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A Second Day in DeRidder, Louisiana

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I don’t know why. Maybe I did not want to travel on Halloween or any number of reasons. I did ride around town on my bicycle and talked with some of the locals, but I can tell you that I am very lonely this evening.

Still I search for myself. Who am I and how can I make a difference in this crazy environment that I ride through on a bicycle? The obstacles are many: cars, trucks, logging trucks, dogs, and weather to mention a few.

It’s just me and my shadow. Loneliness is natural when traveling alone. Somehow I have to overcome being lonely and focus on enjoying my journey.

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Written by James J. Pond

October 31, 2011 at 8:57 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Japanese Practice Altruism

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[Read: The Goose Story]

Those of you who have followed me online know that I believe our struggles will never be resolved until we begin to practice altruism.  If you are unfamiliar with the term its simple definition might be the practice of doing what is good for all.  It is perhaps the only way we will ultimately eliminate selfishness, ignorance, and greed that has become so prevalent in our society today.  Meanwhile, Yasuteru Yamada somehow manage to recruit over 200 Japanese senior citizens who have volunteered to replace the Fukushima workers in an incredible display of altruistic behavior.

“The nuclear burden should be tasked to an older generation that has consciously or unconsciously supported the plant, and reaped the benefits of the electricity it’s generated”.

-Yasuteru Yamada

I wonder if our elected officials would ever be able to just do what is good for the people.  It is sad that our democracy has been corrupted and the dollar makes it easier than ever to circumvent the law, the people, and in do so it is destroying any sense of ethical behavior.  Of course, we the people of the United States of America should learn from Mr. Yamada and assume a leadership role.  Our Democracy belongs to the people and the people have become tolerant. Yes indeed, we the people of the United States have let our elected officials run over our constitution and the sign read, “Constitution issues need not apply!  Open for corporate business only”. It is time for us all to become more vocal.  We need to crank-up the volume in order to remove that hideous sound of silence that our elected officials enjoy so much.  Listen and do for the good of all.

“Remember: On any given night approximately 200,000 veterans are sleeping in the street.  You have to wonder about our elected Representatives who voted to go to war and failed to develop a plan that would ensure a place for veterans who were left homeless.  It’s not like we had no statistics on homeless vets or anything.  Let’s call it what it is……Piss Poor Planning!  Tell Congress that our vets should not be left out in the streets.”

-James J. Pond

Written by James J. Pond

June 8, 2011 at 4:12 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Where is the Atlantic Coast?

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Problems Encountered-  The most significant problem I have experience thus far was in Louisiana.  Because of the Mississippi River flooding and the lack of information regarding road closures I was forced to travel off route.  I left the route in DeRidder, LA  and traveled to Lake Charles, LA. (47 miles). This allowed me to board a Greyhound Bus to Jacksonville, FL. My decision was based solely on my own personal safety!

Random Acts of Kindness- I have been the recipient of many random acts of kindness.  These random acts of kindness have kept me going by raising my spirit and moral.  Usually, these events are born in the small rural communities I’ve traveled through; however, I don’t want to leave out the folks who live in the urban communities who continue to cheer me on either.  I receive emails and words of encouragement and I want all to know that it means so much to me.  Traveling solo for long distances on mostly farm roads and rural settings can lead to loneliness and even some frustration.  I offer my sincere thanks to all who have posted, commented, emailed, phoned, and even those who have just followed my posts.  My dear friend Donnie Durden called me while I was on the Greyhound Bus to inform me that my trip was not just for me but for all those who wished to do the same.  I’ve known Donnie since the seventh grade and I was glad to hear that he may join me on part of the trip.  Donnie you know you are always welcome.

Where am I going now- Well, I started the Atlantic Coast Bicycle Route starting in Jacksonville, FL. so I am heading in a northerly direction towards Bangor, ME.  Along the Coast I have a few people that I really want to see and a wedding that I must attend in Cape Cod.  I’m hoping that I won’t have to take another Greyhound bus but if that’s what it takes, that’s exactly what I will do.  No way I miss this wedding!

I’m supposed to be riding along the Atlantic Coastline but I’m in Folkston, GA. I do not see a coastline, there are no seagulls or breaking waves.  I am much closer to the Okefenokee Swamp!  Slowly but surely I make my way. Closer and closer I get to the Atlantic Coast!  The time has arrived to pick up my pace.

Homeless and hunger- There has been little time for me to begin YouTube videos that document the homeless and hungry.  The main obstacle has been the routes that I’ve been following that are mostly farm roads that avoid urban environments. There may be homeless persons in the rural environment but they have been invisible to me.  Most all of the rural communities do have a food pantry which provide food for the hungry.  I want to talk more about what I’ve learned about the rural communities at a later date.

Homeless Veterans-  If you happen to find a Veteran who is homeless the Veterans Administration has a telephone number that will provide assistance.  The number is: 877.424.3838

Environment- The glaciers are melting, record setting tornadoes, hurricanes, polar melting, and a majority of real scientists say global warming (climate change) is happening.  Unfortunately, there are some who don’t believe and many of them are the old, the crusty, the greedy, and the corporate owned legislative branch of our government that refuse to do what is good for the people, future generations, and our environment.  Remember that our environment encompasses everything around us.  Without natural resources there will be no economy!  Post your thoughts on our environment!!!!

Donations- I will be looking for potential sponsors at a later date.  Anyone can make donations by simply accessing my PayPal account at http://enviroignorance.blogspot.com/

Written by James J. Pond

May 25, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Traveling Long Distance on Bicycle

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I almost lost my pants somewhere on farm road 1293 between Thicket, TX and Kountze, TX.  I’m loosing weight measurably but not by any scale.  The locals are calling me the gangster bicyclist because my pants are sliding down to the lower portion of my buttocks!  One thing is certain is that there is much more to bicycling along these Texas routes than weight loss.

When I left Navasota, TX. I was 381.5 miles from St. Francisville, Louisiana.  Today I am just over 270 miles from St. Francisville and just before I reach that goal I will be crossing the Mississippi River.  Readers who have been following my journey may recall my amazing 11 day stay at Checkpoint Harley in Richards, TX with Ernie and Doris, which really has been the highlight of my trip thus far.  There have been other random acts of kindness along the way though.  As I left Shepherd, TX. I stopped for some breakfast at a local restaurant called Happy Days.  I ordered a big breakfast: two eggs, bacon, pancakes, and a side of hash browns.  Everyone inquired about my journey but one man named Clay secretly paid for my breakfast.  The waitress let me know only after Clay had left so I made sure to leave Clay a thank you note.  The waitress assured me that Clay stops by every day for breakfast and she would deliver the note to Clay personally.  There sure a allot of nice folks in this neck of the woods.

There is also an evil dark side that looms around these parts.  I spoke with a sheriff in Cold Springs, TX. who told me that methamphetamine (meth) labs were springing up all over this rural landscape.  During our conversation he mentioned that there are now mobile meth labs that makes it a little more difficult for law enforcement officers to catch these types of criminals.

Bicycling affords everyone a great opportunity to travel long distances on a relatively small budget. Obviously, the majority of people will not dismiss the comfort and convenience of their own automobile for a bicycle, especially when longer distances are involved.  But you may wish to try sometime. What I want to share with you now is how I have continued peddling through some of my own frustrations.  Yes, I have become frustrated along my trip from Kyle, TX. to Kountze, TX. a distance of approximately 269 miles.

My daily routine has me traveling along Texas farm roads that for the most part, requires me to resupply at gas station convenience stores (inconvenient stores).  These stores cost more and have little foods that are actually nutritious.  Select carefully and don’t forget to check the best by date on the package.

The first thing I would recommend for anyone thinking about touring the United States is to start by training.  The first thing I did wrong was train for a designated mileage goal.  In Dallas, TX it is relatively flat when compared to the terrain of the Texas hill country.  Because I failed to reach my daily mileage goal  I became very frustrated right out of the gate.  I discovered that my inner thought processes were beginning to talk to me negatively.  As I began peddling up these steep hills over and over again the negative thoughts became more intense.  I’m calling this phenominen the seven phases that lead to failure:

  1. This is impossible.
  2. I’m an idiot for embarking on this journey.
  3. I’m not in good enough shape or I’m to old.
  4. I should just turn back.
  5. I could get hurt.
  6. It’s hot, it’s to cold, it’s raining. I’m lonely!  Why didn’t I find someone to ride with?
  7. I should just quit.

So anyone embarking on a long distance bicycle trip should train on a variety of terrain.  Is it o.k. to just start bicycling?  I’d have to say yes, but in all honesty you will have to fight off those seven phases that lead to failure along the way.  How have I fought off those phases thus far?  Whether or not I was camping or lodging for one day or several I always managed to listen to the advice from other bikers, adjust my strategies, and get back on my bike peddling.

Here are some things I say to myself and even out loud as a rebuttal to the seven phases that lead to failure:

  • When you think it’s impossible say to yourself, “I can do it!”
  • When you feel that you should never have started your journey remember how excited you were on the first day.
  • When you feel as though you’re not in good shape or to old yell loudly, “I’m getting stronger!”
  • If you start to think about turning back set a take a break or set a new shorter goal.  Remember everyday is another day closer to your goal.
  • If you are worrying about getting hurt take time to make sure you are practicing safe bicycling procedures for own safety and think seriously about your personal safety at all times.  If you get hurt be sure to take action immediately. Don’t let your thoughts convince yourself that you may get hurt.  Think about your safety not just for yourself, but for others too. I learned a long time ago that survival is not based on ones physical ability.  Survival always depends upon ones mental state. You have to believe that you are going to survive no matter what! I will post more on safety later.
  • If the elements or loneliness begin try to convince yourself to quit remember that these conditions are ever-changing.  I stayed two extra days at one of my breaks because it may have rained.  The only thing it did was cause me unnecessary worry and two more days not bicycling.  If loneliness is an issue what I’ve found is to take a lunch break and talk to the guy or gal next to you.  Remember, having a partner poses its own special problems as well, especially if you cannot see eye-to-eye on some of the very basics.
  • I’ve thought about turning back several times for many different reasons. How did I resolve these thoughts? First, I thought about how much I’ve wanted to do this for myself.  The dream!  And I also thought about the people who have been supporting my dream.  For me, these were the ways that I have eliminated the seven phases leading to failure so far.  If you feel that this was not enough read over the prior six phases.  I wish all good luck, good health, and to your own success whatever that may be.

– James J. Pond

Written by James J. Pond

May 8, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

Journal Entry: 04.09.11–04.20.11

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04.08.11 Irving, TX Miles: 000 – Packed up the last two boxes bound for storage.  My son drove into Irving and treated me to a Subway sandwich.  Thanks Jim for taking the time to help out.  I know you work long days and it meant allot to me that you offered your time and support for my journey.  It was good to see Jim and he helped out by delivering the boxes to storage.  Meanwhile, Linda came back to her place from a full days work and we took off for Kyle, TX. We arrived at the motel during the wee hours of the night (morning).  We were tired.  Linda drove the whole way there!

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING GOOGLE MAPS BICYCLE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION: CLICK HERE!

04.09.11 Kyle, TX Miles: 40 – I tried to manipulate the weight between my saddle bags and the bike trailer. This became a source of stress as I became frustrated from my own procrastination.  Yes, I waited to the last minute.  Once that was resolved we took a ride to the local bicycle shop and picked up some last minute items for the bike.  Afterwards we ate a late breakfast at Pisces that hit the spot.  After some final touches in the CVS parking lot it was time to get the show on the road.  Linda followed behind me and we stopped to say our good-byes. Little did I know that she went ahead of me and surprise me twice as I was peddling myself up and down the hills.  I can’t say enough about the love I have for my son, my daughter, my sister, and my lifelong High School sweetheart Linda whom I was recently reunited with. I miss you all.

Note: It is over 210 miles to Austin, TX from Irving, TX.  Kyle is located south of Austin  (click here for details).

My goal was 50 miles to Bastrop State Park; however, I underestimated the Texas Hill Country, and found myself lagging behind.  It seemed like every turn I made the strong winds were blowing directly in my face.  I still managed to keep going.  When I arrived in Lockhart, TX I rode right through the square.  The winds had   really picked up and there were thousands of honeybees swarming around me.  I drove through the swarm of bees wishing them well and I didn’t receive any stings. I stopped for a Subway sandwich in Lockhart and talked briefly with some locals.  From Lockhart I rode thirteen miles passing Bateman, TX.  I knew that my pace had slowed down and as I looked towards the west the sun was telling me that darkness was rapidly approaching.

When I arrived at Red Rock (State Road 20 and 225) I stopped at a Citgo service station and asked the cashier if she knew of any places where I could pitch a tent she said no; however, she pointed me in the direction of the Grace Baptist Church.  It was maybe a quarter-mile downhill cruise to the front door.  I looked around and found a welcome sign on a door that read “FEEL FREE TO COME IN AND ASK QUESTIONS”.  So I did!

04.10.11 Red Rock, TX Miles: 00 Attended service at Grace Baptist Church (1 Corinthians 3). I had not attended church in a very long time and I sat with a small small group who provided me with a King James version of the bible.  Since I have used the American Standard version in the past the King James version was a little tricky.  Anyone can view my photographs by clicking here!

04.11.11 Departed from Red Rock, TX Miles: 15 The Pastor of Grace Baptist Church asked if I would like to join himself and one of the contractors to a local lunch.  After lunch I returned to the church and assisted in the transfer of a new air conditioner from the truck and to the platform where it now sits.  The church has a new air conditioner! The trip to Bastrop State Park was not without incident as I left my wallet at the grocery store.  I actually peddled two to four more miles than the reported mileage.  I set up my camp in the dark because of my wallet mistake. For a description of the route from Red Rock, TX to Bastrop State Park click here!

04.12.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Camping State Park personnel are outstanding! I purchased a Texas State Park pass which allows me discounts on fees and camping.  It’s a great way to support our State Parks!

04.13.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Camping, bicyling, and photography.

04.14.11 Bastrop State Park, TX Miles: 00 Departed Bastrop State Park for La Grange, TX.

04.15.11 La Grange, TX Miles: 39 Oak Motel Despite my late start I felt pretty good today.  The hills were very steep and on two hills I had to walk the bike up the hill about 20 yards. Walking the bike with saddle bags and a trailer is much more difficult than peddling.  I stopped in Winchester at Murphy’s Steakhouse and ate the very best Ribeye I have ever sank my teeth into. For a description of the route from Bastrop State Park to La Grange, TX click here! Next Destination Navasoto, TX

04.16.11 Gay Hill, TX Miles: 40 Well the sun was setting and I had to act fast.  I called the Mariposa Ranch Bed & Breakfast and discovered that the only room available was $190.00 a night. Well over my budget.  Whoever answered the phone was kind enough to let me sleep on the floor in a trailer home without water or lighting.  The air conditioning and heater did work!  I was extremely grateful and left early the next morning.  I’m always impressed by the display of generosity and compassion for others.  I literally would have had to find somewhere to pitch a tent and there are allot of no trespassing signs around here.  It says allot about the Mariposa Ranch and when I’m done with my journey I will return to the ranch for a stay.  I failed to make it to Navasota but I am alive!   For a description of the route from La Grange to Gay Hill click here! Next Destination Navasoto, TX

Note: I was weak and not feeling well after early morning departure from the Mariposa Ranch.  I had to stop in Independence, TX at a small grocery store for several hours.

04.17.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 32 Best Western Inn Still a little weak and don’t really know why.  I’m hoping a good night sleep will help.  

04.18.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn After eating a Cliff Bar last night I became ill again. I believe that because of the heat some ingredients in the bar may have become rancid.  The last time I had eaten a Cliff Bar was at the Mariposa Ranch.  All of my Cliff bars have been discarded.

04.19.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn I discovered today that my video camera power cord has vanished.  This is very disappointing but I have found a source of supply.

04.20.11 Navasoto, TX Miles: 00 Best Western Inn My stay here was needed as I managed to recover and get better organized.  This should make my travel a little bit easier.  If you happen to pass through the area you must stop by the Corner Café.  Oh yea.  The replacement part was shipped out overnight.  I received it at around 11:45. Unfortunately it was the wrong part.

Links to towns I’ve passed through:  Towns I’ve passed through in Texas: Kyle, Uhland, Lockhart, Bateman, Red Rock, Bastrop, Bastrop State Park, Buescher State Park, Winchester, La Grange, Rutersville, Oldenburg, Warrenton, Round Top, Burton, Longpoint, Gay Hill, Independence, William Penn, Washington, Navasota

Written by James J. Pond

April 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

Making MNSBC’s i-News Production Team Work

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I sent a quick email to MSNBC to try and get their environmental news published via really simple syndication (RSS).  I’m happy to report favorable results!
  • From Me to MNSBC (May 15, 2005)
    Letter to the Editor
    I would like to see MSNBC’s Environmental News available to RSS.
    James J. Pond

  • carbon copy from I-news production team to Miguel (MSNBC) + His reply to me:
    Miguel Llanos <Miguel.Llanos@msnbc.com>
    Hi there, thanx for having asked as it turned out to be quite feasible to do this! Link is below
    miguel 

  • From: i-News Production Team
    Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 1:24 PM
    To: Ryan Wernet; i-News Production Team
    Cc: Kelly Amsbry; William Femia; Miguel Llanos; Angela Clark
    Subject: RE: RSS feed for enviro?
    It’s live on the RSS page now: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5216556/  
    Marc Singer
    MSNBC News Production Team
    For NewsProd issues reply to: newsprod@msnbc.com

Written by James J. Pond

May 29, 2005 at 6:14 AM

Posted in Uncategorized