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TRIP 2016

Update #22 - November 07th
Crescent Beach, Florida
Mission Trip 70 so far (as of 11/07/16) : 1,813.09 miles (2,900.94 km)
Year Total : 7,091.96 miles (11,347.14 km)



Oct 24, 2016 : Perry, FL to Bradford, FL : 47.67 miles (76.27 km)
Trip Total: 1,238.13 miles (1,981.01 km)
Year Total: 6,517.00 miles (10,427.20 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night. It would have been nice if there was a guest laundry. The motel is getting worn down. It is what you get when you have owners and managers from India. The wifi network went down for most of the night but I was able to get my website updated before it happened. There were no emails from the pastor at the Methodist church in Apalachicola.


The ride along Us 27 was okay even though the highway was kind of rough for about 3.5 miles. There was a slight tailwind to push me along. The scenery went from woods to farmland and cattle farms. There were a couple fields of canola, corn, and cotton. There were a couple of dairy farms. By noon, I got a little over 21 miles in. I stopped at a gas station about 10 miles East of Mayo for a short lunch break.

The afternoon ride went okay. I rode through the town of Mayo. Between Mayo and Bradford, there was some road construction. They were repaving the highway. The Eastbound lanes were complete so there was a smooth shoulder to ride along. I was getting up to 10 and 11 mph. About 4 miles out of Bradford, I hit the road construction zone where they were repaving the Westbound lanes. I was safely able to ride through it.

I got into Bradford around 3:40 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. There was still some people in the office. I got connected with the assistant pastor. He used to be at the First Baptist Church in Perry. There was an offer to get me a room at the small motel.

I'm going to do a short day to High Springs tomorrow.



Oct 25, 2016 : Bradford, FL to High Springs, FL : 26.19 miles (41.90 km)
Trip Total: 1,264.32 miles (2,022.91 km)
Year Total: 6,543.19 miles (10,469.10 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night in the youth department of the First Baptist Church. I was able to talk to the church I woke up once to go to the restroom. I was able to fall back asleep but I woke up around 5 am. It was a long wait till daylight.

I left the motel a little before 8 am. It was cool again so I had to get out my jacket. On the way out of High Springs, I stopped at a McDs for some breakfast. Once out of town, there was a paved bike path next to the highway. I got on the Suwannee River Greenway bike path about four miles out of High Springs to check it out. The pavement of the path was pretty rough. The path abruptly ended at the Columbia County Line. Once I got over a bridge into the next county, the bike path picked up. This bike path was a bit better. The bike path lasted till Fort White.

The rest of the ride to High Springs went okay. I got into High Springs around 1:00 pm. Coming into High Springs, I stopped at the Grace Thrift Store, which is a ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist. I wanted to see if there were any tennis shoes. I was glad that I did because I found a really good pair of tennis shoes for $1. The old tennis shoes were still good enough even though they were scuffed up so I decided to put them in the donation trailor.

It took a while remembering where the First Baptist Church was. I remembered that it was North on US 41 near the Northern Edge of High Springs. There was some construction going on. I caught the pastor at the First Baptist Church before he went into a staff meeting. He offered to get me a room at a local motel.

I'm 23 miles out of Gainesville. I'm going to try and connect with one of the WS members in the area. If I can't, I'll probably go on to Hawthorne and try and get to a Wednesday night service.



Oct 26, 2016 : High Springs, FL to Hawthorne, FL : 40.57 miles (64.91 km)
Trip Total: 1,304.89 miles (2,087.82 km)
Year Total: 6,583.76 miles (10,534.02 km)

I had a bit of a scare around 8 pm. The Indian lady who owned the motel came banging at my door. She wanted me to leave because the pastor at the First Baptist Church had forgotten to either call or come by to pay for the room. I told her that it would be dangerous for me to be on the road after dark because I was traveling by bicycle. I told her that the pastor might have forgotten about me because I had caught him before he went into a staff meeting. I really don't understand why she didn't contact me before 5 pm so I could have tried to contact the minister before he left the church office. The lady relented and said that I could spend the night but I would have to leave way before the check out time of 11 am. She gave me the password to the motel's wifi network. I got on the church website and I found the right phone number to call. I left a message directly on the pastor's voicemail box.

This encounter got me a bit wired up but I was able to fall asleep around 10 pm. I did wake up once during the night but I was able to fall back asleep till around 5 am.

I left the motel a little after sunrise at 7:25 am. It wasn't as cold as yesterday so I didn't have to wear my jacket but I did put on my long sleeve cycling shirt. The ride through High Springs went okay. I made it to the Northern edge of Alachua okay. I was hoping to make it through the intersection of I-75 but I had a near close call with a vehicle because the motorists didn't yield to me as I was going through the on ramp area. Nobody used any turn signals so I wasn't sure who was turning right onto the ramp.

The ride through Alachua went okay. Being that there was no shoulder, I rode most of the way through town on the sidewalk. The rest of the ride into Gainesville was pretty well uneventful. I stopped at a gas station about 7 miles out of Gainesville for a short break. I didn't have to go directly into the downtown area to get on FL 20. About 4 miles from the downtown area, FL 20 headed off of US 441 to the Southeast. FL 20 was a designated bike route but because of traffic I rode a lot of the way on sidewalks.

There were many twists and turns through Gainesville. At one intersection, I almost missed my turn. As I was correcting myself and going through that intersection, I almost got hit by a pick-up truck. Instead of passing me on the left, the guy in the pick-up truck passed me on my right. He was in my blindside. I missed being hit by the back part of the truck by inches. I'm glad that I wasn't traveling that fast at the time or we would have intersected a lot earlier and I would have surely been hit. I was able to make 21 miles by noon.

About 3 miles East of the downtown area, I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. After lunch, I got back on FL 20 and there was a designated bike lane. About 2 more miles down the road, I stopped at a shopping center because there was a laundromat next to a grocery store. It was a little more expensive than what I wanted to pay but I needed the clean clothes. The last time I had done some washing was back in Pensacola, FL. I did have some problem with the soap vending machine. It took my quarters without giving me my soap box. One of the ladies who was also doing laundry gave me some liquid detergent.

I was back on the road by 2:45 pm. The ride East went okay but there were some rolling hills and rough road surface to deal with. I got into Hawthorne around 4:45 pm. I wasn't sure that there was going to be an evening service but I found some activity at the First Baptist Church. They were getting ready to have a meal and then a prayer service in the fellowship hall afterwards. I got to meet the pastor before the service. He has only been here at the church. He was open to my staying the night in the fellowship hall because it was used as a shelter during Hurricane Matthew. The meal was okay. The prayer service was in a small group setting. Everybody was given the chance to introduce themselves and to share. I was able to share so this is going to be my 45th church for the year and the 5th one for this mission trip. Before the service ended, some people layed hands on me and prayed over me. I noticed that somebody had slipped me a GH in my cycling gloves that I had taken off and put on the table.

The pastor went to the parsonage next door and got me a air mattress, a pillow, and some bedding so I won't have to use my sleeping bag and pad.

Tomorrow, I've got a 29 mile ride to Palatka. I'm going to try and connect with the pastor at the First United Methodist Church. I spent a couple of nights in one of the classrooms of the church back in January of this year.



Oct 27, 2016 : Hawthorne, FL to Palatka, FL : 29.12 miles (46.59 km)
Trip Total: 1,333.56 miles (2,133.70 km)
Year Total: 6,612.49 miles (10,579.89 km)

I couldn't do much during the evening because the power adaptor to my laptop died. I think that there is a break in the wiring someplace near the plug.

I left the fellowship hall of the First Baptist Church around 7:40 am. The ride to Palatka went okay. I stopped at a BK for some lunch before going on into the downtown area. After lunch, I rode into the downtown area and stopped at the Emmanuel United Methodist Church. I caught the pastor still in his office. He gave me permission to stay in one of the youth rooms again like I did last year. In the evening, I got invited to go over to the fellowship hall and take part in the sr adult meal and Bible Study. I got to share for a few minutes.



Oct 28, 2016 : Palatka, FL to Crescent Beach, FL to Ponte Vedra Beach, FL : 70.89 miles (113.42 km)
Trip Total: 1,404.05 miles (2,246.48 km)
Year Total: 6,682.92 miles (10,692.67 km)

I left the church around 7:40 am. I was able to ride across the bridge over to South Palatka. I stopped at a McDs for some breakfast. The morning ride went okay. I made 21 miles before noon. I stopped at a Circle K for some lunch. I got to Crescent Beach and the Atlantic Ocean around 1:30 pm. I turned North on A1A.

I saw some storm damage in South St Augustine. The majority of St Augstine was okay. There were a couple of motels near the Eastern edge of the Lions Bridge closed from possible storm damage. I had an okay ride through St Augustine. I was able to ride across the intercoastal bridge to Vilano Beach and got back on A1A. There was some storm damage from Hurricane Matthew in Vilano Beach. There were quite a few houses destroyed in South Ponte Vedra Beach.

I made it through Ponte Vedra Beach before dark. Instead of going on into Jacksonville Beach, I backtracked about seven miles and found some open land where I was finally able to camp out for the night.



Oct 29, 2016 : Ponte Vedra Beach, FL to Yulee, FL : 53.74 miles (85.78 km)
Trip Total: 1,457.79 miles (2,332.46 km)
Year Total: 6,736.66 miles (10,778.66 km)

I had an okay night camping out. I got back on the road around 7:40 am. I almost got caught by a deputy sheriff. In Ponte Vedra Beach, I stopped at a McDs for some breakfast. I almost got hit by a vehicle while I was getting into Jacksonville Beach.

In Jacksonville Beach, I had an okay ride. I rode most of the way along the ocean. I stopped at a Wendy's for some lunch.

I made it to the Mayport Ferry okay. The ride for me was just $1. Between the ferry and Amelia Island, I had to deal with a lot of bicyclists. They were taking part in a fund raising ride for diabetes.

I had an okay ride to Fernandino Beach. I was able to make it across the intercoastal bridge east of Fernandino Beach before dark. The ride to Yulee was really hard because there was road construction. I stopped at a McDs for some lunch. I also stopped at a Family Dollar to get some new batteries for my lights. Instead of getting back on the highway, I found some woods to camp out in close by.



Oct 30, 2016 : Yulee, FL to Kingsland, GA : 17.69 miles (28.30 km)
Trip Total: 1,474.89 miles (2,359.82 km)
Year Total: 6,753.76 miles (10,806.02 km)

I had an okay night camping out. From where I had camped out, it was only a 1.5 mile ride to US 17 where I turned North. I had an okay ride to the GA State line and to Kingsland.

I got into Kingsland around 10:20 am. I stopped at the First United Methodist Church. There was a contemporary service in the fellowship hall. The youth pastor gave the sermon. It was okay being about service to others. I talked to the sr pastor after the service. He wasn't that helpful. He told me to go over to the First Baptist Church.

I rushed over to the First Baptist Church. They were finishing up their morning service. The pastor was a lot more friendlier towards me than what the Methodist minister was towards me. There was an offer to get me a room at one of the motels near the interstate. Before riding over to the motel, one of the deacons offered to take me out to lunch at a local Cracker Barrel. I did have to wait back at the church till around 2 pm for the pastor to come back so I could get Alice out of the church. The room was at the Red Roof Inn.



Oct 31, 2016 : Kingsland, GA to Brunswich, GA : 46.52 miles (74.43 km)
Trip Total: 1,474.89 miles (2,359.82 km)
Year Total: 6,800.28 miles (10,880.45 km)

I had an okay night at the Red Roof Inn. During the night before going to bed, I tried to fix the cord to the power adapter but I wasn't able to. I slept okay and woke up before 6 am. There was an okay breakfast.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. I had on okay ride back into Kingsland and then I turned back North on US 17. I made around 23 miles by noon. I stopped at a gas station in Waverly for some lunch.

I had an okay ride to Brunswick. I took the back way across Blythe Island to get into Brunswich. I got into Brunswich around 2:30 pm. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. The pastor was pretty friendly. There was an offer to get me a room at a motel on US 17 on the way to Darien.



Nov 01, 2016 : Brunswich, GA to Jesup, GA : 40.41 miles (64.66 km)
Trip Total: 1,561.88 miles (2,499.01 km)
Year Total: 6,840.75 miles (10,945.20 km)

I had an off night at the Sea Breeze. It was really poor. The owners were Indian. There were roaches. As I was making some popcorn in the microwave, the microwave started to spark and smoke so I had to unplug it quickly before it caught on fire.

I headed out from the motel around 8 am. It was quite foggy. I stopped at a gas station to wait out the fog. After about heading North towards Darien for about a couple of miles I decided to turn around and head West towards Jesup instead. I didn't see any reason to ride North to Darien and then turn south to Jesup. The shoulder on US 17 was pretty bad.

I had an okay ride to US 341 where I turned Northwest. I made 21 miles by noon. I stopped for lunch at a picnic shelter at a church in Everett. I was back on the road by 1 pm.

The ride to Jesup went okay. The ride was slow because of a rumble strip in the shoulder. I got into Jesup around 4 pm.

I stopped at the First Baptist Church. I was offered the use of the church for the night. The associate minister to me out to a Western Sizzler for some lunch. Back at the church, I was able to get some food out of the food pantry.



Nov 02, 2016 : Jesup, GA to Waycrosss, GA : 40.46 miles (64.74 km)
Trip Total: 1,602.34 miles (2,563.74 km)
Year Total: 6,881.21 miles (11,009.94 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night. I was taken out to a Western Sizzler for lunch. There was a good buffet meal. The fellowship hall was super cold so I went upstairs to the youth area and found a sofa to sleep on in one of the rooms.

I woke up around 6 am. I took a good shower before getting dressed. I left the church around 7:40 am.

I headed west on US 82. It was an okay ride. There was a smooth shoulder to ride along. About 14 miles out of Jesup, I had two young ladies on bicycle come up from behind me. They had started somewhere in New York and were going to ride to Austin, Texas. They were heading South to Tallahassee before turning West.

I made 25 miles by noon. I stopped alongside the road for some lunch out of my food pannier. I finally caught up with the two ladies in Blackshear. They had stopped at a Huddle House for lunch. One of the girls was stretched out on the concrete in front of the restaurant taking a nap.

It was an okay ride to Waycross. I got off the main highway when I saw a steeple of a church on the other side of the railroad. It was the Central Baptist Church but there was nobody around it. Next to it was the First Presbyterian Church. There was an interim pastor. I got invited to use the fellowship hall for the night after the church's fall festival was over. I helped with the setting up of a couple of the games and I also helped clean up some. I was also invited to take part in the men's breakfast in the morning.



Nov 03, 2016 : Waycrosss, GA to Douglas, GA : 41.67 miles (66.67 km)
Trip Total: 1,644.01 miles (2,630.42 km)
Year Total: 6,922.88 miles (11,076.61 km)

I had an okay afternoon and night. I fell asleep around 9:30 pm on the sofa in the entrance of the fellowship hall. I slept till around 6 am. People started to come around 6 am to start cooking. The meal was around 8 am. I got to talk for a few minutes. The guy who helped me get Alice outside slipped me $20.

I got on the road around 8:35 am. I rode through town. I stopped at a gas station on the western edge of town that had a McDs to check my email. A black lady offered to get me some breakfast but I told her that I had already eaten the men's breakfast. She gave me a GH anyway.

It was a slow ride to Douglas for about the first ten miles because of a full rumble strip on the shoulder. I headed NW on GA 158. I got only 19 miles in by noon. I stopped at a church to get some lunch out of my food pannier.

It was an okay ride to Douglas. At a gas station south of Douglas, a guy slipped me $10. I got into downtown Douglas around 4 pm. I stopped at the United Methodist Church. The minister had already gone for the day so I got referred to the First Baptist Church. There was no minister there as well. I got referred to the near Salvation Army. The manager there offered to get me a room at a Super 8 south of town.



Nov 04, 2016 : Douglas, GA to Waycross, GA : 42.36 miles (67.78 km)
Trip Total: 1,686.37 miles (2,698.18 km)
Year Total: 6,965.24 miles (11,144.38 km)

I had a sort of off night at the Super 8. The room that I got shouldn't have been rented out because there was a broken key knob. You could lock it from the inside but not from the outside. The room smelled a little bit from smoke. There was also a large horizontal black streak in the screen of the flat screen tv. I also had a hard time shutting off the water in the shower.

I got a disturbing email from Columbus, GA. There wasn't an offer to host me through the winter like I had hoped. Tomorrow, I'll be backtracking to Waycross and then take US 1 back into Florida. I wanted to try and get into Flagler County to see what kind of storm damage was there.

After a somewhat decent breakfast, I left the motel around 7:40 am. I took a more direct ride back to GA 158. Even with a couple of short breaks, I was able to make 27 miles before noon.

I got to the western outskirts of Waycross around 1:40 pm. I stopped for a late lunch at the McDs. After lunch, I rode into the downtown area but I didn't find anybody at one of the local churches. I got on US 1 going South. It was a slow ride through the business section. The last business on the Southern edge of Waycross was a church. I found a spot in some woods next to the church to camp out in.



Nov 05, 2016 : Waycross, GA to Callahan, FL : 55.32 miles (88.51 km)
Trip Total: 1,741.69 miles (2,786.70 km)
Year Total: 7,020.56 miles (11,232.90 km)

I had an okay night camping out. I started the night just using my sleep sack but it got cold enough that I had to pull out the sleeping bag from it's carrying bag.

I got on the road about 8 am. It was an okay ride going South. I got in 24 miles by noon. I was going to stop for the day in Folkston, Georgia but I decided to go on to Florida. It was an okay ride to Hillard. I decided to push on to Callahan.

I got into Callahan around 6 pm. I rode around town. I stopped at the First Baptist Church. They were having a Saturday night service in the gym. I got to meet the pastor before the service. There was an offer to get me a room at one of the local motels. One of the guys behind me slipped me $5 before the service actually started. On the way to the motel, I stopped at a McDs to get some take out. I had to backtrack about a mile to the motel.



Nov 06, 2016 : Callahan, FL to Woodlawn (N St Augustine), FL : 58.47 miles (93.55 km)
Trip Total: 1,800.16 miles (2,880.26 km)
Year Total: 7,079.03 miles (11,326.45 km)

I had an off night at the motel. I woke up quite a few times thinking that it was morning already but it was still dark outside. I was tricked by the bright lights outside the room and the curtain wasn't dark enough or big enough to block the light out. I finally gave up and got up around 5 am.

I left the motel around 6:45 am. Instead of waiting for over three hours for a church service, I decided to go on to Jacksonville. I got 29 miles in by noon. I had a bit of a confusing ride into the downtown area and then across the bridge to South Jacksonville.

I accidently got off US 1 onto FL 213. I was able to get back to US 1. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. There was a bike lane most of the way through the rest of the county. I crossed into St Johns County. I couldn't beat the dark. About four miles out of St Augustine, I found some open land where I could camp out in.



Nov 07, 2016 : Woodlawn (N St Augustine), FL to Crescent Beach, FL : 12.87 miles (20.59 km)
Trip Total: 1,813.09 miles (2,900.94 km)
Year Total: 7,091.96 miles (11,347.14 km)

I had an on okay night. I got a little cool.

I got back on the road around 7:40 am. It was a short ride into St Augustine. Nothing happened in St Augustine. I did stop to wait for the office of the First United Methodist Church to open but nobody showed up at the appointed time. I wanted to find out if there were any churches that had gotten damaged by Hurricane Matthew. I rode back to A1A and I crossed over the Bridge of the Lions. I backtracked my route to Crescent Beach.

The next update should be posted between Nov 08th and Nov 15th.




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