Sharing the Good News of the Cross of Jesus Christ

Supporting Missions Around the World, Bicycling 5000 Miles Across America

Mapping the Journey, One Pedal At A Time

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 19 - WE MADE IT!!!

We left the motel in Columbia, Mississippi at 6:20 am in foggy, 74 degree weather.  Russ started pedaling at 6:35, picking up where we left off yesterday.  The fog worried me a bit, visibility was a concern.  Shortly after we prayed and began for the day, we turned south on highway 35 and the fog lifted to the tree tops and by 7 am the sun was peeking through the clouds. God answered that prayer FAST!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 18

Russ pedaled out of Ridgeland, Mississippi at 7:00 am under overcast skies with a pleasant temperature of 76 degrees.  The air felt humid since rain fell overnight.  We made several turns making our way to the east over the Ross Barnett Reservoir dam & spillway avoiding Jackson and heading south to Brandon, MS.  Some of the roads had several people in a hurry on the way to work, but before long we were out of  the "city".  We headed south from Brandon on "Star road", it led to the town of Star.  Mississippi does not believe in an abundance of signs, but we made it to our intended route.  After reaching Star, we headed southeast toward Mendenhall on US49, a 4 lane highway with a nice shoulder.  The down side was that it started to rain, not a hard rain, just enough to get Russ  & the roads wet!  The picture doesn't show it well, but it is raining here.
Today, most of the terrain was wooded like you see above, timberland or some pasture.  We only saw one field with some unidentified crop that looked kind of unhealthy.  I got a photo today that somewhat reflects almost every time we have passed a pasture with a herd of cattle on this trip.  Cattle must be very familiar with seeing cars, but when they see a bike, they stare in shock.  Horses, too!  Sometimes the horses would run around, one day a horse even rolled around on the ground!
We turned south on highway13 at Mendenhall, it was still raining lightly.  We stopped for a break where highway 28 crossed our path, as you can see, it was still raining!
We could see blue sky to the southeast, but dark clouds were in the north & west, it was just 77 degrees.  Finally the rain stopped at 12:15 and we saw sunshine by 12:30!  We had a break at Bumpers (sort of like Sonic) in Prentiss around 1:30.

We made it to Columbia, Mississippi just after 3:00 and 100 miles!  It is amazing how powerful Russ' legs are!  Thank you, LORD for his strength and endurance! 
With a convention going on in Columbia we got the last room at the 2nd motel we stopped at, WHEW!!  After a relaxing dip in the pool and hot tub, we've spent the evening relaxing.
Today we saw several crosses along the journey as well as the Ten Commandments in at least 5 yards. 

Tonight we find ourselves within a day of the end of the "arms of the cross" in our trip to CROSS AMERICA. Rain is forecast for tomorrow, but we're praying for a safe and smooth trip into Louisiana, our final state. Thank you again for your encouragement, messages, kind words and prayers.  We have felt your prayers during this WHOLE experience.  Blessings to you, until tomorrow,
Russ & Carol

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 17, another 100 miles

After a night of thunder, lightning and rain, we left the motel in Grenada, Mississippi under overcast skies and a pleasant temperature of 74 degrees.  We drove to the spot to pick up the trail on Hwy 51 south at the Montgomery county line where Russ started pedaling just after 6:30 am.  About an hour after we started, Russ had a flat. Fortunately, there was a spot to pull off and he quickly changed out the wheel. (thanks to quick release wheels!)

Traffic was light and the road not too hilly so after riding 31 miles and a roadside break at 9:00, we got out the tandem and I ACTUALLY rode again today!!  We stopped for a break about an hour later in Durant and just after we started riding again, it started to rain and rained on and off for the next hour or so.  We kept on going.  I got a phone call early in the morning from a friend traveling back from Florida wondering where we were, he drove up to meet us and sure enough, there Otto Warteman was on the road taking our picture as we passed!  We stopped for a visit, then rode on.  Otto treated us to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in Canton, MS after Russ & I rode 50 miles on the tandem.  It was great to see a familiar face and enjoy our time together. God is good and brought great encouragement through Otto!

Russ got out his bike again to continue and he had a flat AGAIN!  He changed out the wheel AGAIN and kept on going to Ridgeland, MS - just on the north edge of Jackson, MS stopping at 3:50 for a total of 100 miles. 
We were glad to find a motel and finally get out of our wet clothes. The cold pool felt refreshing, as well as a warm shower. Tonight I used the blow dryer to dry out our shoes.  Russ changed the tire on one wheel in our motel room, set it aside and started changing the other.  Gene was resting on his bed, I was laying on ours reading when POW! I thought the guys hanging around outside on the sidewalk were exchanging gunfire!  But it was the 1st tire Russ had changed, it had blown off the wheel scaring ME to death!  We really laughed!
Tonight we have thunder and rain again.  Overcast skies would be good for tomorrow as well, the temperature stayed under 90 today with no wind in the morning.  As we look at the map, the end of our trip is in sight.  The only way we've made it so far is by the grace of God, with His guidance, power and strength and through the prayers and encouragement of SO many people!  Keep on praying, we're getting closer!
Blessings to you - until tomorrow, 
Russ & Carol   

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sunday, a day of rest

We enjoyed sleeping in until about 7 am - LATE for us on this trip!  We worshipped at the 8:30 praise service at First United Methodist Church of Grenada, Mississippi and were warmly welcomed by pastor, Tom Potter and the congregation. It was a great service, message and time of fellowship. 
After returning to our motel, Russ did some maintenance on his bike.  A couple days ago he replaced the chain, today he changed out the wheel with the gear cluster.  After so many miles, they were showing some wear!  After lunch we'd intended to hit the pool, but took a nap first.  Today was hot and VERY humid.  We did get to the pool for a refreshing dip but thunder cut our swim short.  No raindrops ever fell, but it looked threatening for a time.
I enjoyed meeting Miranda and Anita, employees at the Quality Inn where we are staying.  Miranda said she passed us yesterday and saw me wave, so she waved back and wondered what we were doing in Grenada! While Russ was working on his bike in the parking lot, another worker at the motel came to him with a donation for our missions.  I am continually amazed at the generosity of God's people! 
It's been a great day of relaxation and refreshment.  God is GOOD!  We'll be rested and ready for tomorrow's journey.  Until then, blessings to you and thank you for your prayers!
Russ & Carol  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Day 16, pedaling into Mississippi

After a night spent across the line in Mississippi, (that's where we could find a motel) we drove BACK to Tennessee for Russ to start the day near Graceland on Elvis Presley blvd. (also known as hwy 51)  Not many people hanging around Graceland at 6:30 in the morning on a Saturday, so we took advantage of the photo opportunity!
We had to get Flat Stanley in a shot, too!  I'm sure he's an Elvis fan!
 Russ got started pedaling south on highway 51 at 6:45 am under partly cloudy skies and a temperature of 78 degrees.  Not too far south, before we got out of the city, we ran across this porker!  It was beside a BBQ restaurant.

 I'm sorry to say we do not have a photo beside a "Welcome to Mississippi" sign, because there wasn't one!  The closest I could find was when we crossed "Stateline Rd."  Sorry, couldn't get Russ in the shot, too!
 As we headed south out of the Memphis area, the highway soon narrowed to two lanes with no shoulder.  The highway was BUSY and some people on this Saturday morning were calm, cool and relaxed and others were:
 We were passed by a hearse today, at first we thought it was a funeral procession, but then decided the hearse was just on route to pick up or deliver.  We had quite a line of cars following us now and then with the roller-coaster hills of northern Mississippi.  We had some happy and not so happy honks, we had some unhappy "get off the road!" shouts, but we also had a car pass with windows down shouting and waving happily and pointing upward.  In fact, about 10 minutes later, the same car came back from the south, slowed down once again & the lady shouted to Russ "Just remember Philippians 4:13!!!"
Gene & I were relieved when we finally got away from civilization, there was less traffic and where the roads flattened out some...Russ was probably thankful for the flattening out part!
We took a few stops today, this one was just north of Sardis on the roadside.  It stayed overcast until about 2 pm, so that made it much cooler today.  It was 84 degrees at lunchtime in Batesville's McDonald's.
 We had some encounters with dogs today.  Today there were several more dogs loose in yards that we passed.  Three pit bulls came running out but stopped at the edge of the road when I started yelling at them in the deepest, meanest voice I could muster.  I stopped another group from chasing Russ by honking at them, another dog ALMOST was run over by an oncoming vehicle but he stopped the chase and turned around in the nick of time! 
This is what most of the road looked like today in Mississippi.
 Gene and I have decided that farmers really should be required to put up signs by their fields to let passers-by (like us) know exactly what is growing in the fields we are passing.  We also think they ought to put signs on pieces of equipment that we do not recognize...maybe the equipment is for taking care of the crops we don't recognize!!!
Another piece of information we have speculated about (and we do have LOTS of time to speculate!) is how in the WORLD do places get their names?  Today we were in Yalobusha made me wonder, were there a lot of yellow bushes there?  We didn't see any.  The other day we came across a city limit type sign that said "Future City", I'm sorry to say it did not look like it had much of a future, more of a past.  Enough speculation for the day!
 We are in Grenada, Mississippi tonight.  Russ rode 100 miles today, what a guy!  He really is doing great, says his legs feel fine.  The first few days of our trip he was rubbing his legs with "Active-on" quite regularly.  I asked him tonight why he hadn't been rubbing it on lately, thinking he'd run out of it.  He said his legs weren't hurting at all.  WOW, that's all I can say!  I'm sure you've noticed that I haven't been on the bike since...was it IOWA?  I'm perfectly happy to be following Russ, in fact, I'm fiercely protective.  Sometimes I feel like a bodyguard.  Today I was thinking through what I would do if my yelling and honking would not scare dogs away from him.  First I thought I'd get out and beat them with my umbrella, then I thought that would be too small.  Better idea: the folding chair we get out for breaks!

Enough of my rambling.  Tonight we're feeling good because tomorrow is Sunday, our day of rest.  We will find a place to worship in the morning and relax the rest of the day.  It's hard to believe, but we'll be home next Sunday!  We miss our church family!
We end the day with some crosses we saw today, always a great reminder to bring Glory to God! 
Thank you again for your encouragement, comments, messages and prayers - we could certainly feel them today!  Enjoy Sunday, may it be a blessing to you! 
Russ & Carol

Friday, July 22, 2011

Day 15, 86 more miles!

God blessed us with another great day!  We began at 6:20 am in Dyersburg, Tennessee with cloudy skies and 78 degrees.  We headed south on Highway 51 and remained on that same road all day.  We took our first break at 8 am in Ripley and Russ had already biked 25 miles.  The road, a four lane highway, had a full lane size shoulder for some of the day.  That's like a biking super highway!  Thank you, LORD!  Some of the time the shoulder was narrow or non-existent during the day, but we remained safe even though the road was BUSY.

We're always looking for crosses as we travel, this one was on the side of a church.

 Our second break was in the parking lot of a strip center in Covington, TN around 9:30.  By then it was sunny and 84 degrees.  A city worker in a truck drove up and asked about what we were doing.  We had a nice visit with Barry and he generously made a donation to our missions.  It's interesting how some people are curious and make a special effort to stop and encourage us.  What a gift from God!
Often before Russ gets back on the bike, he cleans the chain as he is doing in this picture.
 We took another break at the Munford McDonald's.  Russ' encouragement card was from Dan & Cheryl Spearman this morning and they told him to have ice cream, so he did!! 
We headed further south and hit the Memphis city limits around 12:15.  The ride through Memphis went very smoothly since we just stayed on the same highway.  That made it easy!  Also, notice what street it was, can you read the street sign??  Elvis Presley Blvd!
 All I can say is...they must have SOME kind of rodent problem here in Memphis!!
 As we headed down Elvis Presley Blvd, we eventually came by Graceland.  I took a picture of the Lisa Marie plane that is "parked" beside the road!
 Here's the Graceland sign by the visitor center & the other plane beside the Lisa Marie.
We stopped shortly thereafter, loaded up the bike and drove to where we could find a room in a motel.  Tomorrow we will return near Graceland, hopefully to have a picture with Russ on his bike.

It was a fairly uneventful day. (THANKFULLY safe!)  As I follow Russ on busy roads like today, I often find myself focusing a lot of my attention in the rear view mirror, I also spend a lot of time praying for people behind us to be alert, to pay attention and move to the left lane.  Sometimes watching the cars and trucks speeding toward us in the rear view mirror can make me very nervous and worry about being hit.  It's that trust thing again! God reminded me to trust Him for what's behind me and focus on what's ahead.  Isn't that true also with our lives?  Don't worry about what's past or behind us...Keep our eyes on Him.
Thanks for your prayers, we feel them EVERY DAY!!!
Until tomorrow,
Russ & Carol

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 14

 The first picture I took today was along Highway 51, Fort Jefferson Memorial Cross, I thought this would be a good picture for the thumbnail on Facebook!

This morning we left our motel in Cairo, Illinois and drove back across the river to the "Welcome to Kentucky" sign where Russ would resume his ride.  We were on the road at 6:20 am and the temperature was a pleasant 76 degrees.  We were on highway 51 south, a narrow tree-lined road along a levee.  Fortunately, there was not much traffic.

 Kentucky also looked pretty and green and there were LOTS of corn fields, in fact, in some places the corn was planted within a couple feet of the road.  Funny thing, but this Nebraska farm girl had forgotten the smell of corn fields.  Being surrounded by corn with the windows down, the pleasant, familiar smell brought back happy memories.  Russ said the humidity was REALLY high as we traveled down the tree-lined or cornfield lined roads.

When we came into Bardwell, we saw this bike...maybe Russ should ride one like that!

 Someone had a BEAUTIFUL garden edged with sunflowers. 
 We could smell this place coming before we could see it...mmmm, mmmm, love the smell of ham and bacon!!
We took a break in Clinton, Kentucky before we turned on highway 123 west to 239 south.  They were wonderful roads, not busy at all with many "happy" honkers. In Clinton, we took a break in front of a nursing home, they had pretty crepe myrtles.
 We arrived at the Tennessee border at 10:15 after traveling just over 40 miles through Kentucky.
 We had lunch at McDonald's in Union City and then headed south on highway 51, a nice 4 lane road with a WIDE shoulder.  It was a designated bike route.  Two of our breaks we took under overpasses just so we could enjoy some shade, Flat Stanley enjoyed the breaks, too!  The car thermometer showed 98 degrees, Russ' thermometer showed 104 degrees at the highest point.
We arrived in Dyersburg, Tennessee around 2:15 and checked into our motel, then jumped in the outdoor pool, it felt good!  We replenished our banana and gatorade supplies at Walmart, then ate supper. It's been a great 86 mile day, God blessed us with safe & not too hilly roads and beautiful things to see, smell and enjoy.  We are hitting the hay to be ready for the road again tomorrow.
Thanks for your prayers, emails, comments & words of encouragement - that's what is keeping us going.
Blessings to you!
Russ & Carol

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 13

The sun was just coming up in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri as Russ pedaled out of town at 6:10 am heading south on Hwy 61.  There were wispy clouds in the mostly clear sky with a temperature of 77 degrees. There were several people on the road obviously in a hurry to get to work.  One vehicle took a risky chance of passing up a hill with a semi coming straight at him down the hill.  I did a frantic DON'T PASS NOW wave, but he kept coming!  How we all remained safe is only by the grace of God as I watched his big side mirror narrowly miss Russ.  My heart was pounding for several minutes after that incident!  Fortunately, the rest of the day felt much safer!

We took a couple of morning breaks and at 9 am came to Uniontown on Hwy 61 where we saw a sign that said ROAD CLOSED ahead.  Once again, God sent us help - a nice lady out getting her mail that told us they were building a new bridge down the road and a bicycle could get through, but not the car.  She also explained how to detour and meet up with Russ down the road.  What a blessing and Russ didn't have to waste miles detouring!

We had a lunch break at Wendy's in Cape Girardeau where we met Donna Hendrix who had been following us since Jackson.  She gave us a generous donation and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit.  She also was instrumental in getting several people in the restaurant involved in our route out of the city, she even got her husband Gary on the phone to speak to Russ & give us tips and directions as well.  Here's a picture of Donna with Russ outside of Wendy's.

With road closures and a ferry not in operation, our planned route needed adaptation.  We headed east out of Cape G on Hwy 74 & crossed the bridge to Illinois.  It was a neat bridge! In Illinois, the Hwy changed to 146.

After crossing over to Illinois, the effects of the flooding was evident right away.  In fact, in the photo above you can see the water standing in the distance.  We went many miles with water covering the fields on each side of the road.  We turned south on Hwy 3 toward Cairo.

That's water on the left and standing water with green scum on the right. 
We found a shady spot on the side of the road for a break at 2:00.  At 96 degrees, we needed a shady spot!

Fortunately, we found a motel in Cairo, Illinois.  If you look on the map you will see that Cairo is in a piece of Illinois between the Ohio & Mississippi rivers.  Understandably, it was deeply affected by flooding.  After arriving at our motel at 3:30, we took a swim in the pool to cool off, then an hour later Russ was back on the road to do a few more miles (just 25 more minutes) because he wanted to hit 100 miles for the day.  He crossed the bridge to Kentucky, so we were in three states today: Missouri, Illinois & Kentucky!  Here are the photos to show the bridge to Kentucky.

Tomorrow we will head across the tip of Kentucky into Tennessee, so tomorrow will be a three state day, too since we are spending the night in Illinois. 
Thanks again for all your prayers!  God reveals Himself to us in people, places and circumstances and His word.  Thank you for interceding on our behalf, we appreciate you!
Until tomorrow!
Russ & Carol


The CrossNAmerica trip is First to be a witness of the significance of the Cross of Jesus Christ and Its Foundational Influence Upon This Nation. Its Even the Glue That Holds Us Together. "LAMININ"

Secondly we are raising pledges per mile or single pledges to support any of the five mission organizations listed on this blog or any other worthy Christian mission effort around the world, locally or globally.

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 Corinthians 1:18