TRIP 2002

Update #43 - November 22nd
Franklin, Louisiana - 7,824 miles (12,518 KM)

Currently, I am seven days into my eleven day trip through Louisiana. This is my fifth time riding in Lousiana this year and the second time through the Franklin area. Back in January, I came through here on the way west to Texas.

For the past couple of days, I've been in Acadiana to check out the recovery effort after last month's flooding, Hurricane Lili, and Tropical Storm Isadore. I have quite a few minister friends in the affected area. I'm happy to say that I haven't seen that much residential damage. There has been a lot of business damage such as destroyed fiberglass advertisement signs. This area really lucked out since it could have been a lot worse since Hurricane Lili was downgraded to a Category 2 from a Catagory 5 before it made landfall. The only real damage has been economic since the sugar cane crop has been damaged from excessive rain. There is to be a $5 million loss throughout the sugar cane "belt".

The past five days since the last update from Pine Bluff, Arkansas have been okay. I've gotten to meet some very nice ministers here in Lousiana. I spent most of the cold nights inside in donated motel rooms. I did spend one night at the First Baptist Church in the small town of Olla north of Alexandria.

Sunday, November 17th, I got to speak a little bit during the Sunday school class at the First Baptist Church in Columbia. During the beginning of the service, the pastor introduced me to the congregation. I was quite surprised that I was given $121 in "Green-Handshakes" after the service outside the church while I was getting the recumbent ready to go. One guy slipped me a fifty dollar bill.

The past three days and nights have been interesting. This Tuesday (Nov. 19) while riding between Alexandria and Villa Platte, I noticed that there was a crack in the left side of my rear rim. I became quite concerned since a cracked rim caused the blowout and crash back in April in New Hampshire. I was able to make it into the small town of Villa Platte before dark. The minister at the First Baptist Church in Villa Platte offered to get me a room at a local motel.

While checking out the phone book for bicycle shops, I found a listing of a bike shop in Eunice about twenty miles to the southwest from where I was. Wednesday was pretty well spent road-walking about sixteen miles since nobody offered to stop and take me into Eunice. I did risk riding the last four miles into Eunice.

I arrived in Eunice around 3 p.m. and rode around trying to find the bicycle shop listed. I couldn't find it since it closed down back in February and had moved to Baton Rouge. I carefully rode back into the downtown area before dusk and located the First Baptist Church. The pastor (Rev. Mike) welcomed me with open arms. This was just the opposite of what happened the previous Wednesday in Arkansas. I got invited to take part in a great chicken meal and also stay on for the Bible study and prayer meeting. Afterwards instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Rev. Mike offered to get me a room at a local motel.

Thursday morning, the gentleman from the church who took me to the motel came by to take me to a bike shop in Lafayette. We had some time finding a bike shop in Lafayette that was still in business. I was quite surprised that when it was time for me to pay for the new rear wheel, the guy who had taken me told the owner of the bike shop that Rev. Mike was picking up the bill. This was at least a $67 donation in itself. Praise ADONAI for this.

After stopping to do some much needed laundry, I started the ride out of Lafayette heading south on LA 182. A great tailwind blew me along. I got into the small town of Jeanerette before dusk. I stopped at the police station to see if an officer might know a local minister that would allow me to stay at their church for the night.

I got connected with a great officer, Lieut. Fernest. He is the son of a Baptist minister. Lieut. Fernest really went out of his way to try and find a place for me to stay. He went out to get me a hot meal. After a couple of hours, he was able to connect with a motel back in New Iberia that would allow him to charge the room to him. We loaded up my recumbent and gear in the truck of a patrol car and rode to the motel. When we got there, the desk clerk called up the motel manager and they offered to just give me the motel room instead of Lieut. Fernest paying for it. Before Lieut. Fernest left he slipped me ten dollars. This is added to the twenty dollars that the gentleman from Eunice who took me to the bike shop in Lafayette had given me earlier in the day.

The weather has gone from one extreme to the next. For the most part, the temperature has been in the fifties and sixties. Yesterday, the temperature was near seventy. For the past couple of days, I have had a tailwind pushing me along with gusts up to fifteen miles per hour. The best part was that I have been riding through fairly flat terraign.

I have about two more days ride through Acadiana. Monday, I should be crossing the Mississippi River again into the New Orleans area. I am heading to the Orlando, Florida for possibly some much needed time off the road. I should be in the Orlando area by the middle of next month.

As I've always stated maybe when I can take some time off the road in the future, I might be able to write or start to write that book that everybody wants me to write. We'll have to see. It's up to ADONAI now. As I have always said, 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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