TRIP 2003

Update #49 - December 30th
Galveston, Texas - 11,394 miles (18,230 KM)

Today was the last day of cycling for the year. Tomorrow, I get the chance to have the day off the road tomorrow being that it will be New Year's Eve. I have two nights off the road thanks to some new friends here in Galveston, Texas that I met through the Warm Showers Cyclist Hospitality List. I'll either be getting back on the road either Jan 01 or Jan 02.

There isn't much to write about. The cold weather has been a major factor along with some very strong winds especially when I had to ride into them. Wind speeds got up to over 20 m.p.h. Bad Roads were another factor. The roadway shoulder has been bad in a lot of places. It depended in what county you were in and whether the county chip-sealed the roads. I did have to go to a bike shop in N.E. San Antonio to pick up a new tire. The sew up repair that I did lasted for about five days but it was a bit hairy the end since the tire could have blown out easily with all of the bumps.

The reason for my going to San Antonio in the first place was a bust. I had thought that I might have been able to stop and volunteer with the San Antonio Habitat for Humanity affiliate. I had stopped there back in 1997 and worked on several of the homes that were being finished before Christmas. It turns out that the affiliate had stopped building back in November and will not start up again until next February. The affiliate was supposed to have sent me an email several weeks ago telling me this but I didn't receive it.

I think that my decision to turn around from San Antonio and head back to Florida was a wise thing to do. I really didn't want to go on and try to ride across the desert again this year. I had some really bad problems with this earlier in the year. Back to Back cross-country trips is a hard thing to do. Anyway, it would have been too early in the year to make my way up the Coast when I got to California.

Instead of taking a direct reverse in my route, I headed south to the Texas Gulf Coast and then will be riding a more Southerly route through Louisiana through Abbeville and then riding on through New Iberia, Morgan City, Houma, to New Orleans. I haven't ridden between Port Arthur, Texas to New Iberia, Louisiana through Abbeville before. This will finish a gap in my Perimeter ride of the country. After New Orleans, I will be backtracking the route that I took along the Mississippi and Alabama Coasts. I'm thinking about heading south along the Florida Gulf Coast to Sarasota. I've got an invite to visit with some new friends back in LaBelle.

I've been pretty fortunate in finding places inside here in Texas. I've stayed at several churches along the way from Seguin. Churches have been pretty helpful in the offering of donated motel rooms. A motel room was provided Christmas Eve by the Methodist Church in Sinton. Last night, a motel room was offered by the Methodist Church in Lake Johnson. I also have had several home visits.

People have been friendly here in Texas. A couple of days ago, a couple in a truck about twelve miles out of Port Lavaca turned around to give me their chicken dinner that included corn on the cob and mashed potatoes. In Port Lavaca, a lady gave me a plastic grocery bag of food with flip-top lids and other things. I had several people stop and slip me some money in a hand-shake.

Looking back, I think that I had a good year on the road. This by far had been the safest with no major accidents or events with vehicles. My health was okay for most of the year. My left shoulder is improving really well from the bad fall and surgery in 2002. I had four months with totals over 1,000 miles.

Along the way, I spoke at 47 churches. This included speaking to 32 Sunday school classes. I gave two sermons that lasted around twenty minutes each. I was mentioned in about a dozen sermons. I was even given the chance to help out in the distribution of Communion. Overall, I must have spoken to several thousand people in church settings this year.

I probably handed out several thousand of my information brochures. Articles in a little over a dozen newspapers were written about me and my ministry. Readership of the newspapers must have been several million. I was interviewed twice on Christian radio. I did about ten dozen road side counselings. This website had at least 200 new visitors each month. The website won at least a dozen awards this year. I helped out with about two dozen ministries that had food banks. I even helped feed the homeless at a street corner in Northern Kentucky. There were no major natural disasters that I had to help out at.

I'll try to post an update as often as I can next year.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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