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May 11, 2012

Well, here we are again on another bicycle excursion to Tennessee. Every year it seems like half the challenge is just getting ready to leave- mowing the yard, packing, finishing up at the YFC office, etc. But here we are in Shelbyville after a relatively short day- 43 miles from Anderson. After saying goodbye to the family and our musical instruments, we were riding in near-perfect weather with clear skies and cool temperatures. The wind has been working against us some which is one thing that has slowed us down. Dinner was at Cracker Barrell in Shelbyville where we met a family who was on their way to a healing service. The son and his family were from Scotland. Overall, it was a good day- It's 6:20pm now and we are about to go to sleep and try for an early start tomorrow.

May 12, 2012

Today was long. We ate breakfast at McDonald’s and left Shelbyville at 7:00 am. It was overall a cool day, a little cloudy, but good biking weather. The wildlife in Indiana is not too fascinating for us since we live here. In the sky were a couple birds- a buzzard, a crane. Every now and then we think of lines from Garri Sr.’s “Bicycle Song” from his new album. One of the lines is “Here comes and old dog- I think he’s a mutt; he comes a’barkin’ and a’yippin’- He’s some kind of nut.” I think that same dog “yipped” at us today. Garri Jr. also had a cup of cold water thrown at him from a car. It is 9:00 pm now- we just arrived at our motel in Sellersburg a few minutes ago. We rode 90 miles today.

May 13, 2012

We celebrated Mother’s Day afternoon on bicycles. This morning we slept in until around 8:30, had a continental breakfast at the motel, followed by a small “church service” in our motel focusing on the 15th chapter of John. Jesus talks of how He is the vine and we are the branches.

We left the motel around 11:00 and rode all day in the rain. It took a couple hours just to get through the city of Louisville. It doesn’t take long being in Kentucky to realize you’re not in Indiana anymore. The hills are fun- we had to climb a mile-long hill just to get to our motel tonight here in Taylorsville. We told the motel manager tonight why we were riding and he rented us our room for a flat $20. He was very sympathetic, especially after telling him about the prayer rallies.

May 14, 2012

This morning it was raining before we left, which made it depressing waking up. We rode by Taylorsville dam. After that we were on Highway 55 and saw all sorts of farmland, black tobacco barns, etc. There was a restored cabin owned by a pre-civil war free slave. The cabin stayed in the family until 1980 and is now in the midst of a large, immaculate plot of farmland (see photo). We ate lunch in Bloomfield. Overall, it was a very overcast day- The sun came peeking through, but not much. Thankfully, we did not have to ride in rain today. Here we are now in Danville, in the middle of Kentucky, after 54 miles.

May 15, 2012

Today was a good ride. We left Danville around 8 or 9 am after a delicious continental breakfast. It was extremely foggy for the first hour or two of riding. We ate an incredible lunch in Lancaster at a little diner and talked with some local men about bicycling. Late afternoon we rode through Renfro Valley, which is a huge place for music, in fact, Garri Sr. had played steel guitar with a gospel group here about 40 years ago. We visited there a while, met some other visitors, including a couple from New York state who knew some people in Youth for Christ. After this, we quickly found out why we were in “Renfro VALLEY” and why they called the next town “MOUNT Vernon.” The hill we had to climb was fun. We were counting our blessings- the weather today was clear. This evening in our motel room we heard a bluegrass band on TV. One song was about “Black Diamond” guitar strings. They were excellent. 52 miles of bicycling today.

May 16, 2012

Tonight we are in Middlesboro, KY, just on the Kentucky-Tennessee state border. We left at 7:00 am on a very cool and foggy morning. Since most of the stores were closed at this time we ate a snack of apples and granola bars before riding in almost 25 miles of mountainous Daniel Boone National forest. By the time we got to our next stop we were quite hungry and had a great lunch in the great city of London…….. Kentucky. Thanks to the help of maps and directions from locals, we plotted out our next route which consisted of some very steep rolling hills. On SR 25 E, close to Barbourville a satellite dish flew out of the back of a truck into the middle of the road. We stopped to pick it up and drag it onto the shoulder. In Barbourville, we ate lunch at a brand new diner whose owner was Vietnamese and had a very strange accent. Weather-wise, it was a very beautiful day with low humidity and the wind in our favor. We are ready for a good night’s sleep after this 80-mile day.

May 17, 2012

This was a bit of a challenging day. We ate breakfast at Waffle King in Middlesboro. When we walked in there was a man bowing his head praying before eating. We told him we appreciated his praying and told him about the YFC prayer rallies. We didn’t mention anything about money, but he offered to give us a few dollars toward our cause. When we arrived at Cumberland Gap there was a truck escort to take us through the mile-long tunnel. This was also a day of gifts. We stopped by a boot store out in the country and after visiting for a while the man offered us a bag of beef jerky. About 10 more miles down the road we stopped at a BP station for lunch and had a long discussion with a truck driver delivering chips and snacks. We said goodbyes and he came back in with four cases of cheese crackers. Finding a place to fit them on our bikes has been a challenge, but was very touching. The animals and wildlife on the road have been entertaining. We saw a groundhog off the side of the road. The dogs made us feel recognized. They must have liked us because they came up and barked us- every possible breed of mutt. Here we are in Sevierville, Tennessee after 65 miles today. Thankfully we have not yet had a flat tire…. The trip is not over yet.

May 18, 2012

As of 4:00 today we arrived in Gatlinburg, TN. Since we only had about 22 miles to ride today, we took our time, left around 10:45, and stopped by a record store and some other places. We stopped to take pictures, including a picture of a dead snake on the side of the road. It was nice not to have a strict schedule to get somewhere. Overall it was a day of heavy traffic which also slowed us down some. Breakfast this morning was at Flapjack Pancake House. We are now at Mountain House Inn in Gatlinburg and are extremely thankful that we are here safely and hopefully accomplished our purpose. We are waiting for mom and the girls to get here- this is a major family vacation time for us.