Last night I had stopped by an old general store to sleep for the night. I had already taken off my cycling shoes and helmet and started cleaning myself up when I got a feeling that I should keep riding. This place had no power, no water and was kind of buggy, so it was easy to go with the feeling.
Just a little bit further down the road were two churches. One of them was having Wednesday night mass, while the other was empty. I was going to just bunk out at the empty church, but thought that it would be nice to clean up a little and fill up my water bottles at the other church.
Mass let out right as I was finishing cleaning myself up. When I went to go fill my bottles, a gentleman stopped me and asked me if I wanted to fill them with ice first. I took him up on the offer and then went outside.
On my way back to the bike, I talked to a few people who had noticed my bike on the side of the church. I started to pack my gear back up and was going to go sleep at the other church, when I saw an empty car port on the side of one of the back buildings. Knowing how humid it had been lately, I figured that would be a nice place to stay in case a storm came up, even if the sky did look clear. I asked someone if who I should ask if it was alright to stay there and they brought me over to one of the men I had talked to earlier. He said he didn’t have a problem with it and so I was set. I moved my bike under the port, changed into my normal shorts, and went out front with my cell phone where there was better reception.
Word must have spread quickly of what I was doing, and that it was alright for me to stand there because while I was standing out front people kept stopping on their way out to wish me luck. One man asked me if I needed anything and would have gone home to get me whatever I needed if there was.
Not long after that, another man came up to me to let me know that I could sleep inside the building in the front. Here they were constructing a new church. It was all sealed up, and mostly painted. It even had both electricity and air conditioning! I jumped at this offer since I wouldn’t have to worry about snakes or insects (I don’t think I would have to worry about alligators in this area, although that is a growing concern now).
I slept great! It was a little hard sleeping on the concrete, but that was easy to deal with. At first the air conditioning just felt cool, and I just slept in my sheet, but as the night went on it actually got so cold that I had to pull out my sleeping bag.
I woke up around 6 or 6:30 but laid in bed till almost 7 when the construction workers started showing up. The pastor stopped by to open up all the doors for them and brought me a bacon and egg biscuit.
Before leaving, I asked the pastor for the address of the church so that I could send a post card or thank you letter when I was done with my trip. He gave me a business card and said to give him a call if I ran into any other trouble, even if it meant him getting a hold of another pastor.
I’m really trying not to be naive when I meet people and they are nice to me, but I really think I am meeting some of the nicest people. Every where I go people are interested in my story and always offering to help me out in one way or another. Its really been a great trip so far and nights like these just make it all that much easier and better.