TRIP 2016

Update #16 - August 11th
Columbus, Georgia
Trip 69 : 4,505.12 miles (7,208.19 km)
Year Total : 5,266.32 miles (8,416.41 km)

July 30, 2016 : East Dublin, GA to District Path (S Jeffersonville), GA : 33.69 miles (53.90 km)
Trip Total: 3,732.88 miles (5,972.61 km)
Year Total: 4,485.80 miles (7,177.28 km)

The night was a little rough. The room had some needs but there wasn't any roaches. There was a lot of noise to deal with. The room was pretty close to the highway and there were some kids from a room above me who were outside quite late (almost out around midnight). I did get some rest.

I was really surprised that I woke up around 6:30 AM. After looking at the front tire more closely in the morning, I felt that the tire wouldn't last much longer. I didn't think that it would last to Warner Robins where there was a bike shop. I got on the internet and found out that there was a Walmart on the Western edge of Dublin.

It was almost 8 AM when I headed out. It was about a 3 mile backtrack into the downtown Dublin area. Once out of the downtown area, I pretty well rode the sidewalk so I took my time. A couple of miles out of the downtown area, there was a bike lane to follow. From the motel in East Dublin, it was about a six mile ride to the Walmart. There were only two tires in boxes that would fit my front wheel but they were bmx (black or white). I got the black tire. It took me about 20 minutes to get the new tire on. The tread is going to take a little bit of time to get used to because it has little raised knobs. Before leaving the Walmart property, I stopped at the gas station to refill my water bottles and get something cold to drink.

It was almost 10:40 AM when I left the Dublin area. The ride West was a little slow because the highway was a little rough and there were some slight hills. By 11:40 AM, I had only ridden 11 miles.

In Dudley, I stopped at a gas station/store/restaurant. The establishment had a Christian influence. There was a huge 30 foot white cross with the words "Jesus is Coming Soon" on it. There were also other Christian logos. I stopped at the gas station, to go to the restroom, fill up my water bottles again, and to get a soda to cool off. After buying the soda, I went outside to sit on a stoop on the side of the building to drink my soda and read a paperback. As I was finishing up my soda, a black lady who worked in the store came up to me and asked me if I would help her and an older guy remove a refrigerator from the back of a pickup truck and put it into another building on the property. It took us about fifteen minutes to move the refrigerator. I was getting ready to leave but the guy stopped me and told me that he would buy me lunch. It turns out that he was the owner. When we got back into the store, the guy told the people to get me something to eat and drink and also a meal to take with me for later. I opted to get some chicken strips, potato wedges, and a roll. The plate was pretty full and I was also able to get a large styrofoam glass of ice tea. There was an eating area to eat in. I took my time eating the meal. This was my first hot meal since the DQ in Statesboro. When I got back to the lunch counter, on of the ladies packed up a heaping of chicken strips and potato wedges in two small clam shells. I was really surprised that the lady also told me to go to the drink section of the store and get me something cold to drink. I opted to get two medium size bottles of PowerAde. This wasn't the only unexpected thing that happened. The lady at the cash register started to pull some money out. I thought that it was just standard policy to put some money away in a safe but she gave me money to me. I saw that it was twenties. She told me that the owner had told her to do it. When I got outside, I was surprised to see that it was five twenties.

It was about 12:20 PM when I got back on the road. I had to stop a couple of times along the way to work on my front wheel because the disc brake was squealing. I got maybe 4 miles down the road in Montrose when I had to stop under some trees to wait out a fast moving storm. When the rain lessoned up, I rode down the road a couple of blocks and stopped at a church that had a covered entranceway to wait out the storm. I only had to wait fifteen minutes.

In the small town of Danville, I stopped at a restaurant/convenience store to refill my water bottles again and to get something cold to drink.

It was about 5 PM when I got into Jeffersonville. I stopped at a gas station to get something cold to drink. I tried connecting with the Warm Showers member in nearby Kathleen. I only got a voice mail message. I really didn't know how available the member was because he was an active chaplain at the Warner Robins Air Force Base. From the gas station, I rode around the small town to check out the churches. I found the Baptist and Methodist Churches. There was nobody around them or no contact numbers. The sky was clouding up so it looked like it might rain again. I remember seeing the small Twigg County courthouse and the sheriff department.

At the sheriff department, I talked with a friendly lieutenant. He was trying to deal with two prisoners but he told me that if I would wait in the lobby of the main office he would help me. I spoke to some other friendly officers. It took about an hour and a half of waiting but the outcome was quite surprising. I was hoping just for some phone numbers but I was told that a local minister was contacted and one of the church deacons would meet me at a motel on GA 96 near I-18. It would have been a 5 mile ride to the motel but one of the other deputies took me to the motel in the department's pick-up truck. The deacon who met me at the motel surprised me again when he told me that he would pay for two nights at the motel. He would also come by tomorrow around 10 AM to take me to his church.

This was a day that I will not forget. Instead of going to Warner Robins, I'm going to head a little south to Perry and from there head basically straight west to Columbus. I'm about 114 miles away from Columbus. Target date for arrival in Columbus is Wednesday (August 3).

August 01, 2016 : District Path (S Jeffersonville), GA to Perry, GA : 30.97 miles (49.55 km)
Trip Total: 4,381.44 miles (7,010.30 km)
Year Total: 5,136.54 miles (8,218.62 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The ride South and West to Bonaire went okay. The temperature was cooler than yesterday because the sky was pretty overcast. There were quite a few rolling hills to get over. I had to stop along the way to add air to my tires.

I got into Bonaire around 10:30 AM. I stopped for a break at a gas station. After the break, I went to a nearby Dollar General to buy some food for the remaining days on the road. I was going to head out of town after the shopping but a rain shower started. I stopped at the gas station again where there was a Taco Bell and got an early lunch.

I got back on the road on 11:30 AM. I headed South on US 129/ GA 127. The highway was being repaved. There wasn't any shoulder and the pavement was kind of rough. It was a hard 4 mile ride to Kathleen because of the truck traffic. I was really happy when GA 127 turned West towards Perry. Traffic was pretty light for most of the way into downtown Perry.

I got into downtown Perry around 2:30 PM. I stopped at the First Baptist Church but there wasn't a minister in. There was a laundromat across the road and I stopped there to get my laundry done for possibly the last time this trip.

The winds really picked up and it looked like it was getting ready to storm. Because of this, I decided to stop at the First United Methodist Church and try and connect with a local minister. I talked with the pastor. He told me that there was a local ministerial association and he called over to the police station to authorize them to set me up with a voucher for a room at one of the motels near I-75. I got to the police station right before a thunderstorm started to come through the area. There was enough room on the front porch away from the door that I was able to park Alice so it would stay dry. The lady officer who took care of me told me that the pastor of the Methodist church had authorized a voucher for a meal from Chick-a-Fil. I wasn't able to leave the porch of the police station till a little after 5 PM because of the thunderstorm. The rain came down really hard for about 40 miles. On the way to the motel, I stopped at the Chick-A-Fil. The motel room was right close to the local Walmart.

My goal for tomorrow is Bulter. I stopped in Butler back on Jan 14 while I was on the way to the mission center in Woodstock North of Atlanta. I'm a little over 84 miles away from Columbus.

August 02, 2016 : Perry, GA to Fort Valley, GA : 11.77 miles (18.83 km)
Trip Total: 4,393.21 miles (7,029.14 km)
Year Total: 5,148.41 miles (8,237.46 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. It rained again during the night. The parking lot was wet. I left the motel around 7:30 AM. The sky was overcast and there was a light fog. It looked like it was going to rain again.

Around 9 AM, I stopped alongside the road for a planned call with my pastor friend in Columbus. My friend asked me if there was any way for me to extend my trip a few more days because he had to leave town until Sunday afternoon. I told my friend that I could try by riding down to Americus to visit with some people who I worked with at the headquarters of the Fuller Center For Housing and Habitat For Humanity International. This would get me into Columbus next Monday instead of Thursday.

I got into Fort Valley around 10:00 AM. I decided to try and stop for the day because I wasn't sure if there were going to be any thunderstorms this afternoon. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. The pastor was pretty friendly. He offered me the use of the office where the music director used to work in. I thought that I was going to spend the night in the church but around 4 PM the pastor came back and told me that he would like to get me a room at a local motel. We loaded Alice in back of his pick-up truck. At the motel, the pastor gave me two McDs gift cards because there was a one across the road.

Tomorrow, I'm going to be stopping in Montezuma. This will have me in Americus Thursday. I'm hoping to stay in Americus Friday night. With the adding of the extra days, I only added around 24 miles to my route. I'm 108 miles from Columbus.

August 03, 2016 : Fort Valley, GA to Montezuma, GA : 24.59 miles (39.34 km)
Trip Total: 4,417.80 miles (7,068.48 km)
Year Total: 5,173.00 miles (8,276.80 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. It rained really hard around 7 PM. I woke up sort of late around 6:30 AM. I didn't wake up with the sun because there was fog outside. I waited till 7:50 AM to head out. I went across the road to the McDs to get some breakfast.

It was around 8:15 AM when I headed out from the McDs. The ride South went okay. Traffic was pretty light. I rode passed large fields of cotton and peanuts. There were also large groves of peaches and pecons. The groves of peaches were recently harvested. For a couple of minutes, I watched a couple of specialized tractors shake pecan trees to harvest the pecans.

I got into Montezuma a little before noon. I caught the pastor come out of the First Baptist Church. The pastor was more interested in heading out to lunch instead of helping me out. He told me that he was knew to the area and didn't have a clue on how to help me.

The Methodist Church was next door. I found the office but there was nobody around. There wasn't a sign saying the hours. In front of the fellowship hall, there was a courtyard with a couple of benches. The benches were sort of covered by trees. I waited till 1:30 PM but nobody showed up. I rode around town to try and see if there were any more churches like a Presbyterian but I didn't see any other churches. I rode back to the Methodist Church but nobody showed up.

There was a motel in town so I opted to go there and get a room. The sky looked like it might storm again.

August 04, 2016 : Montezuma, GA to Americus, GA : 23.77 miles (37.97 km)
Trip Total: 4,441.53 miles (7,106.45 km)
Year Total: 5,196.73 miles (8,314.77 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was better than I had expected. I was able to get some rest even though there was an active railroad nearby.

I got on the road around 7:40 AM. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Ogelthorpe. The ride South to Americus went okay. Traffic for the most part was light. There were some rolling hills to ride over. I rode through the small towns of Clearview and Andersomville.

I got the first 20 miles in by 11:15 AM. I got into the Southeastern outskirts of Americus around 11:40 AM. I stopped at the McDs for some lunch. From the McDs, it was about a 15 minute ride into the downtown area. I rode over to the Anglican church to see if the rector who I knew was still around. The church was closed and there was another name of a rector on the sign.

I rode over to the First United Methodist Church. I used to attend there when I lived here in Americus. The ladies in the office remembered me as being a friend of one of their former pastors. I didn't get to meet the new pastor but I did talk with the church administrator. He used to work at HFHI when I did. There was an offer to get me a room for two nights at a motel across the Flint River.

August 06, 2016 : Americus, GA to Richland, GA : 29.74 miles (47.58 km)
Trip Total: 4,471.27 miles (7,154.03 km)
Year Total: 5,226.47 miles (8,362.35 km)

I had an okay night at the motel. The room was okay but I didn't get much sleep because the curtain was too short in width so it didn't prevent the lights from the outside coming into the room. I went to bed around 10 PM. I was hoping to stay asleep till around 6 AM but I woke up around 4 AM. I was able to fall back asleep till around 5:45 AM.

I left the motel around 7:45 AM. The temperature was already in the upper 70s. I headed West on US 280. It was quite interesting that there were no fields of peanuts on the way to Plains. There are two peanut mills in the Plains area and Plains has their Peanut Festival in the Fall. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Plains. There wasn't much activity in Plains. I rode passed the Carter Presidential compound.

US 280 was pretty well rolling hills. I got the first 20 miles in by 11:40 AM. I stopped at a gas station in Preston for a short break. The afternoon ride went okay. I got into Richland around 1:35 PM. There were two motels in town. I stopped at one motel that used to be a Days Inn. The sign sayed super-value but it wasn't. They wanted $51 for a room and a $5 key deposit. I remembered that there was another motel and I possibly stayed at on one of my previous trips. I got a room for a little over $30. I stayed at this motel before - March 14, 2014.

I'm around 35 miles away from Columbus.

August 08, 2016 : Richland, GA to Willets (S Columbus), GA : 32.85 miles (52.56 km)
Trip Total: 4,505.12 miles (7,208.19 km)
Year Total: 5,266.32 miles (8,416.41 km)

I had a somewhat decent afternoon and night at the First Baptist Church. The air conditioning was cranked up really high. I was able to get the thermostat figured out so I was able to get the room that I was staying in a little warmer. I was thinking that I was going to have to scrunch up some on the short sofa but it turned out that it was actually a sleeper sofa and the mattress was still there and it was in decent shape.

I went to bed around 10 PM. I was hoping to get some rest even though the room didn't get dark. The window was frosted but there wasn't any curtains. There was a security light close by. I put the sofa cushions in the window. This helped some. When I woke up, I thought that it was around 5 AM but it was actually 6:15 AM.

I left the church around 7:20 AM. The sky was a little overcast, There was a little bit of fog. The ride North along US 280 was a little hard because there was a rumble strip. Instead of being along the white line, the rumble strip was in the middle of the shoulder. It was really hard riding on the right edge of the shoulder because there was a lot of grass buildup. In some places, I had to ride to the left of the rumble strip. There was possibly less than seven inches of shoulder to ride along without crossing the white line. I didn't want to do this much because the speed limit of the highway was 65 mph. There was a section of about six miles where there were a lot of winding curves and rolling hills.

In the Cushatta, I was finally able to stop at a gas station and I was finally able to call my pastor friend in Columbus. I was only able to leave a voice mail message. Before leaving the gas station, I talked with a Vietnam Vet from the Dothan, AL area who told me that on his bucket list was doing a cross-country bike trip. He told me that he wanted to hike more of the Appalachian Trail.

I was back on the road by 11:30 AM. I cranked in the miles so I was able to get in 22 miles. A couple of miles down the highwy, I crossed into the Ft. Benning Military Reservation. In one section, I stopped to watch a troop of soldiers go out on a march. On the other side of the highway, there were some soldiers learning how to get into an armored troop carrier. I was in the army reservation for about 10 miles.

I crossed into the Southern edge of Columbus around 1:30 PM. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. After trying to call my pastor friend three times, I decided to try and get a motel room for tonight. There was the possibility of thunderstorms and the temperature was in the 90s. I rode passed quite a few motels but they either didn't look clean or safe. A lot of signs outside of them indicated that they might cater to prostitutes.

In the Willits area, I was going to stop at a Motel 6 but right before that motel I caught the marque of a motel and it advertized rooms around $40. I decided to get a room. The tax was a bit high but I got a room.

Around 3 PM, I got my first email from my pastor friend. He is having to go into the hospital for some medical tests. He wants me to stay put for a night or two because he still hasn't arranged for some more permanent housing. He's going to pay for a night or two at this motel.

I'm about 8 miles to the South of where I had started from back in March.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between August 18th and August 25th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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