TRIP 2009

Update #12 - May 03rd
Lexington, Pennsylvania
1903 miles (3045 KM) since March 22nd
2167 miles (3467 KM) since January 01st

The ride from Smithfield, Virginia on VA 10 on Friday (April 24) went okay. I stopped at the Little Zion Baptist Church a few miles west of Smithfield and I put a note of thank you on the back door to the pastor who got me the room at the Smithfield Station the other night. As I was putting the note on the door, one of the parishioners showed up asking me what I was doing. I told them about what happened last night. She told me that they would tell the pastor.

I stopped for a break at a closed down store. While I was trying to place a call at a pay phone, there were a dozen Model T cars that went passed. I got into Sorry a little before noon. After a short break, I rode to the Jamestown ferry. I got to the ferry landing right when they were loading up. One of the workers took my picture with the bike. I was hoping to take some more pictures but the batteries were getting low.

/ Just passed the ferry dock, I rode passed the Jamestown Settlement. On May 14, 1607, the British Ships Discovery, Godspeed, and Susan Constant arrived in Virginia. 104 passengers (all men and boys) began building on banks of James River to start building settlement that would predate Plymouth, MA by 13 years. Jamestown was the capitol of Virginia until 1699 when the capitol was moved to Williamsburg.

I tried to make connections with some friends in Williamsburg but they were not home. After looking around the historic district in Williamsburg some, I planned to go on to Yorktown. There was supposed to be a hostel at the Episcopal Church for cyclists. I had heard about it several years ago since Yorktown is the eastern point of the original Transcontinental (Route 76) bike route across the United States. The route was made by BikeCentenniel (the predecessor of Adventure Cycling).

Colonial Williamsburg historic district - 301 acre. Complete restorations that include 88 original 18th century (1774-1781) buildings (houses, shops, taverns, public buildings, and dependencies (outbuildings). More than 40 major buildings had been rebuilt on original sites from extensive archaeological and documentary research. Williamsburg had thrived till 1780 when the capitol was moved from Williamsburg to Richmond. For 80 years, Williamsburg was the political center of Virginia. Historic district was under disrepair until 1926 when John D. Rockefeller Jr took interest in the city. Area has largest program of diversified 18th century trades in the world.

I got on the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown. The road was kind of rough because there was some small stones embedded in the concrete roadway. I got into downtown Yorktown before 5 PM. I met the rector at the Grace Episcopal Church. The rector was in a rush to get to a bridal rehearsal in Williamsburg but he called his wife who came by and welcomed me to the hostel. The hostel is pretty nice in an old house. It is really nice. There is a color TV in the downstairs bedroom. Internet is upstairs but I cannot connect my netbook.

The rector's wife invited to take tomorrow off since there was nothing scheduled for the house. I needed a day off since I hadn't had one since last Saturday in Wilmington, NC. I had ridden 417 miles since Wilmington.

It was an off night Friday night because I had a problem with falling asleep. This might have been from all of the caffeine that I had yesterday. I got maybe 3-4 hours of sleep and I woke up around 5:30 AM.

For most of the Saturday (April 25), I stayed around the Riverview House to keep out of the heat and to give my peeling nose the chance to heal some. I did a lot of sewing on my gear. I went outside only long enough to take a few more pictures.

I had a better night and I did get some sleep. I woke up around 5:45 PM Sunday (April 26). I decided to go ahead and pack up the bike and take the driveway and risk what the neighbors would say instead of dragging everything up the stairs to the church parking lot. It was 6:30 AM when I risked the driveway. There was nobody up in the neighbor's house except for the cat in one of the upstairs window.

I took some pictures around the town before the service. Also, I had to check the front brake rotor since it was a little bent and I did some sewing on the gloves. There were some tables outside in some of the open spaces of the cemetery.

The church was built in 1697 and was known in colonial times as the York-Hampton Church. The church was destroyed by fire in 1814 and it was rebuilt using it's original walls. The church was modernized in the 1980's. There are speakers in back of the sanctuary on either side of the altar. There was a good small pipe organ but there wasn't going to be any music or singing during the service. The sanctuary had some different styled wooden crosses in the windows and there were stuffed animals around the sanctuary. Since last Wednesday was Earth Day, this was Earth Sunday.

Between the 9 AM and 11 AM services, there were to be displays and crafts to create things with re-invented or re-purposed items. There was going to be a picnic after the 11 AM service with turkey-burgers. I was torn at either staying on another day, ride back to Williamsburg to see the Simmons, or get across the toll bridge over the York River to Gloucester Point and then head up US 17. I didn't really want to ride back to Williamsburg and then ride through Richmond.

It was a different service. Most of the people who attended the 7:50 AM where elderly so I was one of the youngest. There was a lady assistant rector and a lady lay reader/chancelist. It was different that they didn't do the first reading that was in Acts. The lady assistant rector did the second reading that was 1 John 3:1-7.

Rev Carlton Bakkum did a sermon that was heavy into nature mentioning spiritualism of different religions regarding how we were supposed to be connected to the energy of the planet and nature. He mentioned that Christianity (/ Judaism) was the only religion that didn't involve nature. Yes, ADONAI in Beeresheet said that man had dominion over the animals and creatures of the earth not being mutual partners like they were brother, sister, and cousin on Mother Earth. There was a mention of climate change. There were a lot of quoting of poems about nature and he did his imitation of the call of the loon with him making the bird call with a finger up one of his nostrils.

The crucifix above the altar was changed to this new-age stylized wooden painted cross that had scenes of earth and nothing to do with the Messiah. There wasn't much reverence to the L-RD like what I had seen or experienced at Calvary.

Something interesting happened during the sermon that had a meaning like what happened at the Methodist Church in Humboldt, Iowa. In the window in front of me on the right hand side, there was this stylized cross that was painted with the colors of the gay rainbow flag and the words "Grace Heals" in the fashion of the cross. There was a banner next to it mentioning something about how Grace Episcopal wants to heal the rift between Christianity and homosexuality. Halfway through the sermon, the cross slowly fell over on it's side. Everybody thought that it was funny but nobody did anything to pick the cross up.

Between the sermon and the offering, there was a time for three people to share in a couple of sentences about their statement of faith. Most of what the other people mentioned something about nature. I was given the chance to share since I was a special guest. To get back to the main focus which was supposed to be the main focus that was ADONAI and Y'SHUA, I quoted the Shema in Hebrew. Afterwards, I got to share for a few minutes. There was a special offering for the Heifer Project and I took part in it. Communion was sort of rushed. Nothing really happened afterwards so I decided to move on. I chose to keep on going on US 17.

Before getting on US 17, I fixed the short flag that I had picked up at the church hostel so that it was sticking out sideways and it stuck out a foot or two to the left side of me. Hopefully, this would give the people in the vehicles behind me the incentive to give me more space when they passed me. Along the way, there was a swing bridge and I walked halfway across the bridge until I got passed the swinging portion of the bridge and then I rode across the rest of the bridge. I stopped at one of the toll booth windows and asked if I needed to pay anything. He laughed and said that I didn't. There were signs that had rated for motorized vehicles.

The ride up US 17 went okay. The sideways flag worked well especially when the shoulder narrowed or disappeared. I stopped at this 7-11 outside of Saluda. As I was taking the time to read my paperback and sip a green tea, this young guy came up to me and slipped me $9 in a green handshake. He told me that he wanted me to have some lunch on him. I went down the road and stopped at a Hardees to get a hamburger and some iced tea.

After stopping for lunch, I stopped on the side of the road to check out the front brake rotor again since I heard some clicking sound. There was this one section of the disc rotor that seemed to be a bit out of scew by about a couple of millimeters off. I tried to fix it as best as I could. My intention was to take the disc rotor off the wheel and try to smash it flat on a smooth piece of pavement but the hex wrench set that I had in my tool kit didn't fit since the bolt heads was not metric.

I got into downtown Tappahannock a little after 6 PM. None of the churches had any evening service. I was kind of surprised that the churches were quite small for the size of the town. I went to the police station and it was closed. There wasn't a call box. Tappahannock was the county seat so I was able to find the sheriff department. The lady dispatcher contacted a local minister and a room got donated at a local motel through the community fund.

I slept till about 5:30 AM Monday (April 27). I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The ride from Tappahannock was slow because the wind have shifted from the south and is now either coming straight from the north or from the northwest. There wasn't much of a shoulder in some places and there were hills. I had hoped to get a lot more miles in by noontime but I did make around 31 miles by noon.

I got outside of Port Royal around noon. I crossed the busy highway and I was trying to ride to Warrenton but I decided to turn around and go through Fort A.P. Hill and make the 11 mile ride to Bowling Green to see if my friends were home. I sort of wanted to see them again but the girls were really hyper last year.

I backtracked about two miles to this gas station where I saw that there was a pay phone. As I was getting ready to turn into the gas station, my mirror got sort of side swiped by a truck mirror that was carrying a wide load of farm machinery that was going passed me. The mirror didn't shattered and it just bent out of the way since I had the mount kind of loose. I was sort of shook up so I got a big bottle of Powerade and drank it and ate some cookies while I read my book.

Another customer of the store slipped me $2. As we were talking, this older gentlemen who was eating an ice cream cone overheard me saying that I was planning to go to Warrenton. The guy was heading back to his home in West Virginia so he offered a ride in his pick-up truck. Bob was 74 and he had lost his wife to cancer back in September. He was an ex-marine and had retired from the CIA.

Bob dropped me off at a gas station in Warrenton around 2:30 PM. I had the phone number of my CS host so he came and got me. Charles is a chiropractor. We went back to his office since he had some patients to take care of and after a half hour we went to his house in the country about five miles out of town.

I slept maybe 4 hours and woke up around 4 AM. I waited about a couple of hours before stirring upstairs. I got Alice packed up before having breakfast. Charles took a couple of pictures with me and then he surprised me by slipping me $20.

I got on the road around 7 AM Tuesday April 28. The ride up to The Plains went okay. From The Plains to Manassas went okay but I misjudged where I was so I landed four miles south of Manassas instead of several miles north so it was a long ride through Manassas to Braddock Road. There was a big path most of the way to the Capital Beltway. I had to stop a couple of times along the way to see if I could straighten out the rotor of the front disc brake since it had a bit of a wobble.

I arrived in Alexandria around 5 PM. I had to check the maps in the phone book to find the address of my CS host Margie. I was about a mile off. When I finally got the chance to get on the internet, I found a message from a friend of mine in Washington, D.C. He apologized because there was some confusion in my staying with them. He had two small children so he didn't think that it would be okay for me to stay with him. I wished I would have known this a week earlier since it would have let me find some alternate place to stay. When I told Margie my situation, she said that I could stay over tomorrow so that I can go into Washington, DC and not have to worry about lugging Alice and my gear around. I wanted to go and see the new Capitol visitor center and also meet the staff of my senators.

I was the first one up Wednesday, April 29, so I was quiet when I got cleaned up. Margie put out a good breakfast and she let me borrow an umbrella because it was supposed to rain for most of the day. It was about 8:30 AM when I left the house and walked to the metro station.

I put $6 on the fare card since I estimated that it would take that much to go round trip. The day card would have cost me around $8 but there were limitations when I could use it so I passed on it. The ride into Washington, DC took 22 minutes. I misjudged what station that I had to get off of. On the way to the capitol, I stopped at the Air and Space Museum and the Native American Museum. It was a long walk clear around the capitol to the new visitor center. I wasn't really impressed. To me, it was just a big room where people were herded so that they can get ready to take tours of the capitol. Most of the space was new meeting rooms for the congressmen. I didn't stay long.

From the capitol visitor center, I went over to the Russell Senate building to meet with the staff of Senators Johnny Isaakson and Saxby Chambliss. They were friendly people. I got a coke and some peanuts from a staff person with Isaakson and an orange juice and more peanuts from Chambliss staff. Both of the senators were on the floor getting ready to vote on some bill or procedure.

Since I was on the capitol hill, I stopped to check out the new exhibits at the Library of Congress. There was a pretty good exhibit on Lincoln. After checking out the exhibits, I went over to the Rayburn House building to see Congressman Sanford Bishop staff.

From the capitol, I went to the Museum of Art East and West Wing and did a short look over in the Museum of American History. I checked out some of the new exhibits about robotics and transportation that were on the first floor. At the museum, I was hoping to see the Goldberg recumbent that Fast Freddie did 63 mph but it had been put into storage.

Before getting on the Metro back to Alexandria. I walked around the White House and took some more pictures. By the time that I got back to Margie's house, I was pretty sore. My lower back hurt and I had a bit of a diaper rash. I went upstairs to rest before supper.

I had an okay night but I woke up early again. Before breakfast, I got the bike packed up. I got on the road around 7:40 AM Thursday April 30. The ride along the Mt Vernon Bike Trail into Washington, DC. was okay and I stopped to take quite a few picture along the way. I crossed into DC around 9 AM. Before leaving Washington, DC, I took pictures around the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, along the reflecting pool, WWII memorial, Washington Monument, and the White House.

From the White House, I rode through Georgetown to get on Wisconsin Ave heading north to Frederick. Along the way, I did a lot of climbing to the top of the hill where the National Cathedral was. It was a slow ride north through Bethesda. There were lots of hills along the way. I was supposed to get to my host's house by around 4:30 PM but I didn't get into the downtown area until around 6 PM. I rode through the city and I thought that I would have to camp out somewhere.

I kept on going till dusk and I rode on to the small town of Woodsville. There was nothing much in town. In the town, there were several churches but none of the ministers of the churches lived in town that I thought. I stopped at the fire station and was told that there was a minister in town.

Pastor Spruill didn't have room inside his house but he let me sleep in the attached garage that was being built. Pastor Spruill was a UCC minister at one of one of the downtown churches in Frederick. The garage had a stone floor so I had a big piece of plywood to put my tent up on. Mrs Spruill fixed me a big plate of food. Their 15 year old daughter fixed me a bag of food to take along. I was really surprised when I was given a green handshake. The daughter gave me most of her babysitting money. The donation was $72.

From Woodsville, it as a good ride to Taneytown and then to the Pennsylvania state line Friday, May 01. I stopped to check out a food bank at a Assembly of G-D church. It was a pretty good program. The center is open three times a week and up to 80 people are served each day. People can come by twice a month for food and supplies.

I was really impressed with the program. They really gave the people who came for help dignity. Each person was given a shopping cart and a volunteer moved with them through the building. The people got to pick what they wanted instead of having the food just given to them. The food was put into shopping bags so it was just like they had gone to a grocery store but they didn't have to pay for anything. I was taken around by the director. She asked me if I needed anything and I told her that I just needed a loaf of bread. I got a loaf of bread, some donuts, and some drinks.

I got to the outskirts of Gettysburg around noon. There was some light rain to deal with into downtown Gettysburg. While checking out the churches in the downtown area, I met up with the Catholic priest. There was an offer to get me a room at one of the local churches.

I woke up around 5 AM. Saturday May 02 and I left the motel around 7:30 AM. A couple of blocks away from the motel, I met up with local bike group who were getting ready for a fifty mile ride around the area. Most of the people were on tandems but there was one guy on a recumbent.

From downtown Lancaster, I got on US 30 heading east. The ride east was a bit rough since there was an eight mile section of road construction. There were a lot of rolling hills. It was a long ride to and through York. The ride to York had it's ups and downs. I had to stop at restaurant parking lot to change my front tire because of a pinhole leak. Some ladies outside of a post office stopped me to talk and before they left they slipped me $20. Around 5:30 PM, I stopped at a K-Mart and got some weightlifting gloves for around $8. They are mesh so they are going to make an interesting pattern on my hands.

I got into Mountville around 6:30 PM. I stopped at United Methodist Church.They were getting ready for this kind of open mike coffee shop thing in the fellowship hall. There wasn't that many people who showed up. There were 4 performers. Afterwards, I was invited to stay over with a couple a few doors down from the church.

I had an okay night at my new friends' house. I woke up around 3:30 AM. I had to do five journal entries. Around 6 AM, I took everything downstairs to get Alice packed up before breakfast. Charlie had to go into the office before he went to Harrisburg to catch a jet to Dallas on a business trip for a couple of days. I got on the road around 7 AM. I could have gone back to the church but I would have had to have waited till 8:30 AM for the early service.

I stopped at a railroad bridge to work on my gear some. Took a break at a gas station. About a mile or two into Lancaster, I heard another ping behind me. The weld at the bottom of the seat frame had cracked. I was concerned about this. I stopped at a bank to get under cover because it started to rain. When I took the seat cover off, I found out that it was cracking on the other side of the hinge. I used my bread knife and electric tape to fix it. I got everything back on the bike before 10 AM.

I went to Bethany Presbyterian Church since it was close by. Before the service, I talked to the minister. She told me that she would try and help me after the service. The service was okay but the congregation was pretty old and kind of thin. The deacon who was on duty offered to get me a room at the motel a few miles back from the church. One of the guys in the choir slipped me $10. He told me that he had walked across the country.

Tomorrow, I've got about a 20 mile ride to Shirks bicycle shop in East Earl. That is the bike shop where I got Alice. On the way, I'm going to have to stop at a farm equipment store to see if they could weld the frame.

As I did the last time I headed north up the Coast in 2007, I am going to get close enough that I can take a train into New York City instead of trying to ride up the George Washington Bridge. I'll also be taking another train from New York City to Darien, CT where I have ministerial friends at the Noroton Presbyterian Church.

The next update should be between May 10 and May 17.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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