TRIP 2014

Update #27 - December 01st
Reddick, FL
Trip : 1,596.55 miles (2,554.48 km)
Year: 11,264.48 miles (18,023.15 km)

Mission Trip 45 ended November 29th. Instead of riding all of the way into Reddick, I had sag support. Some friends of mine from Reddick were in the Perry, Florida area over the Thanksgiving Holiday and they offered to transport me and Alice back to Reddick with them. This was okay because I had been having some problems with flat tires and I was running low on repair supplies. I'm probably going to be off the road for at least the next two months.

November 19 : Demopolis, AL to Selma, AL - 52.27 miles (83.6 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the Potel. There were some problems in the room especially with the wall behind the bed. The room got reasonably warm and there was wifi. There was an advertisement that said that there would be breakfast but I didn't see a breakfast room. Before it got too late, I went across the highway to a grocery store to get a few things. It was supposed to get down into the twenties again tonight but the high tomorrow is supposed to get up into the fifties.

Because of the cold in the morning, I didn't start out till around 8:30 am again. I didn't get too far in the morning because of multiple flat tires. About 10 miles down the highway, the rear tire went soft. I didn't find anything inside the tire so I just patched the hole and put the tube back into the tire. A couple of miles down the road, the rear tire went soft again. The patch had failed so I put in the new inner tube. A couple of miles down the road the rear tire went soft again. I found some wire from a truck tire sticking out of the tire. I was able to patch the tube and inflate it in around 20 minutes. Before getting back on the road, I switched over to my light weight jacket. I bundled up the winter jacket and stashed it on back of Alice.

The ride into Uniontown went okay. I stopped for a break at a gas station. Going out of Uniontown was a little tricky because the road was only two lanes. There was a lot of truck traffic. After I almost got hit by a couple of trucks who didn't really give me much clearance, a local police officer came up from behind me and stayed behind me for a couple of miles with his lights flashing until the highway became a divided 4 lane and there was a paved shoulder that I could ride along. I did have to get off the road once because there was a large backup behind the police car.

The rest of the ride into the Selma area went okay. About a half a block away from the motel where I had planned to stop at, the front tire went soft. I got a room in the upper $30. There was a fast food place across the street so I could get something hot to eat.

November 20 : Selma, AL to Hayneville, AL - 42.16 miles (67.46 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the Potel. The first thing to get done after eating supper was to work on the front tire that had gone flat. I found something small sticking up inside the tire. I put a patch on the tube and got it inflated. I was hoping to get on the internet but there were problems with the motel network. The signal was weak but I was able to connect to it. The only problem was that it was too weak for a signal.

I went to bed after watching some of the evening news. The Buffalo area got over six feet of snow from the Lake Erie effect. There was more coming in tomorrow. The snow pretty well followed Lake Erie West to the PA state line. The New York Turnpike was closed the one hundred miles between Buffalo and the PA state line. There were supposed to be five deaths attributed to the storm and some people were stranded over twenty hours before they were rescued. The only problem is that they are calling for a warming trend over the weekend with rain so there might be some flooding.

I woke up around 6 am. Around 7:30 am while I was getting dressed, somebody knocked on my door and opened it with a key. It was the wife of the Indian owner. I don't know how she did it because I was sure that I had used the dead bolt lock to secure the door. At least, the security chain held so she couldn't fully get into the room.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. Before leaving the Selma area, I rode over to the local Walmart to get some new innertubes. Instead of taking the US 80 bypass, I backtracked about three-quarters of a mile so I could ride through the downtown area. I rode across the Pettus Bridge.

For most of the ride East on US 80, the ride was okay because there was a paved shoulder to ride along. I got about 24 miles in by noon. I stopped for a break at a gas station outside of White Hall but I couldn't leave without working on the front tire again because it had gone flat. While checking out the inside of the tire, I cut open the tip of one of the fingers on my left hand. There was a small glass shard sticking up inside the tire. I had to find my first aid kit before working on the front tire. I put in the new innertube that I had bought as a spare. After getting the tire fixed and before getting back on the road, I removed a layer of clothing because the temperature got up into the 50s.

The last five miles to the MS 97 turnoff were really hard because the shoulder that I was depending on disappeared. There was just a rumble strip at the edge of the road. The speed limit was 65 and I spent a good portion of time looking into my rear view mirror. For the most part, the traffic moved over to the left lane to give me some clearance but there were a few instances where my side flag got swiped. There were a lot of rolling hills with blind spots so I couldn't tell what was behind me until it got up to me. I was really happy when I got to the turnoff.

Before heading South to Hayneville, I stopped at a gas station for a break to calm my nerves down some. I found a wifi signal so I was able to use my pda to check my email. I took about 20 minutes off before getting back on the road. The ride to Hayneville went okay but there was still some truck traffic.

I got into Hayneville around 3 pm. I rode around the town to check it out. There wasn't much. I did ride passed the Presbyterian Church before stopping at the city hall/ police station. I talked with the chief of police. He told me that the Presbyterian minister lived right next to the church. I was given permission to stay in the fellowship hall for the night.

I've got about a 55 mile ride to Troy tomorrow. Most of the ride will be along county roads.

November 21 : Hayneville, AL to Troy, AL - 59.72 miles (95.55 km)

I had an okay night in the fellowship hall. I was invited over to the parsonage for supper. During the meal, there was a discussion that the small church was helping collect clothing and furniture for a family in the area. There was a mention that the father of the family didn't have a coat. Since I really didn't need the thick Winter jacket anymore, I decided to donate it to the father. I still had my other two jackets and anyway the Bible said that if you had two coats and somebody didn't have one you should give up one to them (Luke 3:11).

I went to bed around 9 am. I crashed in my sleeping bag on the floor next to a floor vent without using my sleeping pad. I slept till around 5:45 am. There had been an offer to go to the parsonage for breakfast but I didn't want to interfere with the parents getting their three kids ready for school.

I left the fellowship hall around 7:20 am. Before leaving town, I stopped at a gas station near the courthouse for some milk. The ride South on AL-97 went okay. Traffic was light especially light truck traffic. I had a good ride to Cnty Rd 28 (Merriweather Trail). Even with taking a short break at a gas station, I was able to get in 31 miles by noon.

About 18 miles out of Troy, I had to get on AL-94 for about six miles. The road surface was really rough and I noticed that the front tire had a more pronounced bump to it. When I stopped to check it out, I found out that there was indeed a bump in the tire. The bead of the tire was failing. I was hoping that it would have lasted till I got to Florida but I've got over 3,600 miles on it. Hitting all of the rumble strips the passed week must have done more harm than what I thought. I reduced the pressure inside the tire and prayed all of the way into Troy. I had to get on busy US 231 for about 12 miles. There was a rumble strip but there was enough shoulder left so I didn't have to ride close to the busy traffic.

I got into the Troy area around 4 pm. It was already starting to get dark and I didn't think that it would do any good trying to find my way into the downtown area to see if there were anybody at the churches. I had a possible contact at the Presbyterian church but I wasn't able to call them along the way because my cell phone didn't have a signal. I saw a sign for a Motel Six saying that they had rates in the upper $30s. I wasn't sure if I was going to find a motel room because Troy was a university town but the motel had rooms available. The manager gave me a small discount on the room.

Tomorrow morning, I've got to stop at the local Walmart to see if I could get a new tire there. I looked in the phone book and there were no bike shops listed.

November 22 : Troy, AL to Griffin Heights (North Dothan), AL - 55.51 miles (88.82 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was a little below the standards of the Motel 6. There was problems with the toilet. There was also some problem with the wifi network. I went to bed around 10 pm and I woke up around 6 am.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was about a four mile ride to the Walmart on the southern edge of Troy. I was happy that they had a tire but it was just a 35 psi. I thought that I would risk it by overinflating it 5 psi. It was around 9:30 am when I headed out.

The ride South was a little rough because of all of the hills. There was some shoulder to ride along but not much. I only got 21 miles in by noon. There was some light rain coming into Ozark. I almost decided to stop for the day but I decided to keep on going to Dothan. The rain wasn't that bad.

I made it into Dothan a little after dark. I stopped at a motel that had rooms in the upper $20s but they didn't have any of them left. I had to get a smoking room in the mid $30s. The room looked okay but before going to bed I killed four roaches. I'm hoping to not having any visitors in bed. There was wifi.

November 23 : Griffin Heights (North Dothan), AL to Dothan, AL - 05.69 miles (09.10 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. I didn't find any more roaches. There was a light continental breakfast of cereal, little pastries, milk, and juice. I left the motel a little after 8:30 am. I got my three dollar key deposit back. On the way into the downtown area, I stopped at a grocery store to get a loaf of bread.

I got to the First United Methodist Church around 9:20 am. Instead of going into the sanctuary to attend the early service, I watched the last half of the service on a television monitor with some older ladies in the Welcome Center. The Gospel and sermon centered around Matthew 25. I was thinking that I was probably going to find a compassionate minister here but I was wrong. I got passed off. The lady associate minister who gave the sermon passed me off to another minister. I'm not sure where he was in the church hierarchy because he was young. The guy suggested that I check out the city's rescue mission. He also told me that they had a social program but they only work on it Monday mornings. He said that there were insurance problems in letting me stay in the church for the night. Before I left, I asked the pastor if he had any misgivings turning away the Messiah. He didn't have any response. I suggested that he should go back into the sanctuary and get on his knees and pray and ask the L-RD for forgiveness.

I rode back a quarter of a mile to the First Baptist church that I had passed. I got a better reception there than what I got at the Methodist Church. I got met at the door by a guy, greeted, and introduced to one of the associate pastors. He took me into the sanctuary after we talked and he told me that he would help me find some place to stay for the night. The service was okay. It was kind of long because there was a dedication of an infant boy. At the end of the service, one of the older gentlemen of the church gave me a GH. The associate pastor told me that I should ride over to a small motel that was two blocks away and he would meet me there to get me a room. I got Alice into the room right before a deluge started.

I'm going to be crossing into Georgia tomorrow and I will be crossing back into the Eastern Time Zone.

November 24 : Dothan, AL to Bainbridge, GA - 57.83 miles (92.53 km)

I had an decent night at the motel. I didn't find any roaches in the room. It was a little run down but it was warm. Half of the rooms were not usable. There was wifi. It really rained hard during the afternoon. There were several rounds of thunder.

I left the motel a little after 7:20 am. It was overcast and a little foggy. The temperature was already in the 60s and was supposed to get into the 70s. It was different being able to ride without a jacket on. The ride to the GA state line and the Chatahoochee River went okay. Once across the state line and into Georgia, I crossed into the Eastern Time Zone and I lost an hour of daylight.

There was some shoulder but not as wide as in Alabama. Instead of being at the edge of the shoulder, the rumble strip was in the center of the shoulder. By noon, I had ridden a little over 25 miles. Outside of Janik, GA, I got stopped by a black lady. She told me that she had seen me earlier in the morning while she was traveling to Dothan for a doctor's appointment. We talked for a few minutes. Before she left, she slipped me $5 in a GH. A few minutes later, I stopped for a short break at a gas station.

The ride in the afternoon went okay. The sky was really overcast and I didn't see much of the sun. There were some brief rain showers. I got into Bainbridge a little after 3 pm. I found the pastor in at the First Presbyterian Church. He offered to meet me at a local motel and get me a room for the night. He told me that if I had gotten to the church a few minutes later than what I did he wouldn't have been there. The motel was a Super 8 but it was bought by some Indians and renamed a American Best Value Inn. Because of the weather, the wifi network doesn't work.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be riding East to Thomasville, GA and then head South to Monticello, FL. I'm hoping to make it that far. There is supposed to be more rain. If I don't feel like I'm going to be able to make it, I'll probably stop in Thomasville and push the last 62 miles to Perry Wednesday. The weather is supposed to be better Wednesday.

November 25 : Bainbridge, GA to Monticello, FL - 65.81 miles (105.30 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. I was surprised at finding one big roach in the bathroom but it was dead. The cleanliness of the motel was way beyond par. I don't understand why there was a large pile of trash in one of the corridors. There was also a lot of broken furniture. I was hoping that there was going to be some breakfast but there wasn't any even though there was a breakfast nook.

I left the motel a little before 7:30 am. It was lightly raining. The rain was coming from a big front that was on the Gulf. On the way out of town, I stopped at a BK for some breakfast and also to get on the internet to check my email. The ride East to Thomasville went okay. There was some paved shoulder but with every rise I got off Alice and walked her up the hills because I couldn't shift to a lower gear. Even with the rain, I was able to get in 26 miles by noon. I did take a short break at a gas station along the way.

I got through downtown Thomasville around 1:40 pm. It was a long ride from the downtown area to US 19 where I turned South to Florida. From Thomasville, it was a twelve mile ride to the Florida state line. There were some rolling hills but traffic was light. I did walk up a few hills because I couldn't shift. There were some breaks in the rain. Because of the break in the rain, I was able to take the traditional pictures of Alice at the state line.

From the state line, it was about a 10 mile ride into Monticello. It was a little after 4 pm when I got into downtown Monticello. I found some activity at the First United Methodist Church. I found the secretary in the office. She authorized a room at a motel on the Western edge of town. I did have to go to the police station to get a voucher for the room. On the way to the motel, I stopped at a quick mart to get a chicken dinner.

Tomorrow, the weather should be a lot better than what it was today. The front is going to move up the East Coast. It's going to be causing a major Winter storm from the Carolinas to New England.

November 26 : Monticello, FL to Perry, FL - 45.49 miles (72.78 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The small portable heater got the room warm but it didn't dry out my wet clothes. I left the motel around 7:30 am. Before leaving Monticello, I stopped at a convenience store for a light breakfast. The ride South on US 19 went okay. There was a wide paved shoulder and bike lanes at intersections. I stopped at a gas station South of I-10 for a short break. The sky was a little cloudy but around 10 am the sky got clear and the sun came out.

About 20 miles out of Perry, the rear tire went soft. I found a small piece of wire inside the tire. I put in the new spare innertube. Because of stopping to fix the flat, I only got 26 miles in by noon. About 8 more miles down the highway, I had another rear flat. This time I found a really long piece of wire sticking up from inside the tire. It took me about fifteen minutes to get the tire inflated.

About eight miles out of Perry, a guy on tour rode passed me heading North. There was no way that I could get over to talk to him because I was on a divided 4 lane highway. He was my first cycle tourist since Southern Illinois. It got warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off.

I got into Perry around 1:45 pm. I stopped for a late lunch and got some groceries before heading to the Holiday Inn Express where my friend in Reddick got me a room for a couple of nights. My friend's parents live nearby and he is going to pick me up tomorrow to take me to their Thanksgiving dinner. Technically, my trip South from Sabula, Iowa is over in a riding sense because I planned to stay in the Perry area for a couple of days and then my friend will transport me and Alice back to Reddick with them.

The next update might posted sometime between December 08th and December 15th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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