Day -1 [Orlando, FL] 2014 MPT

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5, 2014

Well, everybody is still buzzing about the election returns from last night, but much as I would love to sit and prognosticate, I have trikes to prep!

I’ve got Earline’s trike finished, mostly work that needed to be done on her tires and side bag bar, and now I’m working on mine:

Trikes with panniers

Remember, this is a different trike for me, so I am having to do some modifying as I go. One thing I discovered with the new trike rack from Catrike that they just released a few months ago for this model, is that it doesn’t have the thoughtfulness of design that the ICE Trike rack on Earline’s trike has. Take a look:

Earline’s rack has bars that extend down along the side of the rear wheel, preventing the pannier from getting too close to the wheel.

Earline trike rack

Sadly, my new rack does not have the long descenders:

Notice bottom of side bar

Notice where the bottom of my rack ends, and how the bag is almost touching the wheel. Sigh. I am going to have to take the time to deal with this.

Ended up with this idea/solution: taking some PVC thick pipe, about 16 inches long, and adding it to the existing frame.

Solution

Just one heavy duty 3/4 inch, I think it is, and cut it to the length you need, with the edges filed and rounded so as not to cut:

Pipe end

Then I wrapped the entire pipe with gaffers tape:

Wrapped with tape

Finished wrap

And then attached it to the existing frame:

Attached to rack

Voila! Now it will keep the bottom of the bag from brushing up against the moving tire.

So now to finish prepping my tires.

Jon trike on side

It turns out, I had an ADVENTURE trying to prep the tires on my trike…I WANTED to put some Flat Attack goop in my tires like I put in Earline’s. If you want more info on Flat Attack, you’ll have to go back to our 2010 blog, and read about the instances where Flat Attack SAVED us! Yes! [Love that stuff!]

Flat Attack goop

BUT….when I tried to install it on MY tires like I did Earline’s, I realized that the tool included in with the Flat Attack for removing the valve cores of the tubes so that you can pour the stuff INTO the tube…well, the tool doesn’t work on my PRESTA valves. Grrr.

Presta valve

NOW what do I do?

Well, I TRIED to remove the valve manually myself with a pliers and a vice grip, but that did not seem to work, and I ended up busting the valve of two tubes!

Ack!

So, I called up Orange Cycle which is only a few miles north of where I live, and YES, they have a tool for removing the Presta valve core.

YEA!

BUT THEN…..my goodness, how does it work??!!

Presta vavle tool

So, MORE research online….and I see some photos and some videos, [it seems that the long silver piece is an extender for guys with wide BIKE rims. The actual TOOL is the little black piece.] but I cannot seem to get it to work! I cannot see how the little black tool accomplishes the REMOVING of the valve core….I doesn’t seem to attach in any way, shape, or form to my Presta valve? Hmmmm!

So, MORE research…and I discover that there are Presta valve tubes that do NOT have removable cores. In fact, one guy said that MOST Presta valve tubes do NOT have removable cores. What??!!? Only Continental tubes had them, that he knew of.

ACK!

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

Sigh.

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

[Ha!]

[Okay, maybe I don’t even feel like ‘Ha-ing’….bleh!] [See Psalm 77:9-14]

So I put the tire back on the rim….THEN it turns out I noticed that I had put it on backwards. [Yes, normally the tread is only supposed to go one specific direction….I forgot about that. And I had it ALL the way on, so I had to take it ALL the way off, flip it, and then put it back ALL the way on again!]

Whew!

Now, I know, some of you are probably bored silly with this stuff, if you have even got this far in this day’s blog at all. BUT, I wanted to give you at least one detailed experience at what it takes to maintain and fix these trikes, so that they can be reliable and safe vehicles for us to ride. And now I just heard my “Cuckoo Cow Clock” strike 12, and I am STILL not finished packing.

Sometimes I do not know how these Mission Possible Tours POSSIBLY get done!

Gonna catch a few hours a sleep, and then get up and finish packing, and get ready to head to down to Key West.

Lesson in all this? One thing that comes to mind is that there are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO many details required at even getting these trikes up and running, and I know that our bodies are INFINITELY more complex and detailed than these trikes, and YET, God enthusiastically promises in Psalm 37 that He: “delights in EVERY detail of the lives of the godly!” Wow!

I don’t know how He does that…but then, He’s GOD, and I am NOT! Ha!

Good night. Thanks, God, for YOUR help and protection.

Because it is ONLY thru YOUR grace that we thrive and persist,

jon

[WOW….just as I entered my name, my computer CRASHED….it has been acting a little squirrelly the last week or so. Really, I thought I lost everything, and that it would take ANOTHER hour and a half to recreate it, but then I just hit “Edit draft” at the top, and it came back. Why, I don’t know, but I AM TRULY grateful. TRULY.

So, the moral of the story, Save, SAVE, SAVE!]

Good night!

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Because my internet provider discontinued the blog software I was using, I am having to REDO the entire WiFi Pedaler BLOG, updating it with entries from our 2010 Mission Possible Tour on the MRT, our 2011 Mission Possible Tour in NE Florida, AND preparing it for the NEXT trip in November 2014. Please be patient, and come back often, as we will be providing YOU with new examples, and encourage YOU that “With God, ALL things ARE possible!” [Even updating this entire blog….whew!]

Day 2 [Longwood – De Leon Springs]

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2011

Good morning! Up at 5:30…thanking God for great, cool sleeping weather. We’re packing up now, we’ll have some devotions, and then be on our way. Make sure that you, too, take a minute to talk…and LISTEN to God.

And now God, PLEASE  help us find a water hose so that we can brush our teeth…..AMEN!

Whoa!….seek and ye shall find! Grateful…wow.

Place to brush teeth

All packed up and ready to head out.

Front of packed up trikes

BUT….we realize as we start to leave, that we had left the map of our route INSIDE the church last night! Ack!

Neighborhood Alliance Church

However, it ‘JUST’ so happens, that last night after the fellowship Jack Hannahs introduced himself to me, and said that he lived close to the church, and if I needed anything to give him a call. Well, this morning, he got a call, and he had a key to the church! Yea!

After much searching, and an inability to find the rolled up paperwork, and thinking that it MIGHT have been thrown in the trash the night before [and was now in a LOCKED garbage bin], Earline had a idea [inspiration?] where it might be and VOILA, there it was!

Double-YEA! Thanks, Jack for your attention to God’s leading and your willingness to help.

Jack Hannahs and Earline

We continued on the trail to Lake Mary, where we saw Jack again at Panara Bread. [His wife had convinced him that Panara Bread was on the way home for him…..it wasn’t. Ha!]

We also met [we meet SO MANY interesting people on these Mission POSSIBLE Tours], Jim, who this year will have biked over 10,000 miles!

[Okay, you math majors, figure it out. That is over 200 miles per week….consistently!]

Jim and Jon at Panara

As we were riding along, we realized that even though the sun was low in the sky, down here in Florida it still has power this time of the year….so we were careful to add some sunscreen. [Special note to Bernie: “Thanks for the Mary Kay!”]

 Special note to Bernie

As we were heading north on Orange in the west Sanford area, we were riding on sidewalks to avoid the traffic. The disadvantage of that, is that not only is the sidewalk often a less smooth ride, but it is unreliable, and will sometime just end as you move from block to block, area to area.

Such was the case as we approached Hwy. 46….and as Earline left the end of the sidewalk to climb the little hill from the ditch to the road she….well, see for yourself:

Oops trikes WILL tip over

Thankfully it was a nice a nice soft landing. I tried to get her to stay down while I got a picture, but she wasn’t having any of THAT! Ha!

[Say, didn’t she tip over the first day of our 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour??!!??]

She DID! And she got a boo-boo!…..Here’s the proof:

Tipped over in 2010

Just goes to prove that you CAN tip over on the trikes….so be careful when negotiating slanted hills, or traveling on roads with a high centerline crown. [See: www.dirtandgravel.psu.edu/Resources/Documents/crown_cs.pdf]

Unlike a bicycle, which can stay vertical despite the slope of the road, a tricycle will necessarily lean WITH the slope, and if you’re carrying a lot of gear, you may be top-heavy and prone to tip over. Just remember to lean in to the slope.

We had to get across the St. Johns River, and took the 17-92 bridge, just west of the I-4 bridge.

Earline was a little “nervous” [okay, she said I drove her crazy!!], but it was NOT a BIG bridge, and it had an 8-foot shoulder. [!] And I, ahem…. was trying to ride beside her to get some good pictures….oh, well. May I give you a link to a similar 8-foot shoulder bridge that we went over LAST summer?:

Link to Day 78 of the 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour [TEXTING while going over THIS bridge last summer!]

Here’s a photo approaching the St. Johns bridge:

Over the St Johns river

And a photo looking east at the I-4 bridge, with the old 17-92 bridge converted into a park in the foreground:

St Johns river and bridges

It was actually really nice weather today. Earline was commenting how she preferred riding this time of the year, as opposed to summertime.

We DID have a few hills, for example, this one heading into Debary:

Up long hill into Debary

17-92 is an awfully busy road, but it DID have a lot of sidewalk [know your laws, though….some Florida counties do NOT allow cyclists to ride on their sidewalks.] It also had a 4-foot road shoulder much of the way that was also available, which makes riding a little less hazardous. We did take some back roads to get up to De Leon Springs [and found a little bike trail as well!], and went through some rural areas.

Back roads to De Leon Springs

Finally got to Bethlehem MBC, around 6pm, and they have a porch for our trikes!

Bethlehem MBC porch

Deacon Moore even came and opened up the foyer so that we could have access to the bathrooms. Thank you, Lord, and thank you Bethlehem Missionary Baptist Church for YOUR hospitality.

ONLY TGG,

jon

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 46 [Hannibal, MO – [somewhere along County Road B, MO]

FRIDAY, JULY 16, 2010

Day 46 started out with a pleasant surprise…Andy and Sue Cairns (you may remember them from Day 9 and 10) stopped by on their way to see his mom in St. Louis.

Andy and Sue

Had a wonderful morning sharing stories (they both ride recumbent bicycles) and encouraging each other’s walk with God. GOOD friends that have resulted from this Mission Possible Tour. Earline even tried out Sue’s bike (oh-oh…gotta remember how to balance!).

Earline on Sues trike

For a short time, the WiFi Pedalers were a 4-some! Bye, you guys….see you soon! God bless!

Andy and Sue wave bye

Tegan from KHQA had mentioned that Hwy 79 south of Hannibal was closed by a mud slide from all the rain recently. So we reluctantly headed out to Hwy 61 to detour around. Very busy road…lots of truck traffic…BUT it DID have a nice wide shoulder, and we were grateful for that.

Now after about 12 miles the MODOT tried to get funny and put in rumble grooves like Illinois (see Day 34)….but the shoulder was wide enough that we were able to go around the outside (THANK-YOU, JESUS!!)

Long tough hills going up, but long fun hills going down…..whee!

Hwy 61 south of Hannibal

Finally saw an exit for the detour to 79….stopped at a little town beside the exit, but the only convenience store in town was already closed. Hmm. We stopped to ask some directions from a family getting out of their car, and the family they were coming to visit gave us some much needed water from their kitchen sink. We appreciated it!

County Road B headed west was pretty hilly, and it was starting to get dark. We knew we’d never make it to the town of Louisiana, and I didn’t want to ride again at night, so after we saw this pretty yard (with yet more farm-implement-yard-art):

Old plough

……we stopped (actually turned around and went back to it) to ask if we could set up the tent in their yard. No one answered the door, so I started to head back to my trike. I noticed the lawn hose scattered across the yard, and it didn’t really match their tidy yard, so I decided to roll it into a nice circle by the faucet. As I was doing that, Earline all of a sudden heard “psssssssst.”

Oh no, flat tire #4 (and again the back tire….ugh).  But it WAS a pretty sunset! (sigh)

Flat tire 4

Flat tire with house and pretty sky

I didn’t have any CO2 cartridges left, and for some unexplained reason, I didn’t spin the tire and try to hand pump it up. I just took all the gear off and changed the tube. (This was the tire that I forgot to transfer the protector strip to.) (Hmmm.)

By now it’s getting REALLY dark, and we decide to camp beside their garden anyway. Earline wrote a note and left it on the door with our little 1/4 flyer.

THEN their dog started barking while we were setting up our tent. He came closer (Earline got out the pepper spray), but he just sniffed the trikes, wagged his tail and let me touch him, and then trotted away as if to say, “You’re okay….I’ll be YOUR guard dog tonight, too!” And we never saw him again.

Only thru God’s grace,

jon

Day 41 [Winfield, Mt. Pleasant, Swedesburg & Burlington, IA]

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2010

The Word of God says….”Sing unto the LORD, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” [Psalm 30:4-5]

Scene looking NE from Gayle and Jeffs house

Busy day today….first we went over to an 8am service that the Mt. Pleasant Methodist Church has in a local park during the month of July. This is where Esther (Engelhardt) Wonderlich goes to church. (Esther lived on the farm just to the south of my family’s as I was growing up in Iowa.) Pastor Herb gave a most EXCELLENT message on the Good Samaritan.

Esther Earline Pastor Herb Jon

Also met a couple who have done a lot of Mission work overseas through the Rotary Club, and he rides a Terratrike recumbent. We discussing a variety of recumbent-butt-and-toes issues.

Rotary club recumbent rider

Speaking of that, I discovered recently that reclining the seat back slightly, and taking OUT the cushion that slides into the webbing straps of the seat greatly increases the comfort level of the recumbent position. Adjust the straps so that the two straps most forward are tight, but the ones directly under you are more loose – JUST enough to keep you sitting ABOVE the cross beams of the steering rods or axle.

This creates a little “pocket,” if you will, to sit in, and is really quite comfortable. And getting the straps adjusted correctly is the important thing.

Then we went over to the 10:00am service at Swedesburg Lutheran, where Cousin Gayle and Jeff go to church. Well, it turns out that Pastor Steve Zittergruen is ALSO a COUSIN of mine, but on my mom’s side. His grandmother and my mother were first cousins! And he also remembered that as a child in church in Monona, he had my mother as a Sunday School teacher! Imagine that!

Earline and I shared our heart for the Deaf, and taught everyone a song I wrote called “Living in the Grace.” Everyone today was very warm and receptive, and we truly appreciated the opportunity to share message of Matthew 19:26. (Plus, Pastor Steve’s wife makes GREAT cupcakes!)

Pastor AND Cousin James Zittergruen

Said our goodbyes to Torey, Gayle and Jeff’s daughter, who was up for the weekend.

Cousin Torrie and Earline

Then Gayle and Jeff let us borrow a car, and we headed to Burlington for our interview with the young man who talked with us after the concert last night. Here’s Nick Bergin from the Burlington Hawk Eye:

Man behind the story

And his most excellent photographer, John Lovrett:

John Lovretta the photographer

I think the interview went well (Earline was her normal charming self!) and Nick did a nice job with the story. You can find it here: Hawk Eye story. [Ooops, note from Jon, 2014:  In the past couple years, the Burlington Paper has gone to a PAID subscription only online. SOOOOOO, you can see the start of the article, but need to pay $1.50 to read it in it’s entirety. Working on a work-a-round for that….stay tuned.]

Here is the front page of the paper, with our photo:

WiFi Pedalers newspaper Burlington

Then we headed over to Concordia Lutheran Church in Burlington where a Deaf Bible study is held there the 2nd Sunday of every month at 4pm.

Met Pastor Tim, a Lutheran Pastor who has GREAT Deaf services and Bible studies in Dubuque, Davenport, Muscatine, and Burlington. For more info on times and places, contact Pastor Tim Eckert:  deaflutheran@q.com / www.iowaeastdeaf.org

Deaf Bible study group in Burlington

Did some supply shopping at Walmart in burlington, and then headed home [to Jeff and Gayle’s place].

“HOME” has to be wherever someone in their kindness allows us to stay….and we APPRECIATE it!

Thanks to God for ALL of today’s ministry opportunities.

TGG,

jon

Day 17 [Columbia Heights?, MN – St. Paul, MN]

JUNE 17, 2010

Up bright and early, around 5am, broke camp, and left nothing more than a few squished leaves where our tent had been:

A few squished leaves

Headed down the route mentioned in Bob’s book….the directions are excellent, and we marvel at the work that went into making it possible. Got our first glimpses of downtown Minneapolis. Went past a bridge under construction, but the MRT didn’t go across that bridge anyway. Still, we had many detour signs to follow (kind of like life, huh?!).

Glimpse of downtown

Bridge by St Anthony parkway Cambridge

Camden Bridge detour

The road down Northeast Marshall was fairly busy, with very little shoulder, and cars parked all along it. The river was just to our right, but the scenery was….well, unscenic. Did see SOME interesting things, like this concrete plant:

East Marshall concrete plant

Also went under or over several train tracks, indications of a bustling transportation of commerce that takes place every day. Here’s one trestle we went under that goes over the river:

Active train trestle

We went over the Plymouth Avenue bridge. (Note of caution: be sure to follow Bob’s book on this one. There is a bridge just a few blocks BEFORE 8th Avenue that the Great River Road follows across, but this is NOT the bridge YOU want.

Of course, the bridges now are getting much longer, and the river is getting much wider. Here is the Plymouth Avenue bridge, which is Bridge #21:

Bridge21

 

Bridge21 with Earline

This is the view north from the Plymouth bridge:

View north from the Plymouth bridge

From this point we went south down the west side of the river. It really is a pretty ride/walk along the river, and there were a lot of joggers, walkers, upright and recumbent bikers out on this Thursday morning. Even…..some recumbent TRIKERS!! Three wheels ROCK!

Young Trikers

We stopped and had some devotions down by the Hennepin Avenue bridge and the famous Grain Belt Beer Sign (at least somebody told me it was famous!). This is apparently is the site of the original, wooden, and FIRST bridge across the Mississippi in 1855. It was a suspension bridge, 620 feet long, and 17 feet wide, and teams of horses had to stay 100 feet apart when crossing!

Hennepin bridge and grain belt beer sign

Down here we also had a chance to make a new friend, Namond, or as his friends call him, the “Satanic Mechanic.” What a wide range of experiences this man has had! He, as he said, “talked our ears off,” did some bike tricks, recommended the Hard Times Cafe with some great food and strong coffee, and even went to the local bike store and got some maps for us. Here’s Namond:

Satanic mechanic

Stopped at and went across the famous St. Anthony Falls Stone Arch Bridge. There’s a lot of interesting history concerning the St. Anthony Falls and this bridge. Bridge #22:

Bridge22

South side of Stone Arch bridge

And a view of St. Anthony Falls on the north side of the bridge, FROM the bridge:

Stone Arch Falls in Mpls, MN

We went underneath several more bridges, as we left downtown Minneapolis, and saw this guy working. How would you like HIS job?

De-graffiti guy under bridge

We finally made it down to the Ford bridge, and it was so WINDY…..I actually checked my flags BEFORE we headed over. [Well, apparently THAT didn’t work!] Bridge #23:

Bridge23

This, sadly, was the last picture of my flag, because when we got to the center of the bridge, a HUGE, I mean HUGE gust of wind assaulted us, and we had to shield our faces, pebbles and sand blowing and pelting us from every direction!! And I can hear Earline screaming, and I wonder, what??!!

Well, nothing TOO serious, but there is my flag, my FLAG, fluttering down to the river below. ACK!! Maybe someone down river that reads this blog will find it……[a moment of silence]….

Here’s Bridge #23 on top, looking west, back the way we came…..

Bridge23 Ford Parkway looking west

….and the view north of the bridge that my flag disappeared into…..somewhere…..[sigh].

Wide Mississippi from Ford bridge

The view on the OTHER side, the SOUTH side of the bridge was of Lock and Dam #ONE on the Mississippi.

Lock1B

From the Ford bridge we headed down to the Crosby Farms area, and found that the road was shut, as they were working on the bicycle path there. So we decided then to leave the trail and head straight up to Auntee Liz’s place. [You remember, from Day -3.]

We went up a Sugarloaf-Mountain-like hill, Davern St…..TOUGH with all the gear we have on….but we’re taking it small steps at a time. That’s the advantage of trikes:  you can stop and take a break for a bit, and then start up again and go a little ways further, WITHOUT losing your balance, OR taking your feet off of the pedals.

Now here’s a sign that you don’t see in Florida:

Snow plow sign

When we got to Liz’s, some of the back-room-billards-guys tried out the trikes. Many smiles and questions. Some guys picked up on it pretty quickly, and were zooming around the block in no time:

Riding at Auntees

Got showered and went to the final night of a local ministerial alliance revival. Got to hear a MOST EXCELLENT men’s vocal group and mass choir from New Hope…..GREAT! Also got to hear Michael play drums, who said he’s been playing for 12 years (and he’s only 14!). Here’s Earline and MIchael:

Michael and Earline at revival

Over the course of the day today, had the opportunity to share the Mission to perhaps 30 to 40 people one-on-one. Whatever it takes.

Thank all of you AGAIN for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

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

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

Sugarloaf and Trikes: More Horrible 100 Observations

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

The question is, can a trike do the Horrible 100, specifically can it conquer the mighty Sugarloaf Mountain?

Yesterday I had a chance to answer that question.

Went to West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co., and rented a Sun tadpole trike. The people at West Orange were very helpful, even with some of my odd requests. (like stick-um….see below a little bit.)

Sun trike at West Orange
A tadpole trike by Sun (I’ll have a few comments about this trike at the end.)

Having done the entire Horrible 100 a couple weeks ago, I knew from the map where I wanted to go – today’s purpose is simply to see if this trike can handle the rigors of the hills north of Clermont, and especially Sugarloaf Mountain, and if I can do it in a timely manner.

After adjusting the length of the pedals bar, and the seat (this is as low as it would go), I headed west. Well, not exactly. I couldn’t shift!

I had put on some sunscreen on my face, arms and legs, and with my hands slippery, I couldn’t grip the handles! Had to come back to the store and look for something to give my hands some grip. (Note to self: bring your GLOVES next time!)

Finally found that washing all the sunscreen off my hands eventually allowed me to grip and twist the shifters (which did feel stiff and tight). Unfortunately, I can see where that could be a dangerous situation if you’re trying to tug and twist on the shifters and go straight ahead at the same time, especially in a high traffic areas.

Took old 50 over to Turkey Farm Road…. made it up that hill with really……not MUCH effort. Hmmmm. Turned up Fosgate Rd. (this is part of the Horrible 100). Then turned on Grassey Lake.

Saw a deer – a young buck! (Obviously lost.)

Deer in Clermont
This deer overslept!

Continued up Grassey Lake….what a gorgeous day today!! The sky was so blue!!

Bluest Blue Sky
Talk about blue!!

Turned on Citrus Grove Road, and before turning right on Scrub Jay Road, saw this in front of me – part of the Horrible 100….NO WONDER I was panting going up that hill last time! I didn’t remember it being that steep.

Citrus Graove Road
Citrus Grove Road hill – part of the Horrible 100.

After turning right on Scrub Jay Road (the Horrible 100 in reverse), I AGAIN went past this tall tower.

Scrub Jay tower from north
Same tower, different day, different bike…..er, ah, TRIKE!

One thing I’m realizing as I’m headed out of town, is that these hills seem to be a lot easier on the trike. Part of it, I guess, is the gearing. I can shift way down, and still proceed. I might be going slower up the hills, but the effort doesn’t seem near as hard. Plus, I’m not having to worry about BALANCE. I went up and down Grassey Lake and Scrub Jay, without even having to go in the lowest gear. I’m thinking that Sugarloaf WILL be conquered today.

Headed west on 561A after Scrub Jay, NICE long downhill – I’m in the top gear in the back (8), and top in the front (3), and just cruising along. Drinking a lot of water – almost out. Hope those thermoses are still at the top of Sugarloaf.

I forgot to mention this in the last blog. Right before the turn to Sugarloaf, there is a horse farm, and the fence is COVERED with…[wait for it]…. shovel heads. Yup!

Shovel heads
Shovel heads? What can it mean?

I think I figured it out – obviously, everyone who has died from fear or heart attacks going up this mountain, they’re actually buried right here on the spot, and each time they use a different shovel to dig the grave! And…..HERE THEY ARE!

And here it is, again – the dreaded Sugarloaf Mountain!!!!

Sugarloaf with clear skies
Sugarloaf Mountain – it LAUGHS at those who try to conquer it….we’ll see!

Take my last swig of water, rev up the ‘engines’…..and off we go.

I figure I need a record of this, so I put my camera IN HAND, and off I go. I put the front gear in the lowest setting, and figure I’ll leave it there for the whole ascent, so it’s my left hand that holds the camera. Just to show the superiority of the trikes, I’ll TAKE PICTURES WHILE CLIMBING the mountain. Try doing THAT on a bike!

The steepest pitch is right in here, beside the small yard lights on the right that have stonework pillars that they’re set in.

Assault on Sugarloaf, with shoe
Yes, that’s my foot….taking this picture WHILE climbing up the mountain.

Got it totally down in first gear at this point, but no sweat….okay, maybe a little sweat. Okay, maybe a lot of sweat, but I’m not gasping for air like I was on my bike. My legs DID start to get a little tired about 100 yards from the top, but I MUST do this. And just then…..

Dog on Sugarloaf
Bark, bark, growl! Will he attack?? The gate just to the left of this photo is WIDE OPEN!

Mind you, I’m taking this picture WHILE continuing to climb the hill.

But the dog doesn’t come any closer….heh, he’s probably trying to figure out what in the heck it is that I’m riding!

Finally, at the top! No stopping, some picture taking along the way, and the trike has conquered.

Conquering trike
We came, we saw, we conquered.

Now, to see if that water is still up around the corner. I’m thirsty!

Okay, here’s the house….what??!!?

No water top of Sugarloaf
No water??!! ACK!!!!

You can see a gray spot on the driveway WHERE the water stand was….but not today, I guess. Well, I was GRATEFUL when it was there for me last time.

NOW…..time to go down the south slope.

Kicked the trike into the highest gears, and off we go. Within 50 yards I’m going faster than what I can pedal, so I’m just hanging on. Picking up more speed…..I’m guessing 45 to 55 mph at my fastest. Especially with the direct steering of this trike, I need to concentrate on keeping it straight and true.

WHEW!!!!! That was fun! Here’s what I just came down.

SE hill of Sugarloaf
Coming south from Sugarloaf. I think I surprised the UPS guy!

Some MORE downhills now….this is fun!

Whoops!! Just ran across this sign….NOW they tell me!

40 MPH speed limit
Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone!

Filled up with water in Montverde, and headed back in to Bikes and Blades.

Now remember, from Sugarloaf on down to the bike trail on old 50, this is all part of the Horrible 100, and near the end of it, actually, so these downhills should be much appreciated.

Saw this – whatever it is – headed south from Montverde. Is it a castle? A golf resort? Hmmmm.

Montverde castle maybe
Very gorgeous, but what is it?

When I got back in to Bikes and Blades, discussed some of my adventure with the store manager, Mr. Taylor Powell.

Taylor Powell

I had moved the steering handles back on the direct steering bars, to give me a little more control. I was glad I had, because coming down some of those hills, it was everything I could do to keep it going straight.

I hate the seat on these Sun trikes….not just dislike, but HATE…..NOT comfortable. I was experiencing what they call “recumbent butt.” Had to keep shifting from one cheek to the other!!!

And granted, this is a rental trike that has probably been through some abuse, but it felt kinda like dad’s old ’49 Chevy truck. A lot of shaking and bumping. Kinda of a rough ride, and a lot of veering from left to right to left, and that was when shifting (it was tough to shift, even with dry hands), AND when braking. A lot of brake steer…had a hard time continuing straight when braking hard.

Experiencing the grip shifting on this trike being so stiff, I am thinking now that thumb shifters are the way to go. That way if the shifting tightens up, or my hands are sweaty or greasy, I won’t have to worry that my steering will be affected.

(I have since been assured by a couple of sources, that the Sun trikes are notorious for swervey steering – and apparently the direct steering is partly to blame.)

Good things? Not too much, I’m afraid on this trike, except…..when I WAS able to shift, it would slide completely through all of the gears from top to bottom, smoothly, and on demand. The high end was not very high, though, and I often was going faster than what the gearing allowed me to pedal.

But the low end….the low end was a GOOD low – I could climb even Sugarloaf without much real difficulty, and I appreciated that!!

All in all a good test of a trike going up the hills north of Clermont. Time-wise, even stopping and starting, adjusting the water bottle, taking lots of pictures, it took about 3-1/2 hours.

So looking at the map – maybe 25, 30 miles. Which means I probably averaged close to 10-11mph. Almost enough to complete the Horrible 100 before they close the booths!

Gotta do some more training!

(P.S. By the way, Taylor gave me TWO tubes and a patch kit to take with me…..I was PREPARED this time!)

(P.P.S.S. Course, when I am prepared….NO FLATS! Ha!)

jon