TRIP 2013

Update #31 - December 25
Reddick, Florida
Mission Trip 43: 10,654.16 miles (17,046.66 KM)
12,003.89 miles (19,206.22 KM) - Year Total

Once I got arrived back in Reddick, Florida, I decided to end the trip. I got the chance to stay put for a while at the Friendship Baptist Church. There is a classroom that has been turned into a partial Elisha's den. I'll be here at least through the rest of the year and maybe a little more in the next year. I haven't figured out where I'll be going during the next trip. The next trip might be my last. Even though I haven't really heard the word "Stop" from Adonai, I might call it quits because I've been experiencing burn-out.

December 12 : Roseland to Saint Cloud - 68.69 miles (110.22 KM)

Last night was a little better night than what I expected but I had to hang the bathroom towels over the window shades to block outside light coming into the room. There was still some light leakage but it wasn't as bad. I was able to get some sleep and I had a couple intense dreams.

I got on the road a little after 8 AM. The ride North on US 1 was really slow because a cold front had come through the area and there was a stiff headwind from the NorthEast. I was hoping to get into Melbourne before 10 AM but it was nearly 10:45 AM when I got into the downtown area. The sky was really overcast and it looked like it was going to storm. There was a thirty percent chance of storms. I was really concerned about what was going to happen when I got on US 192 heading West to St Cloud. I was debating on whether I would try and connect with a church. I was concerned that the reception might not be a good one because I had passed a homeless shelter.

I decided to see if there were any churches along US 192. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. I found some people in the office. I guess I talked with the business administrator. She wasn't really that helpful. I wasn't sure if the minister was there. She did say that there wouldn't be a way for me to stay at the church because there was a school. She wanted me to come back in an hour or two because she wanted to see what was available. It sounded like she was going to check out the shelters and see if there was a bed available. There was no way that I was going to go to a homeless shelter. I've had to many problems with them. I made up my mind to not come back and just keep on going.

The farther West that I kept on going the sky cleared up. I got 24 miles by noon time. I stopped at a gas station near the interstate for a break. Once passed the interstate, the wind wasn't that strong. The only thing that it would be a long ride of pretty well open land to St Charles. I had 40 miles to ride before it got dark. I really cranked out the miles with just taking brief breaks. Along the way, there was just large fields of scrub with an occasional cow, very few houses, and a lot of fences. There wouldn't be any place to stop if I had to.

I didn't hit my first real break until I got 31 miles down the road where US 441 connected. After a short break, I had 15 more miles to ride to St Charles. I was really concerned that I wasn't going to make it into St Charles. Sunset was around 4:30 PM. On the Eastern edge, I rode passed a tree farm where I might have camped out but it was near a busy intersection and there wasn't a way that I could duck in without being seen. I would be cold because the temperature would be in the 40s.

It was about a three mile ride into the downtown area. I couldn't find the police station. I wasn't really sure if there was really one because I found a sub-station. I think that the main police station was in Kissimmee about eight miles down the road. I found the Methodist church but the only people there were putting down sod. I found the First Baptist Church. There was some people there. The guys that I talked to weren't that helpful. I was told that the pastor had gone for the weekend because he was having some kind of heart problems. When I told them that I had been hosted by a Catholic church, I was told that there was a Catholic church to the West about five blocks away. It was getting dark and I was got a little lost. I wasn't really that I could make it back to those woods without getting hit by a car or a truck after dark because there wasn't a separate bike lane or place where cars would park along the way. I didn't really want to because of how low the funds in my banking account were but I didn't have any choice but try and find a motel room. I stopped at a motel that probably had the lowest prices. The manager gave me a discount but I still had to pay in the upper $40 for the room and tax. I'm having some money transferred into my account through PayPal but I'll probably not have it until mid next week. I did have to give the manager $5 for a key and remote deposit.

I've got about a 15 mile ride to SouthEast Orlando and the Pioneers Ministry. They have a KOA campground next door. I've got to see if they might let me have a camping space for free. I've got to stay in Orlando so that I can get to the Ger Shalom Messianic Synagogue Saturday morning.

December 13 : Saint Cloud to Orlando (Azalea Park) - 24.86 miles (39.78 KM)

Last night I kind of wished that I had gone back to the woods that I had rode passed coming into St Cloud instead of spending all of the money that I had done on the motel room. My concern was that I didn't know how deep the woods was and what was on the other side of the woods. I didn't want to get caught camping out in somebody's yard again. The temperature could have been a factor because it was going to be in the low 40s.

I left the motel around 9 AM after I got back my $5 deposit for the key and remote. It was a short ride East to County Rd 15. The closer that I got to Orlando the more I looked for a place to camp out but there wasn't any open woods along the way. After a couple of hours ride, I reached the address for the Pioneers Ministry that I had contacted because of their volunteer program. They had volunteer housing but you had to pay for it. I hadn't heard back from the lady in HR that I had an email conversation with. The lady wasn't available to talk to. The ministry owned the KOA next door. Because of my financial situation and that I was a minister, I was hoping that possibly they might just donate a place where I could pitch my tent but all the lady manager said that she could do was to give me a 20% discount and that would still make a camping spot almost $40. I needed to stay in the Orlando area because I wanted to attend the service at the Messianic synagogue in Winter Park tomorrow morning.

I finished up Cnty 15 and got on South Goldenroad. After a couple of miles down Goldenrod, I was surprised at finding some undeveloped property. Even though Goldenroad was a busy street and I was close to a busy fire station, I ducked into the open area. The path took me through a really trashy area and what looks like a transient camp but it looked like it hadn't been used in a while. I went deeper into the woods and found some open land in some scrub woods that was big enough to pitch the tent up. I'm not sure how much sleep I'm going to get because I was just a quarter mile from the road and right under one of the flight paths for the Orlando international airport.

December 14 : Orlando (Azalea Park) to Apopka - 28.69 miles (45.90 KM)

Last night was a little better than what I had expected. I was thinking that I wasn't going to get any sleep but I was able to and I even dreamt some which was something that I hadn't done in a while. The evening was pretty quiet because the jets stopped going over a little after 9 PM. I got back on Goldenroad a little after 8 AM.

It was about a eight mile ride to the Ger Shalom Congregation in Winter Park. The building was in an business complex. I got there around the time that the praise team was practicing. There weren't that many people at first but the ones that were there didn't really make me feel welcome. The service was going to be a special one because one of the ladies was going to have her bat mitzvah. When the people showed up, there must have been almost 160 people crammed into the small building. I was really having a sensory overload. There was the praise team, people dancing, people with cymbals and other musical instruments. The service was a really long one. The portion in Hebrew lasted almost 1.5 hours because of the bat mitvah. Then there was 45 minutes of singing with the praise team repeating verses over and over again. The rabbi gave a short talk, and then the lady who was bat mitzvahed gave a short talk, and then there was special prayers and blessings. In all the service lasted almost three hours.

After the service ended, I wasn't thinking that I was ever going to talk to the rabbi. He was pretty well guarded by his wife and some of the other men. He told me that he didn't remember getting an email from me about a hour ago. When I was finally able to give him a short idea on my situation and wondered if there was anybody who could even help me with a place to stay for the night, he passed me off to this other older lady. I had to wait for her to finish eating. The only thing that the lady told me was that she suggested that I go into downtown Orlando to check out the five homeless shelters that were there. I was pretty flabbergasted. During the service, they mentioned especially during the offering giving that they helped messianic jews here in the states and the people in Israel. There was supposed to be a food pantry at the synagogue for people in need. Yes, there own members. I was an outsider so I got no assistance. I shouldn't even had made the attempt to come. What a waste of time.

I didn't really have any plan on where I was going to go after Orlando. I just wanted to get out of the Orlando area. I had a friend who I hadn't seen in the Apopka area but I wasn't sure that they were going to be around. They had a cabin up in the mountains of North Carolina. I headed Northwest through Casselbury to Altamonte Springs and then on to Apopka. Along the way, I kept my eye out for any open land that I might be able to get into but there wasn't any, It was all developed and if there was any open land it was behind a fence with no trespassing signs. I wasn't really wanting to camp out because it looked like it was going to rain and I haven't been caught in in the rain with the new tent and I didn't know how waterproof it was.

I got to the outskirts of Apopka right before dusk. I found out where most of the churches were but there wasn't anybody around them. I rode through the downtown area. Near the NE edge of town, I found some open woods that was around a lake. I wasn't sure how deep the woods was but I found some open flat land that was behind some palmetto trees and was down a slope some. Hopefully, the slope will hide any light coming from my tent from view and I won't get any night visitors. Right as I was finishing putting the tent up and getting things inside, it started to rain briefly.

December 15 : Apopka to Apopka - 02.17 miles (3.47 KM)

Last night was a little better than what I had expected. I was really concerned that I was going to get caught but I wasn't. I was able to get some sleep in snatches. It rained some during the night especially between 5 and 7 AM and the inside of the tent did get a little wet. I'm going to have to take some time and waterproof the seams with the sealant that I bought. Once it got light, I was quite surprised that I wasn't as hidden as I had expected. I got quickly packed up once the rain had stopped and I was out of the woods by around 8:45 AM.

It was a short walk ride into the downtown area. I rode around to check out the churches. I couldn't make up my mind on whether to stop at either the First Baptist, First Presbyterian, or the First United Methodist. The First Baptist was by far the biggest but I didn't get a good feeling from the people coming into the church grounds when I went passed. I decided to go to the First United Methodist. I got there about halfway through the first service. There was this lady outside with drinks and stuff and I got some chocolate milk and cookies. When I told her about me camping out in the rain and having my sleeping bag get a little wet, she gave me a little over $3 in quarters and told me that there was a laundromat nearby.

I got to meet the pastor after the service and before the sunday school class started. He said that they had a youth house and I could spend the night there. I attended the sunday school class that the pastor led but I didn't say anything. I attended the second service.

December 17 : Apopka to Apopka - 4.67 miles (7.47 KM)

Last night was a bad night. I didn't get any rest because there was a lot of light coming into the room and there was no heat. I tried the heater but it wasjust blowing cold air. When I tried to fall asleep the inside temperature was 64 degrees but when I got out of my sleeping bag the inside temperature was down to 54 degrees.

I packed up and around 9 AM I went to the church to see if the pastor was in. He didn't have much of an idea. He suggested that I check out this Catholic center East of town. I rode over there but it was mostly for the hispanic vigrant worker community. There wasn't anything for me to do with them. I rode back into town to check out the other churches. The secretary at the First Baptist Church didn't want to deal with me. She suggested I got back into Orlando to one of the shelters. There wasn't anybody at the First Presbyterian Church. The secretary at the Episcopal church was friendly. The rector was out but she was able to connect with him. There wasn't any heated place in the other parts of the church. She let me use the internet for a little bit and she gave me one of the meal bags that they gave out to the homeless.

I didn't feel like traveling. There wasn't a way for me to go back to the Methodist church since there were going to be afternoon and evening activities in the youth house. I didn't want to but I used a good portion of what was in my bank account to get a motel room. The two good things about the room was that it was heated and there were no roaches. .

December 18 : Apopka to Tavaras - 20.46 miles (32.74 KM)

Bad night. I didn't get very much rest. The room smelled with smoke. There was a lot of light coming through the vertical blinds that was a little broken, I was hoping to get a shower but I wasn't going into the shower. The bottom of the shower curtain was filthy with mildew and mold. I took a sink bath.

I left the motel room a little before 9 AM. I went to the laudromat across the street but the washers wanted $2.25 a load. I didn't feel like traveling but I headed north again on US 441. I rode on to Mt Dora. I checked out the churches but I wasn't really welcome at any of them. In Eutice, I stopped to do laundry.

I got into Tavares around 1:30 PM. I decided to try another church. I stopped at First Baptist Church. Rev Richard Young was really friendly towards me. He invited me to stay in the church for the night. He and the youth pastor took me to the local bike shop. There were a lot of recumbents. I was hoping to just get a few inner tubes, and some chain lube, but Rev Young surprised me by getting me a new safety flag and also a new jersey.

There was a good meal with turkey. Instead of a prayer service, there was a business meeting.

December 19 : Tavaras to The Villages - 26.42 miles (41.17 KM)

Another off night. The room was warm but there was a light issue. The light wasn't as bad as the Methodist church in Apopka. I mostly tossed and turned throughout the night. I probably got an hour or two of sleep. The tinnitus in my ears had gone up to another sound and frequency. It is starting to get painful.

I hung around till 9 AM. The youth pastor was supposed to be going to to a pastor's meeting at the Cracker Barrel in Leesburg and I had been invited but instead he brought me breakfast from BK. He slipped me a $10 bill from Rev Young. I didn't feel like moving on but I left the church around 9:40 AM. I headed East to Leesburg. To avoid riding in traffic, I rode a bike trail and the sidewalk into Leesburg. I got into downtown Leesburg around 11 AM. I stopped for a quick break to check my email at the library. I stopped at the Methodist church. The pastor wasn't in. I got to the talk with the Episcopal rector but there wasn't anything at the church. I stopped at the First Baptist church. There were quite a few social service programs but you had to meet with a pastor but there wasn't a pastor available.

I left Leesburg around 1:15 PM. To avoid the road construction, I rode the sidewalk most of the way to Fruitland Park. I stopped at the Presbyterian Church but the minister was out doing visitations. He wouldn't be back till a little after 6 PM.

I rode onto Lady Lake. I got into Lady Lake around 4 PM. I stopped at the Presbyterian Church. They were getting ready for a concert so there wasn't any place for me to stay at the church. I was surprised at them donating a room at the nearby Comfort Suites in The Villages.

December 20 : The Villages to Reddick - 35.87 miles (57.39 KM)

Last night was a pretty good night. This was by far the best motel room that I stayed in during the past month. I was able to get at least six hours rest. There was a really good free hot breakfast.

I got on the road around 8:30 AM. I headed North on US 441. By noon, I had arrived in Ocala. From Ocala, it was about a thirteen mile ride to Reddick. I stopped at the
Friendship Baptist Church . The last time that I was here was just a couple of weeks ago. I'm a new friend of the pastor and also one of the elders.

I was given the chance to stay as long as I wanted to at the church. One of the Sunday school classrooms had been converted into a temporary Elisha's Den. There is a fold-out sofa and some other things that will make me comfortable for a little while.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between January 02nd and January 09th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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