TRIP 2006

Update #11 - April 29th
Wilmore, Kentucky
1364 miles ( 2183 KM) since March 27th,
1856 miles ( 2969 KM) since Jan 01st

I've finally got another day off. The last one being in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. I've ridden 238.7 miles since then.

Getting off Signal Mountain on April 22nd was a little harder than what I was planning for. I had to wait till around 9 a.m. (EST) to head out. There was still some fog so I had to fasten my flashing rear light some how to one of the panniers. I took one of the seams out of my office bag and sewed the flasher into the seam. At least, traffic was light since it was about a four mile coast of about 7 percent grade. It was much steeper getting up to the top of the mountain from the Chattanooga side. My one concern was to get through the "Dead man's Curve" area safely.

When I got into Dunlap, I found out that I had crossed into the Central Time Zone. I wasn't feeling very well so I opted to take an early stop for the day. I saw some activity at the local Methodist Church. Two ladies were doing preparatory work for the church's vacation Bible School. One of the lady's offered to contact the minister who lived nearby. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, the minister offered to get me a room at one of the local motels for the night.

Sunday morning (April 23), I went back to the Methodist Church for the 10:30 a.m. service. Before the service, I was able to talk to one of the Sunday school classes. During the service, I was introduced to the congregation by the lady minister but nothing really happened afterwards. I decided to make it a short day to Pikeville. I got into Pikeville around 3 p.m. so I spent an hour at the community park watching the little kids play on the swings and other things. I then moved over to the Baptist church where they had a picnic shelter. After the service, the pastor at the Baptist church offered to get me a room at the local motel.

I got an early start the next day (April 24) since I had another mountain to go over. I started the seven percent four mile climb out of the valley about 11 miles north of Pikeville. About a half mile from the summit of the mountain near the start of Cumberland County, the rear tire blew out. When I checked it out, it looked like the tube was punctured by one of the spoke nipples that had worn a hole through the rim strip. This nipple might have belonged to the spoke that had to have been replaced at the bike shop in Chattanooga. The mechanic didn't take the time to take the tire and tube off the wheel when he changed the spoke. Instead of patching the tube, I put in my new spare. I didn't get maybe 120 feet up the road when that tube blew out. In further investigation, I found out that there was actually a hole in the tread of the tire. I hadn't caught this earlier. Some stone or piece of glass must have done it. The tread was a little thin since the tire had almost 4000 miles on it.

I fixed the hole as best as I could by putting a patch over it on the inside of the tire. Not thinking that the tire would hold the full 65 pounds of pressure without making the hole bigger, I only inflated the tire to around 48 pounds pressure. This made the tire a little bit spongy so I had a tricky ride/walk down the mountain and on into Crossville. I'm just grateful that the tire didn't blow out as I was coasting down the hill. This could have been like or more serious when the front tire blew out while going down that hill in New Hampshire and I did damage to my left shoulder.

It was around 4 p.m. when I got to the southern outskirts of Crossville. The first church that I came to was an Assembly of G-D. There was a building that had a "Helping Hands" ministry but there was nobody there. At the church, there were a few cars so I thought that the staff and the pastor was there. The first person that I talked to was a young guy in his 20's who told me that he was the youth pastor. After about 10 minutes, I asked him whether the pastor was there. When the pastor came out to talk to me, I was surprised at finding out that he was the standard "pass-off minister". I was hoping to find someplace inside since there was a good chance of rain during the night. There was a 60% chance for storms during the night.

The pastor gave me one classic "pass-off excuse" after another: all of the buildings have alarms and they can't be turned off, their insurance requirements needs to have somebody baby-sit me through-out the night (I'm almost 50 years old and it's been nearly a half-century since my diapers had to be changed). There was an offer for me to stay in the bus barn for the night but there would be no electricity, no water, and no access to any restroom facilities if I needed them during the night. I've done it before around 8 years ago in the Texas City, Texas area and it wasn't fun back then.

I had thought that I'd might have gotten a different response but to the pastor I was just another homeless person passing through. He didn't take the time to check out my recumbent bicycle. I could have said something to him but I just kept it to myself and left the building. At the edge, of the parking lot I stomped the dust off my shoes and headed into town.

I got into the downtown area around 5 p.m. It took a while trying to find the police station to see if I could be connected with another minister. The officer I talked to gave me directions to the rescue mission that was in an old church about two blocks away from the police station. I went over to check it out in hopes that the director might know one of the local ministers. The director wasn't there. It was getting late so I thought that I'd check it out.

I'm not a fan of rescue missions or any shelters of any kind. I never had any good experiences in them. I'm never able to sleep. I'm always worried whether I might be assaulted or if I'm going to catch some kind of illness. My immune system is still a little off after my bout with walking pneumonia back in Americus, Georgia. The second in charge gave me a list of the rules. There wasn't a place for a non-smoker to wait. The waiting area had cans filled with cigarette butts and ashes. After the meal, there was supposed to be a mandatory devotional service and then curfew at 9:30 p.m.

What got to me was that all of my gear was to be gone through. This was a "no-no" for me since things in the past have been stolen from me with the excuse that contraband was being taken away. The last time, I had stayed at a shelter in the Atlanta, Georgia area two years ago, I caught the assistant manager in my room late at night with a flashlight going through my things to see what she could take for herself. I didn't want anybody to know that I'm carrying a laptop. The clincher for me was that there was no place for my recumbent to be stored inside for the night. They wanted me to lock it up behind the dumpster. This was the last straw for me so I just left.

I had about a three mile walk to the local Wal-Mart where I was able to get a new rear tube and tire. I'm grateful that I had some money left on the gift card that I had received from the Episcopal church in Americus, GA. I just folded up the tire and stored it on back of the bike. My task now was to find a place to stay inside for the night. My funds was really low but I had to have faith in that more will be coming somehow when I needed it. I decided to stop for the night and get a low-cost motel in the high $20 near the interstate. I still had around $20 left and had about two days worth of food on the bike including some food left over from the MRE's that I got back in October of last year. I was still a little frustrated on how I was treated in Crossville.

The next day (April 25th), I woke up to puddles in the motel parking lot but there were clear skies. I had a pretty good ride of about 40 miles to Jamestown. For the most part, the ride to Jamestown was on top of a plateau. There was a downhill coast to a creek near the county line and there was a slight climb back to the top of the plateau. There was a pretty good wind coming from the south so I got pushed along. In some places, I cruised along at 17 mph without pedaling. By noon, I had ridden 22 miles.

I got into Jamestown around 1:15 p.m. I stopped at the library to check my email. According to the weather report, there was going to be more storms coming through the area. The sky was getting dark so I opted to call it a day. Through some neat twists, a room was donated through the county ministerial association with the help of the county executive. I've got about 26 mile ride to Albany, KY. About 4 miles north of Jamestown, there is supposed to be a downhill run off the plateau.

I got on the road around 7:40 a.m. There was a little bit of fog so I took my time. There was about a four mile coast off the plateau down to the small town of Pall Mall and the Wolf River Valley. In Pall Mall, I stopped to check out the free interpretive exhibit for World War One hero Sergeant Alvin York. I got into Kentucky around 1 p.m. and into Albany, Kentucky. There wasn't anybody at the First Baptist and First Christian Churches. At the police station, I was told on how to contact the chaplain who ran one of the local motels. He actually worked at the local alcohol and drug rehab center for teens in the area. He gave me a room for free.

Time went slow for me since I was in the Central Time Zone. I'll be back in the Eastern Time Zone in a couple of days. The ride north on April 27 went okay but there was a problem with rumble strips in the shoulder again. At least, they were not as deep as the ones in Georgia. I tried to stay to the left of the white line by about a foot. The ride down to Lake Cumber land and the Wolf Creek Dam went okay. For about a mile, the highway was on top of the dam. The rest of the way into Jamestown went okay. I got into Jamestown around 1:30 p.m. After stopping to get a few groceries and checking my email at the library, I decided to go on to Russell Springs.

I got into Russell Springs around 4 p.m. There was nobody at the Methodist Church since the pastor was out of town at a retreat. I got directions to the police station. On the way to the police station, I got stopped by a guy who worked at an auto parts store between Jamestown and Russell Springs. It also turns out that he is a local minister at a small church in the area. Roger offered to take me to a local motel to get me a room for the night. Before leaving, Roger surprised me by slipping me $20. I've got my food money for the ride to Wilmore and a few days extra.

After a good night, I got on the road before 8 a.m. yesterday (March 28th). There were about 8 mountains to go over between Russell Springs and Danville. The longest climb must have been about 2 miles. I got into Danville around 5 p.m. Being that it was late on a Friday afternoon, I knew that I would have a slim to none chance to connect with a minister. I decided to go on through Danville and get on the right road to Wilmore. About 2 miles out of Danville, I decided to call to see if my friend in Wilmore could come and get me. I was within 20 miles of Wilmore. I'm glad that I did call because on the way to Wilmore on KY 33 there would have been a pretty dangerous place to ride through called the Palisades.

I'll be here in the Wilmore area over the weekend. Maybe even Monday if the storms that are coming through the area tomorrow stay on. From here, I'll be riding to Louisville to cross the Ohio River into Southern Indiana and then I'll be heading to Granite City, IL, which is my next major stop. After Granite City, I'll be crossing the Mississippi River and then riding across Missouri and Kansas to Eastern Colorado. I hope to be in Colorado Springs, Colorado before my 50th birthday on June 15th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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