Blog Note: Dr. David Crocker is driving his bicycle 600 miles in six days, from Memphis to Mountain City, Tenn., to raise the $25,000 needed to build a Habitat for Humanity house in Knoxville. Crocker raised pledges for his journey, all of which will go toward the house.
Jake Mabe is checking in with Dr. Crocker each night this week and providing updates on his journey. A full report of the trip will appear in next week's Shopper-News. Crocker is the former pastor at Central Baptist Church of Fountain City.
For a guy who has ridden his bike 200 plus miles in two days, David Crocker sounds like he's merely taken a friendly jaunt around the neighborhood.
"I'm doing OK, considering," Crocker says on the phone tonight. "It's gone very well, about like we planned."
Yesterday, Crocker began his trek at the state line, just southwest of Memphis. He made his way through Shelby, Fayette, Hardeman, McNairy and Hardin counties, ending up at Pickwick Landing State Park.
He racked up 114 miles in 6 hours and 13 minutes, averaging 18.3 miles per hour. A computer on his bike told him he made 26,100 pedal strokes the first day.
"And I felt every one of them," he says, laughing.
Today, Crocker rode through the Natchez Trace Parkway, the historic route barge drivers once took home after navigating the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
"It's just beautiful," he says. "It was relatively flat, which was nice, sort of like the Blue Ridge Parkway, only flat."
Today's trip was 112 miles, traveled in 6 hours and 8 minutes, averaging 18.2 miles per hour and including 25,500 pedal strokes, through McNairy, Wayne, Lawrence and Giles counties. Crocker and his wife, Clara, are spending the night near Pulaski, close to the intersection of U.S. 64 and I-65.
"I've had no problems of any kind," he says. "There were some dogs, but they've not been a problem. It's been a little warm. I would like for it to be about 10 degrees cooler, but at least it's not raining. It's supposed to be dry all week."
Along the way, Crocker enjoyed the small towns and especially the man he saw riding a lawn mower -- and pulling two push mowers behind him.
"I thought, 'This guy is ingenious here,'" Crocker says. "He had a big yard and had a lot to mow. You've got to give him credit."
Tomorrow, Crocker heads for Jasper, Tenn., and says he'll ride up his first mountain -- Sewanee Mountain.
"But the mileage is lower and I'm thankful for that."
Crocker first participated in a similar journey to raise money for a Habitat house while pastoring a church in North Carolina 10 years ago.
"I've been wanting to do it again, but just never had the time. You have to spend a fair amount of time training and then take a whole week (for the trip)."
Some folks at Central Baptist had given Crocker a new bike that he wanted to put it to use in order to help someone else. The trip gave him the perfect opportunity to do so.
"It's a very fulfilling thing to provide someone with a home," he says.
After two days and 226 miles, Crocker is glad to be resting tonight.
"When you get through, you are pretty tuckered out. But really I feel pretty good. I was curious as to how I would feel this morning, but I felt OK. I hope it holds up."