Day 24 [Melbourne – Cocoa, FL]

Sunday, November 30, 2014

[Distance traveled: 20 miles]

(Having a lot of problems with the Internet tonight, so may not get photos posted until tomorrow night. We are IN Cocoa tonight, and will be leaving before 7am to hopefully be HOME before dark. THANKS for all your prayers!….TGG, jon)

Happy Sunday! Happy Lord’s Day, for all those who might have worshipped in the various churches today.

And WHY worship?

And what exactly IS worship?

Just a couple quick thoughts….

I think of worship as giving thanks. Kinda like celebrating Thanksgiving EVERY Sunday. And there is something special about “corporal” worship, doing it around, and IN the presence of other folks.

Paul says that we should not “forsake the assembling of ourselves together” (folks who are trying to DO right). (Hebrews 10:25)

In Revelation 12:11 it says that satan can be defeated by “the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and the word of their testimony.”

And for TESTIMONY to work, there has to someone to SAY it, AND someone to HEAR it….right?!’

Right!!

AND 2 Timothy 2:22 says to “Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

So….get yourselves in church AND Sunday School….ESPECIALLY Sunday School.

And why on Sunday?

That is simply in recognition of something no one has ever done before or since….Jesus was cruelly crucified, buried, laid there a couple days, and then ROSE from the DEAD (thus PROVING He was God) on the first day of the week, or Sunday. So THAT’s the day we worship, THAT’s the day we come together and say THANKS.

Now Earline and I happened to take advantage, as some others do, of coming together with some other Believers last night to say thanks, because this morning we wanted to knock 20 miles off our distance between here and Orlando.

So we got our trikes assembled in Jyl and Dennis’s garage early this morning….

Trikes in Lees garage

….and then said our good-byes to Jyl, Dennis, and Riley [she’s the gorgeous one in the brown coat!].

Jyl Dennis Riley pose

It really was a pretty day today, as we headed up Wickham Road.

Beautiful day on Wickham Road

We ended up going right past my mom’s old house, right on the path where she used to take 2-mile morning walks 6 days a week, right up until a couple months before she died.

Route past moms house

And we fondly remembered all the times she came to this window and waved good-bye as we drove away:

Sliding glass window where mom waved

We went past some real pretty homes and churches:

Pretty church

But since we weren’t in a hurry, we decided to mostly ride the sidewalks. There ARE pluses and minuses to riding the sidewalks….sometimes they are smooth and wide, and clean….

Sidewalks wide and clean

Sometimes, well, they were not….

Sometimes NOT

Some kind a drainage problem here, it looks like….the water was actually only an inch or two deep, so we went through slowly, something you can only DO with TRIKES!

And then, sometimes, utility companies decide they can use the sidewalk area for their own purposes….

Sidewalk obstacles

The curb drains can be several inches deep between the street and the start of the sidewalk….TOUGH going up and down these with our heavy loads….

Bad curb

But when the bike path is only 18 inches wide, where do you go? Our trikes are 32 inches wide.

18 inch shoulder

Even the bike handles of most BIKES will run somewhere around 21 to 24 inches wide.

Hmmmmm.

We actually got to the motel around 2pm, so we decided to take a walk across the street to a Sam’s that happened to be there. Earline tried out this bike….do you like this better than our trikes, Earline?

Earline tries trike

[Actually, I think she just liked the color! LOL!]

See the trike behind her? It had a price tag of $1500 on it….what!!??!

Upon closer inspection, this was a MOTORZIED trike….HEY, that’s cheating!

Tricycle battery

So….what’s the point? You won’t get any exercise this way! Ha!

Actually, I think Earline wanted to come to Sam’s to get the pizza and soda deal for 2 bucks!

Right?

Really wanted their pizza

Okay, we need to get back to the motel! I did a little repair work on Earline’s trike….found this rear light casing that showed fatigue.

Busted light

I did happen to have a replacement along, so I just switched them out.

Did some other adjustments and tweaking on both the trikes, and we both got to bed by 9pm. Set the alarm for 4:30am….gotta take advantage of the light we have tomorrow.

TGG,

jon

Day 10 [Key Largo – Homestead, FL]

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014

[Distance traveled: 25 miles]

Had a really good night’s sleep at King’s Kamp, and the weather is almost perfect….light breeze, and maybe 75, 80 degrees.

As we were packing, a small C-Class RV pulled up beside us, and it was a young couple from Switzerland! They were in the U.S. for about 3 weeks, and are on their way to Key West.

Earline and Regula had a chance to talk for a while. Regula’s first language is German, so I sprechened a little Deutsch with her. We found out she is a Christian, and an Emergency Room nurse in Switzerland. When we left, we had a chance to have little prayer time with Regula, for their travels and ours.

Regula from Switzerland

After leaving the camp, we went next door to a little eating place called Evelyn’s of Key Largo. What a friendly little restaurant! For those of you familiar with Mr. Quick in Orlando, it was kind of like a fancy Mr. Quick, with a Spanish/Mexican/Keys flavor. [We love Mt. Quick!]

The food was scrumptious, and after we finished eating, one of the waitresses helped Earline fill our water bottles and small igloo with ice. How nice and thoughtful of them! For those of you who read my blog yesterday about customer service….THIS is what I was talking about. THIS is customer service, and we love it! Evelyn’s in Key Largo, about Mile Marker 104, on the north side of the road. Go there, and tell them the Wifi Pedalers sent you!

Headed out of town with bellys full, and fresh ice, and stopped to take a picture of the “You Are Leaving” sign.

Earline take picture of sign

So what exactly does the sign say? Check it out…

Key Largo sign

Oh, NOOOOOOOOOO! Back to reality!!!!!

Ha!

Here’s Earline officially leaving the Keys….you made it! [Only 375 miles to go….whoa!]

Officially leaving the Keys

But we hadn’t even gotten to the first big hill, when….thump, thump!

What?

Did I run over something?

There were some grates along the side of the road, next to the turquoise-painted walls [did you notice?….turquoise – I guess it is a Keys thing].

When I ran over one of those grates, apparently it knocked my tire pump loose, and that’s what I bumped against. Earline picked it up, and it looks like it survived any damage, and I had to reattach it.

Fixing loose pump

NOW we can go over the big hill.

Biggest bridge

When we got to the top, I stuck up my camera to the side and took this picture. [Earline, this is what you didn’t didn’t want to look at….see what you’re missing??!!??] [This is a higher-rez picture.]

Higher rez look over bridge

Then we had fun coming DOWN this hill…got up to 30 MPH going down. WHEEEE!

But that was it pretty much it….over 20 miles of a mostly straight, boring road, and….WAIT!

What does that sign say?

Crocodile crossing

Okay, so let me figure this out.

[Uncle Dan, maybe you can help me with this one.]

First of all, the Florida Department of Transportation wants us to know that there MAY be crocodiles trying to cross the road for the next 6 miles.

Okay, question 1….WHY in the world are they trying to cross the road?

Okay, question 2….if I DO see one trying to cross the road, is there something I am supposed to do?

[This seems especially significant for those of us ON A BICYCLE, OR TRICYCLE, don’t you think??!!?]

Okay, question 3….if I DO see one, and it starts to chase me, can I fight back? This seems to me to be an important fact that I should have figured out BEFORE I actually see one trying to cross the road!

Comments or suggestions are appreciated!

[Isn’t this Mission POSSIBLE Tour called FACING YOUR FEARS? I guess I did not understand that meant I would have to face…a CROCODILE!] [I think song #3 is probably the best song for this situation: “I (God) will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand!”….especially if it is high above the jaws of some ornery crocodile!]

By the way, we did NOT see any crocodiles.

Whew!

So, OTHERWISE, it is basically just a straight shot north, and Earline got a nice picture of the skies.

Facinating clouds in hwy 1

By the way, we had to be careful NOT to drink too much water….there are NO services for this stretch through the swamp…no trees to hide behind, no cornfields….you just have got to hold it!

Whew!

There were some rumble grooves along the side, but for the most part they were within 3 feet of the outside white line of the right lane, and then there would be another 4 to 5 feet of blacktop surface OUTSIDE the rumble grooves for us to ride on. So mostly a smooth ride, and this was also very beneficial for Earline and her knee…it got sore again today, but it was almost 10 miles before it really started to bother her.

She does seem to be getting stronger each day. Thanks God!

FINALLY we arrived at the RaceTrak across from Card Sound Road. YES!

We did look for a church to go to a Sunday night service. Found one not too far away, the new Branches United Methodist Church.

But, alas, apparently they do not have a Sunday evening service.

We then stopped at a Bike Hostel we saw just off the bike trail coming from the Keys. They have got quite a set-up their courtyard…impressive! Even a flowing waterfall that you can drink and swim in! [I hear it IS a little chilly, however! Think warm thoughts.]

Hostel

Bike hostel in Homestead

Thanks, Bonnie, for taking the time to show us around! [I hope I remembered your name right!]

She and Earline, of course, HAD to take a selfie:

Bonnie at Bike Hostel

Alas, they didn’t have any private rooms available, so we found somewhere else close by to stay.

One final thought….and this is from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers.

He writes:

“It’s one thing to go through a crisis grandly, yet quite another to go through every day glorifying God when there is no witness, no limelight, and no one paying even the remotest attention to us. To do even the most humbling tasks to the glory of God takes the Almighty God Incarnate working in us. The true test of a saint’s life is not successfulness but faithfulness on the human level of life.”

….”even the most humbling tasks”….

Our routine these days means unpacking and packing the tent, or gathering up scraps of trash, or Earline helping hold the hand pump still while I pump up the air mattress, or rubbing down Earline’s knee, or putting Cortizone on that mosquito bite that the other person just cannot quite reach…

….ALL these tasks should be done to the glory of God. ALL.

What are some humbling tasks that YOU do? What are you doing where there is “no one paying even the remotest attention to”….THAT is “the true test of a saint’s life.”

May all YOUR tasks today be done in “faithfulness” with gratitude and thanks to God.

“God…working in us.”

Thanks again to ALL of you for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

Day 6 [Bahia Honda Key – Little Crawl Key]

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014

[Distance traveled: 21 miles]

Tonight we are at Curry Hammock State Park on Little Crawl Key.

Here was our campsite at Bahia Honda State Park:

Campsite at Bahia

There were some very FAT pigeons that looked a little TOO tame….

Fat pigeons

…so I tested them, to se if they’d been “trained” to go after food….I took a few small rocks by the table…

Tiny rocks

….and tossed them in the middle of pigeons. Yowzer! Mass hysteria!

Mass hysteria

SOMEBODY’s been feeding these birds. So now you know – if anyone ever calls you “bird-brained”, do NOT take it as a compliment! Ha!

The beach and the grounds really WERE beautiful at Bahia Honda.

Bahia beach

Bahia grounds

South facing campsites

They even had a little cafe on property, and Ora and Rhonda made us some great sandwiches to eat and take with us [with  little help from “BatMan!”]

Ora, BatMan, and Rhonda

OKAY!

Now it’s time to tackle the 7-MILER!

And it didn’t take too long to reach the start of it….here’s Earline’s first view of the bridge:

Earline shoots photo of 7-mile bridge

Here’s what she saw….one mile to go!

One mile to go

And at the start:

At the start

No potty breaks for the next 7 miles!

The beginning….the shoulder was not too bad, maybe 5, 5-and-a-half feet. But I should mention here….one thing I had been trying to figure out, is….where was the picture taken of the bridge that we have on our flyers, and on the front of the GodsHandsAgency.com site, as well as the front of the WiFiPedalers.com site?

Well, I have since learned that the bridge really has three parts:

1) the west end

2) the “hump” that lets ships pass under the bridge

3) and the east end.

But the two ends are NOT equal.

The west end is almost 5 miles long, while the east end is only about 2 miles long. And because of the curve of the bridge, I realized that the picture was taken from north of the east end of the bridge, looking back at the bridge, in a west, southwesterly direction, as if you were pointed at Key West.

In that photo, you really don’t see ANY of the 5-mile southwest stretch of the bridge!

That is why at the start of the bridge, headed east, you really can barely see the hump at the far end.

Along the 5-mile beginning

After we had a gone a couple miles, we stopped and took a couple pictures…..a lot of water out there! Are we halfway yet?

Whew are we halfway

Approaching the hump:

Approach the hump

For the next three pictures, where Earline is climbing the hump, at the very top, and then descending the hump, I am going to insert them here at a larger size, for those of you with BIG screens. It may look the same size as the other photos here, but you should be able to click on the photo itself, and bring up a much larger and clearer version of the photo.

Here are 3 higher resolution photos of Earline at the top of the 7-Mile Bridge:

Earline climbing hump

Earline at top of hump

Down the hump

I am grateful that we had no storms or high winds on our trip over the bridge, or any flat tires!

When we got to the other end, it was time to celebrate!

With God’s help, and only by His grace, I did this!

With Gods help I did this

Slurpee reward time!

Slurpee

Well, after all the excitement today, Earline’s knee was REALLY starting to bother her, similar to what she experienced the first few days of the 2010 Mission Possible Tour. We ran across a Walgreens in Marathon Key, and picked up a wrap for Earline’s knee to help support it. We decided to limit our day to only about 20 miles, and camp at the Curry Hammock State Park.

Actually “decided” is probably not the right word, because by the time we got to CHSP, it was only about 20 minutes before sunset (when the park closes). The park ranger told us they had a grassy area where we could pitch our tent, beside a man from Canada on bicycle, and two girls from Minnesota also traveling by bicycle to Key West.

So Earline hobbled around on her wrapped knee, we struggled to get the tent set up in the dark….

Headlight

….and then the hot water in the men’s shower was not working.

Ack!!!!

BUT….

FEARS FACED, and FEARS CONQUERED….now we have to take care of that knee, because we still have over 400 miles to go!

Only through God’s grace,

jon

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

Closing Thoughts for the 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2010

Earlier this week I already saw my first Christmas decorations in a shopping center in Orlando, and then I remembered that Esther, my next-farm-neighbor growing up, had recently reminded me that I had not yet put a summary up on the blog.

Whoops.

So let’s get to it:

The WiFi Pedalers 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour Closing Thoughts

Jon and Earline FINAL on 42

I’ll be covering a lot of things in this summary, including:

• The TOP 5 Eating Places that we ran across this past summer.

• The WORST and BEST Bridges we crossed of the 42 bridges we went over (from a TRIKING standpoint!]

• The WORST and BEST Sections of the Mississippi River Trail that we experienced (Remember, there is an MRT on both sides of the river for much of the way south of the Twin Cities, so you may have some different stories to share….we’d love to hear them!)

• GOOD SurprisesBAD SurprisesBEST Views of the Mississippi River, and MORE. Let’s get started!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

First, some things I thought we may not really need, but brought anyway, and used….a LOT:

• Old pair of tennis shoes

• A pair of jeans

• A big, honking LED light…didn’t like the weight, but used the darn thing a LOT

• Waterproof covers for the panniers (MUCH thanks to Terry and his wife from Jannd Mountaineering for their foresight)

• A simple, inexpensive, needle-nosed pliers

• Extra rechargeable batteries and recharger for recharging the cell-phones, GPS, walkie-talkies, etc. when you can’t find electricity!

• The hand pump for the air mattress….it was super-bulky, but my arms got exercise, it was much lighter than a battery pak for blowing up the mattress, and the $10 pump lasted almost all summer (I did eventually strip the plastic threads the end of August).

Some essentials things to bring with you (for summer touring):

• LOTS of suncreen. This became part of our morning ritual, and we STILL turned colors [Earline turned PURPLE!]

• Flat Attack tube juice (LOVE that stuff…probably prevented at least a dozen flats)

• A couple vacuum thermoses each (you’ll need and appreciate the ice that lasts more than 2 hours)

• A (or 2) set of Allen wrenches…do NOT forget this (like I did!)

• Enough tires and tubes for the unexpected (we went through two sets each)

• The ground cloth under the tent (worth the extra effort to protect your tent)

• Bungie cords of a variety of shapes and sizes

• An 50-foot electrical cord with at least a 3-way at the end (it can be small in width/capacity, but you’ll need the length)

• A small fan for the tent at night (Earline says it is the best gift I ever gave her)

• Patch kits for repairing the tent, or the air mattress

• A tarp to cover your bike/trike at night

• Batteries for your various devices

• The full-sized SMV (slow moving vehicle) signs were an excellent choice, especially for night riding. These were seen on various construction vehicles and farm equipment throughout the trip, and it was an easily recognizable and FAMILIAR warning of caution to other vehicles. We got the ones that reflected to 1200, which were up to the current State of Illinois standards, and only a couple bucks more than the 600 foot reflective signs (around $12 a piece). I have seen a lot of “cutesy” smaller SMV signs, more flexible and lightweight, but these are NOT FAMILIAR to drivers. You can avoid the weight of the signs on metal backing by just getting the adhesive signs, and sticked them on some plastic cardboard cut to size.

Okay….NOW, some award giving!

First, the Top 5…okay, Top SIX eating places of the 2010 Mission Possible Tour

Yes, we had great bar-b-q eating in Memphis (and great tasting water!); we found 12 Dairy Queens we took advantage of along the route (but none south of Cahokia, IL…hmmmm, need to call DQ to get that FIXED!); the Happy Hours at Steak and Shake that were a pleasant surprise (and RIGHT on time); places like Cape Girardeau, Baton Rouge…..LOTS of good eating in a lot of towns and cities.

And I can’t move forward before FIRST mentioning all the GREAT meals we had at the homes of the families that we stayed with this summer. Final tally:  we stayed with 14 families (including 3 connections through warm.showers.org). These and MANY other stats, photos and videos are available on the new 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour DVD just completed, which will soon available on this web site. Stay tuned!

We can’t really put our favorite eating places in some kind of arbitrary order, because each had a speciality or a characteristic that warrants recognition. So, here are our SIX favorite eating places, in alphabetical order:

Ann’s Trailer in Port Sulpher, LA (had to go thru a couple locals to find this place, but WORTH the effort….HUGE Poor-Boy sandwiches, literally DOUBLE what you expect) Link to our visit on Day 92

Anns trailer

Breitbach Restaurant in Balltown, IA – Excellent customer service. It is Iowa’s oldest restaurant that has AMAZINGLY risen from the ashes TWICE in the last five years (see the February 2010 Reader’s Digest for this great story!) Link to our visit on the night of Day 31

Breitbach Country Inn

Buck’s Restaurant in Greenville, Mississippi (Both…and that’s a rarity…BOTH Earline and I got happy with the GREAT TASTE of the food here.) (We understand that MRS. Buck does most of the cooking….BRAVO!) (AND….thanks to Firehouse #1 in Greenville for recommending Buck’s….you were right!) At Buck’s on Day 77

Bucks Place store front

Cayce Cafe in Cayce, KY (the BEST French Toast I have ever eaten, period, and GREAT prices – if you’re anywhere between St. Louis and Memphis, you need to stop here!) Our morning visit to the Cayce Cafe

Cayce Cafe GREAT French toast

Julie’s Cafe in Albany, Illinois – a great little menu, neat desserts, an excellent view of the river (with supplied binoculars) AND the owner waited on us! (How’s THAT for service!) Lunch at Julie’s

Julie fom Julies Cafe

And last, but not least…..the Royal Family Restaurant in Little Falls, MN – a GREAT little buffet, and good prices, but what makes this place stand out is the HUGE mugs of coffee and hot chocolate that you can wrap your cold Minnesota hands around….EXCELLENT! Our grateful lunch at the Royal Family Diner

Sorry…NO PHOTO! But they are right in the center of town, on the northeast corner of one of the main intersections. They’ve been there for years….just ask one of the locals!

WORST BRIDGES

Tie – Bridge #26 in Hastings, MN and Bridge #39 in Memphis, TN. Well, enough has been said. To review, follow the link through these photos.

#26 – Hastings, MN….this was just a scary, shaky bridge with MUCH traffic, and a narrow, 4-foot sidewalk raised up just 4 inches on the one side. (This biker had to get on the shoulder so that WE could get by!)

Hasting meeting biker

Oh, and a quick note to the Minnesota Department of Transportation:  the following photo shows an MRT sign, but the arrows need to be rotated clockwise 90 degrees. We saw this sign just after we crossed the Hastings bridge, headed north, and we were making a right hand turn to head down into Prescott, Wisconsin. The MRT does NOT go north from this intersection.

Arrows need to be turned clockwise 90 degrees

#39 – Memphis, TN….Okay, you’ve seen the video (if you haven’t, check it out). The DVD even has a LONGER video of this crossing, with a view of the water through the railing…..it is scary.) Now, granted this is an Interstate Highway, I-55…..so should we NOT have gone on it? What other choice is there?

On page 143 of Bob Robinson’s  “Bicycling Guide” book, he has a picture of himself on what looks to be the north side of the bridge, heading west, on the same side that we crossed on, but we certainly did not FEEL welcome. Look at these photos of the entrance and exit of the pedestrian walkway.

(Does Earline look like she’s fussin’? Ah….well, yes….ah….that would be an accurate statement!)

Entering Interstate 55 walkway

Bridge 39 path

Exit for Bridge 39

What was also curious, is that after we took Exit 3 (thank you Bob, for telling us NOT to take Exit 1, and for a working GPS on my phone that CONFIRMED that advice, because it took all that and MORE to convince my nervous-wreck wife NOT to take Exit #1!!!!)….where was I….oh, AFTER we took Exit 3 and took the video of our reactions to that Bridge #39 crossing that is on the DVD, we noticed a couple MRT signs.

As we were sitting on the road that looped UNDERNEATH I-55 just east of Exit 3, one sign was directing us to continue west on the south side of I-55 on a frontage road that would take us into West Memphis, Arkansas.

But the other MRT sign, was sitting on the southeast shoulder of that road underneath I-55, and was facing toward that west, so that you would see it if you were COMING FROM West Memphis. (And there was NO road there, though we COULD see what looked like “off-road” dirt trails in the humps and ridges looking East under the highway).

(Wish I had a picture of this. WAIT! I found one….here it is….)

MRT sign southwest side of bridge

Is THAT the official MRT trail, which I imagine might then take you to the SOUTH side pedestrian pathway of the Memphis bridge? Maybe THAT side is maintained, but with all our gear, going on those dirt trails would NOT have been an option.

Hmmmmm.

So, I guess we took the only option available. I understand that there IS planning taking place to make the train bridge on the north side of this interstate into a PEDESTRIAN bridge, so that would be GREAT!

And now, our FAVORITE bridge….YEA!!!!

#19 in St. Cloud/Sauk Rapids, MN – wide shoulders, scenic view turn-outs, and a wonderful (at least in the direction WE were going) downhill spiral ramp at the end. Link to more photos from Day 14 of Bridge #19, our favorite!

Bridge 19 in St Cloud

Also we enjoyed and appreciated the wide separated lanes of other bridges in St. Cloud and Minneapolis, and even the recently remodeled Eads bridge in St. Louis….the bike lane there was a little narrow, not much over 3 feet, but clean, with several little scenic view turnouts of the river and the Arch. Nice.

Arch from Eads Bridge

Worst routes or sections of the MRT

5. The 2 miles of bike path north of LaCrescent, MN – VERY creepy, narrow, lots of debris, sitting water, AND lots of spider webs. EEWWWW! (and for extra points, try doing this path at night with a dying headlight….you know, just for FUN!…..HA!)

4. The lack of signage along the Illinois side of the MRT, especially north of the Quad Cities. It switched often between roads, and bike paths, and shoulders, and sidewalks, and….ACK!!! Without help and guidance from SEVERAL locals (one couple even personally GUIDED us to the Government Bridge) we would have been completely lost (just keep the river on the right, the river on the right, the river on the right….)

3. The roads in Cass County in Northern Minnesota….cold winters have dealt harshly with roads in this county. It seemed like every ten-twenty feet there would be a crack running across the pavement, with some obvious (but unsuccessful) attempts to fill in the cracks with blacktop, making for a very rOuGh RiDe….oomph!Now, when we would switch county lines, like into Itasca County….much better. Seems to be some obvious financial challenges in Cass County. Hope you can get that fixed!

2. The 10 miles from East Dubuque to Galena, a construction area with cement barricades on the left side of the east-bound lane, and rumble grooves along the right edge (now officially, this road is NOT part of the MRT, but we encountered RUMBLE GROOVES several other places along the route…..so ANYWHERE we encountered rumble grooves, like from Elsberry to Winfield, Missouri)….a smooth blacktop, but a very BUSY road, and just 2 to 3 feet of shoulder with 18 inches of rumble grooves in the middle of that shoulder.

Rumble grooves for closing thoughts

Where do you ride?

NOT fun.

(The ONLY exception to this, of course, where there was, say, an eight foot shoulder, like between Cayce and Hickman, Kentucky, and the rumble grooves were way to the inside edge of the shoulder, so we could ride safely and smoothly outside of that. We LIKED those roads!!!!!)

We LOVE roads like this 1

And finally…..the #1 worst section of the MRT….the 10 miles south of Quincy, IL….many grain elevators along the river, and many semi-trucks supplying those elevators. NO shoulder of any kind on this 2-laned road, and a minimal grassy area to pull off on. A very hectic, unpleasant stretch of road.

But, NOW….

Our FAVORITE sections of the MRT

6. The ride south of Nauvoo, IL. Fairly decent shoulder, not too much debris, and right on the river, with shady overhanging bluff trees on the left, and scenic views of the river on your right (even saw ICE on this 100 degree day on one of the ravines on the left) (there IS a scientific reason…..see: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cave)

Between Nauvoo and Hamilton

5. The Natchez Trace (saw 5 deer in 2 days – neat!)…..there is no shoulder, but NO commercial traffic allowed, so very little traffic, truly a peaceful and tranquil ride (well, okay, maybe a little boring!)(after a couple days of trees and, well, trees and, again, trees, we were ready to move on!)

Natchez Trace Earline

4. The Illinois route as it STARTED at Savannah, IL (some areas still under construction), but a separated route for about 10 miles through woodsy areas, over little bridges….shaping up to be a real pretty ride.

South of Savannah

3. The route through the Twin Cities, some industrial areas, but MANY beautiful, woodsy secluded areas, interesting sights and local attractions, AND well signed and maintained.

South side of Stone Arch bridge

2. The ride along the top of the bluffs from North Buena Vista to Balltown and even past Balltown….truly amazing, jaw-dropping vistas

Approach downhill by Balltown

View of MR from Balltown

1. The 6-1/2 miles of 1203 around Bardwell, Kentucky from Hwy 51/62 to Hwy 123; no shoulder, but a smooth road, gently rolling hills, trees overhanging the road, very pretty, and maybe 3 or 4 vehicles the entire distance!…just simply a GREAT, peaceful ride. We LOVED it!

Smooth 1203

And now….

Most UNPLEASANT surprises and the most WONDERFUL surprises about the ride down the Mississippi River (we obviously did not ride BOTH sides of the Mississippi, so I don’t hesitate to tell you about OUR surprises, because I am sure YOU can find MANY more!)

BAD SURPRISES

6. Discovering the only real flaw in riding recumbent tricycles:  slanted or tapered roads (my center of gravity was a little high with Earline’s books on TOP of my panniers!) We both tipped over one time.

5. The coolness, the poor customer service attitude of a certain tourist attendant at the “Welcome” Center in Galena, IL

4. The abundance of rain, which made for some miserable riding, and responsible for the closed ferry at Modoc, IL. This IS the dock…..HA! (And you can SEE the ferry on the other side….c’mon!)

Dock and ferry at Modoc

3. The lack of WiFi, phone service, gps, or even electricity…ACK. Words to the wise: Plan ahead – we got MUCH use out of our little Ryobi charger which kept two 4-volt batteries charged up which in turn could recharge our phone (AND my GPS….that is, WHEN I could get a satellite connection!)

2. The high percentage of devastation of many towns along the entire route—closed stores, businesses, and boarded up homes, indicative of the current economy, especially still in New Orleans, and even MORE especially, Cairo, IL.

1. The truly awful condition of the Great River Road State Park in Mississippi

But now….

….our GOOD SURPRISES!

7. How much BETTER food tasted after being outdoors so much. (yes, even graham crackers, peanut butter, and honey were edible after the 20th time) (we were ESPECIALLY fond of the plums that Philip and Ana gave us from the organic store – amazing flavor!).

6. The CYCLING HOSTEL in Chester, IL, donated by the Local Fraternal Order of Eagles. (Chester is also on a major East/West cross-country cycling route). Way to see a need and fill it…YEA!!!

Chester hostel

5. The ACCURACY of the book “Bicycling Guide to the MRT” ….a huge APPLAUSE to Bob Robinson for the literally THOUSANDS of details that you WILL need to know about the Mississippi River Trail…..close to PERFECT! (the ONLY mistake that I found, besides some expected updating, was the distance between the start of CR X56 by the big church at the west end of McGregor, Iowa, and the turn on Marina Road in Guttenburg, Iowa. The distance listed is 6.3 miles, but my odometer read closer to 17 miles, and I confirmed that on Google maps with their distance measurement tool….they show the distance to be 17.4 miles.)

I also did get really confused north of Rock Island/Moline—couldn’t get the book to match what I was seeing, but I think this was not so much the book’s fault as that of the COMPLETE LACK of signage in Illinois.

4. How long ice will STAY ice in a thermos, esp. a vacuum thermos. Earline had a silver vacuum thermos she brought for coffee, but we soon discovered that it would hold ice for almost 2 DAYS (we called it her “Silver Bullet!”….OUTSTANDING!) However, a sad discovery was that even if we had access to a freezer the night before (which we usually didn’t) the ice just did NOT stay ice very long in our insulated Polar Bottles. I consider these bottle a complete waste of money.

We did an experiment one day, and froze one of the Polar Bottles solid ice, and a Zephyr Hills water bottle solid ice….you know, just the thin plastic water bottle that you buy in paks of 24 in the store. The Zephyr Hills bottle kept ice LONGER than the “INSULATED” Polar Bottle! The only thing nice I can say about the Polar Bottle is that it is a convenient size and shape for drinking liquid, but that’s it. But the THERMOSes….great stuff. NEXT trip (shhhhhhh…..don’t tell Earline)…..we’ll only have the vacuum thermos…absolutely worth the extra weight.

3. The number of CHRISTIAN messages we ran across throughout the trip….the cross at Wycliffe KY, the JESUS IS satellite dish north of Memphis, the HE IS RISEN wheel in TN, the sign in the Family Dollar in Hughes, AK, and others. Christianity is Alive and Well in America…..BE ENCOURAGED!

Decorated wagon wheel

Family Dollar sign

2. THE CAVES…simply amazing!! The cool air on a sweltering day was SCRUMPTIOUS! Link to the CAVES

CAVES

1. The way God “coincidently” SUPPLIED NEEDS (I guess we should have understood this better).

For example, the “Oasis” at top of the Prescott, Wisconsin hill; the tent stake we found at Nauvoo State Park after we had just lost one; funds from the St. Louis church just we we needed them; the delicious brownies from Aunt Joanita and the scrumptious Amish bread from cousin Susie (hey, we had just had 2 days of very hard riding, and these goodies truly “hit the spot!”)….

…..the continued places “developing” for us to stay – from the Roulands at the end of our VERY first day (when Earline was in a lot of pain), to meeting James on the trail, to the pavilions that appeared JUST when we needed them, to the Beech Grove MB church that just “HAPPENED” to appear out in the middle of nowhere when the sun was going down…..

…..the graciousness of Jandd Moutaineering in San Diego, who had the thought to donate waterproof covers for our panniers, which got MUCH use THIS particular summer; the service attitude of Mark Power of Power On Cycling from where we got our trikes….his tubes and tires arrived JUST IN TIME, even the exact day we needed them….

….and it ALL pointed us again and again to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus teaches his disciples AND us that God knows our needs even BEFORE we ask Him!

And we have proof. Period.

BEST VIEW OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

The roads around Balltown, Iowa, and the view from the old Columbus-Belmont State Park in Kentucky are stiff competition, but the winner here has to be Pike Peak State Park south of Macgregor, Iowa. Truly beautiful!

Pikes Peak 2

Pikes Peak 1

FAVORITE signs along the route

(By the way, this is a good place to mention it….even though Baton Rouge is not officially on the Louisiana MRT route, we went that way because of the invite we had from a Deaf church in Baton Rouge, as well as from the Louisiana School for the Deaf right next to it. And we DID notice that there WAS a Mississippi River Trail SIGN underneath the I-10 bridge in Baton Rouge, right on the levee.

MRT sign by levee in Baton Rouge

There is talk of eventually being able to ride the top of the levee all the way from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, so it looks like that plan is being implemented.)

And now our three FAVORITE signs!

3. The Coon and Seafood / “FRESH Coon” sign north of Baton Rouge, LA

Fresh coon

2. Entering and Leaving Watson, Iowa (Less than 10 miles from the MR, we happened to catch THIS sign because of the side trip we took to my boyhood home of Monona, Iowa.)

Watson

And finally, our FAVORITE sign on the MRT…..

1. You have reached the SOUTHERNMOST POINT in LA

Southernmost Point

The PRETTIEST sunset that we saw all summer.

It has to be the one we saw as we approached New Orleans on the levee on the northwest side of the city. The hard rains we endured earlier in the day were NOT pleasant, that is for sure; but the storms DID make for some beautiful, colorful skies.

Levee sunset

And personally, here are my three most favorite memories about the MP tour:

3. Warm showers wherever can find them – after a day of long, hot riding…..I’ll never take warm, clean water for granted again! (esp. the aptly named warmshowers.org web site, just for cyclists – all 3 hosts we had were EXCELLENT)

2. People’s generosity and encouragement – from Pastor Scott and Believer’s Temple Word Fellowship in St. Louis, Pastor and First Lady Williams from Zion Baptist Church in Greenville, MS, all the people of Swedesburg Lutheran Church in Iowa……

……all my various cousins along the route; Sharon Black from Mt. Sinai (the song she left on our voice-mail is ON the DVD!); the lady with disfigured face in Warsaw, Illinois who bought water for us; the man of simple means in Mounds, Illinois who gave us $5; Big Al, who gave us a place to lay our heads at 1am; and ESPECIALLY Mr. Alvin Taylor who was SO gracious in helping to supply our needs; and many, many more….

AND, my NUMBER ONE favorite memory of the Mission POSSIBLE Tour:

1. Listening to Earline sing old hymns as we were riding…doesn’t get any better than that.

Silhouette Earline

And finally, WHY did God have us go on this Mission POSSIBLE Tour?

I can think of several Deaf individuals, and a few Deaf groups that we personally ministered to, any of which might have been THE specific reason He had us go on this trip.

And I can think of several HEARING individuals, among the literally THOUSANDS of people we personally ministered to this summer, encouraging them, boldly declaring without reservation or hesitation, that TRULY, with God, ALL things are possible [see Matthew 19:26]…..any of whom might have been THE reason He took us on this journey.

Or even those individuals who said that this BLOG has personally ministered to them.

Are YOU one of those individuals? If so, would you let us know? You can do it here, and publicly share it with others who are reading this blog….OR, you can do it privately, by going to the contact page here on the web site, and send us your testimony that way.

We would appreciate it, and would LOVE to hear from you.

And as always…..it has ALWAYS been….

…..ONLY through God’s grace,

jon

Day 92 ADDENDUM [From THE Sign, LA]

TUESDAY, AUGUST 31, 2010 ADDENDUM

Both Earline and I are SO grateful to all of you for your prayers, your financial support, your openness to give of your time and share whatever you had to make this whole 2010 Mission Possible Tour a success. Even something as simple as access to the internet, or ice and water for our water bottles meant more to us than you realize, and we thank you ALL!

Jon and Earline at sign 2

We’re staying with “Sistah Eva” in New Orleans, I’ll be finishing the final 2 days of the blog tonight, and we’ll be headed back to Orlando by Greyhound tomorrow.

It is important to us that we take the time to share with YOU some of the things we’ve learned this summer, to give you the opportunity to share in the lessons that God taught us through the trials, the frustrations, the joys and the circumstances that revealed His mind and His character to us.

It’s been humbling, it’s been scary, it’s been funny, and it’s been comforting to know that God truly IS concerned about the intimate details of EACH of our lives. He cares about you, and you, and YOU!

Give us a week or so to get our thoughts together, as we ourselves go back over the blog to help us remember the events of each day, and we’ll blog those lessons that you can benefit from, as well as some fun things like our favorite eating places (including one we just found YESTERDAY), the scariest of the 42 bridges we went over (oooooooo….you can probably guess this one), our most inspirational moments, or what it is like to ride a recumbent trike all that distance, the clothes and tools that you SHOULD take on a tour (as well as what NOT to take), and our favorite memories from the Tour.

THANKS AGAIN, and we’ll talk to you soon!

ONLY Through God’s Grace,

jon

Day 63 [Belmont State Park, Columbus, KY – Cayce, KY]

MONDAY, AUGUST 2, 2010

After an extremely warm night at Columbus Belmont State Park, we decided to stick around for a few hours until the heat of the day was past. That gave me a chance to get caught up on 2 days worth of blogging, and Earline a chance to do some reading and get some rest.

[Trying some manual spacing today.] [Whoops!….that didn’t work either.]

View of Mississippi River from SP

Barge from CB SP

We met Cathy, one of the park’s hosts, and she was so kind to bring us some ice for our water bottles. It has been so hot – heat indexes well over 100 degrees each day, so ice is like GOLD for us.

About 5pm we headed south through some more rolling hills. (They have some serious hills in even western Kentucky!)

Still have hills in Kentucky

At one point, in the middle of 100s of acres of soybeans and corn as far as we could see, we were getting 5 bars of reception on our phones with no tower in sight, even though last night on top of one of the highest bluffs around, we had no phone service.

What?!

Too much technology for me!

(In other words, I’ve been dealing with technology all my life, and I STILL can’t figure some of this stuff out!…..ack!)

A lady sitting on her porch in Oakton greeted us and asked us if we needed some water or ice….absolutely! Here’s the Stinson family AND Howie Houghton.

Stinson family

Perfect timing! (Thank you, God!) We went past this little church…..and take a close look at the name….

Past little church ins outhern Kentucky

Mt Sinai sign

Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church! How about that! I believe this was also in Oakton. They even had a little cemetery in the back.

Mt Sinai cemetery

Continued through some more farmland (and past yet another cemetery)….

Southern Kentucky road

Oakwood cemetery

We got down to Cayce (pronounced “casey”) as we saw another beautiful sunset.

Sunset near Cayce

Stopped at a little convenience store and met Judy Blackburn. Judy was so kind – she made Earline a fat ham sandwich, and gave me a big tall glass of milk. Yea!

Judy and Earline

Please pray for Judy and her daughter, Victoria. At the age of only 30, Victoria was recently diagnosed with the first ever recorded tumor growing in her heart. The Mayo Clinic was involved – complications from the surgery and medications caused her to have a stroke, debilitating her whole right side.

She IS walking again, but much of her right side is still not functioning, and the ability to engage in conversations is a whole new struggle. But they ARE believers, and we do know that with God ALL things ARE possible!

After leaving the convenience store, we met 2 more young ladies and their young son or nephew outside, and spent about 15 minutes talking to them, and explaining our Mission Possible Tour.

By now it was very dark, but I remembered seeing a sign for a Methodist church just around the corner. And sure enough, there it was. There was a big cemetery on the west side of the church, and they had a large cement platform in front by the main entrance. In the corner of that platform, right under a big oak tree is where we set our tent.

Tent in corner of cement

(Here’s a picture of where we set up our tent from the next morning.)

Campsite front of Methodist church

Again, it was dark, who do you ask?….the house to the right might have been the parsonage, but maybe it wasn’t. So….if someone didn’t want us there (we weren’t hiding – we were RIGHT in front), I’m sure they’d let us know….we quickly set up the tent, and laid down to rest.

And there’s something peaceful about laying down right next to a building where they worship God. Even David extolled the idea of living in God’s house. [Psalm 27:4]

Earline says she heard wild dogs and wolves, but that’s another story!

ONLY TGG,

jon

Day 50 [Foley, MO – St. Charles, MO]

TUESDAY, JULY 20, 2010

When we woke in the morning, it was still drizzling, but once Paul got everything restarted from the power outage at his Evergreen Farms store, he opened up around 7:30, and we went to get some food. It turns out he has a little kitchen in the back, and he made us eggs and bacon and wouldn’t accept any payment for it. Thanks, Paul!

Eggs at Pauls place

While we were eating, it started raining HARD again….ACK!!

But that gave Earline time to do a little shopping! This store also had a little second-hand section, and as you can see in the photo above, Earline found a cute little blue-jean top for 50 cents (the proof is on the shirt!):

50 cent shirt

It FINALLY stopped raining, and we laid things out on the fence post to dry (we are SO country….HA!)

Tent set up in Foley

Clothes on fence in Foley

We met a one polite young man who was deaf in one ear. He had been to church camp and really enjoyed having fun and learning more about God. We encouraged Tyler to get involved in Deaf culture….he would make WONDERFUL interpreter (and monetarily it would be a great skill for him to have):

Tyler and Earline

Also met Noah and Isaiah….Isaiah also knew some sign language! They were both “bundles of energy” and fun to get to know.

Isaiah and Noah

We had a nice long 2-mile downhill as we left Foley….what a great way to start a day’s ride!

We went right past a thrift shop in Winfield, and, of course, we HAD to stop!

Thrift store in Winfield

(By the way, it is my mom’s birthday today. Happy birthday, mom! Born in 1932, and she still walks 2 miles every morning….way to go!)

BARN ART alert!

Unlike the earlier organic barn, this barn was made beautiful by all the gorgeous flowers that surround it, and the flower shop that it was turned into….a lot of time and energy went into this….looks nice!

BARN ART flowers

So evidence of a lot of flooding today….how would you like to try and pick corn in THIS field?

Flooded cornfield

Flooded cornfield2

Even the ROAD was flooded in some places….

Road flooded

Apparently the flooding is an ongoing issue in this area….saw this sign by some flooded fields:

Flood issue sign

We did see this pretty cloud formation close to sunset (looks the sun is TRYING to shine!):

Sun TRYING to shine

Ended up in St. Charles for the evening (past Dairy Queen #11!!!!!….ha!) and stayed in the back side of this cute little cabin (mostly to try and get dried out from the night before….we seriously try to keep our expenditures low, but water, even though ESSENTIAL to life, and GOOD for us, is ALSO potentially very destructive, as we have seen in this river bottom area north of St. Louis. Gotta make sure we keep down the mildew and dry our clothes, etc.).

Cabin in St Charles

Thank you again, God for your blessings and provision!

TGG,

jon

Day 47 [somewhere along County Road B, MO – Clarksville, MO]

SATURDAY, JULY 17, 2010

Thank you, Lord for our little garden farm campsite!

Little garden farm

I don’t know if their neighbors knew they were gone, but no one stopped to ask. Bless them anyway, Lord, even if they didn’t know they were being a blessing.

(P.S…..we recently received a phone message from Mrs. Burroughs, saying that they had RECEIVED the note, and that they were sorry they had missed us. We appreciate that! Thanks again for your hospitality! Send us your contact information through our web site here – the link is way to the right on our home page – and we’ll keep you informed of some of the latest things happening with the WiFi Pedalers.)

We continued east on Hwy. B….some pretty grueling ups and downs….kinda reminded of the Horrible Hundred in Clermont (see blog from Nov. ’09). Earline is actually really starting to get the knack of speeding down the hills to help make it up the next one with less difficulty. Here’s Earline in action:

Up a rolling hill

This area is also a strong agricultural area, and we passed many tractors carrying a variety of farm implements.

Tractor and Earline

Went thru a long flat bottom, even slightly downhill, and then saw this looming….ah, hill…ugh…

BIG hill approaching

What you DON’T see is that this hill CONTINUED UP as it curved to the left. No, not as bad as the 15% Chestnut Mtn. south of Galena, IL, but it was pretty bad.

BARN ART alert!

I call this an organic barn…ala naturale….

Barn Art organic

Maybe if we leave it alone for 400 million years it will turn into a red barn with multiple barn quilts!! [a little evolution humor there].

Let me inject just a couple quick facts here:

It is turning out that evolution….

(We’re talking about what some call macro-evolution, not micro-evolution. Micro-evolution, or the changes that can take place as things mature or adapt to surrounding conditions….we can see these changes, this natural selection, all around us. Darwin’s finches would adapt to the changes in weather conditions at the Galápagos Islands, and their beaks would become longer or shorter…..but they REMAINED finches.)

(Maco-evolution is what you would call the addition of genetic information to an animal that results in changes from, say, rocks to cells to apes to man. This has NEVER been observed….ever. And the obvious absence of transitional fossils supports this!)

….is one of the cruelest, most preposterous hoaxes ever perpetuated on human kind. And these things are STILL being taught to our young people in our schools.

Evolution HA

As the technology has gotten better, as microscopes have gotten stronger, we are discovering MACHINES, millions and millions of machines inside of EACH cell in our body. Machines with screws and pistons and rotors….machines that are obviously DESIGNED. I heard one gentleman estimate that there are more machines in EACH cell in our body than there are machines on the entire planet earth!

Charles Darwin himself admitted over 100 years ago, that if cells turned out to be anything more that gelatinous blobs, that his theory of evolution would “most certainly break down.” Well….

It is estimated that there are now approximately 30,000 scientists worldwide with their masters and doctorate degrees that believe in a literal six-day creation, and are presenting scientific evidence to back that up. And that number is GROWING! Awesome.

[Exodus 20:11…“For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them…”]

It was so hot today, and it made the hills even tougher. Close to 100 degrees. Finally made it to….to….wait….the trip’s over? It says we’re in Louisiana!…..oh, the TOWN Louisiana. Got it.

Louisiana sign

Finally got to a convenience store, JUST as we were out of water. And in the store we met a Deaf man, Bill. We spent almost 30 minutes talking to him. His profoundly deaf wife had died about 10 years ago, and he had lost touch with other Deaf friends. He had some speech skills, and there weren’t really any other Deaf close around that he knew of.

Deaf Bill

He did go to the state school for the Deaf, after going to a public high school where the hearing kids were so cruel to him, and teased him about his hearing aids. He has 2 hearing sons, one retired from the Marines, and the other is a Pastor in a neighboring town.

Bill learned the trade of printing at the state school and did that for almost 20 years. He encourages all young Deaf to get a trade, to become more independent. Right now Bill does landscaping and helps mow lawns for additional income.

We headed downtown, and discovered the Eagle’s Nest Diner and B&B. And they had wifi!

Eagles Nest dining in Louisiana

Thanks to Shelly, Brittany, and the whole crew at Eagle’s Nest. You let me work several hours on this blog. Your food was SCRUMPTIOUS, and your service was even better!

Stocked up on water at the town’s edge convenience store, and headed to Clarksville. (Great story ahead alert!!!….you won’t believe this!)

But first, a word from these cows: (moooing)

 

Amazed cows what huh

(You’d think they’d never seen a recumbent before…well, maybe they haven’t!)

It was so hot…Earline was getting tired. Here’s our weary (yet still looking good) traveler:

Sun sets on weary traveler

I was looking for what Bob’s book described as the Silo Campground. I thought I saw it on the left, but the only sign there was “Road Ends at Water”. I saw some guys and pickups down by the water, maybe boating or fishing, but it just didn’t look like a safe situation to bring my wife into.

Shortly after that we entered Clarksville, and it seemed a little run down….I understand that this is the midway point between the Canadian border and the Gulf of Mexico, and we have traveled (I just checked) over a thousand miles, so we’re close to the halfway point of our Mission Possible Tour!

Clarksville river front sign [dark]

By now the sun has set, but there’s still some light. We went down to what looked like a fairly new riverside park by the Lock & Dam, and met an older gentleman who looked a little rough, carrying a Bible, talking about his brother’s Holiness church that he attends in another town.

When we asked him what we could pray for – he said “that he would obey God better.” But then he didn’t know the “obedience is better than sacrifice” verse [1 Samuel 15 :22, as well as Proverbs 21:3], and I “got a flag” (sensed I needed to use caution concerning his character).

We went back up the hill to the only motel we saw, and Miss Beverly assisted us. She was nice. HOWEVER, the AC in the lobby wasn’t on because she said the owner wouldn’t let her turn it on, the wifi and the TVs weren’t working from an earlier storm, and she said the owner said that she still had to charge over $60 for the night.

Ah…no, thanks.

She said she used to go to the Baptist Church in town, but she hadn’t gone in years, she didn’t know what time their services were, and didn’t know the names of the other churches in town…..pray for her!

Miss Beverly mentioned the Clarksville Station Bed & Breakfast on the edge of town, so we thought we’d check there. (Why, I don’t know, because I KNEW we didn’t have money for a Bed & Breakfast.)

We found it fairly easily, and it was a gorgeous place! Kinda reminded me of an upscale Cracker Barrel restaurant.

We inquired about a place to stay (and again, I don’t know why) but a young lady named Hanna said they only had 14 places/rooms, and they were booked for the night. (We were told Hanna has an excellent singing voice!)

We met Tim, the Executive Chef there who used to work at Disney World and lived in Kissimmee. He said that this Clarksville Station was a chef’s dream, because they got fresh produce daily from local farmers and developed each day’s menu from what was available.

Hanna mentioned that there was another place just a mile down the road (keep in mind it is now dark), and tat they also had a Bed & Breakfast where we might stay, called Eagle’s Bluff. She said her mom worked there, and Hanna tried to call for us, but couldn’t get an answer.

Lord, you know our needs.

It is late, we’re tired, we’re stinky, and a shower would be so nice, but you know our resources. Help us.

So we ventured out on the dark road, and eventually did come to lighted sign that said “Eagle’s Bluff Golf Resort and Lounge”….this a golf course!

What?!!??

They’re not gonna have anywhere for us to stay. But this is the place Hanna mentioned, and Lord, we’re trusting you to lead our steps (even if it means going up this long, steep driveway!) (VERY steep!)

So up we trudged up the hill, using the technique we’d learned going up other steep hills….go a little ways, stop, hold your hand brakes, rest your legs, and then go a little further. It took us 8 to 10 stops, but we made it!

Some staff we met at the top by some kind of clubhouse went to get Clarissa, the manager. Apparently they had had a wedding earlier and the reception/party was in full swing. (Everybody was admiring the trikes and our efforts coming up the hill!)

We explained as we had to Beverly, Tim, and Hanna along the way about our Mission Possible Tour, and what our current situation was. They were in the process of converting the owner’s farmhouse into a B&B, but didn’t really have it ready yet.

Clarissa asked if we had a tent, and we said yes, if she’d let us pitch a tent, that would be wonderful….just, could we have access to some bathrooms?

She then asked if we had some sleeping bags….we told her yes….and then she said we could sleep on the floor of the room the bridesmaids used to get ready for the wedding in, and it had a shower!! Yea!! Thank you, Clarissa!

(Side note…..Earline asked Clarissa a couple times if there was anything we could do to help…..hmmm…..kind of an odd question for our situation, but Earline said she felt lead to ask, and did so, a couple times even. There is an answer to this mystery tomorrow.)

Apparently this big room is also used as a men’s locker room for golfing parties, but it was not being used. Wow….tell God thank-you! And here’s what it looked like:

Fancy God gift place

Where we slept

Are we happy or what??!!

We are TRULY grateful for His leading and protection!!

TGG,

jon

Day 32 [Balltown, IA – Dubuque, IA]

FRIDAY, JULY 2, 2010

Woke up to clear skies again (yea!) and a stiff breeze from the south, southeast. We took a walk over to the pavilion which had restrooms. In Balltown, this pavilion is on just about the highest point in town. There is a memorial there for veterans, a playground for kids, and the town cemetery.

Cemetery in Balltown

Playground by cemetery

This juxtapositioning might seem odd, but number one, this is a small town and really, EVERYTHING is close to everything else, and number two, this actually nicely fits the verse, Ecclesiastes 7:2….“It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is time.”

Even kids while playing should occasionally give pause to their fragility. After working in the funeral industry for over 10 years, we have done some programs for people younger than 20, even some toddlers and babies. No tomorrow is promised, except the heavenly tomorrow offered by the Creator of life itself!

Here is our tent site up on the hill between the restaurant and the local baseball field, that I think my dad and uncle Dan actually played on more than 50 years ago.

Tent site in Balltown between rest and ball field

View of the Breitbach restaurant from where we camped

While we were packing, Mike Breitbach came up and asked us about breakfast, and told us that breakfast was on him. Wow! Thanks Mike, and thanks be to God who works thru so many different people. While eating breakfast, we were waited on by Mike, Jr. (we could see and hear the resemblance)…..

Mike Jr

……and dad Mike took us back to meet Cindy, his wife (and boss!):

Cindy Breitbach and Earline in kitchen

(By the way, later that day in Dubuque, we had two separate individuals talk about the hospitality of Mike and Cindy….what a wonderful thing to have such a great reputation! Like it says in Proverbs 22:1….“Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver of gold.”)

If you get a chance, read their story in the February 2010 Reader’s Digest. Their restaurant has burned down twice in the last 5 years! Their story is just another example of doing the “impossible” as friends and relatives banded together to rebuild their establishment….twice!

We walked over to the Scenic Outlook….the view from Balltown really is incredible, and I don’t know if these 2-dimensional photos will do the vista justice, but I’ll try:

NE Iowa 7

NE Iowa 6

One more picture of the Breitbach Country Inn. Under the text “Iowa’s Oldest restaurant and Bar” it says “Mit Gottes Segen Freunde and Familie”….which is German for “With God Blessing Friends and Family.”

Breitbach Country Inn

Headed to Dubuque, down the rolling ridge into that city – some uphills, more downhills….and Earline’s legs are getting even stronger – she was able to go up several hills without stopping!

On the way to Dubuque from Balltown, we went through the town of Sherrill, and met the family of Lynette Moore. They were so nice! Got some ice for all our water bottles, and made a donation to GHA as well. Thank you!

Lynette Moore family

Made a couple contacts once we arrived in the city of Dubuque, including a local church that occasionally has Deaf interpretation. They will be contacting the Pastor for us.

We were referred to the only campsite in the city itself, Riverview Park [Camp 17] by a bike shop on Hwy 52 that had a Breitbach Restaurant poster on the door! So we set up our tent in the park, along with hundreds of other people. Apparently this is the place to be, because Dubuque has their fireworks display Saturday night, from the north end of the island right where the campground is located!

Here’s the view of the Wisconsin bridge over the Mississippi River from where we were camped [NOT going over this one, so let’s call it Bridge #27-1/2]:

View of Wisconsin bridge from Riverview Park

Should be an interesting weekend!

TGG,

jon