TRIP 2013

Update #08 - April 04th
Nassawadox, Virginia
Mission Trip 34: 756.41 miles (1,210.26 KM)
2,106.14 miles (3,369.82 KM) - Year Total

March 28 - Amherst, VA - 00.00 miles (00.00 KM)
I didn't feel like riding today because my legs were still tired from yesterday's ride. I felt like I had ridden 70 miles against the wind. The wind was still strong. This was the first full day off the trip. I did take a walk around the town in the afternoon.

March 29 - Amherst, VA to Appomatox, VA - 31.77 miles (50.83 KM)
I had an okay night last night. I went to bed around 10 PM and I slept till around 4:50 AM. I didn't go and get any of the pastries in the office next door because I had gone to the grocery store to get milk and yogurt.

I left the motel around 7:50 AM. The temperature was in the upper 30s (Fahrenheit) but it didn't feel as cold because there wasn't much wind. I headed East on US 60. I backtracked some of the miles that I had ridden with Alex Wed afternoon. I looks like Alex had taken me on a round-a-bout route that might have added 4 miles (6 KM)to the trip to the motel. He should have taken me straight up US 60 westward.

When I had passed the spot where I had gotten on US 60, I felt a lot better because it looked like I was going to get out of the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain Range. I took a break at the small gas station/post office/store in the small hamlet of Gladstone. Once passed the Amherst county line, I crossed into Appomatox County. At the small hamlet of Bone Creek, I crossed the James River and headed south on VA 26. The 12 mile (19.2) ride to Appomatox went okay. There were a couple of climbs but I only had to walk up one.

I got into the outskirts of Appomatox around 1:40 PM. I stopped at a McD's for a sandwich and something to drink. I stopped at the Memorial Methodist Church. I talked with the secretary. The pastor had gone home for a late lunch break because there was a Good Friday service at noon. There was an offer to get me a room at the nearby local motel.

March 30 - Appomatox, VA to South Farmville, VA - 35.63 miles (57.01 KM)
I left the motel around 8 AM. It was warm enough so I was able to just wear one jacket. I went into the downtown area to check it out before getting on US 460. When I got into Pamplin City, I got on the High Bridge State Trail. It was a Rails To Trails. I rode less than a mile of it before getting back on US 460 because it was crushed stone.

I was making good time. There were some hills but I only had to walk up one. By noon, I got almost 25 miles (40 KM) in. I did take a couple breaks along the way. At Dowdy Corner, I got on BUS 460. I stopped at a flea market/ thrift store. They had somebody dressed as the Easter Bunny. About a mile down the road, I stopped at a manufactured home center. They were having an easter egg hunt for kids. I waited around to check it out. It didn't take long for the kids to pick up all of the plastic eggs. It wasn't much of a hunt because the eggs were just scattered around. I had a couple hamburgers and soda.

 Easter Egg Hunt  - Farmville, VA

 Easter Egg Hunt - Farmville, VA

The temperature got into the low 60s (Fahrenheit) so I was finally able to ride without a coat on again. It's been nearly 2 weeks since I was able to do it last.

It was around 1:20 PM when I got into downtown Farmville. I stopped at the Presbyterian church. There were some ladies there but they didn't have the pastor's phone number. I went over to the Methodist Church across the street from Longwood University. I found a guy in the basement kitchen who was getting the eggs ready for tomorrow's breakfast. He didn't have the phone number for the head pastor. She lived about 30 miles (50 KM) away.

The guy did have a card for the assistant pastor who took care of the Wesley Foundation Student Center next door. I was able to talk with assistant pastor Rev Meiser. He actually lived 20 miles (30 KM) away. I was given permission to stay in the basement of the Foundation Center. The Habitat Bike/Build riders had stayed here before.

I had to wait for one of the foundation board members. I was taken inside to check things out but before I got settled in Mr Culler offered to get me a room at the Super 8 south of town near US 460. He told me that he had learned that there might have been a conflict with me staying there since they were going to have a real early service for some of the college students tomorrow. It's going to be about a three mile (5 KM) ride back into the downtown area tomorrow morning.

March 31 - South Farmville, VA to Farmville, VA - 3.07 miles (4.91 KM)
I had an okay night last night. I went to bed around 11 PM and I slept till close to 5 AM. There was a decent breakfast but the waffles were the ones that you warmed up in a toaster. It was lightly raining. Instead of wearing the Shifting Gears jersey, I decided to wear one of the other jerseys that I've been carrying but not since I got the Shifting Gears jersey. I wore the blue "G-D Propelled" jersey.

I waited till around 9:15 AM to check out. It was lightly drizzling on my way back into the downtown area. For most of the ride it was a downhill run. I was thinking about going back to the Methodist church but I sort of had a bad feeling. It would be hard to worship at someplace where the other day they told you that you had to be gone before 6:30 AM. I decided to go back to the First Presbyterian Church. It was early so I stopped at a nearby gas station to get some hot chocolate.

At the gas station, I got into a conversation with a guy in his mid 20s. He had been recently let go from one of the local college's sports department because that sport coach had recently resigned. He told me that last year he was living in S.F. He told me that he went out there to seek his own faith walk but he was into some New Age stuff. He was a disatisfied Catholic. One of his older sisters had become a nun. We talked for maybe 15 minutes.

At the Presbyterian Church, I parked Alice on the front steps of the church because there was room that I could do it without getting into the traffic at the front door of the church. I got to take part in the men's Sunday school class. They let me speak some. This was the seventeenth church/ ministry that I had been given the chance to speak at this year. I was the youngest person in the class. Afterwards, I got to meet Rev Thomas Robinson between the Sunday school class and the service. He told me that I could stay in the church for the night.

The sanctuary wasn't that packed. It was packed in the back pews but not up front where I sat. Between the announcements and the start of the service, I got to share a little bit. The service was okay. There was a really nice pipe organ music.

Nothing much happened afterwards. Some people did stop to talk to me and shake my hand but no Green Handshakes were shared. After everybody had pretty well left, I brought Alice inside the church. I'm camping out in the parlor for the night. Rev Robinson told me that they had let homeless people stay in the church for the night during emergencies so the church was used to people staying in the church overnight.

April 01 - Farmville, VA to Blackstone, VA - 34.76 miles (55.62 KM)
I had an okay night last night. It was good that there was a wi-fi connection at the church so I was able to update my website. On my netbook, I watched one of my movies. It was pretty good. Nobody showed up in the evening. The parlor didn't get too cold so I didn't use my sleeping bag . I crashed on the sofa bench around 9:30 PM. I slept till around 4:00 AM.

The sun was up early so I left the church around 7:45 AM. There was a really long hill to climb up. I could have taken the High Bridge State Park Rail Trail but it had rained yesterday. There were a lot of hills between Farmville and Burkeville. Some of them were quite long. I had to get off and walk a couple of times.

A couple of miles out of Burkeville, I had to make some emergency repairs on Alice. The handlebar was really loose. One of the bolts that clamped the handlebar to the steering column was missing. The other bolt was loose but I couldn't get it tight because the head was stripped. I had to use a zip tie and some electric tape to fix the handlebar in place. It's a little wobbly but I can't fix it completely until I get new bolts.

I didn't have to ride through Burkeville. I stopped again to redo some of the repair work. In Crewe, I stopped to take some pictures at a train museum. It was closed so I just took pictures through the fence.

 Railroad Museum in Crew, VA

 Steam locomotive and coal car at railroad museum in Crew, VA

It was warm enough so I was able to take my jacket off. I stopped to get some lunch on the eastern edge of Crewe.

The ride between Crewe and Blackstone went okay. I got into Blackstone around 1:30 PM. I rode around the downtown area to check out the churches to see if anybody was around but there wasn't anybody. There were no contact numbers. I stopped at the police station. The lady dispatcher was able to contact the minister of the Lion of Judah church and he arranged for a room at the local motel. It was good that I had a place to stay inside because the sky was darkening. There was a chance for rain tonight.

After getting Alice situated in the room, I walked across the street to check out the park. There were some small buildings including a small chapdl. It turns out that the buildings were part of a Christmas Village that was still up. There was no door to the small church. There wouldn't have been any place to stand inside . The buildings might be a permanent display. These buildings could have been something that they might have put up in Christmas, Florida between Orlando and Titusville.

 Christmas Village display in Blacksone, VA

  Christmas Village display in Blacksone, VA

April 02 - Blackstone, VA to Ivor, VA - 82.37 miles (131.79 KM)
I had an okay night last night. Before it got dark, I walked over to a nearby gas station to get a few things for breakfast since there wasn't one. I left the motel a little before 8 AM. I walked through the downtown area. Stopped at a gas station for some hot chocolate. There was a bit of a climb back up to US 460.

Once on US 460 heading east, the ride was really good. There were just a few hills but I pretty well flew over them because there was a good tailwind blowing from the Northwest. I came across a scattering of shoes. I stopped to check them out. There were 4 pair of tennis shoes and two pairs of flipflops. They were too big for me. They were all size 10 1/2. I lined them up side to side and took a couple of pictures of them.

 Found Shoes in, VA

I got in almost 34 miles (54.4 KM) by noon time. I stopped at a gas station for a light lunch. Coming into Petersburg, I stopped to do a little shopping.

I got into downtown Petersburg around 2:30 PM. I stopped at the First Baptist Church to see if I could connect with the pastor there. The church was spiritually dead. There was all the indications that it was a dying church. Mostly elderly people. There didn't seem to be any young people. The pastor was sort of pass-offish. He told me that his church and the other churches pooled their money for a one stop Christian social center/ homeless shelter. He gave me all kinds of excuses like the insurance wouldn't allow anybody to stay in the church overnight. The pastor wanted me to stay to talk to this guy who lived in a group home. The pastor was giving me indications that he was passing me off to this guy. I decided just to head out and not stop at any other churches.

It was a little hard getting back on US 460 because for a while it joined up with an interstate. I had to get south for about three miles (5 KM) before I could head east to get back on US 460. I pushed the 18 miles (29 KM) into Wakefield. I got into Wakefield around 5:30 PM. I checked out the churches but there wasn't anybody around them and there was no contact information. I went over to the police station. They tried to connect with a minister but they had some problems doing so. It turns out that they were just calling the churches in hopes that somebody would show up instead of contacting the pastors at their homes. There was some talk of getting me a room at the local motel but supposedly the motel was full. They were going to do something else but was taking a long time. I didn't want to get stuck in town without a place after dark. It was kind of a wasted 70 minutes.

It was nearly dusk when I headed out again. I had to use my lights to get into Waverly 8 miles (13 KM) away. I got into Waverly around 8:30 PM. I found the churches but nobody around them. I found the municipal building in hopes that there might be a police station there but there wasn't. The police in Wakefield takes care of both towns. I stopped at this one gas station to see if somebody there might know a local minister. Nobody did but a customer told me to go to another gas station because the guy there had a lot of Christian signs in the shop and Christian material. The guy was Asian and he didn't speak English well. He had no connections with any of the local ministers.

The only thing that I could do was to find a place to camp out. Woods were kind of scarce. About a couple of miles (3 KM) into Suffolk county, I finally found a place to camp out. I followed a dead end road a bit and I camped out in a clearing next to a winter wheat field. There was some woods blocking me from the dead end road and the highway. Hopefully, it will not get that cold tonight.

April 03 - Ivor, VA to Portsmouth, VA - 46.83 miles (74.19 KM)
I had an okay night even though I had some leg cramps. It didn't get that cold. I was comfortable in my sleeping bag. When I woke up around 6:30 AM it was daylight. I was hoping to get on the road before 8 AM but I had to work on the below seat rack again. The picture wire that I had used to fix it had broke. It was around 8:20 AM when I got back on the road.

The ride was okay but there wasn't much of a shoulder to ride along. There was a lot more truck traffic. I got in about 25 miles (40 KM) in by noon time. I got into the Suffolk area around 12:30 PM. I stopped in Suffolk for some lunch.

After lunch, I came across
Bike West Bike Shop a couple miles down the road. There was quite a few Christian signs outfront. I had stopped to see if I could get some new bolts for the handlebar clamp. I also wanted to see if he had a tool to take out the remaining bolt that had the stripped head. The owner/ mechanic said that the bolts weren't standardized. If I wanted him to work on the bike, he would have to charge me his mininum of $10 for service fee. I passed on the bolts. I just wanted to but the bolts so that I could put them in myself. I just asked him how to get from the bike shop to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge tunnel. After about a 20 minute discusion, he offered to go out and check on the bike. I had to cut some of the tape off of the bolt head and holes. He was able to get the bolt out. The bolt head wasn't stripped. The tool set that I was using had a stripped head. Instead of an allen wrench tool set, I had a torque wrench tool set.

After getting the bolt out, he went into the shop to see if he had another bolt for the missing one. He put both bolts into the handlebar clamp, gave me the Park Tool allen wrench tool set, and told me that there wasn't any bill to pay. While I was getting ready to head out, a station wagon pulled in. It was an Assembly of G-D pastor friend of his. The pastor and the guy were going to the West Bank of Israel in January to do some bike ministry (repairing bikes of the Palestineans while telling them about Chr-st. I shared with the minister what I am doing and some other information. What was so neat about the minister was that a couple of years ago he did a cross-country trip on a recumbent trike. While I was doing sharing some information, the bike owner/mechanic pulled out his wallet and slipped me $10, He told me that the money was for lunch down the road.

From the bike shop, I stopped at the Suffolk visitor center to get a street map. I got visual clues on my route to Chesapeake and Portsmouth. The ride to Portsmouth went okay. I stopped at the Bethany Baptist Church around 5:40 PM. There was to be a Bible Study around 6 PM. I got to talk to the pastor , Rev Mike Ellis, before the study/ prayer time. At the beginning of the study, I got to share for a few minutes. This was the 18th time that I got to speak at a church or ministry for the year.

The church has a drug treatment- recovery /discipleship program called
Victory Home . It was arranged for me to stay with some graduates of the discipleship program who now do ministry in the church. Alice would be kept in the church for the night.

I got a big scare before the Bible study when one of the church members told me that they had moved my bike because I had put the big lock on the back wheel. I was really concerned thatthey might have either damaged the rear cluster or the spokes in the rear wheel. I thought that they had just moved Alice up gainst the wall of the church but they had actually brought Alice inside. When I checked the bike, the bike lock chain was stretched some but it didn't look there seemed to no busted spokes. I will not be able to find this out until tomorrow. I'll have to flip Alice onto one of her sides and spin the rear wheel to see if there is any damage.

April 04 - Portsmouth, VA to Virginia Beach, VA to Nassawadox, VA - 44.68 miles (71.49 KM)
I was surprised that I got some sleep. My worry was that I was going to be placed into a home with all of the other guys in the program (clients) but instead I was taken over to a house where some of the graduates lived who worked at the church. Two of them were assistant pastors at the church. There were three bedrooms and a bunkbed in the living room. My bed was one of the bunk beds, I was able to get my clothes washed and dried. There wasn't any wi-fi access. I had two days worth of logs and journaling to do before going to bed.

I went to sleep around 11 PM and I woke up around 4:45 AM. I was the first one up. The assistant pastor who was going to take me back to the church got up a little after 5 AM. We headed back to the church around 5:30 AM. When we got back to the church, I got everything packed up on Alice. Breakfast was being made for the guys who came back to the church. I talked to some of them before breakfast. After breakfast, I headed out from the church around 6:45 AM. The temperature was cold in the mid 30s so I had to put on my second jacket and get my gloves on.

I walked about 2 miles checking on the rear wheel to see if it rolled okay. The wheel seemed to be okay so I guess that none of the spokes was busted. Traffic was light on the way into downtown Portsmouth. I was still a little hungry so I stopped at a Food Lion to get some pastry and also some chocolate milk. Couldn't pass up the $.79 bottle of milk.

While I was eating my pastry, this guy in a naval uniform started to walk into the store. I told him thank you for his service to the country and he came over to talk to me. Corpsman Buckley had been in the service for 18 years (4 years Marines and 14 years Navy). He is currently stationed at the Naval Hospital. Before he went into the store, he told me to wait for him and he would be out in a few minutes. When he came out he slipped me $10 in a GH.

From the store it was a short ride to the waterfront. I stopped to take pictures of the lighthouse ship Portsmouth. I walked along the riverwalk to the ferry landing. I took pictures of the naval ships in drydock across the river. I missed the ferry so I had to wait for the next ferry to arrive. I took quite a few pictures. The ferry was a paddleboat.

 Paddle boat ferry in Hampton Roads, VA

They didn't exclude bicycles and the ferry was wheelchair accescible. The ferry cost $1.50. It was about a 10 minute ride over to the Portsmouth waterfront. I snapped a lot of pictures.

From the waterfront, I found the visitor center so that I could find a route over to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel tollbooth. The ride over to the tollbooth was okay but it was a slow ride because there was traffic and a lot of stoplights. I almost got hit a couple of times because trucks didn't yield to me and they turned into an interchange right in front of me instead of waiting for me to get through the interchange. I stopped for an early lunch,

It was around 2:15 pm when I got to the toll booth. The guy inside the office at the counter asked me if I had set up a reservation to get across the bridge. I had no idea that this was the policy now. It only became policy last year and it was two years since I had gotten a ride across the bridge. It was about a 40 minute wait for one of the bridge workers was free to take me across the bridge. I had to unload Alice so it could be put in the bed of the truck. We packed the gear around it. I had to pay the $12 fee to get across the bridge. It was about a 25 minute ride across the bridge. I took a lot of pictures along the way.

 Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel VA

 Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel VA

 Chesapeake Bay Bridge - Tunnel VA

I was dropped off at the North tollbooth on the Eastern Shore. It didn't take me long to pack Alice up. Before heading North on US 13, I stopped to take pictures of the signs.

 Welcome To Eastern Shorre, VA

One side told me that it was 140 miles (224 KM) to the Cape May ferry between Lewes, DE and Cape May Courthouse, NJ. I got on a paved Rails to Trails path but it was only a couple of miles long.

I pushed on without breaks because I was trying to get into Exmore to find something inside because storms were coming through during the night. It was getting dark real early because the sky was overcast. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get into Exmore before dark.

About 6 miles (10 KM) out of Exmore, this local guy in a truck stopped me to tell me that the storm was coming early. He offered to take me into Exmore. It would have been another hour of riding for me possibly in the dark before I got to Exmore so I accepted. The guy told me that he knew the pastor of the Baptist Church in Exmore. He took me over to the church. The guy had two brown labs. The female had just turned 10 and the male was just a pup of 11 months. He was as big as the 10 year old. The pup was really rambunctious and he attacked me with his tongue.

At the church the guy tried to call the pastor. I happened to see a guy coming out of the church getting the mail. The guy in the truck went out to talk to him. I was told to come into the office because the secretary was still there. There was an offer to get me a room at the motel that we had passed about three miles (5 KM) down the road near the town of Nassawadox. I got transported to the motel. On the way, there was an offer to get me some supper at either McD's or Hardees. I opted Hardees. The guy slipped me a $20 and I went inside for a chicken meal. I tried to give the guy the change back but he told me to keep it.

The rain should be out of here by early morning. I might try to get into MD tomorrow. I am about 4 days ahead of my projected schedule. I had projected to get into Exmore next Monday. From the motel, I'm about 120 miles (192) from the Cape May Ferry.

The next trip update should be posted sometime around April 18th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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