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TRIP 2016

Update #05 - March 20th
Panama City, Florida
Trip 48 : 232.47 miles (371.95 km)
Year Total : 986.95 miles (1,578.16 km)



March 14, 2016 : Columbus, GA to Eufala, AL : 35.27 miles (56.54 km)
Trip Total: 35.27 miles (56.54 km)
Year Total: 790.47 miles (1,264.75 km)

The night was better than I expected. I normally don't get a lot of sleep the night before I head out but I was able to get at least 6 hours of sleep. I woke up a couple of times to go to the restroom but I was able to fall back asleep. I got out of bed around 6:30 AM. After getting breakfast, I got cleaned up and dressed. I finished packing up Alice.

Around 8:20 AM, I moved Alice outside the garage and went over to the main house to return the guest house key and said goodbye to Tom and Loretta. After some pictures were taken, I headed out around 8:30 AM. The sky was a little overcast and there was the threat of rain.

It was about a 4 mile ride into the downtown area and to the 13th bridge over the Chattahoochee River. I was able to ride across the river bridge to Phenix City, AL. I stopped to take some traditional pictures of Alice at a state sign. On the way to US 431, I stopped for a break at a gas station and also at a Dollar General to get a few things. From the Chattahoochee River, it was about a three mile ride to US 431.

US 431 was a divided 4 lane highway with good paved shoulder. There was a headwind to ride against. There were some rolling hills to ride over. I didn't change my clock back one hour until I got South of Phenix City. By noon, I made about 25 miles. I stopped alongside the road for a short lunch break.

About 19 miles out of Eufala, I noticed that I was having problems with my right pedal. When I stopped to check it out, I found out that the weld repair was solid. The washer was still there at the end of the pedal extender but aluminum crankset was loose. I tried several times to stabilize the pedal with electrical tape but the repair job didn't last long. I was starting on my third repair job when this guy in a station wagon stopped to see if I needed any help. Don was actually heading North back to LaGrange, Georgia but he turned around to check me out. Don took me into downtown Eufala and dropped me off at a gas station. Before he left, Don slipped me a GH.

After loading up Alice again and taking a short break, I tried to contact my contact in Eufala with Servant Care but they were not home. I decided to try and check out the churches. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. There was an offer to get me a room at a motel on the East side of Eufala next to the Chattahoochee River.

I'm supposed to contact the person at the First Baptist Church tomorrow morning to see if he found somebody here in Eufala who could do the welding repair on my right crank arm. Tomorrow, the temperature is supposed to get up into the upper 80s.

March 15, 2016 : Eufala, AL to Eufala, AL : 04.27 miles (06.83 km)
Trip Total: 39.54 miles (63.26 km)
Year Total: 793.42 miles (1,269.47 km)

I had a pretty good afternoon and night. The room was a lot better than what I had expected. The wifi signal was the strongest that I had in a long time. I was able to download a lot of movies. I spent most of the time in bed to rest my right knee since it was hurting.

I was hoping to get a good nights rest but I wasn't able to. Right around midnight, there was a loud disturbance outside. I only woke up once to go to the restroom. I woke up around 6:30 am. Instead of going out to the office to see if there was a hot breakfast, I opted to get a cold breakfast off of Alice.

Around 8:40 AM, I checked out of the motel and rode back to the First Baptist Church. I wanted to see if the guy who helped me yesterday afternoon was able to contact one of his friends who did welding. Russell escorted me over to the Eufala Iron Works about four blocks away from the church. It was operated by one of the members of the church. I had to wait for one of the workers to come back to the shop who did welding. The guy who did the welding cut a washer in two and welded it onto the pedal extender. The pedal extender still wobbles a little bit but it wasn't as bad as before. I'll wrap it up with electrical tape. It should last till I get a new crankset.

It was around 10 AM when the repair was fixed so it was too late for me to head out. I'm concerned about the projected high heat in the afternoon. I was able to connect with my contact in town through the ServantCare program. Anita told me that she wasn't able to host me because her house was being remodeled.

I decided to see if I could connect with another minister. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. The minister was in a meeting but the secretary offered to get me a room at a motel near the Southern edge of town through the ministerial association. I had to go to the police station to get a voucher. On the way to the motel, I stopped at a McDs for an early lunch.

March 16, 2016 : Eufala, AL to Dothan, AL : 49.73 miles (79.57 km)
Trip Total: 89.27 miles (142.83 km)
Year Total: 843.15 miles (1,349.04 km)

I had a pretty good afternoon and night. The room was a little run down. Indian owners. There was some problems with the bathroom. There wasn't any hot water in the bathroom sink and the bathtub leaked. The wifi network had some terrible problems. There was a wifi router a couple of doors away from me but it wasn't working. The only network that I was able to get was from the office but it wasn't strong enough to do anything with it. There wasn't any remote for the tv. There wasn't much on tv so I gave up on it around 9 pm. I watched a video on my laptop.

I woke up around 5 AM. I left the motel a little before 8 am. Before heading out of town, I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things. Once out in the country, I had no shoulder to ride along for about six miles including hills. I was so happy when a shoulder started up even though there was a rumble strip in the middle of it. There was a bit of a headwind to ride against. This made the hills a little hard.

Even with the winds and the hills, I was able to get into Abbeville 25 miles away. I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. I used the remaining funds on the gift card that I've been using from Albany, GA in January.

The afternoon ride went a little bit better. The terraign became a little bit flatter. About 9 miles out of Dothan, I had to stop and fix a low front tire. I found a small piece of wire sticking up inside the tire. I had to use my pliers to pull it out. With the new high-pressure pump, I was able to get the tire up to the right pressure in fast time. I was back on the road in about fifteen minutes.

The rest of the ride into Dothan went okay. It was a long ride into the downtown area. I got into the downtown area a little after 4 pm. I didn't find any churches. I backtracked a couple of blocks to a motel that I had passed. The motel looked like it was a little run down but the rate of $32 got me. The owners were Indians. The advertised rate was for a second floor room. Because of my bad right knee and shoulder, I opted to get a downstairs room. The rate for the room was supposed to be $40 before taxes but the owner gave me a full rate of $37. He didn't want to loose a sale. The room was okay inside but there was no wifi.

I'll be crossing into Florida tomorrow. There might be some rain to deal with.

March 17, 2016 : Dothan, AL to Marianna, FL : 33.67 miles (53.87 km)
Trip Total: 122.94 miles (196.70 km)
Year Total: 876.82 miles (1,402.91 km)

I had a pretty good afternoon and night. The room was a little run down. Indian owners. There was some problems with the internet. There was a wifi router a couple of doors away but I wasn't getting a strong signal from it. I barely got a signal from the office.

I got on the road a little after 8 am. The sky was overcast and there was the threat of rain. The fifteen miles to the Florida state line went okay. I took a short break at the visitor center. By noon, I got 22 miles in. I stopped at a gas station in Campbellton for a short break.

The afternoon ride to Marianna went okay. Just as I was coming into Marianna, it started to rain. I decided to stop for the day at the first motel that I came across.

I've got about a 32 mile ride to Blountstown tomorrow.

March 18, 2016 : Marianna, FL to Blountstown, FL : 30.29 miles (49.46 km)
Trip Total: 153.23 miles (245.17 km)
Year Total: 907.11 miles (1,451.38 km)

I had a pretty good afternoon and night. The room was okay even though there was somes small issues with it. The big plus was the 5 bar wifi network. I was able to download some movies to watch at a lat3er date. I went to bed around 11 am and I woke up around 6:20 AM.

I left the motel a little after 8 am. The sky was overcast and it was a little foggy. On the way through town, I stopped to get a few supplies. I took my time getting down US 90 to FL 71. At a gas station near I-10, I stopped for a short break. The ride to Altha went okay. I stopped for a break at a gas station in Altha. I was able to make 22 miles by noon.

The afternoon ride went okay. I got into Blountstown around 2 pm. I called up my Warm Showers contact. Davide came to meet me. Instead of going to his house on Main Street, David sagged me to his guest trailor about six miles out of town. David will come and get me tomorrow morning.

March 19, 2016 : Blountstown, FL to Mexico Beach, FL : 49.37 miles (78.99 km)
Trip Total: 202.60 miles (324.16 km)
Year Total: 956.48 miles (1,530.38 km)

I had a pretty good afternoon and night once I got the rest of the flies killed. The trailor inside was okay. There wasn't any cell phone service, television, or internet. There was a tv and a dvd. I watched a dvd that had some episodes of the Red Skelton Show. There was a space heater to warm up the bedroom.

I went to bed around 9 PM. I was able to sleep through the night. I woke up around 6:30 AM. After getting cleaned up and dressed, I moved my things outside. The right knee wasn't that bad.

Around 8 AM, Dave came by and took me back into town. I got dropped off at the BK. After getting Alice loaded up, I went inside for some french toast sticks and something to drink.

It was around 8:30 AM when I headed out. The ride to Wewahitchka went okay. I got into Wewahitchka around 1:45 PM. A couple of miles South of Wewahitchka, I turned Westward on a county road to Mexico Beach. The ride West was a little slow because there was a headwind.

I got into Mexico Beach around 4:20 PM. I called up my Warm Showers host but I was only able to leave a voice mail. From where I stopped to call, it was a short ride to US 98. If the road would have intersected US 98 about 40 feet to the South, I would have been in the Eastern Time Zone again. I stopped at a gas station for a break. I got a text message from the host telling me that I wouldn't be able to stay with them because her husband had to leave town on an emergency.

The last time that I was in Mexico Beach was back in December. I could have gone back to the First Baptist Church but I had a really bad experience there. The parsonage was really filled up and in bad disarray. I had some connection with the First United Methodist Church. The pastor who I knew had died so there was a new minister. I found out from the neighbor across the street, that the pastor commuted from Wewahitchka. I got permission to camp out behind the church.

March 20, 2016 : Mexico Beach, FL to Panama City, FL : 29.87 miles (47.79 km)
Trip Total: 232.47 miles (371.95 km)
Year Total: 986.95 miles (1,578.16 km)

I had a pretty good night. The rain came a little after dark and it didn't last very long. It was good that I took the time to get the tent ready for rain. It didn't get that cold during the night. I only woke up once around 3 AM to relieve myself. I crawled into my sleeping bag for a little bit. I must have pitched the tent on a slight slope because I woke up off the sleeping pad.

The birds woke me up around 6 AM. It didn't take long to pack up and get Alice loaded up. It was around 6:30 AM when I had Alice ready to go. I didn't feel like waiting two hours for the first service. On the way out of Mexico Beach, I stopped at a gas station to fill up the water bottles and also to get a light breakfast.

The ride North on US 98 through the Tyndall Air Force Base went okay. I was able to ride across the bridge to Parker but it was a little tricky because of the headwind. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Parker.

I got into Panama City around 10:20 AM. I stopped at the First united Methodist Church. I only missed the first five minutes of the service. Quite a few people welcomed me with handshakes. There was a lot of kids to the the procession of the palms. The sermon was pretty good. The pastor talked about compassion. He used several of the verses that I use. The service was a little bitter sweet to the congregation because the pastor told the congregation that he was moving on to another church in July.

On the way through the downtown area, I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. I got an email from my Warm Showers host telling me that she had to work at a hospital so she wasn't able to host me. She was a nurse. I decided to go ahead through town and try and find a room at one of the motels on the Western edge of town. I stopped at this one motel which I though would have low rates but because of Spring Break, the owner from India wanted $65 before tax. I stopped at a McDs for a break to get out my laptop so I could check out the other Warm Showers members in the area. There was a member in Panama City Beach but they were not home.

I was going to use some of the remaining Wyndam reward points to get a reduced room at a motel over in Panama City Beach but I cancelled the reservation when I saw that the motel wanted a $250 dollar deposit during March (for Spring Break). I went on Trip Advisor to see how good the rates were. I got a good rate at the hotel right next door to McDs.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between March 27th and April 03rd.




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