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 65 [Samburg, TN – Chisholm Lake, TN]

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 2010

Day 65 started out in one of the nicest, cleanest motels we had been in all summer….the Southshore Resort on the southeast side of Reelfoot Lake in western Tennessee. Thanks, Rick, for an outstanding establishment. You are to be commended. (Now if you can just get some great internet access in there…..ha!)

South Shore Resort

Starting out day 65

Yes, the Southshore did not have internet.

That has probably been on of the biggest challenges and disappointments of the Mission Possible Tour….I really had no idea that getting a halfway decent internet connection, or even phone service for much of the trip, would EVER be as difficult as it has been.

Maybe that is the challenge of living in a metro area like Orlando. You get spoiled.

Very hard to even FIND an internet connection, and when I do, it is often unreliable.

As I sit right now in a Super 8 in Ripley, Tennessee, the internet is down. The front desk said that they were also experiencing problems, and couldn’t help me. Neither Earline or I have phone service (although Earline was able to pick up an occasional signal outside.) My phone, which had been fine earlier this morning, now is in a perpetual state of reboot, and I cannot get it to come on. Which means my phone service, my google maps, my text blogs, my addresses, some photographs, my voice notes, my Scripture notes…..NONE of it is accessible at this time…..wow….

And YET…

I KNOW that the God of this universe, the One who is the creator of ALL life and physical matter, the One who holds EVERYTHING together (see Colossians 1:16 and 17) knows ALL of my frustrations, knows ALL of YOUR frustrations, knows every detail of EVERY circumstance….and is able to fix everything in an instant, and I pray and hope that He will do so, for my benefit, for your benefit, for HIS glory….I cannot complain.

I won’t.

Day 65 also became one of the longest and hardest days of our Mission Possible Tour. Since the actual temperature during the past couple days here along the MR has been over 100 degrees, with heat indices between 115 and 120 degrees, we again stayed out of the heat of the day. With our nice, large, air-conditioned room I was able to do some repair work on the trikes with the supplies I picked up at the Post Office yesterday, putting the liner and Flat Attack goop that Mark sent me in my back tire, tightening up Earline’s side bars, fixing my mirror that got beat up when I went upside down in the ditch the other day….it was a productive morning.

[If you EVER get the chance to do repair work in an air-conditioned area….DO IT!…..HA!]

And even though I did not have an internet connection, during the morning hours I was able to prep on the computer all the photos to the current day, ready to be uploaded to the web site when I can.

We said our goodbyes to Joi, who works in the Pier restaurant, along with her sister Velvet, who waited on us last night.

Joi at Southshore Pier Restaurant

Their step-mom is Deaf, and has been encouraging Joi to learn some of the language so that they can better communicate. Joi, we add our voices to what your step-mom is saying…you CAN do it. Use the cards we gave you…..check out www.godshandsagency.com…..explore the resources that we list on the site. It does take some time and effort….but it is worth it, and again, you CAN do it.

Ask God to help you….He WILL, you know.

We headed over to the Reelfoot Lake Visitor Center, and saw some pretty homes and scenery all around the lake. This lake covers almost 30 square miles, but is only 5 to 20 feet deep, created in the early 1800s by the most severe recorded earthquake ever to hit the North American continent.

Cypress trees along Reelfoot Lake

Cypress trees along Reelfoot Lake2

The Visitor Center was closed by the time we got there (4:30pm…..boo, hiss), but we did get a chance to eat next door at Boyette’s Restaurant, established almost 90 years ago. We met Erin, who waited on us, and was interested in our Tour and our purpose. Thanks, Erin for your most excellent service!

Boyettes

Erin and Earline

Right next door was Hillbilly Junction, and OF COURSE, I HAD to take our pictures!

Hillbilly Earline

“Here I is!”

Hillbilly Jon

As we headed down to Ridgley, TN, we were again headed across huge fields of corn and soybeans. We saw this field of…..something. It kinda looked like soybeans, but there were many of these white and pink flowers…..is this soybeans? Maybe one of you farmers out there can help us out.

What is it plant

Speaking of……the WIN-A-FREE-T-SHIRT-IF-WE-EVER-GET-THEM-MADE alert! We ran across this field of “something” for the first time this summer. A FREE WiFi Pedaler T-Shirt goes to the first person who can correctly identify WHAT this 3 to 4 foot tall crop is growing in this field:

T shirt contest plant

On our way into Ridgely, we saw this decorated wagon wheel….neat!

Decorated wagon wheel

The sun was on its way down.

Pretty sunset over cemetery

In Ridgely, we met Courtney and Ann at Ray’s One Stop; Courtney is going to school to work with special-needs kids. We applaud you, Courtney!

Courtney Earline Ann

On our way through Ridgely, we decided that the 30 mile stretch of Highway 181 is something that we did NOT want to do the next day in 100-plus heat, so we decided to keep riding.

And so we did.

All night.

Bob says in his book that the waterfowl viewing out here on top of the levee is really good…..but, well, this is all we saw:

Night time scenery

Trike at night Earline

Nightime greenery

We did occasionally see some vegetation along the side of the road, and as it eventually got light early in the morning, we were able to see some of the scenery we had been missing:

Overlook Tenn Valley2

Vines and kudzu

Riding at night is hard….you can’t see that far ahead of you. And we find that dogs that can’t see you tend to be more aggressive when all they can do is smell you. (Plus their eyes reflect the flashlight, so they ALL look like demon dogs….weird!)

The darkness also means that if you DO have a downhill, you CAN’T go down them fast because you would be overdriving your lights, which is dangerous, so you don’t get the reward for your efforts going up those hills.

Bummer!

We did take a break and sat alongside the road to take a quick nap around 4:30am to 5:30am. One of the locals did stop to check on us, to see if we were alright.

We appreciate that!

Interesting area…..especially the Hobe Webb Road. LOTS of ups and downs.

Big Tenn trees

Hobe Webb Road

We decided to head into Ripley, because we needed to find ANY services available. We needed some place to crash during the heat of the day, and we did find a Walmart where we could pick up few supplies (batteries, some CO2 cartridges, etc.)

Walmart after 65 mile ride

I’ll break here, to close this day [it IS the next day!….HA!]…..total mileage overnight:  about 65 miles.

ONLY Through God’s Grace,

jon

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

SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2010

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

Scene looking NE from Gayle and Jeffs house

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

Esther Earline Pastor Herb Jon

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

Rotary club recumbent rider

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

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

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

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

Pastor AND Cousin James Zittergruen

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

Cousin Torrie and Earline

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

Man behind the story

And his most excellent photographer, John Lovrett:

John Lovretta the photographer

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

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

WiFi Pedalers newspaper Burlington

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

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

Deaf Bible study group in Burlington

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

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

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

TGG,

jon

Day 35 [Galena, IL]

MONDAY, JULY 5, 2010

It rained much of the night, and storms continue to linger in the area…..our tent stayed dry inside, but it was pretty wet on the outside, and drops of water remained on the outside ends and the tarp.

We decided to take the day to reorganize, to wash ALL our clothes (I had two clean shirts left, and that was it) and thankfully the campground here has a laundry (YEA!)…..thank you God, AGAIN, for providing for us what we need.

Laundry and Earline

(Wait…..what do you mean, “A woman’s work is never done!”…..you volunteered to do the laundry!) (Just keeping the facts straight here…..HA!)

I spent much of the day catching up on this blog….all caught up with text AND photos! (Yea!!) Here’s a picture of the campground….according to Bob Robinson, it is the oldest campground in the state of Illinois:

Palace Campgrounds

Notice the tractor and wagon on the left? Apparently, they have a hayride that takes place every weekend. Cool. And in the background to the right…..wait, let me take another picture….

Northern IL farm and Walmart

…..yes, it’s the rolling hills of Northern Illinois in the background, a picturesque farmstead on your right, and…..a Walmart on your left! Ha……hey, I appreciated the convenience, to be honest with you.

Picked up a couple supplies, Earline worked on some e-mails, and I worked on this blog. Drew some attention, however, sitting outside the office here, and had a chance to talk with a few folks. One of them was this young man, Matt Young….

Matt Young

He’ll be a senior in high school this next year, he got “saved” a couple years ago, and will be going to camp the week before our New Vision group goes to camp this summer. (AND he likes the groups “The Color Morale” and “Kutless”…..hey, Josh, do you know those two groups?) (And by the way, he has also heard the singer/rapper “Flame” in concert, and thought he was GREAT!!) (We also took some folks to one of his concerts when he was in Orlando, and yes, even though it was not my “standard” fare of music, I WAS very impressed his performance, and his message. Good stuff!)

Matt says he’ll be joining the army after school, and then he wants to be a youth pastor. Alright! Whoo-whoo! (Stay in the Word, Matt, stay IN THE WORD.)

Well, the fireworks at Galena were postponed last night because of the RAIN, but they were able to sneak them in tonight (I could actually see a few of them from the breezeway here)…..but now it’s raining again! ACK!……how will I get home, ah, to my tent?

The journey continues…..Through God’s Grace ALONE!

jon

Day 28 [Monona, Iowa]

MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2010

Today we tried to get as much visiting done as we could before we head out of town tomorrow.

Saw the small manufacturing plant in Monona where Susie works, where they receive things like tractor parts from foundrys, and take those parts and do detailed cutting and drilling to prep them for assembly lines at other companies.

Susie gives tour of her work place

We visited Tom Neuhaus, who was a co-captain of the local wrestling team with me senior year of high school.

Tom Neuhaus and Jon

We visited a couple local cemeteries, and saw where my father’s body lies, and where my mom’s body will be laid to rest.

Jon by folks tombstone

We also saw Uncle Danny and Aunt Joanita’s headstone, as well as that of my Grandpa Arno and Grandma Hazel Blumhagen.

Grandpa Arno Grandma Hazel

This cemetery also had some interesting rules that must be strictly observed.

Cemetery rules

We saw some headstones that went as far back as the 1850’s. This bizarre headstone was in the shape of a tree trunk, with a scroll on the side, and a dead bird carved on the top. Does anybody have any idea what possible reason or significance for the dead bird?

Scroll and dead bird

We also stopped at Uncle Dan’s office and met his office mate, Terry Cushman, who took a little ride on the trike. Terry also gave us a great, personal contact in New Orleans that we will be following up on.

Terry Cushman on trike

We also had a chance to go out to the farm where I was raised, and meet the family that is living there right now.

Farm I grew up on

They were very hospitable and let me show Earline all around the place. Their names are Terrie and Jessie Moses…..here they are with her sister’s family who happened by at the same time:

Terry and Jessie Moses and family

Their son tried to hide from photos with his bicycle, but I got him! Ha!

Terrie and Jessies son

We also had a chance to stop by the Monona Historical Society where Joanita volunteers, and the museum that they are developing. Here are some photos from the museum, as well as Earline having a chance to try on some hats over 100 years old!

Dining room in museum

More carvings from Elmer Sr

Elmer Marting shows carvings

Here is an 1855 dress worn by local Dr. Kettlekamp’s wife’s mother.

1855 dress worn by Dr Kettlekamps wifes mother

Dolls

Fan tastik

Hats worn over 100 years ago

Earline tries on a hat

Finally, at the end of day, we had a chance to restock some supplies at the WalMart over in Prairie du Chien, and also visit the Dairy Queen there that, yes, is STILL open after all these years!!!! Excellent…..and DQ #7:

Jon at Prairie du Chien DQ

Thank you again so much for your daily prayers and financial support.

Thru Jesus,

jon

Day 10 [Brainerd, MN – St. Cloud (Foley), MN]

JUNE 10, 2010

(Oops, I forgot to mention to mention, that on Day 8 we saw TWO Dairy Queens on the ride, bring the total up to 4 – Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Aitkin, and Crosby. We heard there was also one in Brainerd, but we did not see it on our route.)

(See how I blogged the important stuff done up front….HA!)

3:30am came EARLY (I guess it doesn’t have any choice!) and after cleaning up and having a WONDERFUL breakfast (okay, minus the raisins), we got packed up with the radar AGAIN showing rain headed our way!

Saw another “red sky at morning” (doesn’t anybody know where that verse is found??? A T-Shirt is WAITING to be claimed!) (see Day 8).

Andy and Sue
Andy and Sue front of red sky

Covered up everything to make it rain-proof, said our VERY grateful good-byes, and headed out about 5:30am.

It was light already (longer days up here), and it was drizzling, but look at the gift we received at the Brainerd water tower….a rainbow!

Rainbow in Brainerd

Yesterday Andy had taken me out to see if we could figure Bob’s instructions for the MRT in Brainerd. Andy is an avid biker himself, and couldn’t quite follow what the book said. We found the bicycle trail that went in front of Walmart, and how it winds around a little before coming to the bridge over the Mississippi on the 371 by-pass (the new 371).

The trail actually goes under road at the north end of the bridge, does a left-hand cloverleaf loop to the bridge, and connects to a separated pedestrian/bicycle trail that goes north/south along the east side of the bridge.

Then at the south end, it loops to the left again, and goes UNDER the road to the southwest corner of the bridge. It ends right at the edge of the bridge. There is a dirt path that continues south a little bit, and as Bob mentions in his book, there are plans to extend it all the way to Crow Wing State Park, about 15 miles away. [But not yet!]

Bob suggests then climbing up the road bank, and heading south on the 371 by-pass.

Here is the bridge that I crossed (but not on my trike, so I’ll call it Bridge #16.5):

Bike trail on bridge 16point5

Because of the steep climb up the grassy slope, which would be harder on the recumbents to push, and because of the rain that was already starting to fall, and knowing that the dirt path end would be messy, we decided to head straight south on the old 371 out of town, a distance of about 7 miles (not 3, Andy….you kind of estimate your mileage like I do….“it’s just a little ways further”…HA!)

We saw 2 deer on the way out of town. They thought about retreating to the woods, but then just stood there and watched us go by in the rain (thinking “who in the world are THESE crazy folks!”).

Had rain off and on most of the day. The wind and the cold really made it a miserable ride.

We went past the Minnesota Veterans Cemetery:

MN state veterans cemetery

Veterans cemetery tombstones

This was also right next to our busy, NARROW Bridge #17:

Bridge17

It was a little hairy getting across this….MUCH traffic. We just had to assert ourselves and say, “Here we go!”….and the 4-wheeled folks will just have to be patient behind us.

Just on the other side of the bridge was Camp Ripley, a 53,000 acre state-owned base that serves as a world-class military training center for all branches and components of service, just north of Little Falls.

And yes, it was STILL drizzling.

Damp outside veterans cemtery

We stopped in Little Falls and had a DELIGHTFUL lunch at the Royal Family Diner….one of the BEST meals we have EVER had!!!!

They came out with a coffee drink for Earline and hot chocolate for me that were in HUGE mugs, so big you could hardly put your hands around them (GREAT for warming cold hands). They had a sirloin steak buffet for only $6.99, with FRESH veggies and home-made bread. What a blessing!

After that, we continued on past the Charles Lindbergh State Park (it was clean, but empty – no people, no staff….it appears again that the tight economy has eliminated PEOPLE jobs.)

The road to St. Cloud was slightly rolling, low traffic, and could have been a nice ride, except for the rain and the cold. This is mostly rural Minnesota here, with lots of evidence of the agricultural business in action:

A barn with a covering for railing and pulleys that lift with forks the hay off the wagons

Barn with overhang

Some beautiful, but curious horses….ah, recumbent WHAT??!!

Curious horses

Loading corn from a bin on to a wagon – this brought back memories!

Loading corn

LOOK! Another manure spreader (must be a fad). I am calling this phenomenon: Farm Implement Lawn Ornament, or FILO.

ANOTHER manure spreader

Saw several glimpses of the Mississippi on the left. Saw beautiful homes north of Sartell overlooking the river, and it was obvious that the lawns were LOVING the rain.

Nice house north of Sartell

FINALLY got to Whitney Park, and the softball fields, where we knew the game was being held, and saw FIFTY other softball fields and games! It’s about 8:30….gotta hurry up and find them, cuz it will be dark pretty soon. So, which one?

We started driving around the loop, looking, looking, looking, for signing hands, and….AT LAST!

Total time on the trikes today, about 14 hours. Total mileage covered (in the rain, against the wind): 85 miles (whoo-whoo!).

Talked with several of the Deaf who were there, and got some good insights about the local Deaf community.

Shukri (from Kenya) who is Deaf, and Earline

Shukri and Earline

Brandi and Earline (our contact through our stay with Brenda and Miles in Bemidji)

Brandi and Earline

Brandi’s baby girl (and proud Brenda’s grandbaby!)

Brandis girl Brendas granddaughter

Mitch (who is Deaf) graciously offered to let us stay at his house (yes, ladies, he texted his wife FIRST to get the okay!) AND they already have 6 children at home, with another one on the way. AND they live in an old church (our second night in a church in 3 days!) Here are some photos of their family:

Mitch’s dad (who is Deaf), Earline and Mitch (who is Deaf)

Mitchs dad Earline and Mitch

Mitch’s dad, Jon, and Mitch

Mitchs dad Jon and Mitch

Timothy and Trinity

Timothy and Trinity

Tiffany and Tabatha

Tiffany and Tabatha

We will stay in St. Cloud this weekend to look for ministry opportunities (AND get some much needed rest).

TGG,

jon

Day 8 [Palisade, MN – Crosby, MN]

JUNE 8, 2010

The day started out with a pretty red sky, but went downhill from there (and this was NOT the good kind of downhill.)

Rainy and cold. COLD…..maybe 50 degrees, 55…..this is not fun.

We put our food UP in the air last night, per our raccoon experience a few nights ago. (see the Mississippi in the background?)

Food up in the air

Earline was mad at me when yesterday I told her we had an easy day today, and this morning I told her it was about 35 miles. I guess “easy” and “35” don’t go together. Hmmmm. Easy and 20….okay….but NOT easy and 35 (it ended up being 42….whoops).

Here’s a railroad bridge we saw a picture of in Bob’s book:

Railroad bridge from Bergland CG

And here Bridge #15 for us over the Mississippi:

Bridge15

Technically, we did go over this bridge over the MR, but we then turned around and went a different direction because of the info we received from the local county highway department. IF we had proceeded on the Great River Road, it would have knocked 5 to 7 miles off our journey, but at this point it is not yet paved, and with all the rain this morning, I am sure it was impassable.

We did then make a stop at an eating place, on the north side of the road back in Palisade, before heading out of town (Earline, can you remember the name?) Here’s Sue (the cook), Zanna (the waitress), and Earline:

Sue and Zanna in Palisade

The few people that were in the place gave Earline a long look when she first went into the place by herself. [Not many Black folks in this area?] But after I came in behind, they all seemed to “calm down.” Ha!

Sue and Zanna were both warm and friendly, and the food was good. Besides cooking, Sue also takes care of her very sick daughter full time. AND Sue has a neighbor who is Deaf….but who never really had a job, or the ability to communicate effectively with those around her. Now around 40 years old, the Deaf lady takes care of her aging mother.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Iowa, I always thought cows were stupid, standing out in the rain….now I realize, it was the other way around, as we passed a group of cows standing under a tree, watching US pedal by in the rain!

Cows watching us in rain

Bridge #16 (does Earline look happy?……)

Bridge16

The Walmart bags over our side bags actually did a pretty good job keeping the contents dry:

Walmart plastic onside bags

This is the scene I saw most of the day [oh, joy]:

Rainy behind

Again, we stayed on 169 because 10 was still gravel between the campground and 169, Hwy. 21 is still gravel, AND the bridge is out on 1. Got many wet kisses from semi trucks as they whooshed by!

FINALLY stopped raining around 7, and saw some pretty scenes…..this is a golf course outside of Deer River:

Golf course in Deer River

Can’t we ALL just put on a happy face?

Dental office window in Deer River

Finally got to our destination, where….well, we will tell you all about this interesting stop tomorrow!

Nordic Inn inside1

Only Through God’s Grace…..

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