Road Bike Tour Journal 2005 on PureBound.com

Possible Junk Lies Ahead:

A.T. Journal

P.C.T. Journal

Foothills Trail Journal

Road Bike Journal

PureBound.com (Home)

View / Sign the Guest Book

Email Me

Road Bike Tour Journal
February 12 - March 4, 2005
(
(View the original Journal w/ comments)

Georgia - Florida Bike Tour

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.


Returning Readers:

 


The date has been set   02/04/05

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

Feb 6

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.

(Dawn)"You wanker...You're such a sad little man."
(David)"Am I?"..."Didn't know that"

Top of the page

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'm the only cabbage around here.

Top of the page

Friday 2/11

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

Day 1   2/12/2005   93 miles

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.

Somehow I arrived in Reidsville around 6pm, before it got dark. I am staying at Gordonia Alatamaha State Park, The State of Georgia charged me $16 to sleep on the ground; however, there are hot showers and coin laundry. There are only about 5 other visitors, and all are RVs. I ate at a family restaurant tonite (Smith's Family Rest.)...I haven't been eating much this last week. This turned out to be my only meal of the day- I'm not my normal hog self. I even passed on the DQ in Reidsville. I hope tomorrow is more simplistic.

Top of the page

Day 2   2/13/2005   88 miles

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).

The campground is on a soft sandy road 0.5 miles from the main road in Atkinson, GA. The campground is a place eric rudolph should of stayed. It's just scary here! The campground looks as if you were living in the 80s. There are tons of RVs here, all spread out, but none of them are new. Some are rusty and look like they were just dumped here, but the lights are on inside. I hope I make it out.

Top of the page

Day 3   2/14/2005   40 miles (not sure)

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

Day 3 cont...

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

Day 4   2/15/2005   89 miles

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.

SR 23/121 did calm down as it grew later in the morning.

I was in Callahan by 11.30am, feeling great. Today didn't seem like the "test" I thought it would be. My speed has picked up, most thankfully to the reduction in wind. I ate lunch in Callahan and on the ride thru Jacksonville debated where to camp tonite. I could not find a camping spot before the St. Johns Ferry, so I decided to cross (It's only 2.30pm). There is supposedly a campground just on the other side of the river.

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.

So I'm in a hotel now that cost me $86 (Surfside Inn) in Jacksonville Beach.

Top of the page

Day 5   2/16/2005   84 miles

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).

Personally the day was a struggle. The roads were hard to ride on, and it just makes me tense all over when I worry so much.

I'm in Ormond Beach. The parts I've seen outside the city are just beautiful. A picture perfect town and roadways. The people in the supermarket reflect the town's calmness and elegance.

I'm staying at Tomoka State Park tonite. There are over 100 campsites in this park, and I got number 97 out of 100. The park is full for the weekend due to the Daytona 500. I almost got stuck in a motel again. The charge for a hot shower and to sleep on the ground with mosquitoes- $22.50.

P.S. Thanks mom for helping me with the mirror.

Top of the page

Day 6

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 am now at the Ormond Beach Library.

Top of the page

Day 6 cont... 58 miles

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.

Note to Bobby, Keith, Ben:
If you are ever in Ormond Beach, stop by the Library- The hottest Librarian I've every seen; and Ben and I have been in quite a few libraries (Way hotter than Laura Bush). She was working at the reference desk. Pluses: She was wearing a Lance band, not married, and probably mid 30s.

Today seemed to be the easiest ride so far. My speed was consistently above 20 mph and higher. There was not many road hazards and traffic seemed somewhat lite, especially thru Daytona.

Tonite I'm staying at the KOA in Mims, FL. $22 to sleep on the ground and a hot shower. This shower thing is amazing, but the camp cost just amaze me. I walked from GA to ME and didn't spend a dime to sleep outside.

The KOA is packed full with RVs for Daytona. I think I'm over 40 miles away. Imagine if people put this much spirit into being loyal and honest to each other.

Speaking of loyalty, I have a neighbor who keeps coming over. First while I was on the phone with my mother. He asked, "Do you have a tent or something?... It's going to rain." 30 minutes later, he is back offering me some type of muffin he just cooked up today. I told him thanks for the offering. I think he said they were fruit cakes or something. Maybe he will not kill me tonite.

Tomorrow I plan to visit the Kennedy Space Center. It's approx. 45 minutes in a car from the KOA. Then I'll have to decide if I want to do another 40 miles or stay near the Space Center.

I only took one photo today. I'm worried. Is it the scenery or my appetite? Will I take enough photos to reflect my journey; or do I just take scenery?

Today I had my first flat tire. Just south of Port Orange. It was from glass puncturing both the tube and the tire. I would like to personally thank all those that throw glass beer bottles out of a vehicle. I have previously attempted to patch over 10 or so road tires. They always fail within hours. This one seemed to hold- we will have to see in the morning.

Top of the page

Day 7   2/18/05   40 miles

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.

My loyal friend left sometime in the nite. When I got up at 1am to use the restroom...his RV-Camper was gone. That was actually a positive for me to try and sleep. Before I left in the morning...Surprise! He's back. He came over to talk to me as I was packing my gear. He was just asking the usual questions. I don't know whether to take his compliments as good or bad...I sensed the smell of alcohol on his breath.

"Are you the next Lance Armstrong?"
"You are amazing...There's not many of you left."

He was referring to the fact that I had a degree, already hiked the A.T., and was now biking Florida. If only he was a female.

I decided to visit the Kennedy Space Center. I thought I would regret passing it up. Now looking back, it was probably worth skipping. It's now run like an amusement park. Nothing's free, and they just want you to buy products. It's even run by some Delaware Park Company. I was really hoping for hands on learning, but it's so dumbed down (this is my opinion), that you never really see/find out how amazing the creations NASA has found. Whatever. I spent around 5 hours at the Space Center.

Leaving the Space Center close to 4.30pm really put the stress on me. I only had 1.5 hours to find food and shelter. I was planning to head to Jetty Park in Cape Canaveral, approx. 20 miles away. That left me with 3o minutes of mistakes. Problem was, I didn't know the roads I was to take. I had to keep stopping and asking.

I was thinking my trip wasn't worth it as I rode along Highway 528. It was basically like riding your bike illegally on the Interstate. Bridges had little or no shoulders and the speed limit was 55 mph with on and off entrance/exit ramps. Not worth it, but that's the only way I would have made it to Jetty Park in time.

I ended going about 1.5 miles past the park. I saw a Wachovia and stopped for cash. I was contemplating on the side of the road whether to just keep heading south or turn around...when all of a sudden an older lady pulled over and told me she could show me a back way to Jetty Park. She had heard me asking the tellers at the bank. Well somehow I made it. There's a Ron Jon Resort across the street where I ate dinner.

Jetty Park - $24

My friends tonite are about 4-5 wild cats, possibly more. Someone decided to use my picnic table to slop down 6 or so different piles with sprinkles of dry food and canned food on top. The cats seemed to be scared of me, but I don't want to be crawled over all nite- so, I'm in the bug netting. Canned cat food smells horrible.

Top of the page

Day 8   2/19/05   103 miles

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

Day 9   2/20/05   88 miles

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.

The ride today was one of the easier ones; however, the first 40 miles or so had me riding directly into the wind, knocking my speed down 5 or so mph. More than 3/4 of the trip was ridden in a bike lane, so the stress didn't build up.

I successfully made it thru the Riviera and north West Palm without getting robbed or beaten up...sorry guys. The directions thru Stuart were great, and there was little traffic to contend with.

I made it to Fort Lauderdale. I'm staying at the Lorelei ($116). It's peak season for this area. Supposedly during the summer, rates drop to below $70.

The trip from here onward will be more self-reliant. The guys at the station printed me out some maps of FL and the Keys, but I really don't know where to stay or resupply. I hope the Keys will instruct me on how I should travel the west coast of Florida- cause I have no more written directions.

Tonite was the first time I have put my clothes thru a washing machine. Until tomorrow.

Top of the page

Day 10   2/21/05   89 miles

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).

US 1 is a 3-lane highway here with absolutely no shoulders. We are talking probably 40 miles today, I rode with no shoulder on the side of the road. I was so stressed. I just wanted to get out of this crappy Miami - Dade County. I thought the further south I got, the more relaxed people would become, but Miamians were just anal about stupid stuff. They were honking and yelling at each other, sort of NY scene. I even got yelled at today in Coral Gables.

A couple in a ragged truck started yelling at me. This is after we had been in traffic for over 30 minutes or so. We were just stopping, starting, and stopping.
RW- redneck woman
RM- redneck man
B - billy

RW: "Why don't you go ride in the bike path over there?"

So I turn my bike perpendicular to the truck so they can't move forward as the traffic had picked up again. The lady was on the passenger side and I told her:

B: "I am considered a vehicle"

RM: "You have no right to be riding on this highway!"

B: (speaking to RW) "I have as much right as any vehicle out here,...you just don't give me the space and that right."

RW: "I know, but we want you to be safe...and it's better to ride on the bike path!"

RM: "Dickhead, This is a Highway, US 1, you can't ride a bike on a highway!"

They are both just yelling at me and the guy is honking, the lady is trying to hold him in the car.

B: "Sir, what you are referring to is an Interstate, not a Highway."

RM: "Shut Up!, Dickhead!"

B: "Why am I a Dickhead, sir?"

He keeps honking and they want me to move, so I pull my bike back to let them pass. There is just a row of cars in our lane backed up for miles. As they are pulling off, they continue to yell at me...
He attempts to spit on me, but he stepped on the gas, instead of the brake...and I think he may have spit on his wife.
The whole time during the conversation, I was staring at the lady's wrist. Guess what's on it? This world is amazing.

I rode for another 5 or 10 miles, and had had enough of this city nonsense. I happened to see a strip mall with a Marble Slab creamery and a CVS, not only that, there was a Quiznos. I ate, ate again, and sun tan lotion.


At the mall a hobo asked if I could spare a $1.
H- Hobo
b- billy

b: "No."

As I was walking away

H: "What kind of backpack do you have?"

b: "Why do you want to know?"
"Do you like it?"
"What kind of backpack do you have?"

H: "Eyes" (or something similar to that spelling/pronunciation)

b: "How do you spell it?"

H: "I can't spell or read"

b: "I've never heard of that"

H: "It's the best kind."

b: "What, I know a lot about backpacks, and it's the best kind they make?"

H: "Yeah, I hiked the A.T. with it"

b: "Have you, which part?"

H: "All over."

b: "Which part?"

H: "I was in a correction facility when I was 17"

He finally explained that the correction facility was out of Maryland and they took the kids to North Carolina. They had to build shelters, fires, etc. He thought the A.T. started in N.C.

He had a bike as well as camping gear. He was just sitting on the ground in front of the CVS, smoking.

b: "Why do you have two tents?"

One was a storage bag, he also carried a plastic 10x10 walmart tarp.

b: "You don't need all those tents, you know?"

H: "This is all I have."

b: "Well you don't need much, do you?"

H: "Well, I like to collect junk"

I kept asking him where he has been. He stated all over the country.

b: "Riding your bike?"

H: "No, I just got that for the Keys."

b: "Where have you been too?"

H: "All over the country"

b: "Where?"

It was amazing,

H: "It was nice meeting you."

Can you believe that I talked more than someone else?

b: "See you, don't bother any one"

H: "I never have."

b: "good."



There was a road running parallel to US 1. The road is only 30 or so feet from US 1. It was a bus lane, it was a 2 lane road, kind of caged in, strictly for buses in it. I thought I could ride that for a while, just to relax after lunch. Come to find out, South Miami - Dade not only has a separate bus lane, but they also have a bike path running next to it. This is a different bike path than the one the rednecks were referring. Their bike path winds and curves in ridiculous directions, and not somewhere where I could ride at 20 + mph.

The problem with the South Dade Bike Trail, you had to stop at the same intersections as the cars did. So instead of a 4 light intersection, there were 6 lights. 4 for the cars running N, S, E, W, one for the Bus and Bike path, and another set of lights so cars would not cross the bus/bike path as they were running N & S. The problem was the Bus path was only 20 or so feet from the road. So cars running south would turn right at their light, then within 15 feet would have to stop to not run into the Bus/Bike path. And at the beginning, there were intersections every couple tenths of a mile. So to wait your turn would be 4 or 5 mins every couple tenths of a mile.

People really didn't recognize that running E & W there would be 2 intersections within 15 feet of each other, they rarely looked up. A cop was using the Bus path and almost got hit going thru his green light. So he pulled the guy over, but this happened constantly. I probably stopped and started and cheated death for 20 or so miles til the Bus/Bike path ran out, and finally a shoulder existed on US 1.

Homestead is the last major town before you enter the Keys. I was thru Homestead around 4.20 and thought I had plenty of time to make it into the Keys. I have been asking people constantly what they know about the Keys; and was getting mixed messages. Some people saying it was desolate until Key Largo. I stopped and asked a gas attendant...
"There's motel and food all thru the Keys...You won't have a problem."

So I pushed on thru Homestead. US 1 becomes a 2 lane highway with a 55 mph speed limit. People are known to die here when attempting to pass. There is a sign reporting only 2 deaths this year...drive safely. There is a shoulder, but it's probably only 3.5 feet wide. The traffic was constant. Tractor trailers, RVs, flying cars. It was 20 miles to Key Largo, and only woods covered the highway, no commercialism in site.

I made it 2 miles in the Keys and stopped. My brain was going nuts. In the shoulder of the road were 4 horizontal light reflectors spaced within 3.5 feet of the shoulder. This was every 30 feet or so and the reflectors were not evenly spaced all the time. So I was dodging reflectors, swerving in and out, as traffic flies by.

I had given up after 2 miles and contemplating whether or not to turn around and go back to Homestead, to try tomorrow with possibly less traffic. After 15 minutes or so of contemplating, a guy in a car pulls up. And I ask him when would be the best time to ride this road to Key Largo. He basically convinced me that it doesn't get better than this.

Well, I pushed on and actually made it to Key Largo before dark. I was able to pick up my speed as I continued.

I'm staying at Kelly's Motel & Dive Resort ($88). I'm writing this as I sit and stare at the water of the Keys. There are sailboats parked, and it makes me think of my ultimate adventure.

Top of the page

Day 11   2/22/05   60 miles

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'm in Marathon, only 47 miles from Key West. I'm staying at the Knight Key Campground, "The Fun Island". It's located next to the 7 mile bridge. The price to sleep on the ground and a hot shower is $35. There is, however, a restaurant here.

Today was somewhat laid back. I visited Long Key State Park, tried to use the internet in 3 different libraries (all too busy, or closing), and I had a nice leisurely lunch.

I'm falling asleep writing, talk to you soon.

Top of the page

Day 12

I made it to Key West around 11am today.

Write soon.

Top of the page

Day 12 cont... 2/23/05   57 miles

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 rest.

Finding a place to stay again became a challenge. Motels had no vacancy and wanted $250 for a nite. I kept shopping, but basically gave up. I called my mother for support, and of course she came thru. She found me a place to stay- Sea Isle Motel ($390 for 2 nites). The motel was located in "Old Town" so everything was in walking distance.

After settling in to the motel, I went in search of the internet. I spent 2 hours putting up the last 6 days in an internet cafe.

Not knowing what I might miss in Key West. I called my cousins Kevin & Jodi. They helped me decide what was important for me to do and see in Key West:
Fort Jefferson
The Lighthouse
Hemmingway's

I of course wanted to see Fort Jefferson (located 70 miles to the west of Key West), but the sea plane was booked 4 days in advance. So I got to walk Key West for 2 days straight.

Top of the page

Day 13   2/24/05   0 miles

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 them.

The day in Key West was just a lot of walking in circles. I saw all the major historical sites and somehow even found the ghettos of Key West. There are also "hippies" my age hanging out in Key West. The "hippies" along with the bums just gang together and take over certain parts of the city from the tourists. A large portion of the locals are not here for the long haul. They just stopped in, found a job, and are planning on leaving. Foreigners are everywhere, working and visiting.

Top of the page

Day 14   2/25/05   0 miles

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.

The Ferry is a catamaran power boat. It's like an airplane surfing the water...It's so cool/fast.

My aunt and her father picked me up from Ft. Myers and are taking me back to Venice, FL. I'll leave from Venice tomorrow. Mr. Sharp was not only nice enough to come and pick me up, but he also bought me dinner.

Top of the page

Day 15   2/26/05   74 miles

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 replaced.

I want to thank my aunt Sandy and the Sharps for driving over 80 miles to pick me up from Ft. Myers.

I'm now in east Tampa near Brandon, staying at the Holiday Inn ($89). It's approx. a mile off of 301.

After 41 & 301 split, the traffic became lite and led me thru farms and small towns. I was pretty beat up today. The riding was easy, but I think my right shoe may have been loose on my foot. My shoes have two velcro straps around my lower metatarsals, and a cinch strap at the tongue of the shoe. I think the cinch strap may have loosened when I changed out of my city shorts. I then rode with the loose shoe- my achilles was just screaming. My muscles were also tense walking from the hotel to the Wendy's for dinner. The two day rest and the Key West walk-fest may not have helped my biking efficiency. I wish I had someone to talk to about these things...and life.

Top of the page

Day 16   2/27/05   0 miles

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.

My plans tomorrow, to leave bright and early, and attempt to reach Bobby's. The rain should let up, but a cold front is moving through. It may get into the lower 40s, upper 30s at nite.

In Key West I mailed home 4 - 5 lbs of equipment. My Frogg Togg pants, long sleeve Mountain Hardwear, T-shirt from the firehouse, along with papers and other small equipment I haven't been using.

I'm eating dinner at Sonny's, it's next door to the Holiday Inn. I also ate Sonny's in Sarasota for lunch. It's sad I'm so predictable and can't eat other options a restaurant has to offer. I mainly slept today.

Today's lesson:
You can't win all of them. But it would be nice to win just one.

Top of the page

Day 17   2/28/05   77 miles

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 traffic.

If I worked this hard every day, I should be putting in close to 150 miles. I'm so weak.

I plan on taking my bike to the bike shop tomorrow; and Bobby gets home from school around 7.30pm. I'm sure the fun awaits. I've been here a little less than an hour and I already met one of the "golf drink girls". While driving the cart she let 30 or so styrofoam cups cover the fairway. I helped her collect them. Her name is Dusty, aka Dirty, but until I meet some more golf girls, she's the only one.

I worked on my journal until Bobby got home. It's nice to have someone to talk to about life.

Top of the page

Day 18   3/1/05   0 miles

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.

The weather for the next few days has the percent of rain possible. The wind is to remain brisk and unsteady. Sounds great for riding. We will see.

Bobby took me to an Italian restaurant tonite. He also helped me plan the rest of my trip. We logged the miles and the locations I could sleep at nite. This is the most planning I've done for the trip. I plan to be in Panama City by Sunday.

Thank you Bobby & Bowmans for allowing me to live with you. Good nite.

Top of the page

Day 19   03/02/05   94 miles

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).

The Williston Motor Inn($38) is the only motel in town. So I was worried...it worked out. The motel tonite has the "No Vacancy" sign on. Oh Boy.

Today's ride had the most fluctuating road conditions. The ride was similar to an all day roller coaster. On County road 469, with no shoulders, a mack truck almost took care of me. For some reason the trucker couldn't wait 10 seconds of his life- he went to pass and a tractor trailer was heading towards us. The trucker did not have time to make it past me, so he slammed his brakes and swerved into the oncoming lane. The oncoming truck swerved and put half his rig off the road and into the grass. I don't know how close the trucker came to tagging me from behind, but I'm just glad I didn't look in the mirror! I felt the heat from the truck's engine on my backside.

There were no shoulders to Floral City. The ride calmed down when I got to Floral City- there was a bike path, Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46 mile trail starting in Trilby and running north to Dunnellon. I probably got to ride 20+ miles on it. The trail is a paved railroad bed. It was such a relief to get away from impatient people. What's so important in life anyway?

The final turn of the roller coaster ride was the 20 miles on US 41 to Williston. US 41 is a 2-lane highway that doesn't have a shoulder and the speed is 60 mph. Riding was just horrible, but I made it to the motel around 5.40pm.

There's an 80% chance of rain tomorrow, the temp is dropping in the 30s, and I'm planning on riding to Perry, FL. Perry is approx. 95 miles from here, but who knows the actual distance. Tomorrow could be super fun! I'm not being negative, the cars just have such a large influence on me. The trip would be so much more enjoyable if I could separate myself from them. I spend more time thinking, "how can I survive this particular situation?", instead of acknowledging my accomplishments and the beauty around me.

Top of the page

Day 20   03/03/05   0 miles

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.

Much has changed in a day. My trip will end tomorrow. My plans are no longer to go to Panama or Destin, but to meet my parents around lunch time in Lake City, FL. I'm not sure if this is the ending I want to my journey.

Top of the page

Day 21   03/04/05   48 miles

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.

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.

Top of the page