TRIP 2003

Update #05 - Jan 22nd
Baxley, Georgia - 754 miles (1206 KM)

The ride between Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida and Baxley, Georgia was okay. The only major factor was that the weather had turned cold and windy from a cold front coming down from the North. I was very fortunate in finding shelter inside that was provided by the Prince of Peace Evangelical Lutheran Church in Fernandino Beach, Flordia; the United Methodist Church in Woodbine, Georgia; the First Baptist Church in Brunswich, Georgia; and the Ministerial Association in Jesup, Georgia. These dry and warm places inside were greatly appreciated.

The trip almost came to a quick and abrupt ending with what happened Sunday night (Jan. 19th). I had ridden from Woodbine, Georgia to Brunswich in the afternoon after speaking during one of the Sunday school classes at the United Methodist Church and taking part in the monthly fellowship meal after the service. I made it into Brunswich right before dusk. I found my way over to the First Baptist Church in downtown Brunswich.

Before the service, I was welcomed by the youth minister. He asked me if there was anything that the church could do to help me with my ministry. I just asked him if somebody knew of a place where that I could just place my sleeping bag down on the floor inside. He told me that he would ask the head pastor and the other head staff of the church if they knew of a place.

After the service, the education minister, Nick, introduced himself to me and told me that the church had an account with one of the local downtown motels. We loaded up the recumbent and gear in his car trunk and drove to the downtown Days Inn. Nick pulled under the awning of the motel in front of the office door and for some reason left the car running and the driver's side door open. For some reason, I guess that he thought that the check-in would only take a minute and he would just drive me and the recumbent to my motel room door.

About halfway through the check-in, Nick heard the door of his car slam shut and see the car speed off. Somebody must have walked by from the quick-mart next door and decided to steal the car. We rushed outside to see if we could stop the car. I thought at the time that I would never see my recumbent and gear again. This would have been the second bicycle stolen since 1993.

We found my recumbent and all the gear at the entrance of the parking lot by the road. The recumbent and gear had fallen out of the trunk. This might have happened since there was a bump at the parking lot entrance and the robber must have hit it at a high speed. It was really great that I hadn't taken the time to fasten the recumbent down in the car trunk or I wouldn't have seen the recumbent possibly again. The recumbent was in pretty good shape except for the fact that the mount for the headlight was broken. Nick and I picked up the pannier bags that had fallen off the recumbent and rolled back the recumbent to the motel office entrance.

The desk clerk had called the police for us. After finally getting checked in and getting the room key, I waited around with Nick for the police to arrive and I didn't leave him till the report was taken. Nick's wife came over with her car. I got a call from Nick around 10:30 p.m. to tell me that the police and county sheriff department had stopped the car thief on the interstate heading south on the way to Florida. There was some minor damage done to the car because it had to be forced off the road. Nick told me that he would never leave his car unattended if it was ever left on again.

I'm spending a few days off with friends here in the Baxley area. I am also waiting for some new bicycle tires to arrive since the ones on the recumbent are pretty well worn out. The rear tire has at least 6,100 miles on it.

Once I get back on the road Saturday morning, I'll be through Cordele, Americus, Albany, Moultrie, and Thomaston, Gergia. I'll be crossing back into Florida around Tallehassee and then taking the Gulf Coast route through Apalachicola, Panama City, and Pensacola, FL that I had taken last November and December. Eventually, I'll be making my way along the Southern part of the country to California.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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