TRIP 2004

Update #12 - December 06th
Benson, NC - 12,414.6 miles (19,863.4 kms.)

It is hard to believe that the trip for this year is pretty well over and this might be the last trip update for the year. It will take a few days for my body to adjust. I guess that I'm staying put for a while since I was invited to store what clothes that I've got into several dresser drawers and the use of several hangers instead of folding them up in my clothes pannier. I've even got my own bedroom and bathroom to use. There's even a small color TV to watch in bed. The last time I took some extended time off the road in Winter I slept on the sofa in the family room.

My only wish was that I could have ridden all the way here to Benson but it wasn't the case. Early yesterday afternoon while riding up a slight hill in Fayetteville, the cable to my rear derailleur broke. I went from a 24-speed bike to a 3-speed bike. I could change my front gears but not my back gears except by hand (moving the chain from one gear to another). There was no way that I could repair it since the cable broke inside the gear shifter. I don't carry any extra cables (one thing that I'll try and do next year).

The cable had to go some time I guess. I estimate that I had maybe 31,000 miles on the cable and I maybe down-shifted and up-shifted through my rear gears maybe 300 - 400 times each day. I rode through Fayetteville and got maybe 16 miles south of Dunn before I opted to call my new friends to see if they could come and get me.

It was maybe a half hour later after I called when a pick-up pulled into the gas station parking lot where I was waiting. It was great to finally meet Kathy and her husband, Luke, in person since I've only talked to them on the telephone. They are a really neat couple and it will be interesting to stay with them for a while. Hopefully, I'll be able to stay with them for the rest of this month and possibly January and February of next year.

It is so neat that two people had the willingness to invite a total stranger into their homes and lives. It was through the recommendation of Kathy's son, Josh, that this happened. Josh is a police officer with the Kenly police department. Kenly is about 30 miles away from Benson.

I stopped at the police department to see if I could be connected with the ministerial association after being referred from a local church. Josh was the officer that I talked with. He helped me get a motel room for the night. We were only together for maybe five minutes and I gave him one of my hand-outs. I guess that I had made such a good impression on Josh that he told Kathy about me and my ministry. After looking at the website, Kathy sent me an email giving me an open invitation to stay with her and Luke and to also extend any help that I might need. If it wasn't for that invitation of help, I would have been in Oxford, MS a few days longer trying to get a new front wheel and tire after that minor wreck on Nov. 11th when I was ran off the road by two speeding semis behind me.

The ride from Leeds, AL to here went okay. The roads were okay and I only had two flats. The weather was cool in the 50's and 60's during the afternoons. Riding through Atlanta, Georgia wasn't much of a problem. What helped me was that it was the Friday after Thanksgiving and most of the downtown businesses were closed. Traffic was pretty light.

Most of the nights along the way were spent in donated motel rooms. Police officers were quite helpful in getting me contacted with local ministers. One of the rooms was donated by a Good-Samaritan in Heflin, A. I stayed in two churches along the way (the Church of G-D in Villa Rica, Georgia and the United Methodist Church in Lancaster, South Carolina).

I did have two not very good nights. The Friday night after Thanksgiving I had to spend a cold night in my tent behind a church in the Lilburn, Georgia area. It got down into the thirties. The worst part of the night was that my sleeping bag was slightly wet inside from some rain showers the past couple of days. I had thought that my double bagging it in two large garbage bags inside the carrying bag would have kept it dry but it didn't. I had to layer up and turn the bag inside out to try and get some rest.

The second bad night happened the next night when I had to stay at the homeless shelter in Winder, Georgia. It had rained the last ten miles into Winder so by the time that I got to the police station around 4 p.m. I was pretty well soaked and the temperature was in the 50's. The only referral that I got was to the homeless shelter. The problem was that it didn't open until 8:30 p.m. I waited in the lobby of the police station maybe three hours before heading to the shelter.

The case worker didn't show up till almost 9:00 p.m. so I had waited outside the shelter in the cold wind maybe a half hour. I was the only male there. There was a black lady with her eight-day old child and another female there who was to be the night-watch person. The case worker, who was also a female, left around 9:30 p.m. after I was in-taked. At least, I had my own bedroom and was given the chance to have a hot meal and a hot shower before going to bed. I was sort of wired so I slept lightly.

Around 2:30 a.m., I woke up because I heard some noise. There was somebody else in the room. I caught the lady night person going through my things. I didn't find anything missing. This was supposed to be a Christian-run shelter. She evicted me from the shelter before 6:00 a.m. thinking that this would prevent me from telling anybody about her attempted theft. Before leaving town, I stopped at the police station. I didn't stay in town for church.

Looking back at the year, I think that it was a good one. I was able to speak at 58 churches along the way. Most of the talks were done in Sunday school classes but I did give several mini-sermons and testimonials during the church hour. Several times, I was invited to wheel the loaded recumbent down the aisles to the front of the church as a witness tool. I had two radio interviews along the way and was interviewed in 16 newspapers. The last one happened several days ago when the editor of the small Green River, South Carolina newspaper stopped me along the highway as I was riding between Lancaster and Cheraw, South Carolina.

Viewer ship of this website has increased each month. More and more hyperlinks to this site has been found. The website also won at least three dozen awards this year.

Overall, it was a safe year. I wasn't hit by any cars or trucks even though there were quite a few close-calls. I didn't have any major wrecks and no scrapes or broken bones (Thank ADONAI for that!!!). I did have to have the frame replaced in late March in Massachusetts after a crack opened up under the seat (the frame was under warranty so it and the repair was free). I had to have the drive-chain overhauled in Ohio back in late June (an Angel in Colorado offered to pay for it). I had to have the front wheel replaced once and the rear wheel twice. I went through three sets of tires and maybe three dozen inner tubes.

I guess the biggest disappointment that I had along the way was that people didn't follow through with all of the things that they said that they would do for me. It was a bit of an emotional roller-coaster for me having my hopes raised up and then dashed down. I had a magazine interview promised to me which never happened, invitations to speak at churches which were canceled at the very last minute, invitations to stop and stay to get off the road for a while that were never followed-through, offers of other speaking engagements or the making of other connections forgotten, promises of possible support never met. My trust in people has been a bit slighted.

Another hard thing for me was the almost daily task of proving to others that I was legitimate before they would either help me or listen to me. It wasn't that I was asking for much. I only needed help in finding a place to put my tent or sleeping bag. I never asked for money along the way. There were many times when I had to maybe stop at 4 or 5 churches in a city or town before one of the pastors let me stay at their church inside or outside.

I had to go to the either the police station or sheriff's office hundreds of times to have my identification ran to make sure that I didn't have a criminal record before any assistance was given. I had to make sure that I was always presentable and had my flyers and newspaper clippings handy. Not once was I ever given the chance to ask for somebody else's credentials to prove that that they were legitimate. I had to take everybody else at face value and wonder why they couldn't do it for me. I remember maybe three or four years ago when I stopped in town in Mississippi and had a minister draw a loaded gun on me and keep it cocked until I could prove to his satisfaction that I wasn't a criminal on the loose.

There are parts of me that just want to give up on this mission. There are doubts that I'm really making a difference. Why should I put up with all of this hassle? How much stress and torture can a body take? There are a couple of physical issues that I have to deal with somehow. Why can't I stop at someplace and maybe try and get a so-called normal life?

The two biggest reasons why I still go on is that I've hadn't heard that word "Stop" from my L-RD and there has been maybe one person each day who thanked me for being out here. If I have just reached one person, it has all been worth it.

As I stated at the beginning of this update, I hope to be off the road until maybe the first of March of next year. I'll place an update on my website telling of my plans and what I might be doing. It is hard to believe that next year will be the twelfth year of this adventure and my ministry.

Take care in Y'SHUA the MESSIAH.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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