TRIP 2016

Update #01 - January 13th
Americus, Georgia
335.90 miles (537.58 km) - Year Total
477.49 miles (763.98 km) - Mission Trip 47 Total

Dec 28, 2015 : Dunnelon, FL to Leesburg, FL : 47.89 miles (76.62 km)
Trip Total: 101.38 miles (162.21 km)

I had an okay night at the motel in Dunnelon. I got on the road around 8:15 am. From the motel, it was about a three mile ride to the Northern trailhead of the Withlacoochee Bike Trail. I followed the trail to Inverness. I got into Inverness a little after noon. I stopped at a trailside picnic table for something to eat.

I tried checking out a couple of the local churches but I didn't find anybody around them. It was a little tricky getting onto FL 44 for the ride East through Leesburg.

The ride East along FL 44 went okay till about three miles out of Wildwood. I felt a large blow to the back of my neck. Somebody had thrown out from a vehicle a liter bottle of soft drink at me. Luckily for me, the bottle was almost empty. I haven't to suffer from an attack like this in years.

I got into wildwood around 3:30 pm. I found a pastor at one church but he wasn't that friendly. I backtracked back onto Fl 44. It was a long ride before I spotted some woods that I might be able to camp out in. The woods were at the Western edge of Leesburg. I tried to go far into the woods to get away from the road noise but I wasn't able to get that far away from the highway.

Dec 30, 2015 : Leesburg, FL to Camp Ocala, FL : 40.12 miles (64.19 km)
Trip Total: 141.50 miles (226.40 km)

I had a little better night than the night before. I packed up and was back on the highway about 8:20 am. It was a short ride into Leesburg. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a loaf of bread. I stopped at a Circle K to use the restroom and also to get something to drink. As I was reading a paperback and drinking my soda, this lady stopped and asked me if I had any breakfast yet. She slipped me a bag that had a pack of donuts in it and also a plastic container of milk. This was great because I hadn't any milk in a while.

From the Circle K it was a couple of miles ride into downtown Leesburg. Nobody was around the churches. It was a bit of a tricky ride getting onto US 441 for the ride through Tavares and Eustice. I stopped at a Methodist Church in Tavares where I had stopped at several years ago but the minister who I met there wasn't available because he was getting ready to retire.

From Tavares it was about a five mile ride into Eustice where I got on FL 19. In Eustice, I stopped at a couple of churches but I had no luck at them either. I didn't have any luck in the town of Umatilla. Before leaving Umatilla, I stopped to get some extra supplies including more bottled water because it would be a very long ride through the Ocala National Forest area to Palatka.

The afternoon ride went okay. Around 4 pm, I decided to call it quits and found a place to camp out in some woods a couple of miles out of Camp Ocala. Hopefully, I should be able to get some rest since the highway that I am on didn't seem to be that traveled. Because of the January 01 holiday coming on, I might stay put for a couple of days.

January 02, 2016 : Camp Ocala, FL to Peniel FL : 38.42 miles (61.47 km)
Trip Total: 179.92 miles (287.87 km)
Year Total: 38.42 miles (61.47 km)

I had a little better night than what I had last night. The sound in my right ear from the impacted wax wasn't that bad so I was able to get some rest. I remembered dreaming a little bit.

I got on the road around 8:20 am. The ride North went okay. The only town on the highway was Salt Springs and it was 16 miles away. I stopped at a gas station to fill up all of my water bottles and at a Dollar General to get a few groceries and also some hydrogen peroxide.

The afternoon ride went okay. Around 4 pm, I decided to stop in some woods about seven miles south of Palatka.

January 03, 2016 : Peniel to Palatka : 07.46 miles (11.94 km)
Trip Total: 187.28 miles (299.65 km)
Year Total: 45.88 miles (73.41 km)

I had a rough night because it rained most of the night. Around 3 am, I woke up to wet feet. I was able to dry off the tip of the sleeping bag so I could try and sleep again without having to curl up. I was able to fall back asleep for a couple of hours.

Around 7:30 am, I started to pack up and I found a large puddle under the sleeping pad. It was kind of tricky but I was able to pack up the tent without getting the inside of it more wet. I got on the road around 8:20 am. It was able a seven mile ride into downtown Palatka.

I got into downtown Palatka around 9:40 am. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I had stopped there a couple of years ago and I had gotten some assistance from the pastor. The church service was almost over. It had started at 9 am. The pastor who I had met several years ago wasn't there any more. The pastor who was there wasn't that friendly. He passed me off to this older guy who said that he would take me over to this Christian center but there was no guarentee that the place would be open.

I left and went over to the St James Methodist Church. When I got there, the contemporary service was ending in the fellowship hall. The pastor was a bit more friendly towards me than the Baptist minister. He told me that he would help me in trying to find a place to get out of the rain after the 11 am service in the sanctuary. After the service, the pastor gave me permission to stay in a Sunday school classroom, The classroom was in an outside courtyard behind the sanctuary. The two main entrances were gated and locked up but the room had a rear door to a yard. There was access to an outside restroom.

January 05, 2016 : Palatka to Starke : 49.71 miles (79.54 km)
Trip Total: 236.99 miles (379.18 km)
Year Total: 95.59 miles (152.94 km)

I had a little better night last night than the night before. I was able to get some rest. I got maybe 5 hours of sleep. I woke up around 6:20 am and I had things packd up by 7:45 am.

I left the church a little after 8 am. It was pretty cold so I was glad that I bundled up. It was a couple of mile ride north on US 17 before FL 100 swung off Northwest. Once on FL 100, the ride went okay. About 8 miles out of Palatka, I noticed that there was a paved bike trail. I didn't see any map or sign telling me what the name of the route was so I didn't check it out. The bike trail went as far as Keystone Heights. By noon, I got in about 28 miles. I stopped alongside the road for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride into Starke went okay. I got into Starke around 2:30 pm. In the downtown area, I stopped at the United Methodist Church. The pastor was out for the day. A couple of blocks away was the First Baptist Church. Both of the pastors were out.

I got referred to the Madison Street Baptist Church. The ministers weren't available because they were in a meeting. I was given the number for the church's deacon ministry. I called up the deacon ministry and I talked to this one guy. He took my information and told me that he would get in back with me. For the next couple of hours, I played phone tag with the guy taking a couple of more calls from him with an assurance that there would be some assistance. I decided to check out some other churches just in case nothing was going to happen. I checked out five other churches and I stopped at the fire department, police station, and sheriff department. I didn't have any luck. Around 4 pm, I finally got another from the deacon. Instead of telling me that the church was going to help me in some way, he just gave me the cell number for a minister of another church. This didn't make much sense to me. The deacon finally told me that the ministry only helped members from the church. I couldn't understand why the guy had strung me along like he did. Why didn't the guy tell me this in the first place. I wasted some precious phone time on him. All I was to do was leave a message for the other minister.

I was giving up because it was getting later and later in the afternoon. I decided to just forget about it and head out and possibly have to camp out. I got back on FL 100. Madison Street Baptist was on my route so I stopped to see if the ministers were out of their meeting. The meeting was still going on but the pastor came out to talk with me along with two other guys. The pastor wasn't that friendly or helpful. He was all excuses on why he couldn't help me out. His basic excuse was that if they helped me out they would have to help others. I discussed with him Matthew 25 but that didn't persuade him. To me, he was more of a goat than a sheep.

About a half mile down the road, I saw some activity at the Seventh Day Adventist Church. They were finishing up a food giveway. There wasn't much food left but a few snacks but I was given them. The pastor was out sick. Instead of just telling me to leave, the people there offered to show me more compassion than what I experienced the whole time that I've been in Starke. They pulled some of their money into a love offering and called around to the motels to see which one had the cheapest rate. I was given the address of a motel about a couple of miles out of the downtown area. It was almost 5:30 pm when I got back into the downtown area. It was getting dark and I didn't think I could safely get to the motel because of heavy truck traffic on US 301. I decided to stop at the first motel that I came across. The owner gave me a small discount on the room. The big plus for me at the motel was that there was a guest laundry.

January 06, 2016 : Starke to White Springs : 53.37 miles (85.39 km)
Trip Total: 290.36 miles (464.58 km)
Year Total: 148.96 miles (238.34 km)

I had a little better night. It was good being able to get my clothes washed and dried. I was able to get some rest but I had to use towels as a pillow because the pillows in the room were quite thick and very hard. I got maybe five hours of sleep.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. The temperature was in the low 50s. It was a couple of miles backtrack to FL 100. The ride North along FL 100 went okay. Around 10 am, I started to call some churches in Lake City to see if I could connect with a minister. I wasn't having much luck because I was being passed off to other churches. I tried contacting the Methodist minister because I might have met him when he served at the Methodist church in Apalachicola but he was out till the afternoon. I got in about 21 miles in by noon.

The afternoon ride went okay but it was still cool. Around 2 pm, I was finally able to talk with the Methodist minister. He told me that his church gave funds to a Christian referral service. I was given the phone number. When I called the number, I found out that you had to be there in person to try and get some assistance but they closed at 3 pm. I was almost 11 miles out of Lake City so there was no way that I could get into Lake City and find the center.

It was almost 3:45 pm when I got into downtown Lake City. I turned North on US 41. The next town was White Springs about 12 miles away.

I got into White Springs around 5:15 pm. I located the First Baptist Church. There was going to be a 6:30 pm prayer service. People started to arrive around 6:10 pm. The pastor lived across the street. He seemed friendly but when I asked him if there would have be a way for me to stay inside someplace at the church, he said no. The minister passed me off to two other men. One of the guys came up to me and slipped me a GH. Another guy called up a friend of his who had a campground about 3.5 miles Northwest of town and told him that he would come buy and pay for the campsite. The guy gave me directions to the campground but I didn't think that I could get there by myself because the headlight was really dim. The guy directed me to the campsite with his truck. It was by far the scariest ride that I took at night because I didn't have much light. The scariest part of the ride was when we turned onto a dirt road. I almost had a spill. I was really happy when we finally got to the campground. The owner's wife came out and directed me to a really primative site. Hopefully, I will be able to get some rest.

January 07, 2016 : White Springs, FL to Lake Butler, GA : 43.69 miles (69.90 km)
Trip Total: 334.05 miles (534.48 km)
Year Total: 192.65 miles (308.24 km)

I was surprised at getting any sleep last night. It was good that it didn't get colder. I woke up around 7 am. I had things packed up and was back on the road about 7:50 am. I backtracked 3.5 miles back into White Springs before I turned North on US 41 again.

The ride to Jasper went okay. I got 21 miles in by 10:30 am. I got into Jasper around 11 am. I checked out the three main churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian) but there was nobody around the churches. The only church that was big enough to have an office was the Baptist church but it was closed. It looked like it wasn't used very much. Before leaving Jasper, I stopped to get a few supplies. I stopped at a church North of town for a short lunch break.

The next town was Jennings eight miles away. Jennings was a really small town. There was nobody around the Methodist church. As I was heading out of town, this older guy stopped me and we talked for a while. Before he left, he slipped me a GH.

From Jennings, it was a little over a mile to the Georgia state line. When I got into Georgia, I lost a shoulder to ride along. The highway was really rough and there were a lot of logging trucks.

I got into Lake Butler around 3:30 pm. I saw a car pull into the Methodist Church so I pulled into the church to see who might be there. The person in the car was pretty friendly. She told me that her name was Martha. Martha tried several people including the minister to see if I could get approval to stay in the church. After the fifth call, Martha decided to lead me over to the nearby interchange of I-75 and get me a room at one of the motels there. When we got to the Motel 6, Martha told me that she had a dream last night showing her that she was meet somebody at the church today who needed help. Before she left, Martha asked me if I was hungry. We walked over to a nearby Chick-a-fill and she got me a meal. Martha wanted me to get something for tomorrow morning but they didn't serve breakfast items after 10 am. When we got back to the motel, Martha slipped me a small GH so I could get something someplace for breakfast.

January 08, 2016 : Lake Butler, GA to Valdosta, GA : 16.29 miles (26.06 km)
Trip Total: 350.34 miles (560.54 km)
Year Total: 208.94 miles (334.90 km)

I was hoping for a good night's rest but I didn't get it. Throughout the afternoon and night, there was a random burst of noise that I couldn't figure out where it came from. It sounded like somebody smashing a plastic cup. I didn't know where the sound was coming from. It was pretty annoying.

I left the motel a little before 8:30 am. It had rained some during the night so everything was damp. From the motel, it was a little over a mile back to US 41. The ride North to Valdosta went okay. In the downtown area, I turned west on US 221 and then I got on GA 133 for the ride to Moultrie.

Because of the dampness and the cold, I decided to call it a day near I-75. I stopped at a Motel 6 but I wasn't able to get a room. Supposedly, there was a problem with water there but I think that the manager just didn't want to rent to me. I went to another motel close by. There was a sign on top of the motel that advertised rooms starting at $35 but that wasn't the case. For a non-smoking room, they wanted $40 before taxes while a newer refurbished non-smoking room was $45 before taxes. I chose the non-smoking room because the room was in the only building where I could get wifi access. I found out that there was another motel close by that advertised cheaper rates but from the reviews that I had read on TripAdvisor the rooms would have been really bad.

I'm going to be riding to Moultrie tomorrow. I'm probably going to see how close I can get and then see if I could find some woods to camp out in.

January 09, 2016 : Valdosta, GA to Moultrie, GA : 35.62 miles (56.99 km)
Trip Total: 385.96 miles (617.54 km)
Year Total: 244.96 miles (391.30 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. I left the motel a little after 8 am. The sky was pretty overcast and it looked like it was going to rain. The ride went okay towards Moultrie. I got about 21 miles in by noon. I stopped at a church in Belfast for a short lunch break.

My goal was to get close to Moultrie and then try and find a place to camp out for the night, The city limits of Moultrie extended farther east than what I had expected. I rode through a long stretch of highway that had a lot of stores and residences before it came sparsely populated. I came across some woods but I had to turn on a side street. The woods was deep enough so I could be hidden from the road. I prepped the tent for rain.

January 10, 2016 : Moultrie, GA to Moultrie, GA : 03.57 miles (05.71 km)
Trip Total: 389.53 miles (623.25 km)
Year Total: 248.53 miles (397.65 km)

I had a little better night than what I had expected. It rained a long time in the late afternoon and the tent stayed dry inside. I was able to get some rest during the night.

I was out of the woods by around 8:20 am. It was a very short ride into the downtown area. I was going to stop at the First United Methodist Church but I couldn't find anybody. I went to the First Presbyterian Church instead. I was able to meet and talk with the pastor before the Sunday school class. He told me that he would help me with a place for the day after the service. He also gave a $10 McDs gift card. The pastor took me to a Sunday school class. I was able to say a few words. After the service, the pastor took me over to a motel a couple of blocks away. Not too sure how much rest I'm going to get because the motel was really run down. The motel is really close to my lawyer friend's office.

January 11, 2016 : Moultrie, GA to Moultrie, GA : 06.33 miles (10.13 km)
Trip Total: 395.86 miles (633.38 km)
Year Total: 254.86 miles (407.78 km)

I had a really terrible night because the room was really bad. This was a motel from Hell because it should have been condemned. I haven't been in a roach motel in a long time. There was a large roach trap on the floor behind the tv but it didn't seem to work. I killed six large roaches. I caught one crawling on the pillow that I was using. I was hoping to get some rest but I caught two roaches crawling on my head. I slept really lightly afterwards. I gave up around 5 am.

I left the motel a little after 9 am. It was a short walk to the office of my lawyer friend. I wasn't able to talk with him directly because he was quite busy. I was just able to give the receptionist my phone number. The pastor at the Presbyterian Church had offered to help me with an extra motel room if I needed it. I went over to the church a couple of blocks away. The pastor came in around 10 am. There were three motels close to the downtown area to the East but the pastor told me that the quality of the motels was almost as bad as the roach motel. I was really surprised that the pastor had offered to get me a room at the Holiday Inn NE of town. I found a grocery store to get a loaf of bread before getting to the motel.

On the way to the motel, I got a call from my lawyer friend. I was hoping that my trip would be over for a while but my friend told me that their guest cottage is being used at the time. I was really hoping that this would be a temporary endpoint but it isn't.

I'm going to be riding to Albany tomorrow. I was able to get a discounted room through booking it via a rewards prorgam that I belong to.

January 12, 2016 : Moultrie, GA to Albany, GA : 42.61 miles (68.18 km)
Trip Total: 438.47 miles (701.55 km)
Year Total: 297.47 miles (475.95 km)

I had a really good afternoon and night at the Holiday Inn. The room was really good. I was able to get some rest. There was a really good free breakfast in the morning.

I waited till around 9 am because the temperature started around freezing at daylight. It was around 45 when I headed out. The afternoon temperature was going to be in the mid 50s. The ride to Albany went okay. Along the way, I was able to connect with a friend of mine in Americus who I had stayed with before to see if he might be willing to host me for a little bit. He told me that he had to rush off for a meeting at his church but he would call me back in the afternoon. I got about 22 miles in by noon. I stopped at a church in the country for a short lunch break.

The afternoon to Albany went okay. I almost didn't make it into downtown Albany because the highway was closed at an intersection because there was a really bad accident. One of the vehicles was a truck and it hit a power pole and the street lights were almost down to the highway. I was able to carefully walk through the accident site.

On the way through the downtown area, I got a call from my friend in Americus. He told e that he would come to Albany to the motel to meet with me after work. One the way to the motel, I stopped at a Goodwill store. I was able to buy a pair of tennis shoes there. The shoes are a little bit bigger than what I normally wear but I needed a pair of tennis shoes because the old ones that I had were on their last leg. There was a crack in the soles of both shoes. I was also able to buy another jacket. It's a little bit but the jacket is going to be a little bit thicker than the windbreaker that I just have right now.

Around 5:30 pm, my friend from Americus showed up. He told me that he didn't think that it would work out with me staying with him for a while. He told me that he had some concerns because had heard some rumors at work that there was a homosexual relationship. My friend did give me a GH and also a $50 McDs gift card. We walked over to a nearby McDs for some supper. My friend told me that there wouldn't be much for me to do at Kononia Farms because the pecan harvest is done and nothing would be going on there till the Spring when the groves will be made ready. Going to the Kononia website, I saw that they had only internship programs.

I'm going to be riding to Americus tomorrow. I'm going to try and connect with a minister friend. From Americus, I'm going to be cycling North above Altanta to check out a missionary ministry called Happy Acres Transit Center near the town of Woodstock. From Woodstock, I'll be cycling South to Columbus, GA to see if I could connect with a minister friend at the Grace Presbyterian Church.

January 13, 2016 : Albany, GA to Americus, GA : 37.12 miles (59.39 km)
Trip Total: 477.49 miles (763.98 km)
Year Total: 335.99 miles (537.58 km)

I had a good evening. I woke up a little before 6 am. A little after 6 am, the phone started to ring. Somebody must have thought that I needed a wake up call when I didn't. There was a breakfast but it wasn't as extensive as I had at the Holiday Inn.

I waited till almost 8:30 am to leave the motel because the outside temperature was close to freezing. The jacket that I had bought at the Goodwill store yesterday afternoon made the ride a little warmer. The tennis shoes seemed to also help my ankles. With the old tennis shoes, my left shoe tended to slip off the platform of the pedal and my ankle was a little twisted. With these tennis shoes, the sole of the shoe stayed on the pedal platform.

In Leesburg, I stopped at a McDs for a short break and to get on the web. I decided to make a reservation for a motel room in Americus. I also stopped at a Family Dollar for a few supplies.

By noon, I had ridden 22 miles. The wasn't any place where I could stop for lunch. The afternoon ride to Americus went okay. Outside of Americus, I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. From the McDs, it was a short ride to the motel.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between January 20th and January 27th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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