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TRIP 2005

Update #07 - March 09th
Waco, Texas - 2446 miles (3914 KM)



The last three days on the road had been without rain. I had almost forgotten what a bright blue sky looked like. I stopped for the night in Rockdale, TX (March 9th). I had ridden 48 miles from Elgin.

Whenever I come into a town or city that I've never visited before, my first real stop is either at the police station or the sheriff office. I found this out to be a good way to let people know that I'm legitimate and I can usually get connected with a local minister. This was the case here. The dispatcher at the police station knew the Methodist minister. He came down to the station to talk to me. Instead of letting me spend the night at his church, he offered to get me a motel room through the Ministerial Association.

Between Rockdale and Marlin, I had something interesting happen. Around noon in the small town of Cameron, I came across the first two cycle-tourists for the year. They were riding from Wichita Falls, Texas to Houston. Both of them were on recumbents. The strangest thing was that one of them was riding a recumbent also made by Lightning in California. Instead of it being a Thunderbolt like mine it was another model (the P-38). Small world because Lightning only makes around 900 recumbents a year.

In Marlin, I connected with the police station chaplain. I had ridden 64 miles from Rockdale. It turns out that the chaplain is also a cyclist. He is raising funds for a new basketball court by cycling 500 miles in 10 days. Money had been pledged for every mile pedaled. The chaplain connected me with one of the local ministers who was the pastor at the African-American Missionary Baptist church. I was surprised that he offered to get me a room at one of the better motels in the area. This was the 38th donated motel room for the year. I've spent nine nights in churches this year from North Carolina. There was a week-long revival for the youth going on at the church and I was invited to attend. Somebody came out to the motel to pick me up and the pastor took me back to the motel. It was really different being the only white person in attendance. I had a really good time and really enjoyed the youth choirs. The youth minister who gave the message was pretty good and he used some magic tricks to illustrate his message on the "Prodigal Son".

Today, the sun was out again but there was a stiff headwind coming out of the north. The way that the flags were flying the wind speed had to be close to fifteen miles per hour. I had about thirty miles of this. It felt like I was riding up a horizontal wall and I was down into my lowest gears. There was some times when I traveled only five miles per hour. Cars and trucks were zipping past me going close to 70 mph or faster. Tonight, I'm staying with some friends who I have not seen since April of 2000.

My first stop tomorrow will be at the local bike shop. A couple of days ago, I contacted the bike shop to see if they could order a new front tire for the recumbent. The chip-sealing on the highways have really reduced the tread thickness. Instead of lasting around 3000 miles, my last tire lasted around 2400 miles.

From Waco, I'll be heading west south of Dallas so that I can ride through the Texas Panhandle. I figure that I've got at least another three more weeks riding here in Texas and I probably will not cross in Oklahoma until the 1st of April. My plans for the rest of the way through Texas will have me riding through McGregor, Gatesville,Hamilton, Comanche, Stephenville, Mineral Wells, Breckenridge, Stamford, Rotan, Roby, Snyder, Post, Tahoka, Brownfield, Levelland, Littlefield, Springlake, Dimmitt, Hereford, Canyon, Amarillo, Panhandle, Stinnett, Dumas, Stratford, and Tehoma, Texas.

I'll try and post and update as often as I can if my plans change.




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