TRIP 2002

Update #15 - March 15th
Cordele, Georgia - 2,853 miles (4565 KM)

The ride between Moultrie and Cordele, Georgia went okay. Traffic was very light. This was the case since most of the traffic between Tifton and Cordele was on I-75. There was very little traffic on U.S. 31 so I enjoyed the fast ride because I had a good tailwind to push me along.

One of the neat things to happen this year occured Wednesday afternoon before I headed out of Moultrie. The night before the daughter of the friend that I was spending the night with made a comment on how nice it would be if I visited her third grade class. Lester contacted Avery's teacher and I got approval to come to the class Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. When I rolled the loaded recumbent into the classroom, the kids really perked up. For a little over a half hour, I shared with the class and answered a lot of questions from the kids. Some of the questions were pretty insightful. Around 1:40 p.m., the class escorted me out to the front of their school and saw me ride off. This was a neat thing to happen.

I wished that the response that I got from the First Baptist Church in Tifton was like this but it wasn't that night. I got into downtown Tifton around 5 p.m. and found my way over to the First Baptist Church for their Wednesday night prayer service. There was a lot of people meeting in the church's Family Life (recreation) Center for an evening meal. I was asked to join them for free. The meal was good. Once I got my meal and sat down at a table in the gymnasium, the people around me seemed to really ignore me. Nobody came by to introduce themselves to me and find out what I was doing. There was this older gentlemen at the my table and he talked to me but I guess there was no real interest in what I was doing. He just wanted to make sure that I was not a transient who walked into town from the interstate. I found out that he talked to the minister about me while I stepped out the gymnasium to find the restroom.

The pastor was sitting just one table away from me in his fancy shirt and tie but he didn't show an interest to me except for catching my eye. After supper and before the prayer service was to start in the same room, I went over to introduce myself to him. I told him who I was and what I was doing along with giving him some handouts that I had made. He was not empathetic to me at all. In fact, his smile became a frown.

When I asked him if there was by chance some place where I might just put my sleeping bag down on the floor of a Sunday room class, he balked and his eyes showed that he didn't really want to bother with me. His only curt suggestion for me was for me to go to a shelter in town. Because of my expensive bike and gear, I do not go to shelters no matter how safe people say they are. I cannot sleep with a lot of people around.

I just got my things together and left the building. What really got me the most was that there were big signs in the gymnasium asking the people to do "What Jesus Would Do". I could not imagine that Jesus would send me (an ordained minister and an evangelist) to a shelter. To me, this church is spiritually dead since it didn't follow the tenets that it was to believe in. In a way, the church to me was sending Jesus away. After packing my things back on the bike, I rode back to the interstate and used a motel discount coupon to get a room for the night. I had to use the money that I was going to use to get a new mirror and possibly a haircut that I really need.

I'm spending the day off with friends (the Lemke's) who I hadn't seen in about a year here in Cordele. I met the Lemke's in Americus while I was volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. Ron is the Executive Director of the Crisp County Habitat affiliate. Tomorrow, I will be riding along U.S. 41 to Perry. I will be here in Georgia for a little over a week riding north to Chattenooga, Tennessee.

Plans are still being made for the ride to Kentucky and then on to Northern New York and possibly Maine. I'll be riding through around Atlanta to Chattenooga, Tennessee.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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