TRIP 2015

Update #19 - September 26th
Villa Rica, Georgia
7,631.93 miles (12,211.09 KM) - Year Total

September 11 : Aberdeen, NC to Rockingham, NC : 31.59 miles (50.54 km)
Trip Total: 7,178.21 miles (11,485.14 km)

I had a pretty good night. The motel was very nice and clean. It rained pretty hard for a bit in the early afternoon. I went to bed early around 9:30 pm. I was hoping to sleep throughout the whole night but I woke up around 2:30 am to go to the restroom. I was able to fall asleep till around 5:50 am. There was a pretty good breakfast.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. I sidewalk road most of the way through the rest of Aberdeen. I stopped at a gas station to see if I could find some milk. Before I left, this older black guy stopped to talk to me. When he heard that I was a minister, he pulled out some dollar bills out of one of his pant's pockets and give them to me.

Around 8:42 am, I stopped alongside the road and found a place to park Alice. I wanted to take a couple minutes to pray around 8:46 am so I could remember 9-11. It's too bad that nobody else pulled off the road. I did have a couple of people going passed me look at me a little strange. Hard to believe that it's been 14 years since the attacks.

The morning ride went okay. There was some hills to ride over and then a long stretch of flat land. I was able to get in 24 miles by noon.

It was a short ride into the downtown area. I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things for lunch. I went over to a nearby Methodist church to find some shade and to also wait and see if anybody would show up in the afternoon in the office. There was a sign on the office door that said that the office would be open in the afternoon between 1 and 5 pm. I waited till around 1:30 pm but nobody showed up. I backtracked about a half mile to check out a Presbyterian Church that I had passed. Same thing. Nobody around. I went next door to a house that I thought was the parsonage because it shared the driveway but it was a private residence. I went to the First Baptist Church. The secretary was in but she told me that the pastor was out of town.

It was almost 2:30 pm and the temperature was in the mid 80s. The next town was almost 18 miles away. I made my way over to US 74 BUS. I decided to go ahead and try and get a room for the night. I stopped at a motel that I thought that was clean. The motel was run by an Indian. He was pretty friendly. He told me that the rate was a little high because it was a weekend and that there were races going on at a dragstrip that I had passed but he kept on dropping the rate. I got the room almost twenty dollars less than what was expected.

September 12 : Rockingham, NC to Knollwood (East Monroe) : 44.26 miles (70.82 km)
Trip Total: 7,222.47 miles (11,555.95 km)

I had a pretty good night. The motel was very nice and clean. The motel room was a little better than what I had expected. I did have to go to the office to see if the wifi modem could be rebooted. Before it got too late, I took a walk in search of some milk for tomorrow morning. Even though there was supposed to be breakfast in the morning, I didn't think that there was going to be much. I checked out a couple of grocery stores and then I walked into the downtown area to the grocery store that I had stopped at around noon. I was pretty surprised that I had no pain from my right calf or knee.

I went to bed around 10 pm and I slept pretty well through the night till around 5 am. I got on the road around 7:30 am. There was a bit of a climb to get of a valley. I finished up US 74 Bus and I got on US 74. The sky was overcast and it was a little cool so I wore my jacket for hours. The ride along US 74 was a bit tricky because in some places there wasn't much of a shoulder. There was a lot of traffic especially truck traffic. I got into Wadesboro around 10:30 am. I stopped for an early lunch break. By noon, I had ridden 23 miles.

The afternoon ride was a little harder because of all of the traffic. I rode through the small towns of Polkton and Peachland. In Wingate, I stopped to buy a few supplies at a Dollar Store and also stopped to get a small chocolate shake.

I got to the Eastern edge of Monroe around 5 pm. Instead of going all the way into town, I decided to try and stop in a pine forest. There weren't any no trespassing signs and there were no houses around the forest. I went in about a tenth of a mile just to be sure that there weren't anybody around. I found a good area in between some trees to pitch my tent. I was actually up a small hill so I was above the traffic on US 74. It might be a noisy night because I was maybe 200 feet from the highway.

September 13 : Knollwood (East Monroe) to Monroe : 03.63 miles (05.81 km)
Trip Total: 7,226.10 miles (11,561.76 km)

I had a pretty good night. Even though I was quite close to the busy and noisy highway, I fell asleep around 8 pm. I did wake up around midnight to go to the restroom but I was able to fall back asleep. It was a little cool in the early morning hours but I didn't crawl into the sleeping bag.

I woke up around 6:30 am. and I got out of the woods around 7:40 am. It was a short ride into town. Before heading into the downtown area. I stopped at a grocery store to get some milk. The ride into the downtown area was about a mile long. I passed on the first church that I came across because it was a Catholic Church. The second church that I came across was the First Presbyterian Church. I got to the church around 8:50 am. A contemporary service was going on but I passed on it. I made my way into the Fellowship Hall and waited for the sunday school classes to start.

I got invited to take part in an adult class with the topic of "Do Good". It was a discussion on why we should do compassion. During the service, I sat with the leader of the class and her husband. He was a retired professor at the university in Wingate and he also played the kettle drums during the service.

After the service, I did get to talk with the pastor. I was given permission to stay in the parlor for the night. The couple who I sat with invited me to have lunch with them at their house. I could have stayed with them but it would have been at least a seven mile backtrack.

I'm changing my plans to Spartanburg. I was planning to ride through Charlotte and then to Gastonia before heading South but I've decided to cross into South Carolina tomorrow.

September 14 : Monroe, NC to Red River (North Rock Hill), SC : 41.46 miles (66.34 km)
Trip Total: 7,267.56 miles (11,628.10 km)

I had a pretty good night at the church. I had a good time visiting with and talking to the youth group. This was the first meeting for the new school year. After we ate, I got to speak for about 10 minutes. The reception that I got was pretty good. Before everybody left, one of the mothers and her son came by the parlor to thank me and give me a GH. Fifteen minutes later, the group leader and one of her assistants with a plastic bag of goodies like cereal bars, crackers and cheese, and a big bag of trail mix.

I went to bed around 10 pm on one of the sofas in the parlor. I woke up early around 5 am. I left the church a little after sunrise (around 6:45 am). I wanted to make sure that I was out of the building before the cleaning lady showed up, the office staff, the pre-school teachers, and the pre-school kids showed up. I walked through the downtown area. I got on NC 75 going west.

The ride to Waxhaw went okay. The road was a little hilly and there was some shoulder and the traffic was light. A couple miles passed Waxhaw, I crossed into South Carolina. Sc 75 joined US 521. It was hard riding there because there was a lot of traffic and very little shoulder to ride along. What shoulder there was was taken up by a rumble strip. I was really happy when SC 75 split off heading West again through Van Wyck. I stopped for an early break at the park in Van Wyck.

A mile west of Van Wyck, Sc75 ended and I got on SC 5. The ride along SC 5 was okay but the ride got a lot worse when it joined US 21. The truck traffic was really heavy. There wasn't much of a shoulder. I had to ride my mirror. When a lot of traffic came speeding up from behind me, I tried to get off the road wherever I could.

On the Eastern edge of Rock Hill, I had a hard time getting through the area of I-77. I was really happy to get passed I-77. I stopped for a late lunch. I got on Bus 21 for the ride into the downtown area. I stopped at the First Presbyterian Church but I learned that the pastor was gone for the week. I stopped at the St Johns United Methodist Church. I got to meet the youth minister and the sr pastor. The senior pastor was impressed on what I was doing. She gave me an envelope with a donation that should cover a room at the Motel 6 near I-77. The clerk at the motel gave me a discount on the room.

Today is Rosh Hashonah (the Jewish New Year). Tomorrow, I'll be riding to Gaffney.

September 15 : Red River (North Rock Hill), SC to Gaffney, SC : 47.36 miles (75.78 km)
Trip Total: 7,314.92 miles (11,703.87 km)

I had a pretty good night at the motel. The room was okay except for one bedspread that had some big holes in it and low water pressure in the vanity sink. I woke up around 5 am. I had breakfast off the recumbent instead of getting some from the McDs next door.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. I rode a couple of blocks North and got on SC 161 to York. I rode the sidewalk as far as I could because most of the way through Rock Hill it was a 6 lane highway. Traffic was heavy as far as the airport.

The ride to York went okay. In some places, I had the highway to myself. I took an early break at a gas station outside of York. I got on SC 5. The ride on SC 5 to Blacksburg went okay. There were some hills but I was able to ride up them.

I got on US 29. I rode through Blacksburg. There were quite a few hills that I coasted down on. US 29 was a two-lane highway. Traffic was medium.

I got into downtown Gaffney a little after 4 pm. I wasn't expecting to find anybody at any of the churches but I found the assistant pastor in at the First Baptist Church. There was an offer to get me a room at a motel near I-84.

This is the longest day that I've ridden since the 03rd of the month.

September 16 : Gaffney, SC to Fairforest (Spartanburg) : 29.63 miles (47.41 km)
Trip Total: 7,344.55 miles (11,751.26 km)

I had a pretty good night at the motel. This was my first time at a Baymont Inn and Suites. The motel used to be a Jamison Inn. The room was pretty nice and everything worked okay. My room was only a couple of doors away from the office in the main building. There was a BK just down the road so I went there to get lunch takeout.

I got on the road around 7:30 am. The ride to Spartanburg went okay. Most most of the way, the traffic was light. There were some hills to cross over but I was able to ride up all of them. There were some good stretches of downhill coasts.

I got into the Eastern edge of Spartanburg around 11 am. I stopped for an early lunch break. After lunch, it was a short ride into the downtown area and then I used to a tripsheet to get to my friend's house . The ride was okay but I missed a turn near the end of the route because I couldn't read my notes on the tripsheet.

I got to my friend's house around 1:30 pm. It was pretty different being there without Jim being there. It's been a little over two weeks since he died. I took a short nap and then around 5:30 pm, I went out with Joyce for supper and then we went to a Methodist church on the East side of Spartanburg to listen and watch the African Children's Choir, which was a group of boys and girls between the ages of 7 and 9 mostly from Uganda.

September 18 : Fairforest (Spartanburg), SC to Easley, SC : 44.09 miles (70.54 km)
Trip Total: 7,388.64 miles (11,821.82 km)

I had a decent rest day yesterday. It was nice seeing Joyce again. It's just too bad that Jim wasn't alive. If only I could have visited a year or two earlier or maybe before this July when Jim started to get really sick. It was kind of strange seeing his cremated remains in a plastic container on the fireplace mantle. Joyce has to get permission by the owners of Jim's favorite golf course in the area before she can scatter his ashes around the course. Jim told joyce that he didn't want to be scattered in either a water hazard or a rough.

I went to bed a little late but I was able to stay asleep till around 5:45 am. I got cleaned up, dressed, and started to pack up so I could take everything outside to load up Alice. Joyce had gone out to the gym. I found some things on the kitchen counter after I loaded up Alice. I found some fruit, a few snacks, a note, and a large GH. The note said that Joyce was going to be back a little after 8 am. I got myself some breakfast and watched the morning news while waiting for Joyce to come back.

I got on the road around 8:20 am. The ride to Lyman. In Lyman, I got on US 29. The ride was okay because there was a shoulder. By noon, I got in 21 miles. I stopped for some lunch in Greer. After lunch, the ride was okay into downtown Greenville. Getting out of downtown Greenville was a little hard so I had to ask directions to get on US 123 to Easley. The ride to Easley was kind of hard because in a lot of places there was little or no shoulder and there was a lot of traffic. I had to ride my mirror and stop quite a few places to let traffic go passed.

I got into downtown Spartanburg around 4 pm. I found the office of the First Baptist Church. The youth were getting ready to go on some kind of youth retreat/ mission trip. I caught the pastor before he left. He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call him if I didn't have any other luck at the other downtown churches. I rode over to the Methodist Church but I didn't find anybody around it. I found some people in at the First Presbyterian Church. The senior pastor was gone for the day but I was able to talk with the assistant pastor. She didn't really want to help me because she was getting ready to leave. Here is another minister who was on a short schedule. Compassion wasn't available Friday afternoon. I went outside and sat on the steps of the church to call the pastor at the First Baptist Church. I was able to just leave a message because he told me that he was going to pick up his son and then go visit with somebody in the hospital.

I went to check out another church but noboby was around. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few things. I was almost out of town on the West side when the pastor called me back. He told me that he would make arrangements for me to stay at a local motel but it was on the East side of town back on US 123. I had about a 4 mile backtrack to the motel.

I'm going to possibly just ride to Seneca tomorrow.

September 19 : Easley, SC to Seneca, SC : 30.87 miles (79.03 km)
Trip Total: 7,419.51 miles (11,871.22 km)

The night was a little rough. The motel chain was supposed to be up-scale but the room wasn't that good. There were a lot of problems with it. The room had a connecting door to the room next door. It wasn't that thick. I was hoping to fall asleep early but there was a lot of noise coming from the room next door. I had to turn the fan on fast and used it as a sound breaker.

I was surprised that it was almost 7 am when I woke up. Normally, I'm up by around 5 am. I got cleaned up and dressed and went to the breakfast room around 7:20 am. The hot breakfast was okay. I left the motel around 8:10 am.

I rode sidewalk along US 123 until I could get on SC 93. The ride was okay but I wished that I had some shoulder to ride along. I rode through the towns of Liberty, Norris, and Central. Between Central and Clemson, the highway became better and there was some shoulder. In Clemson, I rode passed Clemson University. Once across the Hartwell Lake bridge, I had to get on US 123 again for about 6 miles until I can get into Seneca.

I rode into downtown Seneca because according to S&T there was supposed to be a low cost motel. I didn't find it so I took local roads back to US 123. I stopped at this one motel "Executive Inn" because the sign said that they had the lowest rate in town. Another motel operated by a member of the AAHA. I had to get myself buzzed in the room. I had to move on because the lady in the office was adimate that I couldn't take my recumbent into the room. There wasn't any place where I could even lock her up close to my door.

I backtracked to another motel "Best Way" that I had passed. The only problem was that the motel was up a hill. The motel was also run by a member of the AAHA. The lady in the office was much friendlier towards me. There was no problem with my taken Alice inside. The rate was less than what the other motel charged. The room looks a lot better than the room that I had at the motel in Easley.

September 20 : Seneca, SC to Seneca, SC : 06.87 miles (10.99 km)
Trip Total: 7,426.38 miles (11,882.21 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was pretty good for the cost that I paid. I did wake up quite early. I checked out the internet to see what kind of churches there were in town. I decided to go and check out St. Marks United Methodist Church.

I left the motel around 8:45 am. I backtracked into the downtown area and then it was a couple of miles to the church. It was in the Sw part of Seneca. The church was pretty big and the building was ultra-modern. The mortgage must have been several million dollars. There were several services already going on when I got there so I waited in the atrium. The people were sort of aloof towards me.

Before the time for Sunday school to start, I did get introduced to one of the church staff who was the minister of discipleship. She connected with the one of the sunday school classes. I went to the Discipleship class. The class was small. Instead of doing something religious but the class was mostly about personality types (beaver, golden retriever, lion, and otter). I found out that I was part lion and beaver.

The service was kind of long because there were visitors from the Bahamian Island of Eleuthera. The church has sent several mission trips to the island. After the service, I connected with the sr pastor. I found out that he had arranged for a room at the Days Inn on the West side of town.

I'll be cycling into Georgia tomorrow.

September 21 : Seneca, SC to Toccoa, GA : 27.82 miles (44.51 km)
Trip Total: 7,454.20 miles (11,926.72 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was pretty good. I woke up early before 5 am but I was able to fall back asleep till before 6 am. There was a decent free breakfast.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. It was a short ride to US 123 where I turned Southwest. The ride to Westminster went okay but when there was a lot of traffic behind me I pulled off the side of the road because there wasn't any shoulder. I stopped for a break in Westminster.

Once passed Westminster, US 123 became a two-laned highway to the state line. Traffic was pretty light. I rode across the bridge over Hartwell Lake.

A couple of miles into Georgia, I was stopped by a guy on the side of the road. We talked for about five minutes. Before he left, he slipped me $10.

The ride into Toccoa went okay. I got into Toccoa around noon. The sky was overcast so I thought that it was going to rain. I stopped at a park across the hospital for a break to wait till it was around 1 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. The church was in the process of having a large building in back being built. I got to talk to the associate pastor. He suggested that I should try and go to this Baptist conference center but it was about five miles out of town.

I went on to the United Methodist Church. The secretary was in the office. She didn't know if the pastor was going to be back in the office. She called a local motel to see how much a room was going to be and she cut a check for it. The owner was part of the AAHA. I wasn't able to keep Alice in the room. I had to unload her and store her in a storage room near the office.

September 22 : Toccoa, GA to Banks Corner, GA : 47.37 miles (75.79 km)
Trip Total: 7,501.57 miles (12,002.51 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was pretty good. I woke up early before 5 am but I was able to fall back asleep till before 6 am. There was a decent free breakfast.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. It took a while packing up Alice. I would have gotten on the road earlier if I had Alice already packed up in my room.

It was overcast and cool. I had to get my jacket on. I backtracked a mile through the downtown area to get on GA 17 to go South to Lavonia. Once I got out of the town limits, I hit road construction because they were turning the two lane highway into a divided 4 lane highway. There were some spots where I had to wait for traffic to go passed especially on the hills. Six miles out of Lavomia, the highway was divided 4 lane to I-85 and there was a wide bike lane. Once passed I-85, the highway became two-lane again into the downtown area.

I turned West on GA 59. The ride went okay. I got about 23 miles in by noon. I stopped at a Wendys at a truck stop outside of Carnesville. The ride West to Commerce went okay but I did have to wait a couple of places to wait for a lot of traffic to go passed.

I didn't go all the way into Commerce. I turned North on US 441 to Banks Corner that is around I-85. I saw a billboard that advertised a $39.95 rate at the Super 8. I found the Super 8 North of the interstate. The motel is a AAHA operated motel. The Indian lady at the desk didn't talk English very well. The lady told me that the advertised rate was just a starting rate. Bait and Switch. The going rate now was $49.95. I was given a $5 discount but there was an extra $5 Georgia motel surcharge. I didn't want to try and go to another motel to see if I could find a cheaper rate. There was a Motel 6 nearby but they didn't advertise their rate.

I'll be riding to Lawrenceville tomorrow.

September 23 : Banks Corner, GA to Lawrenceville, GA : 45.92 miles (73.47 km)
Trip Total: 7,547.49 miles (12,075.98 km)

I had an off night at the motel. I was upset that I was a victim of bait and switch. I never really liked dealing with motel operators from India especially the Patel Clan. The AAHA says that hospitality is important but they rip people off. They don't invest much into their properties and let them run down. I got maybe 5 hours of sleep. I didn't go early to get breakfast.

Before leaving the motel around 7:50 am. I grabbed a couple of the Super 8 pastries. It was about a 1.5 mile backtrack to GA 59. I went passed this one motel (the second that I had passed) and saw a sign that showed that I might have saved $13. From GA 59, I got on Bus US 441 into Commerce. It was almost a 4 mile ride into Commerce.

In Commerce, I got on SR 15A South to Jefferson. In Jefferson, I got on SR 11 Bus to Widner. I stopped for a late lunch in Widner. In Widner, I got on BUS US 29 that took me to Lawrenceville.

I got into Lawrenceville around 5 pm. I found my way over to the First Baptist Church. I got invited to participate in the family meal and got to share during the prayer service. Afterwards, I had to wait for the pastor to get done teaching a class. Afterwards, the pastor led me over to a motel that was close. The only problem was that the room that I was given was on the second floor. It took me five trips to get everything up to my room.

I'll be starting my ride around Atlanta to the North tomorrow. I'm shooting for Marietta tomorrow.

September 24 : Lawrenceville, GA to Marietta, GA : 49.17 miles (78.67 km)
Trip Total: 7,596.66 miles (12,154.66 km)

I had an off night at the motel. The room really stunk from smoking. I wasn't given the chance to ask for a non-smoking room. I tried to air the room out with the air blowing. My lips burnt from the nicotine that was in the pillows.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. It took a little bit of travel to get on GA 120. The ride was okay except for when the shoulder disappeared. I stopped for some lunch in Alpharetta.

I got into the Roswell area around 3:30 pm. I stopped at the First Presbyterian and First Baptist churches. I wasn't able to connect with a minister. About four miles out of Marietta, I stopped at a Christian camp. I was hoping to maybe connect with a place to stay there but I wasn't able to. I talked with this one lady and she told me to wait for the president of the camp to come and talk with me. The guy came and talked to me and told me that because they had to many break-ins at the camp that they had gotten a contract with the sheriff department. You had to get special permission by the reservation board to stay or visit the camp.

Coming into Marietta, there were no low cost motels. I stopped at this one motel but they wanted over $80 before tax for a room. In the downtown area, I stopped at the police station. I talked to one of the officers but they didn't have a chaplaincy program. I stopped at the First Presbyterian and First United Methodist churches because there were activities going on at each of the churches but they were not church functions. Both churches had security guards. Neither of the guards had contact information for the ministers.

I got back on GA 120. It was getting really dark and it started to sprinkle. I had to turn my headlights on. I found some woods near the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park. There were no private property signs so I thought that I was on public land. I went into the woods around 150 feet and found a place to camp out. I was able to get my tent up and everything inside the tent before it started to rain hard.

September 25 : Marietta, GA to Marietta, GA : 0.00 miles (00.00 km)
Trip Total: 7,596.66 miles (12,154.66 km)

Considering how hard the rain was over the night, the tent stayed pretty dry inside. It was good that I put the small tarp inside the tent to put the sleeping pad and bag on. By 7:30 am, it was still raining. I held off packing but my 9:30 am the rain was still going on. I decided to stay put. I had enough water so I was okay. I spent a lot of time catching up on my sleep. I also did some sewing repair work. The rain stopped around 2 pm but it started to rain again around 8:30 pm.

I've decided to change my route some. Instead of staying on SC 120 to Dallas and then get on US 278 to Cedartown, I'm going to go as far West as GA 92 and then head South to Douglasville and get on US 78 and take it across the rest of Georgia.

September 26 : Marietta, GA to Villa Rica, GA : 35.27 miles (56.43 km)
Trip Total: 7,631.93 miles (12,211.09 km)

Considering how hard the rain was over the night, the tent stayed pretty dry inside again. It was a little hard staying asleep because all of the sleep that I had gotten yesterday. By 7:30 am, it was still raining. The rain started to lesson up around 8:30 am. It was barely drizzling around 9:00 am so I decided to head out.

I was out of the woods by 9:30 am. The ride west went okay. I had to stop at a Walmart to get some new tennis shoes. The soles on the last one were getting really thin and they were coming off from the main part of the shoe. I got the tennis shoes in Iona, MI on Jul 16. They only had 2,476.29 miles on them. I got a thicker sole and these one and these had velcro ties instead of shoe laces. Hopefully, these will last till the end of the trip wherever that will be.

About three miles west of the Walmart, I turned South on GA 92. The ride South went okay because traffic was a little lighter and there was a shoulder most of the way and I was able to ride up the hills. I stopped for a late lunch in Hiram.

I got into Douglasville around 3:30 pm. I stopped at what I thought was the police department but it was actually the old office. I was able to connect with a police officer. He told me that the department didn't have a chaplaincy program. There were churches in the area.

I decided to go ahead and head West on US 78 to Villa Rica. The ride West went pretty good. Most of the ride was level because the highway followed a railroad.

I got into Villa Rica around 5:00 pm. I stopped at the police station. I was given a few phone numbers but I couldn't get anybody. I was told to go to the Fullerville Baptist Church. The ride to the church went okay. The pastor wasn't there but his son was. Instead of letting me stay in one of the church buildings for the night, there was an offer to take me to one of the local motels near I-20. The church secretary would meet us. We stopped at the Comfort Inn and Suites but they didn't have a non-smoking room available. We then went to the next motel which was the EconoLodge. They had a non-smoking room available on the main floor. A plus for me was that there was a guest laundry.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between October 10th and October 17th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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