TRIP 2005

Update #36 - November 02nd
Vinton, Louisiana - 12,941 miles (20,706 KM)

I made it to Vinton late this morning. I sort of pushed myself some since I was concerned on how bad I might find the town. I wanted to see if there was any major damage from Hurricane Rita to the Welsh Memorial United Methodist Church. This has been a stop of mine either going to / or coming from S. Texas. I've known the minister, Rev. J. Johnson, for about six years. The last time I've stopped at the church was almost 2 years ago.

I was quite surprised at how well the town faired. There wasn't much damage to the town that I could see even though people were really not allowed back in town until almost two weeks ago since the power was knocked out. The town was really spared. I saw more damage in DeQuincy 24 miles away to the NE of Vinton.

The church properties didn't have much damage. The church building and the parsonage didn't have any damage. There was some minor damage to the front of the youth house and also on the new education building. The house across the street from the church really got smashed from a big tree falling into it. The house has to be totally torn down.

I wasn't able to meet with Rev. Johnson this time because he has been in the hospital in Lake Charles, LA from complications after neck surgery and also pneumonia. He has been in the hospital for about three weeks. Hopefully, he will be able to leave the ICU in a couple of days since he is starting to breathe on his own again. Prayers are being sent Heavenwards for his recovery.

There isn't really anything that I can do to help out at the church or in town. The only real ministry still doing disaster work is a team of Southern Baptists from Arkansas who are going around cutting down damaged trees.

Tomorrow, I'll be making my way eastward across the state to Covington and Slidell. These towns really got destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. There will possibly be a better chance for me to connect with an agency or ministry there to see if they need any help. I do know that Habitat for Humanity is really making an effort to build homes in these cities.

I'm going to try and find a different route between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Trying to ride across the state on U.S. 190 between Opelousas and Hammond is really hard. There is a very narrow five mile long bridge just east of Krotz Springs across the Atchafalaya River and also an unridable bridge across the Mississippi River between Port Allen and Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge is not a bike friendly city especially now since it has nearly doubled in population since Hurricane Katrina.

The only alternative north of U.S. 190 is the toll ferry between New Roads and St. Francisville but it also means a long ride around Baton Rouge. What I hope to do is to ride SE from Lafayette through New Iberia to Morgan City and then head north to Donaldsonville where I hope to get across the Mississippi River there and then ride through Gonzales to Ponchatoula where I'll head north to Hammond.

I'm really hoping to find someplace where I can stop at for a while (hopefully for the rest of the year). I'm really getting tired of traveling and it is hard to stay focused on my ministry. I've already passed the distance that I traveled last year by about five hundred miles.

This is not the time of year that I like to travel. It is starting to get cold and the daylight hours are getting less and less. This means that I have to get into towns a lot earlier and sometimes it is really hard connecting with a compassionate minister. My body needs a break. I'm having a very hard time getting asleep and staying asleep. I don't want to try taking any kind of sleep aid since I know my body doesn't really handle them well.

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



Bicyclist in Sunset



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