Day 2 [Longwood – De Leon Springs]

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2011

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

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

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

Place to brush teeth

All packed up and ready to head out.

Front of packed up trikes

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

Neighborhood Alliance Church

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

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

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

Jack Hannahs and Earline

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

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

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

Jim and Jon at Panara

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

 Special note to Bernie

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

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

Oops trikes WILL tip over

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

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

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

Tipped over in 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

Over the St Johns river

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

St Johns river and bridges

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

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

Up long hill into Debary

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

Back roads to De Leon Springs

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

Bethlehem MBC porch

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

ONLY TGG,

jon

Day 78 [Warfield Point Campground, MS – Lake Providence, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 17, 2010

Our campsite at Warfield Point campground shows how close we were to the Mississippi River……we could hear the barges all night.

Warfield Point tent site

We found this tree next to us, that had this weird seed or fruit on it…..anybody know what it is?

Weird tree seed or fruit

Weird seed fruit on tree

We decided to have…..okay, do we really have a choice?….graham crackers, peanut butter and honey (hey, if John the Baptist could live on locusts and honey, well, we have got it going on! Thank you, God, for your continued provision.)

Graham crackers and peanut butter and honey

Lovingly prepared, of course, by MY Honey:

Honey making honey

[Linda, did you notice we are using the honey-sticks you gave us? They’ve worked out good!]

We ran into some drizzles as we left camp, but our handy-dandy umbrella not only protect us from the hot sun, but also from….well, RAIN.

Warfield Point Campground riverside rain

Hot, yet again today, but we decided to take the umbrellas down before heading over the bridge. Good thing….the winds were a little gusty on the bridge. We were excited to cross this bridge, because it had only been open for ONE WEEK! I think we can safely claim that we are the FIRST recumbents to go across this bridge. We understand that this bridge now is the longest cable-stayed bridge on the Mississippi River (similar to the Cape Girardeau bridge). It WAS long, and here it is, Bridge #41!

Bridge41

At least the new bridge DID have a nice, wide shoulder. [No need for a police escort here!]

Oh, oh…..texting while triking…..do you think she is starting to get comfortable on these bridges??!! (You can see the old bridge in the background).

Texting while triking on 41

Oh, by the way……to experience what some of the older bridges feel like when going over them, I have just posted a video back on Day 70 of the I-55 Memphis bridge pedestrian walkway. Check it out.

Nice wide shoulder

Semi not so ominous here

Some of you might have noticed that our proposed route stayed on the EAST side, the state of Mississippi side of the River, but after realizing that the Arkansas route had an 8-FOOT SHOULDER the entire length of Highway 65, as well as being about 15 miles shorter, we both agreed that we’d try the Arkansas side of the river.

[And again, we’re fighting a proposed schedule here, too….I had made arrangements to pick up some more tires from Mark Power, and he mailed them to Herman Smith, a bridge manager in Vicksburg, MS…so we are tentatively supposed to be there by tomorrow afternoon, and highway 65 should knock 2 to 3 hours off of our arrival time.]

As we left the bridge we saw some beautiful homes on our right, on the banks of Chicot Lake…..I understand this is the largest oxbow lake in North America.

Interesting home on Chicot Lake

At the corner of 82 and 65, off of Chicot Lake, we met this road construction crew that not only gave us water, but guided us through the busy intersection. Thanks, guys!

Guys at 82 and 65

65 turned out to be a very busy road as we suspected, and the shoulder sometimes was closer to 5 foot than 8, but we still were VERY glad for that shoulder the entire way.

Saw this….well….what is it? (Looks like the Martians from War of the Worlds!) A FREE WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt (if we ever get them made!) to the first person who can tell me WHAT THESE ARE??

Martians

Saw this gorgeous skyscape north of Eudora. (The heavens declare/announce/proclaim/tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship……Psalm 19:1)

Beautiful sky north of Eudora

In Eudora…..interesting…..an officer stopped us, and said that somebody had “reported” to him about some bicycles coming through town. He seemed to kinda laugh it off, and he offered to escort us through town. We said “sure,” and he followed us for over 3 miles. Earline was a little suspicious of the offer…..she thought that maybe they were making sure that we went THROUGH their town and didn’t stop! HA!…….well…..maybe…..hmmmm.

Escorting Earline

Officer escort

Thanks for the escort, officer….we DID appreciate it!

Meanwhile, we kept trying to reach the 2 contacts in Vicksburg that attorney Willie Griffin had given us in Greenville. Our phone service was very intermittent in this area, and when I did get through to Alvin Taylor, it said his voice mail service was not set up. Hmmm.

We finally did get ahold of the lady, but she said that she was going into the hospital the next day, and couldn’t help us with a place to stay, but that she knew an evangelist friend who could provide a safe place. We finally then did talk to Miss Gertrude, and she said she’d get back to us. But, we didn’t hear from her…..hmmm…..maybe she tried, but couldn’t get through….well….

We saw this weird mailbox, and I guess I took a picture of it because, well, it’s weird!

Robot mailbox

By now it is getting dark, and we came to the Louisiana state line (Our final state – State #10!!). Here’s a picture of the sign and Earline:

Welcome to Louisiana State 10

Ack!

Okay, so you can’t really see Earline…..after several attempts, I COULD NOT get both the sign and her to show up. Something about the light bouncing back off of the reflective sign….hmmm.

Well, here SHE is by herself!!

THERE she is

Soon after this we had a Louisiana officer stop us…..he was curious…..wondered what we were doing. I gave him our flyer, and explained the Mission Tour. He told us our flashing blue lights on our wheels were ILLEGAL in Louisiana, but when I asked him if he wanted me to turn them off, he said no, that they helped make us more visible. He said the SLOW MOVING VEHICLE SIGNS showed up real well. He asked who was in the other trike (he couldn’t see from the back), and I told him that it was my wife.

He then warned me that there was a rough area in the town coming up that had a lot of Blacks in it, and that we should be careful. I thanked him for his concern, and then I went up to talk to her, and the policeman proceeded to go around us, and then made sure that Earline waved at him as he went by, with a surprised look on his face.

HA! Oh, well…..

We had decided to keep riding because it WAS a wide shoulder, much cooler than riding in the daytime, a straight shot to Vicksburg, and we figured we could make up some time……and we wanted to make Vicksburg before it got too late the next day to make sure that we could get a ride across the river.

I had called ahead, as Bob had suggested in his book, and talked to Herman Smith. The interstate bridge there has been open for 30 years or so, but the old bridge was closed down to traffic around 15 years ago. Large bike groups can apply for permits to go across with the appropriate liability insurance, but individuals or small groups like us can actually get rides across the bridge in a pick-up if you call ahead.

We went through the “bad” section of Lake Providence, and continued to a truck stop that the officer had mentioned would be on the south side of town.

There had been a car that kept turning around, and seemed to be following us, and we thought….what?……hmmm. When we got to the truck stop, Janie and her son stopped to talk to us….apparently THEY had been following us, and hoping to catch up with us at the truck stop.

Janie and her son

They were excited to hear about our Mission Tour and Janie even called another son and daughter to come “check us out.”

Janies 2nd son

Night time picture taking

There was another couple there that tried out the trikes, and donated some money to GHA…..

Riding trike

Couple lost child

It turns out that the couple had recently lost a young child, and were struggling to deal with the grief of that. We had the opportunity to share some words of encouragement, as well as some Scripture that tells of a God who blesses those who mourn, and who fulfills promises to those who cry out for help.

We continued another mile or two down the road, but we were both getting pretty sleepy, so we took a nap in the shadows of a roadside church, that turned into setting up our tent on the backside for a few more hours of sleep.

Parked in the shadow

An interesting thing about this picture….yes, you can see Earline beside a door on the east side of the church, but this location was actually in the shadow of a yard light that sat on the north side of the church. And Earline, sitting in this shadow, it was so dark, that from the main road, only 60, 70 yards away, even with her white clothes on, she could NOT be seen.

It was really amazing to see!

It reminded me of the verse in Psalm 17 where it says that we can “Hide in the shadow of God’s wings.”

Lord, protect us, and give us some refreshing rest. In Jesus name.

TGG,

jon

Day 6 [Grand Rapids, MN]

JUNE 6, 2010

After a wonderful (included) continental breakfast here at the Country Inn (we couldn’t figure out if the food REALLY was that good, or because we roughed it all week we really APPRECIATED the food as it was!), we headed over to Alliance Church, just a few blocks away.

Although it was walking distance, we decided to take the trikes (sans luggage), and it was a good thing we did. It started to drizzle on the way over there, and it was raining and cold on the way BACK to the motel. (We had put our Bibles and some paperwork in one of our WalMart dry sacks – about 2 ft by 3 ft, yellow, and completely waterproof….they have been GREAT!)

Met Pastor Randy Junker (not like the car, but with a Scandinavian “soft-J” sound, like HalleluJAH!). Please pray for him…although a few years younger than me, not only is he himself battling Parkinsons, but they lost a son in a boating accident of sorts just about a year ago – he lost his life trying to save someone else’s – and the anniversary of that is coming up soon. The young man left behind a wife and four young children – the Pastor’s grandchildren.

Jon and Pastor Junker
Pastor Junker and Jon

Like my mom, who also has Parkinsons, who walks 2 miles every morning at the age of 77, Pastor Junker says he plays LOTS of golf, not only for the physical exercise, but for his mental and spiritual well-being as well.

He did a sermon topic on suicide, and the value of a person in God’s eyes. He had a lady come up to talk about taking x-rays of suicide victims at the morgue.

He used a wonderful illustration:  he brought that same lady up front, and asked her for some money, preferably a 20 dollar bill. She had one.

He asked her what she planned to do with the money.

She said she would probably buy lunch with it.

He pointed out to her that it states right on the 20 dollar bill, that the Federal Reserve says that piece of paper is worth $20.

Then Pastor Junker proceeded to SMASH it and TWIST it, and throw it on the ground, and then JUMP on it, and THEN he asked for someone to SPIT on it!

No one wanted to do that!

Finally, though, one of kids volunteered, but he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it, and one of the older high school kids said HE’D do it (and he did!) and then they took and smashed the bill between 2 hymnals.

Great fun!!

Pastor took the 20 back up to the stage, to the bewildered looking lady, and asked her if she wanted it back?

She said yes.

“But it has been mangled, and twisted, and even spit upon!!”

But it was still a 20, it would still buy lunch, because the Federal Reserve says that it is worth 20 dollars.

And isn’t that what God says to each of us? Not matter how we’ve been treated, or what others have done to us, God still says that we are important to Him, and that our value to HIM has not diminished in the least.

Great lesson!

Made some good contacts at the church – even met a girl who’s best friend was from Garnavillo! [For those of you in Rio Linda, Garnavillo is a small town in Northeast Iowa, a suburb of National, Iowa] [HUH??!!]

Did some shopping at WalMart, and are getting ready for the week ahead….thanks AGAIN for YOUR prayers and financial support.

OH….I almost forgot – in between the rain showers yesterday, we DID go over another bridge over the Mississippi – Bridge #14:
Bridge14

Oh-oh….looks like Earline’s texting and triking!

Texting and triking in MN

And finally [no, Jyl and Cressa you CANNOT answer this question!]….for 10 points, and a FREE WiFi Pedalers T-Shirt to the first person who answers the question correctly (if we ever get them made!)….

What exactly IS this strange contraption we saw sitting in the middle of the field?
Mystery object inf ield

TGG,

jon

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

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 – 10:25 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mark and Linda
Mark and Linda Power

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trek booth at HH
Outside the Trek booth on Saturday

Iowa bent
An early bent made in Iowa

Earline and Keiron
Earline and Keiron at our table on Saturday

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

Gettingwarmedupfortheride
Getting warmed up before the ride

Howard on his bent
Howard on his “bicycle” bent

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

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

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

West Side of Lake Minneola
West side of Lake Minneola

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

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

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

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

Haybalesinthecountry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

HH 2009 century.cdr

We’re on the ROAD again!

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 – 9:12 AM

(Actually I’m on the trail BESIDE Old Hwy 50 – lot more traffic today than yesterday.) Wait! Isn’t this what got me in trouble yesterday – texting while triking?! Ha….no such deadline today. Let’s get this 100 finished! (I’m especially eager to FINALLY go DOWN North Ridge….remember, that’s where I had my 10th flat the first time doing this route….see the 1st HH entry.) Okay, onward! Be strong and of good courage!

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

And the result is….

NOVEMBER 15, 2009 – 8:27 PM

…..OOPS! Guess I did too much talking and texting today! About 6:30 I was pulled off the route before I finished, because I guess the rule for insurance purposes is, “no registered riders after dark.”

Ack! I really had no clue! [Somehow I missed that memo.]

I was told I had done 92 miles, and was only 8 miles from the finish! The plan is to go back and finish the 8 miles tomorrow.

And…..I DID get some GREAT pictures. (I’ll try and get them posted tomorrow.)

Good night!

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Oh-oh

NOVEMBER 15, 2009 – 10:31 AM

Texting while triking!

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Blog by E-Mail? Testing….

NOVEMBER 15, 2009 – 1:28 AM

Mmmm….my only question is, if it’s discouraged and some places even illegal to text while driving, is it bad for me to txt while “triking?”

Ha! (I guess we’ll find out…)(!)

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.