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TRIP 2007

Update #11 - April 24th
North Attleboro, Massachusetts
3285 miles (5256 KM) since Jan 01st
2444 miles (3910 KM) since March 03



The past six days have been some of the hardest for me during this year and the trip. It's not because of physical activity but on extreme emotional and psychological distress. I'm met some really nice people and some really bad people who've tried to take advantage of me. On April 18th in Mystic, CT , my recumbent was destroyed in a freak auto accident and I had to acquire a brand new recumbent in a few days. This might cause some people stress but I want to tell this story so that I can decompress.

On April 18th, I had ridden around 55 between Branford and Mystic. I had made arrangements to spend the night with a Warm Showers Association member. I got into Mystic around 7:30 p.m. I found a pay phone at the train station. I called up the member's cell phone but John was in Arkansas so he couldn't help me out. The other association member wasn't home.

I went back into town and stopped at the Congregational Church because I saw some activity. The previous night in Branford, Connecticut I had been hosted by the Congregational Church and I was hoping to maybe just sleep on the floor of a classroom or the fellowship hall. There was a lot of board meetings going on. I talked to the interim minister, Rev. Libby. She had only been at the church a couple of months. The minister offered to get me a room at the EconoLodge north of the Mystic seaport near I-95. My driver was Richard Cummins who had a bike rack on top of his station wagon. We loaded up the gear in the back of the station wagon and the front wheel was taken off and the bike fastened on the rack.

We talked a little bit on the way on to the motel. In a few un-foreseen split seconds, the recumbent was destroyed. When Russell got into the motel parking lot, Russell for some reason had forgotten that the recumbent was on the roof of the station wagon. I thought that he would stop and park the station wagon at the side of the motel. Instead Russell zipped under the carport in front of the entrance. I didn't have any time to react. There was a loud banging sound and the crunching sound of metal against plastic and concrete. When Russell backed out of the carport, there was more crunching sounds.

When we got out of the path of the carport, the recumbent fell off the top of the wagon onto the top of the hood. I thought that it was going to come through the windshield at me. There was extensive damage. The fork was totally bent beyond repair. Both arms was twisted and snapped. The chain ring cage was bent so the pedals wouldn't go around. The steering column was snapped at the bottom above the quick-release. I was in shock when I saw the damage.

There was also damage to the bike rack and a dent in the hood of the station wagon. The owner and manager of the motel was from India. He was really furious at Russell because one of the lamps of the carport was damaged because it had gotten hit by the handlebar. Russell got into a heated argument with the motel owner. We almost didn't get a room. The owner called the police. It was around 9:30 p.m. when things quieted down. Russell told me that he would take care of things and he would pick me up in the morning and take me and the bike to the bike shop. I went out in a daze to the nearby McDonald's for a meal.

The one good thing about the motel was that there was wifi. I got on the web to check out the Easy Racer, J andB, and Sun websites to see if I could find any parts for the recumbent. None of the Easy Racer recumbents had the same steering system. Sun had taken everything about the Speedster off their website. None of the other EZ series had the same steering system. On the J and B website, every part for the EZ-Speedster series was out of stock. The only thing that I could think was that possibly the steering column could be re-fabricated at a local metal shop. Hopefully, the bike shop would either have a 20 inch fork on stock or they could locate one. I went to bed around 1 a.m. I can't believe that this had happened.

I didn't sleep too well. My nerves was still quite frazzled. I couldn't believe what had happened. The recumbent looked really terrible all crunched up in the room. I woke up around 6:30 a.m. They had some muffins and orange juice for breakfast. I got on the internet for a little bit. I got things packed up because Russell was coming by around 9:30 a.m.

Russell came with his pick-up truck around 9:30 a.m. He was in a shirt and tie. Russell is a stock broker with a firm in town working with retirement portfolios. We packed up everything and Russell took me into town. Russell was going to get me a room at a bed and breakfast not too far away from the bike shop. The bike shop wasn't open when we went passed. We went over to the A andP grocery store where Russell bought me some food.

We then dropped the bike off at the bike shop, Mystic Cycle. They had moved into a much bigger building two years ago. I had been a customer of them about four years ago. The people at the shop didn't know what to do. They wasn't sure where they could find the parts. The steering column had to be manufactured some place. Russell wondered out loud that the best thing to do was to see if another recumbent could be found for me.

Richard took over to the Harbor Inn south of the railroad station. The Harbor Inn is a bed and breakfast with six bedrooms in the main building. The owner was a guy named Charlie but he passed away about two weeks ago. Running the place was a friendly guy named Claude. The rate that Claude quoted us for a room was $45. It was $10 less than what the rate was at the EconoLodge. I was the only guest because it is still early in the season. Most of the people are out of town since it is Spring Break week. Russell got me the room for two nights. It can be extended if needed but I'm going to see if I can stay with the warm showers member if I have to stay longer in town.

Russell assured me that either the church would get me the new recumbent because they have funds for mission work and the pastor has a discretionary fund or he would personally pay for it. I had the answer on my feet. Shirk's Bicycle shop back in Pennsylvania had an EZ-Speedster-AX on sale. The recumbent was grey, had an aluminum frame, and it had front and rear disc brakes. The recumbent was being sold of $1000 for $750. When it was made in 2005, the price was around $2,500. I took off my shoe so we could get the phone number. When we called, the recumbent was still there. They lowered the price for us down to $500. It would be broken down, packed up, and shipped next day to the bike shop here in Mystic where it would be rebuilt. We called up Mystic Cycle and told them to hold off on trying to repair the old recumbent.

Before leaving to the office, Russell slipped me $40 for walking money. I went back to the bike shop after lunch to tell them what was going on. I wanted to make sure that they would move over the Camelback, headlight, bar-end mirror, pedal extenders, and pump over to the new frame. A new cyclometer had to be put on because the cable had been snapped. I told them to take off the front tire because it was new and I can carry it as a spare. We made a good decision on getting the new recumbent because I was told by the mechanic that he had struck out finding the fork. None of the parts distributors had any. There are no 20 inch forks set up for v-brakes.

The new recumbent with it's aluminum frame should be about 10 or 15 pounds lighter than the old recumbent. The front and rear disc brakes should give me better braking. I might want to see if they think that the rear cluster on the old recumbent is still good and it could be moved over to the new recumbent. The cluster had good gears for climbing. It was a 9-speed cluster with one gear missing.

Russell came clumping into the bed and breakfast around 9 a.m. on the 20th to see me. He had several pieces of paper and also a newspaper section. He had an itemized list of his damages to the station wagon and and the money he had put out for me. It came to nearly $2500. Russell was expecting me to pay for everything like it was all my fault that the bike was destroyed and the damage done to his station wagon. He was even expecting for me to pay him back for the out-of-pocket money that he used on me (the two night's lodging at the bed and breakfast, the groceries that he bought me, and the spending money that he gave me). I was really floored. I thought that this was a gift from one Christian to a person in need. Russell's excuse was that his accountant told him that he needed to pay the IRS money. I'm not sure why he seemed to not want to put a claim on his car insurance.

Russell told me that there was a Messianic Congregation in the area (in Groton) and that he wanted me to go there, tell my story, and basically beg for the money to pay him back. This was stupid. He told me that he was going to come by around 11 a.m. to take me to a Laundromat.

Around 11 a.m. Russell came by to pick me up. At the Laundromat, Russell used his cell phone to call up Shirks to see when they had shipped it out and to get a tracking number so that we could see where the recumbent was. When Russell came by to pick me up, Russell told me that the bike had arrived at Mystic Cycle. I had to now come up with the money to get it out of the shop. With regards to the costs, it was $500 for the recumbent, $120 for shipping, and at least $130 for the rebuilding of the recumbent and the switching over of my accessories. That means that somehow I can to come with almost $800 overnight just for the bike. There was no mention of Richard putting any money into the purchase of the new recumbent.

Once I got back to the bed and breakfast, I got on the telephone to call some of my friends around the country. I called several close friends in Georgia, friends in Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Texas, and Virginia. My friends in Connecticut and Virginia offered to pool their money so that I could keep my room at the bed and breakfast for another night.

I called up the Stonington police department to get an incident report number and also to see when the officer who came to the motel was going to back on patrol. I called up some local attorneys to see what my legal recourse was. The attorney that I talked to in Groton was really friendly. He told me that he was a Christian. The lawyer told me that I had no legal obligation to pay Russell back for the damages to his vehicle, the bike rack, and also to pay him back for the lodging at the bed and breakfast and the money that he gave me.

With regards to the bicycle, Russell had an obligation to pay for it since he destroyed it. Russell also told Shirks in PA that either he or the church would pay for the recumbent. My friend, Mark in Norwalk, called back and we had a long conversation. Mark told me that I had to go to the Congregational church to see if and the pastor would be in. I needed to get an emergency number. The last call in the morning was to Mystic Cycle to see how the rebuilding was going and also to tell them that I needed the pedal extenders moved over. Graham said that the repair would cost maybe around $75 and with the cost of the cyclometer, the bill would be between $100 and $120. If I would be able to pay just that amount. I could pick up the new recumbent. The bike shop in PA didn't send the bike COD so there was no bill at the Mystic bike shop for it. I could pick up the bike tomorrow morning and make arrangements with Shirk's Bicycle Shop in Pennsylvania and make arrangements to pay them at a later date.

In the afternoon, I walked back into town with laptop in tow. I was going to go to the library to check my email. I had to contact a church in Massachusetts to tell them that I wouldn't be able to speak at their church the next weekend. Speaking at churches is one of the ways that I earn money to survive out on the road and because of this cancellation I lost the chance to earn $200. From the library, I then stopped at the Congregational Church. The secretary was in. Today was actually the interim pastor's day off. She actually lived in Norwalk, Connecticut and comes into town over the weekend. I gave the secretary a detailed account. She apologized to me on what I was going through. The secretary left an extensive message and also several messages on the pastor's voicemail.

Around 4 p.m., I talked with the police officer who came out to the motel. I gave her all of the information about what happened this morning with the verbal threat that Russell gave me. She told me that she would add what I told her into her report. I got the incident report number and was told that the police report would be ready by Monday. I need to stop at the police station in Stonington to see how I can get a copy of the report to see I might have to sue Russell for getting money back.

Russell came by around 6 p.m. to take me to the Messianic congregation. He was quite upset when I told him that I wasn't going to go to the messianic congregation and beg for the money. He was just being a big jerk. My really close friend, Philip called me back around 7 p.m. He was actually on Long Island in New York teaching medical personnel on how to use his company's infusion pumps. He told me that he would call the bike shop in Mystic in the morning to tell them that he would pay for their charges so that I could get the new recumbent and be on my way. Now, I've got to somehow get at least $700 more for the recumbent and the shipping costs. I just want to get back on the road so that I can get my life back.

April 21st was the third day of hell. I had gotten some rest since I felt a little better about things but Philip had called me back in the afternoon yesterday. He said that he would take care of the bill for Mystic's Cycle's end of the situation. He would call the bike shop around 10:30 a.m. to give then his credit card number. This means I should be able to possibly pick up the new bike around 11 a.m., ride it to the bed and breakfast to pack it up, and head out of the state to Rhode Island and away from Mystic. I'm just nine miles away from Westerly, RI. I was going to call the bike shop in PA what has transpired and try to see whether I could pay for the new recumbent with installments

After going out for a light supper of some great chicken soup and a buttered roll, I spent most of the night packing up my panniers and going cleaning out my gear. It was around 1 a.m. when I went to bed. It was around 6:30 a.m. when I woke up. I got into my cycling gear in hope that I would finally be back on the road.

I left the bed and breakfast around 10:40 a.m. and got to the bike shop around 11 a.m. I was quite puzzled on why I didn't see the new recumbent on the showroom floor. I was told two things. One that Philip had called and paid for Mystic's rebuilding of the recumbent and the move over of my accessories. The second thing was quite disturbing. Russell had gone to the bike shop this morning and picked up the new recumbent. When we called him on his cell phone, he told me that he was keeping the bike to make sure that the shipping costs and Shirks would be paid. Russell was pretty upset that I hadn't gone to the Messianic Congregation in Groton to beg for the money. He didn't mention anything about him paying for anything. It was like he was holding the bike hostage. I'm surprised at him not telling me that I had to come up with the whole $2500 for everything including his damages to the vehicle.

I was in a daze when I arrived back at the bed and breakfast. I got out of my phone book and phone card to start calling up people around the country for possible advice and help. I used up one phone card and I had to go out and buy another phone card. I left several messages for the pastor of the Congregational Church. She hadn't made any attempts to make an effort to call me last night and today.

I called up the police station in Stonington to tell them what has happened this morning. A supervisor on duty will be calling me back. I tried several times to call up Officer Robello. When she finally called me back she told me some new information. Philip had payed for the assembly and tuning up of the recumbent and also for a new cyclometer and rear rack. The old rack wouldn't fit on the new recumbent. The Mystic bike shop actually gave up a discount on the assembly by about six hours. The reason why Russell picked up the recumbent was that he had told the police that he had payed for it.

A close friend in Florida called me and she told me that she would send me $50 via Western Union. She would send it to me between 4 and 5 p.m. I could pick it up. A very special friend in Georgia called me up around 7:00 p.m. and he told me that he would wire me the remainder of the money I needed via Western Union. It should be in the system by 10 p.m. I called up Officer Robello to tell her the news. She was the mediator between Russell and me since he wouldn't talk directly to me. I went to the A and P grocery store to get the $50.

When I got back to the bed and breakfast, Officer Rubello called me back. She was in conversation with Russell. She told me that the bike shop in Pennsylvania had waived the handling and shipping costs. The insurance would possibly only put $100 to the bike so that is what Russell would pay back the bike shop in Pennsylvania. I would have to pay Russell $400. Once I get the money in hand tomorrow morning, I should call up Russell on his cell phone number to have him meet me at the bike shop on a scheduled time. A police officer would meet us at the bicycle shop to witness the exchange. I need to get the accessories off the old recumbent and put them on the new recumbent.

Claude, the inn keeper, told me that I could have the room till at least 3 p.m. without me paying any other money. I'm going to quickly head out to Rhode Island since Westerly is just 10 miles away and get a motel room using some of the money left over from what my special friend in Georgia would send me. My friend in Georgia called me back a little after 10 p.m. to tell me that he had wired me the money and give me the information I needed to collect the money. It should be in the system right now and I'll be able to pick it up tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I'll be heading out of Mystic before 3 p.m.

I got maybe four hours of sleep the night of the 21st. I felt a little better now that I knew that I was going to have the money to get the new bike. I called up Western Union around 8:30 a.m. and found out that the money was available for pick-up. I walked to the A and P grocery store to get the money. It took a while because my friend had used Hans instead of Johannes. I'm carrying over $1000 now. On the way back to the bed and breakfast, I stopped to use the pay phone at the train depot to call Russell on his cell phone number. I was just able to leave him a message and to tell him that I will meet him at the bike shop at 1:00 p.m. I called the police, as suggested by Officer Rubbelo, that an officer be present for the exchange. They said that one would be sent if an officer was available.

I wasn't feeling like going to church. There were not that many choices in the downtown area (Congregational, Catholic, and Baptist). I wandered around the downtown area checking out the waterfront and the stores that open. I also talked with one of the local residents who was putting in a drainage pipe. I got back to the bed and breakfast around 11 a.m. and I got my things repacked.

I left for the bike shop around 12:10 p.m. It was a 15 minute walk to the bike shop. Things were hopping with customers trying out bicycles, getting bicycle repairs, and also getting their skate boards fixed. I wandered around the shop checking out the things. When I went in back to check out the old recumbent, I saw that all of the accessories had been taken off the bike. I was correct when I told the police that my accessories (my things) had been taken out of the bike shop without my permission when Russell had taken the new recumbent out of the bike shop. I could have had Russell arrested for theft.

I went outside and sat on the park bench to take advantage of the warm sun and so that I can meet the police officer and wait for Russell. The police didn't show up. Around 1 p.m., Russell came into the parking lot in his truck. The new recumbent was in the back of the truck on it's side. Russell had his wife with him. I gave Russell the $400.

I had hoped that he would have at least gave me a receipt for it but he didn't. He just gave me the bike. Russell told me that the reason why he had taken the bike yesterday was that he had assumed that I would have gotten it and skipped out of town with it without paying for it. That means that Russell assumed that I was also a liar and a thief. He didn't realize that I could have contacted Luke at the bike shop in Pennsylvania and making arrangements for paying the bike myself. I was really frustrated that Russell would have gotten off without much loss (just $100). Russell said that the old recumbent was actually worth just that amount since it was almost two years old and have over 23,000 miles on it. I had to raise almost $1000 myself.

Russell isn't going to get off scot-free since I'm going to call his insurance company to get the money back. If I have to do so, I've already made some connections with a lawyer in Groton, Connecticut and one back in Americus, Georgia. I'm just frustrated that I got put through the mill to get this new recumbent.

The new recumbent looked great. I took it into the shop to see if some final adjustments could be made on it and possibly to put on a new bar end mirror and a flasher on the rear rack. Rick helped me out whenever he could. I thought that maybe I would be in and out of the bike shop in an hour but I was finally out of the shop around 2:30 p.m. It was really nice to take quite a few spins around the bike shop on the pavement. I went through all of the gears and they seemed to work really fine.

I went back inside to pay for the new mirror and the flasher. Rich told me that they were free. I might have asked for some more things but I wanted to take advantage of the bike shop. They had already given me a reduction of the reassembly fee and a discount of the cyclometer and the rack. I did ask Rick to take some digital pictures of the old recumbent before and email them to me before they scrapped the old recumbent. I also suggested to Rick that they should take off the still-good parts on the old recumbent and re-use them if they could.

It was around 2:40 p.m. when I got back to the bed and breakfast and loaded up. Because of the different rack, I was just able to hang the panniers on the rack loose. I also had to find a way to fasten on the trunk bag. I stopped back at the bike shop on the way out of town to cut off some strapping off the seat.

The new recumbent rides really well. I was able to make the hills without going into my Granny gears. I was really happy when I finally got into Rhode Island. I pushed in the miles to see how far I could get before dark. It got into Warwick before dark. I got into a side road in hopes that there might be a motel but there wasn't. All it got me was a far distance away from U.S. 1. It was a long ride in the dark back to U.S. 1. Along the way, I hit some gravel and the bike skidded. The bike flipped over to the side. Nothing got damaged including me but the panniers fell off so I had to take everything off and repack the bike.

I rode up U.S. 1 for several miles and stopped where I saw some trees. I thought that I had seen a fire road up the hill. I scouted on top of the hill to find a place to pitch the tent away from any down trees and briars that were everywhere. I had to make four trips of about five hundred feet portaging my gear to the camp site. I was amazed at how light the new recumbent was. I didn't have to stop and rest. It was around 10:30 p.m. when I finally crawled into the tent.

Yesterday, I finished up the ride through Rhode Island and along the way I got a bit lost in downtown Providence. I got into Attleboro, Massachusetts around 6 p.m. Because of heavy rush hour traffic, I stopped at the first motel I came across. The owner of the motel was quite friendly and she gave me a $10 discount on the room.

Here in Massachusetts, I'll be riding northward across the state west of Boston possibly riding through Concord. I'm currently on the way to Nashua, NH. From Nashua, I'll be swinging eastward to Portsmouth and then head up the coast of Maine. Possibly in Maine, I'll be going farther up the coast than what I've cycled before. This would have me cross New Hampshire and Vermont farther north than what I've done before. I just hope that the mountain gremlins will look nicely upon me so I don't have a repeat on what happened in 2003 (the bike crash) or something worse.

I'll try and post an update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between May 01st and May 08th.




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