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TRIP 2016

Update #18 - September 23rd
Crestview, Florida
Mission Trip 70 so far (as of 9/23/16) : 207.06 miles (331.30 km)
Year Total : 5,458.24 miles (8,777.49 km)



After a false start on Monday, September 13th because of the failure of the rear derailleur, I was able to get on the road Friday, September 16th. I'll be riding to Louisiana to see what I can do with the recovery and rebuilding after the major flooding that occured in August. This will be my 70th missionary bike tour.

I used to live in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area and I've ridden between Baton Rouge and Covington, Louisiana many times. It will probably take me about three weeks to ride to Denham Springs, Louisiana. I'm not too sure how long I will be in Louisiana. I'll be there for as long as I feel that I am needed.



Sept 16, 2016 : Columbus (Hilton Heights), GA to Eufala, AL : 41.36 miles (66.18 km)
Trip Total: 41.36 miles (66.18 km)
Year Total: 5,320.23 miles (8,512.37 km)

Last night, I didn't get much sleep. I was still wired at what happened at Ride on Bike. I was really glad that Loretta had gone out and got some new disc pads for the rear disc brake unit. The disc pads were really bad. These should have been found by Byron at the bike shop. I would have had no brakes. I still have to find some new brake pads for the front unit.

I had a good talk with Tom before he took Loretta out for supper. He told me that he wanted to help with the cost of the bike repair. He gave me a large GH. I got everything repacked before going to bed.

I went to bed around 10:30 pm but I couldn't fall asleep. It was pretty well another all-nighter. I tried falling asleep but I wasn't able to. I watched a couple movies on my laptop.

I gave up and got dressed around 6:30 am. I took Alice outside around 8:10 am and I went to say goodbye again to Tom and Loretta. They were going to go out of state to North Carolina for the next 4 days to see their daughters and their one grand daughter.

The ride into the downtown area went okay. I had no problems. The derailleurs worked okay and I had brakes. I rode over the Chattahoochee River bridge into Phenix City. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few things and I stopped at a gas station for a short break.

The ride to US 431 went okay. There was a shoulder to ride along seperated by a rumble strip. About a mile out of Phenix City, I had to stop and fix the rear tire. The tire was soft. To be safe I put in the new inner tube and inflated the tire to 70 psi. I was back on the road in about 20 minutes. About 16 miles out of Phenix City, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. There was going to be pretty well nothing in the way of houses and businesses on the way to Eufala.

About 20 miles out of Phenix City, I turned my wristwatch back an hour because I was in Central Time Zone. There was a slight tail wind to push me along. By noon, I had ridden around 24 miles. There wasn't any place where I could stop for lunch either bought or out of my food panner.

The wind that was to my back switched directions and it was now coming from the South so I was bucking a headwwind. The Temperature was supposed to be getting into the 90s but I wasn't feeling it. I was feeling the burn of the climbs. I was really getting concerned about how much water I had left. I was getting close to just have one bottle left. About 14 miles out of Phenix City. I finally found a place where I could fill up all of my water bottles.

By 3:45 pm, I crossed into Rennselair County. My smooth shoulder disappeared and I was now dealing with a rumble strip that pretty well took up the whole shoulder. I was still about 12.5 miles out of Phenix City. I started to feel an intense pain in my lower ribs area. I'm not sure what was causing it. I stopped alongside the road and found some shade where I could take some aspirin. I laid down in the shade using my helmet as a headrest. I felt a little better after about 45 minutes. Because of the heat, I didn't feel like trying to go any farther.

I called up a contact of mine in Eufala. She was actually up at her Summer home in Calver, Wisconsin (in the LaCrosse area ). After about 20 minutes, Anita called me back and told me that one of the elders of her church in Eufala was going to come and get me. After about 20 more minutes, David showed up and we put Alice and my gear in the back of his SUV. It was a quick ride into Eufala. I'm glad that I didn't ride it because there was pretty well no shoulder to ride along and there was some road construction in Eufala. David told me that he wanted to put me up in a pretty good motel (the Baymont) because he was leaving town early tomorrow morning. On the way to the Baymont, we stopped at a Wendys so I could get some supper. I told David that I would pay for it but he paid for it and then gave me $20 for food tomorrow.

At the Baymont, there were no rooms downstairs because there was a fishing tournament on the River in the area. The Chattahoochee River is only a mile to the West. I was given a room just three doors away from the stairs. Before leaving, David helped me get all of my stuff upstairs.

I'm going to try and get on the road before 8 am. The temperature is still going to be in the 90s tomorrow. we are five days away from the start of Fall. Dothan is about 50 miles away. If I don't think that it would be wise to try and make it to Dothan, I'm going to try and stop in the small town of Abbeville, AL 25 miles away. There is supposed to be a Warm Showers member in Abbeville.



Sept 17, 2016 : Eufala, AL to Baker Heights (S Eufala), AL to Eufala, AL : 04.57 miles (07.31 km)
Trip Total: 45.93 miles (73.49 km)
Year Total: 5,324.80 miles (8,519.68 km)

It was another night of not getting much sleep. Don't really understand what is going wrong. There was a little pain coming from my lower lip. It was a little sun burnt.

I went downstairs around 6:30 am to get some breakfast. Around 7:45 am, I started the process of getting everything downstairs. It was around 8 am when I got on the road. On the way out of town, I had to stop to get another phone recharge card. It took a long time to get the phone recharged.

The sky was pretty overcast. There was road construction to deal with. About 2.5 miles down the road, it started to rain. The rain was kind of light but I wasn't sure how long the rain was going to last. I didn't feel like riding to Abbeville. Since I didn't have to pay for my motel room last night, I decided to go ahead and turn around and call it a rain day. I stopped at a motel where I had stayed at before in March. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up on my sleep. I'll be staying in town for church. There is supposed to be a better chance for rain tomorrow.



Sept 18, 2016 : Eufala, AL to Eufala, AL : 02.83 miles (04.53 km)
Trip Total: 48.76 miles (78.02 km)
Year Total: 5,327.63 miles (8,524.21 km)

I was able to get some rest but not as much as I had hoped. The room was bad even though I was told that they were refurbishing the motel. The curtains didn't fit properly on the rod. There wasn't any hot water in the bathroom sink. The thing that disturbed me that there was a heavy large full-length mirror fastened on the ceiling above the king sized bed. The room must have been used for sex and possibly the shooting of porn films. The mirror must have weighed over one hundred pounds. I was worried about getting crushed in my sleep. There was nobody to complain to see if I could have been moved because there were several signs on the windows of the office saying that the motel was not renting out any more rooms.

I woke up around 6 am. I took my time getting dressed and packed up. I left the motel a little before 9 am. On the way into the downtown area, I stopped at a grocery store to get a few things.

I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. It took a while trying to find someplace to park Alice. There weren't any greeters but I did meet a friendly lady who welcomed me and took me to a Sunday school class. During the beginning of the class, I was able to share what I am doing so I'm going to call this my 41st church for the year. I got involved in the discussion. Afterwards, a lady slipped me a GH.

I got into the Sanctuary about 20 minutes before the service started. There were a couple of people who greeted me. About fifteen minutes before the service started two guys came up to talk to me. Looking at the bulletin, I found out that one of the guys was the pastor but he didn't introduce himself to me. I was just able to say a few words before one of the guys told me that if I needed any kind of assistance I should go to the police station to get a background check and then see if I could get some assistance from the ministerial association. This gave me a bitter taste in my mouth and I didn't feel like staying on for the service so I left.

I didn't really want to but I decided to go ahead and get a room at the Super 8 across the road from the motel where I stayed at last night. I'll be riding to Abbeville tomorrow.



Sept 19, 2016 : Eufala, AL to Abbeville, AL : 28.96 miles (46.34 km)
Trip Total: 77.72 miles (124.37 km)
Year Total: 5,356.59 miles (8,570.54 km)

I was able to get some rest but not as much as I had hoped. My nose and lower lip were sunburnt and there was a blister on my lip. I didn't know about the blister until this morning when I accidently rubbed off a bit of skin on my lower lip. I located the medicated blistex that I'm carrying and gave my lip a liberal coating.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. Traffic was a bit heavy. There was road construction of the shoulder for about five miles. About 4 miles from where I started from the motel, I hit a patch of stone and crushed pavement and my front wheel swirved and I tipped over to my left. I wasn't able to stop the fall. There was a logging truck behind me but he stopped quite a ways from me. I quickly got the bike upright and back on the shoulder.

Once out of the contruction zone, I got on some good pavement but there was a continuous rumble strip. For about six miles, I was able to ride along the right side of the shoulder but I had to switch over to the left side of the rumble strip. It was still tricky riding between the rumble strip and the white line. There were rolling hills for most of the way to Abbeville.

I got the first 20 miles in my around 11:20 am. I stopped for a short break at a gas station about 4 miles away from Abbeville. By noon, I had ridden about 22 miles. Near Graball, I switched over to local roads for the ride into Abbeville. Abbeville was a pretty decent sized town (county seat).

I rode into the downtown area. I tried contacting the Warm Showers member in town but I wasn't able to connect with them. There was nobody around the Methodist Church. I went over to the First Baptist Church. I waited about a half hour till people came back from lunch. The reception that I got was a lot better than I got from the staff at the Methodist church in Eufala yesterday morning. The pastor was really friendly towards me. Ryan has been the pastor of the church for the past three years . The six years before that he was the youth pastor of the church. The pastor three years ago died from a heart attack.

Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Ryan offered to get me room at a motel on the SE edge of Abbeville. I did have to ride about an extra 1.8 miles to the motel. This puts me at around 25 miles into Dothan.



Sept 20, 2016 : Abbeville, AL to Griffin Heights (NW Dothan), AL : 24.62 miles (39.39 km)
Trip Total: 102.34 miles (163.74 km)
Year Total: 5,381.21 miles (8,609.94 km)

I was able to get some rest but not as much as I had hoped. My nose and lower lip felt a little better but I was experiencing some pain in my lower left leg. I went to bed kind of late. I woke up around 5:30 am. I woke up at a strange angle. The bed was so big that I had almost done a 180. I got cleaned up and dressed. Around 6:45 am, I went to the office for some breakfast. The selection was kind of small but I was able to get something to eat.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. About a mile down the road, I stopped to put on some sunscreen on my nose. As I was attempting to wipe the lenses of my sun glasses, I accidently broke the right arm at the hinge. I tried to make a repair to the glasses but I didn't do a good job. I was back on the road in about 15 minutes.

There was a tailwind to push me along but I wasn't making good time because of the rolling hills. Even with getting an early start, I only made 17 miles by 11 am. I stopped at a gas station near Kinsey for a short break. I was hoping to make 20 miles by noon but I didn't make it. I noticed that the rear tire was going soft. I pulled off the road under some trees to check out the tire. I found a small piece of wire from the belt of a blown out truck tire sticking up from the inside of the tire. About six miles down the road, I rode through the residue from a blown out tire. The piece of wire was almost a quarter inch long. I used my pliers to pull it out. It didn't take long to find the pinhole leak in the tube, patch it, reinstall the tire on the wheel, inflate it, and put the wheel back on the recumbent. I was back on the road in about 20 minutes.

From where I got back on the road, it was about 2 miles into the Northern edge of Dothan. I got my first 20 miles in by around 12:20 pm. I tried calling a contact in Dothan to see if they might be available for a stopover but they were not home. I stopped at a McDs for a light lunch. I got on the internet to see if I could find a low cost motel that I might afford. I saw that there was a Motel 6 on the Western side of Dothan on the US 231 near where US 84 crossed. I would be going through that area if I would head West to Enterprise as I had planned. I thought I would head into the downtown area and then turn West on US 84 instead of taking the busy bypass.

On the way into the downtown area, I rode passed a couple of cheap looking motels but one of them was where I had stopped at back in March and it was a roach motel. On US 84, I rode passed the large First Baptist Church. The church looked familiar. I decided to stop to see if I could get connected with a pastor to see if they might be able to help me find a place to get out of the 95+ heat for the rest of the day. I got buzzed in by the receptionist. A guy in the office came out to talk to me. After a couple of minutes, the guy went to find another gentleman who was in charge of missions. The other guy looked kind of familiar like we had met before. After talking for about five more minutes, the gentleman told me that he would take me around town to find me a motel room. He said that they used to use the motel closest to the church but it had gone downhill the past couple of years because the owners from India. We loaded Alice and my gear in the back of his pickup truck. We headed North on US 231. We stopped at a two cheap motels but there were no rooms. We then stopped at a motel that used to be owned by some members of the church.

Once in the room, I got on the internet to see if I could check out the church's website to see if I could find the name and email address of the guy who I had helped me. I found out that the guy was Rev Bob Gross and he was the associate pastor in charge of Sr Adults and Missions. When I put his email address in the "To Box", it filled up automatically. This was a good sign that I had met Bob before. I went through the spreadsheets for my trips and I found out that we had met on Sunday, November 23, 2014. Bob was the associate pastor who I had got introduced to before the 11 am service. After the service, Bob had offered to get me a room at the Town Terrace Motel. I remember that it was a little better two years ago than this March.

Going through my journals, I found out that I had spent the night here before I had met Bob the first time. I reread that this motel was a roacher but the motel is a lot better. It seems to have been remodeled. There's a much bigger office than two years ago.

With regards to continuing my ride to Louisiana, I've decided to backtrack along my Trip 69 to Marianna, Florida and then head West on US 90 to Pensacola instead of heading West to Enterprise and Opp, Alabama before turning South towards Florida. Heading South to Florida now would get me out of the hills of the Alabama Wiregrass and into a more flatter terraign of the Florida Panhandle. This would put me in Crestview, Florida over the weekend. There is a WS member in Crestview. This would put me in Pensacola next Tuesday. I estimate that I should be in Denham Springs, LA by at least Monday, October 10th.



Sept 21, 2016 : Griffin Heights (NW Dothan), AL to Chipley, FL : 38.17 miles (61.07 km)
Trip Total: 140.51 miles (224.82 km)
Year Total: 5,419.38 miles (8,671.01 km)

I was able to get some rest but not as much as I had hoped. I woke up really early and I couldn't fall asleep. Overall, I had a good night. The whole motel looks like it has been remodeled. I stayed here in late 2014 and the motel was the pits. According to my trip logs, I killed four roaches in the room but I didn't find one bug the whole night. I got cleaned up, showered, and got dressed. There was a decent breakfast. Before I got on the road, I had a good talk with the manager.

I left the motel around 7:45 am. It was a short ride to US 231. There was a shoulder to ride along. On the way out of town, I did some shopping. I got a new inner tube and I found another pair of sunglasses for a dollar. The ride to the FL state line went really quick. There was a bit of a tailwind to push me along. The terraign was mostly flat and this helped get in the miles.

It was a little after 11 am when I crossed into Florida. After taking the traditional pictures of Alice at the state signs, I took a short break at the Welcome Center. I needed to fill up a couple of water bottles. Once I crossed into Florida, I got rid of the nasty and troublesome rumble strips.

By noon, I had ridden a little over 22 miles. In Campbellton, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. From Campbellton, I was going to ride Southeast to Marianna but I decided to change my route to Chipley. Marianna would have been actually out of the way since it was East of US 231 by seven miles. Chipley was actually closer. If I would have gone on to Marianna, I would have to ride 17 miles to Chipley tomorrow.

I headed SW to Chipley on FL 237. The highway was pretty good. There was a wide shoulder to ride along. The miles went by fast. For most of the way, I was actually going downhill. There were some uphill climbing but the grade wasn't that bad and long downhill runs on the other side.

About seven miles out of Chipley, I had to stop to check out the rear tire again. It was going soft. Instead of sticking up from the inside of the tire, I found a small piece of steelbelt wire sticking up out of the tube. It didn't take too long to inflate the tire and get Alice back on the road. The rest of the ride to Chipley went quickly.

I got into Chipley around 3 pm. I stopped at the United Methodist Church. There were a couple of people outside. It turns out it was a young couple and their cousin. The first thing that the young guy did was greet me and ask me if I was thirsty. I learned that the guy's name was Ben. Ben told me that he was a convicted felon but he is a believer now and has gone out on the Walk to Emmaus. Ben's wife took me into the fellowship hall and got me a bottle of water while Ben got the pastor to meet me. It was a lady minister. She didn't shake my hand or tell me her name before she sat down in a chair close to me. She hasn't been at the church long. It turns out that she used to go to the First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, GA and knew my friend Chuck.

While the other people were around, she started to give me the signs that she was going to be a "pass-off minister". She told me that the person who basically does this kind of assistance was out of the office because of health issues. She suggested that I check out the First Baptist Church to see if they could help me.

This didn't go well with Ben. He suggested that I should go to a motel a couple of blocks away and he will meet me there and pay for the room himself. Ben asked me what I was going to do for supper. When he heard that I was either going to have tuna or peanut butter sandwiches, he offered to come back and take me to his home for supper. When Ben came back around 5:20 pm, he asked me if I had any dirty clothes that needed washed. Before heading back to the motel, Ben and his grandmother gave me some stuff and also some food out of their meager supplies. Ben has been umemployed for a while. He's been dealing with hepiticis C for the past 10 years but he is going to start a 12 week course of treatment. The only problem is that one of the pills that he needs to take for the cure is going to cost over $1K each. He has to go to a hospital first to go through a gastric check to see if there is any capillary bleeding.

I'll be riding to DeFuniak Springs tomorrow. Since I didn't stop in Marianna tonight, I've adjusted my proposed time schedule and I should be getting into Denham Springs, LA Friday, October 07th.



Sept 22, 2016 : Chipley, FL to DeFuniak Springs, FL : 38.86 miles (62.18 km)
Trip Total: 179.37 miles (286.99 km)
Year Total: 5,419.38 miles (8,671.01 km)

Going through what happened yesterday afternoon and night, I think that I had another divine appointment. It might have been with the lady pastor at the Methodist church to see how compassionate she was (determining whether she was a sheep or goat) but I think very strongly that it was with Ben. My first impression of Ben was kind of different because of the full length tattoos on both of his arms but his eyes and facial expression was very friendly and one of a believer. Ben didn't go very much in detail on how long he might have served in either jail or prison. He say that he had gone through the Walk To Emmaus program and it changed his faith. It was really strange that he was the Sheep in the situation in the fellowship hall and he was leading the pastor (who was possibly a goat). Ben was pretty frustrated that the pastor didn't personally help me out instead of just passing me off to another church. Ben lived with his wife, his cousin (who seemed to be a bit mentally impaired, and his grandmother). They didn't have much because Ben hasn't been able to do much work because of his Hep C. He has to have an endoscopy performed first to see if he has any bleeding inside his gastric system before he can start the Hep C treatment. He still doesn't knowhow he can afford the treatment because it of the pills that he has to take cost over $1K each. He has to take 24 (2 each of the 12 weeks of the treatment program).

Before Ben took me back to the motel after feeding me supper, he asked me several times on what I needed for the trip. I had to turn down his help because he wanted me to take what I needed out of his family's meager food supply in the fridge and pantry. I did accept a couple bags of microwave popcorn, two cans of fruit cocktail, and some milk.

Ben is going to take a trip to Quapaw, Oklahoma where he was born. They are heading out tomorrow afternoon. Beb hasn't been back to Quapaw in 25 years. He was kind of hesitantto see if there was any residual damage from the tornado that hit Baxter Springs and Quapaw back in 2013. Ben was surprised when I told him that I was in the area in late June 2013. I went there to see if I could help out with the rebuilding effort but the center was closed when I got there.

Before going to bed, I went through my things to see what I could get rid of to reduce the weight on Alice. I filled up a small trashcan. The bags feel several pounds lighter. I also watched a very good movie on my laptop about a young boy who was taking part in a singing contest in Montgomery, Alabama. The movie was really good. I went to sleep kind of late.

I was surprised when I woke up around 6:30 am. I headed out from the motel around 7:35 am. The temperature was in the late 70s. The ride was going pretty good. I stopped for short breaks at gas stations in Bonifay and Caryville. By noon, I had ridden a little over 24 miles. I stopped for a short lunch break at a gas station in Ponce DeLeon. I was back on the road in around 40 minutes.

From Ponce DeLeon, I had a ten mile ride to DeFuniak Springs. It should have taken me around two hours to ride but it took me almost three hours. This was because there was rolling hills between Ponce DeLeon and Argyle. This area was a real roller coaster. The terraign leveled out between Argyle and DeFuniak Springs because the highway was next to a railroad. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Koerber about 3 miles out of DeFuniak Springs.

I got into DeFuniak Springs around 3:20 pm. I rode through the downtown area but I didn't see any churches. As I was heading west out of the downtown area, I spotted a church to the South of me. There was a small sign on the side of the highway that said that it was the First Baptist Church. You had to look for the sign and you wouldn't have seen it if you weren't looking for it.

Once at the church, it took a little while finding the main entrance. When I got inside the church, this young lady greeted me with a handshake and asked me if I was thirsty. She was going out of the church so I told her that I could just get something from the water fountain outside the restrooms. There was an older lady in the office. The pastor was in another part of the church building but the lady was able to connect with him. I was in the room so I heard half of the conversation on the phone but I could guess what the pastor was saying. The secretary just told the pastor that I was travelling around the country by bicycle and I needed a place to stay. It was a little odd that she didn't mention to him that I was a minister. The answer that I got was that I should go to another agency that had connections with another church that supposedly had some kind of shelter. I asked the secretary to call the pastor again and tell him that I was a minister. The pastor came into the office to talk with me but he still told me the same thing. He also mentioned that there was a benevolence group that met Wednesday nights and they did compassion work during that time. That was basically it for the church.

Since it was almost 4 pm, I didn't want to try and find the office of the agency and not find anybody in the office. Last night while I was checking out my route on Microsoft Streets and Trips, I saw that there were two no-chain motels on US 90 before the airport. I thought about using some of my emergency money to get a room at one of them. When I got outside to Alice, I found a $10 bill in my helmet. This might have come from the young lady who had greeted me.

I stopped at the first motel - Adams Motel. The motel seemed okay. The lady who was from India told me the room was $50 plus tax. I told her that I could possibly afford it and I told her what I was doing. She asked me how much I could afford. I told her between $40 and $50. She told me $45. I'm actually just out $35 because of the GH.

I'll be riding to Crestview tomorrow. I'll have under a thirty mile day. There is a WS member in town.



Sept 23, 2016 : DeFuniak Springs, FL to Crestview, FL : 27.69 miles (44.30 km)
Trip Total: 207.06 miles (331.30 km)
Year Total: 5,458.24 miles (8,777.49 km)

The room would have been okay if there were no problems with the television and the internet. The problem with the tv was a little strange. When you tried to change the channel, the picture froze but you could here the audio from the channel that you changed to. With regards to the internet, I had a really strong signal but I couldn't get on the web. The router was password protected but there was also a gateway page. A popup asked for the username and password for the router like it hadn't been set up. I went to the office to see if I could get the information but the lady who was from India didn't know the information.

I got maybe six hours of sleep. I left the motel around 7:35 am. The ride during the morning was really good. Most of the way, the terraign was pretty flat because the highway paralled a railroad. I stopped for a short break at a gas station in Mossy Head. By 10:50 am, I got the first 20 miles in. By noon, I had ridden almost 26 miles. I was at the Western edge of Crestview. I stopped for a short break at a gas station.

After the brief lunch break, I rode the rest of the way into Crestview. I didn't attempt to contact the WS member. I had some concerns because I remembered that on his profile, he wrote that he worked at a bar and wasn't sure whether he could host on the weekends because of his late work at the bar.

I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I had a so much better reception at this church than what I had gotten at the First Baptist Church yesterday in DeFuniak Springs. I got connected with the associate pastor in charge of education and sr adults. Randall offered to get me a room at a local motel. I've got a 31 mile ride to Milton tomorrow.

The next update should be posted between Sept 30th and Oct 07th.




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