TRIP 2015

Update #24 - December 16th
Perry, Florida
9,773.74 miles (15,637.98 KM) - Year Total

December 03 : Biloxi, MS to Pascagoula, MS : 26.67 miles (42.67 km)
Trip Total: 9,399.14 miles (15,038.61 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. The room was okay but there was a lot of light coming into the room from the outside because of the venetian blinds. The parking area was lit in front of my room because there were a lot of sheriff patrol cars. One of the retreat buildings had some offices for the sheriff department. There was also a problem with the air conditioner because it clicked loudly when the heater unit turned on.

I left the retreat center around 8:30 am. It was much colder than yesterday and there was a wind coming from the Northeast. From the retreat center, it was about a four mile ride to the bay bridge. I was able to ride across the whole bridge to Ocean Springs. Along the way to Pascagoula, I took two short breaks.

I got into Pascagoula around 11:40 am. I made a quick ride to the First United Methodist Church. I was hoping that the pastor who had met last year was still there. There was a new pastor. The pastor who I had met last year is now the district supervisor. There was a holiday meal going on and I got invited to join them. Afterwards, the new pastor took me into his office for a short talk. He offered to meet me at a motel on the East side of the Pascagoula to get me a room.

December 04 : Pascagoula, MS to Bayou La Batre, AL : 21.47 miles (34.35 km)
Trip Total: 9,420.60 miles (15,072.96 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. The room was okay but I just couldn't get comfortable. If I did sleep, it might have been for an hour or two. I didn't remember dreaming.

I was able to get all of my gear and my recumbent downstairs in three trips. I left the motel around 8:40 am. The temperature was really cool in the low 40s. For most of the ride to the AL state line, I had smooth shoulder to ride along until about 3 miles from the state line and then the shoulder became something like chip sealing.

Once I crossed into Alabama the shoulder became smoother but then I had to deal with rumble stripping. I took a short break at a gas station west of Grand Island. In Grand Island, I got on AL 188 that would take me into Bayou La Batre and then over to Daughin Island. By noon, I got in about 20 miles.

I got into Bayou La Batre a little after noon. I stopped at the First Baptist Church where I had stopped at before. I was able to connect with the new pastor by cell phone. He was out shopping with his wife. It was a little over a two hour wait for them to come back to the parsonage and the church. The pastor gave me permission to spend the night in the youth room.

I'm looking at either just riding to Daughin Island tomorrow and try and find a place to spend the night there or take the ferry to Ft Fisher and try and make it most of the way to Gulf Shores tomorrow. This might mean me having to camp out in my tent someplace tomorrow night. The temperature might be down into the 40s again. There is an Episcopal church a couple miles West of Gulf Shores and I'm thinking about attending there Sunday morning.

December 07 : Bayou La Batre, AL to Gulf Shores, AL : 40.74 miles (65.18 km)
Trip Total: 9,461.34 miles (15,138.14 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. Instead of trying to sleep on the sofa that was a little short, I opened up the other sofa that had a bed in it. I did get a little rest but not as much as I had hoped. I got out of bed around 6 am.

I waited till around 8:30 am to head out. The ride to the bridge to Dauphin Island went okay. I was able to ride across the whole bridge. In Dauphin Island, I stopped for a short break before heading over to the toll ferry landing.

I got to the ferry as it was being loaded up for the 11 am crossing. If I would have been a couple of minutes late, I would have probably have to wait till 12:30 pm for the next ferry. There was just one car on the ferry. The ferry crossing was a little over a half hour long.

By noon, I got about 21 miles in. The ride into Gulf Shores went okay. I wished that I wouldn't have layered up as much as I did. The temperature was close to 70. I was looking at trying to stop in Gulf Shores for the day instead of trying to get close to Pensacola, FL but I've not had much luck with churches in the area. I saw several cars at the St Stephen community Church. The secretary and pastor was in. The pastor was pretty friendly. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, the pastor offered to get me a room at one of the local motels. The motel was a little off my planned route because it was north of the intercoastal waterway.

I'm planning to stop in Gulf Breeze, Florida tomorrow.

December 08 : Gulf Shores, AL to Gulf Breeze, FL : 41.59 miles (66.54 km)
Trip Total: 9,502.93 miles (15,204.69 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. I just couldn't shut off my mind. It's almost like somebody pressed an on button and disengaged the off button. I'm not showing any signs of sleep deprivation. I'm still as alert as I've always been.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was a fast ride across the intercoastal bridge. I headed South on AL 59 and got on AL 182 going East along the coast to Florida. It was a little over a 13 mile ride to the FL state line. The ride in Florida was a little harder because there were long stretches of no shoulder. By noon, I got about 22 miles in. I stopped at a church for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride into Pensacola went okay. The temperature was close to 70 so I was able to take my jacket off. The ride into downtown Pensacola went okay. I got to the US 98 bridge around 3 pm. The ride across the bridge to Gulf Breeze went okay.

I rode over to the First United Methodist church in Gulf Breeze. I caught the secretary in the office. She told me that she had passed me on the bridge. She also offered to meet me at a local motel and get me a room for the night.

December 09 : Gulf Breeze, FL to Destin, FL : 30.23 miles (48.37 km)
Trip Total: 9,533.16 miles (15,253.06 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. I just couldn't shut off my mind. The room was pretty bad and there was a lot of light from the venetian blind. I might have gotten some rest but I didn't think that I dreamt any. I gave up trying to sleep around 5 am.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. It was in the low 60s and the high was going to be in the mid 70s. There was a bike path to follow for a couple of miles. There was a bike lane along US 98 so I didn't really have to deal with traffic. I got into Navarre a little before noon. I had ridden 20 miles so I decided to stop at the beach park for a little bit. I probably stayed at the park for about 45 minutes. It got warm enough that I was able to take my jacket off.

The afternoon ride to Mary Esther went okay. My plan was to stop at the First Baptist Church and try to connect with the pastor who I had met at the church on a previous ride through maybe 4 years ago. During that stopover, I had been given permission to spend the night in a classroom.

I got to the office of the First Baptist Church around 2:15 pm. The sr pastor who I had met was out on vacation. The assistant pastor didn't really want to help me. He told me that there were changes in the buildings so there was no way that I could spend the night in one of the classrooms. The assistant pastor called up an acquaintance of his at the Assembly of God church in Destin. There was an offer to get me a room at one of the motels in Destin.

I needed to have some kind of identification so I got out my wallet to get my state id out. I had a really bad scare when I saw that the id card wasn't in it's pocket in the wallet. I didn't know that it was gone because I hadn't pulled out my wallet today. I checked all of the pockets in my jersey but it wasn't there.

The assistant pastor called the motel in Gulf Breeze where I had stayed at last night and he found out that my id card was in the office. I had given my id card to the lady who was the hotel manager so she could make a copy of it. She gave it back to me but the secretary from the Methodist church wanted a copy as well so I gave the lady my id card again. It slipped my mind that she didn't give my card back to me before she gave me the room key. She probably forgot that the card might have still been in the printer / copier.

The assistant pastor offered to call a church member who was involved in the prison ministry. Butch offered to come to the church and take me back to Gulf Breeze so I could get my id card and then take me to Destin to the motel. While I was waiting for Butch to show up, the secretary found me some food from the church food pantry. I was so happy to have my id card back in my wallet. It was around 5 pm when we got into Destin. I was really amazed that the motel I was going to be staying at was a Wyndham motel.

My goal tomorrow is Laguna Beach. I'm going to see if I might be able to spend the night at the Christian retreat center there.

December 10 : Destin, FL to Laguna Beach : 35.69 miles (57.10 km)
Trip Total: 9,568.65 miles (15,310.16 km)

I was hoping for a better night but I didn't get it. I was pretty wired from misplacing my state id card. I'm just glad that I didn't have to ride all of those miles by myself. It would have been a super long backtrack.

The room was pretty good. I maybe got an hour or two of sleep. There was a really great breakfast. I left the motel a little after 8 am. The sky was pretty overcast and it looked like it was going to rain. I needed to find some electrical tape so I could repair the seat on Alice. I checked it last night and the plywood veneer was pretty well gone and there wasn't anything to hold the seat together. The only store that was open at the time was a Walmart a couple of miles to the East. I went in and got some electrical tape and was able to pick up some small cardboard boxes that were being thrown out. It took me about 90 minutes to repair the seat. The seat is more stable now than what it's been in a long time. I should have tried making the repair months ago. Before leaving the walmart, I had to also work on the spacebar that holds the headlights.

It was probably 10 am when I left the Walmart parking lot. There was a bike lane to follow. Because of the roadside repairs, I only got in 15 miles by noon time.

Once I got into Bay County, I got on FL 30A that took me close to the Gulf. I pretty well followed bike paths until I had to get back on US 98. Before I turned Southeast off of US 98 to FL 30, I saw another cycle tourist. It looked like the cyclist was a girl and was heading Westward.

I got into Laguna Beach around 2:30 pm. I stopped at the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center. The director gave me permission to spend the night in one of the dorm rooms. There was a single bed and three bunkbeds.

I'm looking at stopping in the Mexico Beach area tomorrow. I'll be loosing an hour because I will be crossing into the Eastern Time Zone.

December 11 : Laguna Beach, FL to Mexico Beach, FL : 43.28 miles (69.25 km)
Trip Total: 9,612.13 miles (15,479.41 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. I left the retreat center a little after 8 am. There was a slight crosswind. The ride through the rest of Panama City Beach . I was able to ride across the bridge between Panama City Beach and Panama City. By noon, I got about 21 miles. I stopped for a short lunch break at a park on the waterfront. The ride through Panama City went okay. I was able to ride across the bridge to Tyndall Air Force Base.

The ride through the Tyndall Air Force Base went okay. I got into Mexico Beach around 3:30 pm. Before leaving the retreat center, I had done some internet research and found some phone numbers for pastors in Mexico Beach. I was able to connect with the pastor at the First Baptist Church. He told me to come over to his church. After waiting about 20 minutes at the church, the pastor came home and he offered me the use of a bed in the parsonage next door.

December 12 : Mexico Beach, FL to Apalachicola, FL : 35.26 miles (56.42 km)
Trip Total: 9,647.39 miles (15,435.82 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. I was pretty surprised at getting some sleep in a room that was so cluttered. The room looks like it used to be a garage and then it was turned into a den/ family room. There were three beds in the room and they took up most of the space. There were a few narrow spaces to walk through and there were piles of a lot of stuff. It would have been a really bad place to be in if there was a fire. The window next to bed that I was going to be sleeping on was open and I couldn't get it closed. The pastor's wife made me some supper.

I fell asleep around 9:30 pm. I woke up around 4 am to go to the restroom. I went back to bed and the time flew to 6:30 am. There was nobody up when I left around 8 am. I didn't get far down the road because the rear tire was a little soft. I stopped in the parking lot of another church to check out the tire. The tube didn't look like it had a hole in it. To be on the safe side, I put in another tube. I was back on the road by around 8:30 am.

When I got to the Southern edge of Mexico Beach and into Gulf County, I crossed into the Eastern Time Zone. The ride to Port st Joe went okay. I got into Port St Joe around noon. I had only ridden 15 miles. I stopped at a gas station for a short lunch break. A couple of miles out of town I stopped to do some repair work on my panniers.

The afternoon ride went okay to Apalachicola. I stopped at the First United Methodist church. I've stopped at the church during several of my past trips. The pastor was out for a bit. The pastor's wife was cleaning up after a cookie swap party in the fellowship hall. When the pastor got back, he offered to meet me at a local motel and get me a room for two nights.

December 14 : Apalachicola, FL to Carrabelle, FL : 24.59 miles (39.34 km)
Trip Total: 9,673.77 miles (15,478.03 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. The sun came up around 7 am. I left the motel a little after 8 am. The sky was overcast and there was the possibility of rain. I was able to ride over the high bridge between Apalachicola and Eastpoint. I didn't make across the long bridge. The rear tire went flat about a mile from the Eastern end of the bridge. It was too far to try and walk the bike. It would have damaged the bead of the tire. The shoulder was wide enough for me to make the repairs. I found a hole in the tire and I was able to patch it. I didn't find anything sticking up inside the tire.

My goal in Eastpoint was to find one of the two laundromats that I found on the web. I didn't find one of them. I stopped at the other one but I didn't make use of it. There were too many machines broken and the cost of the machines were too high. It would have cost nearly $5 to do one small load of clothes. There is a laundromat on the western edge of Perry.

The ride to Carrabelle went okay. I did take a short break along the way. I got into Carrabelle around 1:15 pm. The clouds in the sky were getting dark and it looked like it was going to rain. I stopped at the Methodist Church. The last time I was in town the church hosted me but there was nobody around the church and there were no contact numbers. This morning I got on the web to get some phone numbers of some of the local churches. I talked with the pastor at the First Baptist Church but he wasn't that helpful. I was able to connect with the pastor at the Carrabelle Christian Center. He offered me the use of a building for the night. The pastor even located a single mattress for me to sleep on.

I'm going to probably be in my tent somewhere near St Matks tomorrow night.

December 15 : Carrabelle, FL to Spring Creek, FL : 40.71 miles (65.14 km)
Trip Total: 9,714.48 miles (15,543.17 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. I'm glad that I was inside because it did rain a little bit during the late afternoon and night. The sun came up around 7 am. I left the church a little after 8 am. It was a short ride back into Carrabelle.

The ride East went okay in the morning. I stayed on US 98. I got around 21 miles in by noon. I stopped at a boat ramp on the North side of Ocholocknee Bay for a short lunch break. The afternoon ride went okay. I was going to try and stop in Panacea but I decided to go on further so I could get closer to Perry.

I rode on to Medart. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few supplies. There was a church next doorand there was a car in front of it. I thought that I would check it out. The pastor of the church was in. He told me that the church operated a drug rehab center for guys about 7 miles away in the Spring Creek area. I was kind of hesistant to stop there but there isn't really much in the area. Beyond Medart and St Marks, there is about a 40 mile stretch of basically nothing but scrub forest, swamp, and very few people.

The center was down a short dirt road and about a mile and a half south of US 98. There were about a dozen buildings. The men's building had an open dorm with seven bunkbeds in it and several smaller rooms. I was given a room that had a single bed in it but the bed wasn't put together. The metal frame was leaning against one wall and the mattress was on another wall. I just put the mattress down on the floor because if I used the bed frame I wouldn't had space for my recumbent and gear. There was an offer for a blanket and pillow but they didn't materialize. I was given the chance to take a shower and get my clothes washed and dried which is something that I really needed. Supper was served in the dining hall. I sat at the executive director's table. He mentioned to me that it be best for me to not associate with the almost two dozen guys at the center. I was told to be expected to be up by 4 am and had to be out of the men's building by 5 am because the building would be locked.

December 16 : Spring Creek, FL to Perry, FL : 51.83 miles (82.94 km)
Trip Total: 9,766.31 miles (15,626.10 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. I got maybe three or four hours of sleep. It was really hard drowning out the sound of a loud fan that was in the room blowing air into the main part of the dorm through a large vent in the wall. There was also light coming into the room because there was an overhead light in the main room.

I woke up around 3:30 am. Around 4 am one of the guys woke up the rest of the guys in the room by turning on a vacuum cleaner. I had everything on mine ready so when the door was unlocked I got everything outside and Alice packed up. Breakfast was at 5 am. Between 5:30 am and 7 am, I parked myself on the porch of the men's building and read a paperback using my helmet light.

The sun started to come up around 7 am. I walked most of the way back to US 98. It was really cool and I wished that I layered up some more. The ride East went okay. Around 9:40 am, I got a call from one of the secretaries at the First Baptist Church in Perry, FL. I had contacted the church yesterday afternoon to see if they could help me with a place to stay. The secretary told me that they would be willing to help me with one night at a local motel but I needed to come to the church. I got the first 20 miles in by 10:20 am. By noon, I got 31 miles in. I didn't stop for lunch because it looked like it was going to rain but I did take time to take my jacket off since it got warm.

About 18 miles out of Perry, a guy on a touring bike rolled up behind me. The guy started his ride from Auburn, AL where he went to college and he was riding to Miami. We talked for a few minutes and then he rode off. About 9 miles out of Perry, I had to stop alongside the road and do some emergency repair work on my left tennis shoe. There was a slash on top near the tip and I could see my left sock. I sewed up the hole and sewed up another slash that was on the side. I've got to get some new tennis shoes somehow. I got the tennis shoes September 26th near Marrietta, GA and they only have about 2,220 miles on them.

I got into downtown Perry about 3:00 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I was met by one of the associate ministers. He told me that he would go to the Days Inn and arrange for a room there. I got to the motel around 3:20 pm.

I found a frustrating message in my email box. I got a message from the director of the homeless ministry in Homossa Springs telling me that there would be no need for me to go there. They didn't have anything for me to do. This is really frustrating for me to even be turned away by a homeless ministry.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between December 23rd and December 30th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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