Post-Ride Journal Entries by Date
(chronological order)

  • Ken's Journal - June 12, 2001 - The day after
    Journal for Tuesday, 6/12/01 from Caroline, Wisconsin - I awoke at 5:00 A.M. this morning at brother Jim's home in Kaukauna, but I turned over and enjoyed the cool morning air drifting into that old room until 6:00. It seemed just a bit weird to be back in a room that had been mine many years ago. At six, I heard Jim and the boys stirring and the shower was already in use so I gave up my comfy surroundings and headed downstairs. Randy wanted to spend some time working on his personal journal, so Joe and I decided to head for the neighborhood "Hilltop Bakery" and pick up a few goodies to take to sister Marion's later for breakfast. We stopped by the Catholic Church just up the street so I could show Joe this fantastic mini cathedral. It was built in 1885 and is full of carved marble and leaded glass. If you ever get to Kaukauna, you must see St. Mary's. We went the extra block to the bakery with me filling Joe in on the how's and where's of how I had terrorized that neighborhood as a youngster. At the bakery front door, we met Jason Kemp and his dad Glenn. We visited there in the street for ten minutes before they had to be on their way. Oh yes, Glenn is husband to my sister Marion's daughter Bumpy. We made our choices in the bakery and Joe was surprised when asked what he wanted for his 13th item. You see, they still give a baker's dozen. Then we talked and walked our way back to Jim's where he had one of our offerings before we wandered over to sister Marion's for breakfast. As usual, she did too much as she put bacon, eggs, toast and all the fixins' on the table along with our baker stuff. We did get a chance there to tap into the website from her computer and again were much impressed with the beauty of Matt & Heidi's creation. Isn't it great? Then Marion loaned us her very nice Pontiac, and we headed out toward Caroline for some R&R. On the way we stopped in a Pamida Store, so the boys could pick up short-term non-resident fishing licenses. The clerk recognized us as the guys she had read about in last Sundays' Paper and we had another "interview" there in the store. It feels so great that people are interested in our adventure. We were more than adequately welcomed here at Lois and Dave Derfus' place in Caroline, and it didn't take long for the boys to remind me that we came here to get the canoe out on the Embarrass River. This is a river that my father fished as a young man since he had been born and raised near here. Randy and Joe headed off for a four-hour canoe ride down the river while I spent the afternoon catching up on all kinds of news with Lois and Dave. At 4:30, Dave and I went the few miles into Caroline to pick up the boys at the local park. They had had a fun afternoon and also had a nice 23" Northern Pike to show for it. They also had plenty of action and were satisfied. The Northern is presently roasting on the outdoor grill and must be almost ready. I think I will cut this off and talk at you tomorrow. God Bless, Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau.

  • Ken's Journal - June 13, 2001 - R&R
    Wednesday, 6/13/01 - We enjoyed the quiet and solitude of sister Lois and husband Dave's "Derfus' Panorama" near Caroline, Wisconsin, until almost 7 am. It was great. When Randy and Joe finally got up Lois fixed a very fine breakfast and then Dave and I took The boys and the canoe back down to the Embarrass River and they put the canoe back in at the city park. We agreed that they would be back here to be picked up in the early afternoon and they paddled out in search of more of the famous and feisty northern pike. Dave, Lois and I visited up a storm and the time just flew by. Lois needed some bread and milk so Dave and I drove to the nearby town of Marion where there is a sizeable grocery market. While there Dave introduced me to the checkout clerk/owner and she had read all about us in their local paper. We were able to talk at length again about the trip and its purpose. We are continually amazed at being recognized so often. God keeps proving that He is in this trip. We picked up the boys about 1:30 and Joe had a nice 24" northern on the stringer. They have each caught one now and in weather that local fishermen have said would produce nothing at all. And, of course, Joe is not likely to let Randy forget that his northern is one inch longer. We cleaned Joe's fish and put it in Lois' freezer so she can feed it to sister Marion later as she likes them very much. On the trip back to Kaukauna Randy and Joe caught a nap as I drove. Those guys can snooze anywhere in an instant. It was a beautiful afternoon and I enjoyed seeing all of the old countryside and noting the many growth changes that had taken place over the past years. Back in Kaukauna we learned that sister Marion had invited us, brother Jim and his wife Sharon over for dinner. She had cooked up some of my old favorites including German potato salad and we went away well satisfied. The phone rang almost continuously all evening as we received calls from the local newspapers and a Green Bay TV station. Received several calls from relatives congratulating us and wanting to make visiting arrangements and a call from the Alumni Association President Kay Abel. We visited with Jim and Sharon and the boys were watching a TV movie when I decided to call it a day. It had been quite warm and the humidity was high. It was one of those Wisconsin nights that you lay down warm, sweating and uncovered just waiting for the early morning hours when it will hopefully cool down enough for you to get some untroubled shuteye. As my mother used to say when you didn't really have enough time to get a good night's sleep: "You'll have to sleep quick". I finally did drift off as it cooled. God Bless, Ken

  • Ken's Journal - June 14, 2001 - Friends & Family
    Thursday, 6/14/01 - I woke early, just as it was getting light, showered quickly, and walked down to the Hilltop Bakery once more. Picked up the dozen coconut sticks I had special ordered on Tuesday and visited a bit with the owner and his wife. I had recently found out that he is the grandson of my mother's sister Antoinette (Nettie). I don't really know if that makes him a second cousin or a first cousin once removed. Who can know all that kind of stuff anyhow? They seemed like very nice people even though they have chosen to live across the street from my "crazy" nephew Tim Lettau in Appleton. Took my "stash" of bakery things and walked on over to sister Marion's as I know that she is an early riser and will have a cup of coffee for me. She was up and did have the coffee on. We enjoyed a couple coconut sticks, visited some and then, on the way out, I had to talk to a few residents of her apartment building and the office manager and his staff. The boys and I have been invited to their picnic this evening and they want us to tell them about our trip after the dinner. Back at Jim's, the boys were finished with breakfast and ready to "do something". We piled into Marion's loaned car and headed out toward Lake Winnebago where I had planned to show them around. We drove up the cliff to the now State Park and the boys quickly discovered the sheer cliff limestone walls are a great place to practice your rock climbing. While they were checking out this new country I climbed the tower to view the lake. The humidity hanging thickly in the air created a haze over the lake and so the long distance view was much hindered. We spent several hours there and included a visit to the old limestone kilns and remains of a once thriving lime quarry business. It is a fascinating industrial site that operated up into the 1950's. On the way back to Kaukauna we found that there is now a little lunch place near the Cliff and it served up a pretty large soft ice cream cone. Of course we each had one. By the time we got back to town we had to hurry to get cleaned up and into our trip t-shirts for the senior home picnic. Pat, David and Linda had not yet arrived so we went ahead over there so as not to be late since we were the invited guests. It took half an hour to greet and talk to as many as wanted to meet us but we did sit down to bratwurst, hamburgers, cole slaw, beans, etc., right at the scheduled 5 PM time. Well, were we surprised when just a few minutes later Pat, David and Linda walked in. They had just pulled into Jim's place and he directed them right over to the picnic. We hugged, laughed, caught each other up on our trips some and then dove into that sumptuous repast. I do so love Wisconsin bratwursts. Then they introduced Randy, Joe and I to the group and gave us the floor. I filled them in on a few of the trip facts and its witnessing purpose. Then I opened it up to trip related questions from the floor. We were all surprised at the amount and content of the questions coming from this group of very senior seniors. And Randy and Joe quickly got "into" it and we all were ribbing each other as we had a great time reliving the trip memories. The questions went on for about 45 minutes and the open visiting after that lasted another 45 minutes. It was a great time but the boys and I were ready to call it a night after such a busy and emotional day. Back at Jim's house there were several more telephone messages to return and now I needed to set up the motorhome in Jim's driveway so that David and Linda could use my old bedroom. I reminded them that not only were they in the house where I had been born but now they were going to use my old bedroom. Seemed strange, but nicely so. Pat and I retired to the motorhome now set up in Jim's driveway, turned on the fan and called it a very good day. I was sure glad to see her again after a long month. She surely is comfortable to be around. I even told her that I loved her before drifting off to lullaby land. God Bless, Ken

  • Ken's Journal - June 15, 2001 - Reunion night #1
    Friday, 6/15/01 - Woke early again with the dawn light but decided not to move just yet so as not to disturb Pat who is not the world's greatest early riser. Lay there and listened to the many birds's singing. Heard a couple that I didn't recognize and vowed to ask Jim and Sharon about them later. Finally (about 6:30) got up and snuck into the house to get a shower. Jim was moving around when I finished so he and I had some of yesterday's leftover bakery. It was just as good today. We did some laundry and tried to get the road dirt off our bikes. It was a tough job even for the scrubbing bubbles that usually work very well. The morning disappeared quickly and we were on our way to Pat's home town of Menasha to meet some of my immediate for the fabulous steak sandwich of The Old Grog. You have got to have one of those. No kidding, that oblong piece of steak, about a quarter of an inch in finished thickness, is so long that you have to fold it double to get it into the oversize bun. And with all the trimmings it costs $3.50. I never miss one of those on a trip to Wisconsin. When we first got there I presented Randy and Joe with a certificate I had printed up to commemorate our one-of-a-kind trip and also gave each of them a Timex desk clock that is shaped very much like their Schwinn bicycles and has a clock in the rear wheel. It is quite impressive with its gold finish and I hope that they will display them proudly for a long time in the future. They certainly have earned them putting up with this old man for 29 trying days. Before long some other members of my immediate family began filtering in as Lois had called them and invited them to join us at The Grog. My sister Eileen and her husband Wally came. My sister Lois and her husband Dave came. My brother Paul and his wife Monica came. My Niece Nancy showed up during her lunch hour from a nearby financial institution and presented Randy with one of her old personalized Wisconsin license plates to add to his new collection. Randy was very pleased with it and thankful that she was so willing to share. My sister Marion had ridden to Menasha with us in the motorhome so we had a large group for lunch. We were there having a very good time eating and visiting for a couple of hours. After we said our goodbyes to the brothers and sisters and took some photos on The Old Grog front steps we toured around Pat's home town of Menasha for a couple hours before heading back to Kaukauna 13 miles away. We went through the old business district, past Pat's old house location (now a bank parking lot) and drove the expensive home streets around the Lake Winnebago shore. We got back to Jim's just in time to get cleaned up and head to my '51 class dinner party at Willie's Supper Club in nearby Little Chute. 52 of the 112 graduates had signed up for the dinner and with their spouses and friends, we had a really large group in attendance. About six had not been able to come for whatever reason and the remainders have passed on over the years. I was invited to say the before meal prayer and made it a memory to our deceased classmates along with a blessing for the meal. You would have been pleased to have been there. What a great meal. After the meal my good friend, Eugene "Doodles" Shaeffer, who was acting as master of ceremonies, told some stories on some of the classmates and did some old folks jokes. Then he had the mike passed around and each of the classmates got to introduce themselves and say a few words. Most of them just said who they were and a few did introduce their wife of husband and a couple even added the number of children they had produced. It was very evident that they did not enjoy public speaking. I was reminded of the results of a study I'd heard about a few years ago that said that fear of public speaking was the greatest fear of all, even above that of death, which was number two on the list. Anyway, when the mike came to me I warned them that I was going to be longer than 10 seconds. I introduced Pat and told them a bit of her school history. Then I introduced Randy and Joe as the other members of my team and said a few words about the trip and its purpose. That was as close as I got to "speaking" at that function but it was apparent in the questions and comments we received in the many post dinner visits that everyone was aware of what we were about and what our true mission was. We had many discussions in which God was more than a casual subject. We thanked Him for the rich opportunities He gave us. It was a marvelous evening as we renewed old friendships and remembered special occasions and situations. We all came away drained and replenished at the same time. When finally we arrived back at Jim and Sharon's home we were more than ready to call it a day. We did visit there some more and brought them, David and Linda up to speed before retiring again to our motorhome in the driveway. Marion had again graciously entertained David and Linda for dinner while Randy, Joe, Pat and I were doing the reunion class party thing. She is a truly great, gracious and giving lady and we all love her very much. It was another full and wonderful day. God Bless, Ken

  • Ken's Journal - June 16, 2001 - Reunion night #2
    Saturday, 6/16/01 - Awake with first light and the birds again. Tried to stay quiet in bed and let Pat have some more sleep time but without very much success. Went into the house and got a quick shower and then headed down to the Hilltop Bakery for a few more of their fantastic items. That bakery has been on that spot since before I was born and it seems that nothing there has changed at all. I headed over to sister Marion's carrying my box and the bag with the few semels that I know she particularly likes with her morning coffee. As usual, we visited for a while before heading back to Jim's to pick up the rest of the bunch for the sightseeing we had planned. We went first to the historic Grignon Home on the north side of Kaukauna near the canal locks and across from the paper mill. It was one of the first "deeded" places in Wisconsin and is filled with the original furniture and numerous historic documents. The grounds are beautifully kept. Pat and I had been in it many years ago but found it closed to the public on this day. And, yes, it was a disappointment to the group as we had been talking it up for several days now. We rode around Kaukauna for a while then and went past the location of my grandparents house where my mother had been born. The house was gone now having been removed for some roadwork modernization. I felt bad about that as I remember very well spending time there. We then went to a place called the Thousand Islands Environmental Center. I remember it better as just the Thousand Islands. It is an area of the Fox River as it runs out of Kaukauna on the south side where there are many various sized islands (probably not a thousand) and my friends and I spent perhaps a thousand days fishing, hunting and just goofing off in our growing up years. When we got cars we even washed them there after we discovered a rock shelf where we could drive them into several inches of water, soap them up and then throw buckets of river water at them to rinse them off. Of course we had to remember to drive around a while with our foot on the brakes to dry the pads afterward. Now the area is a park and has a main building with many displays of local animal and fish life. It is a fascinating place to spend several hours and walk the paths and bridges through the nature tour area. As I came out of the rest room there I found myself face to face with one of my best boyhood friends with whom I had frequented this area more than 50 years ago. Believe me, Bill Taylor, looked just like I remembered Bill Taylor. I would have recognized him anywhere. We hugged and talked for almost half an hour there and promised to do more that evening at the all-school reunion. I met his wife, a lovely Christian lady, and was pleased and inspired at her interest in the bike ride. It was a sad thing for that little chance visit to end there. Now we had to hurry back to Jim and Sharon's place as a tv crew was coming to do a documentary on the trip. Bob Healey from Green Bay's NBC 26 spent about an hour and a half interviewing and filming for a news show to be aired that evening at 10. He even had us ride around the south side of Kaukauna as he and his photographer drove along with us filming through the open van door as we went with them riding on the left, or wrong, side of the road most of the way. It was great fun to do and to meet them. Thank you Bob for your good work and special interest. We did get to see your work and have a video of it to prove it. Then it was clean up again and head out to Van Able's in Hollandtown for the all school reunion dinner and program. We ran into some unexpected road construction and did most of the 10 miles or so on washboard gravel road. It has been 10 years since I had been to Hollandtown and nothing appears to have changed. Our group for tonight consisted of Pat, David, Linda, Randy, Joe and I. Also Marion, Eileen, Lois, Jan (all sisters) and Nancy (Lois' daughter) and Cindy (sister Dorothy's daughter) sat with us. We had a large and fun group mixed in there with the 50th reunion class. On the way into the building we were met by a cousin, Phyllis Hoogland and Lois' son Dave and his wife. Phyllis and I had a great conversation about our Amazing God and vowed to continue it in future e-mails. The dinner food was, as usual, scrumptious. During the program the 50th year class was recognized as is customary. A wireless mike was passed around and again each class member got to introduce themselves and say a few words if they desired. Again, not many said much more than their name, or even stood up for all to see in that crowd of five hundred or more. As our large group was seated way to the back of the hall I received the mike last. When I stood to identify myself there was a thunderous applause. I waited and then said that I believed some of them had heard about our little bike ride from Seattle. There was laughter. Then I introduced Pat with her school history, Team riders Randy and Joe and then Joe's parents David and Linda. I said just a few words about the ride but didn't feel that this was the time to belabor the story. The alumni president went through the program with its speakers and awards and was ready to close when she said, "Oh, and we have another award". Then she talked a bit about what soon became apparent was our bike ride and then called me to come to the podium. When I got up the whole place stood and gave an ovation. I tried to get Randy and Joe to accompany me but they would not do it. They ovation continued until after I had made my way up to the stage. Kay Able ceremoniously presented me with a large umbrella with the Kaukauna Alumni logo on it and a case of spring water bottles that had been specially labeled with the school name and logo. I was not invited to speak so I received the gifts graciously, thanked her and left the stage at that. The evening developed into many individual and group conversations about our trip and our Amazing God. It was another marvelous evening that ended much too quickly. Oh, and other members of my family did show up later including Marion's daughter Sharon and her family. We visited until we were the second last group left there. We also got to see the 10 pm news with the TV footage taken earlier in the afternoon. I could not hear it though from across the noisy room and look forward to reviewing it at home later. As we drove home late this Saturday night I cannot help but thank God again for all the doors He has opened up for us through such a simple thing like a bicycle ride. I don't know about the rest of the group but I fell into bed tired, happy and thankful there in that little motorhome in brother Jim's driveway. God Bless, Ken

  • Ken's Journal - June 17, 2001 - Church and Packing
    Sunday, 6/17/01=Again we awoke in brother Jim's Kaukauna driveway with the first light and the birds. There are two bird voices here with which Pat and I are not familiar and we keep forgetting to ask Jim and Sharon about them. Oh, well. Got my shower and walked over to sister Marion's where I know that I can get an early cup of coffee. It usually also turns into breakfast and that is usual and expected if you have any acquaintance with older Midwest generations. One can never make a short visit or get away from a visit without partaking in a meal no matter what time of day it is. So, obviously, we were being kept well fed. Randy was continuously commenting on how he just couldn't keep eating like this. We will all have to taper off and go into withdrawals as we get back on the road to our regular Washington life styles. Anyway when I got back to Jim's everyone was up and ready to head out to Christ The Rock, a non-denominational church out near Lake Winnebago. Mike Mc Mahon and his daughter Calin had invited us there when we met them as we were coming into Kaukauna on Monday. Mike called again later in the week to follow up and re-invited us. We were very glad to "explore" and to meet this fairly new active Christian congregation. The service we attended at 10:30 had about 400+ folks and we were told they had begun just 10 years ago with 12. Their first meeting place was a $7-a-week room in a cemetery. Their new facility is nearly complete and the best descriptive word I can think of is "fantastic". If you don't like to sing praises to Our Lord, perhaps you would be happier somewhere else as the first half of this service consisted of just that. And it was apparent to us all that these folks didn't need a lot of encouragement to get into the praise mood. It was very inspirational and moving. During an announcement period there were words about our bike trip from Washington and we were asked to stand. The team received applause and, of course, this identified where we were sitting and enabled many folks to find us after the service. We were happy to meet them and answer all their questions. The pastor is about Randy's age and gave a very relevant and moving sermon on the topic of the day, Father's Day. He had his son join him to read a letter the boy had sent his father from college a few years back. I surely don't know how the boy kept it all together as he read this very personal and moving letter but he did it nicely. It made the day much more real for me and I'm sure for many others. We were kept to almost the last vehicle out of the parking lot as folks hung around to meet us and ask questions about the trip or its purpose. If you every get to that area don't miss attending a service at Christ The Rock., it will "gas up your spiritual tank". Sister Marion had invited us all over to her small apartment for lunch so we did that. She did a buffet style and we were spread out all over the kitchen and living room. It was cozy, neat and, as usual, the food was fantastic. There is just no other way to describe Marion's cooking. She worked as an institutional cook most of her life and has managed to remember just the very best recipes from that and from our mother. There is no way to come away from Marion's hungry or disappointed. Then it was back to Jim's where we had a major chore to perform. The bikes needed to be disassembled and boxed for the trip back to Washington. Sister Lois had picked up two Schwinn boxes for Randy and Joe but in order to use these boxes the wheels, fenders, handle bars and some other items must be removed and packed in alongside the frame. Getting that done properly with packing to hold things in place took about three hours. I removed some items from my BikeE and Randy helped me get it into the motor home and up on the over cab bed. Now I am sleeping on the sofa but that is OK as it is long enough for me and fairly comfortable. The packing took the rest of the afternoon and when the boys were finished and the boxes were in place it was dinnertime. We had promised to take Jim and Sharon out to dinner as a small thank you for their hospitality. I wanted the boys to experience a Fox Valley fish dinner with local fish, preferably perch but Sharon was to pick the restaurant location. It was no surprise to anyone that she picked The Lox Club where she has just recently retired as a hostess/waitress after 35 years there. I had had their fish before and knew that it would be a great experience. And it would also be fun to be in on her renewing old acquaintances there. It was that and even more as we were introduced to many of the patrons as the crazy relatives who had bicycled 2113 miles from Washington State. It has been great fun at every stop to watch people's reactions to that statement. Some laugh it off and others are just incredulous. As I've said before the greatest thing for me in this whole experience have been the people. I am still being amazed and I don't expect that to stop any time soon. The fish dinner was all that we had expected. The special visitation time with Jim and Sharon was enjoyable and the group interaction was marvelous to observe. It was another great evening that became night all too soon. Back at Jim's we said our goodnights and retired to our beds in the driveway as the "younger" folks watched a little more TV before calling it a day. Pat and I had no trouble getting to sleep after another very full and inspiring day. Thanks again Mike and Calin for inviting us to share in Christ The Rock.

  • Ken's Journal - June 18, 2001 - Goodbye to Randy and Joe
    Monday, 6/18/01 -We popped right up at first light, at least I did. Showered and walked to the bakery again before heading back over to Marion's for her early morning coffee. When I got back to Jim's after enjoying Marion's breakfast everybody had their bags packed and had lugged then downstairs ready to load. This is the day we are to put David, Linda, Randy and Joe on the Lamers bus in Appleton for their ride to Milwaukee to catch Amtrak back to Washington. We said many repeat goodbyes, there were lots of hugs and those four reluctantly left the new and re-acquaintance of Jim and Sharon and their unmatched hospitality. Marion rode with us to Appleton in her car and, of course, Pat and I were to return here for one more night before heading north to visit with Pat's 97-year-old mother in Bemidji, Minnesota tomorrow. As we were waiting for the bus at the Greyhound depot in Appleton the skies opened in one of those typically Midwest thunder and lightning summer showers. We were very happy that it had waited until we had all the boxes and baggage under cover of the building's overhang. As we were visiting there and discussing the trip again, one of my classmates, Joan Wigman (her maiden name) recognized us and came over to visit while she was waiting for the same bus to take her home to Illinois. It was another of the many fun times of this adventure. Joan had been the other part of a double date that I was on as an eighth grader, my first by the way. We did a lot of remembering there in front of the transit center. Then the bus came and it was time to load and get on with it. We said our goodbyes and, for the first time in over a month, I was without the companionship of Randy and Joe. For them it was soon back to reality and their regular lives. For Pat and I it was make a stop at a local doctor's office for one of my regular monthly hormone shot treatments and then get ourselves and the motor home ready to take off early tomorrow morning for our Madison visit with ex-sister-in-law Connie McCabe on our way to visit my much-loved mother-in-law, Ellen Elstad, in Bemidji, Minnesota. Since Randy, Joe and I have now completed the ride and the journal entries have brought you up through the boys heading back home, I guess that this is as good a place as any to bring a close to this chapter in our lives. We are truly grateful for your prayers and support. We cannot say in words how much it has meant to us over this last month to know that you are all out there praying us along with your e-mail encouragements. My intention is to respond to each of you who have left any kind of an address that I can work with. To those others we can only say "thank you for your support". Some of you have encouraged us to use this experience, the journals, our daily logs, and the photos as the basis for a book on the trip. We are interested and will be open to that possibility as God leads in it. We will appreciate your continued prayers for our lives and families. Talk at you later. God bless.-Ken, Randy & Joe Lettau

  • Post-Reunion Update by Matt
    6/19/01, from Sacramento, California - No, this isn't Ken, this is Matt, Ken's youngest son. I'm filling in for Ken due to technical difficulties and schedule pressures. I know many of you are wondering how the big reuinion weekend went. Well, I've been able to talk to Dad a couple times this weekend, and will try to fill you in.
    Ken's been in quite the spotlight since arriving in Kaukauna last week! Although the guys did manage a day of R&R at Aunt Lois' cabin, they have been amazed at just how many Kaukauna residents knew who they were! Ken, Joe and Randy spoke at a retirement village where Ken's oldest sister Marion lives mid last week. They talked for about a half hour, and then all three answered questions for a while. They were amazed at the genuine interest of the residents there, and were thankful for the opportunity to speak.
    Friday evening was the 50th class reunion dinner. Ken very much enjoyed meeting his school-mates and they all enjoyed the dinner. Saturday evening was a bigger reunion event, as all classes are invited. At this event, they give special recognition to the 50th class, and pass the microphone around to the members of the 50th class to say a few words. When Ken introduced himself, he was greeted with an ovation from the crowd - he was quite moved by all their support. Anway, I don't want to spoil all the fun for you as I'm sure Ken will be eager to write more about it himself!
    Ken and Pat saw Randy, Joe, David and Linda off from Kaukauna on Monday. They are riding Amtrak back to Washington State to enjoy the scenic views afforded by the railroad. Ken & Pat left Kaukauna today. They are visiting with other relatives in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Being retired and all, I'm not sure how long they will take to get back to Richland...
    Now, about those technical difficulties... When Dad first asked me if it was possible to provide daily journals and pictures for all of you to follow on the internet, I was afraid of the cost. We were very happy to find an affordable solution using a "palm" computer and some attachments. I knew that if we ever ran in to "troubles" with the Palm's software, that we were out of business, as resetting the Palm requires that you have it at the same location as the computer you are using (over phone lines doesn't count). Well, we made it all the way to Kaukauna without any problems, but while the guys were fishing up at the cabin, the Palm decided it had done its job... So, while Randy has 35mm film pictures which we will get on the site eventually, the daily updates ended there. Ken didn't have a chance to compose a Journal by email using someone's PC there in Kaukauna. We hope he has a chance once the get to Minnesota in a couple days.
    Keep checking back for more...also, make sure you add yourself to our "email" list which you can do from the "what's next" page. As things settle down, we will send out notice of new stuff on the website to everyone who subscribes to that list. It's your way of making sure you don't miss anything, without having to check everything all the time!
    On behalf of Ken, Randy and Joe Lettau, God bless you all.

  • Ken's Journal - June 21, 2001 - Hello from Minnesota
    Thursday, 6/21/01 from Bemidji, Minnesota - First, I owe all of you a huge apology for the gap in communication since 6/12. Are you interested in the excuses? No. Well, here they are anyway. I have five sisters and three brothers living in the Kaukauna area. I have 15 nieces and nephews living in the area. With the reunion on, there were 52 of my 112 classmates in the area. Then there were all the old places and neighbors for both Pat and I. It just got awfully busy, time seemed to fly by and we willingly dropped into bed each night. To complicate matters even more, the Palm computer setup developed a problem while we were at sister Lois' place in Caroline on R&R and I was unable to get the "glitch " out of the program. I'll send it down to Matt when we get back home and I'm sure he'll have it back in operating order in no time at all.
    So now I will catch you up with Randy, Joe and I through the Kaukauna High School 50th Reunion that was the destination point of this trip since way back in North Bend, Washington. Our last journal entry was Tuesday, 6/12/01, so . . .

  • Ken's Journal - June 22, 2001 - God's Amazing Grace
    I have been asked to put into words some feelings and experiences to explain what our trip motto "We Wheel On By The Amazing Grace Of Our Awesome God" means to me.

    For me, as for all of you, God was exercising His grace to me through His love and care long before I was aware of it. I acknowledged the saving grace of Jesus Christ and invited Him into my life as a personal friend in 1968, but His Father God had been there extending His grace to me long before that. He was there in giving me my wife, Pat, without whom nothing that follows here would be as it is. He was there in keeping me employed while increasing my work skills through two completely different livelihood fields in my married work life. He was watching over me through numerous accidents, auto, industrial and recreational, actual and potential, as I was quick to try new and adventurous speeds, sports and ways of doing things. He was helping us with health, raising of our five sons and one daughter who possess all their limbs and senses and have never caused us even one visit to a law enforcement establishment. He brought His amazing grace into Pat's cancer situation in 1983 when she was given six months to live. She is working at doing our laundry as I write this today in 2001. His grace was present in giving each of our children Christian spouses so that they could multiply His outreach into their peer communities.

    How does all of that fit into this "2001-in-2001" bicycle ride from the Seattle area to little Kaukauna, Wisconsin? When the trip planning began in 1995 I had not a clue how many more proofs of His amazing grace our Awesome God would provide. He furnished me with a group of family and friends who encouraged me at every turn to "go for it" and supported me also with prayer. He had already, and continued to furnish the financial wherewithal to take on this once-in-a-lifetime adventure. When prostate cancer ravaged me in 1998 His grace carried me through the radical operation. He continued to shower me with grace, new contacts and friends, as the cancer returned in 2000 and 34 radiation treatments was required. He continues to pour His grace on me as we continue to fight this battle with ongoing hormone therapy.

    The road miles of the bicycle trip are behind us now but I saw evidence daily of His amazing grace in providing motel rooms in the most unexpected and astounding ways, as I had believed He would, when I chose to trust Him, take each day as it came, and did not reserve rooms in advance. It turned out to be a lot more fun letting God arrange our rooms for us. Like when there were "absolutely no rooms" in Ellensburg, Washington, and He gave us an "emergency" room after we shared our plight and trip story with a great young male desk clerk. Like the time in Custer, Montana, population 135, where we were told the very old local motel had probably closed and I told the boys that God would provide "even if we had to spend that night in the local church". Well, the motel had not closed, had a room for us, and if you are looking for a room in Custer, Montana, you might be able to rent one from Lorraine Church too. Like the time there again was "absolutely no room" in the busy North Dakota town until one was rejected as "too smoky" while I was standing at the desk wondering where to go. It wasn't smoky at all to us as we enjoyed it for that night. Oh, yes, and the rejecter, he was from our hometown and had gone to school with my sons. Like the night when an unknown encourager figured out where we might be and had phoned ahead to reserve and pay for a very nice room that night.

    God's amazing grace was evident as He guided most rain and mountain storms around us. Oh, yes, we did get wet a few times and came very close to being struck by lightning but it was not terribly uncomfortable and was just enough to give the trip the all-weather flavor it needed to be complete.

    Early on in the trip I was contemplating how to explain what "God's Amazing Grace" feels like. Several analogies drifted around in my mind and they were all very good, descriptive and fitting. But then the boys (Randy and Joe), at just the right time, did something that gave me the most appropriate analogy of all. I was laboring up a long, slow climb at about six miles per hour when, all at once, the climb became easier and I was able to shift up two gears as my speed just jumped to nine miles per hour. Then I noticed that Randy had come alongside on the right with Joe on the left and, each with a hand on the seat back post of my bike was helping push me along. It made my load feel so much lighter and I was so much relieved that it put pleasure back into what had been an exhausting, laborious task. It didn't make the uphill into a downhill, shorten it or flatten it out but with their help it was much easier to complete the climb.

    That's what it's like when you have committed yourself to a task or situation where you know that God wants you. You can be sure that He is true to His word, and will never give you more to deal with than He will give you His amazing grace to see you through it.* And, you will feel it just as surely as I felt Randy and Joe as He Himself comes alongside and helps to make your load lighter.
    * I Corinthians 10:13 says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will aslo provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." NIV

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