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TRIP 2015

Update #22 - November 17th
DeRidder, Louisiana
9,042.06 miles (14,467.30 KM) - Year Total



November 01 : Brenham, TX to Brenham, TX : 04.82 miles (07.71 km)
Trip Total: 8,612.39 miles (13,779.82 km)

I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped last night including the extra hour from the loss of Daylight Savings Time. Sunrise was 6:30 am. I heard some light rain outside. The rain lasted for about an hour.

There wasn't much of a breakfast provided. I left the motel around 8:30 am. I rode back into the downtown area. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. I was hoping to find as friendly a minister there as I had in Nacadoches but I didn't. I caught the minister at the end of the first service. He told me that they only helped people through their association with the Faith Mission Program. From what I learned yesterday through the police officers who helped me was that this program only provided one night's lodging through their voucher system. The pastor also told me that they had a policy of not allowing to stay over in one of the buildings. After I learned these things, I didn't feel like staying for church. I was really concerned about these things because I usually don't find compassionate ministers in towns/cities with a population over 8,000.

I went across the street to the First Baptist Church. I got to the church towards the end of the first service. This one guy who taught one of the Sunday school classes took me into an office where I could wait to talk with one of the ministers. I didn't get to talk with one of the ministers. The guy relayed to me that the church works with the mission as well. Before the guy left to teach the class, the guy slipped me $20. He gave me directions to the mission but he told me that he wasn't sure that there was going to be anybody there.

The only thing that I could think about doing was to go back to the motel I stayed at yesterday night and see if I could possibly get a discount. The lady at the desk couldn't give me a discount so I used the GH that I got this morning and some of the remaining emergency money that I had.

November 02 : Brenham, TX to Giddings, TX : 35.46 miles (56.74 km)
Trip Total: 8,647.85 miles (13,836.56 km)

I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped last night, I didn't go to the office to check out the breakfast because from what I saw yesterday morning there wouldn't be much. I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was warm enough that I didn't have to get my jacket out.

The ride along US 290 was pretty tricky because there wasn't much of a shoulder. Once I got into Bastrop County, the shoulder got more wider and improved with no chip sealing to deal with. By noon, I got about 24 miles in. I stopped alongside the road for a brief lunch break.

The afternoon ride to Giddings went okay. I got into Giddings around 2 pm. I rode around town to check out the churches. I didn't find anybody around a couple of them . I did find the secretary in at the Lutheran Church. She told me that the churches had a ministerial fund and she started out a voucher for a room but I had to go to the police station to have it completed. The motel was a couple of blocks west of the downtown area. I'm not sure how my night is going to be there because the motel looked pretty bad and it was pretty close to a railroad line.

November 03 : Giddings, TX to Bastrop, TX : 28.96 miles (46.34 km)
Trip Total: 8,676.81 miles (13,882.90 km)

I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. The room was pretty bad. It was really dirty. I found insect turds between the bedspread and the sheets. There was a very active railroad line really close to the motel.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was warm enough that I didn't have to get out my jacket. The ride West on US 290 was really hard for about 12 miles because there wasn't much of a shoulder. I turned west on TX 21. The ride along TX 21 went really well because the highway had a paved shoulder that had a smooth surface. I got about 23 miles in by noon.

I got into Bastrop around 12:45 pm. I rode around to check out the churches. There was a school at the Episcopal church so they couldn't help. There was nobody at the First Christian church. The fellowship hall of the Methodist church was being used as a Red Cross emergency shelter because there was a lot of flooding in the area. I waited about an hour to talk with the pastor of the First Baptist Church. I was told that there was a ministerial program through the police station. I got directions to the police station and I got a voucher for a room at a local motel.

I got some bad news when I checked my email account. There was an email from the volunteer coordinator with Mobile Loaves and Fishes in Austin that has the Community First Village. I sent an email to her almost two weeks ago telling them about my interest in volunteering. The email said that the program is too new (the village has been open a little over a month) and they don't have a long-term volunteer program. There is discussion of a bed-and-breakfast operation where volunteers might be able to stay but it hasn't been started yet. I'm just 30 miles away from the program. I was a little concerned about the location of the program because the village was in the middle of no where. I wasn't sure where there were going to be any stores nearby where I could buy food.

November 04 : Bastrop, TX to La Grange, TX : 34.26 miles (54.82 km)
Trip Total: 8,711.07 miles (13,937.71 km)

I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. I was pretty depressed that I had ridden all the way almost to Austin and I didn't have to, It's going to be a long ride back across Texas. I'm going to have to find a tricky ride around Houston. I tossed and turned quite a bit before I got out of bed.

I left the motel a little after 8:30 am. I backtracked through the downtown area to get to the right street that will take me to TX 71. As I was riding through the downtown area, there was cycle tourist heading West but he didn't see me because his head was turned to the opposite direction.

Once I got on TX 71, the shoulder was pretty smooth to the county line. Going into the next county, the shoulder was really chip sealed. There were a lot of hills to climb over. By noon, I had only gotten 20 miles in. I stopped at a picnic shelter for a brief break.

I got into La Grange around 2 pm. I had to ride clear through the downtown area to find a grocery store so I could buy a loaf of bread. Right across the highway from the grocery store was the Episcopal church. The secretary was in but the rector wasn't. She told me to ride to a motel on the Eastern edge of town and tell the people there to contact her and let me have a room there.

I might be trying to stay over tomorrow. They are predicting some bad thunderstorms.

November 05 : La Grange, TX to La Grange, TX : 03.27 miles (05.23 km)
Trip Total: 8,714.34 miles (13,942.94 km)

I didn't get as much sleep as I had hoped. The room that I got was pretty bad. It was pretty small and there was a lot of light coming into the room through the venetian blinds. There was also a lot of noise coming through the thin walls.

I was pretty concerned with trying to ride today because during the past couple of days on the weather repors I heard that there was going to be a lot of thunderstorms today. The sky was overcast and it looked like it was going to rain.

I left the motel almost 9 am. I decided to head back into the downtown area to see if I could maybe connect with a minister. If I don't, I'll try and go on to Columbus. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I talked with the pastor but he wasn't that friendly or helpful. I rode over to the Presbyterian Church. The secretary was pretty friendly. She told me that the pastor would be in about twenty minutes. When the pastor got there, he offered to get me a room at a motel on the West side of town.

November 06 : La Grange, TX to Columbus, TX : 28.37 miles (45.39 km)
Trip Total: 8,742.71 miles (13,988.34 km)

Here was another night that I didn't get much sleep. I probably only got four hours of sleep. I'm pretty surprised that I'm not feeling really exhaustive or sleep deprived. It's really a pain waking up really early in the early morning hours and tossing and turning for several hours before I give up and get up.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was kind of cool so I got my jacket out. I backtracked through town to get on TX 71 East. The ride Southeast went to Columbus went okay even though there were hills and some rough shoulder to deal with. I got the first 20 miles in by 11 am.

I got into Columbus a little before noon. I rode almost 27 miles in by noon. I really didn't expect finding anybody at the churches. I was surprised at finding the secretary in at the Methodist Church. The pastor was out for the day. The secretary told me that I should try the First Baptist Church because the pastor was in charge of the ministerial association. The secretary at the First Baptist was still in the office. She tried contacting the pastor but wasn't able to. She called a local motel near I-10 and arranged for a room there.

I'm going to do a short day to Sealy tomorrow. There is supposed to be a chance of rain.

November 07 : La Grange, TX to Sealy, TX : 29.49 miles (47.18 km)
Trip Total: 8,772.20 miles (14,035.52 km)

I got a little more sleep than what I had expected. I was pretty surprised. It was around 6:30 am when I got out of bed. I was going to head out a little after 8 am but it was raining pretty hard. I waited till around 9 am and it was lightly sprinkling. I was really happy to get my $5 key deposit back.

I backtracked through the downtown area to get on US 90. I got maybe 3 miles on the road when the rear tire went flat. It was really tricky getting the tire repaired. I found a small glass shard in the tire. I got the tire inflated to about 45 psi. I was back on the road in about 40 minutes.

I got on the Eastbound frontage road. A couple of miles down the road, I stopped at a truckstop and was able to get the tire inflated to the right psi. The rain started to come down really hard. I was able to find a little bit of shelter to wait.

By noon, I had gotten only 12 miles in. About 11 miles out of Sealy, the frontage road ended so I had to cross the interstate to get on the frontage road on the North side.

I got into Sealy around 2 pm. I found my way over to the police station. I talked to an officer but he didn't know any minister or how I could contact one. I rode into town and I was able to find the Episcopal, Mo Synod Lutheran, and Methodist churches. There wasn't anybody around the churches. I happened to meet up with a deputy sheriff. He told me that there was a Catholic church close by. I wasn't sure how I was going to connect with the priest but I found him outside the rectory. He was pretty friendly towards me. He told me that the ministerial association has it's offices in the parish office. The priest took me over to the parish office and made out a voucher for a motel room, I'm not sure if the voucher is going to hamper my finding some place to stay tomorrow. I hope that I can connect with a compassionate minister,

November 08 : Sealy, TX to Sealy, TX : 04.07 miles (06.51 km)
Trip Total: 8,776.27 miles (14,042.03 km)

I got a little more sleep than what I had expected. It was around 6:30 am when I got out of bed. I left the motel a little after 8 am. I rode back into the downtown area. I stopped at the Trinity Lutheran Church. I got to talk with the minister before the Sunday school class. There was a yout room but I was able to get a voucher from the ministerial association. I wasn't sure that this was okay because I thought that there was a one night limit but I was told that this would be okay. I'm going back to the motel that I stayed at last night.

During the beginning of the Adult Sunday school class, I was introduced and asked to tell the class what I was doing. After the service, one of the congregation members slipped me a GH. Also, one of the elders also slipped me a GH.

I'll be riding North to Hempstead tomorrow to start my ride around Houston. I'm about 5 days ride away from the LA state line.

November 09 : Sealy, TX to Hempstead, TX : 36.43 miles (58.29 km)
Trip Total: 8,812.70 miles (14,100.02 km)

It was another off night of not getting much sleep. It would be really nice if I could really shut my mind down so I can get some rest. I did remember that I dreamt a little bit which is something which I haven't done in a while.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. I backtracked through town and headed Northeast on TX 36 to Bellville. Once, I got to Bellville, I got on TX 159 to Hempstead. By noon, I got in about 25 miles. I stopped alongside the road for a short lunch break. It was warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off.

I got into Hempstead a little before 1 pm. It was a long ride to find the First Baptist church. The secretary was in but the pastor was out of town at some kind of conference. I rode around to some of the other churches but they were quite small and they didn't have any offices. I was told about the Catholic church but when I got there out in the country I found out that the priest had gone out of town.

I rode back into town. I didn't find the police station. I thought that I would try at the city hall to see if somebody there knew a local minister. I got connected with this nice black lady in the permit office. She was the sister of a local minister. I found out that the town did have a ministerial association. The only problem was that the sister's brother wouldn't be back into town till around 4:30 pm. While I was waiting, I talked with a friendly elderly white guy. He went to the Methodist church. He told me that his minister was out of town but he knew several ministers. One of them was the black pastor who I was waiting for, The lady in the permit office gave me a small GH and I used it to get a late lunch/ early supper at a McDs a block away. When I got back to the city hall, there were a lot of people up front where the chairs were so I went outside to wait. While I was waiting, this other black lady gave me a small GH.

Around 4:30 pm, the white guy who I talked with came by the city hall and told me that if I would follow him he would take me to a motel about a mile away to the North and the black pastor would meet me there.

I'm changing my route through the rest of Texas. I've decided to not attempt to ride through Houston area and through Beaumont. There are too many gaps in the highway where US 90 joins I-10 and there is no real way getting from Orange, TX and Vinton, LA without trying to get a ride along a section of I-10 over the Brazos River. I'm going to head North a little bit to get on US 190. This would take me across the rest of Texas and most of the way across Louisiana,

November 10 : Hempstead, TX to Conroe, TX : 46.79 miles (74.86 km)
Trip Total: 8,859.49 miles (14,175.18 km)

It was another off night of not getting much sleep. I couldn't get comfortable because I felt a little unsafe being that there was no deadbolt or security chain on the door. Pushing a chair in front of the door didn't help much.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. I backtracked through town and got on Farm Road 1488. This road was pretty well like a state highway. I made really good time into Magnolia. Once passed Magnolia, the highway got a lot busier. By noon, I got in almost 29 miles in. I stopped at a gas station for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride went okay. Farm Road 1488 ended at I-45. It took a little bit to find the frontage road that took me North into Conroe and then I got on TX 75 into the downtown area. I didn't really expect much because the city had a population of 71,000. I got into the downtown area around 2:30 pm. The first church that I came to was the First Baptist Church. Both of the pastors were out for the day. The ladies in the office were friendly. One of the ladies had some friends who had hosted other cyclists. They were contacted. I waited in the church office till almost 5 pm when I was picked up and taken to their house northwest of Conroe.

There is a good chance for rain tomorrow afternoon so I'm just planning to ride to Cleveland, Texas tomorrow.

November 11 : Conroe, TX to Conroe, TX : 00.00 miles (00.00 km)
Trip Total: 8,859.49 miles (14,175.18 km)

It was another off night of not getting much sleep. The thing that caused me from not sleeping much was that I was suffering from another bout of my pulsating headache syndrome like a migraine. The heading was going from one temple to another like my head was a pendulum. I probably got an hour or two sleep.

I caught Greg before he was going out for a men's breakfast. I told him that I didn't sleep much and I didn't think that I could head out again. I was really happy when Greg said that I could spend the day. The last day off with no riding was October 26th when I was waiting out Hurricane Patrice in Navasota, TX.

I didn't do much for the day but rest in my room and watch movies on my laptop.

November 12: Conroe, TX to Livingston, TX : 63.27 miles (101.23 km)
Trip Total: 8,922.76 miles (14,276.42 km)

It was another off night of not getting much sleep. I pretty well did an all nighter. Instead of a pulsating headache, my tinnitus was really loud. I didn't want to oversleep because I had to have time to get everything ready and out of the house before 7 am because Greg had an early morning breakfast meeting at the chamber of commerce. I spent most of the evening watching several movies on my laptop.

I got out of bed around 5:30 am, Once it started to get daylight around 6 am, I moved everything outside and got Alice loaded up. Greg got up around 6:30 am and he got me some breakfast.

I left Greg and Sheila's house around 6:50 am. It was a little cool so I got out my jacket. Instead of trying to find my way back into the downtown area, I followed a farm room that looped around Conroe and I joined TX 105 about 4 miles East of the downtown area. There wasn't much morning rush hour traffic going East.

For most of the way to Cleveland, I had a smooth shoulder to ride along. Once I got out of Montgomery County, I had a really rough shoulder to ride along. I got the first 20 miles in by 9:30 am.

I got into Cleveland around 10:40 am. I started to check out the churches to see if I could connect with a local pastor to see if I could find a place to spend the night. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. They were without a pastor. I was given a sack lunch. I rode to the United Methodist church. I talked with the lady minister. She wasn't that helpful. She told me that there wasn't a way for me to spend the night in the church was that there wasn't a proper day that would lock after me without anybody coming back to the church to lock the door with a key. I was told that I should check out the Catholic church but the priest was out for the afternoon. I checked out a couple other churches but I didn't find anybody there.

I didn't have any recourse but to head out and ride to Livingston. I followed local roads before I got on busy US 59. This highway was going to be a future interstate. By noon, I got in about 32 miles in by noon. I stopped alongside the road to have a short 15 lunch break to eat the sack lunch that I got from the First Baptist Church.

US 59 was pretty busy with a lot of truck traffic. For most of the way, the shoulder surface was pretty smooth. I got the first 40 miles in by around 1:40 pm. It was a little warmer so I took off my jacket.

I got into the Livingston area around 3:30 pm. The first church that I came across was the Trinity Lutheran Church. I found the pastor in his office. He told me that he had only been in the area for about 4 months. He did know another minister (the pastor at the First Presbyterian Church). The Lutheran minister called this pastor and I was told that I should come to the church because a session meeting was getting ready to start. I got to the Presbyterian church around 4 pm. I got to talk with the session. This was my 48th church. Before the session meeting really started, I was given a love offering and directions to a good motel on the west side of town. There were some closer motels but these were flea bag motels.

I'll be getting on US 190 tomorrow and head east to Woodville. I should be stopping in Jasper over the weekend and cross into Louisiana Monday.

November 13 : Livingston, TX to Woodville, TX : 34.27 miles (54.83 km)
Trip Total: 8,957.03 miles (14,331.25 km)

I was surprised that I got some rest. I went to bed a little before midnight and it was almost 6:30 am when I got out of bed. I didn't spend a lot of time tossing and turning. It was only in the 50s so I had to layer up.

I left the motel a little before 8 am. I backtracked through town to get on US 190 going East. The ride was really slow because there were a lot of hills to get over and also I had to deal with a lot of rough chip sealing. By noon, I had only ridden 20 miles. It was almost a half hour when I found a spot where I could stop alongside the road to have a short lunch break.

About 4 miles out of Woodville, I got stopped by a guy who was interested in what I was doing. Before he left, he slipped me a GH and also a couple of snacks.

It was almost 2:30 pm when I got into Woodville. I rode around town to check out the churches. I didn't find anybody around the First Baptist and Methodist churches except for some ladies working in the church's day care centers. I did find out that the Methodist minister was out of town.

I stopped at the police station. I talked with a nice black lady and also the chief of police. They helped me get connected with a deputy sheriff who was also involved with the Salvation Army. There was an offer to get me a room at a local motel. I found out that I had stayed at the church back in February of last year.

I'm going to be riding to Jasper tomorrow. I'll probably find a cheap motel room.

November 14 : Woodville, TX to Jasper, TX : 27.97 miles (44.75 km)
Trip Total: 8,985.00 miles (14,376.00 km)

I was able to get some sleep but I wasn't really fully refreshed. I left the motel around 8:30 am. It was sunny and not as cold as yesterday. Once I got back on US 190 going East, there was a long hill to climb to get out of the Woodville area. For about 10 miles, there were quite a few hills to climb over. The ride was slow because of the shoulder.

Around 10:30 am, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. The break was actually longer than what I wanted to have because I noticed that the rear tire was going soft. The gas station had a free air hose. I took the tube out of the tire to check it but I didn't find any holes. Before I left the gas station, this lady stopped me and gave me a dollar bill. I was on the road in about a half hour.

By noon, I had only ridden 18 miles. The rest of the ride to Jasper went okay. Instead of going into the downtown area to see if I could connect with somebody who could help me find some place to stay overnight, I decided to use the GH from yesterday and some of the love offering from the church in Livingston to get a cheap motel room. According to my mapping software, there was supposed to be two cheap motels on the West side of Jasper but I didn't see them. I settled for a cheap motel on the Southern edge of town.

I'm looking at going to the Methodist church tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to connect with a compassionate minister. I am a little concerned about the weather report for Monday and Tuesday.

November 15 : Jasper, TX to Jasper, TX : 03.27 miles (05.23 km)
Trip Total: 8,988.27 miles (14,381.23 km)

I was able to get some sleep but I wasn't really fully refreshed. I woke up early but I'm not sure how early I woke up. I did do a little tossing and turning.

I left the motel a little around 8:30 am. It was almost a two mile ride to the First united Methodist Church. I got to the church around 9 am. It was a little hard finding a place to lock up Alice where it was off the road. I was greeted by a friendly lady who was making coffee. She took me over to a dining hall in another building where they were serving a french toast breakfast. After the breakfast, I went back to the sanctuary to try and meet the pastor after the first service. He seemed sort of friendly. When I asked him about a place to stay overnight, he and another lady took me into the office and the lady filled out a ministerial form that I had to take to the local police station so that I could get a motel voucher.

The lady then took me to another building so that I could attend a Sunday school class. I got taken to the New Covenant class which were senior adults. I was given the chance to share with them. At the end of the class, the lady who led the class gave me the class's collection as a love offering from the class. When I checked out how much the love offering was it was almost the amount that I had paid for the room yesterday.

Towards the middle of the service, the pastor introduced me to the congregation. The pastor made a comment that the church was providing me with a place to stay overnight. To me this wasn't correct. Neither the pastor or the lady directly called up a local motel and got me a room or gave me money so that I could pay for a room. This usually happened whenever I stopped at a church along my route. All that was done was filling out a form from the ministerial alliance. Yes, the church did support the ministerial alliance transtient program as a line item ing their budget but 100% of the room rate wasn't being paid by the church. Having the minister this, kind of soured me towards the pastor. To me, he wasn't really telling the truth. One of the main emphasises of the church was serving others. Serving others doesn't mean passing them off to another third party. Is this something that the Messiah would really do? Before I left the sanctuary, a lady came up to me and slipped me a GH.

I was a little worried that the police station would be closed when I got there but it wasn't. It wasn't long before I got a voucher for a room at the motel that I stayed at. Before going to the motel, I stopped at a McDs for a takeout meal.

I'm going to be finally leaving Texas tomorrow. I've been here in Texas since Oct 22nd. It's going to be a 54 mile ride to DeRidder, LA. There is supposed to be a 50% chance for storms in the afternoon. I hope that I can make it to DeRidder before the rain starts. Tuesday is when a front is supposed to come through the area and there will be an 80% chance of really bad storms.

November 16 : Jasper, TX to DeRidder, LA : 53.79 miles (86.06 km)
Trip Total: 9,042.06 miles (14,467.30 km)

I had to fix a soft rear tire last night. I found a small pinhole leak. I was able to get the tire inflated up to 55 psi without doing any damage to the valve stem.

I was able to get some sleep but I was really fully refreshed. It was around 5 am when I got out of bed. I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was cool in the 60s and overcast. There was some hills to cross over till I got to Newton. I stopped for some bread in Newton. The shoulder became a lot smoother on the the way to the Sabine River and the state line. I stopped at a roadside rest for a short break. By noon, I got 23 miles in. A little over 4 miles from the roadside rest, I crossed the Sabine River into Louisiana.

A couple of miles East of Merrifield, it started to lightly rain. The rain lasted for about ten miles. I got into DeRidder around 3 pm. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. The pastor was out. The secretary told me that I should go the police station and I could get connected with the ministerial association. A local pastor was contacted and I was told to meet him at a motel North of town. Because of some extensive storms tomorrow, the offer of a room was extended for two nights.

November 17 : DeRidder, LA to DeRidder, LA : 00.00 miles (00.00 km)
Trip Total: 9,042.06 miles (14,467.30 km)

It is good today that I've got a day off. When I looked outside around 7 am, the parking lot was wet. Around 10 am, I ventured out to go to the Walmart that was close by to get a few groceries. The wind was really strong. I got back to my motel room right before it started to rain again. When I checked out the radar on the web, I saw a strong line of storms making it's way across Texas and it is getting really close.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between November 24th and December 01st.




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