Posted by: twistsoffeet | June 6, 2011

I Must Be Doing Something Right

I woke early today and found another flat tire.

Actually, it was the same tire and I knew there was a leak and had been unable to find it.  I searched and searched again this morning, but was still unable to find the leak.  Finally, I mixed up some body wash and water for a soap mixture and rubbed it on the tube.

Still couldn’t find the leak.

Frustrated, I set the inflated wet tube down and walked away. When I returned I found a small amount of soap bubbles in an area of my tube.  What surprised me is there were five micro-holes in this area.  Having only one small patch left, I gave up and used my last remaining unused replacement tube.  I could have done that earlier, but I was determined to find the leak and Arthur was very upset this morning, so there was no hurry to start riding.

I finally hit the road at about 7:00 AM, and had a fairly easy ride.  Somehow I found my way to Paris and let me tell you it is way overrated.  Nobody could tell me where the Louvre was and I couldn’t find the Eiffel tower.  My French is horrible, so I stuck to English, and it was just as well because I never heard anyone else speaking in a Franco-phonic dialect.

Anyway I wasn’t impressed with Paris, but they did have a Wal-Mart.  Don’t tell anyone, but up until I lived in Puerto Rico I had never been in a Wal-Mart.  The only reason I went then is because they were the only place I could get certain items, and that took a two hour ferry ride then a twenty minute cab ride… so that shows how desperate I was when I broke my vow of never shopping at that store.

Well today I was desperate again, and the only place I could find that had tube patch kits and spare inner tubes was Wal-Mart, so for the third time in my life, I visited that business.

I really do not have anything against this retail giant; it is just a badge of honor to not shop there.  I would rather do business with the small mom and pop businesses.  Anyway, I bought tube patches and tubes and said goodbye to Gay Paris.

On the way out of town, I stopped at a Marathon station for ice and water.  Kathy and Amy from the Harmony Missionary Baptist Church stopped in with Kathy’s husband.  It really is a small world.

I headed out of town on Hwy 641, when suddenly hills reared their ugly heads.  And to make matters worse, there was only a three inch shoulder on this two lane highway, with vehicles racing by at 55 mph.  I did notice a BP station about 200 yards back, so I went in and asked the woman behind the counter if the road was like this for long.  Deborah, I am just a little irritated with your answer.  Were you just having fun at my expense?

Deborah said oh no in about two miles or so it opens up into a four lane with a shoulder.  A young man in the store said he thought it was less than that– at less than one mile.  I decided to continue on my way.

Eight.  Yes, eight miles down the road, and still a scary two lane/no shoulder highway with a clear view at least two miles ahead and no four lane in sight, I was despondent.  But I did see a small town about 1-2 miles down the road.  When I reached this town, I went into another Marathon station and asked if the road opened up.  I was told I had 18 more miles before it opened up into a four lane.  And that happens right in the place where I will be leaving this highway to head for the Ohio and Mississippi River crossings.

While at this station I asked about a place to pitch my tent nearby and nobody could help me, so off I went again. Half a mile down the road, I saw the Puryear Baptist Church with a lot full of cars.  I stopped and waited for someone to come out because I did not want to interrupt a church service or anything.

I really did not intend to cause her distress, but the first person I saw was a senior woman and upon seeing me unshaven sweaty and covered with road grime, I think she was worried.  I asked if the Pastor was there, but she said he was not.  Then she said the youth Pastor was there, and she would get him for me.

I spoke to Brother Michael Lawrence and asked for water and a place to pitch my tent.  He told me where I could pitch my tent and said there was a water faucet on the building.  He told me which police officer would find me tonight and that I should just tell him I had permission from the youth minister to camp there.

Brother Michael had asked me to wait to set my tent up, as some members may not approve, so while waiting I called my parents.  I call them every day, if possible, just to let them know I am alright and where I am.  I usually speak with my mother, but today had a nice conversation with my father.

While speaking with Dad, Brother Michael came over and gave me a bag of ice for my water and knee and then surprised me by saying that I could use one of the church buildings to take a shower and get water.  I readily jumped at this offer, and after finishing my conversation with my father, I cleaned up.

There is nothing like a shower to make you feel human after a long day in the saddle.  After this, while studying maps and icing my knee, Brother Michael came back and said if I wanted I could sleep inside with all my equipment and with air conditioning.  I must be living right and immediately accepted this offer.

Honestly, I usually do not like air conditioning because it is so difficult to adjust to the heat when I go back outside, but I will deal with that tonight just for the chance to sleep without sweating all night.

As I was typing out this blog post, Brother Michael returned again, this time with donuts left over from the youth meeting. A sweets person I am usually not, but tonight I am all about eating sweet donuts.  What a treat tonight is turning out to be!

I am going to sleep early tonight and hopefully start tomorrow’s ride early.  I think I am less than five miles from Kentucky.  Two days of good riding should get me into southern Illinois.  After that, I have kind of a plan, but I need to review my maps more completely.

Today I only rode 30 miles.  This is due largely to the safety factor on this road and also due to the heavy cross/headwind pummeling me.  At times I had to work hard to pedal downhill, and other times I was knocked sideways– once almost into a car passing me.

I found a place to sleep right here at the Puryear Baptist Church, and this feels very good.


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