TRIP 2002

Update #35 - September 07th
Wytheville, Virginia - 5,726 miles (9162 KM)

As stated in the last update, my route from Wytheville, VA was going to take me to visit the United Methodist Church Red Bird Mission north of Beverly, KY. The ride went well. I took my time getting through the mountains. I didn't want a repeat of what happened back in May when I attempted to ride through the Appalachian Mountain Range in New Hampshire. There were some mountains that I had to walk up and a few that I had to walk down a distance because of too steep of a downgrade. The pushing of the bike uphill actually seemed to be beneficial as a strengthening exercise for my left shoulder. I can't belive that it has been a little over four months since the accident and almost three months since the surgery to repair the damage in Augusta, Maine.

Over all, I had a pretty good time. There were several nights that I slept in donated motel rooms. I slept in several churches along the way and I had to spend one somewhat miserable night in my tent since I wasn't able to connect with a minister in the Bristol, VA area. It was miserable since the location I camped out at was quite close to an interstate interchange.

The best time that I had was in Gate City, Virginia. I spent Saturday night (August 31st) sleeping in the fellowship hall of the local Catholic church on the northern edge of town. Sunday morning, I walked into town and attended the first service at the Methodist church. I got to meet the pastor before the service. It was interesting on how he incorporated my ministry into his sermon. After the early service, I asked the pastor if there was any way for me to stay over in the church for the rest of the day. He said that he would let me but better arrangements might be arranged after the second service.

The pastor then took me downstairs to one of the Sunday school classes. Instead of just listening to the class, I was given the chance to give a talk and then to answer questions. The response of the dozen or so members was really great. I got a surprise when they passed a styrofoam coffee cup around. When I got it, there was almost $160 in it. During the second service, I got introduced by the congregation by the pastor. When I got to my bike outside the church, I found $50 in an offering envelope. Another paritioner offered to take me and the pastor out to lunch. When the pastor and I got back to the church, he told me that he had made arrangements for me to have a night's stay at the nearest motel in Duffield about fifteen miles away and over to big hills. A truck ride was also provided.

I got to the United Methodist Church's Red Bird Mission Wednesday (Sept. 04th) afternoon. Around noon that day, I had my hardest stretch of mountains to get over since getting into the Appalachian Mountain Range. This was up and over Red Bird Mountain and it was hard because the last mile or two were quite steep and at the top there was no pavement for about a quarter mile. Also, there was much truck traffic from two coal mines on both sides of the mountain. I was going there to see if there were any volunteer positions with their community outreach (social service). I had heard some good reports about this ministry about six miles north of the little town of Beverly. The mission is right in the middle of the Red Bird Purchase of the Daniel Boone National Forest. There were no positions but I did get to stay in one of the guest rooms for the night.

I had a good night's rest and left after the chapel service. I took my time finishing up the Appalachians and I am now getting into the Blue Grass hills of central Kentucky. When I arrived in London yesterday afternoon, I pretty well finished up a 2,622 mile loop since I had been in London before this year on March 28th.

For the most part, the drivers here in Kentucky have been quite courteous. They haven't really tried to rush past me on twists and turns and over rises. Only a couple drivers honked at me with their impatience. One driver yesterday even stopped to give me a bottle of water while I was walking up a hill.

I'm spending two nights at the United Methodist Church Bennett Center in London. Tomorrow after church, I'll be heading north on U.S. 25 to Berea where I'll be stopping at the Christian Appalachian Project. From there, I'll be stopping at the Ashbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. After that, my tentative plan will be to ride to Louisville where I will cross the Ohio River into Indiana and possibly head straight north to Ft. Wayne, IN. I have friends there who want me to come by and visit.

As I wrote in other updates, I'm not sure where I'll be going or how long I will be out. Each day and mile cycled will be with ADONAI's and Y'SHUA's comfort, help, and guidance.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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