TRIP 2012

Update #05 - March 03rd
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
00.00 miles (00.00 KM)

Yesterday (March 2nd) started at a pretty high note but it ended at a pretty bad note. This week, one of the movies that I was looking forward to seeing came to Baton Rouge. Disney has made an adaption of Dr Seuss's classic story.

 Dr Seuss The Lorax

The Lorax , which came out in 1971, has always been a favorite children's book of mine. When I was a summer camp counselor at the YMCA Camp Pioneer in the North Georgia Mountains above Atlanta almost 30 years ago, I used to read the book to the camp when there was a skit night. I was a senior camp counselor and I taught backpacking, camping, hiking, and orienteering.

The movie was being shown on the IMAX screen in 3D at the
Rave Cinema 15 near the Mall of Louisiana. The last time that I saw an IMAX movie was when I lived in Arlington, Virginia back in 1981 and I saw "To Fly" at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. I didn't know whether there was going to be a crowd so I had bought my ticket online last night.

When I got to the theater about a half hour before the movie started, I saw that there were not many people there. In the theater auditorium that seats 105 people, there were just eight other people so I had the theater pretty well to myself. I really enjoyed the experience. I have never seen the technologies of "IMAX" and "Three D" together at the same time before. "Three D" technology has really progressed dramatically since the last time I saw one and even the quality of the IMAX movie itself was greatly improved since the projectors were digital instead of ones that used film. For an adaptation, Disney stayed pretty well to the actual story but they did add a lot that wasn't in the children's book. It was basically a story in a story and the movie

On my way out of the theater room, I talked to a young man who was picking up the 3D glasses. We talked about the movie and Imax. He walked me out to the entrance. I was very surprised that he turned out to be one of the assistant managers and he offered to give me a free pass so that I could come back to the theater and even see another IMAX movie if I wanted to.

It was about 1 pm when I got back to the house where I've been staying for the past two months. Since it was around 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 Celcius), I decided to take Alice out for a training ride. I wasn't sure how far I could get in because there were to be storms coming through the area. I normally take a 10 mile (16 km) circular route. I got maybe 9 miles (14 km) into the trip when something bad happened.

I almost got hit from the behind by a school bus. The bus below isn't the one that I had a bad encounter with but it is one of them. Between 7:30 and 9:00 AM and between 2:00 and 4:00 PM, there are quite a few buses coming through the area because there are three schools within 5 miles (8 kms) and a lot of the neighborhood kids are bused out of the area.

 school bus

The incident happened around 2:50 PM. I was on Boone, which is the first street to the south of me and about two streets to the west of the street where I am living on. I was between Rodney and Albert Hart when the accident happened.

Intersection - Rodney and Boone Road (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

Just east of a culvert across a small creek there is a stetch of asphalt pavement about 4 feet (1.2 meter) wide and 90 feet (27 meter) long which is pretty broken up and needs to be repaved. There are markings that show were city maintenance crews will be using to show where the repaving needs to be.

rough pavement

Normally, my plan through the area is to move to the left to just left of the center of the lane and ride around the rough area but I wasn't able to go clear around the bad part of the pavement. In my mirror, I saw a yellow schoolbus coming up from behind me. It had just come through the intersection of Rodney and Boone and was about 200 feet (60 meters) away from me. I thought maybe it was going to go to the elementary school just across the street and a few doors down from where I was staying.

The bus driver seemed to not be making any attempt in swinging the bus around me. It had to have been traveling over 20 mph (32 kmph). I had less than thirty seconds to react before getting hit so I quickly swerved to the right to avoid being hit. I wanted to be careful not to get too close the edge of the road since the pavement was pretty broken up. If I would have hit that section, I might have flipped over to the right and fell down the embankment to the ditch.

bad road pavement

My front tire got caught in a crack in the pavement about 5 inches (12.7 cm) wide and 12 inches (31 cm) long and about 4 inches (10 cm) deep. I didn't see it ahead of time because my feet are in front of the front wheel. The pothole was about 3 feet (1 meter) to the left of the right edge of the road. I hit the eastern edge of the pothole at about 9 mph (14 kmph) and with such force that my front tube blew out and the tire went flat.

pot hole

It was a miracle that I was able to get my feet down on to the pavement quickly so I was able to stay upright and also not be flipped over the handlebar. If I would have had too much weight to the left side. I could have tipped over to the left and fall into possible traffic. If I had my weight shifted over too much to the right, I could have tipped over to the right and possibly fall hard on the broken pavment or over the embankment down into a ditch. The bus did go around me but it missed me just by inches (centimeters). It happened so fast so I wasn't able to see the number of the bus or the license plate number.

I pushed the bike about 1 mile (1.6 km) back to the house I am staying at. When I got back to the house, I did a quick check on the flat front tire. I didn't see any damage to the sidewall or tread but I'm pretty sure that I might have damaged the bead internally somehow which could possibly cause a blowout that could cause a crash.

I went inside and called the
East Baton Rouge School District to tell them that I almost got hit by one of their school buses. My call got switched over to the transportation department. I told the lady on the line what had happened and that the tube needed to be replaced and also the tire had to since I wasn't sure of the integrity of it. Also, I told her that I was concerned that the force of the blow might have caused a flat spot on the wheel's rim and the trueness of the wheel might have been affected. After a preliminary report was taken, I was told that somebody would call me Monday to rectify the situation.

The tire was still pretty new since I had a little over 1,600 miles (2,600 km) on it. A new tire is going to cost me around $30. A wheel trueing is probably going to cost at least $30. If a new front wheel has to be bought, it might cost over $100 since the hub has to be one made to handle disc brakes.

After the call ended, I went back outside to do a more in depth study of the damage. I took some pictures. I didn't see any outside damage to the tire's sidewall or tread but you can't be too sure and it would better to be on the safe side than to be sorry later on. I will not go out and get a new tire and tube myself and repair but I will take it to a local bike shop to have it checked for trueness first.

flat front tire 3
flat front tire 1
flat front tire 2

I am planning to head out from Baton Rouge (barring any more problems) sometime between Monday, April 16th and Saturday, April 21st. As I had mentioned in my couple of updates that because of my late start date, I will not be traveling beyond the Rocky Mountains before I turn Northwards. I'd like to ride through San Antonio, Austin, and Waco, Texas before turning Northwest. I've got friends in the Colorado Springs and Denver, Colorado area.

The only concern is that I will be possibly crossing Kansas and Nebraska during tornado season. I've stopped and helped after tornadoes but I don't want to get caught in one. From Colorado, I'll probably be riding up into South or North Dakota before turning Eastward to the East Coast. I haven't figured out where I will be ending this year's ride.

I'll try and add a new update every two weeks along the way so the next one will be around March 17th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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