILO] that we had seen in several weeks. [I think they need some pointers, tho, from the folks up north!]

Notice the feisty guard dog protecting the FILO!

Lawn ornament cultivator with dog

At a convenience store in the little village of Beulah, and were again talking to many of the patrons of the store, when we met music minister Eldridge Jenkins. Looking for a church to go to tomorrow morning, we asked him what church he recommended in Greenville, and he didn’t hesitate: Zion Baptist Church, apparently one of the churches where he rotates as music minister.

We called the pastor, and after several tries with our on-again-off-again phone service, we were able to get thru. He recommended the Salvation Army as a place to stay (not what we were hoping for….but we were fine with ANYPLACE God led us.)

Yet another beautiful sunset (The heavens reveal His glory!).

Sunset north of Greenville

It was again dark as we pulled into town (but not nearly as late as last night – only about 9pm). We went to the Salvation Army…we had been trying to call them all late afternoon and evening, but no answer.

And now, no one came to the door. Hmmm.


Salvation Army in Greenville

We called Pastor back, but it went to his answering machine.


Maybe they’ve gone to bed….now what?

Should we find the church and camp out, like we did at Beech Grove in Kentucky?

What other option is there?

Suddenly, they called back. They had been outside, talking to relatives. They were going to come by with their pickup, and transport us to the local Fire Station #1!! (It turns out the pastor’s wife works downtown and called the Fire Chief for us!)

So the Pastor and his wife showed up at the Salvation Army with their big pick-up truck, we loaded our trikes in the back, and they drove us down to the fire station.

They suggested setting up our tent on the grounds, but the guys at the Fire House said we could sleep in the air-conditioned barracks with them. After the experiences we had the last 2 nights, we enthusiastically said YES!

In the fire house

Jon in firehouse washroom

Earline in firehouse

Jon on bunkbed

Great showers, actually very comfortable bunk beds that the guys slid together for us, WIFI connection!!, the AC was CRANKIN’!, and…..VERY COOL ambiance.

Thanks, guys! (Some photos of y’all in tomorrow’s blog!)

And thank you, God, AGAIN for your protection and provision.



Day 23 [Maiden Rock, WI – Merrick State Park, WI]


Still no wifi, and not even any phone service here, but I can compose and upload to the blog later.

Where’s here?

Wisconsin’s Merrick State Park, just a few miles from Winona, Minnesota. We were trying to make Winona or the Great River Bluffs State Park, but we got a REALLY late start.


We had a really WILD night at the park in Maiden Rock. If you remember from yesterday’s blog, the lightning kept getting closer and closer. And about 2:30am it hit.

WOW, did it hit!

Here are remnants of the storm this morning. As you can see….

Wet view from tent

View from the all metal pavilion

Tent and sun on Lake Pepin

ICE trikes all loaded and ready to go

….we had an absolutely gorgeous view of Lake Pepin, a naturally occurring “wide spot” in the river.

Last night we had a front row seat of the lightning flashing back and forth in the southeastern sky – a constant light show displaying just a hint of God’s power.

As I was finishing up Tuesday’s notes, I realized that we were indeed going to experience this storm system. Thinking about it, though, I did NOT want to be sitting out in the open with aluminum poles of our tent above us, but when I went to the little pavilion at the north end of the park, I realized it was COMPLETELY metal – roof, girders, bracing, beams…NOT the place I’d want to be in an active lightning storm.


I went back to the tent, explained our situation to Earline, and we prayed. And the storm hit, and we prayed some more.

Whoa, did it blow!

We just hung on to each other, and kept praying. The drunk, cussin’ kids had even given up and drove off. Ha!

The top tent tarp seemed to be flapping too much, and the riverside wall seemed to be collapsing in. Earline tried to talk me out of going outside, but I felt I had to, to see actually what was happening with the tent, and affect possible repairs.

When I got out of the tent, I realized THREE of the corners of the tent had pulled loose. The park apparently had been man-made on a dike of boulders, and the stakes were not holding in the thin layer of topsoil.

I tied off two corners to the trikes, and finally located one of the uprooted stakes, and was able to find a spot between the underground boulders and secured one of corners. I went back inside the tent, Earline helped me get dried off, and we slumbered off and on the rest of the night. But, oh, how the wind howled, and the thunder boomed out across the Lake Pepin valley!!

At 9:00am it was still raining, but calming down, and we started getting ready to ride. The drizzle soon stopped and we were able to squeeze and wipe as much water as we could off of everything, although IN the tent we had stayed basically dry.

Suck air out of tent

Tent kite

As you may have noticed above, we even saw a little blue sky, in between the fast-moving clouds, and finally headed out. It turned out to be a pretty nice day…mostly flat roads right along the river…quite a lot of traffic, including trucks and semis, but the shoulder was for the most part at least 4 foot wide.

Met LOTS of folks one-on-one along the way. John and Marti even passed us on the road and waited at a wayside stop to meet us.

John and Marti

Bill and Barbara were on their way back to Colorado from a visit to the Mayo Clinic.

Barbara and Bill from Colorado

And Barbara got a chance to test drive the trike.

Barbara tries the trike

Lou lives in Orange Park, FL, close to Earline’s brother, and he also got a chance to try out the trike (THAT photo is on HIS camera!)

Lou and Jon

Kyle, Travis, and David chased us down on their bikes to get a closer look.

3 boys outside of Alma

Passed some interesting sites (this coal-fired power plant in Alma)….

Large coal plant utility south of Alma

…this L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-NG stairway (good training stairs for track or football, huh?!)….

Many steps

…..and saw many gorgeous bluffs along the river.

More pretty bluffs outside Alma

Buffalo city view

This last picture is from a beautiful little river-front community called Buffalo City. We were trying to make Winona before dark, but as we came around the corner, and just before the sun set, hey, there was Merrick State Park.

AND, we found a paid-for campsite that had been vacated a day early, with showers nearby. YEA!!!

Clean at last, clean at last!

Good night!



Day 19 [St. Paul, MN]


Okay, okay……yes, it was my birthday, and thanks to ALL of you who sent greetings….it helped make the day special!

How old am I? 67…..and as Earline says, “Don’t I look good??!!”

Okay, okay…..I learned that from a cosmetologist who said that whenever people asked her about her age, she always ADDED 10 years. She said that THEN people would tell her how WONDERFUL she looked, and she said she liked getting the compliments!! Ha!

We went to the Cancer Awareness seminar at the New Hope Baptist Church this morning, and had a very informative session on some of the details, characteristics, and contributing factors of this disease. Makeisha Nesbitt from the American Cancer Society was the MOST EXCELLENT facilitator:

ACS facilitator at conf

On our way to the cancer Awareness seminar, we went right past the Minnesota State Capitol Building (yes, the skies look threatening, but surprise…..we DID NOT get rained on today…..YEA!!):

Capitol building in St Paul

Uncle A had a chance to test drive the trike:

Uncle A test drive

And Earline met someone at the seminar who spelled her name EXACTLY the same way! Here’s Earline AND Earline:

Earline AND Earline

On the way back to the house, after making some printed copies of our new survey, we went a different way and what should we see but……a DAIRY QUEEN! (Number 5, for those of you who are keeping count!)

I had, yes, a Brownie Batter Blizzard (Torin, wish you could’ve been here! I had a spoonful in your remembrance….ha!). But you know, what is INTERESTING about that is…..earlier in the day, I had teasingly said that I was ‘praying’ for brownies…..and look what God made available!! Who says that He is not intimately involved with the details in our lives!

I have mentioned this before, but it bears repeating:  I have found that when I stop praying, the coincidences stop happening!

Cousin Jhawn stopped by for a photo op:

Jhawn with J and E

We’ve decided to stay and go to church tomorrow with Uncle and Auntee, and then head south early on Monday.

Thru God’s Grace alone,


Day 16 [Monticello, MN – Columbia Heights? or something like that!, MN]

JUNE 16, 2010

Started out the day from Monticello, foggy this morning, overcast, but they SAY it is supposed to clear up. Praying so!

Speaking of prayer, met a new friend on the way out of town….Remme (who said his name was spelled “R-E-MMMMM, MMMMMM, E”). He asked to pray with us, and so we did, right in front of the Walgreen’s store……way cool.

Remme and us

The skies finally did lift, and road thru some very picturesque, rolling farmland along the south banks of the Mississippi.

Beautiful blue sky

Stopped for lunch at Cloquet Overlook Park, on the north side of the road, that had a nice separated bike trail for about half a mile before it gets to the park. Careful, though…..the trail that runs south east from the park does NOT return to the road.

Wait!!!! Did you just drop that?

Wait did you just drop that

Earline is NOT “studyin’ me”….blow off the dirt, it’s fine! (with a little extra, ah, protein).

She is really catching’ on to this camping thing, huh!?! Ha!

Stopping for lunch

Cloquet Overlook park

As you can see, we are starting to encounter some rolling hills along the river. As we went over the Crow River, we saw our very first MRT sign of the trip (Mississippi River Trail). This is the trail that Mississippi River Trail Association out of Arkansas has been coordinating with the 10 states along the Mississippi, and the subject of Bob Robinson’s MRT book that we have been telling you about.

First MRT sign

In Dayton we went past this huge, magnificent church – St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. To better show you the size of it, here is Earline in front of the front doors:

Front of church door

And then the whole church of St. John the Baptist [as much as I could fit in the frame!]:

St John the Baptist catholic church


Here’s where we parked to take the picture, next to the SECOND [maybe it was our third….hmmm] MRT sign:

Parked here for church photo

Saw a couple dozen geese and their babies along the way. Couldn’t tell if they were more interested in us, or the fish that the guy on the dock might be catching!

Geese and fisherman

Eventually we made our way to the Coon Rapids Dam. Pretty impressive. There is a pedestrian/bike path that goes along the top of it. This is Bridge #20:

Coon Rapids bridge dam

This lady was trying to sneak a peek at these weird contraptions!

Lady double-take

Here’s Earline, overlooking the massive water falling…..

Earline looking at CRD

This sign gives some facts and figures about the huge watershed of the MR:

MR fact sign at CRD

After leaving the dam, we headed south on the east side of the river, through some real pretty, wooded areas, testament to a parks system that the area has been establishing along the river for over 125 years. (And also rather hilly…..Earline trooped up ALL of the hills by herself……she’s getting stronger!)

Bridge on trail south of dam

Trail thru woods

By this time we needed to find a place to stay for the night…..NONE of the couple dozen or more churches in the Twin Cities area with Deaf ministries had responded to our e-mails. We understand that it was VERY last minute notice to try and organize anything specific, but to not even acknowledge receipt of a communique….. is everyone THAT busy?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

(Our son Reggie has an automated response that goes out when someone e-mails him….Reggie, maybe you can share with us how to set that up, so that people could know that when they send out an e-mail, they receive at least the assurance that their attempt to initiate communication has been successful.)

We decided to set up camp alongside the trail, in what appeared to be a utility easement.

We didn’t want to disturb anybody….and WHO DO YOU CALL FOR PERMISSION at 9:00 at night?

This easement was about 100 feet from the trail, and hidden from the trail by some trees. Some people call this “stealth camping” but I am uncomfortable with that term….I don’t want to be stealing from anybody! What do YOU think about this?

Here was OUR set-up:

Stealth camping1

Stealth camping2

The ground and the roots were a little hard, but we slept well (and no raccoons!). Even the mosquitos weren’t too bad (though that MAY be because of all the OFF that Earline poured on each of us….almost choked ourselves out! HA!)

I am reminded of Jesus, who pointed out that, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

Thanks again to all of you for YOUR prayers and financial support….if you would like to be a blessing by making a secure, online donation, go to, or you can mail in a donation made payable to GHA, Inc. to his address:  God’s Hands Agency, P.O. Box 585766, Orlando, FL 32858.

Thank you!