TRIP 2016

Update #19 - October 03rd
Denham Springs, Louisiana
Mission Trip 70 so far (as of 10/01/16) : 546.98 miles (875.15 km)
Year Total : 5,825.85 miles (9,321.36 km)

I'm currently in the Denham Springs, Louisiana. I arrived here Saturday, October 01st. Currently, I'm doing some volunteer work at the All Hands Volunteer Disaster Center. I'll be here till at least Saturday, October 08th. From here, I'll be riding to either the Samaritan's Purse Disaster Response Center in either Gonzales or Greenwood Springs, Louisiana or riding into Baton Rouge to try and connect with a disaster response center there.

Sept 24, 2016 : Crestview, FL to Perdido Bay, FL : 72.26 miles (115.62 km)
Trip Total: 279.32 miles (446.91 km)
Year Total: 5,558.19 miles (8,893.10 km)

I woke up around 6:20 am. The room would have been okay if I hadn't catched and killed a roach that was crawling down a back wall from the ceiling. There wasn't any breakfast provided. I could have stopped at a McDs that was close by but I got something to eat out of my food pannier.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. The ride West went okay. There was a slight tailwind to push me along. I stopped at a gas station in Pace for a short break. By 10:40 am, I got the first 20 miles in. I was surprised at getting into the Eastern outskirts of Milton before noon. I had ridden almost 31 miles.

I stopped at a BK for a light lunch. I wasn't sure how far I wanted to go on. It didn't feel like it was in the low 90s. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. There were some cars there. I didn't find anybody around the campus. I didn't feel like trying to find the police station to go that route in trying to connect with a local minister. Pensacola was around 22 miles away. I was thinking about going on and trying to contact the assoc pastor at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Pensacola, Florida and see if I could stay in the youth building like I did back in late March. Just in case he wasn't available, I had contact numbers for two WS (Warm Showers) members in Pensacola.

The ride to Pensacola went okay. The terraign was level until Riverview where I crossed the bridge over the Escanabia River and where US 90A split off of US 90. I stopped at a gas station for a short break before starting to ride through some bluff area. I tried calling the assoc minister at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Pensacola, FL but I was just able to leave a voicemail. I was riding along the bluffs along the shore of Escanabia Bay. There was a thunderstorm coming through the area. I had to stop under some trees to put on my rain jacket. Between Bohemia and Gaberonne, I rode passed a guy who was walking with a large cross on some wheels. I would have stopped but he was already talking with somebody.

The ride into the Eastside of Pensacola went okay. I stopped at a gas station to see if I could charge up my cellphone. I tried calling up the assoc minister again but had no luck. I tried contacting the two other WS members but I had no luck with them.

I was able to find my way downtown to the First United Methodist Church. There were lights on in the youth building but there was nobody around. I was hoping to find a sheet in a door or a window with some contact numbers but there wasn't any. There was some activity in a nearby outreach building but it was just an AA meeting.

The only thing that I could do was head out of town towards Gulf Shores, AL. I got across the high bridge on FL 292 before dark. I had to stop and get out my lights. The ride along FL 292 went okay. There was an improved highway with a bike lane till about FL 193. The ride from there to Perdido Bay was tricky because there wasn't any shoulder to ride alonng. At least the traffic was light. It was a little after 10 pm when I got into the Perdido Bay area. I saw some open land but I opted to try and check out the Big Lagoon State Rec Area. There was supposed to be a campground. I rode down the road to the recreation area but I didn't go far because of a high fence around the recreation area.

I backtracked to FL 193 to where I had seen some woods. There looked like there was a fire trail. I went down this fire trail that was covered in brambles several hundred feet and was able to find a place wide enough to pitch my tent. It was around 10:40 pm when I had crawled into my tent.

Sept 25, 2016 : Perdido Bay, FL to Gulf Shores, AL : 28.85 miles (46.16 km)
Trip Total: 308.17 miles (493.07 km)
Year Total: 5,587.04 miles (8,939.26 km)

It was a hot night in my tent. I had a hard time getting comfortable. I was surprised that I was able to fall asleep. It was around 6:20 am when I woke up.

It was around 7:40 am when I got back on the road. I stopped at a Publix to get a light breakfast. I didn't feel like crossing over the intercoastal river bridge to Perdido Key just yet because I remembered that there were no churches along the way to Gulf Shores, AL.

I saw a sign for the Methodist Church, It was about a half mile to the north. The parking lot was pretty well filled up. The first service had started at 8 am. There wasn't really a narthax so I sat in one of the back pews. I got into the service about halfway through the sermon. The sermon was basically the first of a series for the church's stewardship campaign. Lots of numbers and verses on how the church needed the money so that they can help others and keep the lughts on. After the sermon, there was another five minute spiel from a couple on how their lives were better since they tithed. During the offering, there was a youth choir of little kids. There was communion afterwards.

I got to talk with the assoc pastor after the service. I wanted to see if his words matched his actions. They didn't. He told me that they give money to agencies and he wanted to give me a resource sheet to things like a shelter in downtown Pensacola. There was no way that I was going to go back into Pensacola 12 miles to the East. He told me that there had to be two people with me if I spent the night in one of their buildings. He really didn't want to talk much since he had to go to another building for a contemporary service. Two older guys went out the door with me. The oldest of the two guys was pretty argumentative. He had a really hardened heart.

From the church, I rode back to the main highway and then over the bridge onto the first barrier island and into Perdido Key. There was a designated bike lane. It was a short ride to the Alabama State Line. At the state line, there was a lot of activity at this bar/ amusement center that straddled the state line. There was a sign for some kind of worship service on the beach. Didn't feel like stopping. I was able to ride across the high bridge into Orange Beach.

I stopped at this gas station for something to drink and to see if I could charge up my cell phone. The guy was an American. He was pretty friendly. Instead of plugging my cell phone at a side outlet, the guy offered me the use of a plug inside. The guy got me a chair. He told me that he's been doing 12 hour shifts. Sundays and Wednesdays are his slowest days. It was getting close to lunch so he offered to let me eat with him. I had a large baked potato and some chuckroat with onions. This was my second sit-down meal on the trip. The guy even got me something more to drink. I could have stayed till my cellphone was fully charged but I got the phone up to at least 52 percent charge. I wanted to get into Gulf Shores. I knew a minister at a church on the Western edge of the town. I was getting a little concerned with the skies getting dark. I thought that it was going to storm but it didn't.

Once I got into the Gulf Shores area, I rode over to my friend's church to see if there might be an evening service but there wasn't. I just had the church phone number. I was hoping for some kind of contact number but there wasn't. I didn't feel like trying to find someplacein the woods to camp out. There wasn't really much between Gulf Shores and the ferry to Dauphin Island at Fort Morgan 22 miles away. I decided to turn around and head back into town. One of the two other churches that I rode passed to get back into Gulf Shores was a Baptist church but there wasn't going to be a service at night.

I stopped at the Church of Christ. They were getting ready for a fellowship meal after the service. The people were sort of friendly towards me. The service was kind of interesting. Some of the boys and young men led the service. There was no instruments playing during the singing. The men and women sang different parts. The meal was okay. I was hoping to maybe stay in the fellowship hall for the night since there were a couple of sofas. Instead there was an offer to get me a room at one of the local hotels. We loaded up Alice and my gear in back of a guy's truck. The hotel was pretty fancy. Before the guy's left, one of the elders slipped me a GH and the young guy with us slipped me a GH.

Depending on the weather tomorrow, I might either stop on Dauphin Island or try to push to Bayou La Batre. There is a WS member on Dauphin Island.

Sept 26, 2016 : Gulf Shores, AL to Bayou La Batre, AL : 40.62 miles (64.99 km)
Trip Total: 348.79 miles (558.06 km)
Year Total: 5,587.04 miles (8,939.26 km)

I had an okay night at the hotel. I got about 5 hrs of sleep. I woke up around 5 am. There was an okay breakfast. I was hoping to get on the road around 7:30 am but the front tire on Alice was flat. I had a hard time finding the wire sticking up from the inside. I tried using a new inner tube that I bought a couple of days ago but it didn't inflate. I had to use a water test to find the pinhole leak in it.

It was almost 8:30 am when I left the hotel. I got maybe 4 miles down the road when I had to stop at a gas station that had a covered entranceway to wait out a slow moving thunderstorm that was going Westward. I waited about an hour. The rest of the ride to the ferry landing at Fort Morgan went okay.

I got to the ferry landing about 11:45 am. There were a lot of cars. The next ferry to Dauphin Island wouldn't arrive till around 1:15 pm. I found some shade and had a light lunch off of Alice. I was the first person to be loaded. The ride was about a half hour long. When I got to Dauphin Island, I tried calling the WS contact but the paper that I had written down the info was damaged. I was missing a few numbers of the cell phone number. I stopped at a gas station and I was able to find their home number. Nobody answered. I found out that the address would have been at least 2.5 miles out of my way. Didn't want to try. Checked out the churches. They were too small to have an office and they didn't have any contact info. The one church that did have a place was the Baptist Church but they had policies against single people staying in the retreat center.

I really pushed myself getting across the three mile long bridge and three mile long causeway back to the mainland. I pushed the whole way into Bayou La Batre. There was a lot of standing water on the streets and it looked like it was getting ready to thunderstorm again. I stopped at the First Baptist church. I had about a 40 minute wait for the assoc pastor to show up. I'll be staying in the youth section of the sunday school building again.

I'm around 11 miles away from the MS state line and 22 miles from Pascagoula, MS. Also, I'm around 190.4 miles from Denham Spriings, LA.

Sept 27, 2016 : Bayou La Batre, AL to Pascagoula, MS : 27.69 miles (44.30 km)
Trip Total: 376.48 miles (602.37 km)
Year Total: 5,655.35 miles (9,048.56 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the church. The sofas that I had used before were pushed into a corner hallway and there was no way that I could pull them out. Around 8 am, I tried sleeping on one of the sofas but it was kind of short and I wasn't able to stretch my legs. My legs hurt some and I had to take some aspirin and I had to put on some medicated cream on my lower lip. After about an hour on the short sofa, I crawled over some furniture to try and sleep on the longer sofa. I couldn't sleep because it was too soft. I was sinking to much in the sofa. Around 10 pm, I moved over to the shorter sofa.

I woke up around 5 am. I left the church around 7:20 am. I rode South a couple of miles and then I stopped for some breakfast at a McDs before getting onto AL 188. Once on AL 188, it was about an eight mile ride to US 90 in Grand Bay. From Grand Bay, it was about a four mile ride to the MS state line.

After taking the traditional pictures, I headed down the highway but after a couple of miles of really bumping along I switched over to a parallel road after seeing a cyclist on it. The local road took me through Moss Point. It was about a mile ride back to US 90.

I got the first 20 miles in by 11:10 am. I had about a three mile ride into Pascagoula. I stopped at a Walmart to get some new inner tubes. I also stopped at a Wendys for some lunch.

After lunch, I tried contacting the WS member in Gautier but they were not home. I also called the local Habitat affiliate to see if the exec director was in, He was one of my Linkedin contacts but he wasn't in.

I rode over to the First United Methodist to see if my pastor friend was in. He wasn't but he was going to be there soon because of a 2 pm meeting. I was able to talk with Pastor Kirby for a couple of minutes before he had to go into the meeting. Pastor Kirby wanted me to wait for him. After the meeting, he came out to talk to me more. He told me that he wanted to help me find a place to stay for the night but the person who had the church credit card was out. The lady who did the custodual work, Faith, offered to take me to a local motel, I just had to wait for Faith to get done working.

While I was waiting, this couple came to the church for some kind of assistance. They were having to wait for the assoc. pastor to come out of a meeting. The lady sounded like she was hungry so I offered to get her something off of Alice. I offered this four time but the lady didn't accept my offer. After a couple more minutes, the couple left the church instead of waiting more for the associate minister.

Around 4 pm, Faith had me ride to the motel. Faith met me there 20 minutes later. She surprised me by paying for the room and also slipping me the change as a GH. I've $10 more coming to me tomorrow morning after I turn in the key and tv remote.

Sept 28, 2016 : Pascagoula, MS to Bay St Louis, MS : 53.57 miles (85.71 km)
Trip Total: 430.05 miles (688.08 km)
Year Total: 5,708.92 miles (9,134.27 km)

The afternoon and night would have been a lot better if I hadn't had an encounter with a visitor of the wrong kind. I was lying in bed working on my laptop and watching television. As the evening national news was finishing up, I felt something strange on my right elbow. When I looked over, I saw a large roach crawling on my elbow. I quickly shook it off and jumped off the bed to see if I could kill it. I killed it close to the door. I didn't want to stay in the room because I wasn't sure if there were any more roaches in the room. I walked to the office and reported it. The lady at the counter apologized and she told me that they had problems with that kind of roaches because of the live oak trees in the area. She offered to switch me over to another room. The room was four doors away and it was a bit better and it was non-smoking.

Instead of getting something out of the food pannier, I decided to go out. Faith had given me some extra money after paying for the room. I was going to get something from the nearby Popeyes but I decided to get something from the BK close by. After eating supper, I had to check out the front tire because it looked like it was getting soft. I had to take the tire off and turn it inside out to check and see if there were any pieces of wire in it. I found two pieces of wire. I put the new inner tube in. I checked out the old inner tubes and I used a water bath in the sink to find pinhole leaks on them. I patched the holes.

I spent the rest of the evening working on my journals, logs, and updating my ministry website. I went to bed around 10 pm. I was surprised that I woke up around 6:30 am. There wasn't any breakfast provided so I got something out of my food pannier.

I got the key deposit back. It was good to have an extra $10 in my wallet. I left the motel around 7:40 am. Before crossing over the high bridge over the Pascagoula River, I stopped at a gas station to get a light breakfast. I was able to ride up the high bridge without having to walk up it. About 3/4 the way up the hill, a police car rolled up beside me. The officer called out from the side window to ask if I was okay. It turns out that somebody had called the police about me. I told the officer that I was okay.

I had a good ride over the rest of the bridge and across the causeway to Gautier. The ride to Ocean Springs went okay. On the Eastern edge of Ocean Springs, I stopped at a Dollar General to get a loaf of bread. The ride into Ocean Springs was a little tricky because of the traffic. Around 11 am, I decided to stop at a Wendys for an early lunch.

After lunch it was really tricky getting through the intersection of US 90 and MS 609. Traffic was a lot lighter on the other side of the intersection and there was a shoulder to ride along. After crossing the railroad bridge, I had a hard time getting over to the walkway/ bike path across the bridge over the Biloxi Bay. Near the beginning of the path, I had a cycle tourist roll up behind me. I found out that he had started somewhere in NJ and was riding to New Orleans. He was traveling light. I gave him some pointers to get through the rest of MS.

After crossing the bridge, I pretty well stayed on the boardwalk walkway next to the Gulf Beach. I learned this the last time through the area back in December of last year. It was so much safer. I rode passed the casinos. Pedestrian traffic was a little heavy. I was thinking about stopping at the Methodist Retreat Center but I decided to push on to Bay St Louis. The ride West was okay but I was bucking a light headwind. There were a couple of times when I caught sight of the other cross contry cyclist. He didn't heed my warning and was trying to find an alternate route off of US 90.

Near the Gulfport city line, I passed the 256k mile mark. In Long Branch and Pass Christian, I stopped a couple of times for short breaks. I got to the bridge over St Louis Bay around 5:30 pm. I was able to ride across the bridge. Once in Bay St Louis, it was a little hard to see because of the setting sun. I stopped at a BK for some takeout.

I had originally had plans to stop at a motel that I had stopped at before but I decided to stop at a bigger more modern motel , the Knights Inn. The lady at the counter gave me a deep discount on a room because of me being a senior citizen and also a minister. She charged me $10 dollars less on the room and she didn't charge me any tax. I had the money with me r\from the GH that Faith had given me yesterday afternoon and also with the key deposit this morning. I also had some of the money back.

I'm about 17 miles away from the LA state line and 28.5 miles from Slidell. Instead of trying to stop in Slidell tomorrow, I'm thinking about pushing through Slidell and trying to get into Mandeville before dark. There is a WS member in Mandeville. Once I get on the St Tammany Trace Bike Path, I should be okay.

Sept 29, 2016 : Bay St Louis, MS to Slidell, LA : 30.17 miles (38.27 km)
Trip Total: 460.22 miles (736.25 km)
Year Total: 5,739.09 miles (9,182.54 km)

The evening would have been a lot better if I there was wifi. The network was down. Before falling asleep, I noticed a small lizard crawling up one of the walls. I tried catching it but it jumped off the wall down to the floor and then ran underneath the bed. I was worried about any night visitors in bed but I didn't have one.

I went to bed kind of early. I had a hard time falling asleep because my lower left leg hurt some and my lower lip hurt some. I was quite surprised when I woke up around 6:30 am. I got dressed and went to the office for some breakfast. There wasn't much. There was some cereal and some wrapped pastries but no juice or milk.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. The morning temperature was pretty comfortable in the sixties. I rode out of Bay St Louis area into Waveland. In Waveland, I stopped at a gas station to get some more hydration.

A couple of miles out of Waveland, the guy on bike from yesterday passed me without stopping to say hello. The rest of the way to Pearlington went okay. I stopped at the gas station outside of Pearlington before crossing the bridge over the East Pearl River into Louisiana.

After taking the traditional pictures of Alice at the state sign, it was a short ride to the White Kitchen area where I turned Northwest on Us 190. I stopped at a gas station a couple of miles down the road for a short break. By noon, I had ridden around 23 miles.

After the break, I rode into the East side of Slidell. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. I was thinking about riding through Slidell to get on the Tammany Trace Bike Path to covington but I decided to stop at a motel near I-10. I stopped at a motel where I had stopped at before but the rate that they wanted didn't coincide on how good the motel looked. The office staff didn't dress really well and the clientele had me a bit concerned. I saw a sign for a Motel 6 a block to the South. The lady who was at the desk gave me a sr citizen discount even though I wasn't a member of AARP. We talked for a while before I went to my room. I learned that she was getting ready to open up a family shelter/ community center. She has hopes to have it open in at least six months. With regards to families, she hopes that the center will be able to house two families at a time.

I don't know how far I plan to travel tomorrow. There is a WS member in the Mandeville area and there is another one in the Covington area. I'm hoping that the drawbridge on the bike trail is open.

Sept 30, 2016 : Slidell, LA to Albany, LA : 64.87 miles (103.79 km)
Trip Total: 525.09 miles (840.14 km)
Year Total: 5,803.96 miles (9,288.34 km)

The afternoon and night at the Motel 6 was okay. I'm glad that I didn't take the option of paying for wifi. I found out that there was problems with the network. I went to sleep around 10 pm. I woke up around 5 am. I had something light for breakfast off the bike.

I left the motel around 7:30 am. The temperature was cool in the 60s. The ride through Slidell to the trailhead of the St Tammany Trace Rails-to-Trails went okay. Before getting on the bike path, I stopped at a McDs to get some breakfast. Once on the trail, the ride went okay. There were quite a few cyclists on the trail. There was an older couple on a Volpe Tandem bent. It had a 20 inch front wheel and a 26 inch rear wheel. The guy up front really had his seat back tilted really low. The handlebar tipped forward like on the Rans Rocket. You couldn't lock it in place like mine.

I got into Mandeville around noon. I called up the WS member. They have to take themselves off of the list since they now have foster children. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. I didn't feel like trying to connect with a minister since it was a Friday and church offices are usually closed on Fridays anyway.

I got back on the Trace to Abita Springs and Covington. In Abitat Springs, I stopped to help a guy out who was having some problems with his cat-trike. The chain got caught in the front cluster. He told me that he had an upright and another bent but he didn't tell me what kind. Before leaving Abita Springs. I stopped at the trailhead to check out the small museum.

I finished up the Trace in downtown Covington. I was able to contact the WS member in town but he was out of town. Tried a church but nobody around. Headed out of town on Bus 190.

Once I got on US 190, there was no shoulder. Traffic was really heavy. Lots of people going to football games. I had to stop at a gas station for an extended break to wait out the traffic. I had to wait almost 40 minutes. The ride to the next parish was tricky because of no shoulder. The shoulder reappeared about 12 miles out of Hammond.

I had to get my lights on. I got into Hammond around 8 pm. The downtown area was really busy in the bar district. Lots of people in the 20s and 30s drinking and partying and a lot of police cars in the area. I stopped at a gas station on the west side of Hammond for late lunch.

Once I got out of the Hammond area, traffic was a lot lighter. I tried finding a place to camp out but I didn't find any thing. I rode on through the small town of Albany. A couple of miles out of Albany, I was able to find some woods to camp out in. It was almost 11:15 pm when I crawled into my tent. I'm going to get into my sleeping bag tonight. This will be the first time that I've pulled the bag out of it's bag.

Oct 01, 2016 : Albany, LA to Denham Springs, LA : 21.89 miles (35.02 km)
Trip Total: 546.98 miles (875.15 km)
Year Total: 5,825.85 miles (9,321.36 km)

The evening was okay but it was kind of late. I really stayed on the road longer than what I wanted to because I couldn't find some place in some woods to camp out. A mile or two West of Albany, I pulled off US 90 onto a side road and went across the railroad. I originally had plans to try and find some place to camp out near a church that I had seen a sign for but I opted to try and find some place to camp out in some woods close to the railroad. There wasn't any path or fire road so I had to blaze a trail through the trees. I probably went in about sixty feet into woods. I found an open spot to pitch my tent. I was starting to put my tent up when this vehicle rode passed the wooded area that I was in. The vehicle made at least four passes past me. On the last path, the person in the vehicle got out a really bright flashlight. I got caught in the light of the flashlight. I think that it was the police. The officer didn't make any attempt to come into the woods to check me out. In a loud voice, he asked me what I was doing in the woods. I told him that I was on a cross country tour and I just went into the woods to find a place to camp out. He asked me if I was going to cause any trouble and I replied no. This satisfied him and he drove off. On the safe side, I picked up everything and pitched my tent maybe ten feet further into the woods behind some trees.

It was probably close to 11:30 pm when I had everything into my tent. I probably didn't stay awake that much longer. I started the night sleeping on top of my new sleeping bag but after about a couple of hours I crawled into it. This was the first time that I had slept in my new sleeping bag. The inner chamber of the bag is a little smaller than my older bag.

I was really surprised when I found out that it was 7 am when I woke up. I found out that I wasn't as hidden from the road as I had hoped. I quickly gotten everything packed up and Alice loaded up. I was back on the road by 7:40 am. I went down the highway and stopped at a gas station in Holden for a short break. I also went across the highway to a Dollar General to use the restroom and to get a few more groceries. From what I was told, I could have gone South there across I-12 and hit some small towns that new really hit by the flood. I opted to go to at least Denham Springs to see if I could connect with a church there. I did go investigate a Baptist church that was supposed to be doing some disaster relief but there was nobody around it. I rode on through the small town of Doyle.

Around 11:00 am, I started the ride through the small town of Livingston. I was really happy to find a laudromat. They wanted just $1.50 for the smaller washers and $.25 for 8 minutes in the dryer. I got all of my clothes together and I then went into the bathroom to change into some cleaner underclothes and my sweatpants. i gave myself a brief sink bath. When I went to the office to get some quarters, the lady at the desk already had a handfull of quarters for me and also some liquid soap. She told me that she wanted to give me a donation since she saw that I was a minister. The laundromat was really busy. Some people came in with really large garbage bags full of clothes and bedding. One lady had six large bags of stuff to wash. It took a while to find a free dryer. It was so nice to have fresh clothes again. The last time that I had done some laundry was back in Chipley, Florida at Ben's house back on Sept 21. Because of the guest laundries at the motels being so high, I was just handwashing out my cycling jerseys and pants. It was around 12:10 pm when I got back on US 90.

Between Livingston and Denham Springs, I took my time. I wasn't in a rush. In the Corbin, I took an extended lunch break at a picnic pavilion at an auction house. In Walker, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. I met up with a cycle tourist who was just riding bare bike with extremely little gear. He didn't any food or clothes with him. He was credit carding it all the way and making long days to stop at motels for the night. The guy had started on the west Coast in Southern CA sometime around Sept 14. His target date in Jacksonville, FL was supposed to be October 08. I gave him a lot of pointers about what was coming up for him.

There were also a couple more short breaks on the way into Denham Springs. I got into Denham Springs around 4 pm. After taking a short break at a gas station, I rode further into town to see if I could find the police station to go that route into contacting a minister that might need some help. Near the corner where I was going to turn, I came across the New Covenant Baptist Church that had basically taken up an old shopping center. In front of the church, was a Baptist Disaster mobile van that was a laundrymat on wheels. This got me interested. I saw a guy in the foyer but he didn't see me. To the side of the shopping center were a lot of vans for the All Hands Volunteer Disaster Relief Program. I hadn't really heard of the program before. I learned that the church had given most of it's space to the program for it's volunteer center. I was welcomed with open arms. There are probably fourty people staying at the center. There are a few sr citizens besides myself. Most of the people are college age. There are no defined bedrooms. Just to have some privacy, I was able to set up my tent inside. I'm going to give this place a week of try out before I decide to move on.

Oct 02, 2016 : Denham Springs, LA to Denham Springs, LA : 00.00 miles (00.00 km)
Trip Total: 546.98 miles (875.15 km)
Year Total: 5,825.85 miles (9,321.36 km)

The evening was a little mixed. It's going to be a bit hard for me getting used to being around a lot of people. There has to be between 40 and 50 people attempting to live at the center, which is the youth section of the New Covenant Baptist Church. The center has been here since abouIt a week after the flooding. Most of the people here are in their late 20s and early 30s. There are probably 6 people my age or older. There are quite a few people from other countries. I talked to a couple of guys from Northern Germany.

There was a community meeting around 5:30 pm. It lasted about a half hour. After that, was supper in the fellowship area of the church. After supper, I had to fill out a couple of forms and then somebody helped me find a place to sleep. There wasn't a rhyme or reason in the sleeping arrangements. The sexes weren't segregated apart from each other. Since somebody had already set up a one-person tent, I decided to set up my ten just to give myself some space and privacy. After pitching my tent and unloading Alice, I was able to put Alice in an unused hallway by the kitchen so she won't be outside.

Lots of noise and lots of light till around 10 pm when the lights were turned off. It was really hard getting some sleep because I was having some leg pain (especially the lower right leg). Hopefully, I'll not be having any flare-up of the leg pain that's been bothering me off and on since being hit by the car in MI last year. I tossed and turned some throughout the night and I had to go outside to one of the port-a-toilets a couple of times to go to the restroom.

I was looking forward to waking up around 5 AM but I was surprised that it was 7 am. I got cleaned up and got some breakfast in the kitchen. This was supposed to be a work day but I wanted to go to church. I might be going out in the afternoon. It was a bit sad that I was going to be the only person in the group who was going to church. I was given one of the group's t-shirts but I wore it under my cycling jersey. People starting to show up for church around 10 am. I was able to talk with the sr pastor before the service. There were a few people who welcomed me. The service was okay but the church was a presentation church. The sermon was okay but it was kind of long.

The service ended around noon. I connected with another minister of the church. I then went over to the center to get some lunch and then get into some work clothes to possibly go out with a group. I located the blue jeans that I had carried with me, There was a huge bin of work boots and I found a pair that sort of hit me. They are going to be a bit heavy till I get used to them. Around 1 pm, I loaded up in a van with 15 other people and went to a house that was in the problem of being gutted down to the bare studs. There were already 10 people there who were with an AmeriCorps program. Before we went into the house, we put on these plasticized-paper disaster suits. I had to have help getting on the suit. I was given a pair of gloves, safety glasses, and a air breather. I couldn't use the respirator because it caused me to have some claustrophobia. I was given a lighter paper mask to use. Once I got inside the house, I couldn't see much. People were scrambliing in the rooms pulling down stuff and taking nails and such out of the studs. It was hot and damp. I felt like I wasn't needed. I tried helping as much as I could carrying out large plastic bags and them throwing them on top of the large pile of debris outside and moving wheelbarrow suff to the pile. I started to have a lot of leg pain so I took my time and sat down a lot in a chair. I should have tried to stay at the center to take a break and get some rest. My last close to a last full day off the road was back in Eufala, AL Sunday, September 18th. I had cranked out 498 miles since then. 268 miles since just last Sunday September 25h from Perdido Bay, FL.

The group started to finish up around 3:30 pm. When I took off the disaster suit, I found my blue jeans soaked. My underwear was soaked also. Before getting into some dryer clothes, I was able to move my tent to another spot that was out of traffic. Another community meeting at 5:30 pm and then supper. Tomorrow is a rest day.

The next update should be posted between Oct 10th and Oct 17th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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