TRIP 2007

Update #33 - December 08th
Vinton, Louisiana
11,600 miles (18,560 KM) since Jan 01st
1,657 miles (2,651 KM) since October 27

My trip across Southern Louisiana is almost over. There is about 12 miles separating me from the Sabine State Line and the Texas State Line. I'm spending the night and tomorrow in the small town of Vinton being the guest of the Welsh Memorial United Methodist Church. This has been a favorite stopping point of mine and this might be my seventh stop over. The last one was two years ago about a couple weeks after Hurricane Rita came through the area.

For the most part, I've ridden U.S. 90 most of the way across the state. My first day out from Waveland, Mississippi, I rode 104.43 miles through New Orleans to Boutte. I didn't have any problem with traffic along U.S. 90 because basically traffic was quite light until I got passed the East Ship Canal Bridge. I didn't see much hurricane damage along the route that I took to the downtown area and the Canal Street Ferry Dock. There were a neighborhood here and there that still had a lot of rebuilding on it. I wasn't near any of the really bad destruction since I traveled on the northern edge of the Lower 9th Ward. The downtown area was packed with locals shopping and tourists.

I spent the night at the FISH Camp at the First Presbyterian Church in Boutte. FISH stands for Faith In Service and Hope. This is the Presbyterian volunteer center. This center was so much better than the center I was at in MS. It was really planned out since things were made to last another five years. They had every health and safety regulation down pat.

The volunteers slept in 2-3 person pods that were made in Canada out of special cardboard that had a plastic coating on them. The roofs of the pods were accordion like since they were folded up during construction. The pods were put on raised platforms. These were really great except for the fact that they didn't block the light from coming into the rooms at night so there was no real darkness inside. The camp was between volunteers. They come in from Sunday afternoon to Saturday morning. I got the free-range of the camp and was allowed to eat as much or pack up as much food I could carry that was leftover in the kitchen. It was also great being able to take my first real hot shower in a clean facility and get my hair washed.

I spent two nights with friends in Houma. I hadn't seen them in almost four years. It was a good layover. I had a good time along the way staying over night at the United Methodist Church in Patterson. Rev. Carpenter really made me feel welcome.

To avoid trying to hitch a ride across the I-10 bridge in Lake Charles (which is nearly impossible to do), I found a pretty good route north to Moss Bluff and then Southwest to Westlake and Sulphur where I got back on U.S. 90. The route I found and used, reminds me of the route that I had to take between Ocean Springs and Biloxi, Mississippi since I couldn't get across the new bridge. I did take LA 182 from Houma to New Iberia since it paralleled U.S. 90 when it became a divided 4-lane highway and I got off U.S. 90 between New Iberia and Crowley riding instead through Abbeville and Kaplan.

Today, I had a great morning riding almost 40 miles between Jennings and Moss Bluff. Today was also wild because I picked up almost $5.50 in change (mostly quarters) along the road ($4 was found in a 6 foot stretch of shoulder. This makes to around $9 in change that I found along the highways here in Louisiana. I have found almost $160 on the side of the road this year.

I got into Vinton right before they were having their Christmas parade. Instead of parking my loaded recumbent and taking a ride on the church float to toss candy and toys I opted to ride my bent behind the church float. I was right up front just with two vehicles between me and the high school band leading the parade. The route was under a mile down the town's main street. It was the slowest I ever rode my recumbent without tipping over or wobbling. My average speed down the parade route was a turtle's pace of 2.4 mph.

The only obstacle that I've got on the way into Texas is the I-10 bridge over the Sabine River. U.S. 90 ends maybe 8 miles from the bridge and it joins I-10. The intersection is a terrible place to try and hitch a ride. I'm going to just go ahead and get on the shoulder of I-10, cross the bridge, and get off at the first interchange in Texas right close to the Texas Welcome Center on the east edge of Orange, Texas. I've done this before and never got in trouble with either the Louisiana or Texas Highway Patrol. I'm targeting arriving in Galveston, Texas on the 12th of this month.

Since leaving Americus, Georgia on Oct 27th, I've cycled 1,657 miles (2,651 KM) in 24.21 days (a bike day for me is over 40 miles per day). I've averaged 69 mpd (110 kmpd). This puts me for the year at 11,600 miles (18,560 KM) in 190.94 days at an average of 61 mpd (97 kmpd). I have currently ridden 363 miles (581 KM) more miles than what I've ridden (toured) all of last year. I rode 11,237 miles (17,979 KM) in 205.17 days last year.

From Galveston, Texas, I'll probably be heading up to the Waco, Texas area to visit with the gentleman who is hosting my website. After Waco, I'll be turning back eastward towards Americus, Georgia traveling through the central parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. I'm not interested in tracing my trip along the Gulf of Mexico as I had ridden to get here. I'll probably arrive back in Americus sometime between the middle or end of January. Then, I'll try and take February off before thinking about starting out on next year's real mission trip, which will be my 17th.

I'll try and post and update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between December 15th and December 22nd.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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