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Journal Entry: 05.03.11- 05.14.11

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05.03.11 Richards, TX to Pumpkin, TX. Miles: 36-   A really nice breeze and clear skies made my trip from Richards, TX. @ Checkpoint Harley to Pumpkin, TX.  Some of my travel was through Sam Houston National Forest and the cool breeze and tall pines made this ride all the more enjoyable.  I pulled into the Ranger Station not long after I had crossed the bridge spanning Lake Conroe.  I signed the log at the ranger station. The personnel were kind and I was glad they let me fill my water bottles  I stopped for lunch in New Waverly in a little restaurant called the Waverly House.

05.04.11 Pumpkin, TX to Coldspring, TX. Miles: 10- This was a short ride to set up for a long trip. I stayed at the San Jacinto Inn (no internet available).  I still have not really identified a good pace for myself.  I spoke with a local sheriff about crime Coldspring.  It was no surprise that methamphetamines were a big problem in the area.  During 2006 I discovered that Wisconsin was experiencing the problem; however, according to the sheriff in Coldspring the criminals are now using mobile labs.  This technique makes it much more difficult for local law enforcement officers to make an arrest.

05.05.11 Coldspring, TX to Shepherd, TX Miles: 15- As I entered Shepherd I stopped by City Hall to learn something about shelter for the evening since there are no campsites.  I had the ladies laughing so hard they couldn’t answer the incoming calls.  One of the local students told me that she would be marching in this years Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.  I ended up staying at the Americas Best Value Inn & Suites [no military discount and I believe its name has changed]. The rate was reasonable room was above average.  The next morning I made my way to Happy Days Restaurant for some breakfast.  One of the regulars ended up paying for my breakfast and it was only after he left that the waitress notified me.  I have found that many people are really interested in my journey and random acts of kindness seem to be a common event in these parts of Texas.

05.06.11 Shepherd, TX to Kountze, TX Miles: 49- This is my high mileage to date! There were no campgrounds available in Kountze so I checked into the Super 8 Motel [military discount]. The staff was very nice and the room rate was reasonable.  I spent two days at the Super 8 because I needed to!

05.07.11 Kountze, TX Miles: 00- I took a day off and relaxed.

05.08.11 Kountze, TX to Silsbee, TX Miles: 9.5- Short day to set up a reasonable mileage to cross the Texas boarder and into Merryville, LA.  I still need to gradually increase the daily miles I make because the area is somewhat remote and I don’t want to find myself riding in the darkness and turning into some animals steak.  In Silsbee there was a campground but locals told me that it usually has very loud parties.  I chose to stay at the Pinewood Inn [no military discount] room was less than average and staff was missing in action.

05.09.11 Silsbee, TX to Merryville, LA Miles: 55- I managed to gain some confidence during this trip and completed my longest single day mileage!  It was a long day and I managed meet the nice people at the Merryville Historical Society who provided a tent site, shower, and bathroom.  The Historical Society does not require donations but will accept donations.  I didn’t see anyone from the Historical Society after the first night.  I’m going to have to mail my donation to Merryville City Hall.  I spent four nights in Merryville and much of the time I was trying to get information on the flooding along the Mississippi River.

05.10.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00

05.11.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00

05.12.11 Merryville, LA Miles: 00 Merryville, LA Miles: 00 Leaving Merryville tomorrow morning with a plan to board a Greyhound Bus to Jacksonville, FL on 05.15.11

05.13.11 Merryville, LA to DeRidder, LA Miles: 22- Checked into the Skippers Inn after searching several other alternatives.  I managed to find a barber for a great haircut and tomorrow I intend go Lake Charles, LA to avoid any flooding that may exist in the vicinity of St. Francisville.016011012

05.14.11 DeRidder, LA to Lake Charles, LA Miles: 49- Got a great start in the morning and enjoyed the cool breeze and great road all the way south to Lake Charles.  I had to be at the Greyhound Bus Station before 2:50 PM when the bus was scheduled to depart. When I approached Moss Bluff there was bridge that was just not safe for me to cross (Calcasieu River) with my trailer.  I doubled back to a parking lot and found a beautiful red truck and the owner arranged transportation over the bridge and the rest of the way to the Greyhound Bus.  Unfortunately, there was a problem at Greyhound.  The bus driver would not allow my bicycle onto the bus without it being broken down and packed on a bus.

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I had to get my money back on the ticket I had purchased and find shelter to ensure that I could get on the bus the next day.  I contacted a bicycle shop about a mile away who told me that his shop could make it happen. It seemed that everything was in place but I found out that my High School Sweetheart, Linda Ramirez managed to arrange for someone to pick me up at the bicycle shop and deliver me and my equipment to the Greyhound Bus Station!  She managed to accomplish this by searching Facebook for anyone in Lake Charles, LA.  I scoffed at the idea as she was explaining what she had done.  Not five minutes later someone called me to confirm that my need for a ride was real. The ride happened!

I went to the mall and bought a two pairs of socks.  As I walked back to the hotel I discovered “My Place American Pub” and decided to have an ice cold beer. Next to me were a couple of great guys who had worked as contractors on the BP Oil Spill Cleanup…..

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The couple pictured with me paid for everything including my hotel room.  I have to say thanks to all of the folks who helped me enjoy a great evening filled with some fun and laughs.  I especially want to thank all for the memory and random acts of kindness!

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Written by James J. Pond

May 24, 2011 at 2:17 PM

Posted in Journal Entry

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