TRIP 2018

Update #08 - March 22nd
Liberty, Mississippi
Year Total : 78.42 miles (125.47 km km)

Mission Trip 73 finally started Tuesday, March 20th. I was really hoping for a smooth start just to give my body a break. I am still suffering from some of the neuro-muscular problems that I've had the past seven months since the accident on July 29, 2017. These three days have been hard because of cold temperatures, strong winds, rolling hills. narrow shoulders with rumble strips, high speeds of vehicles, and something that I would never want to say and happen again - another incident of being hit by a vehicle.

March 20 T - Lamar Park (West Hattiesburg), Mississippi to Columbia, Mississippi : 31.58 miles (50.53 km)
00.79 C 00.21 R
Trip Total : 31.58 miles (50.53 km)

First Day of Spring and of the tour.

Last night, I was able to get quite a bit of sleep. I fell asleep before midnight. I woke up several times to go to the restroom. I got up around 5 am.

I had breakfast, got cleaned up and dressed. I didn't have much to pack up on Allison because I loaded Allison last night including filling up the water bottles. After cleaning up, getting dressed, and having breakfast, there wasn't much to put on Allison.

Around 8:15 am, I finally left the extended-stay hotel for the last time and rode over to the nearby First Presbyterian Church where I have been worshipping at since around Christmas last year. My friend, Knox, who is one of the assistant ministers came around 8:30 am. He had stopped and gotten me an egg sandwich from Subway. Knox then went into the office, and came back out with the two other assistant ministers, and they surrounded me, layed hands on me and Allison, and prayed for the two of us for about ten minutes. After some pictures were taken, I left the church around 8:45 am. The ride west was slow because there was a stiff headwind of about 15 mph (24 kmph) coming from the Northwest. The sky was overcast and the temperature was cool in the mid 50s. During the first 8 miles (13 km), I had to stop quite a few times to tweak Allison and my gear. After cycling 9 miles (14 km) from the church, I lost my wide shoulder and started to deal with narrow shoulders that were taken mostly up with rumble strips. I didn't feel safe riding to the left of the white line because US 98 became a four lane divided highway with a max speed of 65 mph (104 kmph).

Around 1 pm, I stopped at a gas station in Opah to get some lunch. The afternoon ride was a little better. There was one section of rolling hills about 6 miles (10 km) to the east of Columbia, that I got off of Allison and I walked up to the top of the hills.

I got to the motel in Columbia where I had a reservation around 4:30 pm.

Tomorrow should be a little warmer in the 60s but there is supposed to be more head/crosswinds.

March 21 W - Columbia, Mississippi to McComb, Mississippi : 22.77 miles (36.43 km)
00.57 C 00.43 R
Trip Total : 54.35 miles (86.94 km)

Second Day of Spring and second day on tour.

Last night, I was able to get quite a bit of sleep. I fell around 10 pm. I woke up several times to go to the restroom but I was able to fall asleep till around 5 am.

There was an okay breakfast provided. I opted for the eggs and sausage instead of making some waffles.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. It wasn't as cold as yesterday morning because the sky wasn't overcast. There was still a headwind/ crosswind coming from the NW between 10 and 15 mph. The ride west was slow because of the wind and the bad shoulder. I didn't have much of a shoulder to ride on because of a wide rumble strip. There were some rolling hills to deal with. I stopped a couple of times to do some more tweaking on Allison. During one rest break at a gas station, I tightened up the clamp underneath the seat because the seat had slid back a couple of inches.

Around 11 am, I had only traveled around 12 miles out of Columbia. I stopped at a gas station for a half hour break to get out of the wind for a while. While I was taking my break, Knox called me and told me that one of the deacons had family in Woodville, Mississippi and they had offered to pay for a room at the Magnolia Inn on US 61 south of Woodville. This would be for Friday night.

Once I got back on the road. I didn't get far down the highway because I had to stop alongside the road to fix a soft front tire. When I checked out the tire, I found a small piece of wire sticking up inside the tire. It wasn't the regular piece of wire from tires that I normally pull out. This piece was a little wider and curved. I put in a new innertube instead of patching up the old innertube. I was carrying two front innertubes and two rear innertubes. Using the new pump, I only got the tube inflated up to 70 psi because my shoulder hurt so I wasn't able to get the tire inflated to the 100 psi max.

The ride in the afternoon went okay till I got near Tylertown. It was still hard cycling along US 98 because I was still dealing with traffic going passed me at 65 mph (104 km). The hills weren't that bad, the wind speed was lighter, and there were spots of wider shoulders even with the rumble strips. When I got into Walthall County, the shoulder to right of the rumble strip and white line shrunk and was too narrow to ride along. Because of this, I had to carefully ride to the left of the white line. Overall, a lot of the traffic behind me moved over to the inner lane to give me some space.

About a couple of miles (3 km) out of Tylertown, Mississippi and right after I had gone up a short rise, I caught the view of a white van not moving over to the left much behind me. This was a bit strange because there wasn't any traffic in the inbound lane. There was any traffic in the east bound lanes of the four lane divided highway. I couldn't risk getting off the road because if I had hit the rumble strip wrong I could have flipped over and crashed. A few seconds after I had seen the van coming right at me I felt a blow above the left elbow and I saw that the glass in the mirror got shattered. It was a miracle that I didn't flip over. The blow did knock the glare shield off of my helmet. It was a miracle that I stayed straight up and was able to stop. The van had stopped and was rolling backwards towards me. A young guy in his thirties came out to see if I was okay and if I needed anything. I told him that I was pretty shook up and would like a ride into McComb. I also asked him if there might be a Walmart where I could get a new mirror.

Noel, the guy who hit me, told me that there was a Walmart in McComb and we would go there to buy me a mirror before he would take me to the Quality Inn where I had made a reservation. Before he loaded up Allison into the back of his van, he had to shift cases of Red Bull to one side of the van. Noel is a driver/salesperson of Red Bull. While he did this, Noel gave me some excuse for not going around me was because there was another truck to the left of him but I don't remember seeing the other truck in question. In fact, I don't remember seeing any other traffic including any traffic going east bound at the time of him hitting me. I don't know why he couldn't have even slowed down or stopped and then waited before he had the oppotune time to go around me.

On the way to McComb, Mississippi, Noel stopped at a McDs in Tylertown, Mississippi to get me a large sweet tea to go. What got to me was that Noel asked me if I wanted a couple of the prescription pain pills that he had in a plastic medicine bottle in the glove box. Noel told me that they were just muscle relaxants and would help me sleep but there was no way that I could tell if they were opioids or not.

It didn't take to long to get into McComb, Mississippi. I couldn't have found the Walmart myself since it was a couple of miles (3 km) north of the Quality Inn. In the bike accessory section of Walmart, there was only a mirror that you strapped on using a velcro band. The mirror is oblong and sticks out some more. Just what I need. A bigger target. It will have to work till at least Baton Rouge, Louisiana because this would be the first city on my route big enough to have a bike shop. The next city with a bike shop on my route would be in Gulfport, Mississippi. Noel bought me the mirror, a bottle of aspirin, and a loaf of bread because I needed one. I could have asked for more but I didn't need anything else.

Noel was concerned about my elbow. The pain wasn't that bad and I was able to move my arm okay. I didn't feel anything broken. Since we were going passed the hospital, Noel wanted to stop but I didn't feel like I needed to go to the emergency room. At the motel where I had made the reservation, Noel helped me get Allison into my room. Before he left to go back to work to turn in his collected money and to go to a Burger King to get me some chicken nuggets and fries, he stayed around to check out the damage to my arm. There was an area of abrasion and some bruising. It was almost as big as a Kennedy half dollar coin. Noel helped me take a picture of my elbow and upper arm with my cell phone.

Abrasion above left elbow from being hit by a truck mirror

After eating the nuggets and fries, I checked out my jacket. There was a hole in the left sleeve and a hole in the left arm pit. The holes were too big for me to try and sew them up. I sent a text to Noel because he gave me his cell phone number and address in Brookhaven, Mississippi. Noel sent back a text saying that he had a nice jacket but it was xxl. I sent a text back to him, to see if he could come by to pick me and Allison, take me back to Walmart so I could get an athletic jacket, and then transport me part of the way to Liberty so I wouldn't have that far to ride. Noel texted back to say that he would. He lives an hour to the north in Brookhaven.

I then took the time to take off the broken mirror and put on the new strap-on mirror. Here are pictures of both mirrors.

broken mirror

new mirror

Tomorrow, between McComb, Mississippi and Woodville, Mississippi is going to be new territory for me. In 2016, I had ridden between Hattiesburg, Mississippi and McComb,Mississippi between March 31 and April 01. 2016. From McComb, Mississippi I had cycled Northwestern to Meadville, Mississippi and then on to Washington, Mississippi near Natchez, Mississippi, where I had turned North on US 61 to Vicksburg, Mississippi and then followed the Mississippi River north to Sabula, Iowa.

March 22 R - McComb, Mississippi to Liberty, Mississippi : 24.07 miles (40.11 km)
00.60 C 00.40 R
Trip Total : 78.42 miles (125.47 km)
01.95 C 01.05 R

Third day on tour.

Considering how bad my upper left arm felt, I was able to fall asleep around 10:30 pm. There was just a dull pain coming from the abrasion area. During the night, I might have gone through short periods of REM sleep. I don't remember getting up and go to the restroom during the night. I did take a couple of aspirin before falling asleep. Before going to bed, I had gotten on the web to see what churches were in Liberty, Mississippi. The biggest was the Liberty Baptist Church. I sent an email to the pastor to see if he could help me with a place to stay tomorrow night. Also, I sent out several emails to friends around the country telling then what had happened. I also sent an email to my friend Knox telling him that he might get a call from the pastor about me. Knox texted me back to tell me that he would call the pastor in the morning.

My left arm felt okay. I didn't have any extra pain when I straightened out my arm. When I looked at the abrasion in the bathroom mirror, I saw that a scab was already starting to form over the open area.

Looking back to what had happened yesterday afternoon, three or maybe four important things never happened. Noel should have given me his driver's license and insurance information. We should have called 911 to have a deputy come out before we moved on to McComb. Since I did have an abrasion, we should have stopped at the hospital emergency room to have the arm checked out. The fourth thing should have happened at the Quality Inn in McComb. Noel did tell me that he was going to take care of all of my needs. That should have included my housing needs. When we got to the motel, he should have come into the office with me, had them cancel my reservation so my bank card would have not gotten dinged, and paid for my motel room with his credit card. This is what the father of the young lady in Michigan did several years ago when she had hit me. The rear view mirror was broken that time but the recumbent had been hit from behind and I had flipped over the handlebar. I also got a large road rash on my left arm that time.

Before going to the office, I got online and checked out the Walmart website. I wanted to see if they had any lightweight jackets in stock. I didn't find any. It was really hard what was in stock at stores and what had to be ordered online. I sent a text to Noel telling him to bring along the lightweight jacket that he texted me about. It might have been a little too big but at least it would have been a jacket.

Around 6:30 am, I went to the office to get some breakfast. I had to use my jacket because the temp was just in the upper 30s. There was a decent selection of food to choose from. Just to be on the safe side, I took the time to sew up the holes in my jacket that were caused by the passenger rear view mirror of Noel's van. Around 7:30 am, I sent a text to Noel asking him if he was on his way. He was sixty miles (96 km) to the North of me in Brookhaven.

Around 8:15 am, I finally got a reply text from Noel. He wrote that he was still in Brookhaven and not coming to McComb. He had contacted his supervisors at his place of employment in McComb, Mississippi to tell them what had transpired yesterday afternoon and they had put him on temporary suspension off his distribution route for a few days. He did show concern that he might be fired from his job. During the ride between Tylertown where he had hit me and McComb, he did tell me that he had been in a one vehicle accident and he had flipped the van that he had a month ago, totaled it, but he came out unscathed. The accident was either caused by some mental impairment caused by some drugs or the fact that he became delusion due to a high fever from some illness like the flu. Several times during my time with Noel, he tried to pass off to me some prescription medication so I could sleep better at night. He said that the pills were muscle relaxants but they could have been opioids. There was no way for me to tell that he was on opioids right now. Just having them in the van was a warning sign to me.

It was about 8:20 am, when I finally left the motel. I followed local roads over the interstate and to US 48 for the ride to Liberty. Before I got too far down US 98, I stopped at an open area near the safety railing for a creek to send a text to Noel about my displeasure that he didn't bother to come and visit me like he said that he was going to, bring me the lightweight jacket that he had, and to give me a ride down US 98 to shorten my ride some to Liberty. I also wrote to him that he should have shared his driver's license and insurance with me and he should have paid for my motel room. I requested that he should send me via email a scanned copy of his drivers license and insurance card. Also, I requested that he send me an online donation to pay for my motel room and provide enough funds for me to get a new lightweight jacket and a new mirror at a bike shop. The cheap mirror might not work for me a long time because it isn't fixed in place and moves around a lot. Right after I had finished the text to Noel and sent it to him, I recieved a text from my pastor friend Knox in Hattiesburg. I had asked via a text to contact the pastor at the Liberty Baptist Church to see if he could help me with a place for the night at the church. Knox texted me that he had called the pastor and they had a place for me to stay at the church in Liberty.

The ride to Liberty went okay. The temperature was in the 40s but it was supposed to get into the high 60s by noon. The storm front that had caused the strong crosswinds the past couple of days was finally way to the east of me. US 48 was a two-lane highway that was lightly traveled. There was few places of shoulder to ride along but not much could be cycled because there was a steep dropoff to the right. I carefully rode to the left of the white line and the rumble strips but when I caught sight of any traffic behind me, I pulled over to the shoulder and stopped. The speed limit was just 55 mph (88kmph) and I didn't have any more traffic barreling at me from behind going 65 mph or faster. Most of the traffic that did pass me slowed down and gave me the full three feet of clearance. There were quite a few logging trucks and semi pulling trailors full of wood chips. Several of these trucks came close to me. There were some rolling hills. After I had cycled about twelve miles (19 km) down the highway, I finally got out of the Pine Belt of Southeast Mississippi. There were no forests of pine trees on both sides of the highway. I was now in open land and some farm land. There were several fields that had herds of cows. In one field, there was a herd of black cows. As soon as they saw me coming, they started to come closer to the road and line up side by side to watch me. I stopped and started to moo at them. I got about 80% of the herd to come up to the fence line. When I started to cycle away, the cows started to follow to the western fence line.

By noon, I had ridden almost 19 miles (30 km) . This was at least four more miles (6 km) that I had rode yesterday before noon and very close to the minimal amount of miles that I had traveled in the morning before the accident last June. I stopped to take a restroom break in the trees and to take my jacket off. This was the first time that I've been able to ride with one of my special jerseys in the open this tour. This had been the first day this tour that I had really enjoyed myself and I didn't have to stop and do some tweaking of Allison.

Once I got back on the road, it didn't take that long to get to the eastern edge of Liberty. I got into Liberty around 12:50 pm. I was going to go into a gas station to get something to eat but I saw a Subway store a couple hundred feet down the highway. Since I wasn't going to spend any money for tomorrow night in woodville, Mississippi, I opted to stop and get a six inch combo meal. Some contacts of my friend, Knox, arranged for tomorrow night's stay at the motel South of Woodville on US 61. I stretched my lunch break for about 40 minutes. Before going on to the First Baptist Church, I stopped at the Family Dollar to get a few things.

I got to Liberty Baptist Church around 1:40 pm. Pastor Geno was waiting for me. He walked with me and Allison around the church to the Education Building where the fellowship hall was. I was expecting that I was going to stay in either a fellowship hall or a classroom and sleep in my sleeping bag, but the pastor took me upstairs the second floor where there was a Prophet's Chamber (guest room). A classroom had been converted into a bedroom with two queen size beds. The room was almost like a motel room because there was a mini fridge and a microwave. There was a tv but it was just connected to a dvd player. A big plus for me was that there was wifi. The bathroom had a large stock of towels, wash cloths, and toiletries. I took what I needed for the night off of Allison and Allison was locked up in the fellowship hall on the first floor.

Tomorrow morning, the lady sexton is going to come and let me into the fellowship hall. Tomorrow, I will have about a 32 mile (51 km) ride to Woodville, Mississippi and the motel. The temperature is going to be in the 70s. From Woodville, Mississippi, I'll have about a 25 mile (40 km) ride to st Francesville, Lousiana. I am praying that tomorrow will be a better and safer day. Three more days to the twenty-fifth anniversary of my ministry.

The next update might be posted between March 29th and April 05th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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