Journal Entries by Date
(chronological order)

The Weekend Workup

  • Day 1 - Ken's Journal - April 27, 2001 - North Bend to Ellensburg, Washington
    We left Randy's this morning at 6:30. Got to the top of Snoqualmie Pass at 10:30. The hill up the pass, that I have been dreading since the beginning, was every bit as hard as I had expected. In fact, I had to walk the last two miles up. Randy & Joe walked with me but they could have ridden up easily. We made 3 mph walking and I was down to 4 mph riding and had to give up. Dianna drove up to meet us with the boys. We had lunch in Easton. Things went so well the rest of the day we didn't stop in Cle Elum but went on to Ellensburg for a total of 81 miles. We had a great tail wind and cruised - got up to 42 mph on one hill. The photos are from Easton (where we had lunch) and up on the top of the pass. We were able to talk to two folks about the trip today. Saw beautiful country at a much slower speed. No animals, just a lot of junk. Joe found a working Nokia cell phone. Randy called on it and the lady is coming to his office next week to pick it up. We are very glad that we weren't going the other way into the headwind. God bless.-Ken

  • Day 2 - Ken's Journal - April 28, 2001 - Ellensburg to Prosser, Washington
    Randy, Joe & I took advantage of the minimal continental breakfast at the Super 8 and headed out of Ellensburg at 6:45. We headed south on Canyon Road, leaving the Interstate and following the Yakima River. A short distance into the canyon I started to say something to Randy and he said not to bother him just then as he was listening to the sounds. It was amazing to have lost the truck and car sounds of the freeway and to be hearing and seeing magpies, kingfishers, blue herons, ducks, geese, red-wing blackbirds, rabbits, jumping fish, and, we even saw a herd of Rocky Mt. bighorn sheep on the canyon wall across the river. There are a couple of killer hills in the canyon and I had to walk my bikeE twice about 1 mile each time. We took two photos in the canyon and then rejoined the interstate just before Yakima. We were going so well that we decided to just go on past Yakima that had been our scheduled Saturday night stop. I will have to call the Union Gospel Mission Monday and thank Rick for offering us a bed and meals. We did manage to make a lunch stop at Miner's for a burger. If you have never had a Big Miner you need to put it on your "to do" list. They are wonderful. We headed on into the wind to Union Gap again following the Yakima River. We quickly made some left curves and luckily got the wind around behind. Praise the Lord again! We started making great time and stopped at the Darigold cheese factory in Sunnyside for one of their fantastic ice cream cones. The wind got even stronger and we were really cruisin'. There was a lot of dust flying and some other "stuff" too as we passed several cattle feed lots. Finally got to Prosser and learned that this was the weekend of the yearly Barrel Wine Tasting Festival. NO ROOMS IN THE INNS. We finally found a bed at a place built back in the 50's but it wasn't bad, and we didn't care much after an 83-mile day. Decided not to go out for dinner and just dug into our Pop Tarts and other biking goodies. We tried to bring ourselves to do our logs but just couldn't and watched the remainder of the Seattle Mariner game and died. Enough for one day. God bless. -Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 3 - Ken's Journal - April 29, 2001 - Prosser to Richland, Washington
    Knowing that we had only 30 miles left to Richland to complete this early 200-mile leg we slept in until 6. I swear the boys cut at least five cords of wood last night as I got a total of about two hours of sleep for their snoring. I will surely be packing earplugs for the remainder of this adventure. We showered, did our morning Bible study, had more Pop Tarts and bars and headed out of Prosser. Showed the guys the huge sinkhole that I hit near the motel last night. We headed up the tough Prosser hill on the Interstate I-82 and were again happy that the stout wind was coming from the right side and not head-on. Dianna (Randy's wife) and the boys passed us on the hill and waited for us at the top to visit a while. She was headed to Richland to take Randy home this evening and to visit her dad who is having triple by-pass surgery this week in Spokane. Later, on the Yakitat hill Terry Myers (friends Ken & Mary's son) and his family stopped to visit a bit as they headed to Richland to visit with Ken & Mary. It was very windy and cold and we were shivering in a hurry. We made Benton City in great time and waved at son Ralph's home across the Yakima River. The Benton City hill is a tough one and we labored on up slowly. Near the top we were overtaken by Ken Myers who had come out to meet us after hearing where we were from his son. We are spending more time visiting on the road than biking but it sure is great fun to have folks caring and interested in what we're doing while we are praising God's Awesome Grace in our lives. Just a short distance later we saw Ralph and Mary heading home from Sunday church. They saw us and honked and waved. In a little bit they had turned around and caught up to us so we stood and visited some more. Ralph's appetite has now been thoroughly wetted and he is talking about taking off a few days and riding the first four days of the next trip leg with us. As we will be starting again on May 17, that means he could join us through the 20th and on out into Montana. That would be great. We finally got to the long, three-mile hill down into Richland on the Columbia and Yakima Rivers confluence and home. It felt really good to be reaching a goal again. We checked in with wife Pat, took the attached photo, congratulated each other, had some of Pat's chilidogs and unpacked. I will have to ride back to North Bend with Randy & Dianna so I can bring back David's van. It will be a long day even if it was only a 35-mile biking day. We are thankful for this three-day adventure and the learning experience of it. We will certainly use what we learned as we prepare for the takeoff for the May 17 to June 14 leg from Richland, Wa., to Kaukauna, Wi. We'll be talking to you later. God bless. -Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Ken's Journal - April 30, 2001 - at home
    Since both Randy and Joe had to get back on their jobs first thing this morning it fell to me to ride back to North Bend with Randy and family last evening to pick up the van Joe and I had driven over to transport our bikes on Thursday. We got to North Bend late and tired. It rained hard all night and again I didn't get much sleep. Got up at 6 and visited with Dianna a bit before heading home. Randy had already left for Genie Ind. It was still raining hard as I headed back up over Snoqualmie Pass and it turned to snow about three miles from the top. Lost the snow and was back to rain again at about CleElum. The wind was even stronger than it had been over the weekend and quite a bit colder. I am constantly impressed at how Our God watches over us. This time He had given us just the perfect fair weather hole to slip through in an otherwise lousy weekend. We had had some sun, fair temperatures, just a few drops of rain and mostly a tail wind. I wasn't able to enjoy any scenery this morning as all I saw was wiper blades trying to dispense the spray from speeding cars and semis. Stopped in Ellensburg for breakfast and then turned back down through the Yakima Canyon to avoid the Interstate traffic for a few miles. There were a few tough-guy fly fishermen braving the elements. For those of you who may not know, there is a protected stretch of the Yakima River in the canyon that is considered to be one of the 10 best trout streams in the nation. It is single barbless hook catch and release fly fishing and they just keep multiplying and getting larger. Arrived home in Richland with it still raining about noon and returned David's van. Was happy to get back on the computer and catch up with the many encouraging notes from you, our friends, family and interested well-wishers. Now it's on to refining what we learned on this 200-mile shakedown leg to get ready for May 17 when we head out on the remaining 1811 miles to Kaukauna, Wis., and the KHS 50th High School Reunion Celebration. We will continue these daily "meetings" on the evening of May 17. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

The Main Event

  • Day 4 - Ken's Journal - May 17, 2001 - Richland to Ritzville, Washington
    We got up at 4:30 and were ready for the other bikers, friends and wellwishers. The attached photo of our sendoff group includes Pat, Dianna, Mary, Jennifer, Justin, Linda, Ken & Mary Myers, Doc & Cory Clark, Joe's friend Candy, and the bikers Ken, Randy, Ralph and Joe. The ex-T-C Herald, now freelance photographer, Gary Cook, was also there. We did the group photos, had a group prayer and headed out at 6:20. Going out of Richland Gary was waiting for us on GWWay to take photos as we passed by. Lots of folks honked at us as we went to Pasco. It was a cool morning at 42 degrees and there was just a bit of a breeze. There was a lot of early morning worker traffic in the Tri-Cities and we felt like we were in rush hour traffic and needed to be very careful. We stopped at the King City truck stop once we got on Hwy. 395 and were met there by Justin who had followed us out of town. Ken & Mary Myers passed us several times checking on us and honking and waving. It really gives a comfortable feeling to know that people care. Thank you all. As we went out 395 we were met by Ted Johnson, a biking and bowling friend from Pasco. Ted rode with us until about 10 when his wife picked him up with the car. The boys and I enjoyed his company and conversation. About 9:30 Pat and Linda caught up with us with the Grandma's cookies Christine, had sent to us through a local florist just like you send flowers. I had never heard of that before. We stood by the roadside and enjoyed a couple of them. Pat & Linda took a few more pictures and then we were on our own for a long day's riding again. We packed the rest of the cookies in Joe's bag (probably a mistake). Thanks Chris for the wonderfully gracious and thoughtful gift. Our freelance photographer friend stayed with us until 11. Gary kept driving ahead and showing up at the strangest places waiting with his camera at the ready. We sure hope that he can sell some of his shots for all the dedication he displayed. We just continued to put on miles all day as we saw rabbits, coyote pups, hawks, curlew, meadowlarks and marmots. We picked up a nice tail wind along the way and really didn't have as bad a day as we could have but we quickly realized that we were in for a long day. After 88 miles we arrived in "downtown" Ritzville and found a motel room. Everyone was sweaty, tired, body worn and very happy to settle down for a cleanup, hot meal and good night's rest. We did manage to get the four bikes into our room but it was a bit crowded. We are determined to make it work just the same. We are off the bikes and in out of the cool breeze for the night.

  • Day 5 - Ken's Journal - May 18, 2001 - Ritzville to East Spokane, Washington
    This is being written from the far east side of Spokane instead of Opportunity which is just two miles farther on the Interstate. Will explain about it later. We had a nice continental breakfast at our Ritzville motel and got on the road about 7:10. It was just the most beautiful morning anyone has even experienced. We had a tail wind again and made pretty good time. I tried to stop every five miles for a water, snack and circulation break. Between trucks and other traffic we again heard all the native birds. We even saw a hawk hover and then dive to pick up a field mouse. He made his catch and flew off with it. We took more photos today: the green fields of eastern Wash., some of us as a group in a number of spots, and Ralph even got one of us biking on by him with the computer digital camera. We didn't know if this would work or not but it passed the test. He even went on ahead and got one of us approaching from an overpass along the way. We saw a very neat sign at the Sprague Lake rest stop about the railroad history of the area and have tried to include it here if the text is readable. It was not a very tough day for hills and after our long day yesterday we were glad about that. We will certainly get on plenty of hills tomorrow. Got my first ticket ever on a bike today. We came down the "big" hill into Spokane without noticing a sign at the Geiger Field exit that you cannot ride the Interstate between there and Broadway out on the east side. We were pulled over at the bottom of the hill and all four of us received $71 violation tickets. It was a great ride down the hill but not really worth that kind of a price. We then had to get off on the side streets and work our way through town to where we could get back on legally. We got to "enjoy" Spokane's potholes and ongoing street repairs as we even had to ride a mile of gravel on work in progress. Anyway, after all that we decided that we had had enough and just grabbed a Super 8 motel room here at our finally found freeway onramp. We have just heard of a river bike trail that runs from close to here all the way to Coeur 'de Alene so I think we will jump on that in the morning and get away from the trucks again for a while. A neat, great thing happened when we finally found this onramp in that we met a fellow there who was obviously down on his luck. He was a biker and was very interested in my very different and special bikeE. We talked about it and I told him of our stated purpose for this to become a witnessing trip to the amazing grace of our awesome God. He started to cry at that and we learned that he was a Christian who had been having a hard time in his life recently and had given up on God. We pulled out our little New Testament and went through a few scriptures and Joe and I had a prayer with him. He thanked us and joined in the prayer that God would be real in his life again. There were many other neat things in this day but that was the biggie. We recorded another 70 miles in great weather without any mechanical problems and with the tail wind that most of you have been praying for us. Thank you.

  • Day 6 - Ken's Journal - May 19, 2001 - East Spokane to Kellog, Idaho
    With a note from Randy at bottom in blue.
    From Kellogg, Idaho - We enjoyed a Burger King dinner and a good night's sleep last night in Dishman in the eastern Spokane area. Got up at 5, did some bike maintenance, enjoyed another Super 8 continental breakfast and were back on Interstate 90 heading east at 7:15. It was a cool 45, cloudy and with a stiff breeze from the southeast. It changed around to the southwest later and so we enjoyed another day with a very nice tailwind. We were into Idaho in an hour and stopped to take a group photo at their sign. Again, it was a beautiful day and we were having a grand time enjoying the mountain fir trees. We stopped at the visitor center and visited. Talked quite a while to the two fellas who were manning the rest area coffee/cookie bar for their Spirit Lake 1st Lutheran Church. Nice guys like all the people we've met everywhere so far. Anyone who is pessimistic enough to believe that most folks are out to get you or are looking for some kind of trouble need to get out like this and meet the real people. We were very impressed, as always, with the beauty of Coeur d'Alene lake. It was extra special today with the wind-whipped white caps covering it. Immediately thereafter we found ourselves on the long climb up to Fourth of July pass. I believe it is at a 3062 elevation but checking today's photos will prove that out. We did stop at the top and take a victory photo. It was nasty up on top and even began to share a little mountain spring storm rain with us. We put on our jackets and took off on the speedy and enjoyable downhill side. It always makes the hard climbs seem almost worth it all. I must admit that I did have to walk the last two miles up. It was a tough climb and I just didn't have enough gears and legs. The boys were graceful and joined me in my morning jaunt. We made a lunch stop at the bottom and broke out the Pop Tarts, nuts, apples and sunflower seeds. We lost the spring storm and even saw short spurts of sun again. The day wore on into one lower hill after another. We rode next to little creeks and crossed the Coeur d'Alene river. We decided to make a stop at the old mission at Cataldo. This is said to be the oldest building in the state of Idaho. There is a photo of it in today's group. I have to make a promise to wife Pat here to stop there with her next time we go through Idaho. We have been just driving on past there for many years now and saying that we would stop another time as we sped on to our Wisconsin and Minnesota family vacation visits. Next time you really will see it Pat. Then it was only 10 more mostly downhill miles to this day's Kellogg, Idaho destination. With our tailwind, we "flew" along pretty well. We found another Super 8 and, after sharing our story with the desk clerk/manager, I am typing today's journal to you from a very nice, upgraded suite at the regular room fee. He was very impressed with what we are doing and that we are doing with all of you as a family. We have a living room, bedroom, and kitchen across from the indoor pool and jacuzzi. The boys and I plan to visit a pizza place across the street, hit the pool and the queen size beds. So, that should do it for today. God bless.-Ken Lettau

    Randy's Note
    To the Genie Moosewerks Team-
    Hello all! I am sitting in a Super8 in Kellogg, Idaho and am missing my work terribly (NOT). I hope Chris has not missed any fly balls recently. I, am sore in several muscles and some places that are not. Hope production orders have increased and all are well. See you, ah.....I forgot when.


  • Day 7 - Ken's Journal - May 20, 2001 - Kellog to St. Regis, Montana
    Journal for 5/20/01 - Yes this report is being written from St. Regis, Montana, our scheduled goal for today. Son Ralph (Randy's twin) left us today after cycling with us since we left my Richland, Wash., home Thursday morning. His wife, Mary, drove over and picked him up, as he needed to be back at work Monday morning. Weather wise it has been another absolutely fantastic day. We have enjoyed a northwestern spring sunny day with beautiful cumulus clouds floating all day long. Our climb up Lookout Pass started very shortly after leaving Kellogg, Idaho, about 7:10 this morning. It was a long, slow, drawn-out climb. We (I) did OK until we hit Mullen, Idaho, and then the climb got serious as we saw the sign informing us we were now 12 miles from the summit. I worked very hard for the next six miles and then had to give up and walk. The boys alternately walked with me or rode. They were in their lowest gears and even with their younger, much stronger legs, they admitted it was extreme. The last two miles I got to where I changed my goals and was down to counting 100 steps pushing my BikeE before I would stop for a quick breather. I have to confess that it wasn't the fault of the BikeE with its 27 gears but just my old legs not being up to the task. We did finally get to the 4680-foot high summit and took a big lunch and rest beak. A Yakima man stopped his motorhome next to us and we visited about the Mariners latest games and "back home". We were now in Montana as the state line is also at Lookout Pass and were now in the Mountain Time Zone as well. We were still 33 miles from St. Regis so we were all very to happy to hit the downside of the pass. Randy took the lead since he has been having to keep his downhill speed under 33 mph with the special bicycle trailer he's pulling. By the way, Randy heartily endorses that trailer as a nice long distance piece of bike equipment. To our dismay we also discovered that Montana has cut its "rumble strips" across the full eight-foot shoulder width. We are really hoping to find that this condition does not exist statewide. We made a stop at a rest stop about six miles down the grade. Those six miles just flew by. And the rest of the miles for the day did also as we followed the St. Regis River flowing down. It is one of the most beautiful mountain streams you could ever want to see and makes me think I would like to come this way again with my fishing rod and without any kind of an end date or schedule. I saw hundreds of holes where I'm sure lunker rainbow trout are waiting for me. We almost had a problem as Joe's back tire developed what he described as a bumping feel. Upon inspection we discovered that the tire bead had popped out for a length of about four inches. Why it didn't let the inner tube squeeze through and cause a blowout we did not know except that the "bubble of prayer" you folks have been praying around us protected us again. We let out some of the air and were able to work the bead back on, air it up and were on the way down the hill again in less than 15 minutes. It's been a long, tough day. We are glad to be here at the St. Regis Super 8 where there is a hot tub that I am headed for very soon. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken Lettau

  • Day 8 - Ken's Journal - May 21, 2001 - St. Regis to Missoula, Montana
    Journal 4 5/21/01…from Missoula, MT. We got up to a very cold St. Regis Montana morning. This super 8 does not have a breakfast bar so we took care of that at a nearby restaurant with some of the best hotcakes I have ever enjoyed. On the walk over, Randy was able to scrape significant frost off a car's back window, and whenever we saw a field sprinkler for the next couple of hours; there was ice on the grass all around the area. We hit the interstate again about 7:20 a.m. and saw our first live deer very soon after. She ran along our side of the fence with us for a while, and then she made an easy graceful jump, before she disappeared into the thick pines. We were soon riding along the Clark Fork River and saw to our dismay that the water was flowing toward us instead of with us. That gave us a long, slow climb, but we managed to keep chugging along at 8-10 miles per hour. We also had some great downhill runs as we climbed several times away from the river and then dropped down to it again. I guess I'm repeating myself but there are 1000's of good-looking trout holes out there. It was another absolutely beautiful morning. As I said, it started below freezing but in just a couple of hours, the clear Montana "big sky country" gave us a bright warm sun and we were very comfortable. We labored on and crossed the Clark Fork 10 times in the course of this day's miles. About noon we came to a scenic lookout, a couple miles west of Alberton, Mt, and found a couple of local wood carvers setup and working there. We had a bite, and then while Randy and Joe hiked down to a gorgeous Clark river rapids area, I visited with the two carvers. They told me they live in a cabin about two miles away without running water or electricity. They subsist on their carving and on an occasional stint at construction. I explained what we were doing, as I have been doing with desk and store clerks, waitresses and just about everybody we cross paths with. Folks always seem surprised that an old guy would be doing this. It usually leads to comments like, "How good you look for your age," and that is just the opening I love, it allows me to bring the "Amazing Grace of our Awesome God" into a conversation and I am always surprised at how it develops on that theme. In this case, I was asked about my vices, like did I smoke, drink and so forth. One of the fellows said he sure liked to be able to quit smoking but hadn't been able to do it yet, he said "I guess I am just not making good use of all the spiritual power I have available to me." We had a few other words and I told him that I might see him when Pat and I come through on our way back to Washington, as they display their carvings there daily in the tourist season. Randy and I saw two more deer about mid-afternoon as we were walking up a short section of a steep hill, to give our leg muscles a little different workout. The deer were laying low in some tall grass under a tree at the edge of a meadow. They just watched us walk by, and when we changed our pattern and got back on our bikes, they got up and ran off across the meadow. It got quite warm out on the interstate today and the boys got down to shorts, t-shirts and lots of sunscreen. I had the first flat tire we have experienced as I ran over an eight-penny box nail. The front wheel must have popped it up and the rear wheel hit it point first. It pierced the tread and came out the side, right at the rim, so I had two holes at the same time. It is really great to be doing this with help like Randy and Joe. They popped that thing off and repaired it so that we were happily cycling on down the rode in less than a half hour. They don't let me help much and I am getting to where I kind of enjoy the royal old guy treatment. This part of the world is just coming into the spring season and we are seeing beautiful fields of mountain lupine, wild daisies and the whole profusion of blooming trees and shrubs. We "rolled" on into Missoula after another 69 miles on the interstate and are quite ready to hit the hot tub and scout out a nearby place for dinner. Talk at you tomorrow. God Bless. Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau

  • Day 9 - Ken's Journal - May 22, 2001 - Missoula to Deer Lodge, Montana
    Journal for 5/22/01 from Deer Lodge, Mt
    It has been a very long day and, to be honest about it, I'd rather be in hot tub than writing this. But we had a really great day, saw lots of beautiful scenery and some animal life and I will try to make it interesting for you, so here goes. We left Missoula, elevation 3,210 feet, at 7:00 a.m. and arrived here at our scheduled Deer Lodge stop, elevation 4531 ft., at 4:30 p.m. after an 85-mile day on the bikes. Shortly after leaving Missoula Randy and I saw a very large white tail doe laying down, just about 10 feet from us as we rode by. She thought she was hiding and when we went passed, she got up and ran. Joe missed this one, as he passed by her in front of us. Then we got to the Clark Fork River again (we crossed it six more times today) and immediately saw a bald eagle hunting fish along the river. It flew upstream a little way and then turned and came back towards us, so we got a very good look at it. About an hour later, I saw another bald eagle very close and just across the interstate to my left. The river had shifted sides and this one was hunting fish too. It flew along with me for several minutes and I got a good look at it from all angles. Randy and Joe had dropped behind as they were picking up a lost license plate. They have picked up nine license plates so far and Randy is thinking about going into collecting. He has plates from WA, OR, ID, MT, CO and Iowa. He also has truck or trailer plates from three of these same states. Again, to repeat yesterday, God gave us a beautiful, clear mountain day. It got very warm out on the road as the temperature worked up into the 80's from the mid-40 start in Missoula. The boys got down to t-shirts, shorts and sunscreen again. I find that for me, the long sleeves and legs of my lightweight polypropylene thermals, are very tolerable with the nice tailwind we have been enjoying, and then I don't have to worry about the sunburn thing at all. We stopped at the Bearmouth rest stop for lunch and took a picture there of a historical plaque including some information on the Clark Fork River history. A short time later, we came across a scene, off toward the south, at the continental divide that we just couldn't resist, and so you will see another shot of 10,635 foot Mount Howe near Anaconda way off in the distance. We were stopping every five miles to stretch our legs and get some water into our systems. Later in the afternoon, I began to be annoyed with the sore feeling I was experiencing in the soles of my feet, from pushing on the bike pedals for so long. We saw almost as many road kill, deer carcasses, along the way as we had seen live ones for the 85 miles we had covered. Randy even saw a recently killed, very large beaver. Nearby there was a beaver hut and we were hoping that the auto or truck hadn't killed a mother with young waiting for her to come home. I should tell you that so far, we have not even once felt threatened by anyone or anything. That is, of course, overlooking the Spokane area Washington Trooper who wrote us up last Friday for riding on the interstate bicycle restricted section, coming down into Spokane. Well, it's been a very long day on the bikes and I really don't want to sit here much longer after having sat on that seat for 9 1/2 hours. I'm on my way to have a hot shower and a huge dinner. Talk at you tomorrow. God Bless. Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau.

  • Day 10 - Ken's Journal - May 23, 2001 - Deer Lodge to Butte, Montana
    Journal for Wednesday, 5/23/01 -
    I am writing this note about mid-afternoon from a nice Super 8 Motel in Butte, Mt (elevation 5780 feet). The boys and I got here right at noon after a "short" 40-mile ride from Deer Lodge. We got started about 7:30 after taking a group photo in front of the old Montana state prison. I have heard it said that no one ever escaped alive from that place and now I know why. The wall tops have two-foot wide walkways and there would be no way of escaping the watchful eyes of the patrolling guards. It was another amazingly beautiful clear blue-sky Montana day. Randy and Joe just came back from a nearby A&W with a big root beer for me and they say that it is now hot outside. We have been riding the old highway, which has now become a frontage road since before Deer Lodge late yesterday afternoon. The interstate eastbound lanes are being resurfaced and we decided to avoid being out there with all the traffic on a two-way, two lane road. We got past the construction at Warm Springs, Mt., and went back on the interstate. Had a great day as far as seeing wildlife was concerned. We saw a coyote out hunting. It was a beautiful well-fed animal with a rich looking coat and long fluffy tail. We were able to see it for a long time as it ran across a field from us. At a water and stretch stop a couple miles farther on Randy went down to a creek that had been piped under the interstate. He hollered at me but by the time I got there the large brown trout he had surprised was gone. He sure was excited . . . Randy, I mean. And not too far down the road we discovered we were being watched by what we at first thought was another coyote. At closer inspection we noticed that this one was larger, grayer in color, and had an attitude. It did not look like it felt threatened or was going to run away as most animals had. It was a wolf. He just stood his ground and watched us cycle by. Nobody made any suggestions about stopping to take pictures or watch him for a while. I need to change gears here. We just got a call from the front desk that there was a package just delivered for Ken. I went down to find a six-pound package of delicious Bear Paw cookies sent by loving, and loved, daughter, Christine, way off in Memphis, Tennessee. How do I know that they are delicious? These huge four-ounce cookies are made not far away at Livingston, Mt., and smell and taste like they just came out of the oven. Thanks for the "energy bars" Chris but we will be carrying a little extra weight for the next couple days as we eat them up. Back to the tale of the day: After the wolf we had not gone more than a quarter of a mile and we saw a lone antelope. Their colors are so brilliant and clean looking. It is really neat to watch them lope along. We saw this one for a long time as the terrain has now changed to more like that of the Yakima, Wash., area closer to home. The trees are sparse and the hills are more spring green grass. In just a few weeks it will be very dry and brown here. We also saw a mother hawk sitting on her nest atop a pole and prairie dogs. Joe should be thinking about going into entomology. He finds moths, cockroaches and various bugs that Randy and I hardly ever see. And he can spot them at 15 miles an hour as he passes by over them. I have been busy the last hour composing a response letter to the Spokane court for the traffic infraction tickets we were issued there last Friday. Please pray with us that these should only have been a warning and will be dropped. Well, we must get on with our small laundry, send this note and photos and get off to dinner (after those huge cookies?). Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 11 - Ken's Journal - May 24, 2001 - Butte to Belgrade, Montana
    Journal for Thursday, 5/24/01 -
    Hey, the Super 8 we were at last night in Butte had a Computer Center for guest use and so we were able to see our web site. We are amazed at the great job that son, Matt, and his wife, Heidi, are doing with it in the following of us. And we are amazed at all the interest you folks are showing in this witnessing adventure. Thank you all again. By the way, for those of you going that way in the future, the Butte Super 8 has a very nice continental breakfast. Speaking of continental, we left Butte at 7 and immediately found ourselves winding up the hill to the Continental Divide (Homestead Pass) at an elevation of 6375 feet. I had to walk my loaded BikeE up the last two miles. We took a couple of photos along the way. We immediately dropped down into a wide valley and worked our way across its rolling hills. It was a fast and fun drop off the Divide as the trucks are limited to 25 miles per hour on the downgrade and we were hitting 35 to 40. Just before starting the next climb, Randy got our second flat tire. His rear bike tire had been pierced by a piece of small, strong wire that looked like it might have broken off from one of the many pieces of steel reinforced tires we are constantly finding along the road. We got it fixed in record time and began a climb that was actually longer and just as tough as the Divide climb. I had to walk my bike six miles on this one and the boys willingly joined me as we neared the summit at about 5400 feet. This pass is not named on the Montana map that we have. I was walking almost at the top, really pooped and looking forward to calling a long lunch and water break when a car slowed up next to me and Bob and Sharon Zinsli wound down their window and asked me if I had any Grey Poupon. What a line! Good one, guys. They were on their way to Bob's 50th high school reunion in the Beach, ND, area and had figured about where they would intercept us from the website itinerary. They came armed with an ice chest that had a huge apple pie, vegetables, cold pop, ice water and ice. Bob and Sharon are fishing buddies and church friends from my Richland, Wa., hometown. We enjoyed their sumptuous spread and their company for about 45 minutes before they left us feeling much better physically and mentally. We will never be able to put in words to you two how much that touch of thoughtful generosity meant at just that right moment. (We have a photo of the Zinslis in today's collection.) We went racing down the other side of that difficult climb into more rolling country that is losing trees by the mile. We saw many more road kill deer and other varmints including raccoon. We did scare up three beautiful antelope in the mid-afternoon and saw buzzards circling twice. The boys found two more license plates and Randy is now hauling 13 of them for his newly begun collection. After a very difficult 73 miles in the hot sun, we did arrive at our scheduled Belgrade, Mt., destination tired. As I tried to check into the Super 8 here, the clerk informed me that someone had called in, and paid for, a reservation for us. Whoever you are, you should know that she honored your request to remain anonymous and would not tell us. You should also know though that we will find you out eventually and then we will thank you even more profusely for your kindness than I am able to do here. This place does have a hot tub and a pool, so guess where we are off to. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless. -Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau.

  • Day 12 - Ken's Journal - May 25, 2001 - Belgrade to Big Timber, Montana
    Journal for Friday, 5/25/01…from Big Timber, Montana. We started out from Belgrade, Mt., at 7:17 this morning with what has become a customary breakfast, the Super 8 continental fare. We immediately ran into some very unpleasant riding in the form of six miles of shoulder re-pavement. You know how the top two inches of old blacktop gets ground off and then the two inches of new is laid in its place? Well the removal had been done on these six miles and we got to ride on the very rough surface preparation. You probably have ridden on some of that in your car and were a little annoyed. Well, it is more than annoying on a bicycle. It is downright teeth rattling. (If Lee Eckroth is reading this, I can tell you, Lee, that your BikeE rear suspension and shock has been thoroughly tested. And, as I watched Randy and Joe without such a softener, I felt sorry for them.) At this point we were also riding into a pretty stout headwind. We shortly found ourselves climbing up a beautiful, long canyon to Bozeman Pass that tops out as about 5800 feet. I was pleased that I only walked a short distance on that climb and was able to get back on the bike and finish the ride to the top where Randy and Joe were waiting, of course. We took a couple pictures there on top of the Absaroka Range. Then it was a screaming 12-mile ride on down to the Yellowstone River that we followed the rest of the day. The shoulder was clean and smooth and I left the boys far behind as I wound my 27-speed BikeE up to 40 miles per hour for quite a stretch. You best be hanging on tight at that speed. Randy and I were able to see a herd of 12-15 antelope running away from us up the grassy side of a steep hill. There was a lone buck with this harem of doe. They are such pretty animals. I have always enjoyed spotting antelope on our cross-country trips. The only other live animal we saw, outside of the usual birds, was a prairie dog that ran across right in front of Joe and I. He almost became road kill like the porcupine, raccoon, and skunks that we saw today. The wind had changed direction by now and become a pretty nice tail wind. There were black clouds in the distance most of the afternoon but we did get under one of them around two o'clock. It was hot and the short, cold rain felt good but we noticed a funny thing. Hot as it was out on the road, this rain was very cold and Randy and I both thought that it was the next thing to icy slush. Weird! Randy has been fighting a cold the last two days and has been drinking more because of it so he ran out of water this afternoon, Joe to the rescue. The amount he carries is unbelievable so he gave Randy one of his bottles and that took care of that. Nice guy, Joe! We had tried to get a Super 8 room reserved from Belgrade last evening because of the Memorial weekend and were told that there was nothing to be had as Big Timber was having a rodeo this weekend. The gal at the Super 8 last night in Belgrade did some detective work on our behalf and did find us a cabin at a nearby campground. She even arranged with this Big Timber Super 8 (where we are now after today's 70 mile hard ride) to loan us linens and blankets, as the cabins don't have those thing for campers. Well, of course, we stopped here to pick up the linens. A fellow was just then complaining about his previously reserved accommodations and actually turned them down while I was at the desk. Guess who God gave his room to, and, you will have a hard time believing this part: he was Kevin Soldat, a 1971 graduate of Richland's then Columbia High School. He was a big sports figure back then. We had a great time visiting there in the lobby before he left. I hope Kevin finds the room he wants before nightfall. We like his room here. This desk clerk has somehow (with God's intervention, I'm sure) managed to secure a room for us at the Laurel, Mt., Super 8 for tomorrow night even though the other desk clerk said she had tried to do that for someone earlier and been told there was nothing available. Well, the boys have crashed and are into a deep, before dinner nap, while I'm typing this, so I think I'll quit for today. Oh, here's another good one for you. We have one stop on our schedule that has no Super 8, or any other chain motel available. We have been concerned about it but I told the boys that I had put that in God's hands and he would find a room for us in little Custer, Mt., even if it were in the local church. Well, the desk clerk here copied me the whole two pages of the Custer phone book and we found a Mom and Pop type local motel listed. I have just called them and made reservations for our Sunday night stop there. This is the unbelievable part: the name of the owner lady I talked to is Louise Church. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless. -Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 13 - Ken's Journal - May 26, 2001 - Big Timber to Laurel, Montana
    Journal for Saturday, 5/26/01 from Laurel, Mt.- After I sent yesterday's journal from Big Timber there was a pretty heavy rain. It stopped long enough for us to walk to a nearby place for a great sit-down dinner. It rained more during the night but we awoke to perfectly clear Montana Big Sky. It was a very comfortable 45 degrees as we got back on the interstate at 7:05. With the wind at our back and following the Yellowstone River downstream, we made good time and knocked off 40 miles by lunchtime. We soon saw an immature bald eagle with a trout in its claws. It flew to a telephone pole and proceeded to enjoy its fresh catch. This was not the only bald eagle we saw today. Right at the famous Prairie Dog Town, we saw four more. There were three mature ones and a young one flying along with its mother. We figured that the Prairie Dog Town was the eagle magnet as they could surely pick up easy meals there. Young prairie dogs were scurrying all around the place. This is said to be the largest colony of prairie dogs in North America. I don't know what kind of census numbers exist but it is bunches for sure. It's quite a sight and you should be on the lookout for it if you ever come this way. It's located about midway between Big Timber and Laurel. We stopped in a rest area more toward Big Timber to check our water and possibly refill our bottles with good mountain water. There had just been a hatch of moths and there were many varieties spreading their wings to dry on the sunny brick walls. One was extremely beautiful in a pinkish color with blue spots. Randy took a photo of that one with his own camera so if you should want to see it you will have to work that out with him later. Shortly after that, we picked up more of the rough shoulder that is being ground and prepared for repaving. That slowed us up some as we fought its vibrations for the next 30+ miles. We saw something that not many people ever get a chance to see and that was two wild turkeys that were feeding near the interstate fence at a point where we were able to be looking down on them. What a great sight and, even though I have heard and read that wild turkeys are about the most wary of wildlife, these were not very concerned about us at all. We are over our last pass but still there are some pretty good climbs in the foothill mountains and we found several of them. Then there are the hills where the interstate goes over a hill for a more direct route instead of following the river around and then meets it again on the other side. I guess I'm saying that there are still lots of hills. The day wore on and the sun got hot and it was easy to see that it was wearing on us all. Randy's fever broke this morning and his cough lessened so he was feeling a lot better but obviously was not up to full strength. However, team trooper that he is, he forged on and we completed the 68 miles to the Laurel Super 8 where he and Joe are now enjoying the pool and hot tub. Oh, yes, we also saw live marmot and some raccoons, skunk and deer that were not so live. Our last 15 miles of the day were into a pretty stiff headwind but we thought that we had done OK as we checked in here at just a couple minutes after three. Randy and Joe just came back and reminded me to tell you that we had to fix two more flats this morning. Both their back tires were down so we repaired them before we left our room so that we could use the water basin to submerge the tubes to be sure. That's a lot easier than finding a leak on the open road. Randy's was from the same source as yesterday and we just didn't see it. Joe's was from a very small, sharp stone that had actually pierced the tire and then the tube. He had been troubled by it yesterday afternoon and had to pump it occasionally. We are really getting proficient with the tire repair but do they all have to be on the rear with the chain and all? We are continuing to tell our story and remind folks that we have an awesome and amazing God at motels, restaurants and rest stops. We have yet to come across someone with a negative "attitude". Well, it is time for me to get cleaned up also and relax a bit, so . . . talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 14 - Ken's Journal - May 27, 2001 - Laurel to Custer, Montana
    Journal Sunday 5/27/01…from Custer, Mt. - Last evening it was very windy in Laurel with flags standing straight out. But this morning it was calm and beautiful and we knocked off 20 miles easily in our first two hours. We ran into seventeen more miles of shoulder under construction and the wind changed around to a headwind that we fought all the rest of the day. It was a situation in which we found ourselves having to pedal downhill. Even though we are out of the Rockies we are still having plenty of hills to climb. It is a real test of determination sometimes. We are now on I -94 since just west of Billings so there isn't nearly as much traffic, as a great deal of it stays with I- 90 to Chicago and farther east. So when we picked up the bad shoulder again, Randy and I made up for it a little by riding the edge of the car lane. I kept close watch in my mirrors, but all the cars and trucks moved over for us and we did not feel threatened. We did get a later start this morning as Randy had to re-fix his rear tire tube, another small leak in the same area as twice before. He gave up on it and put in the new tube he had along, and we had no more trouble with it all day. We saw a single antelope in two different places, a number of bald eagles and of course hawks. Randy and Joe found more license plates for Randy's new collection, the new plates were from ND, WY and one from the U.S. Government. Randy wishes he could package them up and mail them home as they are getting heavy, but there is nothing open until Tuesday, as you know. We decided to take a break at Pompey's Pillar about 20 miles east of Billings. The road into this historical landmark is one and a half miles of gravel but it was well worth it. This is a huge rock outcropping and it can be seen for miles as it stands beside the Yellowstone River. Lewis and Clark stayed at this sight for a time and William Clark, along with many others through the years, carved his name in the sandstone rock in 1807. It is still visible there today. While there, we met a young lady who lives in the area and she told us that as a child her family picnicked there on the river many times and she had also carved her name on Pompey's Pillar. Now I wish that I had taken her photo for you, so you could see, in person, someone who has their name right up there with Clark, but I didn't have my head screwed on right, at that particular time. We were very happy to get a refill of their refrigerator water and rest a while. Got to talk to several folks there and overall I think we had told our story and passed out cards for our trips, to more folks today than any other day so far. I cannot figure out, except for God's hand being in it, why this adventure is generating so much genuine interest. It is truly amazing to observe it happening. Well, we finally made it to Custer, MT., where I am typing this to you from a room in a very old 60's type trailer that has been converted into a motel room. Randy and Joe have an adjoining room. Everything is the old dark wood paneling with the olive green shag carpet. You get the picture. We are very glad to have it though, since there is literally no other place to stay here. The owner Louise Church is a very nice Christian Lady with an ill husband. She has been very helpful and is trying to fix me up with a phone connection so I can transmit this day's journal to Matt later. Don't know about the connections way out here. If you ever get to Custer, MT, at a mealtime, be sure to look up the Junction City Saloon and Restaurant, and have Larry fix you up a Roast Pork Sandwich or a Double Hamburger and Onion Rings. The food is more than enough and the down-home, middle America company, just can't be surpassed anywhere. Well, we have another even longer day (over 90 miles) than our 75 miles today, so I better cut this off and get cleaned up for some rest. Talk at you tomorrow. God Bless. Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau.

  • Day 15 - Ken's Journal - May 28, 2001 - Custer to Miles City, Montana
    Journal for Monday, 5/28/01 - This was truly a Memorial Day, that is a day to commit to memory. Knowing that this was our longest scheduled day, and that we were committed to it, we got up at 4 and left Custer, Mt., at 5:20. It was just light enough to see well and the little town was fully asleep. We saw nothing moving, not even a dog. We immediately encountered the headwinds that have been tormenting us for the third day. They were just annoying for the first couple hours but got stronger throughout the day and reached 35-40 miles per hour by this afternoon. How bad were they? They were so bad that pedaling very hard we could only make 10-15 miles per hour on some pretty steep downhills. Hills that we normally would have made 30-35 miles per hour were now a labored crawl. We covered 93 quite miserable miles today. It was a 14 1/2 hour day, one hour of which was spent at the Dairy Queen in Forsyth, Mt. that was a very good stop for us as it not only filled three very hungry, large holes, but it also buoyed us mentally and spiritually. Why? While we were there a charter busload of seniors made their lunch stop there also. They were from many locations around the country but the Lewis & Clark historical tour had originated in Missouri someplace. When they found out what we were about they all wanted cards so they could follow our trip and we three spent a good half hour answering questions about the bikes and the trip and getting our pictures taken. It was a fantastic experience. There were even two ladies there from Madison, WI, where Pat and I will be visiting a relative around June 20. I also visited with several locals there and explained what we were about. We even were stopped on the road later by one of them as we met again at the edge of town. To reiterate, we have seen almost all the eastern Montana hills and valleys that we want for just now. We are really praying to lose that headwind tomorrow. We observed considerable wildlife today including five herds of antelope consisting of 3-9 animals each, hawks, blue heron, three deer and a large 3 1/2 foot bull snake. Here's another example of the great and helpful folks out here in America's heartland. The lady here at the Miles City Super 8, where we just checked in, just called us to let us know that we could use her car to go to the fast food & restaurant part of town as it is about 3/4 mile away and too far for us to have to walk after such a day. We had talked to Jean on checking in and so, of course, she knows that we are on bicycles. Now isn't that something? Yes, this surely has been a special Memorial Day for us. Well, must get this ready to send to Matt for your enjoyment, so . . . talk at you tomorrow. God bless, Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 16 - Ken's Journal - May 29, 2001 - Miles City to Glendive, Montana
    Journal for Tuesday, 5/29/01-I am sitting here quite damp as I type this, but more on this later. We left Miles City, Mt., this morning at 7:15 and were back on the interstate fighting with the same strong wind as yesterday, only they have shifted slightly to the southwest so we did pick up a little assist and made pretty good time most of the morning. There is a lot of construction going on in Montana as they have such a short season to do it in and we found bunches of it again today. About noon we found ourselves at Dillon but decided that we didn't want to "to do lunch" yet so we decided to go the additional 9+ miles to Fallon. Then the rain began. It was a cold, hard, wind-driven rain that felt like it had some solids in it. We got out some of our rain gear but got drenched anyway as it rained that way for the next 1 1/2 hours. Spring mountain showers are like that. Montanans really need the rain and we appreciate that, but it sure made that part of our day miserable. We found a really neat old bar and restaurant in Fallon. They even let us bring our wet bikes into a hallway. We drank three pots of coffee warming up and enjoyed the meat loaf special. The owners were local and we talked about the 135-population town and how it was before the interstate changed all of our ways of life. She said that before there had been three lumber yards, four banks and lots of other businesses. Now it looked like the bar/restaurant and the post office were the main attractions. We left there about 2:30 and found to our liking that the rain shower had moved on and we could do our remaining 25 miles drying off. Wrong! About the last 10 miles into Glendive we caught up with the same storm and got wet again. We surely do pray that it passes by overnight. Now we can truly say that we have had the complete experience. We saw 26 or 27 antelope today, mostly in small groups (herds) just grazing in the meadows adjacent to the interstate. One lone buck was on our side of the fence and when we came by he ran along it and tried to force his way through several times. He could not as the bottom two feet have a kind of chicken wire on it. He hit it pretty hard and would bounce off. He finally ran back behind us and we lost him. We couldn't figure out why he just didn't jump it, as we were sure he could have done easily. We also saw more hawks, herons, and the common variety of other small birds. We are constantly amazed at how low all the creeks and rivers are. I have been coming this way to visit Wisconsin family for many years and have never seen the Yellowstone, and others, this low even in August. We covered just over 80 miles today and without having to fight a head wind again it really wasn't that bad. The rain we could have done without but it will surely help to make the trip that much more unforgettable. Well, we are in the dry now at the very friendly Glendive Super 8 and are about to get cleaned up and settle in for the evening. Oh, an interesting thing happened. The desk clerk had a request for us to return a call to a local reporter. She had heard of us from a relative we talked to yesterday at the Forsyth Dairy Queen. We are to meet her at the next-door diner at 8 for an interview. Interesting. More on that later. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 17 - Ken's Journal - May 30, 2001 - Glendive, Mt. to Belfield, North Dakota
    Journal for Wednesday, 5/30/01-We were back on the road again at 7:30 Glendive, Mt., time. But first I must tell you about a couple of things that happened after I sent yesterday's journal. Joe called a bike shop from the Super 8 in Glendive and the owner brought several sizes of spokes to the motel to make sure he had Joe's need covered. They checked them out and Joe bought 10 of the correct size. The fella charged us 50 cents apiece and wouldn't take a tip or anything extra for his trouble. Again, it is incredible American heartland folks and we have met no other kind. The local reporter I mentioned: well, Cindy joined us at the next door restaurant and interviewed us while we were eating supper and sat with us for quite a while after. She had been a librarian and a Mennonite missionary to Africa before coming back to her hometown and becoming a local reporter. Just another proof of the great people God is sending into our path. OK, we left Glendive at 7:30 to almost no wind and as fine a summer morning as anybody could dream up. Just a few floating cumulus clouds in a robin's egg blue sky. As they say in the commercial, it just doesn't get any better than this. We made good time, stopped for quite a few pictures (some very pretty, and interesting ones Randy pulled off today), and arrived here in Belfield, N.D., 80 miles later at 5:45. Yes, we are now out of Montana after about 10 days. The country is still so many miles but there seems to be a difference when the road signs have a different name on them. We grabbed a couple of goodies at a truck stop this noon to go along with our own supplies. Things like the ice cream bar we haven't seen for a while and the mix your own pop that we all enjoy. We saw 35-40 antelope again today, mostly in small herds of 8-12. We also saw 4 buffalo roaming in Teddy Roosevelt National Park and Randy's photos for the day include one of two of those buffalo. There is also a photo of the Badlands at Painted Canyon in western North Dakota. Belfield, again, where we are this night is just east of North Dakota's small portion of the badlands that grow larger as they go down into South Dakota and on toward Mt. Rushmore. We met, and talked to people at all our stops today explaining our trip, its Christian witnessing purpose, and again have nothing to report but more positive results. This has truly been one of the best days so far travel, weather and every other wise. I will leave you there. Please check Randy's camera work. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau.

  • Day 18 - Ken's Journal - May 31, 2001 - Belfield to Glen Ullin, North Dakota
    Journal for Thursday, 5/31/01 from Glen Ullin, North Dakota-We had an e-mail from a Dickinson, N.D., reporter last evening and tried to get together with him but were only able to leave a message on his machine with our directions. Randy had to repair Joe's rear tire again this morning before we were able to get away from Belfield, N.D., at 7:45. The wind was blowing our way and continued to do so all day. I would say that it was pretty constant out of the northwest at 15 mph with gusts to 30. We made fantastic time and had covered 45 miles by noon with our regular 5-mile breaks and photo stops. This could easily have been our easiest day as we covered 71 miles and were here in Glen Ullin about 3:30. More on that later. Just after we passed Dickinson we placed another call by Joe's cell phone to the Dickinson reporter and were again just able to leave a message on his machine telling him where we were. A few miles later a car passed us and pulled over. Of course, it was he. His name is Jim Spainhower and he is a Christian fellow. He interviewed us for about an hour and took a couple of photos for a feature article he plans to do for the Dickinson daily paper and to put on the AP newswire. He is a fascinating guy and I could fill a page giving you his testimony to the amazing grace of our Lord and Jesus Christ. But that will have to wait for another time. We stopped at the little off-ramp place of Richardton to pick up a sandwich at the Cenex store for lunch and then headed east another time. We hadn't gone far when Joe's rear tire went flat again. We were really "flying" and when Randy and I discovered that he hadn't hollered, and wasn't with us, we were a quarter mile down the road. We waited for him a while and then Randy unhooked his trailer and rode back to see what was going on. While he was gone a white Buick slowed on the other side of the interstate and a lady wound down her window to yell over to me to see if I had any Grey Poupon. Well, if you remember the incident I reported way back when we were climbing Bozeman Pass, you will know, as I did, that this lady had to have some connection to Bob and Sharon Zinsli. Yes, she is his sister, Lee, and she lives in Dickinson and had brought out some fried chicken, candy bars and Gatorade drinks for us. She had missed us while we were getting the sandwich and was just returning from Glen Ullin where we were headed, as she knew. We visited in the interstate median for over an hour. During that time her husband and grandson showed up and joined in the fun meeting. Randy fixed Joe's tube again and put on the extra tire he had been carrying. We had just a great time there out in the middle of nowhere with some of the finest people you could ever meet anywhere. I keep saying that the average American is a caring, giving, concerned individual and these folks just proved it again. The TV show picture of all the crime and other types of bad, taking people is not the true picture of the America folks that we are seeing. Oh, and we found out who had turned on the Dickinson reporter to us as well. Thanks Lee for your tremendous consideration. You brightened a long, windy, North Dakota day for us. We are getting out of antelope country as is proven by the fact that we only saw two today. They were different though. These were the first of all that we have seen that were on the north, or left, side of the interstate. Weird. We got to our planned Glen Ullin stop after covering 71 miles to find that the only motel has been closed. Were told of a bed and breakfast available so we are spending the night in the Red Rock Inn B&B. The owner, Margaret Swift, is a very nice lady who is going out of her way to be a great hostess. She is also a very good artist and teaches at the local school and gives private lessons. Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about older cars. Well, there is a really nice 1936 Ford 5-window coupe out in front of this place that really has me envious. A fellow from Washington came here and talked the old owner into selling it and now it is on a trailer about to head to the Seattle area. Margaret is going to drive us downtown so we can get a dinner so I need to get this finished. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau Pictures

  • Day 19 - Ken's Journal - June 1, 2001 - Glen Ullin to Sterling, North Dakota
    Journal for 6/1/01 from Sterling, ND - I need to begin today's report by bringing you up to speed on a couple of things still from yesterday. First, when we got to Glen Ullin, we found out that the only motel there had closed. We met a little girl and boy on the street in front of the old community center, and they informed us of the nice bed and breakfast place where we did spend the night. We don't know their names, but they are another example of the great folks of heartland America and we thank them both. Second, we learned last evening that son Jeff had been interviewed for the first five minutes of the Ken Hamblin show (you know the Black Avenger national talk radio show). Ken was interested in knowing about our trip, it's purpose and other items. We didn't hear the interview, of course, but knowing Jeff's capabilities I'm certain that the subject was amply and interestingly covered. Thanks Jeff. We are also very certain that it is the reason why we had so many people honk and wave at us as we wheeled on today. I mean lots of them. Now for today's happenings. We found that I had a leak in my front tire from a small, sharp stone, but the sealing goop I had, did it's job and sealed it, so I was able to run all day. We rode the short distance to Ronda's Café in beautiful downtown Glen Ullin for breakfast. While it was being prepared, we did our little daily bread bible study and enjoyed some pretty fine wakeup coffee. Check out Rhonda's whenever you get close to Glen Ullin and you will have cooking second only to your mom's at home. It was a cold morning with the temperature in the low 40s and with the wind chill; it must have been close to freezing. We went only about a mile before the boys put on their long sleeves and leggings. The three miles to the interstate was against a strong left side wind. We saw a group of five wild turkeys feeding in a farmer's field. That was cool. When we did get to the interstate, the wind was from behind for about the first 20 miles, and then changed to the north again. We spent the rest of the day leaning our bikes hard to the left, and probably won't be able to stand plumb until the morning again. According to all the locals we've talked to, this cold windy front has come down from Canada unexpectedly. It even included some rain clouds and we did get showered on twice throughout the day. That felt even colder. None of us took off our jackets even once, on this day's 80-mile ride. About noontime a familiar white Buick passed us, honked, and pulled over. It was Lee Emil, our fried chicken, candy and Gatorade angel of yesterday from Dickinson. She was taking a friend to Bismark on business and they stopped to check on us and bring us a thermos of hot chocolate. We sat in the back seat of that nice Park Avenue, drinking hot chocolate, visiting with more nice people and wanting to stay there out of the weather. Thanks again Lee, for the hot chocolate, and for the reminder that there are many people praying for us. It helped greatly as we got back on the bikes and headed on down the road. We soon got into the central time zone just west of Bismark. It made me think that by the time we get to our destination, we will have almost traversed three complete time zones, or almost 1/8 of the distance around the world. That's scary. The boys saw two road-kill turtles, and I guess that means there are some country ponds nearby. Randy found two more plates, one from MN and an, almost new one, from Utah. We have decided now that ND has both the best and the worst interstate shoulders in the country, and we have ridden many miles of both today. Funny thing, there were quite a few miles of the good around the capitol. We found this little old country motel here in Sterling, ND at 5:15 and have settled in for the evening. The nearest restaurant is almost a mile away, so we shall see what there is to eat in the next-door bar and grill. It is still very windy but the sky is clearing, and we are hoping for a more calm morning. Talk at you tomorrow. God Bless. Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau

  • Day 20 - Ken's Journal - June 2, 2001 - Sterling to Jamestown, North Dakota
    Journal for 6/2/01 from Jamestown, North Dakota-I must first tell you that Joe picked up the cough and fever yesterday afternoon that Randy had been fighting a week ago. He even left early when we went for pizza last evening, went back to the motel, showered and went to bed. If Joe walks away from food you know for sure that something is wrong. He had a good night's rest and the fever was gone this morning. We knew the worst was past when he ordered a huge omelet for breakfast and was looking for more. While waiting for our breakfast we did our little Daily Bread Bible study. After breakfast we took time to oil our chains, as we have been trying to do every other day and then we were back on the road out of little Sterling, North Dakota, at 7:15. Joe was back in the lead on the hills and that was all the convincing Randy and I needed that he was back to his regular self. The morning was very cold for June 2 and we found ourselves feeling good with leggings and jackets. We enjoyed a bit of a tail wind most of the morning and then, as it has been doing here in North Dakota, the wind changed to the northeast and became more of a headwind in the afternoon. Lunch was along the roadside as we finished the almost full extra 13" pizza from last night. Joe has been having a rear-brake pad dragging, so Randy spent a little time truing his wheel (making it round again). While doing that Randy discovered that Joe had two more broken spokes on that wheel. We have the replacements now, but they are both on the sprocket side and hard to get to. Randy will give it a go tonight after laundry and dinner, otherwise Joe will just have to keep a sharp eye on bumps, rumble strips and such, and baby his back wheel through another day. There was not a lot of wildlife visible to us today although we are coming into more standing water and a lot of waterfowl and bird life. Randy did see one deer though and we saw lots of duck species and our first white pelicans. They are a pretty big bird and look so uniform and majestic. We had numerous enthusiastic honkers/wavers today and we thought it must still be a carryover from son Jeff's interview Thursday on the Ken Hamblin/Black Avenger radio talk show. It is somehow uplifting to have folks honk and wave when you are struggling along out in the middle of the North Dakota openness. We did stop for two photos today and you can check them out and see if you agree with us that Randy has a pretty good artistic eye. Oh, by the way, the boys also found four more license plates for Randy's new collection today. They were from New York, North Dakota, Minnesota and one was a University of Washington special alumni plate. That is also Randy's alma mater so he feels very attached to that one. We covered 77 miles and arrived here at the Jamestown, North Dakota Super 8 at 4:30. It almost feels like we are back home after having been in other than Super 8 beds for the last two nights. We hope to get our laundry caught up this evening and Randy has begun to work on Joe's rear wheel as I wrote this. We are all tired and road dirty so I will call it good here. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 21 - Ken's Journal - June 3, 2001 - Jamestown to Casselton, North Dakota
    Journal for 6/3/01…from Casselton, ND. Since sending yesterday's journal, I need to tell you about an interesting occurrence with the Super 8 desk clerk last evening. His name is Matt and he studying to be a pastor. We exchanged email addresses and I intend to follow up on this contact. Matt attends a small non-denominational church in a near by town and is taking some classes that lend themselves to the pastorate/music field, but he really doesn't have a clear view for a good school to achieve his goal. He commented that he shied away from denominations, as most were the offshoot results of church problems. We talked about my church, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and how and why it got started. We talked about the Alliance colleges and of course Matt had no knowledge of any of this. He is very interested in a good school, so I suggested he check into Simpson College in Redding, CA on its website and promised to send him some follow up information. We were both pretty excited as he told me that this was his last night on that desk clerk job, and he felt like our stopping there was answered prayer for him.

    Now for today…It was a very good looking morning if a little cool. We noted that the Perkins restaurant flag was almost straight out with a breeze coming from the East. That equals a headwind for us. We had that headwind all day and it made it another difficult day, both physically and mentally. Joe didn't seem to mind a lot, but Randy and I could surely have done without it. I think it slowed us up about two hours overall. We left Jamestown at 7:15, covered 74 miles and arrived here in Casselton, ND at 5:00 p.m.. Some of the tough day I felt today, can be attributed to my picking up the tight-chested cough that we have been passing to each other. I am the last, so perhaps now we will be done with it. We are now into very green farm country with some field s being tilled and this with the beautiful cloudy skies makes for very enjoyable scenery. We didn't get a lot of time to enjoy the scenery though, as most of our day was occupied with dodging holes and rocks on all the bad shoulders and much under construction. Through the Valley City area, we were forced to ride the shoulder against the on coming traffic for about 12 miles as the shoulder on our side disappeared with the temporary construction setup. It was safe enough as we had a full 8-foot lane, but it is quite different getting the back wash air from passing trucks from the other direction. We were happy to be done with it when we were able to move back over to the right side. Randy saw one deer this morning and we encountered many geese, ducks and other waterfowl all day, as we are passing more and more farm ponds and small lakes. We saw the usual road kill animals, but today that included one of the largest turtles any of us had seen. We thought that surely that driver must have gotten quite a jolt out of that road bump. Casselton is just a truck stop about 18 miles west of Fargo and the motel (the only one) is another of those we have found right out of the 50's. The room is large and well kept but it definitely is not the Holiday Inn Express that Joe was hoping for. The local café is closed on Sunday, so we will be eating sandwiches and whatever else we can find at the gas station. The café opens at 6 am and we will be ready for that. We are looking forward to cleaning up and getting a good night's sleep. Please pray with us for a tailwind or at least a calm morning tomorrow. Talk at you tomorrow evening, hopefully in Minnesota. God Bless Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau.

  • Day 22 - Ken's Journal - June 4, 2001 - Cassleton, North Dakota to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota
    Journal for Monday, 6/4/01 from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota-We had breakfast this morning in the Casselton, North Dakota, Conoco cafe and got back on I-94 at 7:35. Son Matt's weather forecast of last evening was right on and we still had our easterly headwind. This is the fourth consecutive day now for that condition. It was only coming at us about 15 miles per hour for the first couple hours but then increased to from 25-30 for the remainder of the day. We drafted each other a lot and I know that if Randy and Joe hadn't spent much of the day "breaking the wind" for me, it surely would have been a much more difficult day. We are all tired as it is and this was one of our lesser days at 67 miles. The cough that I have been fighting for the last two days felt much better today and that was a great help. We left I-94 just before West Fargo and went through that and Fargo on U.S. Highway 10 that we will be following now all the way to Appleton, Wisconsin, about 10 miles from our Kaukauna destination. We took a short break at a service station in West Fargo and gave our cards to, and talked with, two young black men working there. They were very interested in our trip and one of them, Ben, talked about the Christian aspect of it too. Leaving North Dakota and going into Minnesota is almost imperceptible as the state line is also the city limits for Fargo, North Dakota and Moorhead, Minnesota. Randy did notice the smallish entering Minnesota sign and it is included in today's photos. Highway 10 is good riding as it also has full-width shoulders that are not in bad shape and along with losing the interstate we have also lost the rumble strips. We stopped at a Big K-mart at the west edge of Moorehead and picked up another tire of the boys size and a tube for my 20" rear wheel just in case. Unbelievably Joe passed by all the goodies there. The entire day was under beautiful blue sky with lots of gorgeous cumulus clouds but, almost immediately on getting into Minnesota, we found a noticeable change in the countryside. We picked up some rolling hills again along with some pine trees and the number of ponds and small lakes is rapidly increasing. That, of course, automatically means an increase in ducks and all other manner of birds. Some lakes sure look like productive fishing holes too. About mid-afternoon we saw another biker in the distance ahead of us and then he disappeared. A short time later we discovered he had pulled off for a break. We stopped and talked to him thinking that he may be the Seattle biker we have been hearing about who is out there a couple days in front of us. He was not but we visited with Jim for a while and we both exchanged information. He was from Fargo and was just out for the day and his first ride of the year. Jim said he'd sure take a look at our website when he got back home this evening. Except for the seemingly constant wind it was a very fine day with no mechanical problems. I am very pleased with my BikeE as I report that the only problem I have found in the 1585 miles so far is that the computer quit for a couple of hours after being subjected to the 1 1/2 hour driving downpour back in Montana. Believe it or not we are still enjoying the cookies daughter Chris had delivered to us also back in Montana and I think there are three or four more in my back bag. We again encountered the usual road kill: deer, skunks and turtles but today we also saw a fox that we thought was a bit unusual. Randy didn't add any more license plates to his collection today but I forgot to tell you yesterday that he had picked up another South Dakota, North Dakota and three Minnesota ones. We pulled into this very nice Super 8 here in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, at 4:45 very thankful for newer, more comfortable accommodations than we had last night and we are all heading for a long hot shower immediately and then to the next door Perkins restaurant for dinner. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 23 - Ken's Journal - June 5, 2001 - Detroit Lakes to Motley, Minnesota
    Journal for Tuesday, 6/5/01 from Motley, MN...We left Detroit Lakes, MN at 7:15 this morning. Our easterly headwind was still there waiting for us and made this the fifth day in a row of hard pedaling into it. In Randy's terminology, this was a typical Seattle day. It was socked in and misty. It was also unusually cold. I stopped a short way down the road and dug out my sweatshirt and wore it all day over my long sleeve polypropylene thermals along with my rain top over that. Randy and Joe also put on rain tops. For the first time on this ride, Randy put on gloves. I even stopped mid-morning, and dug out my special "seal skinz" socks. This is the first time I have used them and they made a huge difference right away. I'm very glad that I came across their website and had time to get a pair for this trip. We three agree that we like riding on US-10 a lot better than on the interstates. There is less auto and truck traffic, we get to see all the little towns, and it just makes it more interesting overall. Hwy-10 parallels the railroad tracks through this part of the country, and it sure is a busy line. It seemed like we had a train coming or going all day long. They were pulling quite a varied assortment of cars, and were long as trains get anywhere I've been. This part of Minnesota is pretty flat and is mostly small towns, rich farmland, small lakes and an occasional river. The largest hills I think we saw today were the small town street overpasses. Here's kind of a strange thing-large factories appear out in the open, miles from anywhere. Perhaps it's a tax thing, and I suppose with today's communications, they can be just about anywhere. The boys did not find any license plates for the first time today. Again, we observed plenty of the usual road kill, but it included two very large raccoons, and quite a big turtle. When we think about the small amount of road we see, and the large amount of road kill on it, there must be a phenomenal amount of animals lost over all our country. We saw a mother deer that had been hit and her twin fawns stayed with her and were also hit nearby. Sad. We wondered if we would make our destination earlier in the day, but here we are in Motley. It's not a very large place, with a population of only 470, but we did find a pretty nice motel with a truck stop-restaurant within walking distance. It's hard to believe that we struggled through another 72 miles of that incessant headwind today, arriving here at 4:30. When we take our five-mile breaks, we usually walk around the roadside to limber up a bit. Randy picked up a wood tick from some roadside grass, and we discovered it here as he stripped off his raincoat. Just a reminder that this is their season here, and we really need to keep an eye out for them. We didn't see anything interesting enough to encourage us to get out the camera into this Seattle type day until we passed through the town of Staples. It's a little railroad town and in their entrance city park they have a nicely restored old caboose in a very nice setting. It is the only photo included in today's record. We are all very tired from this trying day, and the boys are out of the shower now, so it's my turn. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless, Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau

  • Day 24 - Ken's Journal - June 6, 2001 - Motley to Sauk Rapids, Minnesota
    Journal for Wednesday, 6/6/01 from Sauk Rapids, Minnesota (next door to our listed St. Cloud destination... for this evening) Well, folks, this has been another of those days that, for us, prove again our "Amazing Grace of our Awesome God" theme. No earthly person we are aware could have put today together quite like this. Yesterday Joe's front wheel was making a kind of snapping noise. We thought that spoke wear was the cause. Sometimes spokes can wear against each other and when they work against that wear ridge they can make a snapping or popping sound. When that sound is magnified through the bike fork it gets quite loud. We got up at our usual 5 o'clock time and by 6 Joe and I went next door for breakfast, while Randy, our indispensable engineer/mechanic, tore into Joe's front wheel. A short time later he came to the restaurant and joined us. He told us he had good news and bad news. The good news was that the problem was not spoke wear. The bad news was that Joe has been riding on a front wheel that was rebuilt specially for this trip and the loose bearing balls had been replaced with some that were just a bit larger than the originals. That means that they have not been riding down in the bearing race but have been riding on the cone edge and have now worn rough spots on those surfaces. Unless we can put our hands on the right size bearing balls or a replacement wheel, Joe is out of business. I was pretty confident that God did not carry us this long and far to let old Satan win over us here in little Motley, Minnesota. The waitress immediately popped over to our table to ask the usual "Is everything OK?", I said that it wasn't and that I wasn't referring to the food and then explained our problem. I asked if she knew anyone who might have an old bike or two lying around that we could look at for bearings or a front wheel. She said that her family had several but they lived back to the west about eight miles and she would call her husband to see if he could truck them in to us before keeping an eight o'clock appointment he had. Well, he wasn't able to do that. She asked around the breakfast counter and found a white bearded local who had several bikes that he has been unsuccessful at selling, at the various flea markets. We talked to him and learned that Alan (Whiskers) Krupke lived about four miles out of Motley and would be happy to drive us out to his place to take a look see at his bike collection. Randy and I grabbed Joe's wheel and climbed into Alan's car. Joe stayed with our bikes and things at the motel. Alan's bikes included a 27" Raleigh with a front wheel that almost looks better than Joe's. We brought the whole bike back just in case but Randy cleaned up the wheel and bearings and installed it and it is operating just fine. We sent the remainder of the bike back to Alan's place with him. He would take only $5 for his time and driving us out to his place and back. God put him in our path this morning and he agreed as we talked about it on the way. This man needs a lot of prayer as he has a tough life and we won't forget him easily. He was a logger and several years ago had a tree split off a stump he was cutting and hit him in the left temple area causing 48 bone splinters to be driven into his head and messing up his spinal column. He woke up six weeks later in a St. Cloud hospital. He had only been married two weeks at the time of the accident. He cannot work at logging any more but has rehabilitated himself and still does some horse breaking, farm work and many other chores for a livelihood. Alan does now finally get some help from the Veterans Administration as he served two years during the Vietnam time. He has a 10-year-old son that he is proudly raising at his 60-year age. He acknowledged that God carried him through his accident time and still does. We were happy to make your acquaintance Alan (Whiskers) Krupke. Oh, we met another interesting old gent, just as we were getting our things back on the bikes to leave our Motley motel. I didn't get his name as I talked to him sitting outside his motel room all bundled up without even a neck scarf. He said that the motel room was his permanent home and that he was 91 years old. He stays busy by buying and selling "stuff" for, and at, the local flea market "just across the highway". He also told me that he stays in shape by not smoking, not drinking, not chasing girls, and walking across the parking lot to the motel sign at least three times a day. He was interested in what we were doing but thought we were a bit crazy. That is an opinion lots of folks have shared with us over these 1600 miles now. We headed out of Motley at 9 o'clock, over 1 1/2 hours later than our usual starting time. I must say that I had my doubts that I would be typing this in the St. Cloud area Super 8, as I am this evening. BUT, little did I know that our Lord had a great travel day in store for us. We still had our head wind but it was not as vicious and was more off to our left side. My legs felt great and we were able to set a pace that got us almost caught up with our usual mileage by 1 p.m. About 2 we pulled into the town of Royalton, Minnesota, just as it was time to take our five-mile "bun break". There was a new service station with a convenience store so we swung in there and checked out their ice cream sandwiches. While we were enjoying a couple of those, a pickup pulled up and the couple asked if we had any Grey Poupon. If you've been following this saga you know, as we did, that these folks had to have some connection to our Richland friends, Bob and Sharon Zinsli who started the Grey Poupon question thing way back on Boseman Pass in Montana. This is the fourth time we've been approached with this question now. Well, it turns out that the lady is a classmate of Bob's and she was at their recent reunion in Beach, North Dakota, where Bob told about his encounter with us and about what we were doing. Their names are Jordice and Bob Powell and they were on their way from their home in Backus, Minnesota, to a son's place in the Minneapolis area. They had checked our website and itinerary and had been on the lookout for us as they traveled our route today. We had a very enjoyable hour visiting with Jordice and Bob and even remembered to get a photo that is included with today's entry. Thank you Powells for looking us up. It gave us an uplift you wouldn't believe. Our day would have been much longer if God hadn't put you into it. We traveled 63 miles today with no trouble on the road after the shaky start this morning. I told the boys that I really believed that Satan had thrown all he could at us this morning, had lost, and we wouldn't be bothered much by him anymore. It was a cold morning and we wore heavy clothing but by noon it warmed up about 10 degrees and we began peeling. We saw a live muskrat along the road and, after Royalton, there were lots of bird houses that had been placed on the telephone poles along the nearby railroad tracks. Many of them had beautiful bluebirds nesting in them and they would stick their heads out to check on us as we rode by. Also after Royalton the traffic picked up with people heading to St. Cloud and the Twin Cities. We had to be very careful to ride the outside edge of the shoulder. Oh, yes, and the shoulders were in very good shape today so we can't complain about that. Whenever we stopped for our five-mile breaks we were immediately besieged with mosquitoes and folks told us they were having a very bad year with them and wood ticks because of all the recent rains. We got here at 4:30. That is about our usual time so, once again, it proves that God can make all things work together for good. Awesome. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 25 - Ken's Journal - June 7, 2001 - Sauk Rapids to White Bear Lake, Minnesota
    Journal for Thursday, 6/7/01 from White Bear Lake, Minnesota - Why White Bear Lake (just north of St. Paul), well, have I got a tale for you. We left our Sauk Rapids Super 8 (just outside of St. Cloud) this morning a bit after 7 and, after about a block turned onto the on ramp back onto U.S. 10 that we have been riding since before Fargo, N.D. There, glaring at us, was the dreaded "No Bicycles On Highway" sign. We had a conference and looked at maps at the nearby gas station and decided to try to avoid the Twin Cities all together as we were now sure that we could not ride any of the major arteries through the metropolitan area. We decided to head straight east out of Sauk Rapids on Minnesota 95 to North Branch and then south on 31 and 61 and see how far we could get. We had much more favorable winds today and, believable it or not, were able to knock off 95 miles to get here to White Bear Lake. It was a long, steady day in which we were able to hold speeds of 15 miles per hour on average. Almost immediately after getting on #95 we ran into a detour. It said that local traffic only could continue so I figured at least one lane had to go through. Right? Well, it did, right up to the place where they were building a new bridge over a small river. This was the second one and it stopped us. The first one had already been poured so we just worked our bikes over the rock pile barricades and kept going. The second one, however, caused us to have to back track and use about 1 1/2 miles of narrow country gravel road to get back on the detour and #95. We did get to talk to three neat construction supervisors at the bridge though. They were very interested in our bikes and trip. One said he would use the website as a learning tool for his children with the pictures from across the country. We cycled right on through the day with fewer stops as I stretched out our "bun breaks" to 10-mile segments instead of the usual five. The roads were otherwise very good and that was a great help to our making the 95 needed miles. Tomorrow morning we plan to get on #97 right here and head to Stillwater, Minnesota, where we will cross the St. Croix River into Wisconsin. We are hoping to work south and east back down to U.S. 10 and our scheduled destination for tomorrow. It's been a long day skirting the Twin Cities but it has been an adventure too. We made a needed stop at a mini-mart about 1 p.m. and killed off a 1/2 gal. of chocolate ice cream and two liter bottles of A&W root beer. It was an excellent snack. We saw three deer, a flock of geese flew in formation very low across the road just in front of us, and a mother duck was leading her seven ducklings along the shore of a small lake as we passed by. Just up the road here near the town of Hugo we came upon another biker and visited for a while. Didn't get her last name, but Barb has crossed the country from San Diego to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., just a couple years ago. She took 42 days doing it, and by herself. Now that's a real accomplishment. We are all very happy to have met Barb. She also said she'd follow up on the website and perhaps even send us a note later. We are in a very nice Best Western here in White Bear Lake and the boys are just about to head out to the pool while the laundry is running. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless. - Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 26 - Ken's Journal - June 8, 2001 - White Bear Lake, Minnesota to Durand, Wisconsin
    Journal for Friday, 6/8/01 from Durand, WI - We got started at 7:15 this morning from the very nice Best Western in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. It was a beautiful morning, and the day only got better as we rolled along. All day, we enjoyed an azure blue sky with lazy cumulous clouds floating in it. We even enjoyed their shade about a third of the time as we had the most sun we've seen in several days and the temperature got up to the high 70's this afternoon. We arrived in Stillwater, Minnesota about 9:00 A.M. and Randy saw a neat Kodak moment as there was a sternwheeler docked near the bridge on the St. Croix River. That photo is included in today's entries. Then we crossed into Wisconsin and took a victory photo at the welcome sign. It was a hard climb up the cliff away from the river. We worked our way south to Hudson, Wisconsin and found that our highway ran along with the interstate for a couple of miles. We also found another of those "no bicycles on interstate" signs. We backtracked a short way and were able to talk to a passing biker from Minnesota and two ladies taking a brake at a nearby professional building. They directed us to a route that carried us through Hudson and over the interstate and heading back south toward our destination for the day. We really moved along fairly well and got to Ellsworth where we picked up US-10 again about 1:00 P.M. While there, Joe suggested that we just pull into a grocery store instead of the usual gas station mini-mart and take advantage of their better prices. Randy and Joe bought a half-gallon of sherbet and a box of fudgesicles and some pop and we filled up on that stuff. Joe ate enough sherbet to get the shiver-shakes out in that high 70's weather. We met a local fellow (we think Brady was his name) who told us that he and his wife had made a trip from Seattle to New Hampshire a few years ago. They flew to Seattle so they could start from there and enjoy the normally westerly winds at their back. They found the same thing we did--that it is not always true. And they experienced about 8 days of headwinds in the Rockies. He didn't know where we wanted to stop tonight, but graciously offered us to pitch our tent in his yard if we wanted to. Another example of the many great generous people we have encountered. Just out of Ellsworth, we came onto a detour that directed us north around some new bridgework on US-10. This eventually added about ten miles to our day. We found ourselves in some seriously rolling hill country, and while the downs were fast and much fun again, we knew that there was always a slow, long climb on the other side. We did much more climbing than we had done since eastern North Dakota. Joe was especially enjoying the Wisconsin houses with all their Gingerbread and Victorian style. Two large farm dogs gave me a serious chase, but lucky for me it happened on a downhill and I was able to outrun them. When Randy and Joe passed them by behind me, the dogs were too tired to even bark at them. Randy saw a blue heron today, but otherwise, live game was pretty scarce. We were about ten miles from Durand when I got a front flat. Randy has been carrying a new tube for his trailer tire, and it is the same size, so he and Joe changed it out for me in no time at all and we were on the road again. I had picked up another small sharp piece of rock to go along with the one I had back in Montana. The tire seal goop just couldn't handle it even though it was leaking out all over. Joe made it through this 82-mile day with his broken spoke, and he and Randy are replacing it as I write this. Oops, they just finished and are cleaning up. Oh, by the way, we arrived here in Durand at 5:45 P.M. after a longer day than we expected. If we had come here tomorrow, the motels would be full as there is a classic car show and fun weekend happening. We are very thankful that Randy's alternate plan route around the Twin-Cities worked and got us back on our schedule. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless. Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau.

  • Day 27 - Ken's Journal - June 9, 2001 - Durand to Neillsville, Wisconsin
    Journal for Saturday, 6/9/01 from Neillsville, Wisconsin- Last night in Durand, Wis., after sending the journal for the day to Matt, we walked to the local drive-in and enjoyed a very good burger and shake. They were very busy as there is a classic car show and fun weekend going too. We saw some very nice cars and we were all drooling a lot. Oh, yes the mosquitoes were out in force and it was all we could do to sit at the outdoor tables long enough to enjoy the burgers. I carried my vanilla shake back to our room. They also had fireworks as part of the celebration and, while we couldn't see them, we certainly heard them as they vibrated our room wall. This morning we got into our pop-tart stash in our room for breakfast and then were on the road early at 6:25. It had just rained hard and was still sprinkling off and on. You can feel pretty cool as you are biking along in clothes that are just like you put them on right out of the wash machine. The rain was intermittent all morning and it stopped about noon as the temperature went up to a muggy Wisconsin 80 degrees. It was quite warm this afternoon out on the road. About midway between Durand and Mondovi a very nice conversion van pulled up across the road and the guy hollered over to us asking did we have any Grey Poupon. Well, we for sure do now. Jim and Marge O'Mara from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, have been following our trip on the website and decided to go for an early Saturday drive and came out to meet us. They had become aware of this adventure through the local Eau Claire newspaper. And they had noticed the Grey Poupon saga running through the daily journals and stopped by Wal-Mart on the way to bring us a jar. (Joe loves Grey Poupon.) They had their dog with them and, I have to tell you, Yukon is one of the largest rottweilers that I have seen. They said the dog was very friendly but you could not get me to stick my hand into that van. Jim and Marge helped to brighten an otherwise dreary morning and we've included their photo in today's entries. Thanks for your thoughtfulness O'Maras. When we got to Mondovi we were cold and it was great to see a Burger King there and with a special on breakfast sandwiches too. We each enjoyed two of them and several cups of hot coffee. Six people there received our card and about 10 minutes of trip explanation. All are checking out the website soon. We ran into another detour for bridgework just prior to the town of Eleva but Jim and Marge had informed us of this one and had even checked to see that we could walk our bikes through it. We did just that and continued on our merry way. Not far down Highway 10 a fellow who had just pulled into a drive in front of us walked back out to the road to ask about my strange recumbent bike. He had never seen one before and had a lot of questions. Jim Peterson is the owner of the Red Rooster Ranch and, after getting his questions answered, took us on a tour of his broiling chicken brood shed. We saw just one floor of four where he had just restocked last night with 25,000 baby chicks. It was very warm and humid in there. I did pick up a chick and remembered that I hadn't done that for 30+ years. Jim advised us of another bridge detour ahead that he said we would not be able to get through. He did give us an alternate route that added only about one mile to our day. Thanks Jim Peterson for the tour of your plant and for your road advice. We are all very happy to have met you. We got to the town of Strum about noon and pulled into a little local market for a box of ice cream bars and some root beer. While sitting there outside table an 87-year-old lady walked up to us and wanted to know about where we came from and where we were going. We talked a while, gave her a card, and hope that one of her relatives will be able to show her the website and photos. Just a short way down the road near a couple farms called Price we saw a field of very pretty yellow blossoms so we stopped and got out the cameras. We do not think it was mustard but we do not know what it was. We did include a photo of it today and if you know we'd be pleased if you'd share the name with us. Just on the outskirts of Neillsville, Wisconsin (tonight's stop) we came upon a very impressive hilltop war memorial. They call it The High Ground Memorial and rightly so for it is on the highest spot around. Not only do you feel some thankfulness there for all the sacrifice of our past military men but there is also a very good 360-degree view of that part of Wisconsin. Randy took a photo of part of the memorial with the U.S. flag prominently displayed. We were able to share our trip story with the employee there and she was also very interested that their memorial photo might get on the Internet. She also gave us some directions with the motel whereabouts and we thank her for that. Again, we didn't see much today in the way of live animals besides the 25,000 chicks. (That is a pretty goodly number though.) There were two buzzards circling us late this afternoon and we wondered if they knew something that we didn't. We found this motel room at 4:15 and covered 75 miles getting here today. The boys have taken the bags off their bikes and ridden the 1 1/2 miles to the local Pizza Hut to visit their salad bar while I am typing this journal. I will be ready for my share when they return. Talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 28 - Ken's Journal - June 10, 2001 - Neillsville to Amherst, Wisconsin
    Journal for Sunday, 6/10/01 from Amherst, Wisconsin- After I wrote last night from Neillsville the boys brought me back some pizza from their ride to town. I ate as we visited some there in this out of the way motel and then we all just died for the night. Five came early this morning and we left the motel at 6:20 thinking to get a bite of breakfast somewhere in Neillsville. Well, there was no place open so we just headed out figuring we'd put on the 25 miles to Marshfield and catch a later breakfast there. We had one clear hour and then it started to rain. It turned into another Seattle type day and we expected it to be a passing shower. It wasn't that at all. We stopped for one of our "bun breaks" about 10 miles west of Marshfield and, while standing there by a roadside sign, I heard the serious rain coming as it was pounding its way across the corn field toward us. I have heard that sound before on a lake in northern Washington and told the boys that we were about to get drenched. They got out their rain jackets and we started off. I was already soaked and was not cold so I didn't change anything. We hadn't gone far when we heard two thunder rumbles behind us but we didn't see any lightning so it didn't bother us much. Then without any warning we all saw a lightning bolt flash just to our left front. We all agreed that it was just across the road and not more than half a city block away. It was a very intense light and we all felt the concussion and the static electricity-type feeling that is customary on a close lightning strike. If anyone ever asks us again if we've had a Sunday morning experience, we can surely say Amen to that. We were all three touched pretty deeply by this close encounter and I could not speak with a tremor for quite a while. Along with that the sky opened up and we sought shelter on the leeward side of a tavern building across the road and up a ways. After about 10 minutes it slowed up enough for us to be able to continue and we finished our miles to Marshfield. It rained on through the day almost all the way to Stevens Point about 1 p.m. We did notice that the deer flies and the mosquitoes don't bother you on a bike at all when it's raining that hard. There are blessings in most everything aren't there? We stopped at a Hardee's restaurant in Marshfield and had breakfast sandwiches and coffee to warm up. Joe ate three of their breakfast sandwiches but I could only get through two comfortably so I saved one for later. There wasn't much to do now except get back out in the rain and put the 33 miles to Stevens Point behind us. As I said it rained pretty hard almost until we made the city limits. We were awfully glad to see their Wendy's as Joe remembered that they sell pretty good chili. We all had some of that and I had my extra breakfast sandwich and coffee. Did get to talk about our trip to one fellow there in Wendy's and he seemed pretty interested. I have had in the back of my mind all along that when we got closer to Kaukauna and the Fox Valley some of my family might drive out to welcome us but I was not prepared for what happened just after we left the Stevens Point Wendy's. A car went by and the lady on the passenger side hollered the now famous trip question: "Do you have any Grey Poupon?". It was my eldest sister, Marion. The car pulled into a business and we followed. Out piled Marion and three more sisters, Eileen, Lois and Jan. It was a great 1/2 half hour and we have included a photo for you all to know them. I could hardly speak as we hugged and introduced them to Joe whom they've never met and Randy whom they've not seen for many years. It started to rain again just as the "girls" left us and we started down the road again to Amherst, our destination for today. Within five miles another car went past and hollered the Grey Poupon thing. It was my youngest brother Jim with his wife, Sherrie and son Tyler. Tyler's girlfriend was also along for the sunday afternoon drive. We visited there by Highway #10 roadside for another 1/2 hour and took their photo that is included in today's collection. Randy and Joe found a pretty good-sized garter snake and two bunnies. Randy also found two more ticks on himself today. More proof that we are back in Wisconsin. We covered 82 miles today and are here at our scheduled destination at the Amherst Tomorrow River Motel. We are going to dinner soon with my four previously named sisters so I'll talk at you tomorrow. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Day 29 - Ken's Journal - June 11, 2001 - Amherst to Kaukauna, Wisconsin
    Journal for Monday, 6/11/01 from Kaukauna, Wis. - Hey! We made it. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We left our motel at Amherst this morning at 6:40 to an absolutely beautiful Wisconsin summer morning. We quickly made the 13 miles to Waupaca so we could pick up a Burger King breakfast sandwich. I can't remember what else Joe had… The day continued clear and got quite warm with 80's temperatures in the shade but we found it very muggy as well. I don't know what the humidity reading reached but it was far too high for westerners. Not to worry though, we did enjoy a nice little tail wind all the riding day. I put on my "team" t-shirt and regular shorts this morning so I didn't look too "dorky" coming into my hometown and got a moderate sun burn on my previously protected forearms. We stopped at a sports store in Waupaca as they had a huge bass fish statue in their yard adjacent to the highway. We couldn't resist. Randy had us haul the bikes over there where Joe climbed up on the fish's back while we took one of today's photos. Then it was on down the road where, after a few miles, a lady passed us honking and waving in a very nice early 70's Mustang convertible. Marsha Rohen was waiting at the next intersection with guess what, a jar of Grey Poupon. (Marsha, please contact me at as I somehow lost your information.) It was an extremely interesting half hour visiting with a great Christian lady there on Highway #10 just west of Weyauwega. I offered to trade her my recumbent BikeE for her Mustang but she was not willing to do so. Randy and Joe found four more license plates today, and just after Randy was lamenting that he had not yet found a Wisconsin plate for his trip collection. These four were all Wisconsin plates but different styles. The day's scenery was all the area usual farm and dairy land with silos, cows and farm buildings. We must comment that Wisconsin farmers take a back seat to nobody in the apparent pride of their farms. Most show the love and care of their owners. We switched to Highway #96 coming into Appleton, as we knew it went directly to Kaukauna. We were stopped by a Channel 5 news crew who accidentally came upon us as they were going to cover another story. The photographer tied us to the local newspaper stories and made a small detour in their plans. Right after that we met a 10-year-old biker who was also heading back home to Kaukauna. We enjoyed his company for about five miles. We even had a bit of a race for a short stretch just to let him know that the "old guys" could still move. One of my best high school buddies' wife came out to meet us. Jane Schaefer brought us some welcome cold drinks and Wisconsin cheese w/crackers. And then Jane even ran a couple errands for us. Thanks very much, Jane. While we were visiting with Jane, Mike McMahon and his daughter came by to see us as they have been tracking us on the website and figured about where we'd be. It turns out that Mike's dad was one of our Kaukauna neighbors when I was young and I remember his dad's family quite well. That was a fun visit. When we got to the Kaukauna city limits we took care of a little chore. Matt earlier had put a little contest on the website to guess what our Kaukauna entrance time would be. For the record, we crossed at 2:03 pm and winners are Doc and Cory Clark, who had the exact time. While we were photographing this a classmate of mine, Vicky Killoway (sp, and I don't know Vicky's married name), came by and we had a short, but nice visit. I am looking forward to seeing her and my other classmates at the reunion this weekend. The boys have been amazed as they see what brother Jim and wife Sherry have done in remodeling the house that I was born in. Their remodeling efforts have really livened up and dressed up the place. Great job guys. Well, we covered 2,113 miles getting here and we made it without having to take even one day of our three-day allotment for weather or mechanical problems. We are headed off to a sister Lois' "cottage" tomorrow for a couple days of R&R. I/We will try to talk at you tomorrow. God bless-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

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