Autobiography    Dieter Rolf Fischer   Book 11

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                   Book 11 / Ch. 2   Written / Published 26.10.12  / 1.11.2012

   

"My times are in your hand ..."

 

(Psalm 31, 15)

2. Just at the 'write' time. 

During a quick browse through the 'San Diego Magazine' I spotted on page 60 an advertisement for an event. It happened to take place that very day. A famous lady, whose name I recognized, was to speak at a ONE DAY conference at San Diego's CIVIC Centre.

My weird and wonderfully-wired mind saw a few numbers, as well as C I 5 - forward and backward - in the word CIVIC. (I had also spotted C 1 in the date and time of the event - 19.5 from 9 - 5.

The speaker was Sheila Walsh, the theme - WOMEN OF FAITH. The advertisement stated that another big name (big in the US) was a guest at the event, American Idol star Scott MacIntyre. 

A further attraction to my mind was the address of the event (yes more numbers) - 1100 3rd Ave. (Remember, in my autobiography I was up to Book 10, Ch. 13.).

I had a few hours to fill in before taking the train back to LA, so why not a brief look as this conference? I arrived very late, when it was almost lunch time. The female ushers allowed me to enter the auditorium without question. I sat right at the back. 

The fact that is was for women did not bother me. As I sat for the few minutes, listening to Sheila speak I heard her say among other things: "...one day we shall see him face to face." (Or words to that effect, according to my diary entry). Just before lunch Sheila gave a beautiful rendition of 'Amazing Grace". That amazing word, again!*

 

*How spooky again (I'm not making this up.) On Gospel Music Selections Radio, as I edited right here, a lady sang the word grace. It's from this song: "He looked beyond my faults and saw my need." It starts with: Amazing Grace ... ! 

How truly amazing, especially if you also go back to the chapter mentioned only 3 paragraphs back !

Amazing Grace will always be my song of praise.
For it was grace, that brought me liberty,
I do not know, just why He came to love me so.
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary,
To view the cross, where Jesus died for me
How marvellous, His grace that caught my falling soul
He Looked beyond my faults and saw my need.

(www.lyricstime.com) 

- - - - - - -

 

As I explored the beautiful harbour district of San Diego I noticed the vast number of tourists. Among them were many men and women in uniform. Something was going on. I soon found out what:

 

Conference Venue - ...men of Faith. (Wo hidden behind the post. But don't we not also need Men of Faith, like those in Hebrews Chapter 11?

USS San Diego was commissioned on 19.5. the one day I visited that lovely city.

>>>

The 25-foot-tall sculpture, called "Unconditional Surrender," is based on an iconic photograph taken in Times Square during celebrations at the end of World War II. It's a favourite location for vacationing couples to take pictures.

A week or so, after I took this picture, the statue was taken down to be transported to New Jersey.

(Source: ABC Ten News)

 

Before leaving California to embark on my next adventure I spent a day cycling around Orange County, visiting various places, which held many and memories, both sad and happy: The grounds of the Crystal Cathedral, the Restaurant on the corner, which had changed from Hof to Lucille, the bank, where two girl employees gave me ten Dollars out of their own pockets, when I was unable to access my cash. It was not far from Sunkist Growers; their sign was still there.

I marvelled, how far had I come since those turbulent days! How beautifully God has led me through the years. And the journey is not yet finished. Praise be to HIS name! 

On Monday 21st. May, the day I was booked to fly out from LA, a news item had me left thinking, what if .... A bus driver had been shot and killed on Santa Monica Blvd. The time, so I figured out, must have been close to the time when I was riding a bus down that long road from Downtown to the beach.

 

Downtown Los Angeles looking east

I can't recall ever having experienced anything, but sunny, blue skies during my numerous visits to this City of Angels.

On the day of editing (Halloween 2012) my day started real early, and spooky, may I add. Not only had I found a N spelling error, it led to the word SIEGEL. Take the German SIE (formal form for 'YOU) and replace it with a N = ANGEL. 

(The spelling mistake I found is in Chapter 4).

- - - - - - - 

 

Since I had to pack my bicycle in a box for my flight to Lincoln, Nebraska I arrived very early at LAX (LA's airport). Just as well I did. The website of my airline stated that bike boxes were available at the airport. Not so. I spent almost 2 hours, waiting around, while busy employees were trying to find one. In the end, having to get on the plane, I simply taped a few sheets of cardboard around the gears and chain, and had it checked through like that. It arrived undamaged.

Next came the weigh-in. At first my bike-in-the-box was going to cost an extra  $ 200. "The bike is barely worth that much," I tried to explain to the gentleman at the desk. In the end I bargained down to 125 Dollars, which was still double what I had I paid for the entire leg from Adelaide to Los Angeles. (Richard may have long hair, but he also has know-how).

Another hint to travellers. When you receive a boarding pass for your connecting flight, or even the one after that, which I did, don't trust the information printed on it. At the next airport double-check the gate on the big screen! Had I been told to do this, I would not have missed my flight from Denver to Lincoln. Airports often have to change the departure gates at the last minute. It happened twice to me; both times at short notice. After missing the first plane, I had learned my lesson.

 

Inconvenient as this was, I wasn't worried. Matter of fact I found it amusing. The gate number at Denver had changed to 91, or ENIN won! NEbraska to INdiana were the destinations of my first leg, the west - east route of my cross ride.

There's another little twist in the letters NE.IN. Nein in German means NO. NO is the abbreviation for Number and also used as that for New Orleans, where I ended my cross ride. 

 

Having to fly all the way west to Chicago, then east again to Lincoln, Nebraska made me arrive 11 hours late -- around 11 PM. Thankfully, one airport staff member, an obviously outside the box thinking angel, was very understanding. She offered that I could sleep in the airport's Club Lounge. I had a great night and thanked her with a small gift, which I carried for such an occasion. 

The next day I had trouble finding the campground in daylight. It made me appreciate that I did not have to do this in the dark the night before.

 

Lincoln, Nebraska - Capitol Building

A lady Sally, a visitor from Florida, originally from Stuttgart, Germany, and I had a guided tour of this impressive building.

After scanning these two photos I have a grin on my face. Obviously, I wanted O Street in the photo on the left. But how well does the above picture I took inside the building fit? Y LIKE AN.

At the time I had planned to end my ride in Alabama. Now, I'm glad I changed it to NO.

At the club lounge at Lincoln airport I had even been able to watch a little TV. On the Creflo Dollar program I picked up a minor mistake. As he read a scripture, he read the word ANY, but on the screen it showed MY*

*Stop Press: Is this for real or what? The nanosecond I typed the word MY, on Gospel Music Selections  Radio (12.30 PM Adel. time - 26.10.12) a female voice sang "...cheer up MY brother". Love it!

Using my system of eliminating repeat letters in MY/ ANY, I saw  the word MAN. How well does ANY fit into the above picture! Like it?

- - - - - - -

 

The campground at Lincoln happened to be not far from a church called Calvary Church. Had I not been delayed for a day, I would have missed their midweek service that Wednesday. It was refreshing to meet up with Christians; one lady's name was also Sally. (I think she was the one, who told me of a hurricane warning, when I told her I was camping. Thankfully, besides brief thunder and lightning and a little rain, all was well). 

On my first leg, cycling from Lincoln to Omaha, I came across two unexpected gems. I had barely reached the outskirts of Lincoln, when to my left I read "BACK TO THE BIBLE -  World Headquarters. Over the years I had heard many radio broadcasts, which originated right here, the road I happened to travel on my first day. A nice, young man took time out of his busy day to give me a brief tour of the premises. (Thank you, Mark.) 

The second little gem, still in greater Lincoln, was the sign outside a church. How it fitted into this part of my journey, only a few kilometers into my cross-ride, in the middle of this vast country I thanked the Lord and took this photo:

 

Lincoln Crossroads Church

A quick googling this place of worship revealed their postcode 68504:

I see 486 and 50. Those numbers are really special. 486 needs only the O. Likewise their address -  4401 N 40th Street ....?

Friends, as I discover these things during writing, I can only marvel at how God knows, how God leads and how HE cares! There is hope in HIM.

- - - - - - -

 

In Omaha I spent my first night in one of the many State Parks. As did most, this one had hot showers and flush toilets. Besides these two essentials, all I needed was a patch of grass for my tent. When the weather is fine, as it was 95% of the time, I prefer my tent to a second rate motel. 

My planned route had changed on the second day of riding. Strong headwinds slowed my progress. I only covered 65 miles or so on that day. But even in this I later saw God's hand.

I decided to give Des Moines, Iowa a miss, riding a route further south on Hwy. 92 instead. Along the way, at the Rose Restaurant I had a big piece of steak. I needed it to battle the headwinds. In the early evening I reached Griswald. At a thrift store I met a nice lady and her tribe of children. She guided me to a camping spot just outside the town, beside a small lake.

The next morning I briefly stayed to join a few men in a bible study. What privilege to be part of the world-wide family of believers! The whole town of Griswold appeared to be Christian. That morning I felt sad to having to leave.

Thankfully the strong headwinds not only eased, but turned right around. I cycled through some small towns without stopping, as much as I would have loved to explore all of them. At Massena I stopped for a quick snack as I did in Fontanella. Walking along outside the Observer (Newspaper) Office I noted a man wearing a T-shirt. I read an interesting message, both on the front (LEAD) and on the back (SET US FREE).

 

Madison County (not to be confused with the capitol of Wisconsin, or Madison County, Indiana, both of which we shall visit later) is in America's heartland, Iowa. There are many historic, covered bridges, as the one in Winterset (above).

Left: Cornfields as far as the eye can see. I spent hours pedalling through flat country, at times listening to good Christian Radio. In my mind I was either praying and/or planning where to overnight next, what to eat, what route was best to pedal.

Once the winds had changed I was covering mile after mile in record time on the mostly flat terrain.  

To my right, as I entered the town of Winterset, a large marquee had been erected. It looked as if a wedding was about to take place. People were already seated on large tables, others were just arriving. After erecting my tent on the outskirts of town in the caravan park, I explored the place a little more. I learned that Winterset was the birthplace of a famous actor - John Wayne. It was not a wedding I had seen, but their famous son's birthday celebration.

The small weatherboard house, where he was born, had flags all over it. They are surely making a big deal out of it, I thought, until I took a closer look:

Winterset, Iowa, Madison County

Birthplace of John Wayne (Marion Robert Morrison) Born 26th May 1907.

How well timed was this! I had arrived in the town just on that date, the famous actor's birthday. Not only that; he would have been 105 years old on that day. (Had I not had the strong headwinds, who knows, I may have cycled right through with town, or only paused for a brief stop.) 

Most readers would know the name John Wayne. Those with a good memory will even recall that this name got a mention in my first Book.  During my unusual, spontaneous excursion to the USA in 2003 I took a taxi ride to John Wayne airport in Orange County and ... the rest became His story). I titled Chapter 66: Sing to John Enway. 

(Much of what I write here, the reader must understand, would only be a possibly flawed recollection of events, if I were to use my memory only. But I am relying on my diary entries and photos to ensure I report as accurately as possible. Thank God for the power of the written word.)

 

On Sunday May 27th as I was cycling the long, flat sections of Highway 92 towards Knoxville, I was listening to Christian Radio. At one point the speaker announced the winner of a competition. He phoned him right there, during his radio show. During this conversation I perceived, that one moment he called this person Jonathan, the next he called him Johnson. Then it was back to Jonathan. (Maybe I took more notice because our youngest son is Jonathan?)

During those long hours on the bike I had much time to think. Just as I was thinking about this incident, and my Jonathan, I passed street name - Johnson St. I took a photo:

 

   

Names and numbers - could we live without them? In a shop window I photographed this collection of car registration plates. One plate stands out - 501 NTP.

The state name, not visible, starts with Connect, expiry date Nov. 01.

At Fairfield, I recall, I had a small problem with the Giant. A friendly fellow camper, who happens to be a bicycle mechanic, helped me out. I wrote in my diary what I had read on his T-shirt - HINSON.

Heading east, assisted by tailwinds, I cycled east at great speed toward the Mississippi. I reached the mighty big river at Burlington on May 29th. It was a great feeling, having reached this first milestone on my cross-ride. 

 

Before cycling down Snake Alley, a steep, winding road and tourist attraction in Burlington, I ensured my brakes were working well. The road was built by German Settlers. I imagined they were from Burlin (?) and as they looked at the steep hill ahead one said: No worries, let's built a road." But then, one can imagine too much. 

At Peoria's Jubilee Park I had just packed up all my camping gear as it started raining. Overnight one or more racoons had stolen my food - baby carrots and some bread. I remembered briefly being woken after feeling a tug at the tent. But I slept right through the robbery.

In light rain I managed to reach the outskirts of Peoria, a town which was to become a centre point in my story (read on). I sheltered from the rain outside a furniture store, next to the Bosch headquarters on Route 150.

The weather looked like it was not improving soon. During a brief easing of the downpour I continued to the nearest McDonald Store and had a coffee, while still wearing my Australia safety vest. A gentleman must have seen it and we started talking. His name was Wally.

What could have turned out a miserable day, turned out rather well. Wally, a Lutheran (Samaritan) believer offered to drive me (and my bike and luggage) in his pick-up to a nearby Motel. Not only that, en route he showed me around Peoria, including brief tour of his church.

 

How refreshing it was to see Christianity in action. Unlike a week or so later, when I had a major mechanical problem, my bike and luggage, all in pieces on the side of a lonely country road, and a church van drove by without even stopping. (Good news followed, detail in a later chapter).

 

The next morning my friend was concerned that I get across safely to the other side of town, across the river. He arrived again in his pick-up truck and drove me to a convenient spot to continue my ride on the 150.

At a place called Carlock, Illinois I took a photo of an unusual looking barn by the railway crossing. Had I not done so, I may not have found on the ground a FORD badge. As in the past, I had an inexplicable sensation - pick it up. So I did.

Riding east on Route 150, by-passing the city of Bloomington, I spotted on the road two coins. It was at the junction of Mitsubishi Ave. and College St. I took note since Adelaide recently lost their Mitsubishi vehicle production plant. I picked up the two coins, a 1 cent coin and a 5 cent coin. 

Having lots of thinking time I suddenly came up with this equation - 1 5, plus O = the road I was travelling on.

Next I added O to my initals DRF and voila - FORD. (A big hello to all the people at Carlock - especially those, who drive a Ford.)

On Saturday, June 2nd 12 I broke, or at least equalled, my record for riding the longest distance in one day. With favourable winds and mild temperatures I covered 110 miles (176 km). I changed plans. Originally I was going to overnight outside Danville, but pushed on to Crawfordsville, already in the State of Indiana.

Earlier in the day in Champaign's twin town Urbana, I was impressed by the historic university buildings. When it started to rain lightly, I decided to eat lunch at a Chinese Restaurant. On exiling (pun intended) I noticed something upside down. I took a photo:

 

Above: In an emergency will they find the EXIT?

Right top: The first road sign to show  my destination, Anderson. I took a photo. There was a reason ...

 

 

 

 

 

... moments later (shown in the distance of top photo on right) the number I055 came up, I had to take another photo.

 

The name Anderson to me was special, because it was the place God had shown me to end the west /east leg of my cross-ride. Only afterwards did I find out that Anderson was the place, where Bill and Gloria Gaither, well-known musicians in Christian circles, have their roots. Their headquarter, which I visited later, is just up the road from Anderson.

In everything friends, I see God's guidance, albeit sometime much later. That evening, on that Sunday 3.6.12, arriving at my Anderson IN camp ground, I recognized my ISSO number again. The time I arrived was 5.15 PM. It really WASSO. 

 

As I write the clock on my P/C reminds me, it's time to end this writing for today. After this time of writing it's time to get ready to go out this evening. It's the monthly Gaither Night, held at the corner of North East Road and Shepherd Street. It will be my first in six months.

Sadly, one dear friend won't be there. I knew him from many years ago, when we both served in the youth program of the Assemblies of God Church (Royal Rangers). 

Gordon, surname Anderson, a shepherd was his occupation, has passed away recently.

"To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die..."

(Ecclesiastes 3: 1,2)

 

Index

Chapter 3