TRIP 2004

Update #08 - September 30th
Americus, Georgia - 9,596 miles (15,354 KM)

This has been my 10th day off the road. The time off the road has been somewhat good but I'm getting cabin fever. There hasn't been much for me to do. My friend, Richard, had to go to work at the Print Shop of HFHI. In the evening, he had places to go to and people to see.

I pretty stayed at Richard's house most of the time indoors to get out of the sun so that some new skin could grow back on my nose, which was quite sunburnt. I did get a couple of things done that I needed to. One of them was to get my state ID card renewed. It was going to be suspended on my birthday next year and I wasn't sure if I was going to get back to Americus before then.

I wasn't able to contact some of the friends that I wanted to. Several of them had moved away. This included several of my minister friends. Other acquaintances were busy. They say that you can't always come home and I guess this was the case for me here in Americus. I never really laid down any roots here. Americus never really became a home to me like Spokane, Washington was. It was just a place where I could winter out but it hasn't been like that for the case for the last three winters and it will not be the case this winter.

I went to see some friends at the international headquarters of Habitat for Humanity where I was a volunteer between 1995 and 2001. I was amazed at seeing all of the changes. There were a lot of new faces. I hardly recognized anybody. The feel of the place was quite different. The friendly atmosphere was pretty well gone.

Instead of being a christian ministry, it felt more like some corporate headquarters. There was a lot of tension in the air. People were worried for their jobs since the higher-ups were thinking about out-sourcing a lot of the positions. Tension was also high because the board of directors was trying to force the president (who was also the founder) of the organization out of office. Without him, I strongly feel that the Christian focus will be forced out completely to the wayside and the acquiring of money will be the key focus more and more. Part of me wanted to break down and see if there was a way for me to volunteer so I could have a place off the road during the winter months but I can't do it. You can't serve two masters.

I was able to get a new front bike tire ordered. It took 4 days to arrive at the bike shop in Albany 40 miles away. Richard and I went and got it last Saturday morning before we went to Plains for the Peanut Festival. The new tire had a rating of 85 psi. I hope that it will last a lot longer than the last one did.

I'll be getting the bike loaded up tonight. Weather permitting, I'll be heading out tomorrow. I do want to go down to the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast to see if there is any thing that I can do with the recovery effort after Hurricane Ivan. I have some friends in the Pensacola area. Getting there will probably be a problem since the U.S. 98 and the I-10 bridges over Pensacola Bay were really damaged. This puts all the traffic on U.S. 90 between Milton and Pensacola. I haven't traveled U.S. 90 much so I don't know whether there is any kind of shoulder for me to ride along.

I have two choices to get to Pensacola. The first one would be to take an almost southwesterly course from Americus to Blakely, GA; cross into Alabama near Dothan, cross into Florida near Graceville, and then get on U.S. 90 at Chipley for the ride to Pensacola. A longer way would be to head to Donalsonville, GA; cross into Florida near Bascom, head south to Port St. Joe and follow U.S. 98 west along the Gulf Coast to Navarre through Panama City and Fort Walton Beach; at Navarre head north to Milton; and get on U.S. 90 for the 20 mile ride into Pensacola.

Also, I'd like to go to Ocean Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama to see if I could help out with the recovery effort but the major bridges along FL 292, AL 59 have been extensively damaged also. There's no telling how long it would take to repair them. Ocean Beach and Gulf Shores suffered a lot of destruction being that they were in the NE quadrant of the hurricane. I know about a half dozen people in those towns. From Pensacola, I'll probably have to follow U.S. 98 to Foley, Alabama. From Alabama, I have a planned stop in Biloxi, MS. I also have a planned stop in Covington, LA. I'm not sure where I will be going after Covington.

My wish is that the next three months in the year would be a much better than the last nine months have been. I hope that I find more open doors and ministers with compassionate hearts. I do wish that I could find someplace to stay over the winter. I'll try and post and update as often as I can if my plans change again.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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