What a day of ups and downs! I stopped at the East Baton Rouge Parish Library and saw that there wasn’t an outdoor plug for my bicycle. I spoke to Jan, a librarian, and she asked Geralyn, the manager, if I could bring my bike inside. “Sure” said Geralyn, “bring it in, we have a room for it.”
I love Southern Hospitality and politeness! So I had a large office all to myself. But Jan and Geralyn were curious, and began quizzing me about my journey. They decided it was newsworthy, and called the local TV station WBRZ, who sent over Chris Sassser to film and interview me! Apparantly I was on the evening news!
With that feather in my cap I set off. After about 50 miles the dark clouds I had been watching drew closer. I reached for my phone to check out weather radar- but it was gone, it had fallen from my basket. No phone! What to do? Ride back and look? Order another from Amazon and send it a few days ahead general delivery? But then I would lose my number. So I decided to find the closest Cricket wireless dealer, ride there, get a new phone and keep my number. But how to find a Cricket dealer?
Up ahead was a 1 car garage sized post office. I explained my dilema to the young woman, and she invited me into the back to research on the internet where the closest Cricket dealer was. There were none ahead for a few days. But just 28 miles back the way I had just come was the town of Baker with a Cricket dealer. As I was deciding to ride back, the skies opened up. I got on my rain gear and headed back- the dealer closed at 9:00PM- it should be easy.
I had gone about sixteen miles along a busy four lane highway in the pouring rain when there was a loud KaaaaBluueee. My rear tire had blown out! I had no choice but to walk my bike for about a half mile along the busy highway to try and find a place to repair it. I found the machine shop of Ryan. I asked if I could change my tire in his yard and he said sure.
It was then that I discovered that my rear tire had a big slit in it, and was not repairable. I don’t carry a spare tire, this has never happened to me before. So I asked Ryan if there was a junk bike lying around that I could nab the tire from. Instead, he offered to drive me to Wal Mart, about 15 miles round trip. He refused gas money.
Thanks to Ryan I got my bike running and set off into the dusk. And then my bike stopped running. By higgling and twiggling and a lot of pedalling I made it to the Cricket dealer- just as they were locking up. But, they opened for me, got me set up, and then posed for pictures with me- “in case I was famous someday.”
There was a hotel a block down the road and I checked in for the night, exhausted. So here I have spent the day, working on my bike. I put the good Schwalbe tire in the back, and the cheap Wal Mart tire in the front. I opened up the batteries and found a broken sensor wire and repaired it, and balanced that battery. I rewired a DPDT switch, and found a broken wire that was causing the bike to stall. Tomorrow I will ride again.
By the way, the neighborhood is 95% black and I am loving it! It is wonderful to see such different faces and body types than I am used to. I walked miles today to Wal Mart for a soldering gun, and to the chiropractor. I have only experienced kindness and friendliness. For example, at Wal Mart, an elderly retired fighter pilot led me around the unfamiliar store to help me locate my shopping items. Another gentleman, at my request, graciously gave me a lift for three miles. You’ve got to put your friendly on when you travel!