TRIP 2012

Update #23 - October 27th
Culpeper, Virginia
2,806.43 miles (4,490.29 KM)

The last thirteen days have been okay. I made short stops in New York City, New York and Washington, D.C. Another highlight was taking the ferry between Cape May, Jersey and Lewes, Delaware. I was able to connect with some old friends at the Union United Methodist Church in Bridgeville, Delaware.

I completed the second leg of Mission Trip 33 when I got into Washington, D.C. on October 25th. I'm now a couple of days into the third leg of the trip that will take me to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina via Amherst and Appomatox, Virginia. My one concern in the next couple of days is not knowing where Hurricane Sandy might make landfall this coming Tuesday. I feel that I am far away to the South and West of any possible landfall.

October 14th : Saunderstown, Rhode Island - Today was my usual Sunday off the road. I had an okay night at Herb's house. The bed was pretty comfortable. I woke up around 5:30 AM. Herb and I went to the 8 AM service at the United Methodist Church in North Kingstown. There was a small group. I got introduced and was able to speak for a few minutes. The music was good and Rev Lorene gave a good sermon. On the way back to the house, Herb stopped at a Subway and bought me a foot long Turkey sub meal.

October 15th : Saunderstown, Rhode Island to East Lyme, Connecticut - I had an okay night at Herb's house. Last night, Herb gave me a Dunkin Donuts gift card with $10 on it. He told me that he was going to leave for work but I could stay on as long as I wanted to and just lock up the house. Around 6:30 AM, Herb left for work. I had some breakfast and I used the sliding glass door in my room to get all of my gear out in back where Alice was.

It was around 7:50 AM when I headed out. It was warm in the upper 60s so I didn't wear any jacket. The ride south went okay but the wind was strong. I got into Westerly around 11:30 PM. Stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for some lunch. I got 28 miles (45 KM) in by noon time. I finished up Westerly at the state line. I stopped to take the traditional picture of Alice with the state sign.

 Connecticut State Sign

The ride into Mystic, Connecticut went okay. I took quite a few pictures. I took my time over the hills on the way to Groton. I was going to stop in Groton for the night but I couldn't find anybody at any of the churches. I decided to go on and get through New London. It was a little tricky getting over to the pedestrian/ bikeway across the I-95 interstate bridge over the Thames River. I took my time walking up to the high point and then I rode the rest of the way. It was a little tricky staying in the middle of the path because it was less than five feet (two meters) wide . I relied on my memory to get through New London and back on to US 1.

In Waterford, I switched over to CT 156. I got into Niantic a little after dark. I stopped at the police station to see if somebody knew any local minister. The officer that I talked to directed me over to the Catholic churches. I'm not sure whether I got the directions right but I landed at St John's Episcopal Church instead. There was some activity because a meeting was getting ready to meet. I got to meet the interim rector, Michael Tessman. He has only been at the church a week. Michael told me that after the meeting, he would take me up to a motel near the interstate to get me a room. We left the church around 9:15 PM and it was about a three mile ( 5 KM) ride to the motel.

October 16th : East Lyme, Connecticut to Brandford, Connecticut - I had an okay night at the motel. I woke up around 4 AM. I left the motel around 7:40 AM. I decided to backtrack to Niantic and get back on CT 156. I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for some breakfast. The ride to Old Lyme was a little slow because of some hills and there was a headwind to deal with. I stopped in Old Lyme to get a few groceries. I was able to ride all the way across the I-95 bridge over the Connecticut River between Old Lyme and Old Saybrook.

I took an extended lunch break in Westbrook. I tried connecting with the HC members in Manhattan but nobody was available for a stop over. I'm thinking about catching the train at New Haven and riding it to New York City.

The ride to Branford went okay. It was about 4:50 PM when I got into downtown Branford. There were no ministers at the three main churches. No contact numbers. I stopped at the police station but the officer I talked to didn't know of any minister. I did find the community center that was hosting a free meal. I got something to eat but nobody knew how to connect with a local minister. I went back to the churches. I found some people at the Episcopal church but it was just a boy scout troop.

It was getting dark so I called up my pastor friend in New York since he wanted me to call if I ever had any emergencies. He offered to pay for a motel room. I rode to the Motel 6 that I had passed coming into town.

- I had an okay night at the motel. I woke up early around 5 AM. Around 6:40 AM, it got light enough outside so I headed out. They didn't have any breakfast at the motel so I went down the road a couple of miles and stopped to get something to eat. The ride into East Haven and on into New Haven went okay but I did have to get through some construction because they were working on some overpasses for I-95.

I got to the train station early so I was able to buy my ticket, use the elevators to get to the right platform, and have some time to wait for the train. It cost $14 for my ticket but I had to spend $5 more to buy a bike permit. I've got to keep the permit since it will be good for years.

The train came around 9:40 AM. I boarded the next to the first car. The engineer had a compartment up in the first car because the engine was pushing the train. There was a big enough well where Alice could be put so just the tip of the front boom was sticking into the entranceway. I used one of the bungee cords to fasten Alice to the back of one of the seats. The ride went pretty well to Grand Central Station. Once the train got to Stamford, Connecticut, it was basically a straight shot to New York City. I traveled relatively 60 miles (100 KM) from New Haven in a little under 2 hours.

We arrived at Grand Central Station in Mid-town Manhattan, New York City, New York around 11:50 AM. I only had to take one elevator to get up to the main concourse and then there was a ramp to go up to East 42nd Street and Park Avenue. I walked west on 42nd Street. It was warm enough that I took my jacket off. I stopped to take pictures of the NY Public Library. Stopped at a store that had 18 postcards for $1 and I stopped at a BK for some lunch. I was going to go directly to Penn Station but I decided to go to Times Square first. Stopped to take some pictures of Bryant Park.

Between Bryant Park and Times Square, there was this old guy sitting on the sidewalk with a sign that said that he was a homeless Vietnam veteran. Seeing him reminded me of the homeless veteran that I helped in Oklahoma City last year. I went passed him and then I stopped to get some small food items out of my pannier and put them in a zip lock bag. The guy had his head down on his chest and he was holding up the sign with one hand and a paper cup in the other hand. One lady slipped a dollar in the cup before I got there but the guy didn't see the lady do it. I went over to him, bent down, and called out to him. When he saw me and the food in the bag, his face lit up. He said that he was going to really enjoy the food since he was hungry. He did tell me that he went to a couple of churches to get something to eat and he did have a job late at night as some kind of watchman of a building. I spent about five minutes with the guy just to acknowledge his presence. Wished that I could have done more for himm.

It was a short walk to Times Square. It was interesting seeing all of the big tv screen billboards. I took a lot of pictures.

 Times Square

I had one guy take a couple of pictures of me behind Alice and I had another guy take a couple pictures of me sitting on Alice in front of a huge neon sign of the American Flag that was on a wall of a military recruiting office.

 Me at Times Square

I kind of got goofed up in my directions through the Garment District and I overshot Penn Station. I walked around to the rear of Penn Station where there was a ramp to get down to the concourse. There wasn't anybody around at the ticket booths so I used an automatic ticket dispenser. I bought a ticket for Long Branch because this was the farthest South that the trains would go. I got to station around 1:40 PM and the train was going to depart around 2:46 PM. They didn't have what track it was going to be but they were going to give up at least 10 minutes to get down to the train. They didn't post the track till about seven minutes before the train was going to depart but I had plenty of time to get down to the right track with the help of two elevators. I picked the third car from the front. There was a row of seats that you flipped up for either bicycles or people in wheel chairs. We arrived at the train station in Long Branch, New Jersey around 4:30 PM. Taking the train had put me around 50 miles (80 KM) away from New York City.

I walked over to the ocean highway and headed south. I got down to town of Sea Girt before it really started to get dark and I had to use my lights. I put the flashing green light that Herb had given me on my flag pole. It was a tricky ride to NJ 70. I was hoping to find a church that had a Wednesday night service but there wasn't any. I took the causeway bridge over to Point Pleasant Beach.

In Point Pleasant, I happened to come across Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. There was some activity going on in the church. There was some kind of Bible study going on in a classroom. I didn't want to impose on it so I waited in the hallway until it ended. Around 8:30 PM, the Bible study ended and I was able to talk to the minister. The guy was a classic pass-off minister. There was no way that I was going to stay in the church overnight and the only suggestion that he had was for him to call the police to see if they had any suggestions. I just left but I did quote the ending of Matthew 25 as I left the parking lot.

I rode on for about another hour and I finally found some woods where I was able to camp out in near Lake Riveria. It was about 9:40 PM when I had my tent set up and everything moved in off the bike.

October 18th : Lake Riveria, New Jersey to Tuckertown, New Jersey - I had an okay night camping out. I got maybe 6 hours of sleep. I woke up around 6:30 AM. I had to do some sewing on the tent bag, It was around 7:40 AM when I headed out. I went down the road about a mile and a half and I stopped at a Dunkin Donuts for some breakfast. I finished up both gift cards. The ride over to US 9 went okay.

The ride south went okay. I did have to stop and put the underseat rack in place a couple of times. One of the screws had fallen out. In Forked River, I stopped at a Walmart to but a few groceries and some picture hanging wire. I got about 22 miles (35KM) in by noon time. I stopped at the Fork River State Marina for an extended break to fix the underseat rack. I got it so it will not move around and stay up. This repair should last me the remainder of the trip.

The ride south went okay but there was a little bit of wind to ride against and there were a couple of detours to go around some road construction. It was a little after 5 PM when I got into Tuckerton. I stopped at the Episcopal Church. There was an emergency number for the rector. I used it to call the pastor. She actually lived an hour away by car and there was no way for her to come back to talk to me. I went over to the Presbyterian Church a couple of doors down. There was a contact number but nobody answered. As I was leaving the property, a car pulled in. This was the organist. She told me that there was going to be some kind of meeting going on and the head of the session would be coming. I waited about 20 minutes before he arrived. He couldn't give me permission to stay in the church. The pastor was away to work on her doctorate and she wouldn't be back till Sunday. Besides, the guy told me that there would have to be somebody from the church to stay overnight with me like I needed to be babysit.

I could have gone to New Gretna and possibly connect with the minister at the Presbyterian Church like I did last year but the guy wouldn't let me stay either in the church or with him in the house with his wife. I had to pitch my tent on the front porch to sleep in. There was one other church in Tuckerton that I could check out. This was the Methodist Church. The music director was getting ready for choir practice. She was pretty friendly and she called the minister. He was quite friendly and he invited me to sleep in the church for the night. The music director slipped me $15 so I could go to the diner and get something to eat. The meals at the diner were quite expensive so I went to the nearby WaWa and got a hot turkey hoagie as a takeout. When I got back to the church, the pastor was there and we talked for a while. There is a sofa that I could sleep on.

There might be some rain in the morning. I'm going to try and make it to Marmora to see if I could connect with the people at the Second Cape May Baptist Church again like I was able to last year.

October 19th : Tuckertown, New Jersey to Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey - I had an okay night at the church. There was a sofa but I had to move some furniture off it before I could use it. It was around 5 AM when I woke up. I had waffles and orange juice for breakfast. It was around 7:30 AM when I headed out. It was lightly raining. The ride to New Gretna went okay.

When I got to the Garden State Parkway, I sped up. I wanted to get the 2,5 miles done as quickly as I could. Bicycle aren't really allowed on the Parkway but I had no choice to get on it since US 9 joined it to get across the bridge. The bridge was being repaired so there was some construction. I just had a small amount of shoulder to use. I was so happy when I got to the interchange so that I could exit. US 9 started up again outside of Higbeeville. I got about 23 miles (37 KM) in by noon time.

When I got to Pleasantville, I followed county roads that were going south instead of staying on US 9. This got me in a better position to get onto the new bridges to Ocean City. The walkway over the first bridge was done and open but I had to get onto the shoulder of the bridge to get over the second bridge. I followed CNTY 656 over to CNTY 619. I walked over the first half of the bridge but then I rode the rest.

When I arrived in the Marmora area, there wasn't anybody at the Second Cape May Baptist Church so I rode on to Cape May Courthouse. I got into Cape May Courthouse a little after 5 PM. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. The pastor was in Israel. I went over to the First Baptist Church. They were getting ready for a spaghetti supper. There was a new pastor (interim). The church had been without a full time pastor for at least three years. Chip has only been there for about a month. After the supper, I got invited to the parsonage which was in the small town of Mayville about 2 miles (3 KM) south of the church.

October 20th : Cape May Courthouse, New Jersey to Bridgeville, Delaware - I had an okay night at the parsonage. The pastor's wife made me a bed on one of the sofas in the front room. Skip went upstairs around 10:45 PM, For some reason, I woke up around 4:30 AM. I finished up what I was doing last night and updated the website. I got my clothes out of the dryer and packed them up. I had expected somebody to come downstairs around 6:30 AM but nobody had showed up. I found some things to eat in the refrigerator.

Around 7:20 AM, I wrote a note to the pastor to thank him but also to tell him that I needed to head out early to get to the ferry. The ride south went okay. It was a little cool but not cool enough to have to put on a jacket. I stopped about 7 miles (11 KM) down the road for a break. The remaining miles to the ferry landing went okay except when I had to turn west and ride a couple of miles against the wind.

I got to the ferry about halfway through the loading. Instead of going into the building to buy a ticket, I went to one of the drivethrus. I got on the ferry about five minutes before it departed.

 Cape May Ferry

 Alice on Cape May Ferry

I spent most of the trip writing postcards. The ride was really choppy and the ferry swayed from side to side. We got into Lewes, DE around 11:30 AM.

 Delaware State Sign

I stopped at the post office in Lewes, Delaware to mail the postcards that I had written on the ferry. The ride to Georgetown and on into Bridgeville went okay. I got into Bridgeville around 5:10 PM. There was a new minister at the Union United Methodist Church. I had to wait at the church for a while but I was able to connect with the new minister. He contacted one of the trustees, Jeff Tull, who remembered me from my trip through the area last year. Jeff is involved with the sr youth. Staying in the youth room again. Might stay over tomorrow because Jeff wants me to maybe talk to the senior youth again.

October 21st : Bridgeville, Delaware - I had an okay night in the youth room of the United Methodist. I did have to switch over to another sofa that wasn't so lumpy. Before I actually fell asleep, the pastor came over to see how I was doing. I went to bed around 9 PM and I slept till around 5 AM. Around 7:30 AM, I went downstairs for a hot breakfast. I went to the 9 AM service. I got introduced but wasn't able to speak because there was a retired woman pastor who was going to talk about the United Methodist Womens Group since this was there Sunday. I wasn't invited to a Sunday school class so I went over to the nearby Dollar General for some stuff.

A little after noon, I went over to the parsonage for some lunch with the pastor and his wife. They had a friend who was a chaplain in Salsbury, MD where they had come from. Played with their long haired daschund.

I didn't do much in the afternoon but work on the photos that I had taken in the past five days and do some reading. Around 6 PM, the senior youth group "G-D's Fire" showed up. I got to speak for a little bit but there was also a speaker who was one of the torchbearers for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics Torch Relay. I got to hold the torch and have somebody take a picture of me with it. I had supper with the group. Before my friend Jeff left, he came upstairs and gave me a $100 bill from the youth group.

October 22th : Bridgeville, Delaware to Centreville, Maryland - I had an okay night in the youth room of the United Methodist. I left the church around 7:20 AM. The ride to the state line went okay and also on to Denton.

 Maryland State Sign

I stopped for lunch at a gas station in Queen Anne. I finished up MD 404 at Wye Mills and then I got on US 50. Just passed Queennstown, I got on MD 18 for the ride over to Kent Island to Stevensville.

When I got to the last interchange off of Kent Island on to US 50, I was hoping that there was some sign telling me that there was some bridge service for me to get across the Bay Bridge but there wasn't anything. There was just a sign that said bicycles and pedistrians were forbidden. I tried to hitchhike to get a ride but everybody just sped passed me. After the 50th vehicle, I just gave up and relented to the idea that I had to go clear around Chesapeake Bay and ride through Baltimore to get to Washington, D.C.

I got back off Kent Island and over to Queenstown before it got dark. I got on US 301 right at dusk. I tried my NiteRider light but the battery didn't have any charge. On the way to Centreville, I tried to find someplace to camp out but there wasn't any place.

I got into Centreville around 8:15 PM. I didn't find the police station but I did find the fire station. I talked with a couple of the volunteer firemen. They told me that the United Methodist minister was the chaplain for the station. They gave me directions to the church that was at the northern edge of town and the parsonage was across the street. The minister was friendly even though I got to the house around 9 PM. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room at the motel at the southern edge of town. I had passed the motel coming into town. The room was okay and there was internet.

October 23rd : Centreville, Maryland to Principio Furnace, Maryland - I had an okay night at the motel. It took quite a few trips up and down the one and a half flights of stairs to get all of my things from the room . I still had to go and get my bike which was in a car stall under the motel. It was around 8 AM when I left the motel. I backtracked through town and passed the Methodist Church.

I got on MD 213. The ride north went okay. There were two sections of road construction that I had to get through because they were doing some repaving. One of the work zones was at two miles long. I had to wait a couple of times for traffic to go passed before I could finish it. There were also three bridges to get over. I had to walk the drawbridge over the Sassafras River between Georgetown and Fredericksburg. There was a long bridge to get over the Bohemia River south of Cayots. The biggest bridge was the bridge over the Cross-Delaware Canal (Intercoastal Waterway) between North and South Chesapeake Cities. It was really high and there was a sidewalk to walkover.

I got into Elkton around dusk. I found the police station. There wasn't any chaplaincy program or ministerial program in town. I was given directions to the Methodist and Presbyterian Church. I happened to find some people at the church. One of the ladies tried to contact the pastor but she wasn't home. There was a really rude older guy who basically told me that there was no facilities available at the church. What a goat. I didn't find anybody at the Presbyterian church. I backtracked my way through town and got on US 40 heading west.

I had my NiteRider battery pack charged up and I used the light. There was a wide enough shoulder and light traffic so I felt comfortable doing some night riding. I found a place to camp out in some woods near the small town of Pricipio Furnace.

October 24th : Principio Furnace, Maryland to Elkridge, Maryland - I had an okay night camping out. It didn't get that cold. The overall temperature was at least 15 degrees above normal. I got on the road around 7:30 AM. I had a pretty good ride to Havre de Grace. I stopped at a gas station before the toll bridge. It would have cost me an $8 taxi ride plus the toll fee to get across but these two guys in a pickup truck took me across for free,

I got maybe 21 miles (37 KM) in by noon. I stopped in Aberdeen for some lunch. The ride into Baltimore went okay. I got into downtown Baltimore around 4:30 PM. It took a while to find US 1 because it wasn't marked. I was able to get on US 1A that took me to US 1. I had to do some night riding. I was having some problems with the NiteRider light because it was going off and on.

Near the Baltimore airport north of Elkridge, I stopped at a couple of motels that were advertising low rates. The reason behind the low rates because they were sex motels. They wanted around $40 to rent the room for two hours, $45 for 4 hours, and around $60 for all night. No telling how clean the rooms were or whether there were bedbugs so I passed on them. I stopped at a gas station for an extended break to charge up the NiteRider battery. There was another motel in Elkridge but I passed on that one because it looked like the other three.

I found a place to camp out south of town. The problem was that it was on a slight hill and the place that I picked wasn't that flat.

October 25th : Elkridge, Maryland to Washington, D.C. to Falls Church, Virginia - I had an okay night camping out. It didn't get that cold. The overall problem during the night was that I had pitched the tent on a slope and I kept sliding down the sleeping pad. I should have tried to pitch the tent across the slope instead of along it but the clearance wasn't that wide that way.

I got on the road around 7:30 AM. I stopped at a gas station a couple of miles down the road for some breakfast and to use the restroom and fill the water bottles. I didn't get far down the road because they had blocked traffic both ways. There had been an accident with a fatality. An 18 wheeler coming from the north was turning into a fleet yard when a car coming from the South going North plowed into it. The officer that I talked to mentioned excessive speed of the car driver. I was able to walk around the accident through a church property. I had a glance of the fatality. They hadn't moved the body from the car.

The rest of the ride into Washington DC was uneventful. I stopped for some lunch in University Park. I got 21 miles (34 KM) in by noon. I crossed into Washington, D.C. just passed the town of Mount Ranier.

 Washington DC Federal Sign

I took Rhode Island Avenue NE into the downtown area. I went over to the US Capitol. I got somebody to take a picture of me and the bike with the Capitol building in the background.

 Me and Alice in front of US Capitol, Washington DC

I went over to the National Mall and walked/ rode it westward. I took pictures of the Smithsonian buildings. I took pictures of the Washington Monument. I was able to buy some postcards from a street vendor. I rode over to the White House. I was able to have somebody take some pictures of me and Alice.

 Me in front of White House

I rode over to the Lincoln Memorial. I skirted the Vietnam memorial. I took some pictures of the reflecting pool that had been recently reopened with the Washington Memorial and the Capitol in the background. I was able to have somebody take a couple more pictures.

 Me with Washington Monument in background

It was already 3:30 PM, so I didn't go over to check out the new MLK memorial which was near the Jefferson Monument.

I made my way over to the Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River and crossed into Virginia. I got on the George Washington bikeway going North. At Roosevelt, I got on the Cistus Trail which was supposed to connect with the Washington and Old Dominion Rails To Trails heading west. The Cistus Trail was really hard because it was almost all climbing out of the Potomac River Valley. There were a lot of cyclists. After about six miles of mostly climbing, I got on the WOD Trail. I rode this to Falls Church.

I got into Falls Church right before dark. I found my way over to a Taco Bell for some dinner. I charged up the NiteRider battery and my laptop. I found out that there were two motels not too far away from where I had gotten off the Trail. I went over to one and I got a room for the night. It took nearly three quarters of what I had in my wallet but I knew that I was going to have some more money in my checking account.

October 26th : Falls Church, Virginia to Warrenton, Virginia - I had an okay night at the motel. I had a late start of around 8:45 AM. For the first 12 miles (19 KM), the ride was a little hard because there were hills to climb over, no shoulder, and lots of traffic. I walked up a lot of hills. I had to stop at a Home Depot to get some new bungee cords because the ones that I had were getting really frayed.

The ride through the Manassas Battlefield area was hard because the highway switched down to two lanes. There was a lot of traffic. There was a small shoulder. In the Gainesville area, I had a long stretch of construction to walk through.

I got into Warrenton a little after 5 PM. I tried to call up my contact but he wasn't at his office. I just had his business number and he wasn't listed in the phone book. It was kind of hard getting over to the police station. There was a ministerial program but the minister who was in charge had recently passed away and nobody had stepped in. I went around to some churches but I couldn't find anybody there or any contact numbers.

I did find the Catholic priest at home. He was pretty friendly. There wasn't any place on the church grounds where I could stay at so an offer to get me motel room was offered. The priest had a friend over and they took me over to a motel about a mile and a half away. I had to get down a long hill in the dark. When we got to the motel, the priest's friend Matt slipped me $20.

October 27th : Warrenton, Virginia to Culpeper, Virginia - I had an okay night at the motel. The room was okay except that there was no heating or air conditioning unit except for a table fan. The walls were thin so I was able to hear the tv from an adjacent room. They had the tv on till almost midnight.

I got on the road around 7:40 AM. I stopped at a gas station for some breakfast. I was going to take US 29 to Culpeper but there were some sections of the highway that became restricted access. I spent the first 20 miles (32 KM) riding up and over hills on paved backroads. I got on VA 229 about 7 miles (11 KM) north of Culpeper.

When I got into Culpeper, I was able to connect with my contact and they arranged for a place to spend the night.

I don't know how long this next trip will be, how long I will be on the road, and where this trip will end. I'll be waiting and praying for what the L-RD has me to do. The next update will possibly be posted between October 21st and October 28th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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