TRIP 2013

Update #21 - August 29
Kingston, Tennessee
Mission Trip 34: 6,815.84 miles (10,905.34 KM)
8,165.57 miles (13,064.91 KM) - Year Total

Currently, I'm in Kingston, Tennessee. From here, I'll be heading West to Moore, Oklahoma. I am riding to Moore, Oklahoma to see what I can do with regards to helping out with the rebuilding after this Spring's deadly tornado. Between here and Moore, I'll be riding through Nashville and Memphis, Tennesee and Little Rock and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Estimated time of arrival in Moore is about 3.5 weeks.

August 15 : Culpeper, VA to Charlottesville, VA - 43.44 miles (69.50 KM)

I had an okay night. I rode back into town to go to the prayer service at the Calvary Baptist Church. I met the interim minister. He gave me the chance to talk. This was the 42nd church.

I went to bed around 10 PM and I woke up early around 4:30 AM. There was a good free hot breakfast buffet. I got on the road around 8:40 AM. The ride South was long and slow because of the hills. I am in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There was a lot of traffic. The main problem was that there wasn't a consistent shoulder. In some places, the shoulder was wide as a car lane and in some areas there wasn't anu shoulder.

I got into the Northern edge of Charlottesville around 4:40 PM. Traffic was getting heavy. I decided to stop at a motel instead of trying to ride through the city. Charlottesville is a university town. I spent a little more than what I had hoped but I needed a room for the night.

August 16 : Charlottesville, VA to Lovington, VA - 43.04 miles (68.86 KM)

I had an okay night. I went to bed around 9:45 PM. I woke up early around 3:30 AM but after about a half hour up I was able to get back to sleep till around 5:45 AM. There wasn't a free breakfast. I finished working on the pictures that I had taken the past week. I left the motel a little after 9 AM because any bicycle shops that I came to didn't open till around 10 AM.

It was about a 4 mile ride into the downtown area. There were a couple more motels along the way but they would have been way above my price range. I rode passed the University of Virginia. In the downtown area, I stopped for a few minutes at the Habitat For Humanity offices. I had two addresses for bike shops in the downtown area. One of them didn't exist. The address that they had would have put them in the middle of the Greyhound bus station. I found the other one in a building complex a couple of blocks South of Main Street. The mechanic told me that the disc rotor for the front disc brake unit didn't need to be replaced. I got some more Avid disc pads. The ones that I had bought up in New York were generic ones and weren't as thick as the real ones. I actually got these at a lower price than the ones that I had bought in New York. I took the time to installing them.

I sort of backtracked through the downtown area to get back on US 29. I stopped at a gas station for some lunch. The ride South on US 29 was long and slow because of the hills. The shoulder along the way went from car wide to zero. On one hill, I had to walk up because there was no shoulder. The good thing was that the temperature was only in the 70s. I did have to walk through a detour around a bridge that was being redone about six miles (10 KM) out of Lovington.

I got into Lovington around 6:30 PM. There wasn't much in town. I didn't see any active churches. One church had been turned into the offices of a certified public accountant. I stopped at a MCDs for some supper. It was around 7:10 PM when I left Lovington. I came across a church South of town but it was a black church. I came across a motel about a mile out of town. They wanted almost $60 f0r a room. The clerk couldn't give me a discount. He did slip me $5 as a donation.

I went down the road about a mile more and I found some woods next to the High School to camp out in. It might be a cool night tonight with temps close to 60 degrees.

Riding maybe to Lynchburg tomorrow. I had called Rev Wheeler at the Fairview Christian Church. I had stopped there March 26th. Rev Wheeler told that his wife would be home this weekend. He was going to try and find a place to stay with one of his parishioners. I've got to contact him sometime tomorrow before I get into Lynchburg.

August 17 : Lovington, VA to Madison Heights, VA - 29.04 miles (46.46 KM)

I had an okay night. I went to bed around 9:30 PM. It got cold so I had to crawl into my sleeping bag. I got back on the road around 8:30 AM. The ride to Amherst was slow. I had to stop a couple of times to work on the brakes. They were either too lose or too strong. There was also a road construction area. I got into Amherst around 11:05 AM. I stopped for some lunch.

In the afternoon, I took Bus 29 to Madison Heights. I stopped several more times to work on the brakes again. About two miles (3.2 KM)from where I was going to stay for the night I started to experience more rubbing of the back wheel. When I checked the rear rack, I found out that one of the mounts had snapped off. There wasn't a way that I could do a temp repair on it. I had to call my host to come and get me. I found out that there is a bike shop open tomorrow afternoon so I could get a new rack. Tomorrow will possibly a wash-out with thunderstorms.

August 20 : Madison Heights, VA to Bedford, VA - 28.71 miles (45.94 KM)

I had an okay night. I was hoping to get back on the road yesterday but I couldn't find the right rack Sunday afternoon at the bike shop in downtown Lynchburg so I had to have my host, Chris, take me to another bike shop in West Lynchburg yesterday. It took me a little over four hours getting the new rack on because I ran into a couple of complications.

I actually slept a lot longer last night than what I had expected. I woke up a little after 6 AM. Around 7:45 AM, I got everything outside and started to pack Alice. The platform of the rack is at least three inches higher than the old one. This might goof up the center of balance. The platform was a little smaller than the old one. It took a while to find the right position for my gear on the rack. After a quick breakfast of cereal, I said goodbye to Chris and got on the road around 8:40 AM.

It was a short ride to the Amhert Highway and then a steep 9% grade downhill run to the bridge over the James River. It is so good that I now have new brakes in both brake units. The front brake squeals some though. Once across the River and into downtown Lynchburg, It was a long steep walk-climb out of the James River Valley. I stayed on Martin Luther King Blvd to US 221 South and then I turned West (even though the sign said South). I stopped in the parking lot of a church to work on the front brake. I got it to not squeal.

It was a slow ride out of the Lynchburg area to Forest. There were a lot of hills and a couple of them I had to walk because there was no shoulder to ride on and lots of traffic. I'm definitely in the foothills of the Appalachians. The Blue Ridge Parkway isn't far away and the Appalachian Train is not too far away to the West. Once I got into the Forest area, traffic lessoned up. I stopped for an early lunch in Forest. The rest of the ride into Bedford area went okay. I got into downtown area around 3:45 PM. I stopped at the First Presbyterian Church. The secretary was just getting ready to leave but there was a cell phone number for the pastor. I called up Rev Sally. He told me that he had done some touring in his earlier years and is now riding a hybrid. Rev Sally showed up at the church about ten minutes later. He took me across the parking lot to their community center. He had brought a mattress, pillow, towel, and wash cloth. The community center is open up and is set up for groups. There is a small studio apartment washer and dryer and also a shower in the bathroom. There isn't any wifi access though.

My goal tomorrow is just to ride to Roanoke. I've got an acquaintance that lives there.

August 21 : Bedford, VA to Christiansburg, VA - 52.70 miles (84.32 KM)

I had an okay night in the community center. Having access to a shower and a washer and dryer was plus. Sleeping on a thick mattress helped a lot. There was a little light coming in to the building from the outside. I woke up around 6 AM and I got on the road a little before 8 AM. It was a little foggy so I took my time to get to US 460. I stopped at a gas station about 3 miles down the road for some breakfast.

The ride to Roanoke was a little slow. There were quite a few hills to climb over. In some places the shoulder was wide but in others places there weren't any. About 15 miles out of Bedford, a cycle tourist was heading East on the other side of the 4-lane divided highway. Traffic was heavy sometimes so I had to walk up several hills. I still got a little over 20 miles (32 KM) by noontime. I got a late lunch in West Roanoke. I decided to change my route. Instead of heading South to North Carolina and then head West to Tennessee, I'm going to take US 11 that parallels I-81. This would help me avoid getting up Newfound Gap (5,034 feet).

I got on US 460 to Salem and then I got on US 11. I got caught in a brief rain shower in the Western area of Roanoke. I got into Salem around 4:30 PM. I didn't find anybody at the churches. The Baptist church had an evening service but it wouldn't have been till 6:30 PM. I decided to go on. The ride to Elliston went okay.

I got into Elliston around 7:30 PM. I checked out the Baptist Churches that I could find but they didn't have a service. I stopped at the Church of G-D. The pastor was pretty friendly. I asked if I could stay in the fellowship hall for the night because there was going to be more storms tonight. Instead of letting me stay in the fellowship hall for the night, there was an offer to get me a room at a motel in Christiansburg. This was good for me because there was a steep hill to climb several miles out of Christiansburg..

August 22 : Christiansburg, VA to Pulaski, VA - 31.57 miles (84.32 KM)

I had an okay night. I would have like to get on the internet but there is something wrong with the modem in my netbook. There was a decent breakfast but there wasn't anything hot except toast. I got on the road a little after 8 AM.

The ride through Christiansburg went okay. The ride to Radford went okay. Going out of town, I crossed Bike Route 76 (the original BikeCentenniel (Adventure Cycling) TransAmerican Bike Route. Before leaving Radford, I stopped at a Goodwill store to see if I could find some new tennis shoes. I had the old pair since May 5th and I've got 3250.72 miles (5201.15 KM) on them. The back part of the body of the shoe had separated from the sole. I tried glueing the shoe together but it didn't work. There were two pairs of tennis shoes that might work. One of the pairs was close to what I had but I decided to buy a pair of Addidas that had a flat sole. They were in pretty good condition and I got them only for $3. I also bought another water bottle for $.92 to replace one of the ones that I have because it was getting too bad inside.

I still was able to make 20 miles (32 KM) in by noontime. I stopped on the side of the road for some lunch. There was some hills to get over to Pulaski. I got into Pulaksi around 2:30 PM. It was a little late to make an attempt to go to the next town of Wytheville. There was a chance for more storms tonight. I stopped at a couple of churches to see if I could connect with a minister and find a place to stay for the night. I found the secretary in the office of the First United Methodist Church. The pastor was out for a short time. The secretary offered to get me a room at a local motel for the night.

August 23 : Pulaski, VA to Wytheville, VA - 27.73 miles (44.37 KM)

I had an okay night. The room was a little run down but it was comfortable. There wasn't much on tv to keep me occupied so I shut it off early. I got maybe 7 hrs of sleep.

I left the motel around 7:55 AM. It was a little overcast. In the downtown area, I stopped to check out the caboose and the old railroad station. There was a rails-to-trails route but it went South to Galax instead of going the direction where I was heading. There was about a two mile (3.2 KM) climb to the top of Draper Mountain. I must have gone up a little over 1000 feet (300 meters). There was an overlook at the top. On the other side, there was about a two mile (3.2 KM) downhhill run into the valley. I missed my turnoff to the old Lee Highway so I had to backtrack about a half mile. This road paralleled I-81.

About a mile down the road, it started to rain. In Fort Chisolm, I stopped at a truckstop for a break and to wait out the rain. A guy stopped to talk to me. He slipped me $10 in a GH. There was a motel at the truckstop with rates under $30 but I decided to go on to get to Wytheville.

The rain stopped a little before 11:30 AM. I rode down the road about a couple of miles and I stopped at another truckstop for some lunch. The rest of the ride into Wytheville went okay. I stopped to get some groceries. I got into the downtown area around 3 PM. I didn't feel like trying to go on to Marion. I wasn't sure if I was going to do some more climbing.

I met up with another cycletourist. He had started from San Francisco. He was going to stop someplace in Maryland.

I found the Presbyterian minister in at the church. He offered me the use of the fellowship hall for the night. The church had hosted other cycling groups before. There is a sofa to sleep on in the fellowship hall and the men's restroom has a shower so I can take one in the morning.

About halfway between Wytheville and Marion, I'll be crossing the Appalachian Trail. I'm still not sure whether I'm on the Western side of the Appalachian Mountain range now or still in a valley. I'll know for sure when I cross the AT. I'm still about 68 miles North of the TN state line.

August 24 : Wytheville, VA to Driscoll, VA - 71.73 miles (114.77 KM)

I had an okay night staying in the fellowship hall. The sofa was pretty comfortable. When I went into the hallway to get a few things off of Alice, I had a surprise. On the seat of Alice was a backpack and an envelope. In the envelope, there was a $10 McD gift card that Rev Simpson had bought for me. The backpack was an eagle scout project filled with stuff that a homeless person might need. There wasn't any food but toiletries. The only problem is that a lot of the items were too big and heavy. I took what I could use and carry and put the stuff that I couldn't use back into the backpack. I wrote a note to the pastor and hung the backpack on his office door knob.

I left the church a little before 8 AM. The ride to Groseclose went okay. US 11 was following a railroad and I was in a valley. I'm pretty sure that I'm now in a valley and on the Western side of the Appalachian Mountains. On the edge of Atkins, I crossed over the Appalachian Trail. I could have missed it because there was just a small side and blaze mark on an railing. The trail was just a path cut into some tall weeds. This was the trail to the South to Springer Mountain. The trail to the North went up US 11 to the first road to the left and you would follow that road across the railroad track and then an overpass over I-81 and then up the mountain. It's hard to believe that I hiked through here in 1981 and I was on my way to YMCA Camp Pioneer outside of Hiawassee, Georgia.

I stopped for some lunch in Marion. The afternoon ride went okay. I rode through Adwolf, Chilhowie, Glade Spring, and Emory. About fiteen miles out of Abingdon, I met up with a unique walker. A lady was walking south with two large suitcases on wheels. She would take one suitcase up the side of the road maybe fifty feet, leave the suitcase there, walk back to get the second suitcase, walk it up the first suitcase, and then repeat the process over again. For every fifty feet up the road, she was actually walking one hundred fifty feet.

I got into Abingdon around 6:45 PM. I was going to maybe stop in Abingdon but there was a lot of tourist in the area. There was a major Nascar race at a racetrack in Driscoll. I stopped long enough to get something to drink at a gas station. I decided to keep on going and hope to find a place to camp out before I reached the outskirts of Bristol. I couldn't find anything because there wasn't much open land.

I used both of my headlights. I got to the outskirts of Bristol around 8:30 PM. I saw a sign about camping at the city park but I didn't know where the campground was and how much it would cost for a space. I decided to go on to see if I could find another place to camp out. I stopped in the old parking lot of a torn down gas station to relief myself. A friendly deputy sheriff stopped to see if I needed any help. I told him what I was trying to find. He contacted the local police and a friendly officer showed up. The police officer told me that the campground was probably full with race fans. He called his captain and I got permission to camp out in the front part of the campground. There were some trees up a hill from some soccer and softball fields. I could have camped out somewhere in the trees but there were sidewalk paths through that part of the park. I found a open space in the treeline on the edge of the mowed grass. The ground wasn't that level so it might be a little tough getting some sleep.

August 25 : Driscoll, VA to New Canton, TN - 44.61 miles (71.38 KM)

the sleeping bag because the temperature got down to somewhere in the fifties. During the night, I woke up a couple of times to get back on the sleeping pad. When I finally woke up around 7 AM it was already daylight. It was around 8:45 AM when I left the park and got back on US 11.

About three miles down the road, I stopped at a McDs for some breakfast. It was around 9:50 AM when I decided to stop for church at the Central Presbyterian Church. There were a lot of cars pulling into the parking lot. I thought that they were just going to go to Sunday school class but there was a 10 AM service in the fellowship hall/ gym. This was the last of the combined services for summer and they would go back to two services next weekend. There was a stage and a praise team. It was a contemporary service that had the feel of a stage show service. People were coming in with coffee and donuts. The congregation was mostly elderly and there wasn't much of any other age. The church had the feeling of a dying church. During the meet-n-greet, I got to talk to the pastor. In the few seconds that I had with him, I got the feeling that he wasn't going to be that friendly towards me. During the sermon, he used words and phrases that made me believe that he was just an interim. I didn't think that it would be a good idea after the service to see if he knew of a place where I could hang out the rest of the day. It might not have happened anyway at the church because there was going to be a 5:30 PN potluck and an evening service.

The service ended a little before 11 AM. As I was getting Alice ready to go this elderly was getting up real close with a camera. He really got to me because he didn't talk to me. I felt like I was a freak in a sideshow. This other guy stopped to talk to me. He told me that he was a cyclist. When he asked me how I was funding my trip, I told him that I was out here on faith. He surprised me by pulling out his wallet and he slipped me $60 in a GH.

About a mile from the TN state line, US 11 ended and the highway split into US 11E and US 11W. I was taking US 11W to Knoxville, TN. I crossed into TN around 11:45 AM. I stopped to take the traditional pictures. I stopped for lunch in Driscoll, TN. The ride to Kingsport, TN went really well. For 10 of the 15 miles, the ride was downhill and I was coasting most of the way. I took my time going through the Kingsport area because the temperature was hot in the low 90s. I stopped a couple of times to do some shopping. I was going to stop in Kingsport for the day but I would have to get off the main road and down a hill to the downtown area. There weren't any churches on the main road.

I rode on to Church Hill. I got into Church Hill around 6 PM. I saw a sign for the First Baptist Church. I had to go down a steep hill to the downtown area of Church Hill. I got to the First Baptist Church around 6:10 PM. During the summer, the evening service starts around 5:30 PM so I came in about halfway through the pastor's sermon. Instead of letting me stay in the activities building for the night, there was an offer to get me a room at the local motel. One of the deacons would take me to the motel. They had a station wagon but Alice wouldn't fit so I opted to ride to the motel. It was about a 4.5 mile ride to the motel that was in New Canton. Before parting company, there was an offer from them to go to a McD back in Church Hill to get me some supper.

August 26 : New Canton, TN to Morristown, TN - 46.97 miles (75.15 KM)

I had an okay night. It was neat having a hot meal instead of something cold from my pannier. I got on the road a little after 8 AM. It was a little cool in the morning so I wore my jacket for a while. The ride West went okay. There were a couple of climbs but quite a few downhill runs. I got a little over 21 miles in by noon.

A little after noon, I stopped at a gas station for a little break. I went inside to use their restroom and buy a can of soda. There was a bench outside so I got out my paperback and a couple of snacks that I had bought at the salvage store yesterday afternoon. A couple of minutes later, one of the ladies came out and asked me if I was hungry and whether I wanted a bologna sandwich or a ham sandwich. I picked bologna. About five minutes later, the lady came out with a huge bologna sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes and a large bag of potato chips. This made a good lunch.

I got back on the road a little after 1 PM. The ride went well to Bean Station. At the intersection of US 11W and US 25E, I decided to head South on US 25 E to Morristown instead of continuing on US 11 W. At Morristown, I'm going to get on US 11 E to Knoxville. There were a couple of hills to climb over and a couple of bridges to get across over Cherokee Lake. At Lakemore, I switched over to TN 342 for the ride into downtown Morristown.

I stopped at the Buffalo Trace Baptist Church around 4:45 PM. The secretary met me at the door. She went to see if the pastor was still around. The pastor was pretty friendly. He told me that my meeting him might have been a divine appointment and that was the reason for my changing my route in Bean Station. He needed some assurance and confirmation on the direction of an upcoming sermon series. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, the pastor offered to get me a room at the Super 8 a couple of miles away on US 11 E.

I'll be riding through Knoxville tomorrow.

August 27 : Morristown, TN to Lenoir City, TN - 72.97 miles (116.75 KM)

I had an okay night. There was a pretty good hot free breakfast with hot waffles. I got on the road around 8 AM. The ride South on US 11 E went really well. There were quite a few downhill runs. I got almost 26 miles (42 KM) in by noon time.

I started the ride through Knoxville around 3 PM. It was a long ride through Knoxville. My route took me through a gauntlet of homeless people who were waiting for the Salvation Army shelter to open. There must have been at least a hundred people waiting. They were on both sides of the street. The route took me through the downtown area passed the Sun Tower and the site of the 1982 World's Fair. After that, it took me down a really steep hill and through the University of Tennessee.

It was a really long ride through the rest of Knoxville. I rode passed a lot of auto dealerships, restaurants, and stores. It was almost dusk when I got through Knoxville and started the ride through Farragut. I used my lights. I rode passed a lot of megachurches. Around 9 PM, I finally got on US 11 and started the ride West on US 70. I finally found some open woods around the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. I camped out in the woods behind the church. It was around 9:30 PM when I crawled into my tent.

August 28 : Lenoir City, TN to Kingsport, TN - 22.97 miles (36.75 KM)

I had an okay night camping out. It was a little hot in the tent and there was no wind blowing. I got back on the road a little before 8 AM. About six miles down the road, I started to climb up the next ridge line. The grade was kind of steep so I was only able to ride up the first three miles (5 KM). I walked the remaining 1.5 miles (2.4 KM) to the top of the plateau. I took a short break at a gas station in New Meadows. There was a good downhill run and then a shorter climb through the Cherokee Hills.

About 4 miles (6 KM) out of Kingston, I hit some road construction. I got into Kingston a little before noon. I rode over to the library to check my email and to do some research about the modem problem. I think that I might have the problem solved. It has to do with the driver of the modem.

The temperature was in the 80s. I haven't really had any real time off the road since leaving Madison Heights, VA August 19th. I've ridden almost 300 miles without a break. I decided to try and connect with a minister to see if I could find a place to stay for the rest of the day. The first church that I came to was the Bethel Presbyterian Church. The secretary was friendly towards me but the lady minister was kind of aloof. She told me that the church doesn't do direct social services. She gave me directions to a couple more churches. She did give me a care bag with a bottle of water and some food items like crackers, raisins, and other things.

I didn't see anybody at the Methodist Church next door. The church did have a social center (thrift store). I rode over to the First Baptist Church. The church was big and there was some construction in back. The office area was pretty fancy. The secretary was more interested in the color of my eyes instead of letting me talk to a minister. She told me that the church was out of funds to help people. She told me to go to the Church of Chr-st next door. The people at this church was quite friendly. When the secretary saw me, she waved me right into the office of the pastor. He was quite friendly. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, he offered to get me a room at the Super 8 near I-40.

I'll be riding over the Crab Orchard Mountain tomorrow. Before the mountain, I'll be crossing into the Central Time Zone so I'll be gaining an hour.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between September 05th and September 12th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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