Day 22 [Wabasso Beach – Melbourne, FL]

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 2014

[Distance traveled: 30 miles]

Happy Friday! Yes, we are safely at my sister’s after a rough 30 miles into the wind all day.

Before I get started here, though, a did want to clarify something. I have been using the phrase, “Help make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!”…..and many of you have contributed to this “Facing Your Fears” Tour in so many ways, through your prayers, through providing us with ice, through opening up your home to us for a place to stay, and MANY other ways.

And we are SO grateful.

But I did want to clarify, though, that when we talk about contributing to our cause, we are talking about funds that go directly to God’s Hands Agency, and we are NOT talking about funds that go toward these Mission POSSIBLE Tours. These trips are underwritten by Earline and myself, and our jab designs business, and are meant to be an ENCOURAGEMENT for those of you working with us in God’s Hands Agency, and the STRUGGLES that we ALL go through in our daily lives.

Any funds that we are asking you for are going towards the operating budget of God’s Hands Agency for the coming calendar year. We have set a goal of $5,000 for this entire next year, and hope to raise that by the end of December. And we are using our “Go Fund Me” website to collect those funds.

Earline has put together an excellent review of some things that God’s Hands Agency has accomplished in the past year, and when you go to the Go Fund Me site, you can read Earline’s thoughts right there, as well as the Scripture verses, the “lyrics” for all 6 of the Fearless songs! There is a link to Go Fund Me web site on the front page of our God’s Hands Agency web site.

Yesterday I mentioned that as the sun was going down, we were at Wabasso Beach, and were trying to find a place to lay down our head for the night.

Unbeknownst to us, there is hardly ANYTHING at Wabasso Beach [except a great little deli], but no place to stay, except at Sebastian Inlet State Park, which was still 7 miles away, or across the bridge over to Highway 1, ALSO about 7 miles away. What to do?

So at OUR speed, we’re still talking about an hour-and-a-half away.

There did seem to be SOMETHING big to our right….so I stopped at the guard gate to ask for advice, and it turned out to be a Disney Resort – what they call Disney Vero Beach Resort. Miss Diane told us about the lack of any facilities close by, but then she said to hold up, and she would check if they had anything available.

Any they did!

ONE room, a studio apartment for the handicapped, was available. It was not cheap, but our AAA membership provided a $40 discount! How about that! So we decided to take it.

Miss Brenda from the Front Desk met us outside, and you can see her picture in yesterday’s blog.

All we really did was sleep [HA!], but we appreciated the nice place to rest.

We took a quick walk in the morning, and this is indeed a beautiful location.

This was the little porch attached to our room.

Earline on DVB porch

The lodge was huge!

Disney Vero Beach resort

They had a beautiful boardwalk right on the Atlantic.

Me looking at ocean

But as we took these pictures we were freezing! It was colder this morning than yesterday!

[One quick boo-clap here…Disney! Shame on you. In the lobby, 20 feet from the entrance to the breakfast area, you have a hot coffee stand, all pretty and smelling good…..BUT!

There are no cups! Where are the cups?

It turns out that the CUPS cost money – 2 bucks or whatever it was – the CUPS cost money! What? You can’t provide free coffee to your guests? BAD public relations. Even Motel 6 provides free coffee…HEH!]

Okay……one interesting note….I use the term often [and too often FEEL it], that we are ALL going back to the dust. And we are….you KNOW we are.

Whether it is the simple 50-year-old motel, OR this big, fancy Disney resort, ALL show signs of going back to the dust. Even here, the knob on the closest door was loose and almost falling off. The shelf beside the bathroom sink had loose wall anchors on the left hand side, and was tipping dangerously, and the screw for the shower was loose, so that the shower head would not hold up at an angle, but flopped forward, pointing the shower spray at the handle [I fixed that…ha!].

EVERYTHING’s going back to the dust.

And didn’t God make that clear to Adam, that Adam would die, and that death, and disease, and deterioration would be brought into the world because of sin?

And that is EXACTLY what we honestly see all around us.

We had our trikes in the room with us – remember, this was a handicapped room, with wide spaces – and took them by elevator down to the basement. [Only way to ride them in and out!]

Yes do fit in elevator

Oh-oh! This guy doesn’t want Earline to leave!

Earline in fake topiary jaws

After a quick bite at the Wabasso deli, we then bundled up and headed north.

Cold morning Earline on A1A

It was COLD….and the wind was blowing pretty strong in our faces. Brrrrr!

Even EARLINE was wearing her jacket to stay warm!

We hadn’t actually gone too far, but who should we see, but Bob and Fifi from Waldo’s at Vero Beach! It was good to see them, and they had a chance to actually try out our trikes. What fun!

Fifi and Bob on trikes

Most of what we saw again today, though, was this…..straight, flat, and a little monotonous [but nicely manicured shoulders….heh!].

Lot of what we saw

There was a place up by the Sebastian Inlet that you could tell was VERY narrow….maybe only a hundred yards across, from Indian River to the Atlantic. Had some nice views of the river here.

Trikes on wide Indian River

Pelicans

Is the lollipop helping you stay warm?….Ha!

Love that lollipop

Then we saw the bridge over Sebastian Inlet…..hmmmm. Doesn’t look like there’s a bike path. Boo! I guess that is why the sign says to “SHARE THE ROAD.”

SI bridge

Here Earline starts her ascent:

Starting ascent

VERY glad we have these full-sized Slow Moving Vehicle signs….very visible, and familiar.

There was quite a bit of traffic, but during a lull, I was able to get this shot from the top of the bridge:

SI SP view from top

This is what the Inlet looks like over the edge of the railing:

View over edge of railing

You can see people enjoying the view on both sides of the Inlet.

Now for the FUN downhill!

Descent

On the way up to Melbourne Beach, we saw these fun signs:

Biggest turkey

Depressed fisherman

And even this “familiar” sign:

MP sign

YES! The mission IS possible!

And then we had the good fortune to meet Daniel at a local convenience store as we spent a few minutes warming up with coffee and hot chocolate.

Daniel

As you can se, Daniel is a “colorful” fella, and I understand he also does photography. Best wishes on YOUR endeavors, Daniel!

By now, the sun is starting to go down, and it is getting even COLDER….we try to add to our clothes without digging too deep in our panniers.

This is what we came up with.

Sleves in my jacket style

Back side

Yes, that is my jacket, and we slid Earline’s legs into the sleeves…..ha! And it worked!

WHATEVER it takes!

My outfit wasn’t much better….had my rain pants available to cut the effects of the wind, and my hooded sweatshirt helped.

Jon at Sunoco station

I think the only problem, really, was just when Earline went into the convenience store to use the restroom, and she forgot that she had on her “outfit.”

Earline wonder pants

Many “looks” and frivolity….ha! [Someone actually called the cops about these two bikes at the Sunoco station and two strange looking folks hanging around them! Ha!]

Earline getting dark

By now we had been riding over an hour in the dark, and the traffic on A1A was horrible, VERY busy. We eventually went through some neighborhoods over to the Eau Gallie Causeway bridge, but by this time Jyl and Dennis thought it best if they come pick us up….we were still about 8 miles from their house, and almost none of the roads we had to travel had bike lanes or bike paths….not a good idea at night.

[Is this cheating?…no….it is just another example of other folks helping to make our Mission Possible POSSIBLE!] [And no, for you accountants, I did not include those 8 miles in the total….ha!]

Thankfully, Dennis has a big van that held both the trikes.

Thanks Dennis

Thanks, Lord, for helping us to survive this day….thank you for a place to stay to rest and recuperate.

ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 17 [North Palm Beach, FL]

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2014

[Distance traveled; 2 miles]

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

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

Doing whatever it takes

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

Heading to church

Arriving at Lighthouse

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

Trikes at Lighthouse

And the church was an excellent one!

Welcome to Lighthouse

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

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

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

Worship team

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

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

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

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

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

Afterwards Earline got a selfie with Ola and Linda.

Earline, Ola, and Linda

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

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

Kathy, Jason, and Jane

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

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

Pastor Mike and his wife

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

Ack!

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

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

Jeannie and her son Michael

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

Earline, Michael, and Jeannie

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

[LOVE those heavenly coincidences!]

AGAIN, we are grateful.

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

Through God’s grace,

jon

Day 13 [North Hollywood, FL]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2014

[Distance traveled: 2 miles]

A day to rest Earline’s leg, and a day to do some repairs, and a day to get laundry done. Yea!

When we came in last night it was dark and still drizzling….[okay maybe it was not THAT bad, but some of you up north DO have MUCH snow….be careful!]….

Jon arriving at Kenwood

But this morning we could see better the cute little courtyard here at the Kenwood Motel.

Kenwood courtyard

And in the far right corner of the photo, you can see the washer and dryer. So convenient! Thanks, God.

The room also worked out great for us, because they were nice and big, AND both trikes fit thru the door. That is a BIG plus…otherwise we would have to dismantle the panniers, which is fairly easy on Earline’s trike, but on mine, so so much.

Inside room

[I made sure that I wiped off the tires with a rag before we brought them into the room….we want to be courteous and GRATEFUL for a gift like this room.]

[And honestly, we did not watch a minute of TV….too much to DO!]

Real cool this morning, in the mid 50s, but the forecast is for close to 70 degrees tomorrow, so we’re good!

Tonight we had the opportunity to minister at Elder Elaine’s church, the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church here in North Hollywood where Elder Connail Johnson is the Pastor. [Another plus of the motel is that it was only a mile to the church, so add just 2 miles to our distance traveled. Ha!]

It was a cute little church, and the people were very warm and hospitable. We sensed a spirit of deep love for the Lord, and were impressed with how many young men boldly expressed their love for God. One of the ladies created this beautiful Thanksgiving wreath:

Thanksgiving wreath

When the first young man spoke at the beginning of the service, I had a hard time hearing what he was saying. It might have because of the music they were playing during his talk. Probably my fault, because I am involved in the music ministry at Iglesia Gracia de Dios in Orlando, and one side of my brain was trying to hear the Word, and the other side was saying, “oh, listen to that transition, oh, that was a nice melody, oh, did they just modulate there?, oh, they need to pull pack the mids on that section, and up the highs, oh, that was a nice harmony, oh….etc., etc. ACK!”

They did eventually turn the music down, and that helped….whew!

The young men in the back were able to pull up our blog and put it on the screen in the front of the church. I had never seen that done before with our blog…great!

NHMBC screen

Earline and I then shared a little about our ministry to the Deaf, and why we do these Mission POSSIBLE Tours. Earline also talked a little about Facing Your Fears, including getting your hair trimmed at Supercuts. Sometimes things don’t turn out like we hope….I will let HER explain!

And finally, I taught the congregation Joshua 1:9, the first of the FEARLESS songs. They did great!

Pastor Johnson was home sick tonight, so please pray for his health! Elder Elaine gave Earline the opportunity to interpret the message, then, from Eugenia Bonds, who we found out after the service has a Deaf daughter in Orlando! Small world!

Earline interp Eugenia Bonds

Earline was interpreting for two Deaf ladies [I remember Cora on the right from our Deaf revival last year at Mt. Sinai], and Ernest on the front row, who is learning sign language.

Cora, Ernest and one other deaf lady

After the service, some of the folks had an opportunity to sit down in the trikes and test them out. Here’s Daniel, who loves the Lord, and got married only about 4 MONTHS ago. [Earline, we HAVE to tell them about the GORGEOUS Winshape marriage retreat center up in Mt. Berry, GA. See Day -2.]

Daniel testing trike

Pastor’s wife, “Lady J” WAS at the service, and took a picture with Earline.

Earline and Lady J

Earline, [OF COURSE! Ha!], got a selfie with Elder Elaine and Lady J:

Selfie with EE,EB, and Lady J

But not to be outdone, I ALSO got a selfie with Elder Elaine!

Jon and EE selfie

We are grateful for the opportunity to share our story, and how EACH of us has a special part in the body of Christ where we can thrive and be useful in building up HIS Kingdom.

Only THROUGH GOD’S GRACE,

jon

Day 3 [De Leon Springs – Crescent City]

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2011

The word for the day is from Hosea, verse 6 of chapter 12 [I like how the NLT (1) puts it]:  “So now, come back to your God! Act on the principals of love and justice, and always live in confident dependence on your God.”

3 parts:

1) COME where? Back to your God.

2) ACT what? With love and justice.

3) LIVE how? In confident dependence on your God.

We MUST confidently depend on Him….we NEED Him. Which is why I think that we had the flat tire under the carport before we had gone 1 foot of our tour. Just a gentle reminder that we MUST rely on Him for the ENTIRE tour, because truly, all things were created by Him. ALL things.

I worked on the BLOG from 3:30 to 6:15am, and woke up Earline and got packed for our day’s journey. It was light by the time we left, about 8:30, and Brother Ronnie Moore checked on us before we left and locked up the church behind us. Thanks, Brother Moore!

Leaving BMBC

We headed out on County Road 3, and looked for a pancake place that I had seen when scouting the route a few weeks ago. Little did I realize that it is actually IN the De Leon Springs State Park, and this park and the town is named after Ponce de Leon, the famous explorer who was searching for the Fountain of Youth. And we FOUND it….and we stuck our hands in it…..do we look any younger?!

De Leon Springs

The restaurant turned out to be one of the more unique places we had ever eaten….this Sugarmill Pancake House is only an hour’s drive [okay….a 2-day trike ride] from Orlando, and well worth to time to come and experience. Here’s Jon whipping up some scrambled eggs:

Eggs at Sugarmill table

Our companions Dave & Kate from Pittsburgh were down to Florida for Thanksgiving, and this was their 3rd time to eat here [we could tell that unlike us, they knew what they were doing!].

Dave and Kate from Pittsburg

And Ellen was our wonderful waitress, and gave us information about how to bring a Deaf group here…..this would be fun!

Ellen and Earline

Leaving the pancake house, we were able to trike along county roads for a while, and got to see some pretty scenery.

North of De Leon State Park

We met Chuck who was on lunch break, and he got a chance to try out our trikes…..looking good!

Lunch break appraiser

We did see [and smell….phew!] occasional road kill…..slow squirrels or coon mostly. And there would sometimes be the vulture there cleaning up the mess. Although this picture’s a little blurry, I caught one just as he was starting to fly off as we approached.

Vulture or condor

It was HUGE…maybe a 6 to 8 foot wingspan. Earline got scared, thinking it would attack US, and I said, no, only if we were dead would he show any interest! But I got to thinking, isn’t that when we are the most “easy pickings” for Satan….when we lay around [physically or figuratively], not doing anything?

There are plenty of good, helpful, constructive things every person can be doing, that God will bless….it just depends on what your particular talents and gifts are. But if we sit around eating bonbons and watching Jerry Springer [so to speak…..or WHATEVER your particular vice might be]….it makes it EASIER for Satan to nibble away at our spiritual lives, and eventually there is nothing left but a dry carcass.

Hmmm. [sorry if that was a little GRAPHIC for some folks!].

In other words, be alive! Use the gift of LIFE that God has given you. What can YOU do to help somebody else? YOU are special and unique, and can do some certain task or work that no one else could do quite like you. Read your Bible, and ask God, what would He have YOU do today?

Eventually we had to leave the quiet back roads and get on busy 17….lots of truck traffic, but at least we had a shoulder. Pray for us!

Ugly truck

Eventually we made it to Crescent City, where one of the churches provided a motel room for us to stay. Thank you, Dr. Shull, and First Baptist Crescent City….thank you for being obedient to Deuteronomy 10:19. May God bless you much!

CCFBC

So we stopped at the Lake View Motel and talked to Jean….this was one of the cleanest motels we ever stayed at. Earline said it was the first time she didn’t even have to pull out her Lysol. Ha! Thanks, Jean, for the warm showers and the great internet connection.

Home for the night in CC

And thank you Lord, once again, for providing and caring about even the TINIEST details of our lives.

TGG,

jon

Day 86 [Baton Rouge, LA]

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 25, 2010

After struggling to crawl out of our air mattress hole (see yesterday’s blog!), we got some more e-mailing, letter writing, and blogging caught up. Walker invited us out to lunch at Mike Andrews Seafood, just a few blocks away.

Walker and Betha brought their grandson Christian with them, and a little later on, their daughter Leslie came in. Like many other CODAs (child of deaf adult), she is an excellent signer, and uses her skills to help support herself and her son.

5 of us a tMike Andrews Seafood

Leslie and Christian

Grandpa and Christian

After our nice lunch, Betha had the opportunity to try out Earline’s ICE Trike…..she looks to be enjoying herself!

Betha on the ICE trike

For the Wednesday night service / Bible study at First Baptist Deaf Church we decided to do the Sermon on the Mount, along with some special singing, and sharing about our Mission Possible Tour.

We got to hear their Deaf praise team lead a couple songs. We really enjoyed their ministry, especially the anointed signing of Faye Hayes, the girl in the center of the front row…..here is a sampling:

Worship team at First Baptist Deaf Church in Baton Rouge

Fay Hayes

Singing at FBDC of BR

We have already talked with them about the possibility of coming and sharing with us in Orlando some time on the future. You have got to hear these folks….they love the Lord, and they’re fun!

We had the opportunity to meet and enjoy Pastor Michael Mack earlier in the day. Here’s Pastor at the evening service, and after the service with his family:

Pastor Austin

Austin family

The church had a sweet and giving spirit about it, and we appreciate the opportunity to meet them, and share our testimony and our talents with them. God bless you!

TGG,

jon

Day 85 [Baton Rouge, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 24, 2010

After the LO-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-G trip from Natchez to Baton Rouge, we slept wonderful on the floor of the church Monday night. The air mattress seems to be loosing air a little quicker than normal, however, so by morning we were basically on the floor.

They had a box of Cheerios in the refrigerator, so I got to have a breakfast that I had been craving for several weeks….thank you, God.

Earline and I had a chance to work on some paperwork and the blog during the day, and we also prepared for our talks with the elementary kids and high school kids at the Louisiana School for the Deaf just one block west of the school.

We met Walker at the gate, and he escorted us through campus to the dorms.

We follow Walker

Front of Elementary door

We talked first with the elementary kids. They seemed fascinated with the trikes and our story:

 

Elementary talk 1

Earline taught them about the different parts of the trikes, and how we examine them before we start each day. We used the A-B-C-QuickCheck list from the League of American Bicyclists. Watch and listen to Earline teaching about “C” for chains, and how that can be the same idea in life:

Video of: Fixing things in your life

I also had the opportunity to teach the kids how DEEP and WIDE the Mississippi River is, and taught them a song about it!

Deep and Wide (in only 19 seconds!)

Afterwards we gave all the kids an opportunity to sit on the trikes, and many of them paused to check out this web site as well!

Kids try out trikes

And the kids could even pop on the wifi pedalers web site, and look where we had been before we got to them!

Next we went over to the high school dorm, and many youth stopped by to hear our presentation.

Presenting to LSD high school

High school wide shot

Youth back of room

Watch as Earline encourages the high-schoolers to pursue their God-given passions, for truly, “With God, ALL things are possible!!!”

With God, ALL things are possible!

Afterwards we talked with a lot of the kids, and answered their questions about our trip.

6 LSD high schoolers

After making lots of new friends, we headed back to the church. I was able o get some more work done on this blog.

Because of the fast leaking of our air mattress last night, we decided to try putting Betha and Walker’s air mattress UNDER ours to keep us off the floor. Problem was, I think theirs leaked a little, too, so that by morning, we were in a DEEP HOLE with the air mattresses up all around us!! Ack!! Many laughs were shared!

Thank you, Lord, for allowing us to speak into the lives of the students at the Louisiana School for the Deaf. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your purposes for them!!

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 76 [Greenville, MS]

SUNDAY, AUGUST 15, 2010

After a WONDERFUL night’s sleep (the firemen like to keep their quarters COLD!)…we were up around 6:30 to meet the new shift (in Greenville they do 24 hours on, and 48 hours off.) Some of the old crew posed before heading home….Derrick, Jason, and Captain Buggs:

First crew

The new crew included Willie Dukes and Chief “Earline’s cousin” Tyrone Cook.

Willie Duke

Chief Tyronne

Chief’s cousin actually married into the Hayes family back in Orlando, and Chief Cook has attended church at Mt. Sinai in Orlando!

(Additional note:  We ALSO have discovered that Chief Cook’s uncle lives just 3 blocks from us! Small world!)

We got dressed, and headed to church on our trikes. Even though it was only a mile or so, and we TRIED to go slow so as NOT to sweat, we were perspiring pretty bad by the time we parked at Zion Baptist (sorry, everyone, for being so grungy!).

Or, as Earline says, “Ooooo! It’s HOT!”

Parked at ZBC

Earline and I went to our separate Sunday School classes. Deacon Rosenthal gave a most excellent lesson in our Men’s class, and there was lots participation and discussion.

We had a chance to talk a little bit about our trip when the classes all came together at the end of Sunday School. Zion Baptist is about a quarter the size of Sinai, but the singing was enthusiastic, and the teaching was sound.

There was a female guest speaker who talked faithfulness, from Deuteronomy 7:9. It turns out that this was a SPECIAL SUNDAY for their Pacesetters group that has a mission outreach in the community.

And guess what the theme of the program was??

“With God, all things are possible!” [The SAME as OUR theme! Amazing when things work out like this!]

They even had 2 baptisms. Here are some photos from the service:

Zion Baptist 01

Zion Baptist 02 baptism

Zion Baptist 03

Zion Baptist 04

Zion Baptist 05

Zion Baptist 06

Zion Baptist 07

Then they had a meal after this service (yea!….home cooking!).

Zion Baptist 09

Zion Baptist 08

Pastor Williams and his wife were very kind to us, and even gave us a love offering for GHA. Thank you, God.

THEN we learned that Pastor Williams was speaking at a special service in the afternoon at another church about 3 miles away. We decided to go, and jumped on our trikes and headed over to St. Peter East MBC. It turns out that this was an installation service for the interim pastor to become the full-time pastor – Rev. Lillie C. Gilmore, and a very big deal, because she became the very FIRST female Baptist pastor in the city of Greenville.

I saw more than 15 churches represented, in a sanctuary again less than half the size of Sinai. And the singing….wow! Here’s a sample:

Zion Baptist Choir & Congregation

And some photos from the service at St. Peter East MBC:

SPE 01

SPE 02

SPE 06 Ceremony

Pastor Lillie speaking

Here is Pastor Lillie’s husband, the Rev. A.C. Gilmore [which is probably how they solve the authority issue from the Bible – she has her husband as HER pastor]:

Rev AC Gilmore

I REALLY enjoyed Pastor Williams’ from ZBC teaching…he was “very much” in the Word, and backed up what he was teaching with multiple Scripture references. Great job!

AND they served MORE food after the ceremony (are we in heaven today or what!!!).

SPE 03

SPE 04

Now here’s where it REALLY gets interesting!

AFTER the service Earline went up to get some ice, and met Willie Griffin.

Willie Griffin and Jon

He was interested in our Mission tour, and it turned out that he was an attorney, and knew some folks in Vicksburg, where we were headed. He gave us a couple names, and told us to contact them for a place to stay. (More on THIS story continues tomorrow!)

Afterwards we got some more pictures with Pastor Lillie and others, including a young man who was 16 years old, and had already been preaching for over 2 years.

SPE 05

Young preacher

On the way back to the fire station, we met Shirley, who had seen us the night before, and wanted to try out the trike.

Shirley and Earline

The fireman were out playing some b-ball. Earline said it was exciting to see so many young, Black men being taught and mentored by some older Black men!

BB1

BB2

BB3

BB4

BB5

Alright….you guys have gotten enough attention….get back to work! Ha! [And again, thanks for all YOU do!]

Chief Cook says, ‘No, I didn’t do it!!!” (ha!)

Chief Cook

Tonight I got a chance to work on the blog, and Earline was able to get some e-mail and Facebook contacts caught up, as we made plans to leave in the morning.

Thank-you, God, for opportunities to publicly worship You, and thank You for your WONDERFUL provision.

TGG,

jon

Day 73 [Lexa, AK – Lula, MS]

THURSDAY, AUGUST 12, 2010

Special message for NEW readers of this blog:

[For those of you new to the blog, please pardon our dust!….er, ah, grammatical and technical imperfections!]

[Most nights, we do NOT have wifi – an internet connection – except thru my Blackberry – which I just got a replacement for [that story is coming up in a couple days] tell God thank-you – but still lost ALL my contacts – still CHOOSE to tell God thank-you – I read this morning in Psalm 50:23, that:

“giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me (God)”….

…actually, that would be a great thing to pray for….if you ALL could pray that I somehow get all my contacts back!] [Or even better, continue to THANK HIM in ALL situation!]

[So what I’m TRYING to say, is that I will upload text about the events of each day to the blog here, and when I do have access to the internet from our laptop, I will upload the photos that go WITH the text….whew!]

Now, to Day 73….we stayed overnight with Bill and Carrie north of Helena / West Helena (yes, that’s the official name now). Bill and Carrie were great hosts, and in the morning Bill even helped me do some repair work on my semi-truck-and-mini-cyclone-damaged umbrella (see yesterday’s blog). Ha! We actually taped wire hanger pieces to the damaged grooved arms of the umbrella (I think we’re on to something….this will work!) Carrie had a chance to try the I.C.E. trike….she’s a natural!

Carrie bookin

[Did we tell you that Bill and Carrie have a grandson name Eli?!]

Carrie and Earline

Miss Loretta came by, and we got her picture as well.

Carrie Earline Loretta

Hey, Miss Loretta in Orlando…Carrie and Bill’s Loretta reminded us so much of YOU!…she was great!

Said our goodbyes, as soon as Bill checked that we hadn’t forgotten anything!

Pretty entryway

Actually, we tried to get lost heading to Helena / West Helena, but Bill checked up on us, and pointed us in the right direction. We even on the way met Eli’s OTHER grandfather.

Proctor family

[Did we tell you that Eli has grandparents named Bill and Carrie?!]

In fact, Bill checked on us one more time (I think we are appearing a little scatterbrained these days).

[Oh, did I mention that Bill AND CARRIE have a grandson named Eli??!!!!!!!] [Ha!]

We finally got into town, and stopped at Walmart for some supplies (wow, is it hot today….over 100 degrees again. We have our umbrellas on again.)

Beatin the heat

We stopped at Wendy’s, explaining our Mission to them, and they were so nice. They gave us a whole bunch of ice (that is like gold to us these days!). Tried to get their picture, but some PEOPLE were NOT cooperating.

Easier to smile picture at Helena Wendys

While we were still at Wendy’s, Kevin Smith stopped by….he was our original point of contact from warmshowers.org.

Kevin Smith and Jon

It turns out that not only did he ALSO bike the Mississippi River from Lake Itasca to New Orleans, but his wife works with the Deaf! (Definitely a couple that we need to come back and spend more time with!)

We headed for the bridge across the River into the state of Mississippi. On the way we saw some lush hills…the vines completely cover some of the trees and create odd shapes of foliage. (and there’s hills down HERE along the Mississippi….who knew??!!)

Hills and foliage

Lush banks of MR

We went thru some of old Helena, and saw a LOT of closed stores and shops.

Downtown Helena

Downtown Helena2

Downtown Helena3

Most of the town and cities along the Mississippi River are displaying similar financial hardship – it has been very disheartening to see the economic hardships that so many are experiencing. America…wake up! We are in a mess!

One other note (Florida take heed)….the hardest hit communities (Helena, AK, Dubuque, IA, East St. Louis, IL, etc.) coincidentally seem to have a gambling establishment close by….is it possible that good money that could have been spent on establishing and promoting local businesses has gone instead into the hands of those who establish and promote the game of gambling or lottery, the amusement of casinos?…..just asking.) (see Proverbs 28:19, and Proverbs 23:19-21).

We called ahead to the local police, and made a request for assistance across the bridge…and I’m glad we did. It is a L-L-L-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-N-N-G-G bridge. Here’s Bridge #40 (wow, we are WAY past 36 bridges!):

Bridge40

Of course, one reason it was long, is because the Mississippi River is getting wider the further south we go. Compare this picture to ones of the river up in Minnesota [Days 1 through 25]:

Wide river at Helena AK

Here was our escort, and Earline appearing to be running away from him (oooo, it’s HOT, running from all these cops!!)

Escort from the Helena West Helena PD

STOP that lady Earline crossing 40

Thanks, Helena / West Helena…we appreciate it!

One thing that was interesting about this escort that had not happened before, is that everybody went AROUND the police car and us….cars, trucks, even semis, all the way across the bridge, even when the no passing line was on our side!! (This did NOT seem to be a safe situation to us.)

Passing semi

Passing dump truck

Passing cars

Were the police telling them to do this? Not sure…..hmmm.

WAIT!

I DID get a picture of him waving the vehicles around! Whoa!

Officer waving around

Even saw this semi barreling down on the police car as he turned around (this does NOT look good).

Semi vs cop

Our man DID get turned around safely, however…..whew! THANKS, AGAIN!

New state! [Signage tomorrow.]

Our guy turned to head home

By the time we got over the bridge, it was getting late, and Earline saw RVs across the way…there was a camping area next to the casino! We checked it out, and for $16 we were able to pitch our tent, and had full access to the amenities, including showers, indoor pool, and wifi! Sounds great! Whoa!

1st night in state9

Well…..REALITY is a little cruel sometimes.

Yes, there was a pool and showers…but the showers and pool area were NOT air-conditioned or dehumidified….apparently the unit had been busted for some time (but we STILL appreciated the pool), the wifi was VERY weak – the computer couldn’t see it, or if it did, there were ZERO bars, and it was unusable, AND the blacktop that we had to set our tent up on stayed HOT ALL night, and even our air mattress picked up the heat, creating a hot air sauna for us to sleep on (I worked on photos until about 5am, but even then, the air mattress was still miserably hot….rough night.)

VERY rough night.

We WERE grateful for the CASINO accommodations. (Proverbs 13:22 says that “….the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the godly.”)

And, we learned a few things – (do NOT set up on black asphalt that has been exposed to the summer sun) (let me repeat that…..do NOT, EVER, NO WAY, NOT EVER set up on sun-exposed black asphalt) (Ha, do you think we mean it??!!).

But like the wonderful Merlin Carothers always taught, we can truly thank Him in ALL situations, because HE is worthy of our praise and appreciation!

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