TRIP 2005

Update #24 - July 01st
Orchard Park, New York - 7923 miles (12,677 KM)

I had a good time with my friend and his family in Bellville, OH. I didn't go out much because I wanted my sunburnt lower lip and nose to heal up some. I was amazed at how big the kids had grown in the year that I had seen them last. The youngest (John John) who is three is quite a talker. I was amazed at his vocabulary and his comprehension.

I tried to help out Pastor Doug with his computer but it was a lost cause. Never go out on the internet without a firewall in place. His computer was so infected with adware, trojans, and viruses that he will have to completely wipe out his hard-drive and re-install all of his software. Pastor Doug assured me that he will invest in a good security system with a firewall before they get on the web again.

Last Sunday, I got to speak to Pastor Doug's church again (Main Street United Methodist Church in Mansfield, Ohio). I visited with them July 11, 2004. They were my 41st church group this year.

The ride to Orchard Park, New York from Bellville, Ohio went okay. I made the 351 miles in 4 days. The new recumbent just makes the miles go so easily. Since getting the recumbent on April 30th, I had ridden 3447.3 miles (5515.7 KM).

The first day out from Bellville (June 28th) I rode to Lousville. I had a Warm Showers (an international association of cyclists who open up their homes to other traveling cyclists) contact there. I made 80.3 miles (128.5 KM) even though there was a bad thunderstorm in the afternoon. I got into Louisville around 8 p.m. Gladys welcomed me with a good shower, dinner, a bed, access to the washer and dryer, and breakfast).

Wednesday (June 29th), I got on the road around 8 a.m. and headed out to Cortland. It took a while to get connected with a minister. I had help through the fire station. The Church of the Nazarene minister invited me over for their Wednesday night Bible study. I was given the chance to speak to the small group. This was the 42nd chance for me to speak in a church this year. I'm just 18 churches short of the total for last year. Before closing, a small love offering was taken up for me.

Things really changed when I asked the pastor if there was any way that I could stay inside the church for the night. The pastor wasn't that friendly now. He said that the church didn't allow things like that to happen. There was an offer to take me to a shelter in Warren. After what happened at the last shelter that I stayed at last year (I caught the assistant director going through my belongings with a small flashlight in the bedroom I was trying to sleep in), I vowed to myself that I would never go into a shelter again no matter if somebody tells me that it is a wonderful Christian runned one. Besides, there was no way to transport my belongings and bike. I wasn't going to be separated from my belongings. Furthermore, Warren would have been over ten miles out of the way.

After calmly telling the pastor what I felt about his decision and sharing with him the curse from the latter half of Matthew 25 (the punishment of the goats (people who do not show compassion)), I just got on my bike and rode out of town. I wasn't going to stay in Cortland for a minute longer. I did take the time to stomp the dust off my feet.

Even though it was after 8 p.m., I headed out. I must have rode close to 25 miles (mostly using my headlight) to Williamsfield. There were no woods where I could camp out in so I went in to the most convenient place for me (the cemetery). I went far away in back along the fence and camped out where there were no graves. There was about a football length of space open. It was comfy camping out on freshly mowed grass without mosquitoes.

The next day (July 30th), I got on the road around 7 a.m. There was a light fog. At the time, I was about 4 miles away from the Pennsylvania state line. I headed northward to Conneaut on the shore of Lake Erie. There was a good tailwind so I made the 32 miles in a little over 2.5 hours. The ride through the Northern edge of Pennsylvania went really well since the direction of the wind switched to coming out of the west. It was a good ride through Erie. I had 4 cross-country cyclists go past me heading westward and I met up with a group of 4 who were heading east towards Kingston, NY. I shared with them so suggestions on routes across New York. Along the shore of Lake Erie, I rode past grape vineyards. There were also several fields of corn that were almost as tall as I am and tasselling out already.

I crossed into New York around 4:30 p.m. I felt so good that I thought that I would try and make it to Dunkirk. On the radio, there were calls for possible thunderstorms in the early morning hours so I wanted to find someplace inside. I got into Dunkirk around 7 p.m. I wasn't able to find a motel room. Because of the up-coming Fourth of July weekend, the room rates were either doubled or tripled. A room that would have cost in the low-$30 went for $75 before taxes.

I went to the police station to see if a contact with a local minister could be made so that I might be able to sleep in one of the churches. The sergeant on duty was helpful but none of the ministers who he had talked to offered to help me out. The next town was Silver Creek about 10 miles away. It was around 8 p.m. when I headed out.

About halfway to Silver Creek, I came across the Dunkirk Conference Center (United Church of Christ campground). There was a summer camp session going on. The director gave me permission to stay in one of the unused cabins. The assistant director got me supper from the kitchen. There was a dance going on in the meeting hall. When I finished the log for the day, I found out that I traveled 125.5 miles (200.8 KM). This is just 1.6 miles short of tying the record for this year. For the year, this was my sixth day traveling over 100 miles.

I crashed around 10 p.m. I didn't stay asleep long because right around midnight, I got awoken by loud singing, yelling, and horns blowing. The dance was the group's New Year's Eve (and a half) dance. There were three long and loud waves of noise. It didn't quiet down until around 12:40 a.m.

I woke up around 6 a.m. The assistant director came by around 7:15 a.m. with some breakfast for me. I got on the road around 7:40 a.m. It was a good ride to Orchard Park.

My friends (the Benzes) invited me to stay with them over the 4th of July Weekend so that I'll not be on the road. I've known the Benzes for almost 6 six years. They have become my family in Western New York. We met through the Warm Showers Program.

I'll probably be here till next Thursday. I'm having the front wheel rebuilt so that there will be a quick-release skewer again instead of a solid axle.

From Orchard Park, I'll be riding around Buffalo to Niagara Falls and then on to Rochester. I will then ride along the St. Lawrence Seaway to St. Albans, Vermont. After St. Albans, Vermont, I'm thinking about riding down the Hudson River to New York City or attempt fate and ride across the Northern portion of Vermont and New Hampshire to Maine and then down the coast.

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



Bicyclist in Sunset



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