Jacksonville, NC – New Bern, NC a distance of 39 miles.
Miles traveled through today 6,108, on my bike for 5,040 of them.
Today was a laid back slow meandering day all around. I slept so well that when I woke myself up at 6:30 I just laid back down and slept another hour before my old joints said, “Old Guy get up or we’ll give you aches and pains all day”. Knowing how much my joints can make me miserable I got out of bed and strolled down to the breakfast bar for something to eat. I could get to like staying at Comfort Inns. Kristy and Jane you did well giving this Old Guy a room as I’ll look to stay at Comfort Inns when traveling in the future. After filling my tummy, I slipped into my riding bibs. Have I mentioned the Skins compression riding bibs are like having nothing on at all? They are very comfortable, designed to message the legs while you are wearing them and have worn well. I did wear one set out while on the west coast and a second set is almost done for but both of these sets had been bought last year so between using them for a year at home and on this marathon crossing of America I can hardly complain. If you need a set of bicycle riding bibs don’t let the price tag of the Skins scare you off as they are a bargain in the long
About 8:30 I finally had loaded up Spirit and headed to New Bern only 40 miles away. Lucked out again today as had a good tailwind to push me along making the ride so much easier then battling a headwind. As I pedaled along effortlessly, I couldn’t help but think of Matt and Jack’s comment about how fluid and graceful it appeared Spirit and I flowed down the road. Today I’d have to agree with them,
it did feel nice. Along the way I stopped to take a few pictures which I’ll include in the posting, hope you enjoy them.
Note unable to insert additional pictures tonight will try next time I can.
I do wish I could take the quality of pictures Aaron does as his ability to frame a pictures is a work of Art. I’ll ask him to forward me some of his work for you to enjoy.
Upon entering the community of New Bern I began looking for a church or fire department for finding a place to sleep tonight. First church I spotted was a very nice and big Lutheran Church. I’m not Lutheran but have several friends and family members who are. In fact, one of the regular readers of this journal is Gene a retired Lutheran Pastor who has been an inspiration for me. Before entering the church I made sure of the Pastor’s name so I could ask for him. As I walked in there was a gentleman placing hymnals on a stand and I asked him if Pastor Rust was in. He replied, “I’m him, may I help you”? I responded by handing him one of my cards, introducing myself and then expressing my need for a floor to sleep this night. I also added I ride across Iowa with a group from Wartburg College a Lutheran school in Waverly thinking that might help my cause. I was caught totally off guard with Pastor Rust’s response, “We have an alarm here at the church so you can’t stay here. I don’t know what to tell you, I can’t help you”. He then handed me back my card and walked away. There I stood with my jaw dropped thinking Pastor Rust you are the closest person I’ve met on my entire journey to be rude and mean spirited and I’m glad I don’t attend your church and feel sorry for those who do as I don’t think you are much of a Christian but that’s my first meeting opinion of you. I left shaking my head in disbelief.
I remounted Spirit and continued along the street hoping to find the city fire department and I did. What a beautiful building the community of New Bern has built for their department and it was well stocked with a number of Pumper trucks, a Hook and Latter Truck and various other emergency vehicles. The first person I met was a Deputy Chief and sorry I have forgotten his name as he was very nice and receptive to my request for a place to stay but he said Chief Astor was the person who would have to make that call. The Deputy Chief invited me inside the fire department to wait for the chief who would return in about 10 minutes. He said to make myself comfortable in the waiting area. He even asked if I needed
to visit the restroom or need something to drink. About 10 minutes later Chief Astor arrived and I introduced myself and restated my need for a place to stay. Chief Astor said the city forbids any non-fireman to stay overnight. But the
Chief quickly added he would be able to help place me in one of the Volunteer
fire departments in the area. He said he’d get Jeremy the department’s fire inspector and liaison with the local volunteer departments. A few minutes later Jeremy came out and said he was able to get me a place to stay tonight with the
Tilghman Station West of New Bern, only about 3 miles away. He asked for and gave my cell phone number to Lt. Steven who volunteers at that department when he isn’t on duty with the city department. I was duly impressed with all three New Bern Fire Department folk’s sincere efforts to help me out. Guys I hope you read this journal entry because I want you to know first and foremost thank you. Second you all displayed more compassion and Christian attitude than did Pastor Rust.
When I arrived at the Tilghman Station firemen Justin and John were waiting for me. They immediately invited me into the station and even told me to bring Spirit into the office where I could leave it overnight. As with previous visits with firemen at other stations I found these two guys to be enthusiastic about being firemen. They also displayed a sincere interest not only in my ride but in
bicycling in general and are riders, too. It was a good visit and I enjoyed meeting my friends. Shortly after Justin and David left, Steve the one who had asked for my cell number when I was with Jeremy, did call me even before I rode the distance to the station to be sure I had directions. He was out of town at the
time but now was back. He asked if Justin and David had shown me around and they had. He then presented me with a card key to get in and out of the station should I need to go out. We then began talking about bicycling and he has yet to purchase a road bike but sure knew a lot about them and I’m quite confident Steven will be riding soon.
Meeting all six of these fire fighters was a pleasure and made for an enjoyable experience. Especially after the not so kind experience I had with Pastor Rust. I’m a firm believer in God but I respect those who may not believe there is. What I do know there is a higher power or whatever at work in the universe. In my opinion you don’t have to go to a temple (church) regularly to be a good Christian. Goodness and evil resides in the heart and soul of all humans. I’ve been blessed to
see and be the received of good deeds by all who I have met on this journey. My experience with Pastor Rust I’m going to consider he was having a bad day and I didn’t feel the goodness which resides in his heart. Sorry for carrying on about this incident. I’ve purposely avoided writing anything controversial in my journal until now. Please forgive my indulgence.