SOME POST RIDE THOUGHTS

Crossing Into The USA

The Lush North East

One Of Many, Many Bridges

No Shoulders And Big Trucks

Lots Of Rain

New Friends

Not Always Paved

Something Has To Happen

A Typical East Coast Meal

WHY?

“Why? Why did I do it?” I have been asked that more than once and have thought about it quite a bit. The truth is that I don’t have a definitive answer but instead have some reasons.

One possibility is that I am crazy. In fact, a number of people have opined just that. Personally, I prefer to think of it a bit differently.

The first time it was to do something I had long thought of. The idea of riding to someplace, and not an out and back ride as we normally do, was intriguing. Although I had done destination rides before, obviously none were of the scope of a cross country ride. The thought of seeing lots of small town America was also of interest. Probably the main factor, however, was the challenge aspect. I ride quite a bit but I am far from the fastest or best cyclist of those I ride with. Setting out to ride across the country and then actually doing it just seemed like something I should do and would like to be able to know that I had done. The vague idea turned into a concrete plan when Nick Bloisa immediately and without reservation said he would join me. As he said before we started, there were only 2 options: we would either complete the ride or we would return in an ambulance.

The extreme heat – some days we rode in 110+ temperatures – and endless miles of nothingness of the first ride had me saying that that would be my last such ride. That was reinforced by the sense of relief and accomplishment when we reached Saint Augustine to finish the first ride. Now that I had done what I set out to do, there was no reason to do it again.

However, with the passage of some time I started to feel as though I had avoided something important. As I said, the Southern Route through the Mojave Desert, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas was extremely challenging during the summer with temperatures that weren’t meant to be ridden in, not to mention the humidity of Alabama, Louisiana and Florida. However, I knew that I had chosen the flatter route. So that I wouldn’t forever feel as though I had avoided the mountains, I decided to ride the Northern Route. Plus, there was the added challenge of riding by myself since Nick had said, perhaps wisely, that once was enough. There is something very different about riding all of those days and miles by oneself. There is no drafting, no socializing and no pushing each other, explicitly or implicitly.

Of course, when I say riding by myself I mean being the lone cyclist because I definitely wasn’t alone since Alejandra agreed to join me as the driver. Her help was indispensable and her company and encouragement were greatly valued.

Another factor in doing a second ride, and then a third, is more difficult to articulate or even for me to understand. Although I missed being away from home and all that that entails, I had reoccurring flashes of memories of stretches of the ride, or places that we went through, and they held an indescribable appeal. Part of that was because the passage of time muted the memories of discomfort and exhaustion. The memories I did focus on left me with a sense of restlessness. There is a strange appeal to the routine of preparing and riding daily, of going through new countryside and numerous towns I would otherwise never see. Of having everything focused on one goal.

I once equated repeating these rides to an addiction. However, with more thought I realize that there is a major difference. From what I understand, the addict enjoys the addictive activity while they are doing it – i.e., getting drunk or getting high – and it is afterwards that remorse and the vow to not do it again happens. Until, of course, the next time. With me it is different. It is while doing the ride that I sometimes ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” After all, it is tiring, at times it has been unbearably hot and humid, the miles and the days seem endless and at times it hurts. It is after the ride, after succeeding and with the discomfort a memory rather than a present reality that I “enjoy” the ride and become tempted to do it again. Though possibly a stretch, and I certainly have no first hand experience, but I have compared it to a woman giving birth. No one is wanting to do it again while having the baby yet most women who have one end up with more, often intentionally. With time, the pain becomes only a memory and it is not the factor it was while actually being experienced.

I recently talked about the appeal of a long ride with Dave Bagley, one of the riders at home. His thoughts were important to me because just a couple of weeks before I left on my recent ride he had ridden from Moraga to Santa Monica, although he was completely self supported. Dave said that the ride provided him an escape from the thoughts and worries that he frequently lives with during his every day life.

While I find that the focus on riding, or of finishing the ride or even just enduring it, has my regular life fade into the background, I don’t exactly think of that as an escape, maybe because I don’t normally find my thoughts to be particularly worrisome. I will say, however, that for the 2 months of the ride the process, and the goal of finishing the ride, pretty much constitute my universe and there is something liberating about that. That isn’t to say that I don’t miss home and all of what home entails, namely Sandi, my kids, grand kids, pets, friends and just the familiarity of home. But in some ways the ride is a very selfish time because my main focus is on what I am doing and what I am trying to accomplish. Yes, having a well defined goal and then accomplishing it are major motivators for me.

Knowing that I have such a ride in my future also gives me a goal while I am at home. It is motivation for my riding, it is something to work toward and it gives me something to look forward to.

A commonality of the first 2 rides was that each had vast expanses of desert and high plains that I rode through and, quite frankly, I don’t want to do that again. It was just too barren for my taste. However, the latter part of Laura’s Ride North, from about Michigan to New Hampshire, was beautiful. It was green, there were a lot of trees and frequently lakes and rivers. That riding was much more enjoyable for me.

After the first 2 rides the mention by Ryan, my youngest son, of riding the East Coast made some sense given those memories because it would involve riding through the type of scenery I find most attractive, namely the hills, forests, green and water of the north and the ocean and beaches of Florida. So that was on my mind before Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast.

After the Oregon to New Hampshire ride I had my bike repainted with a map of the USA put on it with lines showing the 2 west to east cross country rides together with the words, “Twice Across.” The thought of being able to add a “+” after “Twice Across” and a line running from Quebec City to Key West became increasingly appealing to me. That became a compelling goal.

The satisfaction of helping to raise money for a very worthwhile cause helped cast what otherwise might be a bit crazy idea in a more reasonable light. The 3 rides have now raised almost $40,000 for late stage breast cancer victims through the Lazarex Cancer Foundation and that adds meaning to what might otherwise be a totally selfish endeavor.

The thought of sharing the teamwork that Ale and I developed also held an appeal. And of course the idea of still being able to do this type of ride was a huge factor. The Laura’s Ride card I passed out mentioned a 71 year old rider. When people asked if I am really that old I said no, I am 55 but all the riding makes me look at least 71. But I admit to a certain satisfaction of being able to do this at an age when many, if not most, could not even consider the possibility. Yes, ego is part of the answer to the question, “Why?”

A problem with something like this is that the excitement, or even satisfaction, of completing the challenge is not nearly as high as would be the low of not succeeding. That provides me a huge motivation for completing the ride; not finishing what I set out to do is simply unacceptable. So, again, ego comes into play.

It is misleading if I have created the impression that the riding is all suffering because it isn’t. At least not all the time.

There is the satisfaction of getting to the top of a climb after what seemed like a never ending struggle. The completion of each day’s ride is also its own reward.

But what is particularly special for me is the almost metaphysical feeling when I am able to power along on a smooth flat surface with my legs pumping in a rhythm – I sometimes think of a metronome or of an engine’s pistons – with the countryside whizzing by and I still have the strength to accelerate or to power up an incline. That feeling of speeding along under my own power and without the aid of gravity or a motor is difficult to describe. It is not only satisfying, but almost sensual. It is when I truly feel one with my body and experiencing that helps make the difficult parts of the ride worthwhile.

I was glad to reach the end in Key West but for some reason it was a bit anticlimactic. The congratulations some of you sent are greatly appreciated but there is a sense that it was just a matter of repetition. Just keep doing what I was doing, hour after hour, day after day, week after week and many miles after many miles. There was repetition but nothing dramatic like the crazy fast ride that Bill Simmons recently did in a mountain bike race over difficult terrain or the fast multi day ride Anson Moore did over lots of miles with thousands of feet of climb. (Both Bill and Anson sometimes ride with us.) They both did something that most of us couldn’t do regardless of how hard we tried whereas I feel that any of the people I ride with could do what I did if they tried. However, I draw some satisfaction from knowing that there can be a huge gap between being able to do something and actually doing it.

I know that of anything I have done in my life, that which probably makes me most unique is that I have ridden across the country and that I have done it more than once. I am not saying that is the most important thing I have done; I certainly hope not. I would like to think that helping raise 3 great kids, having helped a number of clients over the years and even playing a role in changing some corporate behavior for the better was far more important. But I am sure that far fewer people have done the equivalent of my rides than have raised good children or helped people during their careers. So yes, there is some satisfaction in doing something a bit different. I can’t say that that satisfaction is any more significant than what someone who wins a hot dog eating contest feels, but it is a sense of accomplishment nevertheless.

The Tip Of The USA

Calle, Our Latina Cat from Argentina, Was Left Out Of My Last Post And She Complained

AGAIN?

So, will I do it again? I have also been asked that more than once.

Sandi says she won’t believe me until at least a couple of months go by because I had said never again after each of the first 2 rides. I will say, however, that I promised Sandi and Ember and Trace, my grandchildren, that I will be home next July 4, which would be the first time in 4 years.

On the other hand, the thought of riding the West Coast from the Canadian border to the Mexican border has already crossed my mind and it took a lot longer before I had even considered the possibility of another long distance ride after the first 2 rides. There is something appealing about the symmetry of in effect riding around the perimeter of the USA: Laura’s Ride 2016 skirted our southern border, Laura’s Ride North did the same to our northern border, Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast went the length of the East Coast and Laura’s Ride West Coast, possibly from Vancouver, Canada to the Baja border, would complete the rectangle. Plus, if I were to ride on the West Coast, perhaps I could get someone in our group to join me for part of the route. However, I would have to schedule differently so that I would be home on July 4 as promised. Although I jokingly said at a recent “Glad To Be Home Party” that if I did it again, it would be more appropriate if I do it for a geriatric cause, a Laura’s Ride West Coast would in fact be to again help breast cancer victims through the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. Time will tell as to whether such a ride is in fact in my future.

Sandi: “Good job!”

Ale: “Felicidades!!!”

Patty: “Amazing Accomplishment!!”

Johnny In Key West

GRATITUDE:

I have so many things to be thankful for.

I am thankful that I had the time to do this ride and that life has gone well enough that I could afford it. I am grateful that my health was such that I could even consider the challenge. I am grateful that I am able to write this after having made these rides with literally thousands of cars speeding past me. I took all of the admonitions to be careful to heart but I know that pure luck is also a huge factor.

I am thankful for Sandi’s support in encouraging me and in assuming the extra responsibilities of being at home without me. Her fund raising has also been instrumental in having these rides raise what we have. In fact, but for her initial suggestion, there would not have been a “Laura’s” Ride.

I have said it before, but it is so true that it bears repeating; I am immeasurably thankful for the help and companionship that Alejandra has given over all 3 rides. It was a stroke of good fortune when she responded to my ad for a driver back in 2016.

Maria, my assistant/legal secretary/friend since I started my practice 35+ years ago, has provided help from home, dealing with the website, keeping track of donations and just generally providing the help that she has for all of these past years.

I also repeat my thanks to Patty for leaving her family to help for 2 weeks, from Charleston, SC to Ft. Lauderdale, FL, despite having trips to Toronto and Taiwan in her near future. She effortlessly got into the routine and was great support and encouragement. Saying that I was crazy and expressing amazement at me riding in the heat and on some of the busy roads were in their own ways motivation for me.

Johnny filled in after Patty had to go home and his help and enthusiasm were also essential as was the fact that he drove everything home while I took an airplane.

Thanks again goes to Adam for creating the laurasride.org website and for helping Maria with some technical questions.

$8,600+:

Great thanks also to our sponsors who have generously helped support this venture and to everyone else who has donated to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation in the name of Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast. As of writing this, Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast has raised $8,600+ and that number could increase. This is in addition to the $23,000+ that Laura’s Ride 2016 raised and to Laura’s Ride North’s $8,100+. These donations, which YOU have made, have helped not only breast cancer victims but also me personally (no, I didn’t benefit financially, but knowing that the rides have had that kind of support has helped me greatly and have truly been a significant motivation).

Thank you to all, and until next time,
Rick

 

 

 

Key West And The “Good To Be Home” BBQ

The Pier I finished My Ride On

One Of The Many Wild Chickens

A Key West Building

A Key West Bar

Yes, There Are A Lot Of These

One Of Many Restaurants

August 19 – 21, Monday through Wednesday:

Two days and no bike. What am I going to do? Well, given the heat and humidity, probably not much. I spent enough time in the sun over the past few weeks and plan on enjoying the air conditioning of our very nice Key West apartment.

I did it. 2 days of very little activity in Key West, a place I recommend visiting, though when it isn’t quite so hot. It is almost totally surrounded by the ocean, it is tropical, the downtown area is quaint though very much dedicated to tourists, the numerous chickens that wander throughout that part of the island are colorful, there are lots of places to eat, including numerous price points, there is a very definite laid back beach attitude and it is only 90 miles from Cuba.

Tuesday was spent driving to Orlando – well, for me it was being driven to Orlando since Johnny did all of the driving – and Wednesday I flew home.

Blue, Our American Bulldog

Buttons, Our Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

Fey, Kevin’s Cat

Bear, Who Now Resembles A Panther

 

August 21, Monday:

HOME. After being gone for 2 months, it was great to be home. I got to see our menagerie of pets; Blue our American Bulldog, Fey, Calle and Bear, our cats, and Buttons, our Lesser Sulfur Crested Cockatoo (for those who are old enough, think Baretta’s bird). I think that all of them, even including the cats, were glad to see me. As an aside, Blue is named after Paul Bunyon’s blue ox because of his size; Bear   looked like a black bear cub as a kitten although he now looks like a sleek black panther; we originally found Calle, which means street in Spanish, on the street in Buenas Aires; and Buttons got her name because when I first met her, she was prone to leaning over and popping buttons off of shirts with a quick bite. Kevin, my son, named Fey and I am not sure of the origin of her name.

Home also of course meant reuniting with Sandi and Kevin. I mention them after the pets because neither was home when I first returned whereas the pets were. I also of course reconnected with Ryan, Angela, Ember and Trace, my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

I almost immediately drove to Truckee with a couple of friends to attend Sal’s bachelor party. Though I must say that, as stated by Michael Stephens, none of us were there, we don’t know where there was, we have no idea what happened and, on second thought, we don’t know if there was actually a bachelor’s party.

Paul And Annie’s Home

Some Of Our BBQ Guests

More Guests

“Twice Across +” Now Describes My Formigli One And Me

Impossible Without Sandi

Vera Of The Lazarex Cancer Foundation

September 1, Saturday:

Our “Good To Be Home” BBQ was graciously hosted at the home of our good friends Annie and Paul Barendregt. It was my chance to say hi to numerous friends I hadn’t seen since before I had left back in late June. I mentioned at the BBQ that it was named “Glad To Be Home” and not “Welcome Home” because I have no doubt that my coming home was more important to me than it was to those we invited to the party. As I alluded to above, 2 months is a long time to be away from home for a myriad of reasons. Family, pets, friends and just the familiarity of home are all missed and are the reason for being homesick, a malady from which I sometimes suffered this summer.

The BBQ’s venue was great, the food delicious and I thoroughly enjoyed the company. I am only sorry that Kristina, my daughter, and Alejandra, Patty and Johnny, my drivers, couldn’t be there because they live in Los Angeles, Puebla, Mexico Los Angeles and Las Vegas, respectively. They were all warmly thought of, though.

I am excited because I JUST learned that one of my sponsors and a long time client who had already donated $1,000 just sent in another $2,000. That got us over not only the recent goal of $7,000, but put us well past $8,000 which I hoped to reach to match or exceed last year’s total. Thank you Sam Ishaq/Andoil. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by those served by the Lazarex Cancer Foundation and by me. Sam’s note to me after last year’s ride that his service stations would support another ride if I did one was a major impetus for me doing Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast. His latest donation, together with everyone else’s, certainly makes me feel that the effort was worthwhile.

I want to get this posted so I will end now with one more post in the offing. Maybe the more I post, the more donations will come in.

Thank you for now,
Rick

 

 

 

Key West

Johnny Before His Bike Ride

Duvall Street Minus Its Typical Traffic

The Pier I Finished On

A Key West Beach

One Of A Zillion Restaurants

Barry Cuda Playing The Piano And Singing

Counting His Tips

Johnny And The SAG He Is Driving

August 18 – Saturday through Monday (R&R in Key West):

Johnny fell in love with Key West. It does have a lot going for it. A beautiful ocean, frequently sunny skies, an “old town” that is loaded with shops and restaurants and generally a laid back atmosphere. The apartment we stayed in was a plus, too. We both liked the apartment itself and its location was perfect being right on the main strip so that most everything was within easy walking distance. It was a perfect place to stay for a romantic getaway which also suggests its biggest problem for us; we – Johnny and I – had only each other and not a romantic partner. Oh, well.

Saturday night I went to listen to Barry Cuda on Sal’s recommendation. He is a renowned blues magician and I was very glad I looked him up. I was surprised at the venue, though. It was a small fish shack and when I sat “shack,” I am being accurate. All of the seating is outdoors under a canopy and the music is readily available to anyone walking by on the sidewalk. However, both the music and the food were good.

I approached Barry Cuda during a break to tell him I had just arrived on a bike from Canada and that a friend had told me that I had to go listen to him. He was pleased, both about the recommendation and my bike ride. He then said that he and his girl friend had ridden about 5,000 miles in Europe one year. Of course, he did that when he was 24 which was probably 45+ years ago.

Sunday Johnny rented a bike Sunday spent the day riding around much of the island. He came back pumped up about Key West. I had spent enough time on a bike in the Florida sun so opted to stay in and enjoy the apartment’s air conditioning. Later in the day I did go for a walk to the north end of Duval street,

Johnny also spent Monday in the sun while I tried to avoid it. Tuesday was the drive to the airport in Orlando from which I was going fly home on Wednesday.

Though this is the end for today, I am not yet done posting.

Good night and I will be back early next week.

Best,
Rick

 

 

 

 

 

Twice Across +; Key West Reached

One of The Numerous Bridges

10 Miles From Key West

Headed For The End Of The Pier

The End Of The Ride

It’s Not Champagne, It’s A Pellegrino And For Me That’s Better

August 18, Saturday (Marathon to Key West):

I had set my alarm for 7 a.m. to get 8 hours of sleep. As with many plans, that isn’t exactly the way things actually happened. I woke up at 5:00 when I actually got up and did the exercises I have been doing every morning that Lauren Elkind, my therapist, had prescribed a couple of months before we left. Apparently those exercises together with the riding worked because leg/back problems that had been plaguing me for more than a year have almost – almost being the key word – disappeared.

I was of course very aware that today’s ride was to be the last of this journey. It was only going to be 51 miles, it was obviously going to be flat and rain looked unlikely. I also knew that heat and humidity were going to be part of the ride. The unknowns were wind and road conditions.

I knew that yesterday had gone well and hoped to be able to push really hard for part of today’s ride since I had nothing to save myself for. Again, plans didn’t exactly determine what actually happened.

The first couple of miles were slow because getting out of town had me on a trail that didn’t allow fast riding. It had curves, a sometimes uneven surface and numerous intersections that required either slowing down or actually stopping. I was around 13.5 mph or so. That was slow enough that I didn’t expect to ever get my average up to where I wanted it.

But then the road conditions improved. I was on Hwy. 1 with a decent shoulder and mostly good surfaces. My speed picked up. Considerably. It felt good. I was on the flats and going along at 23 mph, a sensation I hope for but don’t often experiemce. There were even times when it kicked up to 27+ mph. And I wasn’t sprinting or pushing particularly hard. There must have been some tail wind helping but it wasn’t extreme.

There were some minor climbs because of the numerous bridges, many of which had to climb to let vessels go under. The climb totaled 584 feet. Not much but not pancake flat, either.

Speaking of bridges. I was on one that seemed to last forever. Although it had an acceptable shoulder, there is something about bridges without dividers from the cars that make me uncomfortable. Maybe because the thought of being pushed into water that was probably more than 60 feet below keeps running through my mind. So the forever made me uncomfortable; I wanted to get to the end but it didn’t seem to want to appear. I later found out that that wasn’t far from the truth. The bridge is 7 miles long. While that is quite a distance in a car, think of how far it is on a bike. Even at 20 mph that takes 20+ minutes. Well, the 20+ minutes passed, though it seemed much longer than that, and I did make it across the bridge

At 20 miles my average speed was 20 mph and it had been at 20.5 not long before that. I don’t think I have ever done that before.

I wish I could keep that up, but I couldn’t. For one thing the road changed and that was slower. Then when it improved, I just didn’t have it in me to keep up the 20 mph. I looked at my computer and saw that it was 95 degrees and realized that the heat was taking something out of me. After getting ice from Johnny at a stop, I started using the cold water not just to drink but to pour on myself to try to get some relief from the heat.

Before I had to slow down because of being in Key West my speed had dropped to 18.5 mph. Some of that was because of riding on bike trails rather than on the highway and they were slower but much was because I just didn’t have that a lot of push left.

I say I had hoped to push really hard for a stretch but that didn’t happen. I wanted to wait until I was fairly close to the end but by the time I was, the route wouldn’t permit that kind of riding.

Another plan that didn’t come to fruition is that I had expected to dip a tire into the Atlantic. That didn’t happen because the recommendation I got for a southern finishing spot was Edward Knight Pier. That took me out over the Atlantic but there was no beach that would let me walk to the ocean. However, the end was fitting because this ride didn’t start at the ocean but at Quebec City.

Johnny was waiting for me to show up but I think I got there a bit faster than he expected. The photos of the end are his work.

I admit to missing having Sandi and Alejandra be there to greet me at the end as they were for the first 2 rides. And it would have been nice to have had Patty there since she shared 2 weeks of this adventure with me. However, all 3 of them immediately gave me their congratulations and best wishes. Thank you to all of you. Both for those kind words and for your help and support in making this ride possible.

Without Sandi’s support and encouragement I wouldn’t have left home. She has also been a great fund raiser, both this year and for the previous 2 rides. Thank you Sandi.

Ale has been a constant in all 3 of these rides. She has been the driver and indispensable helper. Somehow she has returned twice even while knowing how much time she would be spending alone with me and she would have done this entire ride except that she had to return for her 11 – recently turned 12 – year old daughter. She put up with me. For many weeks. Her confidence in me, together with Sandi’s, helped keep me going. Thank you Alejandra.

Patty’s help was also a necessary ingredient to this ride. She replaced Ale as the driver and without having had any preparation she provided all of the help I needed. Her obvious concern for my well being was and is appreciated. Even if she did frequently tell me that I am crazy. She would have finished the ride with me but she had family obligations with a 16 year olds daughter, a husband and a dog who all missed and needed her. Thank you for loaning her to me for 2 weeks. Thank you Patty.

Johnny has joined me to finish this trip and he will even drive the truck and bikes home for me while I fly out of Orlando to meet another obligation at home. Although I had never even spoken to him before, I can say that Johnny is one of the most courteous and enthusiastic people I have met. Thank you to you too, Johnny. And thank you for the congratulations at the end of the ride.

I will share some more appreciation in another post when I also discuss why I did this. Hopefully it wasn’t because I am crazy or sick as some have suggested. Although one or both of those may have contributed.

Finished! Now I just have to let that sink in. Which is why I haven’t yet discussed how I feel now that I am finished. Though I will say that I have had some hand cramps since I have been off my bike. All of that sweating has to have drained a lot of electrolytes from my body.

Thank you,
Rick

Sandi: “Good job!”

Ale: “Felicidades!!!”

Patty: “Amazing Accomplishment!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Heat, A Scary Monster And The High Of The Finish Being Within Sight

Coral Gables Is The Day’s Goal

August 15, Wednesday (Ft. Lauderdale to Coral Gables):

This was almost exclusively an urban ride. There were times when I had to claim a lane for myself which is becoming a repetitious statement. The ride has become dealing with traffic more than the pedaling. That is not an improvement.

We ended in Coral Gables, which is just south of Miami, because the lodging in Miami just wasn’t feasible financially. Yes, it was too expensive for me and Patty did a good job of taking that into account.

Most of the time the wind was in my face but there was a stretch where I was doing 23 mph without extreme effort. That is 3-4 mph faster than I would expect without any wind. So can I say that my speed is decreased 3-4 mph when it is a head wind? I do know that there are times when the wind lets up and my pedaling immediately gets easier and my speed increases.

Two things stand out today. One was that another road cyclist went speeding past me while I was stopped behind some cars at a red light. His weaving around cars suggested he was a local with experience in dealing with the local conditions. Then we came to an overpass with some climb to it. I enjoyed returning the favor of speeding by him. Cyclists aren’t at all competitive. I would guess I have more experience at climbing than he does, especially after Maine.

The second notable event was that I saw 2 monkeys crossing a road. I didn’t know that there are wild monkeys in Florida and especially in such an urban area. I would have stopped to take a photo but the monkeys were considerably quicker than the crushed turtle I moved a couple of days ago.

Speaking of crushed. Until a couple of days ago, I had regularly seen a number of armadillos and a couple of turtles that had been met by some kind of vehicle before they had managed to make it across the road.

Today was only 42 miles at 14.9 miles per hour. It was so slow because of all of the stops that are part of spending most of the ride negotiating city streets. I am looking forward to getting away from the traffic of Miami. I hope that happens tomorrow.

Johnny and I had dinner at a Cuban restaurant. I told him that Sandi and I hadn’t been crazy about the Cuban food when we were in Miami a few years ago because it was too dry. Unfortunately, he had the same opinion about his chicken sandwich. My steak fajitas were much better. We both also noticed the numerous attractive Cuban women at the very Cuban restaurant.

Only 3 riding days left. I cancelled the scheduled R&R day in Miami so that I could split the 99 mile ride from Key Largo to Key West into 2 days. Marathon is almost exactly half way between so that my rides will be about 50 miles each. In this heat, and with the frequent headwinds, that sounds a lot more palatable to me than 1 99 mile ride. So now 58 miles to Key Largo then 48 miles to Marathon followed by a final ride of approximately 52 miles to Key West. Yes, I am looking forward to that.

Good Bye Coral Gables, Gladly

Look Closely, There Is A Large Iguana There

Lots Of Water

View From Our Beach

View Of Our Beach

Yes, It Scared Me

It Is Bigger Than This Looks

This Is The Much Smaller One

August 16, Thursday (Coral Gables to Key Largo):

This ride was interesting for the variety of conditions. It started in a very urban environment. That meant roads with fast cars and no good place to ride. Then there was a bicycle path that meandered along side the VERY busy Hwy. 1. That was a good thing because I wouldn’t have ridden on that portion of that highway.

Finally I got out of the city and first went by the airport then along side a large speedway. Then Google maps led me to a few miles of a dirt and gravel road that slowed me considerably. It is also more tiring with all of the jarring and me being less relaxed because of the ever changing road surface.

I had said a couple of days ago that country roads were all in the past. I was wrong. For a while I was as isolated on that dirt road as I have been any place on this trip. It wasn’t as green or pretty as country roads I have ridden on in any number of other states but it did have wildlife I haven’t seen any place else. That ranged from numerous types of birds, from vultures to a number of different types of water fowl, to large bright green lizards to an even bigger Iguana. (I have been told that the Iguana go from bright green as youngsters to a darker grey as they age. Based on the frequency of sightings, there are a lot more youngsters around than there are senior citizen Iguanas.) Photos would have been good but they were too fast to photograph.

After the dirt road I was ultimately returned to Hwy. 1. Before then I had switched from Google’s bike route to the “cars, no highways” route because I was being led back to some more dirt roads I didn’t want to ride on. The problem was that Highway 1 soon deteriorated from a bicyclist’s perspective, at least this cyclist’s perspective, because the volume and speed of the traffic increased at the same time the shoulder decreased and even disappeared. So I switched back to the bicycle route even though that was going to add about 7 miles to the ride. That had me turn off of Highway 1 onto a road that was going to last 17+ miles.

That was fine with me. However, the constant head wind and, even more than that, the 95 to 100 degree heat started getting to me. I hadn’t gotten any more water or stopped any place where I could cool off so at around 42 miles or so I pulled over to some of the rare shade along the ride and sat down, I drank some water that I had supplemented with an electrolyte powder and ate part of a ClifBar. Though that helped, it didn’t do a lot to lower my body temperature.

I got back on and rode for another 8 miles when I pulled over to wait for the truck for its ice and air conditioner. Bt this time I was at 50 miles and that was too far for me to have ridden in that heat without having some cold liquid and a means to cool off. (Some say that cold water isn’t good for you when you get too hot but I beg to differ; ice water is my salvation then.) When Johnny finally got to me – he had a learning curve with the app that is used to find me – I got into the cooler truck and drank 32+ ounces of iced water. Although that helped a lot, when I got out to resume my ride I decided that it had come too late. Simply put, I was wiped out and the thought of riding another 17 miles in 100 degree temperatures given the way I felt didn’t do it for me. As Sal would say, it wouldn’t be prudent. So I called it a day. As I told Johnny, this isn’t a contest.

Johnny and I were both extremely pleased when we got to our destination in Key Largo. Patty had booked us into a beach front resort. It was somewhat rustic and consisted of small cottages but it was great. It had its own private beach, pretty grounds and a good room. Actually, it was at least a bit wasted on 2 single guys; it was very much a romantic destination.

The beach and water were so inviting that we both decided to go in. We were told you could walk out a pretty good distance and the water would be well below mouth level.

I waded in and was up to my waist when I heard Johnny yell, “Rick, look out!” in a very concerned, if not panicked, voice. I turned around and within a couple of feet of me, under the water, there was a very large dark creature of some sort. I immediately retreated out of the water and then saw what I later confirmed was a Manatee that was a lot longer than I am tall and MUCH bigger around. Well, it turns out that Manatees are harmless, though often curious. That was nice to learn after the fact but I won’t deny that I had been frightened when I saw such a large unidentified creature so close to me. All just part of the adventure, right?

We ended the day with a good sea food dinner at a small local restaurant that was a bit on the pricy side. That’s what I get for ordering a special without asking about the cost..

Reluctantly Leaving Key Largo

Riding With Ocean On Both Sides

The Other Side

 

August 17, Friday (Key Largo to Marathon)::

I started the day knowing that it is my penultimate ride. I also knew that it was only 48 miles. Both of those were good but I did wonder about what the road would be like along the causeway. That turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Though most of it was Hwy. 1, Google’s bike route did take me onto some side streets to avoid part of the highway. The only problem with that was that most required a left turn which entailed crossing a very busy highway. I dealt with that by pulling over to the side of the road, stopping and waiting for a break in the traffic before crossing to the other side. For most of the trip I have made left turns by getting to the left and then turning but there was too much fast traffic for me to do that today.

The few times that Hwy. 1 didn’t have a shoulder there was a good bike path available, though there was one stretch that was so broken up and interrupted by protruding tree roots that I had to cut my speed in half.

Today for much of the ride speed was fun. I wasn’t constantly battling a head wind and occasionally there was a bit of a tail wind. So there were stretches of 22+ mph which was fun. At 48 miles my average was 18 mph which is the fastest, or near the fastest, I have done for that much distance. I lost .3 mph from that at the very end when I had to meander around to find the final destination. But I will claim the 18 mph for today. Though it isn’t a race.

I mentioned before that originally I had scheduled a century for the last day. Given today’s conditions and how I felt, I could have done that if I had dialed it back a little. But I am glad I split it up because with the shorter ride tomorrow I hope to be more energetic for the last day’s ride. If the conditions are comparable to today, I may even push it some since I don’t have to save anything for the next day.

I am looking forward to tomorrow though I will miss not having Ale, Sandi and Patty at the end. Ale and Sandi have been there to greet me at the completion of the previous 2 rides and they will be missed. As will Patty’s enthusiasm.

But I will still enjoy the finish. Or at least I will enjoy finishing.

After the finish we will spend 2 days in Key West that I admit I scheduled when I thought Sandi was going to be here. Then we drive to Orlando from where I catch a flight home. Johnny will drive the truck and bikes hone for me which works great because I have to be home for something. Plus, I am just anxious to get back and wasn’t looking forward to the drive.

Until then,
Rick

PS: we have gotten a couple of additional donations and I appreciate that. Although it doesn’t look like we will match last year’s total, every little bit helps because it all goes to a very good cause. So, if you haven’t gotten around to it yet, now is a great time to contribute.

PPS: More praise to Bag Balm. With all the sweating and having neglected to use chamois cream a couple of days ago I again developed sone very raw spots where I greet the saddle. What could have been very debilitating was cured with some generous doses of Bag Balm. As good as new. Or as new as someone my age can be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patty’s Observations

Patty Got Me Moving Along

The Injured Turtle

One Of Numerous Bridges I Have Crossed

More Roadway

My part of the journey with Rick was from Charleston, SC to Fort Lauderdale, Fl. It was fun to trek through the cities and see a new city almost everyday. But the more meaningful and amazing part of my experience is helping and watching Rick prepare for the day’s ride then seeing him riding and riding. Despite Florida’s hottest months and high humidity, Rick takes a deep breath here and there, then continues to keep going. I can say that he is maybe part machine and part human! Everyone we encounter thinks he’s either crazy or amazing. During his breaks after a few hours of riding he is drenched from head to toe. He’ll wipe down, cool off with ice water, take in some cool air from the truck’s air conditioning then off he goes again. This is day after day, week after week and into months of pure persistence. At the end of each ride he will shower then act like it’s just another normal day, ready to go out, unfazed. That is kind of unreal to me, how is that possible? But that is Rick.

Lucky for the people around him that he continues to remain pleasant, humble and never whining or complaining about anything. Only once did he yell “HELLO!” when he was passing by as I was getting gas for the truck. It made me jump since I’ve never heard him yell before and I’ve known him for 16 years.

Patty

 

 

 

 

 

More Repetition, But With Another Changing Of The Guard

And More Food

Some Seaside Riding

Not Always The Shoulder I Would Like

Threatening Skies

Pretty Views

August 9, Thursday (St. Augustine to Daytona Beach):

Another day without rain and roads mainly with shoulders and even bike lanes. I attribute the later to not having to ride on Hwy. 17 any more. Thank goodness. Instead I continued primarily on US Hwy. 1. While not nearly as pretty as our own Hwy. 1, it is more bike friendly in that most of it has a bike lane.

Things went pretty well. 51.2 miles and 413 feet of climb at 17 mph. That the ride was flat is further shown by the fact that my fastest time was only 26.2 mpg. So I obviously wasn’t gaining speed while going downhill.

I got into Daytona Beach without any rain but I was as wet as if someone had held a hose on me. That’s what heat and humidity will do to you. And that happens every day within 15 minutes of the start of my rides.

Shortly after getting to where we were staying, but before being able to get in, it started to rain. Well, I guess you would call it rain. But it seemed only barely related to the rain we get at home. It was more like someone emptying numerous buckets of water, followed by huge flashes of light followed by huge crashes of thunder. At first the crashing sound was a number of seconds after the lightning but soon the noise immediately followed the lightning and with it being so close the thunder sounded like an explosion. Actually, a series of explosions. Patty got a great video of it but I’m not sure I will be able to post it here though I will try.

Leaving A Rest Stop By The Ocean

I Do Ride, Sometimes

More Than Just Threatening

Getting Ready To Experience The Atlantic

Patty’s First Venture Into The Atlantic

Enjoying The View

Some Seaside Riding

Never Too Many Oysters

There Is An End In Sight

 

August 10, Friday (Daytona Beach R&R):

Daytona Beach is definitely a resort destination with its beaches, tourist gift shops and numerous restaurants. On the other hand Patty is not a beach person – too much sand – and tourist gift shops don’t hold a lot of attraction. Food is always needed, however.

Patty did wade into the ocean, up to her ankles, and found that although it was initially cool it got comfortable very quickly. Very different from the ocean she lives near in Bel Air.

A visit to Starbucks in the morning was interesting. Patty got out of the truck first and a couple of feet from the Suburban she said it was starting to rain. There were just a few drops so I started to tease her about it barely sprinkling. Before I could finish my sentence, the skies opened up. I have never seen such a sudden deluge of rain. We both got wet before we got inside. Then when we got inside we were cold from being wet in the air conditioning. Thankfully they had a covered outside space where she could drink her latte. In about 15 minutes the rain stopped and the weather wasn’t bad. Welcome to Florida.

Leaving Daytona Beach

More Views

Finished In Titusville

August 11, Saturday (Daytona Beach to Titusville):

More miles today. More heat today. A bit more headwind today. More incessant traffic but at least most of the route had shoulders or even a bike lane.

On one stretch I encountered a turtle – tortoise? – of about a 12 inch diameter that was on the edge of the highway and the line separating the shoulder. As I went by I noticed that a portion of its shell looked broken and there appeared to be blood. I couldn’t just keep riding so I stopped, turned around and rode back. I don’t know, but I think it was hit by a car and was at least dazed. I picked it up and moved it past the shoulder onto some green that led into bushes. When I set it down it stuck its head and legs out and started walking, very slowly, into the bushes. I don’t know if it will survive but at least it was out of the highway and soon disappeared from sight. I didn’t look up to see if shells can heal but there wasn’t anything else I could do. I have a couple of photos but for some reason they aren’t downloading so I will post them another time.

The day ended with 55 miles, 551 feet of climb and a 17.4 mph average with a max speed of 27.7.

August 12, Sunday (Titusville to Vero Beach):

For no good reason I decided on a “personal day.” Call it mental fatigue.

Another Departure

Food

August 13, Monday (Vero Beach to Jupiter, or actually Juno Beach):

Highway 1 is the primary route now. Most of it has shoulders but all of it has traffic and although sometimes the shoulders disappear, the traffic never does. To avoid the 50 mph cars I rode a stretch on a bike path that went along the highway. It was slower but it gave a good break from hearing cars whiz by. I suppose that was a large part of the reason for yesterday’s break.

The last part of the ride was on A1A which seems to be a road that sometimes parallels Hwy. 1 but is closer to the ocean. Which meant that that part of the ride had ocean views. The ocean was a lot bluer than when we were in Daytona Beach.

The ride was a couple of miles per hour slower because of a fairly constant head wind. It wasn’t gale strength but it was pretty constant and it took its toll.

63 miles, 918 feet and an average of 15.6 mph, attributed to the wind and numerous traffic stops.

Mid Ride Recovery

Does Rick Actually Smile?

 

August 14, Tuesday (Juno Beach to Ft. Lauderdale):

Country roads are definitely a thing of the past. The cars are constant – as is 90 to 95 degree heat and humirity – but at least that dreaded Hwy. 17 is also just an unpleasant memory. Most of Hwy. 1 actually has some place to ride even if that means me claiming the entire right lane. That isn’t the most comfortable way to ride but it beats sharing the right lane with cars when there is no extra room to the side of the lane.

I had the first rain during a ride for a number of days. It hit while I was on a residential street. Because I didn’t have my shoe covers on I turned onto a side street and pulled under a small overhang on one of the houses’s garage. I wanted to wait for the truck to get the covers so I wouldn’t end up with drenched shoes but the rain stopped while I was waiting.

I picked up the ride again. I felt pretty good when I had unbroken stretches but that didn’t happen often because of stop signs and uneven roads.

We went through Boca Raton which was very impressive. Huge beach front homes on large lots, many surrounded by high fences and gates and most of them were beautiful. When the single family homes ended high rises took their place and they were also obviously occupied by monied tenants. And I forgot to mention that the homes on the other side of the street were also on water, a large channel that was the home to a number of good sized boats.

The ride was 36 miles at 16.7 mph with 397 feet of climb.

The day featured the second change of drivers. I like to say that although I am still going, they got tired out. In fact, however, Ale had to go home to her 12 year old daughter and Patty had to return to her family. Johnny has now joined me. Although I had known both Alejandra and Patty before the ride, I had never so much as spoken to Johnny. I took him based on Patty’s recommendation and after meeting him I am pleased with the decision.

I have to thank Patty for her help. She left her family for 2 weeks to support this ride and her help is greatly appreciated. She helped Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast and she helped me both by her driving and all of the things that her “job” entailed and by bringing care and concern along with her cheerful presence.

I wanted to post this tonight – August 15 – but the wifi here isn’t working. Hopefully it will be better in Key Largo. So I will say good night and hope you can see this tomorrow.

Tomorrow has come, the WiFi is better and I am posting.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revised And Completed Scary Highways, Burst Blood Vessels And Heat, All Part Of The Trip

Getting Ready

The Road That Got Me To Call Uber; Those 2 Lanes Run In Opposite Directions

But 1 Of Many Trucks I was Sharing The Lane With

Another (Yes, The Experience Made An Impression On Me)

August 4, Saturday (Ridgeland to Savannah):

More dreaded Hwy. 17. Things were fine until about 7 miles from the end. I had had 2 lanes going my way and I could deal with that even with no shoulder, though reluctantly. Then the traffic picked up. I didn’t like that but I kept going. But then it went down to 1 lane, lots of traffic and still no shoulder. I rode like that for a while and pulled into a drive, got off and looked at the traffic whizzing by in both directions and the lack of a shoulder. With cars coming from the opposite direction that meant that cars passing me couldn’t move much to the left. I looked ahead and told myself I could probably do it. Then I said, “probably? How dumb is that? Why would I do that?” The obvious answer was that I shouldn’t. So I called Uber because Patty had had to drive back from Ridgeland to Charleston to get a Kindle that was left behind. I felt much better in the car than I had on the bike though I was disappointed about not finishing the ride.

I got to our Inn way ahead of the truck and got lunch at a plant only restaurant. My lunch was called porridge but was unlike anything I have had before with seeds, leaves and flowers that I didn’t recognize and certainly don’t remember. I do know that I liked it which may surprise Sandi because she is constantly struggling to get me to eat greens.

SOME NEW SAVANNAH PHOTOS:

My “Porridge”

August 5, Sunday (R&R in Savannah):

What an elegant city, at least the historical district. Stately homes, tree lined streets, many with hanging “moss” that isn’t actually moss. Some good restaurants and an ice cream shop that always has a long line. And lots of small parks with abundant trees and grass.

We took a hop on hop off bus that gave a good tour of the city’s highlights. This isn’t the first on on this trip because they do give a good overview.

I am not caught up but it is late so I am going to defer. Downloading photos has taken way too long to finish tonight.
Hopefully I will catch up in the next couple of days.

Another Day, A Few Thousand More Pedal Strokes

Thank You, Terry. The Cold Gatorades Were Appreciated

A Curious Kitten

Lots Of Beautiful Water On This Trip

There I Go

This Road, And The Traffic You Don’t See, Chased Me To The SAG

Our Great Sea Food Dinner

August 6, Monday (Savannah to Brunswick):

When the roads were decent, it was a great ride. Including fast as in 17.3 mph over 67 miles and 778 feet of climb which was brought down some by stops and wasn’t aided by drafting.

But then Highway 17 once again took its toll on me. Fast cars and no place to ride other than in their lane. Nope, I wasn’t up for that so got into the truck when I caught up to where Patty had stopped. Patty thought I was crazy for having ridden as long as I did.

Before then I stopped at what I thought was a market but turned out to be a tire shop that was a converted C-Store. I thought it still was since I had seen some people sitting and eating inside. Terry, the owner, saw me dripping wet – temperatures were 90 to 95 – and ended up giving me a couple of Gatorades. Thank you, Terry. While I was there I had some one check out my bike.

We had dinner at a small local restaurant that served us blue crabs, snow crabs, shrimp, sausage, potatoes and corn on the Cobb in a garlic butter that was delicious. We definitely recommend it.

Good Bye Brunswick

The Dirt Road But You Can’t See The Potholes Or The Dogs

Entering The Final State

This Prompted Patty To Contact Her Doctor Husband

A Beautiful Bridge Entering Jacksonville

Part Of Our Sushi Dinner

August 7, Tuesday (Brunswick to Jacksonville):

Roads were generally good, there was no rain and it was hot.

Before that I crossed into Florida, the final state of this trip!

Part of the ride included a 4 mile stretch of dirt road that had so many pot holes and bumps, and some times small sands pits that my speed went from well over 17 mph to just over 16 mph. That’s what happens when you ride as slowly as 6 mph.

Just before the end I had 2 large unfenced dogs start barking and running toward me. When I say large,, I mean small Rottweiler size. I stopped and got off which has been the best defense. There was no way I was going to get in a race on that road. I would have ended up being dog food. When I stopped, the dogs stopped and backed up. I ended up walking around 100 yards to where the dirt road turned onto a paved road. The dogs had lost interest by then.

At 42 miles and all of 407 feet, Patty caught up with me. I got in, took off my sunglasses and heard her exclaim. When I looked in a mirror I realized why. My left eye was so blood shot as to be scary. Way worse than it had been in the morning. She took a photo and sent it to her husband who is a physician. He promptly said that it could be an infection and if so it needed to be treated sooner rather than later. So that we could make an appointment if necessary, I put my bike on the rack and we drove into Jacksonville. We went to Costco to see the optometrist who was busy and then the pharmacist who said a doctor should look at it. We were able to get a prompt appointment though there was some waiting once I got there. But it was a doctor ‘s office so no big surprise. The result was that I only had a burst blood vessel which sounds way worse than it really is. No pain and no treatment is necessary, it should return to normal in a couple of weeks. The doctor said that in cases as extreme as mine the person had usually been on a blood thinner. She asked if I had taken any aspirin, Advil or anything and was surprised that I hadn’t given all of the riding I have been doing. She repeated that in the normal case the patient would have been on a blood thinner but said that there is nothing normal about someone having spent so much time on a bike (I had given her a Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast card).

We enjoyed our sushi dinner.

Headed For St. Augustin e, Again

Thank You For The Laundry, Patty

August 8, Wednesday (Jacksonville to St. Augustine):

Today was a short ride – 44 miles – mostly on roads that had a bicycle lane. There was a bit of a head wind and it was very hot, 95 or so and humid. I have to have some reason for ending the 44 miles with a 16.6 mph average given that there had been miles where I was riding between 18 to 21 mph. Though flat, I did register 535 feet of climb.

The last 20+ miles was on Hwy. 1 and A1A along the coast. However I was seldom able to see the ocean either because of homes or vegetation covered dunes that blocked the view.

Our first ride – Nick and me as riders, Ale and Sarah as drivers = ended in St. Augustine but this time we approached from the north rather than from the west. This time I wasn’t greeted by any riders coming out to meet us or anyone cheering at the end of the ride.

St. Augustine, our country’s oldest European settled city, is a fun place to visit. History, old buildings, lots of shops and restaurants and, of course, the ocean and beaches. Only Sandi was missing this time.

I have now ridden through the 2 cities where Laura’s Ride 216 and Laura’s Ride North ended, Portsmouth, NH and St. Augustine, FL respectively.

I hope I don’t wait as long to post next time. I appreciate those of you who have let me know that you had noticed the delay in my posts. It is more fun knowing that some are actually reading this.

I will post about today’s ride into Daytona Beach tomorrow.

Good night,
Rick

Scary Highways, Burst Blood Vessels And Heat, All Part Of The Trip

 

 

August 4, Saturday (Ridgeland to Savanah):

More dreaded Hwy. 17. Things were fine until about 7 miles from the end. I had had 2 lanes going my way and I could deal with that even with no shoulder, though reluctantly. Then the traffic picked up. I didn’t like that but I kept going. But then it went down to 1 lane, lots of traffic and still no shoulder. I rode like that for a while and pulled into a drive, got off and looked at the traffic whizzing by in both directions and the lack of a shoulder. With cars coming from the opposite direction that meant that cars passing me couldn’t move much to the left. I looked ahead and told myself I could probably do it. Then I said, “probably? How dumb is that? Why would I do that?” The obvious answer was that I shouldn’t. So I called Uber because Patty had had to drive back from Ridgeland to Charleston to get a Kindle that was left behind. I felt much better in the car than I had on the bike though I was disappointed about not finishing the ride.

I got to our Inn way ahead of the truck and got lunch at a plant only restaurant. My lunch was called porridge but was unlike anything I have had before with seeds, leaves and flowers that I didn’t recognize and certainly don’t remember. I do know that I liked it which may surprise Sandi because she is constantly struggling to get me to eat greens.

One Of Many Impressive Residences

Another

A Savanah Church (One Of Many)

Another Side Of Savanah

Patty At The Entrance To A Cemetery Turned Park

Dessert

August 5, Sunday (R&R in Savanah):

What an elegant city, at least the historical district. Stately homes, tree lined streets, many with hanging “moss” that isn’t actually moss. Some good restaurants and an ice cream shop that always has a long line. And lots of small parks with abundant trees and grass.

We took a hop on hop off bus that gave a good tour of the city’s highlights. This isn’t the first on on this trip because they do give a good overview.

 

I am not caught up but it is late so I am going to defer. Downloading photos has taken way too long to finish tonight. Hopefully I will catch up in the next couple of days.

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Laid Plans

Leaving Myrtle Beach

Too Much To Eat

Alligator Guest

July 31, Tuesday (North Myrtle Beach to Georgetown):

The ride started along a highway with mostly no shoulder. However, because it was 6 lanes wide I felt fairly comfortable just claiming the right lane for myself. It was flat and I was able to do 20-21 mph for a while so cars were only going past me at 25-30 mph faster than I was going.

When I got to Myrtle Beach, the route then brought me over to the Coast so I was on the street that fronted numerous beach front hotels. That was slow but interesting riding. Rain free, too.

Though of course that couldn’t last. Not this summer at least. So it started raining. But that didn’t last forever either.

Going through a small town I had at least 2 vehicles yell at me to use the bike lane since I was in the car lane. What they didn’t know was that the “bike lane” really wasn’t rideable except maybe for someone going 10 mph or less because it was pitted, rough, littered and prone to disappear. At least when they yelled they gave me space which is what was important.

The ride was only scheduled for 36 miles so I decided to extend it to what turned out to be 65.5 miles to lop some off of the next day. The riding was flat with a total of only 950 feet of climb and was fun. The last 20 or so were on country roads, some of which went by what I am sure were plantation homes at one time and some of which were so remote and out of service areas that I would have hated to have had a breakdown there.

At the end of the country roads I was returned to Highway 17 which I had come to hate because of the lack of any place to ride. Because of that and because I had hit my aimed for mileage I stopped and called Ale to come get me. What I hadn’t realized is that I had stopped in a mosquito convention. Although a lot of them lost their lives, I lost a fair amount of blood and ended up with numerous welts. They were in addition to those I had gotten earlier when I got a flat near a stream that bred mosquitoes. That was interesting, changing a tube while fighting off mosquitoes. I got the tire changed but I also made a lot of mosquitoes happy.

We ate in a waterfront restaurant in Georgetown that served way more than I could eat. It also had the bonus of hosting both a 5’ alligator and a large turtle that were in the water directly in front of where we were seated.

Approach To Charelston

Headed To Charleston

Charleston Historic Marketplace; 1808

A Charleston Mansion

A Larger Charleston Mansion

Our Second Dozen Oyster

August 1, Wednesday (Georgetown to Charleston):

I had Ale drive me to where she had picked me up the before. However, when I again saw Hwy. 17, including from inside the truck, I lost my nerve and had her drive me to where Google had me turn off that road. The next 30+ miles were beautiful country roads that went through a forested area. It was great until I got another flat which created some anxiety because being the second of the day meant I had no more spares. Plus it started to pour as I was changing tubes. Plus my phone stopped working. The touchscreen simply wouldn’t obey me.

I rode until I intersected a main highway and was told which way to turn to get to Charleston by someone who was also stopped by the same stop sign.

Then another ride from hell started because again there was no place to ride and there were a lot of fast cars. It was so bad that while it was available I rode on a decaying sidewalk that never could have been intended for cyclists. The slow riding was worth it to not worry about getting run over. However, even that alternative ended and I had to return to the road.

That lasted a few miles until I saw that Ale was along the road waiting for me. I was surprised because I hadn’t seen her pass me but it turned out that she had approached from the opposite direction.

The timing was good because I was tired of the rain and of being constantly nervous about the cars. And trucks. The timing was even more fortuitous than I had originally realized because as I walked the bike to the truck I saw that I had yet another flat. That would have been a real problem because I had no more spares and my damp phone wasn’t obeying my wet fingers’ attempts to get it to do what I wanted.

The solution was easy. I put the bike on the rack, got into the truck and said that enough was enough. When I saw the roads ahead of us, especially heading into Charleston, there was no way I wanted to be on a bike.

The ride ended at 38 miles, 377 feet and 16.6 mph average which wasn’t bad given some of what I rode through.

Ale and I spent the afternoon exploring Charleston, much of which is really very pretty. Green, large yards and well maintained homes. We ate lunch in the Historic Marketplace area and walked along a long stone pathway that was on the water on one side and bordered by numerous huge, beautiful mansions on the other. Many were 3 stories and most had impressive verandas.

This was a bittersweet day for me because it was my last day with Ale. She had to fly home the next day for her daughter. I have already told her, numerous times, how much I appreciate all of the help and support and friendship she has given me, both this year and on the 2 previous rides. I will miss you Ale. Thank you!

I picked Patty up from the airport so she can help over the next couple of weeks. Thank you to you too, Patty.

This Is Why I Wouldn’t Ride

This Too Because There Were A Lot Of Fast Vehicles And No Room

And I Had Ridden This But No More

August 2, Thursday (Charleston R&R day):

This was my first rest day since Philadelphia which meant 14 straight days of riding even if a couple weren’t quite as long as I had expected. After getting a late start because Patty is still on west Coast time we went to see Mission Impossible to avoid the rain and then had dinner in the old part of town. Included were 2 dozen oysters at $10 per dozen during happy hour.

First Start With Patty

Hungry Ducks

We Loved This Mexican Food

August 3, Friday (Charleston to Ridgeland):

What a day. First, Google Maps wasn’t talking to me. That took me about 15 minutes to solve. Then it started raining. Then I got a flat. When I took the tire off I saw that the tire had gotten cut. I put a piece of tire between the cut and tube but saw that air was still escaping through the cut. I could see it because there was so much water that there were bubbles. I was concerned that the new tube would blow up but couldn’t call Patty because my phone wasn’t working at all. I managed to ride back to the house – we were staying at an Airbnb – and used another of my spare tires to fix part of the problem. The other part wasn’t solved because I need a working phone. We spent the next couple of hours at the Apple store getting a new phone and getting it set up. That didn’t include while we sat in the truck waiting for downpours to stop. Downpours, not just rain.

We then started following the bike route but I abandoned that idea because of the roads I would have had to have ridden on in the rain and the traffic. Plus it was getting late.

There was nothing about the drive that made me regret that decision. I simply couldn’t have ridden through some of the rain and I wouldn’t have ridden on some of the highways even in good weather. Plus, I won’t ride in a lightning storm. I obviously took advantage of an option that a self supported rider wouldn’t have. I can say that is another reason for having a SAG.

After a great Mexican dinner, we drove around Ridgeland some, though given its size, that didn’t take a lot. We did encounter these hungry critters who gladly ate the chips and rice that we threw to them.

I can only hope that tomorrow is better. But if it isn’t, I will be motorized again. It really is a shame because as for the riding itself, I am in better shape and the roads are flat. But I intend to minimize the risks as much as I reasonably can.

Until then,
Rick