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

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2010

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

Scene looking NE from Gayle and Jeffs house

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

Esther Earline Pastor Herb Jon

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

Rotary club recumbent rider

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

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

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

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

Pastor AND Cousin James Zittergruen

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

Cousin Torrie and Earline

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

Man behind the story

And his most excellent photographer, John Lovrett:

John Lovretta the photographer

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

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

WiFi Pedalers newspaper Burlington

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

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

Deaf Bible study group in Burlington

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

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 31 [Guttenburg, IA – Balltown, IA]

THURSDAY, JULY 1, 2010

After a good night’s sleep in the Ahrens’ camper, Earline and I had a wonderful breakfast lovingly prepared by Elizabeth and “GrosMutter”….

GrosMutter show biscuits

The family tried out the trikes, and seemed to catch on quickly. Adventurers, every one. Here’s Pastor Duncan, Megan [with no shoes – ouch!], and Mallory, with Duchess guarding the activities.

Pastor Duncan trikes

Megan trikes

Mallory trikes with Duchess

Thanks, Ahrens family! Because of your generosity, may God add a special blessing to all your endeavors this summer!

We road back into the town of Guttenberg (and saw this doe with 2 fawns!)….

Doe with TWO fawns

We stopped at a Disability Center (they have about 5 Deaf that normally come during the day for various activities, but just not today!), a Family Resource Center (funded by the hospital in town, and operating as a hub for many resources available for residents of Clayton County….Cari, whom we spoke with, knows and works with my cousin, Ruth Hilgerson from St. Olaf!), the City Information Center, “The Press” newspaper – where Katie, an intern, interviewed us for an article next week, and the library, where they had wifi, so that I could get some more photos uploaded here to the blog. Whew!

Here’s Katie with Earline:

Katie at The Press

About 10 minutes after we sat down in the library, Joanita and Danny dropped in! I had just txt’d Danny that we were in the library, and he said they were coming down the hill when they got the text! They drove all the way from Monona to bring us some mail that had just arrived today from Florida. Thank you!

Shortly after they left, Earline was anxious to get on the road, so we headed out, saying goodbye to Carolyne the librarian, who apparently knew many of Uncle Danny’s relatives!

Carolyne at Guttenberg library

Small world.

Headed up the Guttenberg hill south of town – this is the hill that I had been concerned about for Earline, but – nice wide shoulder, and Earline made it up without too much difficulty! Way to go! Whoo-whoo!

Long haul up Guttenburg hill

Saw this pretty homestead near the top of the bluff, overlooking the Mississippi River valley…..saw quite a few homes like this, sometimes seemingly precariously close to the edge!

Homestead top of bluff

The downhill after that to Millville and the Turkey River was great – almost 2 miles – but NO shoulder (well…..a gravel shoulder). NOT good for cyclists, especially with all the heavy truck traffic on this State Highway 52.

Down the Millville hill

After that we headed along the Turkey River up and down hills to North Buena Vista and Balltown.

Turkey River little bridge

Turkey River in Millville

Remember when the Mississippi River was this big in northern Minnesota? This Turkey River that runs into the Mississippi is actually pretty “swollen” now – with all the rain in Minnesota and Iowa the month of June. It is normally about 1/4 this size. I have actually canoed on this river a couple times.

It takes a while for all the water to run from the drains and the streams to the rivers, and even though the weather is nice now, the rivers are showing the after-effects of all the rain. We noticed that the dam gates in Guttenberg were wide open, letting the high, rushing water pass through.

Here, next to the downtown park, is the dam in Guttenburg we saw yesterday:

Guttenburg dam with gates open

Later we saw these cows, like the ones on Day 8, wondering what these contraptions were going by their field!

Curious cows

We also saw more of the white worms, that we talked about on Day 25:

More white worms

The hills to NBV and Balltown were KILLER, but the views from the top of the ridge were truly spectacular! Here are some photos that hopefully do some justice to the beauty of the vistas we saw:

Approach downhill by Balltown

NE Iowa 1

NE Iowa 2

NE Iowa 3

NE Iowa 4

NE Iowa 5

At the Breitbach Country Inn in Balltown (which is actually the oldest operating restaurant in the state of Iowa – since 1852!) Mike actually held the buffet open a little longer than normal as we struggled up the last hill to get there. He then donated the meal to us and the cause of GHA! Bravo!

Here’s Earline with Sam, our waitress:

Breitbach waitress Sam

AND, then he turned around and let us tent up the hill from the inn right by electricity and water. Thanks, Mike!!!!!

Jon and Mike and Earline

(By the way, the food was fresh and excellent….another reason why everybody told us to be sure and stop at the Breitbach!!)

Good night!

(Now if God would just help me ignore the wind that is making the tent flap in a very aggravating way….ack! Ha!)

TGG,

jon

Day 29 [Monona, IA – Pikes Peak State Park, IA]

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010

Frantically trying to finish processing the last of the photos so that you all can be caught up on the blog.

We are leaving Danny and Joanita’s today. And we DID receive all of the packages that all of you left or sent to their house for us. Thank you all!!

And here’s a list of things that we have also lost along the way (which we can’t figure out, because we look SO carefully before we head out each morning):

• A spare yellow, WiFi Pedalers flag, quadrangle shape, and looks like this:

ICE Trike flag 31

• The colorful spiral flag that blew off on the Ford bridge in south Mpls. (Maybe somebody downstream will find it!) They looks like this, before we lost both of them (yes, that is Babe, the Big, Blue Ox in the background):

PB and Babe

• My main, gray and black tire pump, with an air gauge (Topeak Road Morph)

• One 8″ long metal TENT stake (maybe at Maiden Rock after the storm? See Day 22)

• One black USB cord, with a camera connector on one end (I do have a spare of this, but I still wonder where the other one went…hmm!)

Got all packed up and said our good-byes….Joanita sent along an extra batch of brownies (yumm!) as well as some of Susie’s GREAT Amish bread.

Joanita behind jons trike

Danny and Joanita took a quick seat in our trikes…..they look GOOD, don’t you think?

Danny and Joanita on the trikes

We headed out to the Gateway Park (which used to be our land!) and took pictures by the Monona sign. Saw for the first time a special memorial for armed service personnel from Monona (of course, we HAD to get a picture by the NAVY guy!):

War memorial

Navy statue

Monona sign

Went uptown to try and find some Monona postcards (no luck).

After picking up supplies at WalMart in Prairie du Chien last night, we noticed that the wide shoulder that existed on Hwy 52 was gravel, and that the immediate 4 ft. shoulder had a 2 ft. rumble cut groove cut in it – NOT good at all for our trikes. So we decided to take the old Marquette Road, no shoulder, but a lot less traffic.

What a pretty day! All the rain we’ve been thru really makes us appreciate days like this….and some real pretty views of the Iowa countryside from the top of the ridge.

Big round bales on Iowa hayfield

PLUS, we got to go THROUGH the big, little city of Watson:

Big little city of Watson

Yup, that’s it. That’s the whole town! Ha!

We also stopped at a little, country cemetery:

Country cemetery in NE Iowa

Nice and FUN downhill into Marquette (almost 2 miles…..whee!)

Went over the Marquette /Prairie du Chien bridge – Bridge #27, and a view to the south from the bridge:

Bridge27

Looking south from Prairie bridge

Back to Iowa, we HAD to stop and get a picture by the Pink Elephant (it used to be the name of a fancy restaurant up on the bluff; the restaurant no longer exists, but the elephant remains!)

Earline smile with pink elephant

Pick elephants nose

EEEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!

Riding through MacGregor, we met the Mayor, Miss Gaylinda Hallberg. She sends her greetings to all of you, and says, “Come visit McGregor!”

MacGregor mayor

At the top of the main street saw this pretty Funeral Home, and met the new owner, a Doug DeVries. We found the inside quite charming, actually:

Funeral home in McGregor

Funeral home in MacGregor

As we headed up the hill to Pikes Peak, we met the burger and cigarette lady….it was late, but we think she tried a little too hard to get us to camp in her yard….“It’s a really long hill”…“I’ve got burgers on the grill”….“It’ll be like Ringling Brothers – it’s a real circus around here”…. “I’ve already got one camper”….ah, no thanks. Like Nehemiah on the wall, we did not want to get distracted. [See Nehemiah 4:7-23]

Climbing Pikes Peak hill

Made it up the Pikes Peak hill without too much difficulty – called Danny and Joanita to let them know WE MADE IT – and the entrance to the park was just 100 yards past the top of the hill.

Here is the sunset behind us – a few minutes before we arrived at Pike’s Peak State Park:

Sunset a few minutes before we arrived at Pikes Peak

It was getting late, so we set up quickly. We met (and got some fire starter help from) Ezra and Molly. Earline was able to give Molly some tips on starting her own business. Neat couple.

Continuing on 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

 

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

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23, 2010

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

Where’s here?

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

Why?

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

WOW, did it hit!

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

Wet view from tent

View from the all metal pavilion

Tent and sun on Lake Pepin

ICE trikes all loaded and ready to go

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

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

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

So…..

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

Whoa, did it blow!

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

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

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

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

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

Suck air out of tent

Tent kite

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

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

John and Marti

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

Barbara and Bill from Colorado

And Barbara got a chance to test drive the trike.

Barbara tries the trike

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

Lou and Jon

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

3 boys outside of Alma

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

Large coal plant utility south of Alma

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

Many steps

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

More pretty bluffs outside Alma

Buffalo city view

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

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

Clean at last, clean at last!

Good night!

TGG,

Jon

Day 22 [Prescott, WI – Maiden Rock, WI]

TUESDAY, JUNE 22, 2010

Left the “quarry” at a little after 8am, and WHOO!, what a day!

(Actually, what a lightning show going on right now!! And yes, those clouds continue to get closer!)

This morning we had some pretty strenuous hills….Earline’s leg HAS been feeling a little better – she will still sometimes experience the “shin-splint-like” shooting pains, but not nearly as often, or of the severity she experienced early on.

Now, her legs just ache. (Welcome to the club!) And after today…..hmm! It took us almost 3 hours just to go the first 7 miles!

Here’s Earline in the middle of the climb. (I think she looks kinda cute!…..she is FOCUSED!)

Cool dudess focused

We tried to take pictures of the climbs, but the roads curve a lot, and you really can’t get feel for what it looks like, or how steep it is, with just these n-dimensional photos. (You’ll just have to join us on the NEXT tour!)

Long uphill from Prescott

Long uphill from Prescott2

Long uphill from Prescott3

It was TOUGH!

BUT…..not quite the adventure of this little guy. One of the times we stopped to rest, Earline noticed him dragging his work ACROSS the road….and he dragged (WHATEVER it is he is carrying…..if anyone can figure it out, let us know) ALL the way across the road, through trucks and cars, to the other side.

Ambitious fly ant

Also saw some llamas on our climb…..curious looking animals!

Llamas

Saw ANOTHER manure spreader parked on the front lawn….some kind of manure spreader art? Mmmm. It WAS clean. Hmmm. [As I mentioned in Day 2, I am now calling these FILOs – Farm Implement Lawn Ornament!]

FILO Manure spreader new

Still climbing up the hill……we’re tired, we’re almost out of water, we’re hungry, and we see a sign:

“Food” – “Drink” – “Ice Cream”……WHOA!!!!!!

We had lunch at what is called Nesbitt’s Nursery – truly a cyclist’s OASIS, as it sits just about at the TOP of the ascent up from Prescott.

And guys….it’s a NURSERY! Asked many questions, and got many insights into possible ideas for the DAH Nursery.

Here’s Donna and Leon Nesbitt

Nesbitts owners

Their son, Lee tries out the trike for a spin.

Lee Nesbitt test drive

Check out the plant art on the right closely…..what’s it made of? Manure spreader parts! Son-in-law Sam is apparently the creative genius behind many of the wonderful creations we saw on the premises.

Manure spreader plant

Nesbitts Nursery bye

We went down [whe-e-e-e-e-e-!] the hill inspired and refreshed.

Met Norris and his crew at a local gas station…..they were going pizza tree hunting! (Earline ALMOST believed him!) Norris is the tattoo guy on the left.

Pizza tree hunting

Norris actually learned a fair amount of conversational sign language when he was dating a Deaf girl that piqued his interest. (Knowing the language helps!)

Road up another mile-plus long hill (wow, did you hear that train….WOW, THAT’S LOUD!) and saw this farmer just finishing baling a field of hay (ahead of the 70% rain forcast for tomorrow….make hay while the sun SHINES…..make HASTE when it doesn’t!). Brings back memories for me.

Baling hay in Wisconsin

And THEN we had an almost 2-mile DOWNHILL (now THAT what I’m talking about!)!! 25 to 30 mph, 35 tops. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

We finally ending up camping in Maiden Rock, in a little city park right on the banks of the Mississippi, a wide area of the river called Lake Pepin….check THIS out:

Fuzzy night shot

Beautiful view, frequent trains to spice up the experience, and a carload of cursing teens enjoying a campfire beside us with slamming hard rock providing a restful ambiance…..ACCKK!

(And the storm clouds in the distance are getting even CLOSER! Continuous lightning…..It’s 1:30am….let me try and get a FEW winks of sleep.)

Blurry lightning

Good night!

TGG,

jon

Day 19 [St. Paul, MN]

SATURDAY, JUNE 19, 2010

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

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

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

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

ACS facilitator at conf

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

Capitol building in St Paul

Uncle A had a chance to test drive the trike:

Uncle A test drive

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

Earline AND Earline

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

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

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

Cousin Jhawn stopped by for a photo op:

Jhawn with J and E

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

Thru God’s Grace alone,

jon

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

JUNE 17, 2010

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

A few squished leaves

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

Glimpse of downtown

Bridge by St Anthony parkway Cambridge

Camden Bridge detour

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

East Marshall concrete plant

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

Active train trestle

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

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

Bridge21

 

Bridge21 with Earline

This is the view north from the Plymouth bridge:

View north from the Plymouth bridge

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

Young Trikers

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

Hennepin bridge and grain belt beer sign

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

Satanic mechanic

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

Bridge22

South side of Stone Arch bridge

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

Stone Arch Falls in Mpls, MN

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

De-graffiti guy under bridge

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

Bridge23

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

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

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

Bridge23 Ford Parkway looking west

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

Wide Mississippi from Ford bridge

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

Lock1B

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

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

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

Snow plow sign

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

Riding at Auntees

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

Michael and Earline at revival

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

Thank all of you AGAIN for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

Day 13 [St. Cloud, MN]

JUNE 13, 2010

Up early, and headed over to Life Assembly of God, the home church of Mitch’s dad, Dana Dillman, who is also Deaf.

Brandi, who you met on DAY 10, says the Mr. Dana is the reason she is an interpreter today. He would tease her and tease her when she couldn’t get the signs, until she was almost in tears, but it was Mr. Dana who forced the issue and made her sign language skills better and better.

Here’s Mr. Dana, trying HIS hand at triking!!:

Mr Dana on the trike

Mitch also has a younger brother named Nick…..and all you interpreters in Central Florida need to get ready, because Nick will soon be moving to the Orlando area to get married, he is Deaf, and he is a LICENSED massage therapist! (whoo-whoo!)

Here’s Nick on Earline’s trike:

Nick on a trike

We enjoyed the worship service at Life Assembly under the guidance of Pastor Craig Moore. And Mitch’s wife, Krista, is an ANOINTED interpreter – she seemed to come alive when presenting the preached word. Excellent! Here’s a picture of the whole crew after the service:

Dillman family photo

Earline even made it to church in her Sunday dress finest!! [yes, she did!]:

Earline headed to church

The youth of Life Assembly were outside, performing a “get-the-bad-stuff-out-adectomy” on Corey:

Getting the bad music out

And when Corey got the WORD put in him…..wow! New Life!

New LIFE for Corey

Great job, guys! As the WORD says in Psalm 119:162, “I rejoice on your Word, like one who finds great treasure!” and verse 35, “Make me walk along the path of your commands, for THAT is where my happiness is found!”

GOOD stuff!

And when we got back to the hotel, Miss Punky [love that name] made sure that our accommodations were JUST right….

Miss Punky

Good night!

TGG,

jon

Day 12 [St. Cloud (Foley), MN]

JUNE 12, 2010

Spent most of this cold, rainy, Saturday indoors (yea!) at the local McDonalds in Foley, and worked on route planning and blogging, as we stayed another night with the Dillman family.

Outside Mcdonalds rainy Day12

The folks at McDonalds were great, very hospitable (and I loved the hot chocolate!). Here’s Jeff and the crew:

Jerry and crew

WHOOPS! Where’s Katie? AH-H-H-H, found her….in the drive thru!

Katie in drivethru

Met several couples there for a wedding – 3 generations! (grandpa said he doesn’t normally dress up like this!). Also met a couple guys who were interested in our outreach to the Deaf, and they even donated some cash money for our non-profit! Thank you so MUCH….it’s generosity like that that makes this trip and our ministry to the Deaf community possible….without folks like you, we could not do it. Thanks again.

After we finished a bunch of work, we headed back to the Dillman ranch, and let the crew there experience riding on the trikes….much fun and giggles:

All the kids taking a turn

Here’s all the girls (Trinity, Tiffany, Earline, and Tabitha), as well as Titus:

The girls and Titus

Speaking of – I don’t think I have a photo of THOMAS…..HERE he is (along with Titus):

Thomas and Titus

Then we loaded up the trikes on the Dillman trailer, and Mitch drove us over to a Fairfield in town, to get ready for the next two days, and Mpls. this week:

Loaded up in trailer

Yes, Thomas and Judy, we already made use of your generosity….and it was greatly appreciated! Which brings me to the WiFi Moment of the day:

In Mark 6:7, Jesus sent out the disciples by two, taking nothing with them except their clothes and sandals. No food, no traveling bag, no money, not even an extra coat! (now THAT is faith, huh??!!)

But then, a little later in the chapter, starting at verse 30, when the disciples got back from their ministry, Jesus told them, “Let’s get away from the crowds for a while and rest.” Sometimes there were so many people coming and going, Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat! (Of course, right after this comes the feeding of the 5,000 men, plus women and children. God WILL supply!)

To those of you who are also in ministry….are you getting YOUR proper rest?

Jesus instructed his disciples to “remove themselves from the action” so that they could get some rest. Psalm 127, verse 2 says that “God wants His loved ones to get their proper rest.”

So GET SOME REST. We have, and we’e ready to head to Minneapolis, 6:00 in the morning.

Please continue to pray for us, that God will take us to the specific people He wants us to minister to.

THANK YOU!

TGG,

jon