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Subj: Mobile, Alabama
Date: 4/28/2003 6:31:07 AM Pacific Standard Time

I spent Easter weekend in Tilmans Corner, just outside of Mobile.  While there, I stayed at the First Baptist Church inside the parsonage, which is now used as extra Sunday School rooms.  Lucky me, it had a full bathroom and even a bed in it, so I fared well.
   During the weekend, Stacie took me to Bellingrath Gardens, to see the Battleships, and even out to the movies, where we saw "What A Girl Wants."  It was a really cute show.
   On Easter Sunday I went to sunrise services down at the lake, then morning church services and evening services, too.  The sunrise service was really nice.
   Stacie had tried to make several contacts for me in the next few towns I'd be hitting, but after calling 7 different churches and having all of them tell her no, she was really frustrated.  I also knew that if she couldn't talk the churches into letting me stay at their place, then I certainly didn't stand a chance.  So on tuesday I headed out of town.
   I headed down south of Mobile to Fair Hope, where I had contacted the local police station to ask if I could pitch a tent back behind their office.  Chief Browning made a few contacts for me, and next thing I knew I was heading for the Holiday Inn, where I stayed for free.  That was a treat, because normally I don't get any discount at all from a name-brand motel, such as Holiday Inn, Motel 6, Super 8, or Comfort Inn.  Usually they don't care if I've just landed from Mars and am going across the US backwards on a pogo stick --they usually ell me to either pay up, or leave.  So to get a free night at the Holiday Inn was a real treat!  Then, because that Holiday Inn let me stay for free, the Holiday Inn in Foley also said I could stay for free, so I was really on a roll! 
   The Holiday Inn in downtown Foley was a couple miles off the beaten path that I was taking, Hwy 98.  So when I was leaving town, I had to walk almost 3 miles back through town just to get back on Hwy 98.  It was a busy, 4-lane strip going right through the heart of all the shopping centers.  I was pushing my cart along the left side of the road.  There was very little shoulder on the road, and my cart was hanging over the line by about 6-8"
Suddenly I heard someone from the parking lot shout at me, and it was a guy holding up a sheriff's badge telling me to "GIT OVER HERE."  So I walked over to him and he shouted "WHADAYA THINK YOU'RE DOING??" 
"I'm walking."
"Sir, I haven't noticed anyone slowing down because of me.  I'm just trying to get up to the next light, and then I'll head out of town."
"Sir, did people call in complaining about me?"
"No, I was just on my way to lunch.  I work in the narcotics.  BUT YOU STILL NEED TO GIT OFF THIS ROAD."
"Well just let me go 4 more blocks to the light, and I'll be out of town."
"Sir, I am homeless.  I would really enjoy that if you'd put me in jail where I wouldn't have to worry about my food and shelter for awhile.  But the fact is, that when you'd let me back out, I'd still need to get across town to leave.  So why don't you just save your taxpayers money and spend it on something else besides me?"
This guy was not happy.  The more I argued with him, the louder and more vulgar he got.  He was really wound up after I said that last bit.  He then loudly demanded that I turn at the next road, jog over a few blocks, and then get on the highway from there.  So I headed back out on the road to go up to the next block and turn, and he screamed at me to "GIT OFF THAT ROAD AND COME BACK HERE THROUGH THE PARKING LOT, OVER THE GRASS AND THROUGHT THE NEXT PARKING LOT TO GET TO THE LIGHT."  So I did.
He left, and a few minutes later, as I was over on that side road, a police car drove up beside me.  The officer never said a word, but just crept along beside me as I was walking up to Hwy 98 and headed out of town.  Boy did I have a lot on my mind while I was walking that day!
   I got into Elberta and visited with the police station there.  This group was really laid back and very nice.  I told them about my little encounter with the narcotics guy, and they rolled their eyes.  They were terribly disgusted and apologized repeatedly to me about it -- even though they had no connection at all.  They called up 3 churches and all 3 churches said no.  The fire station also said no, but the police said I could pitch a tent in the park right across the street.  That was all fine and dandy, except that we all knew it was suppose to storm that night.  They finally ended up letting me sleep inside the shed in the park on the concrete floor -- but with a roof over me!  That night it really, really stormed and rained.  I mean it poured!  I'm not sure if my little tent would've held up in that storm.  I was glad to be in that shed.
   Take care and have a great day!  KB


Subj: Navarre, Florida
Date: 4/28/2003 5:31:18 PM Pacific Standard Time

   Lillian, AL was the last town I stayed in before crossing over into Pensacola, Florida.  Pastor Darren at Cornerstone Bible Church told me to stop in when I got into town, which I gladly did.  He had visited with a couple from his church, Tom & Nancy Cooper, and they said I could spend the night in their RV.  They live in a very small, 1-bedroom retirement home when they aren't out RV-ing, so they didn't think they had room in their house.  Their RV, however, was spectacular.
   They had it all hooked up and running, with the air conditioner on when they let me inside.  The RV was new, large, roomy, and really really nice.  I was in total awe, trying to figure out how I can afford to buy one of these when I'm done walking.  I opened every drawer, checked every cupboard, tried out all the furniture, admired all the cubby holes, and played with all the switches while Nancy stood there laughing at me.  With the AC on during the night, it gave just the right quiet hum to sleep really well with.  I was so impressed!  In the morning, Nancy served me breakfast and after that I was back on the road again.
   I had contacted the Fire Chief in Pensacola a few days ago to see if I could stay there, and he said yes.  However, in between that time he had met up with his friend Dr. Peter Delevett and told him about my walk.  Dr. Delevett has been an anesthesiologist for many years, but a year and a half ago he started having grandmal seizures.  He has since quit his practice, and is now a real advocate for epilepsy awareness, and is also on the board of the Epilepsy Services of NW Florida.  Dr. Delevett sent me an email message inviting me to stay with him and his wife, Molly, so that's what I did.
   I was able to spend saturday and sunday with them, and we had a great time.  They showed me around Pensacola and took me to Ft. Pickens, Ft. Barrancas, and the Pensacola Naval Air Station, where we saw the lighthouse, checked out the museum there, and even got to watch some Blue Angels do some stunt  flying overhead --that was really cool! 
   On sunday morning we went to St Christophers Episcopal Church, and I was able to give a talk to the youth sunday school class.  Dr Peter and Molly were in there with me and helped keep the discussion going.
   In the last few days or so, I've decided to change my route somewhat.  Nothing serious, just taking some different roads here in Florida.  Instead of staying in the central panhandle area, I'll be walking right along the gulf coast.  For the month of May I'll be staying in different towns than I have listed, but on June 1st I'll be right back on schedule again in Ocala, FL.  So the two post offices I have listed for May 7th and May 19th will be different.  Don't send any mail to those two I have listed.  Give me a few more days to figure what other mailstops I want to add in place of those (I'll give you plenty of time to react.)  So for now, hold off on sending any mail to Ponce De Leon and Madison, FL.
   Today I left Pensacola and walked right along the beach -- in the sand and ocean -- to Navarre.  I had contacted a Navarre Beach Campground over the weekend to see if I could pitch a tent there, and instead they offered to let me stay in a cabin for free!  I've always wanted to try out those cabins that are at campgrounds, but they're expensive --around $40-50 a night, and none of the places I've been at would let me stay in one.  I was pretty excited about their offer, and was really looking forward to staying there after doing 23 miles today.  I didn't know what to expect -- if it would just be a bare-bone cabin with no electricity or if it would be furnished, but I sure was tickled when I turned the key in the door.  It's very small -- in fact, they said they gave me the smallest one they had -- but really cute!  It has electricity and water, a bathroom, kitchen sink, table & chairs, a microwave, small fridge, cable TV, air conditioning, and a comfortable futon couch.  I was totally impressed!  What a wonderful treat after putting in a long day!
   Take care and have a great day!  KB

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