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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


January 23, 1998

"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"

Just before 6:00 a.m., I woke up startled after a loud and inquisitive voice asking who was in the tent and what I was doing here. I got out of my sleeping bag quickly and poked my head out through the tent's zippered door. The owner of the questioning voice was an elderly African-American lady with silver hair who had come to her church for prayer. She calmed down after I explained who I was and why I was camping out on her church's front porch on the outskirts of Belle Glade, Florida.

The following night I had gotten into town quite late and didn't have any luck getting hold of any the town's police or ministers in the hopes that they would help me find a place to camp out. I was in fire ant country and I didn't want to risk camping out on top of an ant mound.

I had gone passed the lady's church while coming into town and I had noticed that there was a house there. I assumed it was the parsonage. When I rode back to the church and the parsonage, there didn't seem to be anybody home. I waited for almost two hours to see if the pastor might be coming home but nobody showed up.

It was around 10:30 p.m. when I decided to take the chance to camp on the porch. I didn't think I had any other recourse. The church's front porch had a brick lattice hiding the front door from the road along with some high bushes and the concrete porch seemed to be wide enough for my tent. The church was also far enough away from the road so any passing vehicle wouldn't see the glow from my flashlight.

After quickly getting the bike packed up, the lady informed me that my two hour wait last night was for nothing because she told me that the pastor didn't live there anymore and the house was being used for offices. No harm occurred and the lady offered to say a few prayers for my safety.




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