Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 30, 2017, Tuesday. VFW Post 2514

It is always good to start a blog post with an attention get'er.  In this case Daisy receives the honor...again.

May 27, Saturday, I packed up camp at J&W Sales Inc. at 4241 New Bern Hwy in Jacksonville, NC and hit the road.  Many thanks to Mr. Wilbur Parker and his family for allowing us to stay at the property.

I have been blessed, up until recently, with regard to the weather, but the previous evening was difficult to get good sleep.  After reading my book for a while, I threw a sheet over me and went to sleep.  It wasn't long before I woke in a sweat.  Dew in the night air, settled through the bug screen and had saturated my sheet.  I threw off the cover and for the rest of the night rest came fitfully.

Today's ride would take me through some post card perfect towns and scenes; Deppe park (Onslow County Parks), Maysville, and Pollocksville just to name a few.  At each of these places I took a cool-down break.

Upon my arrival at a Shell station at N. Pirates Rd. and U.S. Business Highway 17 I was extremely exhausted and actually considered bypassing New Bern altogether.  It was a last minute thought to try calling the local VFW for a few days of recuperation.  I talked to Jon, the post commander and was welcomed with open arms.  The bad part about this new development was that I now had 24 kilometers to go until I could begin setting up camp, and would actually backtrack a bit, heading in a southerly direction.

After a breather, and psyching myself up for more riding, I hit the road towards the VFW.  Wow!  Was I ever glad that I passed through New Bern.  Am I the only one that has never heard of New Bern, North Carolina?  In all of the books I have read I have never stumbled across a mention of this town (You will have to wait until the next post for photos of the New Bern).

Along the way, I had a vision of food and made a quick stop at a Piggly Wiggly for some fresh onions, garlic, jalepenos, a dozen eggs, and a whole fryer chicken!  Without a refrigerator my evening just got longer with this purchase as I would have to cut this up and cook it later

Off of Highway 70, some folks stopped me as I was pausing to pick up a beer right before my arrival to the VFW. We took some selfies together before I had to cut short our conversation; I still had to make camp, the sun was heading down fast, and I still had 6 kilometers to go.

I arrived at the VFW just in time to get a photo of the sign without a flash.  It must have been 8:30pm or so when I arrived.  I immediately walked, watered, and fed my girl dog Daisy, then proceeded to crack open my brand new sweaty beer!  Now, what do I do first?

At the garden hose, I decided to wash all of my riding clothes while washing my hair and taking a sponge bath/ the dark.  It would be 12:30am before I was to finally lay down and try for sleep.  As exhausted as I was, sleep did not come easy and before I knew it, the sun would be coming up.  63 kilometers, or 40 miles, I traveled this day.  Man I was beat!!

May 28, Sunday, I met many of the folks here at the VFW, shared my story with interested folks, and was welcomed and invited to participate in the Memorial Day VFW BBQ and family get together the following day.  I met with the post commander and watched him retire 247 U.S. flags the proper way.  We had a nice long chat while he recovered from the heat of the fire.

One of the problems I faced here at the VFW was one of planning and prioritizing.  I was allowed to use their WiFi and as you all know, I am very behind on posting photos and videos of my trip thus far.  Here, I have been granted certain freedoms and it is a more than a little overwhelming.  I decided to make my priority posting and uploading tour pix.  I also decided that when I depart from here will be the time to take some photos of New Bern since I will have to pass through it, or very nearly so, on my way out of town in the direction of "little" Washington, NC.

May 29, Monday, Memorial Day, the folks of the VFW along with "Young" Marines and a Boyscout Troop, packed up chairs and departed for a formal Memorial Service in New Bern.  A little later, folks started arriving for the BBQ preparation.

May 30, Tuesday, another down day, I would spend all day walking Daisy and uploading and working online.  I also called all the local media outlets and even set up an appointment to meet with one at 1-1:30pm.  At 3pm I found out that they decided not to go with our story.  It was at that time I called the other news station with little chance of success being so late in the day, not to mention it being overcast and gloomy.

In Wilmington, our mission for "Veterans and Their Pets"(SM), , received excellent coverage from local media.  I learned here at the VFW that these folks here in New Bern tune into different stations.  It never occurred to me that I would need to reach out to different television media sources as frequently as I am doing now.  I had assumed that evening news would be the same over the course of 100 miles or even more.  Not the case.

I am finding out, especially on this tour, that weather plays a huge role in evening comfort.  It is most difficult to plan for foul weather yet remain comfortable.  Since Ridgeland, South Carolina, I have consistently used my bug screen, the tent without the rain fly, every night.  The bug screen itself retains heat in the living quarters, yet lets dew and condensation through.  This tour has been tough so far, yet, for me, it remains enjoyable and challenging.  Every time I check my phone for a weather update, a location other than that where I thought myself to be would pop up.  Add to this dilemma the fact that I choose to place camp in excellent natural wind breaks.  Finding a clearing large enough to scan the distant sky for storm fronts and other weather patterns is difficult if not impossible.

To the folks at the VFW Post 2514, ,, thank you for your kindness, hospitality, and generosity.  It was not my intention to solicit anything other than a stay for recuperation.  I know from my military experience that I may always count on my fellow soldier for assistance, but the extent of the kindness shown me here is quite humbling.  Thank you for everything!  I do hope to reach out to those folks that are not military and to encourage looking after those that have either offered to pay the ultimate price for freedom or have.  To my followers and subscribers to this blog, please show your support by going to their social media sights and click "like" and or "follow".

Additionally, ,  VFW Post 2514, is looking for a swing set, play ground set, for their property here in New Bern, North Carolina.  If you know of a quality set that can be donated, please contact them directly.

Thank you Jackson, for the DENTASTIX and the Flea an Tick prevention, not to mention the two hamburger patties that you prepared especially for Daisy.  Here is a video of her snacking on one of your gifts!

Before I forget, my mission, "Tour De PACLANTIC", is to raise awareness and funding for military veterans in need.  Often is the case that demand for services outweighs the funds available to assist.  If you are able to donate to this worthy organization, please do so at or at through their PayPal account.  100% of donations go directly to assisting veterans AND their pets!

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