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TRIP 2013

Update #30 - December 11
Roseland, Florida
Mission Trip 34: 10,442.23 miles (16,707.57 KM)
11,791.96 miles (18,867.15 KM) - Year Total





November 28 : Ocala to Leesburg - 33.53 miles (53.65 KM)

I was hoping to get a full night's sleep but I didn't. There was a lot of light coming into the room. There was no curtain or shade to block the window in the bathroom and there was no bathroom door. The main curtains didn't hang right because there wasn't enough curtain hooks. Because of the light, I wasn't able to get into a deep sleep. I must have woken up around 5:30 AM and I tossed and turned for about an hour. The motel was really run down. It could have been the Travelodge but the new owners from India hadn't put much money into it.

I put on an extra layer of clothes because it was colder today. I left the motel around 8:50 AM. The ride South to Leesburg went okay. I was able to get 20 miles in by noon. I stopped to get a few groceries. I stopped to get some lunch at a BK that was open. There was some road construction on the way into Leesburg.

I got into Leesburg around 2:30 PM. I rode around to check out the motels. I opted to stop at the Lee Motel. The manager gave me a $5 discount on the room.

I've got about a 53 mile ride to Zephyrhills tomorrow. I was targetting Dade City but from what I've learned the motels that were there are now closed. Dade City was the town that I had gotten in trouble with the police because I didn't know that I had camped out in the woods in front of somebody's house back in January.

Didn't feel much of a Thanksgiving for me. Just another day on the road. Channukah started last night. The next time that Channukah and Thanksgiving will happen together is supposedly over 70,000 years from now.

November 29 : Leesburg to Zephyrhills - 57.65 miles (92.24 KM)

I was hoping to get a full night's sleep but I didn't. The thing that got to me was that I caught a roach on top of the night stand next to the bed. I was really hoping that this wasn't going to be a roach motel. My mind was on the roach because I wasn't sure if I was going to be visited in bed with another one. Earlier in the afternoon, the janitor did come in with a pest control specialist who sprayed some bug spray at the bottom of the walls. I went to bed early around 11 PM. I slept really lightly. I woke up around 4 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. I did toss and turn for about an hour.

I left the motel a little before 8:30 AM. It was a little cool but it should get up into the low 70s this afternoon. The ride West to US 301 went okay. I rode along county roads to Bushnell. The ride South on US 301 went okay. I got 31 miles in by noon time. There was some road construction to deal with into Dade City. There was three motels but two of them were closed. The third motel was really expensive. I opted to go on to Zephyrhills.

I got into Zephyrhills around 3:10 PM. I rode through town to check out the motels. Streets and Trips said that there were eight motels but I only could find five that were in operation. Three of the motels were expensive chains (Microtel, Best Western, and Quality). There was one that looked okay but I didn't stop to check it out since I couldn't across the road because of the traffic. This was near the northern edge of town.

I opted to stop at what I thought was a low cost motel (Zephyr Inn) near the Southern edge of town. The owners were from Indian. I was hoping to get the room for under $40 ut they charged $45 for the room. The room looked like it hadn't been mopped or vacuumed in a while. There is a kitchenette but it looks like it hadn't been cleaned in a while. Not to sure how much sleep I will get since there is just a venetion blind. There isn't any wifi.

I passed the 228,000 mile mark. I'll be riding to Bartow tomorrow. I'm hoping to stay the weekend there.

November 30 : Zephyrhills to Bartow - 43.77 miles (70.03 KM)

The room was run down and it should have cost around $35. I can't believe that the Indian owners were charging $55 for the room because it had a kitchenette. The bathroom sink was the kitchen sink. There weren't any pots, plates, glasses, cups, or silverware. The insides of the cupboards were dirty and the inside of the refrigerator smelled bad. Because the owner said that he liked me, he gave me a $10 discount on the room. Having to pay full tax still made the rate over $50. Hanging up the tent fly to cover up the window and the venetian blind made the room a little darker. It helped me get to sleep. I slept till around 6 AM. What helped me some was that there were no roaches to bother me. That was one plus for the room.

I was going to head out around 8:30 AM but it wasn't until 9:15 AM when I got on the road. I had to work on the rear rack. One of the mounts had snapped off so I had to stabilize the rack with three zip ties. It will have to work out until I get some more money to get a new rear rack.

The temperature was a little warmer than last morning but I still wore my jacket. The ride South to Plant City went okay. There was a slight crosswind coming from the East but I was still able to get 22 miles in by noon time. The wind really hit me when I turned East on FL 60 to Bartow. The sky was overcast and it looked like it was going to rain.

I got into Bartow around 3 PM. According to Streets and Trips, there were five motels. There was a Holiday Inn Express but I couldn't afford it. I rode passed US 98 to check out two motels that were next to each other. One of the motels was closed and the other one didn't look very good. There were no cars in the parking lot. Most of the parking lot was filled with UHaul rental trucks. I couldn't find one that was South of Bus FL 60. I went to the motel where I had stayed at back in January. The rate was $65 but the desk clerk gave me a $10 discount. The manager came in and he didn't take away the discount. The room is one of the better ones that I've been in the past couple of weeks.

I'm going to the Presbyterian Church tomorrow morning. Hopefully, I'll find a place to stay tomorrow. I'm looking at riding to Arcadia Monday instead of stopping in Wauchula. This will put me in North Fort Myers Wednesday.

December 01 : Bartow to Bartow - 02.21 miles (03.54 KM)

The room was okay but I still slept lightly. Its been a long time since I've dreamed. For some reason, I woke up before 5 AM again. Being that there was a Denny's on the ground, the free continental breakfast was just pastries and microwable sausage sandwiches. There wasn't any milk or orange juice.

I left the motel a little after 8 AM. It was a little over a mile ride to the First Presbyterian Church downtown. I waited about 40 minutes for the Sunday school class. I got introduced but I wasn't able to talk. The service was okay but it was a little long because of communion. Afterwards, the pastor offered to take me out to lunch. There was an offer to stay in the parlor in the fellowship hall for the night but because there wasn't any heat the pastor offered to get me a room at the motel I stayed at last night. We left the recumbent in the fellowship hall. The pastor and his wife to me to a Zaxby's for some chicken. At the motel after I was checked in, the pastor slipped me a small green handshake. When we got back to the fellowship hall so I could get my bike, I was given the chance to pack up some bread that was left over from a community meal.

At the motel, I took the time to refigure the number of mission trips that I've been on. Instead of 34, this is my 43rd mission trip.

December 02 : Bartow to Arcadia - 53.26 miles (85.22 KM)

The room was okay but I still slept lightly. It was a surprise catching a roach crawl up the door as I was leaving the motel room. I got on the road a little after 8 AM. The morning ride South on US 17 went really well. I got 33 miles in by noon. I got into Arcadia around 2 PM. I checked out the churches but I wasn't expecting to find anybody in the office. I did find the secretary at the First Presbyterian Church. The pastor wasn't in. She suggested that I try the Methodist church across the street because she saw their pastor's truck in the parking lot. I had some experience at the Methodist Church because I stayed and volunteered there during Hurricane Francis years ago. When I went to the office door, it said that the office had closed at 12:30 PM. I was hoping to maybe catch the pastor in but he didn't respond when I rang the doorbell. The only option that I had was to find a motel room for the night.

December 03 : Arcadia to Punta Gorda - 26.73 miles (42.77 KM)

For what I paid for the room, I didn't get much sleep. During the evening, the fire alarm for the office went off. It was pretty loud. I went outside to investigate but I didn't see or smell anything. No firetrucks showed up. After about ten minutes, the alarm went off. As soon as I shut off the lights in the room, the room became as light as daylight. There was a bank of double flourescent lights outside. The curtains didn't fit the window so there was a lot of leakage. I took the bedspread off the bed and hung it over the window. This cut out about 85% of the extra light. I was able to fall asleep and dream some but the dream was interrupted by a strange subsonic sound that had some rhythm to it. The rhythm connected to my tinnitus. The sound must have lasted about a half hour. It took a long time to fall back asleep but I didn't get back into a deep sleep.

I left the motel a little after 8 AM. There was a bit of a crosswind coming from the East that slowed me down some. Because of the crosswind, I only got 22 miles in by noon. I had targeted Punta Gorda for a stopover. Instead of stopping at a low cost motel, I opted to stop at a little better motel. Hopefully, I'll get some sleep tonight.

Pretty bummed out that I haven't heard back from any of the churches that I contacted in the Fort Myers and the North Fort Myers area to see if somebody could help me with some housing while I volunteer with the Habitat affiliate. I'm going to stop at the affiliate and see if the volunteer coordinator knows something. There are a couple of churches in Fort Myers who have worked with the affiliate before that I've got to connect with again.

December 04 : Punta Gorda to North Fort Myers to Tice - 34.72 miles (55.55 KM)

The room was okay but I still couldn't get a full night's sleep. I woke up around 5:30 AM. I was a little upset that I wasn't able to connect with one of the churches that the volunteer coordinator told me about to find someplace to stay for a while so I could volunteer with the affiliate. I almost had something lined up. The church that I had wanted to connect with actually was on a barrier island in the Gulf Of Mexico South of Ft. Myers. A one way trip would have been over 25 miles. I did get a message from the pastor saying that they only allowed groups to stay in their retreat center.

I left the motel a little after 8 AM. The temperature was in the upper 60s so I didn't wear my jacket. It was a bit of a slow ride to North Fort Myers because of the rough shoulder. On the way, I prayed a lot that either the volunteer coordinator or somebody else at the affiliate would know of a minister that would be able to help me out.

I got to the affiliate office in North Fort Myers around 11:30 AM. I didn't get a good first impression of the place when I walked in to the lobby. It was a cold and sterile place. The receptionist wasn't really friendly and she was trying to help a lady. A guy from one of the offices came out but he didn't smile. He used the office phone to connect with the volunteer coordinator. When the volunteer coordinator came out to the lobby she wasn't really friendly either. She took me back to her office. When I told her about my problem with trying to find housing she didn't really have any ideas other than the churches that worked with her during campus chapters spring breaks. She printed out a list with a couple of churches over in Fort Myers but I had that list. I just didn't feel welcome and really wondered whether it would be worth it to stay around and volunteer. Right there, I kind of figured out that it was a wasted trip to come here. I was really hoping to finally stop for the year but in my mind I knew that the trip was still going on.

I wasn't really thinking what I was going to do. I backtracked about a mile to a grocery store to buy a loaf of bread and other items. There were quite a few motels along the way but they didn't look very good. I stopped at a motel that looked a little better but there wasn't anybody in the office.

I rode over the long bridge to Fort Myers. I tried a couple of churches but the pastors weren't around especially at the two churches that were on the list. I decided to start heading out across the state to Delray Beach to try and connect with the Beth Sar Shalom Messianic Congregation. The congregation is connected with the Florida offices of Chosen People. I'm going to try and push the 139 miles to get there sometime Saturday morning to attend the Shabbot services there.

I headed East on FL 80. I decided to try and find a low cost motel. There wasn't a good selection. I got a room in the upper $40. I'm going to try and get into Clewiston tomorrow instead of stopping in LaBelle like I usually do. This would put me over the Everglades and next to Lake Okechobee. I'll probably be camping out in my tent Friday night somewhere South of US 441. I'd like to get on the road really early and have less than 20 miles to ride. My target arrival would be around 10 AM for their torah study. Shabbot service starts at 11 AM.

December 05 : Tice to Clewiston - 60.33 miles (96.53 KM)

Another roach motel. A couple of hours into my stay at the motel, I caught a roach crawling up one of the walls. I went to the office to see if they had any roach spray. The Indian guy sounded like he didn't know much English. I tried to explain to him about the roach. He went back to the room with me to see what was going on. Instead of getting some roach spray, he moved me into another room. The room was a little bigger and it had a kitchenette but the appliances looked like they either didn't work or were very clean. Right before I turned out the light, I killed three more roaches. I don't think I was disturbed in my sleep by creatures but I did kill another roach that was crawling up the bedspread to get up top.

I left the room about 8:15 AM and went back to the office to get my $5 key deposit back. The guy looked like he was really spacy when I complained to him about the more roaches in that room. I can't understand why these people from India don't run their motels right and keep them clean. They are the worst cheapskates and are even taking over small gas stations and grocery stores.

The morning ride went okay but it was a little slow because of a headwind from the Southeast. I still got through LaBelle by noon and made around 29 miles by noon time. Even with stopping along side the road for a short lunch break, I still made 42 miles by 2 PM. There was a six mile section of road construction to ride through and in a couple other places there was no shoulder and I had to ride in the road some while riding my mirror to avoid the truck traffic.

I got into Clewiston around 4:20 PM. I rode around the churches to see if I could find somebody. At several of the churches, I didn't find anybody. I was thinking that I was going to have to possibly get a room at one of the motels even though I couldn't really afford it but I found some activity at the Methodist Church. There were lights on in the fellowship hall. Two people with one of them I guess was the pastor cooking in the kitchen getting ready for some kind of meal. I got permission to stay in one of the youth Sunday school classrooms for the night. There is a sofa to sleep on. Before the pastor left, he gave me a meal of hot meat loaf and biscuits that he had just finished cooking.

December 06 : Clewiston to Florida Gardens - 61.29 miles (98.06 KM)

I had a pretty good night at the Methodist Church. Before the pastor left, he took me to a storeroom that had a washer and dryer and also a small food pantry. He told me that I could take advantage of the washer and dryer to get any dirty clothes washed and also to see if there were any food items that I could take along with me. I almost got the food pannier stuffed again. I hadn't had the chance to get clothes washed since Gainesville. I moved to an adjoining room that had another sofa and was away from the light in the hallway. I was able to get some sleep and even dream some. It was good having milk and pastries for breakfast.

I left the church around 7:30 AM. I wanted to get an early start so that I could get some miles in before the winds picked up. The winds were supposed to be coming from the Southeast again. The ride to LaBelle went okay except for going through some smoke where they were burning the harvested fields of sugar cane. Even with a short break at a gas station in LaBelle, I was still able to put in 32 miles by noontime. I stopped for a short break along side the road for a light lunch.

The afternoon ride went okay. Traffic really picked up the closer that I got to West Palm Beach. In Royal Palm Gardens, I turned South a bit to Lake Worth Road. I had planned to maybe stop at one of the three motels that were supposed to be on Lake Worth Road. I didn't know anything about them so I wasn't sure if they were going to be more roach motels or not. I wasn't sure how much I had in my bank account either.

In Florida Gardens, I saw some activity at the Florida Gardens Baptist Church. The youth minister was just getting ready to leave. He have me permission to stay in one of the Sunday school classrooms. The sr pastor was away because there was a death in the family. There isn't a sofa to sleep on, or a kitchen to use, but there is a good wifi signal.

I'm about 14 miles away from Delray Beach. If I start real early tomorrow morning, I should be able to attend all of the activities at the Bar Shalom Messianic Congregation tomorrow morning.

December 07 : Florida Gardens to Delray Beach to West Palm Beach - 37.54 miles (60.06 KM)

I had a pretty good night at the church. The carpeting was comfortable. I got maybe six hours of sleep. I left the church around 7:20 AM. It was a couple mile ride to Military Trail where I turned South. The ride was okay but there was a little light rain. The sky was pretty overcast.

When I got to Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach, I had a hard time finding the Bar Sar Shalom Messianic Congregation. What I was expecting was a nice looking building that had a community center and other things. This is what I got from the Chosen People website. Instead, I found the address in an office complex. The address was for an office suite. This wasn't what I was expecting. There was some kind of brown paper covering the glass section of the front door that had the name in white letters and there was a sign that could be folded up on the sidewalk.

Inside, I found a room with fourty or fifty stackable chairs. There were several other smaller rooms in the suite. Most of the people were either black or brown and not many white people. A third of the group present were white. With the white people, I wasn't sure who was Jewish or not. There was this old guy up front who might have been the rabbi. He seemed a little scatterbrained. After the Bible study there was a short break and I got to introduce myself to the rabbi. He didn't remember the emails that I sent him.

The first part of the Shabbot service. It was a little strange hearing and seeing the non-whites say the prayers and sing the songs in Hebrew. The rabbi didn't have anything to do with the service. The guy who gave the message after the Hebrew portion of the service was an older white guy and I learned that he was the guy with the Chosen People office. At the end of his message, he told everybody that this was his last service. He was separating himself from the synagogue and starting some other program in West Palm Beach to teach gentiles how to witness to their Jewish neighbors. The plans of the building with the community center isn't going to materialize. The information on the website was wrong. There isn't going to be an internship or volunteer program. Because of this, I felt that this was a wasted trip across the state.

There was a meal afterwards. Most of the white people had gone including the guy from Chosen People. I stayed on for the meal. I talked to the rabbi a little bit. While everybody was eating he made a brief announcement about me needing a place to stay for the night. Nobody really heard him because most of the people were in the other room getting more food. There wasn't any response. When I asked the rabbi if there was even a chance for me to stay overnight in the suite, he said that this wouldn't happen because there was an alarm system and you needed a key to lock up the doors.

I didn't know what to do. It was going to rain more and I needed to find someplace inside. I was thinking about backtracking to Green Acres to see about the motels that I had passed or I could head east and get on US 1 and head back North. I could try and go to Orlando to check out the Pioneer Ministries who I had some contact with because they had a volunteer program. I have an old friend in Orlando who I haven't seen in about at least ten years.

I backtracked about six miles to get to a road that would take me beyond I-95 to US 1 in Lantana. Along the way, I had to stop and patch a leak in the rear tire. It looks like the pinhole leak was caused by a small piece of glass. When I got to US 1, I started the ride North. I stopped at a couple of motels that looked like they might be low cost but they weren't because it was a Saturday. They wanted over $60 before taxes.

I kept on going till I got to South West Palm Beach. It was getting kind of late and it looked like it was going to rain more so I opted to find a motel room. At least the room was one of the cleanest that I've been in and I hope there are no roaches.

December 08 : West Palm Beach to Juno Beach - 15.97 miles (25.07 KM)

The room was okay but I didn't get much sleep. There was a venetian blind with horizontal wooden slats and it let a lot of light into the room because there was an outside light with two bulbs right next to the window. I took the shower curtain off of it's rod and hung it over the window along with my dark towel. This cut the light down to a sort-of manageable level.

I left the motel a little after 8 AM. It was a decent ride along US 1 into downtown West Palm Beach. There was some kind of road race along the waterfront. North of the downtown area, there was about a four mile stretch of road construction. I didn't think that I was going to find a church to attend but in Juno Beach I came across the Oceanview United Methodist Church. I got to the church about 20 minutes before the service started. I got to talk to the senior pastor before the service. During the announcements, I was introduced but I wasn't able to speak.

After the service, the assistant pastor took me over to the other church building. She gave me permission to stay in the youth room for the night. She also gave me to zip lock bags of food that the church gives out to the needy.

December 09 : Juno Beach to Winter Beach - 68.93 miles (110.29 KM)

The room was okay. I was able to get some sleep. Some of the rooms were set up like a pre-school so I was concerned about somebody showing up. I got on the road a little before 7:30 AM. I rode up A1A to Ft. Pierce. I got into Ft. Pierce around 2:30 PM. The first church that I came to was the Episcopal Church. The rector was out but the secretary was in. She told me that the churches in the area put their money into a program called Mustard Seed. The secretary called over there and was told that there might be a bed available at some drug rehab center. I passed on this one because it wasn't a definite deal. I checked out some of the other churches but I didn't find anybody around them.

I pushed onto Vero Beach. I followed this county road that had a paved bike trail next to it. The trail was part of the East Coast Greenway. The path ended in the middle of nowhere. I had to ride East to the county road along the river. I got into downtown Vero Beach a little before 5 AM so it was too late to try and connect with another church.

I got on US 1 headed north. I switched on my new lights a little after dusk. On the outskirts of Winter Beach, I found a clearing in the scrub woods. I found a place to camp out.

December 10 : Winter Beach to Winter Beach - 00.00 miles (00.00 KM)

Last night wasn't a good night. There was a lot of road noise and I was close to a railroad. I got less than a couple of hours of sleep. I opted to stay put for the day. Yesterday blew my schedule. I had only planned to ride to Ft. Pierce yesterday and to ride to Vero Beach today. This is if I wanted to check out the Pioneers outside of Orlando Friday and try and get to the Ger Shalom Messianic Synagogue service Saturday morning.

December 11 : Winter Beach to Roseland - 13.72 miles (21.95 KM)

Last night wasn't a good night. There was a lot of road noise and I was close to a railroad. I got less than a couple of hours of sleep again. I was debating on whether to stay put for another day or move on. Around 8 AM, I heard some activity in the clearing. There was this truck and three guys in bee keeping suits were putting hives in another clearing close by. I thought that I wasn't seen but I got scared by a bottle landing close to the tent. It took a while getting things packed up but I was on the road a little after 9 AM.

I didn't feel like riding because I was so tired. I took my time riding Northwards. I took several long breaks. I got into Sebastian around noon. I caught the minister leaving the office. He told me that he met me before when he was at another church. He told me that the church had a policy with nobody staying overnight. He suggested that I try the catholic Church north of town. I rode over to St Sebastian Catholic Church. The janitor got me a meal and some coke while I waited for the priest to come back. I didn't get to meet the priest, but his secretary told me that they would be willing to get me a room at a motel up the road in Roseland.

I'm going to get on the road early because I've got about a 65 mile ride to St Cloud tomorrow.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between December 18th and December 25th.




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