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TRIP 2016

Update #19 - October 03rd
Moss Point, Alabama
Mission Trip 70 so far (as of 10/11/16) : 808.57 miles (1,293.71 km)
Year Total : 6,087.44 miles (9,739.90 km)



Oct 03, 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. Once the lights went off, the place got quiet. It was really great not hearing a ping pong ball being battered about any more. I was able to get some rest.

My bioclock woke up around 5 am. I got dressed and found a spot on a sofa to plug in my laptop. The lights were not turned on till around 9 am. Because this was an off day, there weren't go any meals provided. I got something out of my food pannier.

For the day, I pretty well parked myself on one of the sofas in the meeting area so I get on the internet. I updated my website and answered a lot of emails. Also, I took care of all of the pictures that I've taken for a couple of weeks.

Most of the people at the center had gone for the day. There was just a dozen here. For lunch, I walked across the highway to the McDs to get a hamburger and something cold to drink. For supper, I was invited to take part in a meal. I'm really happy when the lights went out at 10 pm.

Tomorrow, I'll be going out tomorrow with a crew to work on a Baptist Church in town. I don't know if we'll be either working on the church itself or in the parsonage.



Oct 04, 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)

I was so happy when the lights went off around 10 pm. EVerybody got quiet. Since yesterday was the group's day off, a lot of the people had gone out partying and drinking.

I went out with a crew that was going to work on a parsonage of the Dom Avenue Baptist Church in town. During the morning, I worked with two other people taking down sheetrock in a utility room. During the afternoon, I helped bag up a lot of loose insulation that was in the ceiling. I was concerned about the mold in the sheet rock. There was a really large section of black mold. Instead of spraying the section with fungacide and then packing it up in garbage bags and getting it set up for hazardous waste disposal, the sheet rock was just taken down and carried outside in wheel barrows to a large pile outside. The mold could grow and spread itself by spores.

My legs hurt some but the pain was maneagable. I made sure that I took breaks whenever I needed them. There was too many in the house and there should have been more supervision. There was this young guy from Vermont who was attempting to take down some sheet rock on the ceiling of the living room area by himself. He wasn't taking the sheet rock down in small pieces. He had this really huge piece that had to be about 8 feet long. Since there was nobody around to help him out, one of the edges got loose from the ceiling and hit the concrete floor hard and shattered. A piece of the sheet rock hit me on my nose. I'm glad that I was at least wearing a pair of safety glasses because it saved my eyes. I wished that some of us were given hard hats and face shields. My nose wasn't bleeding but it looked like there was going to be a blood blister forming later on. After that happened, I got myself out of the house and took a break the rest of the time we were at the parsonage.

I had something in common with the interim pastor of the church. He has been there for about three years. The church is meeting at a church ten miles away. The pastor told me that he had gone on a cross country bike trip back in the 90s. He told me something disturbing that I wasn't told at the New Covenant Baptist Church. When I got back to the center, I got on the web to find more information. A volunteer had actually died at the church. The laundry van came from the First Baptist Church in Satsuma, Alabama. During the first couple of days after the flood, the van was being operated by a 72 year old guy. In some kind of freak accident, the guy fell out of the van and hit his head really hard. The damage to his brain was so bad that he had died the next day. His family arrived just in time to see him before he passed away.

During the meeting before supper, I learned that there was some extensive drinking (possibly underage) last night. A few of the people had to be carried inside to their bed rolls. One person even urinated inside near his spot. The program here is on thin ice. It's supposed to be operational till around the first week of November. There was a really loud charity auction tonight as the entertainment. One of the prizes was yogo classes. Somebody is going to scout out a room for the classes without getting permission from the office. Another prize was prime living space by the cross on the stage. The area around the stage is called the suburbs.

I've decided to leave tomorrow morning. The Samaritan's Purse disaster center is supposed to be at a Baptist church about 7 miles to the North.



Oct 05, 2016 : Denham Springs, LA to Magnolia (Greenwood Springs), LA to Baton Rouge (University Hills), LA to Duplessis, LA : 47.32 miles (75.71 km)
Trip Total: 594.30 miles (950.88 km)
Year Total: 5,873.13 miles (9,397.07 km)

I was so happy when the lights went off around 10 pm. I had gotten most of my stuff packed up by then. I had pretty well stayed in my tent after supper watching some movies on YouTube. I got some rest but I was still a little wired with anticipation heading out.

There wasn't really anything that I could do. There wasn't going to be any long term rebuilding effort. All Hands is only going to be here till the first of November and they will be pulling out. They are only here for mold spraying, removal of the drywall and insulation, and prepping the studs for new drywall installation. They are going to try and install drywall in three houses as a test project and that's it. Samaritan's Purse is supposed to be doing the same stuff and they will be leaving the area before Thanksgiving but they might be pulling out early because of Hurricane Matthew.

It was getting way too crowded in the center. Three people had shown up yesterday and six people were supposed to show up today. There isn't any room. I didn't see any license of occupancy for this use of the building. There has already been two bouts of sickness passed around and some kind of respitory problem is being passed around now.

I woke up around 6 am and I quietly packed up my sleeping pad and sleeping bag before getting dressed and cleaned up. After getting some breakfast, I got Alice outside and I moved my gear outside. I only had to take down and pack up my tent before moving everything outside to load up Alice. Not too many people stopped to talk to me to ask me why I was leaving. A couple of the people did say goodbye before they went off to their job sites.

I headed out around 8 am. It took a while finding the Samaritan's Purse program at the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church in Central, Louisiana. I got there around 11:20 am. I was amazed at all of their 8-wheel trucks and trailers, the rv buses, and large rv campers. here must been several million dollars worth of transportation equipment alone not counting the stuff that they were carrying. I didn't get passed the gate keepers. You had to apply on line to volunteer. Nobody told me that there was also a processing fee for administration costs. Approval for new volunteers could take as long as 72 hours. I was there maybe 15 minutes.

I decided to go on into Baton Rouge to see how it faired and to see if I could find the neighborhood where I had lived back in 2012. I didn't venture into the main downtown area or go passed the LSU campus. I was able to find the neighborhood okay in the Southeastern part of town. There was no damage. I rode down Maxine Road to the house where I had stayed. It was sad seeing it because the person who I had lived with there had passed away over the Winter. It was sad seeing the land where Don had his large garden just sodded with grass. On the way out of town, I stopped at one of the churches where I had worshipped at. Nothing was going on except for some choir practice. The people weren't that friendly towards me. There was this one older lady who followed me around and stared at before until I had left.

On my route out of Baton Rouge on Highland Avenue, I was hoping to find a church that I had a Wed night service but there wasn't one. I did some night riding. It was really tricky riding to where I could get on US 61 South towards Gonzales and New Orleans. Between Prairieville and Gonzales near Duplessis, I found some woods where I could camp out in. The woods was on the edge of a retaining pond and close to a place that might have been a sewage treatment center. It was around 10 pm when I crawled into my tent.



Oct 06, 2016 : Duplessis, LA to Gonzales, LA : 06.94 miles (11.10 km)
Trip Total: 601.24 miles (961.98 km)
Year Total: 5,880.11 miles (9,408.18 km)

I had an okay night even though I had a bit of a fright. I was going down the path to get away from the loud noise from the machine next to the pond but I heard a light sound of a man. He was moaning somewhat. I quickly turned Alice around and found a place to camp out near the beginning of the path.

It was almost 6 am when I woke up. I quickly packed up. I opted not to shave.

I rode down the highway into Gonzales. I stopped at the McDs for some breakfast and also to get on the web. There was a WS member in town but I kind of felt uncomfortable because they had a lot of dogs that they rescued.

I found my way over to the First Baptist Church. They were going to find a motel room for me but there were none available. Instead, I was able to stay for night in the fellowship hall. The church was open to have people stay in the fellowship hall because for several weeks after the flood the church hosted other Southern Baptists from around the country that came into the area to volunteer. They had folding cots to sleep on and I was given access to the food in the kitchen.



Oct 07, 2016 : Gonzales, LA to Luling, LA : 59.42 miles (95.07 km)
Trip Total: 660.61 miles (1,057.06 km)
Year Total: 5,939.53 miles (9,503.25 km)

I had an okay night at the church. The alcove that I was in the fellowship hall was pretty dark so I was able to get some sleep. It was great being able to have a good supper with salad, cheese slices, and chicken breast sandwiches. for dessert, I had a large bowl of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce. After doing my stuff on my laptop and updating my website, I spent the rest of the evening watching Red Dwarf episodes on YouTube. It was so nice sleeping by myself.

I got maybe 4.5 hrs of sleep. I woke up around 5 am. I got dressed and cleaned up. I grabbed spmething light out of my food pannier. Because there were supposed to be a lot of ladies and children using the room around 8 am, I left the church around 7:30 am. I had a hard time getting back on US 61. I could have taken LA 44 to Gramercy but I didn't know the highway or if there was a shoulder to ride along.

The shoulder on the way to Sorreto was okay. Between Sorreto and I-10, the shoulder became terrible. There was no way that I could ride it for long because of all of the ridges and large cracks. Even though the speed limit was 65 mph, I had to try and ride to the left of the white line. I used my mirror a lot. Once, I got passed I-10, the shoulder to Gramercy was okay.

I got into Gramercy around 11 am. I stopped at a McDs for a light lunch. I also stopped at a truck stop before finding the road to the high bridge over the MS River. I got on LA 3213. There was a shoulder along the divided 4 lane highway. There was a five foot wide shoulder on the bridge. Just to be safe because of the expansion joints, I walked up the bridge. I got to the top of the bridge just as paddleboat was going under the bridge heading South to New Orleans. Once I got passed the last expansion joint, I rode down the rest of the approach of the bridge.

Once off the bridge, I got on LA 18 (the Great River Road). The ride along LA 18 went really well. Along the way, people were gathering at certain street corners. It was interesting that some of the people were cooking. I thought that the people were waiting for school buses to go passed. After riding several miles down the road, I found out that there was actually a high school home coming parade going through the area. There were two dozen cars, quite a few buses, a fire truck, and quite a few police and sheriff cars. Once the parade went passed and the people dispersed, I rode passed a lot of beads and candy. In a couple miles span, I picked up two plastic bags of candy.

I rode passed a lot of sugar cane fields. I rode through the town of Edgard. In the Killona area, I rode passed a very large chemical plants. I stopped for a short break at a closed credit union south of the plant. In Hahnville, I stopped for a break at a gas station. Between Hahnville and Luling, I rode along a paved bike path that was on top of the levee. I got into Luling a little before dusk. I stopped at the First Baptist Church because I saw some cars there. It was just a crew of cleaners. Nobody had the number of the pastor. I stopped at a gas station to get some directions. The guy that I talked to told me that the road that the New Life Community Church that I was looking for was actually SW of Luling off of US 90. Once I got on US 90, the ride was okay because there was a wide paved shoulder. I stopped at a Wendys for a late lunch.

I got to the New Life Community Church a little before 8 pm. There was just an AA meeting going on in one of the classrooms. Nobody had the phone number of the pastor. I called my pastor friend in Columbus, GA. He couldn't find a phone number on the web. I told Chuck that I was in a residential area and there was no place where I could camp out in. Chuck asked me if there were any motels in the area. I told him that there were a couple close by. Chuck told me to go to one of them and he would give the clerk his credit card information over the phone so I could have a room for the night. The rate of the room was quite high because it was the weekend and motels in this part of the state were packed with contractors commuting over 100 miles one way to help repair factories and stores in the Flood Zone.



Oct 08, 2016 : Luling, LA to Michoud, LA : 41.77 miles (66.83 km)
Trip Total: 702.43 miles (1,123.88 km)
Year Total: 5,981.30 miles (9,570.08 km)

I had a somewhat off night at the motel. I was a little wired with worry that since I had a zero balance on my cell phone I would be losing the phone number that I've had for five years. The service rep assured me that I wouldn't if I got more money in the cell phone before 10/17.

I got a couple of hours of sleep. I went to the office around 7:30 am to see if there was some breakfast. If I wouldn't have waited any longer, I wouldn't have found anything left.

I left the motel around 9 am. I didn't have that far to ride to get to a Dollar General so I was able to get a recharge card. From the Dollar General, I rode back to the New Life Community Church. I was hoping to find somebody there but there wasn't. I walked clear around the church to see if I could find any contact numbers but there weren't any. I didn't feel that I could try and wait around the area for another 24 hours so I decided to head out even though it was really late for me.

From the church, I headed straight East to the Mississippi River and got back on the bike path on top of the levee. I followed the bike path till around Waggaman and then I had to follow US 90 East for a couple of miles before I was able to get back on LA 18 again. The bike trail on top of the levee didn't last long in Westwego so I had to ride along the pavement of LA 541 to the drawbridge over the West Shipping Canal. It was hard riding through gretna because there was a festival going on that closed quite a few blocks in the downtown area. I was able to get back on the bike path to the Canal Street Ferry at Algiers Point.

I got to the ferry right as it was boarding. There was a $2 fee. There was a paddleboat going passed. The ride across the MS River to the Canal Street ferry termimal in the Central Business District lasted about 10 minutes. I got into New Orleans around 4 pm. I tried connecting with some friends of mine but they weren't home. I didn't have much luck with trying to connect with a WS member.

The only thing that I could do was start the ride East out of New Orleans and hope that I could get out of the city before dark. I really pushed it getting to the high bridge over the East Shipping Canal. I walked through part of the French Quarter and rode through Louis Armstrong Park. I only had to stop a couple of times but I was able to ride up to the top of the bridge. Once I got back on US 90, the miles went by really fast. I got passed I-10, a little passed dusk so I had to start using my lights. About a half mile passed I-510, I came across some open land that used to be some kind of property before Hurricane Katrina. The property was mostly concrete. Don't know if it was either building or parking lot. The area was taken up with tall plants and trees so I felt that I would be hidden from sight. I didn't venture that far back because there was a railroad in back and I would have been in view of a motel to the East.

I found some open land that wasn't taken up with old truck tires and other junk. It looked like this place was turned into a dumping gound after Hurricane Katrina. Hopefully, I'll be able to fall asleep even though there was some kind of festival going on close by. The amplification of music was quite loud and there was the sound if fireworks being shot off.



Oct 09, 2016 : Michoud, LA to Bay St Louis, MS : 47.29 miles (75.66 km)
Trip Total: 749.72 miles (1,199.55 km)
Year Total: 6,028 miles (9,645.74 km)

I had a somewhat off night camping out. The loud noise from the nearby festival lasted till at least 10:30 pm. There was this lady singing in a really high voice. It was kind of irritating. I was so happy when she sang her last song. There was a band playing after her but I was able to drown that out okay to fall asleep. I did have to wake up a couple times during the niight to take care of business and I did have to crawl into my sleeping bag.

I woke up around 6:30 am. When I opened up the food pannier, I found out that it had been invaded by some ants. They were the regular kind instead of fire ants. I had to take everything out of the pannier and use some precious water to wash the inside of the bag.

I got back on the highway around 7:30 am. I had to backtrack a couple of blocks to a gas station so that I could use the restroom and to fill up all of my water bottles. Once I started the ride East, the ride was a little slow because of a slight headwind. I rode through the Asian part of New Orleans. I was hoping to maybe come upon a church but the only church that I had rode passed was a Catholic Church around 10 AM and I didn't stop.

The rest of the ride on US 90 went okay. I stopped at this boat dock store for a lunch break. The stuff was too expensive in the store so I found a spot in the shade to get something out of my food pannier. I got to the intersection of US 90 and US 190 around 3:30 pm. I had ridden a 274.91 miles (439.86 km) loop in LA. From the intersection, it was a 4 mile ride back to the bridge over the East Pearl River and back into MS.

I stopped for a break at the has station in Pearlington, MS. The ride back into Waveland went okay. I stopped at the Lutheran Chapel In The Woods because I saw a truck there. I thought that maybe the pastor was around but there was nobody in the church.

In Bay St Louis, I stopped at the Central Bible Church. I had heard some good things about the church. There was a guy outside in a suv. He had a lot of Christian Stuff and he told me that he was involved with the Gudions. The guy was there for a possible evening service but there was just going to be choir practice. Before I left, the guy slipped me a GH.

I made my way into downtown Bay St Louis. I thought that I would try out the First Baptist Church again since I had some familiarity with the church. I was friends with one of the former pastors and I had spoke at several Sunday school classes and during a Wed night Bible Study/ Prayer Service. I got there about halfway through the sermon. The young guy who I had met seventeen months ago was still there. When I talked to him after the service, he just brushed me off to some elders of the church. It turns out that he was leaving and the church had placed a call to another pastor during the morning service. Some of the elders told me that they had remembered me and they knew I was a friend of the former pastor Brother Al. At first, there was an offer to just let me sleep in the church van for the night but two of them offered to transport me in the van to a local motel. After checking me into the motel, the elder who did so slipped me a GH from the elders. The guy also offered to go out and get me something to drink. About a half hour later, the guy came back with a meal from Wendys.

I'm not sure what I'n going to do tomorrow. I'm either going to stop at the Methodist Church retreat center in Biloxi or try and cross the bridge into Ocean Springs. I'm going to not try and ride all of the way into Pascagoula. I'm about 239 miles from downtown Pensacola. From Pensacola, it will be another 426.9 miles to St Augustine. This has me at least 665.9 miles away from St Augustine.



Oct 10, 2016 : Bay St Louis, MS to Biloxi, MS : 26.69 miles (42.70 km)
Trip Total: 776.41 miles (1,242.26 km)
Year Total: 6,055.28 miles (9,688.45 km)

I had a somewhat okay at the motel. There was a lot of light to deal with because the blind was too small for the window and there were quite a few hangers missing. I went to sleep around midnight and woke up a little before 5 am. There wasn't any internet.

I left the motel around 8 am. Before leaving Bay St Louis, I stopped at a BK for some french toast sticks. Once I got into the open, I was slammed with a headwind. I was able to ride up the bridge over St Louis Bay.

Near the Eastern end of the bridge, I stopped to talk to an older guy who was on a really stretched out long wheelbase recumbent. What got me a little more interested to talk was that the guy was wearing a Star of David. The guy told me that his name was Jaen and he was 75. He found out that he was Jewish two years ago. Jaen was pretty open discussing my faith with. He told me that his parents were German and that he had been sexually abused by both of his parents. Jaen told me that Y'shua was a great Orthodox rabbi but he couldn't accept him as his Messiah because he had been burnt by Christianity and he is gay. He has been in relationship with a guy for at least forty years. Jaen and I talked for about 90 mins. He told me that this was a divine appt for him.

Once I got into Pass Christian, I was really socked by the headwind. I was only making around 5.7 mph. I stopped for a late lunch at a BK in Gulf Port. The afternoon ride was a little faster. Because today was Columbus Day, I wasn't sure that I would find somebody in the office of the Methodist Retreat Center. Because of this, I decided to go ahead and find a motel room. I stopped at the Motel 6. I got a room for just $.40 above the base advertised rate because I was given a sr discount.

I'm just going to be riding to Pascagoula tomorrow. I'll be trying to connect with the sr pastor at the United Methodist Church.



Oct 11, 2016 : Biloxi, MS to Kreole (Moss Point), MS : 32.16 miles (51.46 km)
Trip Total: 808.57 miles (1,293.71 km)
Year Total: 6,087.44 miles (9,739.90 km)

I had a somewhat okay at the hotel. The room was pretty basic, clean, and sterile. There wasn't a microwave or refrigerator. Because I was tired, I fell asleep around 8:30 pm. I was surprised that I slept clear through the night. When I woke up, it was almost 5 am. It would have been nice to have wifi access but I didn't want to pay for it. The temperature was cool in the 60s so I got out my lightweight pullover. I watched the morning news and saw all of the hurricane damage in North Carolina.

I left the hotel around 7:45 am. There was no wind to think of coming from the East so I was able to make good speed on the seawall sidewalk system. When I got into the downtown area, I thought that I would find the small Baptist Church that I had helped recover after Hurricane Katrina. I forgot what section of Howard Avenue the church was. I remembered that it was behind a casino parking garage. The garage is what saved the building. I was happy to see the East Howard Baptist Church but I was sad to see a for sale sign in front of it. It looked like the building hadn't been used in years because the parking lot was really overgrown. There was a reduced sticker on the sign. At least, the sanctuary looked a bit more complete. The large plywood boards over the holes where the stain glass windows were and regular glass windows were put in place. Also, there were pews in the sanctuary. The classrooms in the back of the sanctuary were empty. I didn't stay long around the church.

I was able to ride across the bridge between Biloxi and Ocean Springs. There was actually a slight tailwind. There were a lot of Monarch butterflies but instead of flying west to Biloxi and then South to South America they were actually being blown the wrong direction.

In Ocean Springs, I stopped for a working lunch at a McDs. After lunch, the rest of the ride into Pascagoula went okay. The only problem was getting across the high bridge the Pascagoula River because of the shift change at the ship building yard.

Once I got into the downtown area, I found my way over to the First United Methodist Church. My sr pastor friend wasn't in. I didn't feel comfortable trying to ride into Alabama. I didn't think that I could make it into Bayou La Batre before dark. A block North of the FUMC was the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. There was a car there. The pastor was in. This is Derrick's first church. He graduated from seminary about 18 months ago. Derrick knew the pastor at the FUMC. We had a good time talking. Instead of letting me stay in the church for the night, Derrick offered to get me a room at one of the motels in nearby Moss Point. Also, Derrick went out to a local grocery store to get me some groceries.

I'll be riding to Bayou La Batre, AL. I've got an open invitation to stay in the First Baptist Church. I'm looking at being at the Bible study/ prayer service.

The next update should be posted between Oct 18th and Oct 25th.




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