Day 84 [Woodville, MS – Baton Rouge, LA]

MONDAY, AUGUST 23, 2010

Rose up a little later than the 5:30 I had my alarm set for….about 6:15…..we were sleeping so GOOD, yes, even in the twin bed!

It was starting to get light outside, so we packed up and said our goodbyes to Al, after meeting his aunt next door who raised him (who wondered what these strange contraptions were sitting in her carport!).

Goodbye to Big Al

Headed back to the convenience store where we were last night, and filled up on ice. Again, we had the opportunity to explain our Mission Tour to the morning patrons.

Morning patrons

We continued south on 61….the rain cooled things off  little, and it was nice riding early in the morning.

We soon came to the Louisiana state line (again)…..(a little easier to see this time!!!):

State 10 again

This, then, will be our FINAL state line crossing…..are we excited??!!!

Our last state line cossing

We stopped at the State Line gas station/restaurant/casino for some breakfast, and met some more people who became friends of God’s Hands Agency. THANK YOU ALL!!

Friend of GHA

FARM IMPLEMENT LAWN ORNAMENT alert!

Ahhhh….not quite sure what this is….a cultivator? Any “more-mature-timers” have any idea what this is? [Aunt Joanita made me say that!]

Cultivator maybe

Oh-oh….as we approached St. Francisville, we entered a major 10-mile-long road construction project….this is going to be a challenge, because we lose our shoulder, AND there is lots of truck traffic on this road. Help us, Lord!

10 mile construction zone

Construction

Even along the construction, though, there were gas stations where we could get more ice, and engage the patrons in discussions about deafness.

Motorcycle guy 1

So….apparently this dog sent his owner in for some coffee!

Sent owner in for coffee

Continued on through the construction zone. And SOMEONE got the bright idea to put rumble grooves on our single-lane side of the road (AACCKK!…..have they been collaborating with the guys in Northern Illinois?….hmmm), so we had to cross over these each time semis wanted to get around us. [Of course, we let them!]

Rumble grooves 1

Rumble grooves on single lane

FINALLY got past the construction zone, and the road flattened out as we got closer to Baton Rouge.

Past the construction

Saw some, ah, interesting cuisine signs….is this what they serve in southern Louisiana?

Fresh coon

As we came into Baton Rouge, we went past the Exxon/Mobil oil refinery….what a HUGE operation!! We went past this for at least 2 miles!

Exxon Mobile 1

Stopped at a Jack-in-the-Box and had something to eat. We’re following the route suggested by Google Maps for those on bicycles (it is in “not-quite-ready-for-prime-time” beta right now), but it actually is working pretty well for us.

Saw this pretty rainbow downtown (Mr. Alvin….I was talking with you on the phone when we took these pictures!):

Jack in the Box rainbow

Rainbow downtown

We saw an MRT sign down by the levee, and the Google Map route took us up on to that path on the levee.

MRT sign in BR

The levee trail took us right under the Interstate 10 bridge…..it is HUGE (Earline….really….wouldn’t you LIKE to go over this bridge?)

BR bridge 1

BR bridge 2

Just past the bridge we met Gavan Jackson, with the Baton Rouge paper, The Advocate. He had been following us, taking pictures, and got some information from us. He said the article would run in the paper the next day, but maybe the editors nixed it. We haven’t been able to find it. Can anyone out there see if it ran in the paper? Thanks.

Gavan Jackson

We went past the famous LSU campus [and curious cow]….

Famous LSU campus and cow

…..and past this eating place [Reggie, you didn’t tell us you had moved to Baton Rouge??!!…..wink.png ]….

Reggies

….and then scurried a few more blocks as it was getting dark, and came to the First Deaf Baptist Church of Baton Rouge.

Betha Estes, and eventually her husband Walker (who had originally contacted us several weeks ago when someone sent him a link to our web site) met us at the church. Theirs is a totally independent Baptist church that a group of Deaf started themselves over 10 years ago. (Here is  picture I took the next morning):

1st Baptist Deaf church

These folks opened up their church for us, brought us some food, and told us to make ourselves at home (a roof and a clean dry floor….wonderful!! Here’s where we set up our bed…in the nursery!)

Sleep on nursery floor

What a wonderful thing, to see an independent Deaf church….and right next to the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Walker, who is Deaf and works for the school, set it up so that we will be speaking there tomorrow night. Great!

Lord, give us wisdom as we prepare to speak to those kids, and thank you again for providing a place for us to stay.

TGG,

jon

Day 84 UPDATE [Louisiana State Line]

MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2010 UPDATE

For the 2nd and final time, we just crossed the state line into Louisiana – State #10!! Headed to Baton Rouge and the Louisiana State School for the Deaf, as well as Deaf Baptist Church of Baton Rouge. We’ll be there tonight thru Wednesday….hope to get the blog all caught up by tomorrow. Thanks for your prayers!

-jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

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 74 [Lula, MS – Great River Road State Park, MS]

FRIDAY, AUGUST 13, 2010

After an incredibly warm night in the RV park at the casino, even this turtle was going ouch-eech-ooch-ouch-eek as he tip-toed across the still-warm morning asphalt.

Turtle in RV park

I forgot to mention that the night before we met a young couple that follow jobs around the country as pipeline welders, and they for the first time realized that THEY ACTUALLY USE a lot of “sign language” in the function of their job. Might be an interesting career choose for someone’s who’s Deaf….they DO make real good money.

We headed east and south into the state of Mississippi (State #9!!).

State number 9

It is SO hot again today…..right, Earline?

Hot hot hot

We are again seeing so many dry fields and damaged crops….this is not going to be a good harvest for way too many farmers.

Dried up field

In the town of Friar’s Point we did get a chance to make some great new friends…Prophet (yes, that’s his name), and his brother Bob, who both run convenience stores in this small town.

Prophet and Earline

Even though their mother was an only child, their family consists of 8 boys and 4 girls, and Prophet himself has 12 girls and 5 boys (Carrie….can you imagine the number of grandchildren Prophet has??!!) Prophet says that even he doesn’t know how many grandchildren he has.

(Prophet, if I’ve got these numbers wrong, please send me the correct numbers….if you can remember!….ha!)

Bob let us have lunch at his Quick Stop store….

Bob and us

Bob was an educator and an administrator in the Detroit school system for many years….both of Bob and Prophet were interested in our journey, and future collaborations, and both of them gave us some ice. Thanks, guys!

We continued south on Highway 1….the long, hot, hot, long, hot, hot, lonely, hot Highway 1….

Lonely hot Highway1

….and stopped for more ice. Met a guy named…well, he gave us 3 different names!…but let’s just call him “Heart Attack” like his grandmother does! [I guess he gives her a heart attack!] “Heart Attack” has a good friend who is Deaf, and we encouraged him to grow in the language so that he CAN better communicate with his friend.

Heart Attack

We saw this gorgeous sunset….

Sunset on 1

Sunset on 1B

….and because it was a fairly quiet road, decided to press on in the cooler darkness to the Great River Road State Park.

Look! She’s flying!

Arms wide

As it got dark, we noticed these big lights behind us. But after a little bit, they didn’t seem to be much closer – maybe a little bit. Hmmm! What in the world!???!

As they finally caught up to us, we realized it was a tractor and harvesting machines convoy….these guys were BIG! (which is probably why they were traveling at night – they took up pretty much both lanes!).

Tractor convoy

We finally got to the State Park around midnight, and….well, it was dark…it was spooky….and….well, it was weird.

We took showers [THANK-YOU!], which worked, but nothing else did. Three fluorescent lights out of 16 that came on in my bathroom…wide open electrical sockets…no fans or AC….busted wood railings with exposed nails….no toilet paper….no toilet seats!….

Seat less toilet

….filthy, filthy, filthy….and empty! 40-plus campsites, and not a soul around….we thought we saw one small RV, but it was not there in the morning….it was so hot again, and the mosquitoes were horrible (but at least the cement under us was cool!)

Again, choosing to thank God…but it’s hard.

We’re both pretty miserable…and this is a very depressing place. More photos tomorrow from this weird State Park. And we are STILL choosing to thank God for His provision and promised guidance. (We need you, Lord!)

TGG,

jon

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

MONDAY, AUGUST 9, 2010

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

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

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

Kathy Kevin Earline Jon

Kathy tries trike

Kevin tries loaded trike

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

Quarter page handout

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

Pretty scenery on way back to downtown

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

Camouflaged cell tower

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

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

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

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

Commercial Appeal photo

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

MLK bier

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

Christine Hill

Christine Hill and Earline

We triked over to the RIGHT Patterson church…..

Earline explore Patterson church

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

Media minister of Patterson church

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

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

Born ok 1st time

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

Entering Interstate 55 walkway

North side Interstate 55

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

Such as it was……here is Bridge #39:

Bridge39

Semi entering 39 MOVE OVER

Crossing 2391

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

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

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

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

Welcome to state 8

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

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

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

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

Interesting.

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

MRT sign southwest side of bridge

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

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

NEW St Paul MBC in WM

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

OLD St Paul MBC in WM

OLD St Paul MBC sign close up

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

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

Why?

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

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

Pam Clark and Earline BY CRITTERS

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

Hezekiah Shane tries trike

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

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

TSC Earline and Jon

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

Camping spot in TomSawyer

Sunset at Tom Sawyer campground

Studying some Word.

Studying at sunset

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

Through God’s Grace,

jon

Day 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 61 [Twente School Road/Hwy 3, IL – Hwy 1203, KY]

SATURDAY, JULY 31, 2010

The mosquitoes are dead and we aren’t, so we survived the night. (And we’ve agreed to use the bug bomb only when we AREN’T in the tent….ha!)

I got up around 5:15 as it was just getting light, and noticed what I had not seen last night….literally dozens of garden spiders above our heads, hanging from various support beams of the wooden poles holding up the pavilion roof. Some small, some pretty good sized.

Now spiders kind of freak me out, and I had been doing some pretty intense praying before I noticed them, dangling from their webs. My first thought was, “look at all the danger just over our heads, and how God protected us.” My next thought was, “Wait! Don’t spiders eat mosquitoes? Maybe this was a good thing!”

Alexander pavilion

What I have a question about, though, is something hopefully one of YOU will be able to answer:  after we packed up our things and started to leave, I rode around in the pavilion looking for the spiders to show Earline, and I could not find one!

Huh?!

When it gets light, or hot, do they hide? Where did they go? (Sounds like a special for “Wild Kingdom” or “Animal Planet.”)

We headed out from yet another hospitable (unbeknownest to them) church grounds.

Alexander church sign church pavilion

Alexander church sign

We appreciate it!

And we always leave a thank-you note and a WiFi Pedaler flyer to let them know we were there. We also always try to leave wherever we stay “a little better” than it was when we came.

Like bending back the tumbler plate on “mom’s” guest bedroom door so the door would close easily, fixing someone else’s toilet flapper so water didn’t waste, or here, picking up the pieces of a broken glass bottle that someone had dropped on the northwest corner of the pavilion.

WIFI TIP – Resolve to leave each place better than when you found it! Good habit.

We rode past the Horseshoe Lake camping area that Bob talking about in the Bicycling Guide. It really is a pretty area.

Horseshoe campground area

This also gave Earline a chance to act out Psalm 91:13 (look it up):

Psalm 91 try out

One thing we did notice, is that there didn’t seem to be as much standing water here. Along the Mississippi, yes, because the river is so high….but a couple miles away from the river, like this Horseshoe Lake area….dry.

BARN ART alert! (This certainly must be in memory of SOME barn’s passing.)

Barn art barn mailbox

We learned later in Cairo (pronounced like “Carol” without the “L”), that this area hasn’t had hardly any rain in nearly 2 months! We saw cornfields with browning roots and curled up leaves. What a difference a few miles makes!

We went past the National Cemetery in Mound City, and saw the gravestones of many unknown soldiers who lost their lives in defense of freedom.

Gate of Mound City Nat Cem

Graves at Mound City

They had some verses from a poem by Theodore O’Hara on plaques lining the sides of the driveway. Some of these same verses are on display at Arlington National Cemetery outside of Washington, D.C. Here’s one:

1 of 7 plaques of poem by Theodore O Hara

Also saw this interesting sign from The War Department, Adjutant General’s Office in Washington, dated September 1, 1875, that among other things stated:

“Information having been received of the desecration of soldier’s graves by picnic parties in a National Cemetery, and by vending refreshments therein, it is hereby ordered that hereafter no such practices shall be allowed….”

Vending refreshments??!

Refreshments rule sign

After we left the cemetery, we stopped to rest a minute….it is HOT!

Leaving Illinois cemetery

Later, we passed by this place that was……watering logs? Whatever for? Anybody have any ideas about this?

Watering logs

We finally made it into Cairo….(pause for photo-op)…southernmost town in Illinois….

Welcome to Cairo

….through a tunnel under an overhead road….[hmmm….looks a little unkept]

Under Cairo tunnel

….and headed for what we were TOLD were 2 great bar-b-que places. Stopped at Mac’s on the north side….and left. The “spirit’ of the place just did not seem right….and it was empty….not a good sign. They only had pork, so Earline begged hypertension and we left gracefully. (They did let us get some ice water, so thank you, Mack’s!)

Leaving Macs

Then we stopped by a sign that said Mt. Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, and met a member who recommended Schemmwell’s. Here’s 2 sistas in the Lord:

Mount Moriah

Cairo is a very depressing place. One of locals gave us some history….what had been a bustling town of 28,000 is now barely 2,000. We saw many boarded up homes, broken-windowed buildings.

Apparently racial tension was a large factor.

And then there was a mayor who put them millions of dollars in debt which they haven’t recovered from. We were told even the POLICE CARS were repossessed.

We saw one 2-story building burning, gutted out, with yellow police tape around it, and smoke STILL coming from rubble in the center of the ash pile. (I should have gotten some pictures of this, but I was so shocked at the…..the devastation, that I was kind of embarrassed to take a picture of this mess.

We did stop at Schemmwells, and got some sliced bar-b-qued beef….

Inside Schemwells

…Earline and I didn’t want to eat too heavy because of our triking, so we split an entree and each got two sides. It was….how shall I say it….very disappointing.

The place wasn’t much bigger than a Waffle House. There were only 4 customers in there when we got there, and 1 when we left (granted, it was 3 in the afternoon).

But the spirit of excellence was lost somewhere. Our server was pleasant enough, but we had to request her to come clear off the table. When the phone rang, she seemed upset that it was ringing, and that she had to answer it.

The portions were served on styrofoam, and were minuscule. Each of us got a half slice of bread with 2 little strips of beef on it. Together the sandwiches would have barely made a kid’s meal at Subway, and this meal cost us over 9 dollars. (and we drank only water.)

Say something nice!……..okay, well, the sweet sauce they gave me in a bottle was good.

I think the spirit of the town has put a damper on everything here, though.

Pray for them….Cairo, Illinois.

Since we had no T-Mobile phone service in town, we called the local police and asked for police escort across the bridge. (Apparently someone from FLORIDA donated them some cars.) They seemed reluctant, but agreed to help us.

We headed down to the very southern tip of Illinois. The bridge to the right went to Missouri, the bridge (our bridge) to the left went to Kentucky.

Bridges sign

Bridge #37.5 to the right:

Bridge we didnt take

Here we are, waiting for our police escort:

Waiting for the po po

Bridge #38 to Kentucky:

Bridge38

Making the climb on 38

Looking to the right from the bridge, just past the barge, you can the see the Ohio River we are going over, where it runs into the Mississippi River coming in from the right:

Barge under Cairo to KY bridge

How many more bridges over the MR? Three that I know of, but we’ll see. We had 1 or 2 more ferry rides planned, but those might not be in operation, as we found out up at St. Genevieve, Missouri.

As we were going across the bridge, it started to rain!

Ack!

Can’t stop here to put on rain gear. We prayed it didn’t get too heavy….and by the time we got across (long bridge – like the Chain of Rocks bridge) the officer was gone….not sure where he turned around. HAD to have been the little side road of the northeast side of the bridge….we think. Anyway, no picture of him except this.

Cairo police escort

THANKS AGAIN Cairo police for help making this Mission Possible Tour POSSIBLE!

It was starting to rain hard now….Welcome to Kentucky! State number 6!

(Notice the narrow shoulder and rumble grooves? ACK!)

Welcome to Kentucky rain

…..ON with the rain gear….mile later, rain stopped….OOO, this is hot; off with the rain gear. Whoops! It’s starting to rain again. On with the rain gear….WAIT! It’s stopping! Off with the rain gear….(what kinda mess??!!…HA!)

On off again Earline rain gear

Mississippi river rain

Eventually it did stop….and we got to Wycliffle, Kentucky. We met the John Kinder family from Cape Girardeau. John said he used to play tennis with “mom’s” son, Matt. Small world! HA!

Thanks for your encouraging words that you sent through the web site, John! Yes, Psalms 121 and 91 are turning out to be big hits with us this summer.

Looked for a place to camp in town, but nothing looked acceptable or safe (guide us, Lord!). Here’s the bridge we just crossed from the Wycliffe river front.

Bridge we just crossed from Cairo to Wycliffe KY

We saw a big cross through the trees, and thought there might be a church just south of town.

We had 2 four-legged guides follow (guide?) us from down by the river front.

2 friends from riverfront

Earline thought they were going to get run over, and they almost did a couple times, once by a semi that burned MUCH rubber to avoid them.

Finally were able to find the cross, and realize it was just….a cross. On a scenic overlook.

Interesting story…..(Link to the cross at Wycliffe, Kentucky).

Famous Fort Jefferson cross

Cross trikes silouette

It was about an hour before sunset. There were some great views from up on this hill:

Barge from cross scenic view

Scenic sunset from cross

We decided to move on. We rode past this factory…..

Factory amongst woods

….continuing thru some dense woods….

Thick woods

….saw a sign for a Beech Grove Missionary Baptist Church, and……THERE IT WAS, between a cornfield and a soybean field. We decided to camp under a tree on the north side of the church.

(So, let’s see….is this a Black congregation or a White congregation?….we’ll see.) (Either way, we figure we’ve got it covered! Ha!)

We found a faucet on the side of the building, so we were able to take sponge baths. We figured that if someone stopped to ask us what we were doing……we would tell them we were just a little early for church!

Thank you, Lord, for a place to camp, for bringing us safely through the day.

TGG,

jon

Day 45 [Quincy, IL – Hannibal, MO]

THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2010

[Story continued from yesterday…hey, technically it IS the next day!]

So at like, 2:30 am we come traipsing into the American Best Value Inn and we met Ashley behind the front desk with a cast on her arm (all 90 lbs of her) from trying to move some furniture. And her little son couldn’t understand why Ashley couldn’t pick him up and hold him. Pray for her!

And when we explained our predicament, she didn’t hesitate. She said we could use the bathrooms by the pool, and they had showers! We got excited! Tell God thank-you!

Okay, continue to thank God in all situations but don’t get TOO excited….explanation…..

…..the shower in Earline’s bathroom didn’t work, and the shower in mine had a 25 ft garden hose attached to it, and no hot water…..ACK!

BUT….after a little finagling (my spell check has NO idea what that word is!) I was able to figure out that the handle was on backwards, so we DID have hot water in the men’s shower. And (with the hose removed) the shower-headless pipe could have its flow calmed by turning the water on only slightly. That’s all we needed!

I took my shower and then stood watch while Earline took hers. Clean again….yea!

So, by now its after 4am….and we STILL haven’t had any sleep. Ashley wasn’t sure her boss would want the TV camera there, so we decided to head back to the Visitor Center and pitch our tent. Thanks again, Ashley, for your kindness and quick thinking….you’ll be general manager someday!

Here’s Earline, later in the day, in front of the hotel:

Front of Americas Best Value Inn

Okay….back to the Visitor Center (it’s still dark, but barely!)

We pitched our tent, let Jim Whitfield at KHQA know WHERE we were, wrote the visitor center folk to let them know WHO we were, and WHY there was a tent on their lawn, and got to bed around 5am. Whew! Here’s our setup at the Visitor Center:

Tent outside Villa Katherine

It was hot, but we were tired and “fell out.” We woke up at 10am, no TV crew, no message….huh??!

Looked around, and found a hand-written note from the TV station….they had been there at 9am, and didn’t want to wake us because they knew we were tired! (They also said that Holly at the Visitor Center had coffee for us when we woke up….wow!)

So I called Jim at KHQA, let him know we were up, got cleaned up a little, and went to the Center for coffee.

Holly was very gracious, and Craig answered questions about the house the Center was in. Here’s Holly and Earline:

Holly and Earline

By then Tegan (the weather meteorologist) from KHQA (lugging her camera herself – thank you very much!) came by and talked to us.

Tegan and Earline

Earline did the taped interview (she did a most excellent job).

Earline talking to Tegan

Earline actually saw the piece on Hannibal TV the next morning. It’s also available online, but I haven’t seen it yet myself! When I do, I’ll link it up so you all can see it as well. (She did make a little mistake and say that all 3 of our kids were Deaf….Torin, you’d better be brushing up on your sign language!)

Before we left Quincy, Earline found a thrift store (Earline loves thrift stores) AND they were having a 50-cent sidewalk sale!

Loves thrift shops

I was stuck! I waited patiently….I did….truly….sort of…..ack-k-k-k-k-k……

Hwy 57 south of Quincy was a killer, one of our toughest stretches so far…..for 10 miles, with lots of these:

Hwy 57 lined with grain elevators

And LOTS, I mean LOTS of truck and tractor-trailer traffic….and NO shoulder….at all.

Very difficult ride. Use caution on this road.

Once we got on the flats, headed towards Missouri, the MRT took us on a side road with minimal traffic.

And…..NO rain today….how about that! Whoo-whoo! And actually none yesterday, even though night-time lightning chased us into Quincy. Pretty blue sky today:

Pretty blue sky into Hannibal

Saw this interesting field…decided to have a little graphic design fun.

A soybean field with one not-so-soybeany plant….before:

Think different before

And after:

Think different after

By now we were on I-72, the only Interstate Road in Illinois where cycling is allowed….

Bicycles CAN ride

….which leads across the MR into Hannibal, Missouri. Bridge #32:

Bridge32

And the obligatory Welcome photo:

Missouri State5

And this Mark Twain side hill “stoney-o-gram”:

Stoney painting Mark Twain

Almost nightfall….found an inexpensive motel to let me get caught up on the blog. And showers 2 nights in a row! Thank God!

TGG,

jon

Day 34 [Dubuque, IA – Galena, IL]

SUNDAY, JULY 4, 2010

Woke up with no dew on the ground, and a cold front seemingly headed our way from the Northwest. I checked the local radar, and it was saying 80% chance of rain starting at 10am.

We decided to pack up our tent while it was dry, before heading to church. Yesterday we had met a young lady named Chiquitta Carroll who had contacted her pastor, Bishop Shawn Baldwin, and invited us to come to their Sunday morning service. They were interested in using some of the services of God’s Hands Agency to start a ministry for the Deaf in the inner city of Dubuque.

As we were packing however, we discovered that a water bottle had leaked during the night inside the tent, and got much of our paperwork and promotional pieces wet. Here was the scene a few minutes later:

Drying out the wetness

Drying out the wetness2

ACK!!!!!

So we’re trying to coax as much DRYING sun as we can out the ever cloud-thickening sky ahead of the rain.

Not pretty.

AS we were packing the tent, I noticed that there were a couple burn holes on the side towards the noisy teenagers from the night before. Apparently from fireworks that the kids had been lighting up. Ask Earline to tell the story in more detail when you get a chance, but I’ll just tell you that Earline went over to talk to the two girls who were camping there, and though they wouldn’t look at her, she told them that she had heard all their cursing the night before, and was concerned about their lives. She gave them some tracts, and one of the girls apologized for burning holes in our tent.

Interesting.

God, continue to work in their hearts, and bring them closer to you.

The bad weather seemed to hold off a bit, and the papers got ALMOST dry, we finished packing, and headed to the church only about a mile or so away.

They were sharing a facility with the Immanuel Congregational Church, and this was their first Sunday in the new facility. We had a chance to share with many of the folks about our purpose and mission, we got to hear a hard-preachin’ preacher (maybe like Pastor Mills was in his younger days….this young Bishop will wear himself out if he isn’t careful, though!), a First Lady who had a beautiful voice, leading the worship, and I even got an opportunity to play a little piano to accompany the signing.

After church Earline and I headed down to the Arby’s by the bridge, had a little to eat, and changed clothes before heading south. And just before we got to the bridge we saw……a Dollar Tree store!!

[Amazing what weeks away from any urban areas will make you appreciate!]

Dollar Tree

We had a chance to restock some our toiletries and some food items…..thank you, God!!

Amazing how we get excited over something like Dollar Tree!

Now we headed over to the Julien Dubuque bridge, named after who is recognized as the first settler in Iowa back in the 1700s. As the river gets bigger the further south we go, then of course, the bridges also must get bigger. This then is Bridge #28:

Bridge28

Fortunately, there was a pedestrian pathway/bikeway on the south side of the bridge, which makes crossing A LOT more….let’s say, reassuring:

Pathway along south side of JD bridge

Yes, it was a LOOOOOOOOOOONG way across:

Bikeway crossing over 28

Earline crossing the JD bridge

After crossing the bridge, we were now in state #4, the state of ILLINOIS!

Welcome to Illinois

Okay……the first person who tells me what the capital of Illinois is gets a free WiFi Pedalers T-Shirt! (if we ever get them made!)

We headed across Illinois on Highway 20, headed for the Palace campgrounds in Galena. We road had some pretty heavy traffic on it, and we were getting drizzled on, on our heads every once in a while, but we were making pretty good progress until the road suddenly got VERY…..ah, interesting!

The narrowed the 4 lane road down to 2 lanes, with a cement divider in the middle of the road. So there was one lane of traffic going our direction, with about a 3 foot shoulder, with a foot of that being the rumble grooves in the middle of the shoulder.

Now with a regular bicycle, you could probably squeeze by on the 12 inches on either side of the grooves (preferably the outside, because the traffic was heavy, and there were many big trucks.) But with recumbent TRI-cycles…..bad news…..

Rumble grooves

I mean, where do you go??!!??!!

Earline on rumble grooves

Remember the old commercials for these machines that a housewife could wrap a belt around her middle and the belt would vibrate for the purpose of melting away those pounds?

THAT’S what it felt like…..for over 2 miles!

We tried to the side, we tried in the middle…..we just had to go slow and gut our way through it. I-I-I-I-I-I-I  t-t-t-h-h-h-hi-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-k-k-k-k  w-w-w-w-w-w-e-e-e-e-e  l-l-l-l-l-o-o-o-o-o-s-s-s-s-s-t-t-t-t-t  t-t-t-t-t-e-e-e-e-e-n-n-n-n-n  p-p-p-p-p-o-o-o-o-o-u-u-u-u-u-n-n-n-n-n-d-d-d-d-d-s-s-s-s-s  e-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-a-a-c-c-c-c-c-h-h-h-h-h!!!!!!!!!

THEN….Phyllis calls us and tells us about the steaks Carmen was grilling for us….ha, ha, ha……very funny…..yeah, right……we’ll take our crackers raw, and our spam medium well, thank you very much!!

THEN…..the rain clouds are fast upon us….I can see the rain coming, but we just don’t quite make it in time. About 500 yards from the campground, the skies open up, the front passes overhead, and…..blub, blub, blub, blub, blub, blub, blub.

We make it to the Palace campground, but…..well, we look like this:

Earline after the Galena rain

Miles and Jon

Miles behind the desk was very patient and helpful with us as we tried to get oriented after the soaking. We had a chance to speak with some other campers about our Mission Possible tour as the storm was letting up, and by the time we had to set up our tent, the rain had lessened to a drizzle.

Set up in drizzle

Water really is an amazing “ingredient” that God has designed…..it can be so destructive, so damaging to machinery and metal and paper [so miserable to trike in!], but it is the very nature of liquid water that allows our blood to flow, and animals and plants to grow and thrive.

So, after setting up our tent…..we went and took a SHOWER!! [Oh, the irony of it all!]

Hmmmmm!

Our day started and ended our day with wetness…..and remember……God sends His rain on the just AND the unjust…..[Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5].

Have a great night!

TGG,

jon

Day 25 [Brownsville, MN – Waterville & Monona, IA]

FRIDAY, JUNE 25, 2010

Woke up close to river, with tugboats pushing their barges up and down the river.

Wildcat Landing Campground2

Barge beside Wildcat

We slept in until 8:30 (but Earline says that isn’t sleeping in when you don’t go to bed until 3am!!) Well…..maybe…..

We stayed next to a neat family there on an annual trip to this area. Here is James Kammes and his son Kaden, getting prepped for some fishing:

James Kammes and Kaden

And here is Grandpa Bob, giving Kaden some sage advice on the finer points of catching the BIG ONE:

Grandpa Bob and Kaden

Also camped next to us on the west side was Dr. Terry and his wife Michelle. Not only was he excited about our long trek down the river and his own vintage bicycle, but he noticed Earline’s scar and asked about it….apparently he specializes in open heart surgeries, and using technologies that make such surgeries less intrusive.

Terry and Michelle

Again headed south went through some more great scenery, and the last of our trip through Minnesota:

On the road in SE MN

But now, it’s time for a NEW state….one familiar to me….IOWA!

Look another state

Thank you, “Vanna!”

It looks like it gets cold in the winter time in Iowa, too. [Like I don’t know….why do you think I moved to FLORIDA!] Check out THIS stack of firewood:

Gets cold even in northern Iowa LOGS

When we got to New Albin, I had $2 in my pocket, but we soon discovered that it was a special promotional day put on by the local bank….free BEER and BRAT! (root beer) Thank you, God!

Festival in New Albin

And we even got free entertainment – the Good Friends Trio out of Decorah, Iowa.

Good Friends Trio from Decorah

Full of brats and beer, we continued on our way….gotta make it to Monona by tonight!

We had been seeing these large white worms in the fields the past few weeks, but we finally saw how they were created:

Wrapping big round bales in white cocoon

The wheel on the platform kept turning around, as the white wrap encircled each bale, with the farmer loading another bale just in time to connect it to the previous bale. And now you have protected feed for the cattle without the expense of a building. Interesting!

In Lansing, because the day was getting away from us, we made a decision to make an adjustment to a more direct route, with help from a guy named Jon as well as Allie in the convenience store there. Because our cell phones were not working, they let us make a call to Uncle Danny and Aunt Joanita to let them know that we were close and not to worry! Allie had lost hearing in one ear, and expressed an interest in sign language. Be sure to check out th resources at www.godshandsagency.com

Wave hi, Allie!

Allie and Jon

Headed southwest of Lansing, up the Lansing hill towards Waterville, and on to Monona.

Here is an aerial view of our route out of Lansing:

Aerial view of our route south of Lansing

The climb was very steep going up from Lansing, and the traffic was heavy, making our progress slow. We even saw some deer on the right hand side headed up the hill. We could also see lightning in the distance ahead of us…oh, no!

[THE FOLLOWING TEXT IS FROM AN UPDATE I SENT FROM MY BLACKBERRY AT 11:30PM, FRIDAY NIGHT. -jon]

Just wanted to let everyone know we arrived safely at Danny and Joanita’s in Monona about 10:30 tonight, thanks to some special angels from Waterville named Tim and Kristin.

Tim and Kristin

Kristin said they had seen us passing by when they were in their boat on the river. Then when headed home with their boat, they passed us on the road.

They knew about an oncoming storm that we didn’t know about. From their home, Kristin was so convicted about our plight, that she told her husband that they needed to find us.

So they actually came looking for us with their pickup.

Did all of you who are praying for us understand what we said?

They came LOOKING for us.

The Spirit of God Himself convicted Kristin to such a point that she urged Tim to go out into a gathering storm to find us.

They picked us up outside of Waterville, Tim helped me load the fully-loaded trikes on to their pickup, and they DROVE us all the way to Monona as the lightning flashed all around us.

Awesome! Simply an awesome God we serve, because He continues to bring people like Tim and Kristin into our lives. All of you together (and you KNOW who you are) have helped to make this Mission Possible Tour POSSIBLE.

What is God doing in YOUR life?

With God, it is absolutely true that ALL things are possible. [from Matthew 19:26]

TGG,

jon

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

P.S. Danny and Joanita were happy to see us!

Dan and Joanita