Every Sunday Paul and I try to attend a church service on the road. At these services we have met some of the most amazing individuals on our trip. For touring on a bike there seems no better way to get to know a community than at a place of worship. Riding through Jacksonville, North Carolina we stopped at a Church of God for Sunday Service. We were initially greeted by Shirley, and waited to meet with Rev. Jason Murphy. He allowed us to stay and gave us time to talk about our trip at the end of the second service. The congregation was touched to have us with them and to be apart of our tour. We felt uplifted leaving that morning and set forth south.
We bought our daily rations at the local Dollar General and continued on our way. The ground was soaked from the last rain storm and finding a place to camp would be very difficult. On either side of the road was either swamp or thick brush. Around sunset we saw a few cars at a local baptist church and though we would ask for a recommendation on finding a place to sleep. The only conclusion the folks at Harris Creek Baptist Church settled on was that the ground was too wet for camping and we would have to wait for the pastor to arrive.
To our surprise we had just been invited to the annual Harris Creek Baptist Winter Program. We stayed through the entire night of worship and were entertained by the youth of the church in song and act. That night we met many of the locals and learned much of the heritage to the town. We were only upset we missed one of their famed hog cookouts they had in seasons past. Sheriff Ed Brown of Harris Creek talked with us as most of the congregation left for the night. He allowed us to take a few photographs with his ’47 Packard. The car was bought in recognition of his marriage with his wife. We were allowed to stay in the Fellowship Hall for the night. We woke up that morning with a few traditional brown bags of oranges and sweets and left. The large water oak that is rooted in front of the church glistened with all of the frost from the night before as we pedaled past, hopefully to a warm and sunny day.