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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


NOV 02, 1995

ARRIVAL AT HABITAT

By the time I got into Americus, GA, I was drenched. Somewhere between Smithville and Sumter on US 18, I got caught out in the open during a hail storm and a rain shower. There had been no place where I could have found some cover to wait out the storm. I learned later that there had been a tornado watch in the area.

I was trying to get into Americus to be at the Habitat for Humanity offices before they had closed for the evening. When I got into Americus, I was told to go to the new building on Lamar Street. I pulled into the parking lot about ten minutes after five. Most of the people had left for the day.

It took several tries to get somebody's attention for them to stop and help me. They all seemed to want just to get into their dry cars since it was still raining. I guess they didn't know what to expect of a rain drenched guy travelling around on a fully-loaded bicycle. I hadn't written or called ahead to say that I was coming.

I hadn't really planned on coming since it was just a spur of a moment thing to do after I found out that there was no real relief effort in place after Hurricane Opal hit the Gulf Coast. I just didn't want to ride throughout the whole winter again. I had heard that Habitat for Humanity had a volunteer program.

The guy I talked to went back inside to see if he could find somebody in Human Resources to help me but he couldn't reach anybody. After a few minutes, he told me that I should follow him to a house that turned out to be volunteer housing. We met somebody there who told me that I should follow them to another house where there was an empty bedroom. I didn't care where I could sleep. All I wanted to do was to get out of my wet and freezing clothes.

I had just taken a shower and about halfway getting dressed in dry clothes when two guys barged in the room asking what I doing here. I found out that they were the volunteer coordinators in charge of housing. I explained to them what I had been doing and that I wanted to volunteer for a while.

They said that I couldn't stay where I was because of some rules and regulations but they would be willing to get me a motel room for the night in one of the town's motels close by and then we would get all of the paperwork done in the morning. The only problem was that neither of them had a vehicle large enough to carry my bike and get me there so I had to get back into my wet clothes and ride to the motel.




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