TRIP 2003

Update #37 - September 11th
Shallotte, North Carolina - 7902 miles (12,643 KM)

My 13th trip across the country is finally finished. I arrived in Southport, North Carolina yesterday morning after cycling 87.7 days from Aberdeen, Washington. I had turned eastward at Aberdeen, May 21st. I had ridden 4,111 miles (9,577 KM) at an average of 47 miles (75 KM) per day. I had traveled through 14 states along the way.

There are so many memories about the trip. The good and kind people that I met along the way. The churches that I was allowed to speak in or stay at. The scenery and even the creatures that crossed my path.

There were also the people who didn't care about what I was doing or who I was riding for. What hurt me the most were the ministers who passed me off without even giving me a glass of water. Two nights ago, I was riding into Carolina Beach, North Carolina late after riding 72 miles from Warsaw, North Carolina. I saw some activity at the First Baptist Church. There was a meeting going on and I had hoped that I could meet the minister to see if there was a chance that I might be able to stay in the church for the night since there was a chance for evening rain showers. Instead of being friendly, the minister came out looking upset that I had bothered him. He said that the church's insurance policy wouldn't allow me to stay in the church for the night. This hadn't stopped some pretty big churches and small churches across the country. He told me that they only assisted people in need for two hours in the morning five days a week. Compassion had a window of caring at the church and if you missed it by just a few minutes you were out of luck.

Of course, it rained during the night and my tent got a little wet inside. Yesterday morning, I packed the tent up wet and had to rush to get the ferry from Fort Fischer to Southport. I missed the ferry by just one minute so I had to wait in the rain for about 40 minutes for the next one. When I got off the ferry on the outskirts of Southport, I was soaked and a little miserable.

As I walked into town, I went passed the local Presbyterian church. I thought I would try and see if I might be able to stay at the church and dry out the rest of the day. The minister was out for hospital chaplain training. The ladies in the office were really friendly and one of them even offered to pay for a room at one of the small local motels for me so that I could dry things out. The motel manager even provided me some drinks and snacks.

This morning, I headed west fifteen miles to the town of Supply where I would get on U.S. 17 for the ride south into South Carolina and then on to Florida. Around 11 a.m., I rode passed the fire station in Supply. I noticed that they were getting ready to have a memorial service outside the fire station so I pulled over to show respect. Before the service started, I got flagged over so that I could be a part of the audience. It was moving but I was a little disturbed that while the flag was being lowered to half-staff and the lone bagpiper was playing, none of the traffic slowed down or stopped for respect. Afterwards, I got asked to take part in the small meal that the firemen were having with some of their families. It was neat being part of it. I didn't stay long but I told everybody that I was greatful that they were doing such a good service to the country and willing to give up their lives in service to others.

While riding through Shallotte ten miles down the road, I stopped at the small Christian radio station just to say hello. The next thing that I know I asked if I wouldn't mind being interviewed. It was really neat hearing myself on the radio about a half hour on the radio after the interview.

Well, I'm about fifteen miles north of the South Carolina state line and about 44 miles north of Myrtle Beach. I'm not stopping for the day in Shallotte. I'll be riding through Myrtle Beach tomorrow. I should be riding through Charleston, South Carolina. Monday. For the rest of the ride south, I'll be riding along U.S. 17 pretty well most of the way to Yulee, Florida through Savanna and Brunswich, Georgia.

I'm not sure how long it will take me. The thing that sort of concerns me is the path that Hurricane Isadore might take. I might be in the area of it's path while it is hitting shore late next week or in position to give aid and comfort to it's victims if it ever changes course and hits the SE coast.

I'll try to post an update as often as I can if there are any changes in my plans.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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