TRIP 2016

Update #26 - December 16th
Vinton, Louisiana
Mission Trip 71: 1,560.79 miles (2,497.26 km)
Year Total : 8,652.75 miles (13,844.40 km)

I'm 8 miles (12.8 km) from the Texas state line. Taking the weekend off to be with the congregation at the Vinton United Methodist Church. I have the chance to do some social compassion and to also be off the road because of pending inclement weather.

Dec 10, 2016 : Luling, LA to Oak Forest (Gibson), LA : 59.43 miles (95.09 km)
Trip Total: 1,348.72 miles (2,157.95 km)
Year Total: 8,440.68 miles (13,606.09 km)

It was a somewhat okay night at the motel but the room that I got was subpar. There was a large patch of black mold on the bathroom ceiling above the sink. I didn't go to the office about it because it sounded like there were no more first floor rooms available. I didn't want to carry Alice and my gear up and down the stairs.

I woke up around 5 am. There was an okay hot breakfast but if I had waited any longer to go to the breakfast room I wouldn't have gotten anything because there were a lot of subcontractors staying at the motel. There was a large fleet of dump trucks. There was a freeze warning for the area so I waited till around 8 am to check out. In the office, I told the lady at the desk about the mold. She went to the room and saw the mold. She put an out of order notice on the room and made a work order for maintanance. She apologized to me about the condition of the room.

Before leaving Luling, I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few things. It was around 8:30 am when I left the Luling area. There was a tailwind to push me along. In some areas, I was cruising around 12 mph. The shoulder of the highway went from good to bad to good again. It was sort of a good ride to Raceland. I got off of US 90 at the wrong exit of the bridge and I had to get back on the bridge and cross over the bayou. I got a little confused on the right way into Raceland. I got about 27 miles by noon. I stopped at a fast-food place that was closed today but it had picnic tables to get some lunch out of the food pannier.

In Raceland, I was a little confused about the right route name because old US 90 (Bus 90) was now LA 182. LA 182 had recently been repaved so the ride most of the way to Houma was really good. There was a tailwind to push me along.

A couple of miles out of Houma, I rode passed the carcass of either a dead alligator or crocodile. The road was right next to a bayou and the critter must have tried to cross the highway to the other side where there was another bayou and got hit by a vehicle.

I got into the downtown Houma area around 3:30 pm. I wasn't able to find the law enforcement center so I decided to get back on the highway. I wanted to see how close I could get to Morgan City before it got too dark to travel. Before leaving Morgan City, I stopped at a McDs to get a hamburger and to also check my email.

The ride back on LA 182 went okay. I got into the Gibson area a little before dusk. I stopped at a school to put new batteries into the tail light. The ride after dark went okay. I stopped at a RV park but the lady in charge told me that she didn't allow tent camping.

I got back on the road and rode down a couple of miles and found some woods between a sugar cane field that had been recently cut and a gas plant. It took a little bit of looking but I found an open space in some woods way in back that was big enough to pitch my tent in.

I'm under 20 miles from Morgan City.

Dec 11, 2016 : Oak Forest (Gibson), LA to Morgan City, LA : 21.72 miles (34.75 km)
Trip Total: 1,370.44 miles (2,192.70 km)
Year Total: 8,462.40 miles (13,539.84 km)

It was a somewhat okay night camping out. The loud noise from the nearby gas plant lessoned around 10 pm. I woke up just once during the night. I woke up around 5:45 am. It wasn't that cold so I didn't have to get out my wool cap for the helmet and my second pair of gloves.

I got on the road around 7:05 am. It was a short ride to where LA 182 (old US BUS 90) turned West. I did stop at a gas station for a short break. The ride West went okay. I stopped quite a few times to take some pictures. There were a lot of places along the way where factories had stuff for off shore oil fields. There were also two high bridges that I had to cross.

It was around 9:55 am when I got into downtown Morgan City. It took a while finding the Pharr Chapel United Methodist Church. The last time I was at the church was either four or five years ago. I got to the church around 10:10 am. The service had started at 10 am. I didn't miss much. Kids were bringing up quarters and putting them into tubes on platforms. Money was being collected to purchase animals from the Heifer Project. It was nice seeing the pastor who I met the last time still there. The service was pretty good. The pastor baptized his newest granddaughter. After the sermon and before the time for prayers, the pastor introduced me and he prayed over me. I got to tell the congregation about my ministry and the current trip. This is my 60th time to speak at a church this year. After the service, several of the older ladies gave me hugs. Another lady slipped me a small GH. The pastor also offered to go to a local motel and pay for a room. On the way to the motel, I stopped at a BK for some lunch.

Dec 12, 2016 : Morgan City, LA to New Iberia, LA : 42.79 miles (68.46 km)
Trip Total: 1,413.23 miles (2,261.17 km)
Year Total: 8,505.19 miles (13,608.30 km)

It was a somewhat okay at the motel. There was a thin curtain covering the window and it didn't block much light coming into the room. The thing that didn't allow me to sleep well was that I wasn't able to do anything with my website. Every time that I tried getting onto my website, the connection froze and hung. I couldn't even connect to my web hosting sight via FTP either. I was concerned that my website was down but there was no emergency number to contact. I was able to do a lot on the web but not things that I really wanted to do.

I woke up early once in the early morning but I was able to fall back asleep till around 6:20 am. The motel didn't provide breakfast so I ate out of my food pannier. I left the motel around 8 am. I stopped at a laundromat to get my dirty clothes washed. The machines were quite cheap. It only cost me $2.25 to do my load of clothes. Before leaving the downtown area, I stopped at a Christian thrift store that had a blessing box on the side of the building which was a three shelf food bank cupboard. Most of the stuff was things to cook, but there were a lot of supplies for infants, and there was a small box of touletries. I took some pictures of the box.

I made my way across the Atchafalaya River Bridge to Berwick. It was a tricky ride because the bridge was narrow and there was no shoulder to ride along. At least, the motorists were courteous. Once in Berwick, I got on US 90 till around Idlewild and then I got on LA 182 for the ride through Patterson. In Patterson, I stopped at a house that had a Little Free Library Box in front. I was able to exchange the paperbacks that I had for two new ones that I haven't read.

North of Patterson, the pavement of LA 182 was kind of rush. With the late start out of Morgan City, I only got 16 miles by noon. I stopped along side the road for some lunch out of my food pannier. The rest of the ride to Franklin was kind of hard because of the very rough pavement.

I got into Franklin around 2:30 pm. I stopped to talk to a guy who was riding a very unusual 2 wheeled vehicle. It was a GlideCycle. It was a modern day equivalent of the ancient velocipede bicycle that you pushed walked instead of pedaling. It was an 8 foot tall U-frame connected to two 16 inch wheels. The front wheel was connected to a regular bicycle front fork and it had a handlebar along with a sidepull front brake. The guy was siting/standing in a special harness. The glide cycle was made for people who had leg and back problems so that they could either walk or run. The guy told me that he had just gotten it and it cost him $1,700.

There was nobody at the Methodist church and there was no contact number. I rode around town to check out the other churches but I didn't see anybody. Before leaving Franklin, I stopped at a McDs to get a hamburger and some tea but I wanted to connect my laptop to the web. I was happy to see that my website was actually up.

From the McDs, it was a quick ride to the bridge over the Chamberlain Canal and then into Baldwin. I was concerned that I was going to get wet because the clouds were getting dark but the bad part of the weather system stayed to the South of me. In Baldwin, I stopped at the Umcorp Center but it was closed. The center closes for most of December because volunteers don't come around the Holidays. The town was too small to have any large churches. Across the higway from the Umcorp Center was the police station but I didn't think that it would do any good to stop there.

I pushed on to Jeanerette. I wasn't sure that I was going to make it into town before dusk but I got into Jeanerette a little after dusk. I did stop to take some pictures and a short video at a sugar cane plant.

In downtown Jeanerette, I saw some law enforcement officers in front of a building. The building was the marshal department. Most of the officers were black and quite friendly. The officer in charge offered to get me a room at one of the hotels in New Iberia and also to find a way to transport me to New Iberia. There used to be a motel in Jeanerette but it is closed. The officer looked kind of familiar. I think that I met Marshal Fernest Martin before but I couldn't place him. We loaded up Alice and my gear into his pickup truck. The ride to New Iberia went okay. Marshal Martin told me that he was a Christian and his father was a Baptist minister. He also told me that our meeting was a God Event because usually the marshall office is closed at 4:30 pm and it was 5:15 pm when we met. He had stuck around at the department because he was to attend a city council meeting. Along with his law enforcement duties in the Jeanerette area, he is also in charge of disciplinea at an alternative high school. I thought that I was going to be transported to a cheap motel but I was taken to a Quality Inn and Suites. On the way to the hotel, we stopped at a Wendys and Marshal Martin bought me lunch. Back at the hotel, Marshal Martin surprised me by also slipping me a large GH. Before leaving, he also helped me get Alice , my gear, and my lunch into my room. Just by the reaction of the people at the Wendys and the desk clerk at the hotel, you could tell that the parish thinks very highly of Marshal Martin.

The whole encounter with Marshal Martin got me to think that something similar had happened in one of my previous trips. Sure enough, I had met Fernest Martin before. The first time was 14 years ago on Nov 21, 2002. Fernest at the time was a lietenant with the police department. In these past twelve years, Fernest had gone promotion after promotion with the police department and was thight highly enough by the community that he was elected Marshal, which has the same standing as the Parish Sheriff.

Because of the weather tomorrow, I might not head out to Lafayette. There is a WS member in town.

Dec 13, 2016 : New Iberia, LA to Lafayette, LA : 24.54 miles (39.26 km)
Trip Total: 1,437.77 miles (2,300.43 km)
Year Total: 8,529.73 miles (13,647.57 km)

It was a somewhat okay at the motel. It would have been really good if the wifi network worked. The network was unrestricted but there was a login page. The network wasn't broadcasting the url to the login page. To get on the wifi, I used the guest network of the Lowes company across the highway. It had a log in page but their wifi network broadcasted the url to their login page. I was finally able to update my website.

I woke up a couple of times in the early morning but I was able to fall back asleep. The whole encounter with Marshal Martin got me to think that something similar had happened in one of my previous trips. It took a while but I was finally able to find out if it was true or not. Sure enough, I had met Fernest Martin before. The first time was 14 years ago on Nov 21, 2002. Fernest at the time was a lietenant with the police department. In these past twelve years, Fernest had gone promotion after promotion with the police department and was regarded highly enough by the community that he was elected Marshal, which has the same standing as the Parish Sheriff.

I woke up around 5:45 am. I got dressed and went to the breakfast room to see what was there. There was a really good selection of hot food to choose from. I left the hotel around 7:50 am.

It had rained some during the night and the parking lot was wet. The sky was overcast and it looked like it was going to rain again. It was about a 3 mile ride back to LA 182. The ride to Breaussard went okay except for when I hit some road construction when US 90 went over LA 182. To get away from the traffic for a little while I stopped at a Goodwill to see if I could find a new pair of athletic sports pants. I was so happy to find a new pair. The pavement went from bad to good to good again. I got into the Southern outskirts of Lafayette before noon. I got 20.2 miles in by noon. I stopped at a Wendys for some lunch.

After lunch the ride through the downtown area went okay but I did have to ride along some sidewalks for a bit. I was able to get on BUS US 90 before a brief rain shower stopped me at a gas station. I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay on the road and ride to Rayne. There were a lot of WS members in Lafayette so I decided to make it a short day. I called up one member but he was in Northern Louisiana sitting in his hunting stand when I called. He suggested to contact some friends of his who were WWS members as well. I got invited to stop. Andre and Jen have a nice guest cottage in their back yard. They also have quite a few box gardens of winter crops, a chicken coop, plenty of orange trees, and a bee hive.

I'll be either stopping in Crowley or Jennings tomorrow.

Dec 14, 2016 : Lafayette, LA to Crowley, LA : 26.97 miles (43.15 km)
Trip Total: 1,464.74 miles (2,343.58 km)
Year Total: 8,556.70 miles (13,690.32 km)

I had an okay night at Andre's guest cottage. It was quite comfortable. There were plenty of oranges to pick outside and there was a very large professional juice squeezer to make fresh orange juice. There was a very strong wifi signal to get on. I went to bed early but I woke up several times during the night. It was a little before 6 am when I got out of bed. I took my time getting ready and packed up. It was nice having a new pair of athletic sports pants to wear.

I got on the road a little before 8 am. I had to be careful getting out of Andre's backyard because I had to go through a gated area where Andre had some chickens. The rooster had started crowing around 5:40 am. From where I was, it was about a 1.5 mile ride to US 90. Traffic was kind of heavy and there was no place that I could get out of the traffic. A police officer came up from behind me and told me that I was holding up the traffic with my safety flag sticking out from the side. I did get off the road to put away the safety flag for a little while and I started to ride the sidewalk until I got on US 90.

The ride along US 90 went okay. There was a shoulder to ride along. A couple of miles out of Lafayette, I stopped at a gas station to get some hot chocolate and to also get out my long sleeve cycling jersey and put it on. The temperature was in the 50s. The ride West went okay. The pavement of the road went from good to bad to good again. In Rayne, I took a lot of pictures of the small frog statues placed aound the town. The town is named the "Frog Capitol of the World" because of the frogs raised for frog legs.

The rest of the ride to Crowley went okay. I got into the Eastern edge of Crowley a little before noon. I had ridden 23 miles. I opted to stop at a Wendys for a hot lunch. Near the edge of a Walmart parking lot and close to the Wendys was a guy sitting down in the grass and he had some kind of sign with him. The guy was playing a guitar and he had a dog with him. I didn't get the sense that I should share my food with him but I did go over to him and offer him some of the road manna that I found yesteray. I did ask him if he wanted a hot Wendys chicken sandwich but he told me that somebody already got him something for himself and his dog. The guy had to have been in his twenties.

When I got into the downtown area, I didn't feel like traveling on to Jennings. I was pretty chilled and I thought that I was getting a runny nose. I decided to try and stop for the day. I stopped at the United Methodist church. I found the pastor there. He offered to go up to a motel North of I-10 and get me a room for the night.

I don't know how far, I'll travel tomorrow. The temperature is supposed to be at least ten degrees cooler. It will probably be a short 21 mile ride to Jennings. Texas is getting closer every day. I'm going to ride straight across the rest of Louisiana instead of heading North to DeRidder. I'm just 94.3 miles away from the Texas state line.

Dec 15, 2016 : Crowley, LA to Jennings, LA : 25.99 miles (41.58 km)
Trip Total: 1,490.73 miles (2,385.17 km)
Year Total: 8,582.69 miles (13,732.30 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The room was a little worn down and the dead bolt didn't want to fully engage. It was still good to be inside in a warm room instead of trying to sleep in my tent someplace.

I left the motel a little before 7 am. It was a really cold ride in the morning. Once out in the open, there was a stiff crosswind. Just before I got into the small town of Estherwood, I had to stop to fix a flat front tire. It took a lot of effort to take the tire off because the bead was so tight. I found a very small piece of wire sticking up from the inside of the wheel. I put in the new tube. Getting the tire on the wheel was just about as hard as taking it off. I inflated the tire up to 85 psi.

The rest of the ride in the morning went okay. Most of the way there wasn't a shoulder to ride along. I did get into Jennings a little before noon. I made 21 miles in by noon. I rode up to the interstate to stop at a Wendys for some lunch.

After lunch, I rode back into the downtown area and stopped at the Methodist Church. I didn't have much of a wait for the pastor to come back from lunch. He offered to meet me at one of the motels near the interstate and get me a room.

The weather tomorrow is supposed to be warm again. I'm going to push through Lake Charles and try and get into Sulphur before dark. There is supposed to be a WS member in sulphur.

Dec 16, 2016 : Jennings, LA to Vinton, LA : 70.06 miles (112.10 km)
Trip Total: 1,560.79 miles (2,497.26 km)
Year Total: 8,652.75 miles (13,844.40 km)

I had a somewhat okay night at the motel. The room was a okay but I had a really hard getting onto the wifi network. The motel router wasn't properly broadcasting the url to the login page. It took me trying to connect my cellphone to the network to find the right company's url. Before going to bed, I sewed some retro-reflective strips onto the orange safety flag. I woke up several times during the night. I woke up around 6:30 am. I didn't go and see what was for breakfast. I decided to eat out of my food pannier.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. It was cool but not as cold as yesterday. Once I turned West on US 90, a stiff tailwind pushed me along. The miles went by quickly. I stopped at a Dollar Store in Welsh to get a few groceries. On the Westward edge of Welsh, I got stopped by a guy who wanted to find out what I was doing. Before he left, he slipped me a GH.

The rest of the morning went okay. By noon, I was at the Eastern edge of Lake Charles and I had ridden a whopping 31 miles. Instead of riding all the way into Lake Charles, I turned Northward on US 171. Traffic was pretty heavy North of I-10. I did some sidewalk riding. For lunch, I stopped at a Church's for some chicken and biscuit. The ladies in the counter were pretty friendly. I wanted to buy a small value drink cup but they gave me a large drink cup for free.

After lunch, the ride to Moss Bluff went okay even though I had two bridges to cross. The last bridge was s-shaped and it must have been at least two miles long. Traffic was okay because they gave me clearance. In Moss Bluff, I got on LA 378 for the ride to Westlake.

In Westlake, I was going to get on Burton Road for the ride to Mossville where I would turn South to Maplewood where I could turn West on US 90 but I couldn't do this because there was a lot of road construction and construction of a very large oil refinery. There must have been several hundred construction workers. I got on LA 379 (Houston River Road). LA 379 turned a little Northwest and I had to turn South on LA 27 and ride 4 miles back to US 90 in Sulphur. I got into Sulphur around 3:40 pm. I didn't feel like trying to connect with the WS member in Sulphur. I decided to keep on going to Vinton.

The ride to Vinton went okay even though I got caught in some drizzle. I got into Vinton a little after dusk. In Vinton, I rode over to the United Methodist Church. I've stayed at the church quite a few times during my previous mission trips. The last time was Thursday, December 04, 2008 when I was going to Galveston and High Island to do some disaster relief after Hurricane Ike. The new pastor here was pretty friendly. He invited me to stay over the weekend. I'm going to be helping with a Christmas meal tomorrow in Sulphur and I'm going to possibly speak at the pastor's two churches in Sulphur and Vinton. Staying over the weekend will be okay because there is going to be rain over the weekend.

I've got less than five miles left in Louisiana before crossing into Texas. I'm going to either attempt to get a ride over the I-10 bridge over the Savine River to Orange, TX or try and get a ride into the main part of Beaumont, TX on the West side of the Neches River. This would be better instead of riding to Bridge City and cross the Neches River there and then ride up to Beaumont.

The next update will be posted between December 23rd and December 30th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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