Possible Junk Lies Ahead:
Road Bike Tour Journal
February 12 - March 4 of 2005 I rode my road bike from Savannah, Georgia to Key West, Florida (East Coast) and from Venice, Florida to Fort White, Florida (West Coast). I spent 3 weeks riding my bike. Read my biking entries I posted while on the road from libraries, friends' computers, and an internet cafe. Read about where I have been and how I got there.
I will be leaving for Savannah, GA next week. My parents have decided to take me. I haven't decided if I will start heading south on Friday, or Saturday. If I decide to start in Statesboro, GA..It will be only 315.5 miles to Ormond Beach, FL. If I start from Savannah, I will add another 56.5 miles to the journey. Who knows. I have so much planning and organizing and so little time.Top of the page
website updates 02/04/05
I finally got a portion of the "Appalachian Trail Walk Thru" up. I'm up to around 50 photos. I think by the end of it, there will be close to 200. I watched the first season of "the Office" again- "I'd say, at one time or another, every bloke in the office has woken up at the crack of Dawn!" I rode my bike on the trainer as well. The inspiration for the day-someone else out there thinks we live in a "It's not my fault" society. Other good news...In the marriage category...The longer I stay unmarried, the greater the chance when I marry it will last the rest of my life.Top of the page
Today wasn't so good 02/06/05
Today I lost my chance to talk to girls because I chickened out. That sucks. Other news: the A.T. Walk Thru has over 100 photos now. I tried to get the video up of us finishing the A.T., but to no avail. I am down to 5 days, and there is so much left to get done. I still need to purchase equipment, read over and assemble maps/directions, make sure I have all the necessary equipment, and get the bike cleaned and ready. Everyday I ask myself- "Will it be a success?"Top of the page
More is done on the web. A.T. Walk Thru is over 140 photos. Tomorrow I plan to purchase the rest of the bike equipment I need. Rode the trainer friday, saturday, and sunday nite. Today I learned that "progressives", according to Feingold (the McCain Feingold), want to guarantee individuality and individual growth...Yet, somehow progressives think jobs must stay in the U.S.A. I guess individuals don't exist outside this country...Sucks for foreigners. And if you are in the healthcare field...The gov't can step in and help the elderly. Does this mean a doctor or pharmaceutical company isn't an individual? The definition of an individual may soon be defined in a HR bill yada yada yada. I guess it will help those you can't find themselves based on their own initiatives. Do we come to this world ready to learn?Top of the page
Only two days left 02/09/05
There are only two days left and I don't know how everything will get done. I am really not planning this trip as well as I did the A.T. In some ways, I don't want things to be as planned. On the other hand, I'm left to think on a tired brain everyday- "food...water...shelter"? I don't know. Something good is happening though. My personal life is picking up...now that I'm leaving...Coincidence? Lets hope I make the right decisions.Top of the page
You wanker! 02/09/05
There is only one day left until I leave for Savannah. Today was quite a mix
up. I don't know if it is the pressure of this trip, or my horrible destiny.
But I don't think that she dug me. Im assuming the coincidence was just me
facing reality. Tomorrow I finally have to make a decision on what I am
going to finish before I leave. Could I possibly clean the bike, practice
with the tarp, load the bike and feel confident about where and when Im
headed for the next couple of days. I am not taking a stove, so finding food
will be a 3-way experience daily.
Its that time of the month 02/11/05
Tomorrow i leave for Savannah. My weight looks way too high. I dont know
what else i can drop. Im just carrying too much. I think Ive collected all
the materials for the trip, but im sure ill forget something important.
Good, I just remembered Toilet Paper again...thanks brain- "Charmin to go".
Website updates: the A.T. walk thru is probably as complete as its going to
get. I put up a blog for Ben today. You can check it out under "Journal".
Ben is thinking of doing the PCT next year. Oh boy, more planning. Ben
called me today to wish me luck on the trip. Ben's encouraging words were,
"you may not make it to 25 years old". More uplifting words from Ben: "If
you want to quit, think how bad I am having it...being stuck in a crappy
office" [in slough]. The weather dropped 20 degrees since yesterday. And the
wind has picked up. The confidence level is now skyrocketing. I hope this
journal is kept up throughout the trip.
I arrived in Savannah this afternoon. I'm still working on how to get to Florida. It almost doesn't seem worth it. I'm sure it will work out. "Always look for the positive", right? Thanks coach. I've decided to dump some food to lighten the weight. Savannah is much busier than I remember. Construction is everywhere. Good Day.Top of the page
I left Savannah around 9.30am. Boy, today was way too adventurous for me! I
went through Register (Register has a population of 164). My directions list
a grocery store...it's a gas station that had pizzas and no deli meats.. The
attendant was super nice, but didn't mentally boost any kind of confidence
in me. She was worried for me about the neighborhood I was about to go thru.
She let me know there was no food or motel, here or the direction I was
heading (this is at 3.30pm...and i'm already looking for a place to stay).
The start of the day was simply: awesome. On 21 in Garden City, a tractor
trailer intentionally forced me off the road into a fire lane. I caught him
at the light and banged on his passenger door: "What you come Here banging
on my door!". I explained that the shoulder was a fire lane and it has
divots (the kind that keep cars out) and I couldn't ride my bike on the
shoulder..."well it takes me over 300 feet to stop this thing", I said, "I
know, I drive trucks, and it's just as scary for me to ride my bike". He
seemed to understand. So just to let anyone that ever reads this...A bicycle
is considered a vehicle. That means bicycles must obey all laws a vehicle
has to endure. You as a car operator cannot pass a bicycle unless it is safe
for the both of you.
Today started off nicely. I have become accustomed to the farm roads with
few cars. Food is still my biggest nerve wrecker. I wish they made a pill
that contained: meat loaf, mashed potatoes, and bread. It sure would solve
the weight issue. How did Lewis & Clark do it? I'm in a civilized society
and I still can't find food, especially something not fried or greasy. The
hardest part of the day was the last 9 miles. I started out late this
morning (around 10.30am) and finished right after 6pm, but the cars had
already started using their lights. I don't like being under pressure at the
end of the day, when you are tired, but I'm lazy in the morning. Arriving
late was a common occurrence on the A.T., but I can't just sleep anywhere!
I'm staying at the Satilla River Vacationland. It's $10 here to sleep on the
ground (Hot showers and coin laundry).
I've made it to Folkston, GA (pop. 2,178). They have a library and motels. I plan on staying the nite and then physically be in Florida tomorrow. Today was the first time I had to ride in the rain. It's still raining outside and I haven't found a motel, or eaten lunch. I wanted to wash my clothes for the first time as well. Somehow, I've gotten to take a shower every nite. If I ride 80 miles tomorrow, I'll be near George Island and then I have to take the Ferry across to A1A.Top of the page
I ended up staying at the Western Motel ($56). I was able to wash my bike at the motel and used the sink to wash my clothes. I probably would have saved time going to the laundry, but it was raining and I didn't know how long I wanted to stay in the "space suit". Tomorrow will be a test.Top of the page
By waking up at 5.45am, I was able to get an early jump on the day. I left
the Western a little after 8am. I was headed toward Callahan which is a
little over 20 miles from Folkston down US 1/301. However, my bike route had
me going 43 miles to get to Callahan. I of course went the long way! Figure
it out ladies...I can't. The "long way" took me to the Okefenokee National
Wildlife Refuge, 8 miles outside of Folkston.
The early morning fog was a set back...and I waited as long as I could;
and felt the "long way" would involve less traffic stress- Not! For future
reference to other bicyclist- SR 23/121 is a tractor trailer mecca. Most
were running north, thankfully, but the fog put me in only 300 or so feet of
visibility. I don't know if it was the gov't's plan, but there is a landfill
next to 400,000 acres of "refuge". Trucks were running dumps all morning and
I could just feel the trash "mist" getting stuck to my skin and clothing as
the trucks flew in the opposite direction. It's a calm before the storm, and
at approx. 1.23 seconds after a tractor trailer has passed you in the
opposite direction, a wall, a wall, of air swirling in all directions beats
down on both you and the bike, forcing you to try and control what you
can't. Another comical site for the humans, there were just dozens of
logging trucks passing by the refuge. We think we can solve problems by
saving something in remembrance of something that is much greater.
The campground ended up being Kathryn Abbey Hanna State
Park- owned by the city. More gov't spending wasted and what a waste it was.
In order to stay at this campground I had to have a manufactured tent. I
have never purchased my own tent, I have only bought tarps. The park
regulations stated that you must own a tent to stay on the premises. My
other option was to rent a cabin... the gov't catch, you had to stay at
least two nites. I explained that I just wanted to sleep on the floor with
nothing over my head. I don't think for an instance they got it. It is so
engraved in us to have walls around us when we sleep. I wonder what FDR
would have thought about this? It was his master plan to buy up land to
"conserve". I guess conservation means all human accommodations.
I left the Jacksonville Beach area a little after 10am. I had to shop for a
new mirror since mine broke yesterday when I was checking into the Surfside.
She, my bike, just fell over. She likes to do that. I can't complain though.
She works her ass off day in and day out- the terrain is sometimes just
ridiculous. I never have to thank her or give her food(Ladies take note).
I woke up at 1am to raccoons crawling all over me. Those little wankers were
every where! They were relentless in their search for food. They would
yell (screech like) at each other, like wounded birds and crying children
(obnoxious)- fighting to get into my neighbors' trash bag that was left on
the ground. This lasted most of the nite. They were more daring than any
animal in the Shenandoahs.
I was able to eat the beloved pork sandwich at Woody's in Ormond Beach. They
use a mustard base in their original sauce, but the "sweet" was a typical
BBQ sauce. The pork was moist like the kind served with slaw, but they put
cole slaw as a side item. Baked beans was not the norm. Within a time frame
of 12 hrs., I was told I looked like Lance by 3 different people. One chick
told me Lance is hott and Sheryl Crow is gorgeous. Jokingly, I always asked
if calling me a young Lance was a compliment.
Today's journey started off "at the crack of Dawn". The KOA is less than
1/2 mile form I-95 and my tent site was 300 yards from a highway. Sleeping
was tough. The noise and the lights from both the passing vehicles and the
campsite lights made it annoying to keep waking up.
The exciting thing today- I was able to stay at the Martin County Fire Station #16. All the hotels and motels in Hutchinson and Jensen Beach are booked because of Daytona, the hurricanes, and Spring Break. The guys at the firehouse are super nice to a stranger. I'm glad this was part of my journey.Top of the page
I ended up sleeping in the TV room of the firehouse. The guys from the
house even gave me a departing gift: a T-shirt, now maybe the ladies
will like me. A man in uniform, and a fire one at that.
I left the Lorelei a little after 9am, and headed down AIA to Miami. I
ran out of road in Miami Beach and had to ask for directions to AIA or
US 1. I took the MacAthur Causeway back into the city...I had a choice
of taking US 1 or keep heading inland for AIA. I was on a 4-lane
highway, and I wanted to exit ASAP- I chose US 1. Big Mistake- US 1
runs directly thru the heart of Miami. I was just trying to survive
the city traffic, praying to get to the end...then comes Coral Gables
(just south of Miami).
Today I started worrying about how I'm going to get off the Keys. My
father and sister are working on that. My phone's screen went black-
that's another problem my family is helping me work.
I made it to Key West around 11am today.
I left the Knight Key bright and early in a rush to get to Key West
at lunch. With only 47 more miles to get to Key West, it should have
taken a little over 2 hours. I thought/hoped the 7 Mile Bridge would
have a pedestrian/bike path. There is a smaller bridge that runs
parallel to the 7 Mile Bridge. People were biking and running on
it...so I took it. It ended up being the old 7 Mile Bridge that
ended in like 2 miles; and had a section removed from it. That's
only 2 miles, not 7...so 4 miles wasted. So I had to ride the
shoulder of the 7 Mile Bridge for 7 miles. My average was over 25
mph on the bridge. Getting to Key West seemed so time consuming, but
once I got within 10 miles, success was felt, and I cruised the
My first 0 mile day. And I didn't even complain that I haven't
ridden today. Just like hiking the A.T., it's great when you get to
a motel. A motel is heaven: tv, food, bed. I got to watch both the 8
& 9am MacGyvers. After MacGyver I called to book my Ferry ($73) to
Ft. Myers, FL. I'll leave Key West at 5pm on Friday and arrive in
Ft. Myers around 8.30pm. My aunt Sandy and her family have
volunteered to drive from Venice to pick me up, and let me stay with
Today I left Key West. I spent the morning again walking the
streets of Key West. I'm finding new stuff the more I walk the
streets. I like Key West, it seems foreign, similar to the
Bahamas, but prices of rooms and food don't amount to what you
receive. It's like the stock market bubble, reality will set in
if Key West becomes unpopular. Truly, there is not much to do
here. It's mostly shopping and tourism traps. The beaches aren't
swimmer friendly, but the boating industry (sailing, fishing) is
just booming. Three different cruise ships docked while I was
here. It is a marvel that the islands were connected, but it's
tourism that's a hit here, not the islands themselves.
I left the Sharps' at 10.30am. Unfortunately, I had to ride US
41. The same 41 that runs through Atlanta. It's a 6 lane highway
through Sarasota with no shoulders sometimes. In Sarasota I
stopped at a Verizon store and was able to have my phone
The weather today calls for rain all day with 15 - 45 mph winds
and tornado watches. I woke up around 6.30am to see what the
weather would bring. It rained for most of the day, sometimes in
sheets, but I never heard hail. I guess it's good I decided to
stay at the Holiday Inn, but it puts me another day from Bobby.
I guess it's kind of goals I set. I really don't look at the
adventure as a whole. I instead see each day, sometimes I can't
even see into the nite. But reaching Bobby's is my goal now; and
I let the weather hold me back another day. If I looked at an
adventure as a whole, it's too overwhelming...I really don't
know, but I think it's how I see things- I doubt it.
I didn't sleep much last nite. Sleeping Sunday kept me up. I was
able to leave around 8.15am. The ride today seemed to go rather
quickly. I put down 77 miles in less than 5 hrs. My speed stayed
consistently around 20 - 25, sometimes higher. I felt relaxed;
and the roads had wide shoulders and smoothly paved. There was
only a small section without shoulders as I neared Clermont, as
well as, 575 ( country road) that led me thru farm lands with no
I woke up this morning and was able to capture the second half
of the 8 o'clock MacGyver. Today we leisured around; went to a mexican restaurant, a walk on a lake boardwalk, and got the bike
chained cleaned($25). I really wanted the entire bike cleaned,
but I guess it's best the chain at least got some attention. The
chain was so oxidized, burning a dark red on my pretty porsche.
I left Bobby's at 10.15am. I was planning on riding 80 miles or
so to Williston, FL. I guess Bobby and I don't plan bike trips
very well. The ride to Williston ended up being 94 miles. After
my stop at Rainbow Springs (natural spring), I thought I would
only have to ride 10 miles to the Williston Motor Inn. Shortly
after leaving the park, less than a mile north of the park on US
41, there was a sign stating Williston was 20 miles away. I had
to quickly come up with a plan. Bobby had called the motel last
nite, and they told him there was only one vacancy for tomorrow.
That got us excited. But we thought we would wait until this
morning to see the status of the rooms. The motel said they
would hold me a room until 5pm. It was 4.30pm now, and I was 20
miles from the motel. I called my mother because I couldn't get
the motel to answer the phone. My mother of course came thru
again. In order to contact the motel staff, she ended up calling
room 101 and asking them to have the motel call her. The motel
claimed the phone had just been ringing off the hook all day. So
thanks to the occupants of room 101 (update: the occupants of
room 101 live at the motel, I think it's family).
Once again I took the day off and stayed in Williston. The motel
still has no vacancy and I had to switch rooms in order to stay.
The rain should be gone by early Friday morning.
I left Williston a little before 9am. As in Heaven, I got to see a portion of MacGyver before my last ride. I was not in a rush to pedal the miles away to get some where today. My parents were coming from Atlanta and I expected them to arrive in Lake City, FL around 1pm. I expected Alt 27 (runs East & West) to have tons of traffic. Alt 27 is the only road that heads west. The portion of Alt 27 in front of the Williston motel had no shoulder; trucks ran the road all nite. However, as soon as you exit Williston there is a nice size shoulder. The traffic this morning was fairly lite and the weather, although brisk, had that picture perfect sky and visibility. I thought I could ride this all the way to the coast. I turned north on 339 after riding close to 20 miles on Alt 27. Country road 339 was the only road to not have shoulders today. However, I only rode on three roads. 339 reminded me of Georgia roads, I maybe saw a car every 5 or 10 minutes. About the only thing on 339 besides myself- Trees, farms, and my only dose of Boortz on the entire trip...that's it. Scenery, relaxation, and brutal honesty.Top of the page
My parents drove down I-75 and were to exit on to 47 in Lake City. Once I got to 47 I still had 40 or so miles to Lake City. 47 was also bike friendly- newly paved, wide shoulders and doesn't have constant traffic. So I was just in bike heaven today. The weather and roads put a great ending to my journey. My parents were ahead of my planned ETA, so they began to head south on 47 to find me. We ended up meeting in Fort White, just 20 miles south of Lake City.
I must thank my parents for taking the time to come and get me. I wish this journey could have continued for months on end.