TRIP 2015

Update #18 - September 10th
Aberdeen, North Carolina
7,146.62 miles (11,434.59 KM) - Year Total

August 31 : Warrenton, VA to Falmouth (Fredericksburg), VA : 38.28 miles (61.25 km)
Trip Total: 6,810.23 miles (10,896.37 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night. The room was okay but the rest of the motel needed a good cleaning. The hallway smelled like stale smoke. I only ventured out a couple of times. There wasn't much of a breakfast.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. I had to make a stop at a Walmart a couple of miles away. I had to try and exchange my camera because it was broken. I was able to get a new camera. The rest of the morning went okay. There were some hills but they were not that bad. I was able to get in 21 miles by noon.

The afternoon ride went okay. I got into the eastern edge of Fredericksburg area around 2:30 pm. There was road construction before I-95. As I was carefully walking through this area, a lady opened up her window and slipped me a GH. I decided to go ahead and get a room at one of the motels instead of going on into Fredericksburg and try and find a motel there.

September 01 : Falmouth (Fredericksburg), VA to Ashland, VA : 51.59 miles (82.54 km)
Trip Total: 6,861.82 miles (10,978.91 km)

I had an okay night. The room was okay but the rest of the motel needed a good cleaning. If I would have gone passed the interstate, I could have gotten a motel room at least $16 less. There wasn't much of a breakfast.

I got on the road a little after 8 am. The ride to Falmouth and Fredericksburg went okay. I rode through downtown Fredericksburg. I was going to ride South on US 17 but I decided to ride to Bowling Green on VA 2. I stopped at a WaWa for an extended break. As I was finishing eating a pretzel and drinking some milk, this young girl came up to me and asked me if I needed something else to drink. I told her that it would be okay to have a Gatorade for later and she went in and got it for me.

There were a lot of rolling hills on the way to Bowling Green. I got into Bowling Green around 1:30 pm. I stopped at a couple of churches but there were no ministers available. I did talk with a Baptist minister but he wasn't that friendly when I asked him about trying to find someplace to stop for the day because it was close to 90.

I just left town. The ride South on US 301/ VA 2 was a little better because the road had some shoulder. At Hanover, I turned West to Ashland.

I got into Ashland around 6:45 pm. I stopped at a motel where I had stopped at before. I got a 5% discount on the room.

September 02 : Ashland, VA to Fort Fisher, VA : 47.53 miles (76.05 km)
Trip Total: 6,909.35 miles (11,054.96 km)

I had an okay night even though the room was a bit run down. In the bathroom wall next to the bed, there was a deep hole that wasn't patched and another patch job that should have been sanded down before it was painted. The rate was a bit high than what I had remembered. The one good thing was that the wifi signal was strong. There were a couple motels that might have had lower rates close by but these could have been Potels. Being that this was a Motel 6, there wasn't any breakfast.

I took my time getting ready and packed up. I got back on the road around 7:50 am. It was about a couple block ride to US 1. About a mile down the road, I crossed the Adventure Cycling Bike 76 (TransAmerican) Bike Route. The ride into Richmond went okay but I took my time because of the heat. The high was supposed to get into the low 90s.

When I got into Richmond, I followed local roads (a bike route) to the downtown area instead of staying on US 1. To get across the James River, I went across the US 360 bridge, which was a bike route. The bridge was being repaired in the South Bound lanes but I was able to ride through the construction area. Once I got across the bridge, I followed local roads back to US 1. I stopped in South Richmond for a late lunch at a BK.

The afternoon ride was a little slow because of some hills, traffic, and the heat. I took quite a few breaks along the way. Around 4 pm, I had to stop a couple of times at two gas stations to wait and see where a thunderstorm that was coming through the area was going to hit. Because of the overcast skies, the afternoon high only got up into the mid 80s.

At one gas station, there was a young guy smoking a cigarette begging for money. One of the managers asked him to leave because he was loitering. The guy had a sign saying that he was homeless and hungry. I offered him some of the food from my food pannier but he told me that he wasn't hungry and he had plenty of food at his campsite. He was just begging for monet. Before leaving, he told me that he has had a couple of bad months. To me, he didn't want to admit that his addictions caused him problems and that is why he is homeless. He didn't have any physical difficulties.

I stopped at a Wawa in Colonial Heights for a break. As I was getting ready to leave, this black guy came up to me to slip me the change that he got from his purchase. When I toid him that I was a minister, he pulled out of one of his pant's pocket a handful of dollars. There wasn't any indication whether any of the churches were going to have a Wednesday night service so I pushed on to Petersburg.

I somehow missed a turn in Petersburg but after I got directions from a couple of people, I was able to get back on US 1. I rode through a pretty bad part of Petersburg. I got out of Petersburg around 6:30 pm. There were no low cost motels along US 1 being that I was now paralleling I-85. The only hotel/motel that I came across was a Holiday Inn Express. This was way above my budget.

I was getting somewhat concerned where I was going to stop at. Around 7:30 pm. I came across the Westside Baptist Church. I caught some people getting ready to leave after the evening service. One of the people was one of the elders. The church had a picnic shelter and I got permission to camp out under it. The shelter had water and also electricity. The only problem is that it is quite close to the interstate.

I'm going to try and push in another long day to South Hill tomorrow. The afternoon high is supposed to be in the low 90s again. I'm about 68 miles from the North Carolina state line.

September 03 : Fort Fisher, VA to Warfield, VA : 24.77 miles (39.63 km)
Trip Total: 6,934.12 miles (11,094.59 km)

I was surprised that I got some rest last night. I-85 was less than two hundred feet away separated from the church grounds by a narrow strip of trees. Traffic zipped by fast and loud. There was an interchange where traffic got off onto US 1.

Two deputies from the Dimwiddie Sheriff department showed up before I had everything into the tent. They were pretty friendly and they told me that the department had gotten a call from the gentleman I talked with last night to tell them that I had permission to camp out in the shelter for the night. There were a lot of lightning flashes in the sky but not much rain.

It was really great having access to water and electricity. I pitched the tent quite close to the Southwest corner of the shelter because that is where the electrical outlets were. This was the second night this trip where I was able to plug in while camping in my tent. I did my computer work and then I started to watch a movie.

I tried falling asleep around 10 pm. It was sort of good that I was deaf in my left ear and had tinnitus. These things blocked the road sounds and I was able to fall asleep. I woke up a couple of times during the night but I was able to fall back asleep till around 6 am.

I took my time getting packed up and I was on the road around 7:45 am. I rode about a tenth of a mile to the North to a gas station that I had passed last night to get some milk and use the facilities. The ride South on US 1 went okay. I rode passed some fields of canola and tobacco. I stopped to get a few things at a Family Dollar in Dimwiddie and also at a gas station.

I got into McKenny around noon. I had ridden 21 miles. I stopped for a short lunch break at a gas station. I saw a temperature sign that said that the temp was in the upper 80s. I wasn't sure that I was going to try and make it the 28 miles to South Hill.

About 3 miles South of McKenney was the Notttaway Travel Center. I decided to break down and get a room at the motel in the travel center. I was given a 5% sr discount. Also, I got a coupon for a free Subway 6 inch sandwich.

The heat will still be high tomorrow. I'm just going to go to South Hill tomorrow.

September 04 : Warfield, VA to South Hill, VA : 28.77 miles (46.03 km)
Trip Total: 6,962.89 miles (11,140.62 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night at the motel. There was a wifi signal but it was too weak to access. Getting the free 6 inch sub from Subway was okay. I went to bed early and slept through most of the night till around 6 am.

Being that there was a restaurant in the motel complex, there wasn't a breakfast. I left the motel around 7:40 am.

The ride South went okay. I stopped at a gas station in Alberta for a short break. The temperature was in the upper 70s - low 80s. I was making good time till I got to about 6 miles out of South Hill. While going up a hill, I noticed that the rear tire was a bit soft. To be safe, I put in a new innertube and I was back on the road in about 20 minutes. Because of this delay, I was only able to make about 22 miles by noon.

About three miles out of South Hill near Forksville, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. I got a brownie and a can of tea. While I was finishing up the can of tea, this one-armed man came up to me with two Dollar Bills in his hand. He told me that if I would go inside, the store owner would give me a pre-made sandwich. I opted to get an egg and cheese biscuit sandwich. I didn't stay that long after getting the sandwich because I heard the loud sound of thunder and it looked like it was getting ready to storm.

I got into South Hill around 1:45 pm. I caught the lady pastor at the Presbyterian Church. She was on her way to the post office. She told me that she would meet me at one of the local motels and get me a room for the night.

I'm 16 miles from the North Carolina state line. Tomorrow supposed to be a little cooler than today.

September 05 : South Hill, VA to North Henderson, NC : 40.64 miles (65.02 km)
Trip Total: 7,003.53 miles (11,205.65 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night at the motel. The inside of the room was a lot better than what I had expected. A couple doors down from me was a large pile of broken furniture. There was also a lot of trash in the parking lot that blew around when the wind picked up. At least, the wifi signal was strong since I was about six doors away from the office. Before it started to rain, I walked over to a grocery store in a nearby shopping center to get a few things. During the afternoon and night, there were a lot of alarms for the volunteer fire department.

I went to bed early and I slept till around 5 am. I left the motel a little before 8 am. It was good that I had breakfast off my bike because there wasn't much provided, The ride South to the North Carolina state line went okay. Traffic was sort of heavy while US 1 was with US 58. It was about a seventeen mile ride to the state line. I stopped to take some more pictures.

The ride in North Carolina was a little bit easier because there were not as many hills. I stopped for a break at a gas station in Norlina. I made about 23 miles by noon. The temperature didn't get as high as what they had expected because the sky was overcast. It did look like it was going to rain.

Halfway between Norlina and Middleburg, I met up with this guy who was traveling in a three wheeled vehicle that was pulling a two-wheeled trailer with a large solar panel as a roof. The vehicle had a cab and the roof was solar panels also. There were adverisements for "Free Palesetine", a crucifix that talked about love and solidarity instead of repentence and accepting Christ, and talk about being sun powered. You could pedal the vehicle but there was also an elecric motor.

The guy's appearance was a shocker. The guy had three crosses tattooed on his forehead. All three of the crosses had the words "Start Loving" inscribed in them instead of "Jesus Is Lord". One his cheeks the words "Wage Love" were tattoed and the words "Not War" were tattoed on his nose. The guy scared me. He looked like a Charles Manson character or one of the characters that I've seen in the sci-fi movies "Ender's Game" and "Star Wars", I talked with the guy a little bit but what I heard didn't make me comfortable. Instead of using the Name of God, he said Creator. He talked about be Christlike with regards to love but he didn't say anything about Jesus being the Savior. He was some kind of peace activist. Checking out his blog, I learned that he was on something called a Creation Ride. This was definitely somebody who I didn't want to ride with or meet again.

The rest of the ride into North Henderson went okay. On the northern edge of town, there were quite a few motels. I stopped at this one motel and this lady from India didn't want me to get a room there. The motel looked half empty. I went to another motel and the guy who was from India was a little more friendly. He gave me a discount on a room. He offered to give me a two-bed non-smoking room for the rate of a one bed smoking room.

September 06 : North Henderson, NC to Henderson, NC to North Henderson, NC : 03.51 miles (05.62 km)
Trip Total: 7,007.04 miles (11,211.26 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night at the motel. The inside of the room was a little better than what I had expected. There was a brief rain shower during the afternoon.

I woke up really early. There wasn't much of a breakfast except for a couple of small chocolate muffins. I left the motel around 8:30 am. I stopped at a gas station to see if I could find some milk. I didn't buy any because there wasn't any price on them. As I was getting ready to leave, this hispanic lady stopped to talk to me. She told me that she was quite happy to see what I was doing. She told me to wait for her while she went into the store. I was really surprised that she gave me a GH of $10. She took a few pictures before I left.

I rode passed a couple of churches before I got into the downtown area. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. I got to the church around 9:20 am. The sign outside said that there was going to be Sunday school at 9:30 am. There wasn't anybody around so I found my way down a hallway. As I was entering this hallway, this black guy came out a door and really looked at me strangely. This older guy came out of a room to investigate. He really didn't seem that friendly. There was a group of elderly men getting ready for a Sunday school class. He told me that I should go into the fellowship hall. I really didn't get much of a welcome with the two guys in the fellowship hall. I found out later that one of the guys was the lay leader of the church. He talked to me a minute or two and then some other people came around him and they started eating and talking amongst themselves.

I really didn't feel welcome so I decided to go out a side door. I went around the building to where I had chained up Alice. I debated a minute or two if I should go back to one of the churches that I had passed. I decided to give the church another try. I went into the front doors of the sanctuary. There were two guys setting up for the service. They were pretty welcoming towards me. One of the guys took me upstairs to one of the Sunday school classes. This was the Christian Young Friends Group. The group was mostly older men and women. I was made welcome and I was able to share. This was my 38th church for the year. Towards the end of the class, they offered to pray for me.

I made my way to the Sanctuary. As I was waiting for the service to start, the lady who led the class came up with an envelope and told me that after I had left they gathered up a collection for me. I was able to meet the pastor before the service. During the announcement time of the service, the pastor introduced me. Between the sermon and the L=rd's Table, there was a time for praises and prayers. The pastor gave me the chance to speak for a couple of minutes. After the prayers, there was the "passing of the peace". One older guy came up to shake my hand and also give me a GH.

After the service, the pastor offered to meet me at one of the motels in North Henderson and get me a room for the day. The pastor has only been at the church for a year. I was pretty impressed that the church was involved with a lot of local social ministries. During the service, there was a discussion about "lunch buddies" where members of the church go to a couple of local churches and meet with the students during lunch. I also found out that the youth program has a clothes closet for other youths and they also have a soup kitchen once a month.

I'm not really thrilled with riding tomorrow since it is going to be Labor Day but I'm going to try and make it around Raleigh.

September 07 : North Henderson, NC to North Raleigh, NC : 42.94 miles (68.70 km)
Trip Total: 7,049.98 miles (11,279.97 km)

I had a somewhat okay afternoon and night at the motel. The inside of the room was a little better than what I had expected after seeing the condition of the swimming pool that I had gone passed. It was almost empty and there was a large coating of slime on the water. The room had too much furniture in it considering at how small the room was. There were three chairs. One of them was a cushioned chair and I had to flip the cushion over because it was ratty. The bottom of the shower curtain had a lot of mold on it so I didn't attempt to take a shower. The only problem with that is there was a little water pressure in the sink. This was the case of another motel being owned and operated from the Patel family of Gujarat Hindus of India.

I went to bed early and I woke up around 6 am. There was a light breakfast. I left the motel around 7:35 am. Before leaving the area, I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things.

The morning ride was okay because it started out cool. The sky was a little overcast. I stayed on US 1 Bus until I got to Kittrell. Once I got on US 1, the ride was a lot better because there was a wide shoulder.

By noon, I had ridden 23 miles. I stopped at a McDs in Frankinton for lunch. The ride in the afternoon went okay except that the traffic picked up a lot. I got into the Northern edge of Raleigh (North Raleigh) around 3 pm. I stopped at a couple of motels but the rates were too high for me. I saw a sign for a Motel 6. I had some good rooms at this chain so I thought that I would check it out. I had to cross six lanes of busy traffic to get to the side road that the motel was on.

I happened to catch the desk clerk (a nicely dressed black woman) at the end of her shift. Instead of taking just a couple of minutes to check me in, she locked up and left. Before leaving, I was told that the next desk clerk was going to be there in fifteen minutes. I didn't feel like getting back on the road becasuse of the traffic. Instead of waiting fifteen minutes, I waited almost twenty-five. I was quite surprised when this loud roudy bunch of people showed up. It was a bit of a shock to see that the next desk clerk was another black woman but instead of dressing nicely she wore very tight yoga pants and a t-shirt that was short so her midriff was exposed. This wasn't Motel 6 standards. The only thing that kept me there was that I was given a good discount on a room.

I was given a room in the back. The landscaping of the motel needed to be really taken care of because the grass needed to be mowed. The room wasn't Motel 6 quality. Instead of a nice room with a bare floor there was ratty carpeting. Above the door, the textured ceiling spackling was coming down. The sheetrook of the ceiling was damp and moldy. The wet area was huge. It looked like there was a possibly leak from the air conditioner unit in the above room. The dead bolt didn't latch right. Because of these things, I went to the office to see if I could be moved to another room. I was given a key to another room but this room hadn't even been made up and it really stunk with cigarette smoke. I was given the key to the room next door to the first room. There were some poorly patched holes in the celing and a hole punched into one of the inside walls. In the bathroom, the toilet paper roll holder was missing. Hopefully, I will have a decent night.

I found out from the desk clerk that the owner is from India. In the past four years, it has good from the EconoLodge chain, to Rodeway Inn chain, and then to the Motel 6 chain. It's supposed to have been a Motel 6 for at least a year. The desk clerk told me that they are constantly begging the owner for funds to repair the rooms but the owner doesn't give them any money. This desk clerk hasn't met the owner.

September 08 : Raleigh, NC to Fuquay Varina, NC : 25.17 miles (40.27 km)
Trip Total: 7,075.15 miles (11,320.24 km)

The room was a lot worse than what I thought. The ceiling texture was almost totally gone in the bathroom. This motel was by far the worst that I've come across in the Motel 6 Chain. There wasn't anything in the way of breakfast.

I got on the road around 8 am. I didn't get far down the road when I had to stop and fix a flat rear tire. I patched up the inner tube. I didn't find anything inside the tire but I did glue a patch over an area that might have caused the problem. The tire only has 864 miles on it so it is too early to replace it. I was back on the road in about 20 minutes.

I got into the downtown area of Raleigh around 10 am. I stopped at a McDs for a break. Before going inside, I asked a guy directions on how I get back on US 401. The guy was with the Raleigh Convention and Tourism Bureau. After paying for his order, he surprised me by paying for my drink. We talked for a couple more minutes. Before he left, he slipped me a GH.

The ride to US 401 went okay but the traffic was pretty heavy until I got passed I-440 and where US 70 split off. There was a long hill to climb up. I stopped at a store in Gardner and used the GH to get two new innertubes. Since it was close to noon, I stopped at a Wendy's for some lunch. I had only gotten 11 miles in by noon.

The afternoon ride went okay. I took my time getting up some hills because of the heat. It was in the upper 80s. The sky was overcast and it looked like it might rain sometime.

I got into Fuqua Varina around 2:30 pm. I was able to connect with a pastor friend of mine at the Baptist Church. He was taking some vacation time at his home but he called up his church to tell them that I was in the area. I went over to the church. One of the staff members arranged for a room at the Comfort Suites. The motel and room were 200% better than the room last night. A big plus for me was a guest laundry.

On the way to the motel, I stopped to check out an interesting vehicle that was made out of two mountain bikes. The vehicle was a two-seated rickshaw that was powered by a small gas powered engine from a lawnmower. The engine was connected to the rear wheels by belts.

September 09 : Fuquay Varina, NC to Sanford, ND : 40.19 miles (64.30 km)
Trip Total: 7,115.34 miles (11,384.54 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night. The room was great but I wished that the darkening curtain was a little bit longer so it could have completely blocked all of the light coming into the room from the outside. There was a good hot meal with scrambled eggs and biscuits and gravy.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. There was about a 1.1 mile backtrack to get into the downtown area of Varina. The ride through Funquay Springs went okay. Once out of town the ride was really good to ride to Lillington. I stopped for a break at a fast food place. There was some smoke coming out of some manhole covers in the area. I found out that the smoke was being used to test cracks in underwater sewer lines.

In downtown Lillington, I got on US 421 N. The ride along US 421 went okay. There was some shoulder. By noon, I had ridden almost 24 miles (14 more than yesterday morning). I stopped at a gas station for a short break. The afternoon ride went okay except that the temperature was either in the upper 80s or low 90s.

I got to the Southern edge of Sanford around 2:30 pm. It was a long ride into the downtown area. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I got to talk with the senior pastor. He took me to see the director of the outreach program. Arrangements were made for me to have a room at one of the motels north of US 1. Instead of riding to the motel, Alice was loaded up into the back of one of the guy's trucks and I was taken to the motel.

Another motel operated by a member of the Asian American Hotel Association (Indian). Motel used to be with the EconoLodge chain but now it is with the American Best Value Inn Chain. The motel room was a little better than what I had expected. Will probably not have breakfast. It looks like it is going to be mostly stale cereal.

I will be riding to Southern Pines tomorrow. It might be a tricky ride because there are going to be sections of restricted access.

September 10 : Sanford, NC to Aberdeen, NC : 31.28 miles (50.05 km)
Trip Total: 7,146.62 miles (11,434.59 km)

Considering that I was in another motel run by a member with the AAMA (Indian) the room was a little bit better than what I expected. The room was in fairly decent shape except for some of the wallpaper seams coming apart especially in the bathroom. I was supposed to have been picked up by somebody from the First Baptist Church to take me back to the church for the family meal and the prayer service but nobody showed up. There was a BK a couple doors away.

I woke up a little before 5 am. I had breakfast out of my food pannier. I'm glad that I did because there wasn't much of a breakfast provided except for some stale cereal.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. I backtracked into town and I got on US 1 Bus. I stopped for a short break in Trainway before I got on US 1. The ride along US 1 went okay except when the shoulder disappeared because of a rumble strip. In the Cameron and Vass area, I got on US 1 Bus. I got around 23 miles in by noon.

Once back on US 1, the ride was a lot harder because the shoulder was taken up by a wide rumble strip which wasn't near the lane edge. I had a narrow strip of shoulder to ride along and this was tricky when the grass encroached onto the shoulder.

A couple of miles North of downtown Southern Pines, I got on Midland Road. I happened to ride passed the United Methodist Church. I remembered that I had stopped there a couple of years ago. The secretary remembered me. She told me that the associate pastor who helped me was out because his wife had recently gave birth to a boy. I got to talk with the senior pastor. He offered to get me a room at a motel in nearby Aberdeen.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between September 17th and September 24th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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