We encountered several thunderstorms in the past week. But each time we were able to find cover and protection. It’s all part of our adventure and the way God is orchestrating our protection, His provision and answers to all of your and our prayers.
We made it to Clay, KY, Sunday (the 10th), unsure of where we would be spending the night. We arrived at a ballpark, thinking we could find someone to ask about pitching our tent. And what do you know... Jerry saw a woman cutting the grass and she happened to be the commissioner of parks. She not only said that we were welcome to camp anywhere there, but she offered us the use of the concessions grill, plus as many hamburgers, hot dogs, and such as we would like for dinner. Wow! Later, her aunt and uncle showed up and offered their church (just a block around the corner) as an alternative place for us to stay. Yes, please! That meant air conditioning, showers, no bugs to swat, and freedom from having to pitch our tents and re-pack them in the morning. What a series of blessings!!
The next day we made it to the Ohio River, which is the line dividing Kentucky from Illinois. So, we boarded the small ferry that took us across the Ohio River, saying goodbye to Kentucky and hello to Illinois, landing us in the town of Cave-in-Rock, IL.
We stayed in the campground at Cave-in-Rock. Although the campground was beautiful, we had a rough night. We had trouble finding flat spots for our tents where the camp host asked us to stay; the heat and humidity in our tents were unbearable-very difficult to fall asleep; and there was a storm that night (very thankful that our new tents remained water tight!). So, we did not get a good night’s sleep, but nevertheless, we packed up the next day and started biking to our next destination. And that is when we all seemed to “hit a wall” in our energy level, motivation, and enjoyment of our biking that day. Our morale was down. Then came another storm. And this one was fierce and lasted about 2 1/2 hours. Thankfully, before it began to pour down and the lightning and thunder were upon us, we spotted a farm with a huge shed. We knocked on the owners’ front door to ask for permission to weather the storm in their shed. They gave us their blessing. So there we were- waiting with our bikes and gear. We snacked a little, then boredom set in. I like when the boys get bored because on the other side of boredom is creativity. They began playing in the dirt- literally. A couple of hours into waiting for the storm to dissipate, the woman (whose property we were on) came out and brought us a bag of snacks: cheese doodles, crackers, cheese, candy...) More kindness!! She expected nothing in return. She had also been praying for our safety as we were out weathering the storm.
The long wait during the storm allowed us to figure out an alternative plan for the rest of the day- in light of the “wall” we had hit. Jerry found a cottage only 3 miles away that had the perfect accommodations for us- including AC, beds, full kitchen, and laundry! After the storm had finally passed, and we were full of junk food 😉, we were ready to head there. The mood was positive and energetic. The cottage was the perfect respite. The following day (yesterday) we got onto our bikes and had a difficult, but successful, day of biking some pretty tough hills in the heat and humidity. We were so glad to reach Goreville United Methodist Church, where we stayed last night (again, AC and comfort!). Dawn and Jeannie have been so accommodating to us, as they have gone out of their way to make our stay here comfortable.
One change that we made this week was to switch around the bikes that we are pedaling. Originally, Jerry, Douglas, and Avery had been on the triple, and LisaPage and Russell were on the double. However, we’ve been searching for ways to make our efforts and pedaling most efficient. So, with much reluctance, I (LisaPage) agreed to try captaining the triple. I had been a bit fearful of doing so because the last time I tried it, the bike was difficult to control (that was before we had gotten new, wider handlebars). But it was actually fine. After getting used to the slight difference in gearing, I’ve become accustomed to it. And it seems to be working out well- our current set up: LisaPage, Russell, Douglas on the triple, and Jerry, Avery, and the trailer on the double.
Tomorrow is the day that we head to St. Louis to spend multiple days enjoying the sights and activities there and to meet up with my (LisaPage’s) mother. We plan to rent a truck for this excursion. We had planned to bike to Carbondale, IL, today, but we won’t be doing that because we have come to realize that Avery is showing symptoms of a minor concussion that he likely got almost a week ago from slipping up and hitting his head on a hard floor. (We’ve spoken with several medical folks and are allowing Avery to rest and recover.) please pray for his full recovery and that this will not hinder us from enjoying the activities we have planned for our time in St. Louis.
Another noteworthy item is that Bill Lohmann wrote a follow-up article about us in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this past Monday- highlighting our first month-and-a-half of our bike adventure. If you missed it, here’s the link to the article: http://www.richmond.com/life/bill-lohmann/lohmann-first-month-of-cross-country-bicycle-trip-tests-mettle/article_c1817ad2-87b3-5a94-a3e0-29bb56688f82.html