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Crazy Larry #1
02-26-2007, 14:44
On Thursday I got a lift to highway 91 south of Shady Valley, Tennessee so that I could hike from there back to Damascus, Virginia. Instead I made it to Double Springs Shelter and spent the night there, then hiked to highway 421 and into the little village of Shady Valley, Tn and hitched a ride back to Damascus, Va.

Man was it cold! Had to have been down to zero or below with the wind chill. The true temp was probably around twenty degrees. Before I lit off to hike this section of the Appalachian Trail my brother in the Lord, Russell Dean was looking over my pack pretty good and asking me "What's that? Are you taking this, or are you taking that?" Hadn't it been for Russell I would have forgotten to pack my cooking pot and would have had to eat my food cold.

Russell does not hike and has made the point clear to me several times because I keep poking at him to take a hike with me. One of these days him and I will be hiking the great trails of America I know, but it will probably be after we have died and become spirits with the rate it's going.

While I was packing I looked over at my tent in the corner of the living room and wondered out loud if I should take it as well? Of course Russell didn't have a clue. I figured I didn't need it. After all it weighs four pounds by itself and all I was going to hike was for a couple of days? Nah, I don't need it. Wrong!

I don't know how many times I have told other people that are going camping and hiking that the key to staying warm on a cold windy night in the mountains is to keep the wind off of you. I even told them that if they stayed in a shelter like the ones scattered the whole length of the Appalachian Trail is to have some form of wind breaker on a cold windy night in the mountains, no matter what your sleeping bag is rated at because the wind can whip the warmth right out of your bag.

From now on I hope to remember my own advice because had I not been packing my good ole emergency blanket that I normally use for a ground cloth when I am packing my tent I would have frozen to death. My bag is rated at zero but man I still got cold. So I took the very thin blanket and draped it over me and stayed warm for the rest of the night, except for the two times I had to get up and go tinkle. That's another thing you need to be aware of if your camping in the mountains on a cold windy winter night, is the amount of water you are taking in before bedtime.

On Friday morning I arose early and made some coffee primitive style, meaning that I threw a heaping tablespoon of Seattle's Best into my cooking pot, then threw some water into it and boiled it over my alcohol stove. I use to make coffee this way when I was in prison, only thing is I usually put the grounds into a cup after I had poured the hot water into it. That way after it has steeped a bit, you can drop a bit of cold water into the cup and the grounds will settle to the bottom. An old convict that was pulling a life sentence had showed me how to do that, but some of us are slower than others as you can tell in the way that I brewed my coffee that cold Friday morning. I not only had a good cup of coffee, but I got to chew on the grounds as well! Mighty tasty I tell you!

Things you forget if you don't stay in practice? Oh well...................

After listening to Imus In The Morning on talk radio I had a breakfast of ramen noodles and instant grits. Good stuff I tell ya! Then I opened my bible and studied out of Malachi. You know it's a trip how the Word will jump off the page and right into your brain at times. It will literally smack you right between the eyes when you least expect it and send a message home to you that you need to listen to and take action on. The message I received that morning is that from now on my gifts to the Lord need to be without blemish. In the second chapter He says we come to the altar and cover it with our tears but He does not honor our prayers because we have been mean to the wives of our youth. I've never been married, but what I got out of the whole reading was I need to be pure in my heart in all my offerings to the Lord and don't come to the altar with many tears when I have many sins that need to be done away with first. Anyway, I'm sure this will take further thinking and study to get the whole meaning and if God didn't think I could handle what He was telling me then He would not have opened up my spiritual ears so I could hear the Word that morning! That's the way I see it.

With that in mind I packed my pack and headed north. Right before I got to highway 421 I began to think that I needed to get off the trail and head back home. But I remembered something that Russell Dean had shared with me, "When your tired and don't feel like going on then P.U.S.H., Pray Until Something Happens." That's what I did until I got to 421. That's when I realized that the Lord wanted me to get off the trail and go home because He had something He wanted me to do like share the message of salvation with someone, or perhaps I needed to see something. So I says, "Okay Lord?" I don't know why, but I still question Him at times. Besides my left leg had swelled up a bit and I needed to give it a rest.

On the way down the mountain I ran into a Tennessee Department of Corrections Inmate Work Crew. The inmate that was leading the pack waving a flag so as to alert passing cars said when I came close to him, "Man I can see one thing right now about you and that is the fact that you don't have an good old fashion joint?" He was asking and hoping that I would produce one for him and drop it onto the road so he and his buddy's could non-discriminately pick it up.

I says, 'No, all I have to offer you is the good ole fashioned Bible!" He wasn't interested. After I passed them I began to think about my life and searched my thinking to see if there was anything that was left undone that I needed to take care of. I had lived a life of crime before Christ stepped in and took over.

When I had hiked about a half mile passed them I came upon a Presbyterian Church with two very wind battered American and Christian flags where their prison bus was parked. I stopped there and took a break while looking back up the road. They were coming back to the bus. As I sat there I began to feel much gratitude for my freedom and remembered the hell that He brought me out of. But I also remembered there were still things in my life left undone. Sins that I committed after I had turned my life over to him that I needed to face head on. Just because I became a great believer after living a life of great unbelief didn't make my sins in my life okay now because I was saved, no it did not.

With that in mind I hiked on into Shady Valley. Instantly I fell in love with that quaint little village. I walked up to the Shady Valley Country Store, "A Motorcycle Friendly Appalachian American Destination," went inside and got a cup of coffee and one of the best bologna sandwiches I have ever eaten. A sign on the corner of the store said something like "Surrounded by 3 mountains and 489 curves." If your a biker, then you know what the sign is saying.

That store is awesome! I loved it! It reminded me of the country stores of my youth and I felt right at home as soon as I walked through the door. I met David Dail, the proprietor and asked him about the military pictures on the wall and he told me about how most, if not all of his family had been or are currently in the Army. I was much impressed. Someday I'll go back when the biking season is in full swing. Even on that cold day, there were bikers taking the curves and stopping there for a cup of java and David greeted each one that came through the door like he personally knew them. More than likely he did.

After resting a spell, I walked out to 91 and stuck my thumb out hoping for a ride back to Damascus. I stood there for about thirty minutes when that small voice in my head said "Larry, why don't you pray for a ride?" I said to myself "Now why didn't I think of that earlier?"

I prayed for that ride. For another thirty minutes cars zipped right on by. I says "Lord, I prayed for a ride?" And He said "Have faith pal, I got one lined up for you and I want you to tell him about me!" A car zips by and then a truck pulls up, stops and I jump in!

I knew that He would answer my prayer. Yea, right. It's a trip about my requests to Him sometimes, I still ask with doubt embedded in my head. I mean, after all that He has done for me and I still suffer from doubt? Oh me of little faith.......

I can't remember the guys name. We introduced ourselves and he tells me that he lives in the area. I bring up a few names and he knows everyone that I mention. We make small talk and he tells me about his dad dying and a few others in his family. Then he tells me that he wasn't even suppose to be born and that his still living mother that has a faith that can move a mountain just turned it over to God and He did the rest. That's when I stepped in and God did the rest through me. We talked about a lot of things that concerned God and His love for him in that very short ride.

We came into Damascus and he asked me if it was okay if he dropped me at the Rock School? I said sure and asked him if I could give him something for the ride? He said "Man I don't take no money from a brother for helping them!" As he said this I looked him in the eye and seen tears. I said, "Brother thank you for answering the prayer that I prayed for the ride and here is a cross for you to put into your pocket. One thing I want you to remember about this cross brother, it is easy to put one around your neck, or into your pocket, perhaps even up on a shelf. But think about the Guy who put one on His back for you?"

If He says do it, jump!

Larry Riddle 2-26-07
www.andybondministries.com (http://www.andybondministries.com/)

PS Here is a link to that country store, www.shadyvalleycountrystore.com (http://www.shadyvalleycountrystore.com/)

Sarge
02-26-2007, 15:26
WOW!, that is an awesome testimony. The Lord works in mysterious ways and we need to listen to Him when He tells us to do something even if we don't understand why. Some day He'll explain it all to us. I was just told last night at church that the Lord was going to tell me to do something and that I needed to listen to Him when He told me so your testimony hit me like a brick. Sometimes it's hard to recognize when He's telling us to do something or the world is telling us. That's when you just pray about it like you said TOW. It's been made clear in my life many times when I should have listened to Him and didn't. It sounds like you listened when you needed to. God bless you brother!

Sarge

Crazy Larry #1
02-26-2007, 15:41
Thanks Sarge!

Crazy Larry #1
02-26-2007, 15:44
I saw this movie last night at church, talk about awesome!
http://www.facingthegiants.com/about_bts.php

K0OPG
02-28-2007, 08:37
wow, thanks for the testimony. I really needed something today.

...only 20 days till I leave for the trail with "Big B"