Category traveling

day 16 – post ride

sunday.
once again, we attempted to sleep in. it will probably be a rough transition to the pacific time zone. i suppose tomorrow morning will be the judge of that. we grabbed a few pastries and juice from the continental breakfast at the hotel, then we made sure we had everything from the room. we walked around and enjoyed the cool morning for a bit, went back to the hotel and had the desk call us a cab.

time to go, time to fly. if you have the chance to see any of the places in my photos in person, consider yourself lucky. the hawaiian big island tour was an amazing experience and the best vacation i have ever had. i know sometime i will be back to hawaii, but this was really a perfect trip and won’t be easily overshadowed.

ready to fly.

the kona airport cracks me up. just a series of little island huts.

well i guess we’re going to fly over maui.

yes, we are going over maui.

mmmmhhhmmm, we’re still over maui, just a bit further.

goodbye for now big island.

the waves in the ocean give it a cracked appearance.

blurry nightlights of portland.

on the ground in pdx international airport.

day 10 – hilo

monday.
today is a rest day. it’s not as if we won’t be riding at all, we just won’t be determined to get to a particular destination. leisure day is more appropriate than rest day.

sera and i had heard there would be a costume contest for the office, so we decided that while we were out we would try to find something to wear and enter it. also on the list of things to do was mehana brewery and big island candies. since the brewery didn’t open until noon, we went to the candy shop.

we texted another couple that was on the tour and they said they were almost there. while we were outside, we took our photo and sent it into the office for the costume contest. sadly, we submitted too late. the time difference is still taking a bit to get used to.

the greet you with coffee and samples. then more samples…then more and more. we had a lot of chocolate, cookies and brownies. plenty of samples. that is what really convinced us that we couldn’t just buy one thing, unless it was a gift box full of variety. we chose the medium sized one so it would both be portable and have a good selection. some of the other cyclists from the group were purchasing much more and sending it home via mail.

five of us slowly started our way three blocks over to the brewery. we knew it wasn’t open for another twenty minutes, but didn’t have anything else to do. we sat outside the fence waiting for the brewery to open. they came out a short time later, rolled back the gate and we poured in for our pours. they could sample as much as we needed to make a good informed decision, but they couldn’t let us drink more than the samples. we sampled plenty. eventually i purchased an insulated growler and had it filled so that we could have beer the next day. it wasn’t that we couldn’t get beer along the way, but it wouldn’t be cold. we decided to leave to grab lunch and meet everyone for the van tour.

the group leader had asked us early in the tour if we were interested in taking a tour van up to the top of mauna kea to see the sunset. yes we were. it was going to be a few hours to the top. after the group got in the van and we were ready to leave, the tour guide(dressed in a hotdog costume) took us over to rainbow falls which was on the way outside of hilo. it was a large waterfall, comparable to snoqualmie falls. climbing up the side of the lookout, there is a path to an extremely large banyan tree. the trunk of the tree was probably 40 feet wide, due to the branches/vines that come down. whenever one of these branches/vines touches the ground, it sprouts roots and becomes another extension of the tree. we only had a few minutes so we jumped back in the van for the remaining ride up the mountain.

the guide was full of tips and knowledge about the island and mountain. she offered history, facts about trees, the islands and was just overall loaded with info. we learned that between the visitors center and the peak was where they had tested the mars rover. looking out at the terrain in this area, it was visibly like i would imagine mars to be. we also learned about thirty-meter-telescope(tmt). tmt was supposed to have already began construction, but the supreme court had invalidated the tmt’s building permits. from my understanding, they are looking into other locations. there was an elected official at some point that said there would be no more than 13 telescopes/observatories in hawaii ever. tmt worked with some of the other groups to remove two of them so that they could make room for it. it’s a really interesting story(to me) about the fight for science and protecting sacred lands.

the visitors center was our stop for dinner. the group had packed fried chicken and some veggies. growing up next to the michigan space center and always dreaming of being an astronaut, i had developed a craving for astronaut ice cream. they had it for sale inside the visitors center. it was a nice treat to reminisce and complete the meal. there are nightly observation parties at the visitors center, but we weren’t staying there. the road ahead was limited to 4×4 vehicles. our big van was pushing hard to get up, and a short time later we reached the crest. there we were, on the top of the tallest mountain on earth. far above the clouds, only observatories, tour vans and tourists were around. we put on heavy jackets with the temperature bordering freezing. the sunset from above the clouds was amazing and well worth the journey up. the photos attached are great, but really it’s something that you should experience yourself.

there was an early evening constellation viewing party planned for us that was cancelled. as it turns out, mauna kea has an average of 340 clear nights per year. this was one of the nights where it wasn’t as clear. the dryness and clear sky alongside the height of the mountain make it a perfect place for observatories. the only thing left for the day was to return and get sleep. since it was bordering eight o’clock, everyone was tired. our bodies have adjusted to sleep schedules that make it almost impossible to stay up much later than that.

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early morning puffy eye treatment from the snorkelling pressure a few days ago.

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halloween costumes…not bad for a total of $6.

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just outside the tasting room in mehana brewery.

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just outside the tasting room in mehana brewery.

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sera @ rainbow falls.

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the aforementioned banyan tree. it looks small, but i am at least 50 feet away.

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sera & jaik, leggings and golf pants. special appearance with mud on the shoes.

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rainbow falls.

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observing the observatories.

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this was the actual crest of mauna kea, we were not allowed to climb up there(people die).

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observatories and a bed of clouds.

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 sunshine bathing observatories.

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it’s probably not noticable that sera & jaik are getting cold on top of mauna kea.

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sunset is beginning, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.

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more sunset, different shade, same observatories.

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sunset is progressing, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.

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sunset is happening, mauna kahalawai on maui can bee seen peeking through the clouds in the distance.

day 01 – pre ride

saturday.
traveling was okay. the first flight departed from portland and went to seattle quickly. even though it was eight-thirty in the morning, there seemed to be a large number of people who were all consuming fritos for breakfast. there was a goal for the hour layover in seattle: get a refund. halfway through the first flight I realized that i was double charged for the baggage fees. no problem. alaska air issued a refund and made sure everything else was fine. the flight left seattle and it was time to head to hawaii.

i completely forgot the adapter for the iphone 7 to be able to use headphones for the movies i brought. the flight crew announced that they had tablets for rent to make the six hour flight easier. three movies later and the collected them for landing.

the kona international airport is neat. there aren’t really any walls. you land, then walk across the tarmac to a small cluster of open buildings. thirty seconds after you walk in, you’re out the other side at baggage claim next to the taxis.

after baggage was claimed, it was time for check-in at the hotel. hunger overcame us and there was a small place across the street that announced on their chalkboard sign how wonderful their happy hour specials were. happy hour was 12-6. we sat down and ordered mai-tais then saw someone from the tour. we had actually met two others from the tour after landing. we were all waiting for the bicycles to come out from baggage. we invited over the woman from the bar. her boyfriend was at the bike shop getting his bike. it was mentioned that his frame was too large for conventional bike bags, so he had shipped it. the bike shop had received it and put it together for him. she texted to see where he was, but he had made a pit stop at a bar along the way.

a few drinks later he arrived. we ordered some food, had another couple drinks and made plans for later. it was time to visit the pool and shed some of the heat that layered us. only being in kona for about five hours after traveling for the entire morning and losing three hours was beginning to take a toll on us. it turns out that we weren’t the only ones. the plans we made fell through due to exhaustion from everyone. this was the first early night of many to come.

2016-10-22-07-26-07portland’s iconic airport carpet.

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captain milton will take us to seattle.

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just a shot of the plane…smallest plane i’ve been on.

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above the clouds between portland and seattle.

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time to leave seattle.

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first glimpse of hawaii.

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i can see the ground!

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flying along the horn of the big island.

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one of the northeastern beaches on the big island.

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now that we’re here, time for some photos.

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we’re not actually waiting for a cab, this is the baggage claim area.

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waiting for baggage & bicycles.

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mai tai’s at the kona canoe club.

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sera fell while facetiming her sister. the bruise was a nice way to start a bicycle tour.

the full camera dump


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day 51

i had been trying to picture my last day for the entire ride. i don’t know what i was expecting. after riding for 51 days i had finished. i knew there were no crowds of people waving ribbons and screaming at me. it was me finishing and it was like most of the ride was: quiet.

i got up at 5:30 and as i was making coffee, i decided there really wasn’t a need to rush out on the road. i could relax and wake up. no hurry. normally from wake up to bike, it’s usually about a half hour. today i didn’t leave for an hour and a half. i think part of it was knowing that that would be the last time on my tour that i’d be cleaning up camp and i was trying to put it off. i took my time. i cleaned everything up as nice as i could, then i noticed that my first tent pole repair tube had ripped. i have two, and brought them both just in case. it’s good that i had one to work with, it’s better that i had two. i know the tent is great quality. it’s an awesome tent. i don’t think it was designed for as much rugged use as i’ve given it, but that’s okay. i wouldn’t have wanted any other tent for the trip. being able to sit up and move around was a big bonus. i saw a few people touring that had bivvys and looked slightly jealous. seriously guys, that’s cool, but my poler one man tent is pretty awesome. even if it did start to come apart after 51 days.

everything was packed and ready to go. i mounted my bicycle, then realized the front was flat. the scab from yesterday just didn’t hold. since i wasn’t really in the most civilized area, i pumped it up with my fingers crossed hoping that it would reseal. there wasn’t a bike shop until key west and i didn’t have any patches left. it was my fault. after pumping the tire and riding to the intersection to turn left, i went to unclip my left shoe like i normally do when approaching a stop sign. it didn’t unclip. i kind of panicked. i pulled my brakes, realized if i stop moving, i’ll fall, so i started riding in a circle. oh yeah, i can just unclip the other side and see what the issue is. no problem. so i did. i pulled over to the side of the road, unclipped the right, then looked at the left. my whole clip on the shoe was turning. at some point i had lost one of the two screws that go in there to secure the plate for clipping. i could tighten it and it may hold, but for safety, i probably shouldn’t clip in for the rest of the ride. i didn’t mind, i didn’t have much farther to go before the bike shop. i pumped the tire up a total of about six times before i got to the bike shop. that’s how i spent my last ride. ride for three miles, pump tire, ride for three miles, pump tire. i arrived at the bike shop, the first that i had been in since tampa. i remember seeing it last time i had visited the keys and was happy i remembered the location. it’s called we-cycle. there’s kind of this pyramid of bike frames welded together in front of the place, so it’s easy to remember. i purchased two tubes and a patch kit, then had a quick talk with the guy working. he was interested in my gear and bike to see how it was setup and how it worked.

riding into key west i decided to have one last big meal. after all, i can’t keep eating crazy like i do because it won’t burn off like it has. i stopped at ihop and warned my server that i would be ordering a large amount of food, but had no problem finishing it all. she just laughed a little and said it was fine. i had three eggs, two slices of bacon, two sausage links, two slices of ham, two pieces of french toast, two pancakes, fried chicken tenders and a waffle. three full size plates of food. coffee and water to rinse it all down. she came by about fifteen minutes later to see all of my plates neatly stacked and all of the food finished. she looked a little shocked. here was this skinny guy who ordered way too much food, then finished it all and did it quick. i had a look of satisfaction on my face that appeared to be growing by the tasks of my last tour day.

after breakfast i rode over to the beach. i didn’t swim, but i just coasted along the beach until i reached southernmost point a short time later. for those who don’t know, key west is small. it’s two miles wide and four miles long. about 12 miles all the way around the perimeter. i could ride a bike around the entire key in about 45 minutes. so, back at the point, i waited in line for my turn in front of the marker. the people in front of me generously offered to take my photo. they asked where i had rode from and seemed shocked when i told them it was seattle. they seemed even more shocked when i told them it had been 51 days. i was really done. i had made it the whole way.

i should feel more accomplished. i don’t know, it feels like i’m just waiting to ride again tomorrow. like i need to get another hundred miles in. i know i don’t. i know there’s bike riding around with lindsey tomorrow, but i don’t have to cover a certain amount of miles before i can call it a day. i won’t have to hurry. i won’t have to be in a rush to get somewhere. i’ll be rolling around with her doing whatever and exploring.

i would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read along with my ride. especially those who did so and donated to my fundraiser. thank you to all of the warmshowers that hosted me, providing great conversations and comfortable living for a night. i’ll leave the fundraiser up until next week because i have other things to do and maybe you pass this along to someone and yell out “he finished!” and that next person wants to donate. over the next week, i’m going to route my actual trip and calculate the total miles. i’ll be typing out a final post, not the same as this one. it will have a collection of thoughts about the big tour, things that i wanted to happen, things that i would change, and even a link to all of the photos on my camera. i haven’t even had a chance to see those yet. i hope there’s some good stuff.

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for those who were waiting to find out, she said yes(of course).

day 50

i had a great ride today. i started early and just took my time all day. i didn’t want to rush the ride at all. i stopped at a few places, maybe trying to delay the last full day of my ride, but i eventually made it to camp.

last night the mosquitos were rough. not as bad as a few other places. there’s only so many bites you can take and only so much lite little buzzing by your ear until you begin swatting around crazily and covering yourself in bug spray. i brought a small bottle of bug spray and i’ve only used it two or three times. most of the time the bugs stay away and don’t like me. i guess i’ve gotten a little tastier as i move along.

i left camp and started my trek through the keys. i saw a few places in key largo that looked interesting, but it was so early that none of them were opened yet. no problem. i can always stop at them with lindsey on the way to the airport later this week. i started taking the bike trail that runs parallel to route 1 through key largo. it’s nice that they have that, separating you from the road, but the road also has a bicycle lane for those brave enough to ride it. the trail is more for those people that are taking their time and not in a hurry. i was a qualified candidate for that.

it was sunny, it was hot, it was a beautiful day. continuing on my ride, i made it through tavernier and into the plantation key then to islamorada. i have been to islamorada before and remember things about it. it had changed a little. the seafood buffet that was there is no longer there. i heard there was a fire. it’s being rebuilt, or at least something in it’s place. there was a brewery! i saw it and stopped on the trail, then looked at what time it was. it was before noon, but i figured, hey, when in rome…(drink). i crossed the street and rolled up. dang! what kind of place is this! not to sound like an alcoholic, but it was monday at 11:30am and i was sitting outside of the place waiting for it to open at noon. a guy came out a few minutes after i sat down and asked if i wanted to sit in the air conditioning inside. yes please. i went in and we started talking, he asked about my bike and i told him about the ride. he said, “your first beer is on me, you deserve it.” well thanks! i asked for something golden, and he gave me their golden ale that has a hint of key lime. perfect. a few minutes later the other bartender showed up and then the owner. we all talked and shortly after my second drink it was time to get rolling again. they invited me to stop back in with lindsey on the drive to the airport. those guys at islamorada brewing were pretty welcoming and had some good beer.

next was lower matecumbe key, then long key. after those i stopped at a disappointing tiki bar in long point key. i don’t know what i was expecting, but it wasn’t that. maybe more tiki stuff rather than just a few license plates on the wall and a wooden bar. there wasn’t really any tiki in this tiki bar, it was just a bar. i kept riding and kept measuring the time with my hand. it’s much easier than pulling my phone out when i’m riding. plus it gives me the rough estimate of when i should be looking for a campsite. marathon seems like it has grown, or changed, things can’t really grow here. the land is the same size and won’t get any bigger. the property will change and things will change, but it doesn’t get larger. i knew that after marathon, i’d have my only real challenge of the keys. the seven mile bridge. right before i got on the bridge, the winds changed and suddenly they were at my back. for the first time in florida, i had the wind behind me! it was a big help going over the bridge. i was riding 22 for a while, slowed to 16 while i went over, then up to 24 on the way down. 22 when it was flatland again. the winds were in my favor and i knew it wouldn’t be that way forever so i should use it as much as i could. i pedaled hard, moved quick and passed a bunch of stuff. the trail that ran parallel had been gone for a while, but new ones appeared so i got back off the road. this happened thorughout the day. the path would end, move to the bike lane, see a path on the other side of the road, cross the road and get on the path, then repeat.

i arrived in the bahai honda key then promptly got a flat. it was probably something i picked up while speeding down the bridge. i looked for a puncture in the tire or debris, but didn’t see any. i had one tube left that i had patched, no patches, and a few scabs. i switched tubes and about five miles later, same thing. i pumped it back up and rode for a mile or so, then it was flat again. dang. i pumped it up, then rode to the gas station so i would have more light. i put on a scab, covered it in rubber cement and decided to cut up one of my spare tubes that had a puncture. i sliced it all the way around and used it as a liner in my tire before putting the scab tube in. it helped. it held is what i should say. it made it all the way to upper sugarloaf key, where i needed to camp.

it was a long day and i had a lot of things to think about with my whole ride almost behind me. i saw there was a warmshower in marathon, but i didn’t reach out. i feel dennis was a good endpoint to my warmshowers for the ride. we got along great, did similar work and we rode almost the same exact route(his was from ft lauderdale to seattle). i don’t know the person in marathon that i could have stayed with, but really, i doubt they would have more in common with me. as many nights as i’ve had spent in my tent camping, i decided that i should have one more. one last good night in the tent before the ride is over.

tomorrow i’ll be riding 21 miles into key west. that will be the end of this tour. i’ll post again tomorrow after i finish, then i’m taking some time away. within the next week or two, i’ll calculate my total mileage through the route that i took, upload photos from the camera, and post a end of tour summary. it’s been a fun ride…day 50 done.

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day 49

the first thing i did after waking up today was take a shower. it doesn’t seem that odd, but it is to me. i’m a morning shower kind of guy, but almost the entire ride, i’ve taken showers at the end of the day(when i can). the morning shower is great because it wakes you up and has you start fresh. it was a good way to start the day.

before i start writing about the day i would like to remind everyone that i am not only doing this ride for my own personal goal, but also to raise money for the livestrong foundation, that will be donated to cancer research. my family has had a strong history with cancer and there’s a good chance that someone you know has had their life affected as well. we can help support cancer research and donate money to this cause so that it may become more treatable or hopefully in our lifetime completely curable. my donation site is http://tiny.cc/cancerdonations

i an see that i am currently averaging 1400-1500 visitors per day and thought i am writing this for everyone to read, please donate if you can.

i had breakfast with dennis. he seemed happy for both meals that we shared that i wasn’t a vegetarian or vegan. there’s a high number of cyclists that tour and are one or the other, but really, i think if there’s food to be eaten then there’s no reason to turn it down. your body needs as much as you can give it when you do a ride like this. i eat a ton of food, but i’ve still lost a ton of weight. i’m going to have to stop eating like this in few days because i definitely don’t need to gain more weight again.

i asked dennis for directions and route advice, he provided them both. for some reason google maps wanted me to take a road that had no shoulder and cars that travel high speed. no thanks google. my first stop was the beach. it was twenty miles away, and he gave me a great route to get there, but i missed the turn and decided to keep going the way i was. i was right next to port of the everglades and the ft. lauderdale airport. there was a freight train that was stopped on the way and i saw a few cyclists waiting. we talked for a few minutes and they seemed shocked that i had rode all the way from seattle. i guess i don’t think of it as this big thing because i’m doing it, but really, most people that i talk with are either shocked or amazed or inspired. they changed their direction and rode a different way to avoid waiting for the train to pass. i thought it would be a good time to eat the bananas that vance had given me a few days before. i sat on the curb and started eating. a few minutes later another cyclist pulled up and suddenly he said: “hey, you’re from chicago?” i didn’t know what to say. i don’t think i have anything that shows that, no, i’m sure of it. i said yes, how did you know? there’s a reflective pin on my rear left pannier that was given to me from po campo, in the shape of a chicago flag star. he showed me his chicago tattoo and told me that he used to live there. we talked for a few minutes and he said he had to take my picture. the train started moving and cleared the road so we both went our ways.

riding through the miami area on a sunday morning is excellent. there’s nobody on the roads and you can do just about anything. there has been a few times where i wished there was less traffic since i have been on the east coast of florida, but today there was hardly any. it made getting to the beach really simple.

when i left the beach and started going more into the downtown area of miami, traffic picked up and i decided to see if there was a better route. i updated google maps yesterday and the timing for the app is off completely. it was saying it would take me twelve hours to make it to homestead, which was only about 40 miles. i know it’s never taken me that long to do 40 miles. even in the mountains. i found a bicycle path that ran from downtown miami all the way to florida city, south of homestead. it was all i needed. i don’t like to constantly check my maps to see if i’m going the right direction and having one path the whole way makes that easy. out of the entire path, the only things that i don’t care for about it are the tree roots that were lifting the pavement in a few spots. they slow you down and can throw you around if you’re not careful. the downfall of one direct path is that it can seem like you’re not moving much. i thought i had gone a lot farther than i had a few times. eventually i got to the end and made my way onto route 1.

route 1 is the final road. it’s where i will be for the next few day. today though, i was only going to ride 20 miles on it, over to key largo. the wind was in my face the whole way and the storm that i had been watching move away decided to slow down. it should have been gone by the time i got to key largo, but i got the tail end of it. it rained for the last five miles of my ride. i didn’t mind. there’s not really anything that can slow me down or make me not want to ride to the end at this point. if it’s raining, i’ll keep going. if i get a flat(hopefully i don’t) i’ll use my last patched tube and cross my fingers. i could definitely fix another tube as a spare, but i’ve used the patches i have and now i’m down to my scabs that i don’t want to have to start using. those were more of an “if i need them” sorta thing and it hasn’t got to that point. i used my last patch a few days ago in indiantown, and i feel that i should be able to make it the rest of the way without a flat. you never know though.

i had a camping spot picked out in key largo before i got here. i didn’t know if it would be a good place to camp out, but after seeing it, it’s perfect. depending on the riding conditions tomorrow, i have three other spots picked out at various lengths so that i can use them based on the mileage i cover. i don’t need to go 90 miles tomorrow, but that’s the farthest campsite that i have in my list. the rest are closer. if the wind is behind me and i feel like i can make it, sure, i’ll take that one. i’d rather stop sooner so i have some more miles to ride before lindsey arrives.

i’m camped out for the night, but i know that i’ve got 105 miles from here to key west. i could do that in a day easily, but i’m going to split it in two. i need to kill some time before lindsey arrives on tuesday, and if i ride too quick key west then i won’t have a place to stay. i’m sure i could find one, but i’ll enjoy the last few days and take it all in. 85(ish) miles for the day, plus a stop at the beach. day 49 done.

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day 48

i really like coasting down the coast. not fast, but enjoying everything and seeing all of the things that are new to me. i didn’t cover a lot of miles today, but i didn’t expect to, or want to. i’m in relax mode. now that i’ve made it within 200 miles, i’ve got some time to spare and i’ll use it all not to rush or hurry, but to enjoy the ride. don’t get me wrong, i enjoyed the rest of the ride, but i know i went quick. i don’t mind, i saw a lot. i saw more than i expected. it has been one amazing ride.

before i start writing about the day i would like to remind everyone that i am not only doing this ride for my own personal goal, but also to raise money for the livestrong foundation, that will be donated to cancer research. my family has had a strong history with cancer and there’s a good chance that someone you know has had their life affected as well. we can help support cancer research and donate money to this cause so that it may become more treatable or hopefully in our lifetime completely curable. my donation site is http://tiny.cc/cancerdonations

i an see that i am currently averaging 1400-1500 visitors per day and thought i am writing this for everyone to read, please donate if you can.

my warmshower(vance and tommie) made breakfast. we had some great conversations about cycling and the benefits of clearing your mind on a bike, how good it is for you physically, and the funny moments we’ve had. i packed up all of my clean laundry(yay!) and got all of my ducks in a row. everything was set. i left(but felt so comfortable i wanted to stay) and started south.

i was originally going to go down route 1, but with all of the traffic, decided a1a was a much better choice. even with the wind from the ocean i was happy. i pedaled slowly, saw a ton of cyclists, almost joined a group of people dancing at the beach and just all around enjoyed the ride. one of the people that i had messaged on warmshowers for a place to stay tonight had passed me going the other direction.

i ended up riding twenty miles. today was my shortest day on a bike. i don’t mind. i’ve got the time and the ability to make it to key west on tuesday to meet lindsey. i arrived at my warmshower just before the storm had hit the area and was welcomed with chex mix and a beer. what a great way to end my ride for the day.

dennis, my warmshower for the night, did a tour from ft. lauderdale to seattle, so we’ve had a bunch of stuff to talk about. he made dinner while we talked about bikes, work, cities we’ve both been to along our trip. i didn’t really think that i would meet someone that has done basically the same route, let alone on this trip, so it was a nice surprise. after dinner, i was able to go swimming in the pool and relax in the hot tub. tomorrow i’m actually going to cover some more miles, but it was nice to get a relax day. day 48 done.

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i was speeding down the a1a drifting off this guy.

day 47

the bugs. they were insane. i couldn’t wait until i got over to the coast, knowing that bugs don’t favor as well in the city. i rode down 710 in the bike lane for what seemed like forever, but really was only about two hours. i turned left onto a1a and was going straight for the ocean. i needed to swim. i wanted to because i hadn’t had a shower in a few days and i love swimming. there was a beach about a mile away from the coast. i went down there, changed and jumped in. it was great. i really couldn’t have asked for a better morning riding to the beach.

before i start writing about the day i would like to remind everyone that i am not only doing this ride for my own personal goal, but also to raise money for the livestrong foundation, that will be donated to cancer research. my family has had a strong history with cancer and there’s a good chance that someone you know has had their life affected as well. we can help support cancer research and donate money to this cause so that it may become more treatable or hopefully in our lifetime completely curable. my donation site is http://tiny.cc/cancerdonations

i an see that i am currently averaging 1400-1500 visitors per day and thought i am writing this for everyone to read, please donate if you can.

after about a half hour of swimming, i rinsed off and continued on my way. i decided to go down a1a and look at some of the huge houses. people had grass that looked like putting greens, guest houses, beach houses, you name it. from palm beach to boynton beach it was primarily residential houses all with private beaches. occasionally there was a restaurant or hotel, even more rare a public beach. i thought about stopping at another beach, but i decided to keep going.

the wind along a1a was rough. riding right into it was even worse. eventually i decided cross back over to route 1, hopefully to endure less winds being a little away from the oceanfront. it was a little better. the other thing that was slowing me down was my legs. yes, my legs were slowing me down. i had done 140 miles yesterday. that’s about 25 more miles than my longest day so far. covering the miles was great, but exhausting. today my legs definitely told me that they weren’t happy about doing that yesterday. i pushed them a bit to ride into the wind, they didn’t want to go fast.

i had left camp early to get to the city early, knowing that riding in the city will slow me down and i still wanted to do stuff(like go to the beach) through the day. i had rode pretty slow, but there was much more to look at compared to the country roads i have been on. nearing 5pm i arrived at my warmshower(vance & tommie). they were excited to see me and extremely welcoming. they had to tell me to relax and sit down for a minute. i’m used to trying to efficiently manage my time and get stuff done before i relax. so i sat and relaxed. it was nice. a short time later we went out to dinner, i got a pizza and they got a pizza. they shared it with their grandson and i had a slice of theirs as well(i finished mine). i shared stories of riding across the country and they shared their stories from riding the world. it was good to be in great company again. they offered their opinions on the best places to cycle abroad, and i’d love to do that, but not right now…maybe next year. thanks to vance & tommie for sharing their home with me and making me feel comfortable. i really needed that, along with a shower and laundry.

since i had covered about 75 miles today, i’ve got about 200 left until key west. i could pull that in two days, but i won’t. i meet lindsey in key west on tuesday, around 5. that means i’ve got 4 days to get there. i can do 50 miles a day and take it easy to get there. nobody wants to rush through the keys anyway, too much beauty. i’ve had a smile on my face all day from the sunshine and bicycling conditions. day 47 done.

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look at the size of these avacados!

day 46

it feels like florida. not the clean part with hotels and beaches. the side where it’s hot and humid, bugs everywhere and wind always in your face. if it wasn’t for my lack of shower in a few days, i’d wonder why people were looking at me strange.

before i start writing about the day i would like to remind everyone that i am not only doing this ride for my own personal goal, but also to raise money for the livestrong foundation, that will be donated to cancer research. my family has had a strong history with cancer and there’s a good chance that someone you know has had their life affected as well. we can help support cancer research and donate money to this cause so that it may become more treatable or hopefully in our lifetime completely curable. my donation site is http://tiny.cc/cancerdonations

i an see that i am currently averaging 1400-1500 visitors per day and thought i am writing this for everyone to read, please donate if you can.

i started a little early, but nothing out of the ordinary. i was up and on the road by 6:45. it’s a good start time, but for all of the miles i wanted to cover, i should have left earlier. most of the day was spent on or next to 98 south. there were a few times i took some side roads for interest, but really the side roads only had lime farms through them. some of the farms were huge. some looked old, some looked new, but they all had limes. miles and miles of trees all in lines. i wasn’t sure they were limes until i had saw one broken on the street. i’m used to very tiny limes in chicago. some of these were comparable to large apples.

it got hot, i kept riding. the wind shifted to be in my face, i turned so that i could avoid riding into it, the wind shifted again. then it started raining. then the wind got harder. then the rain stopped and the bugs came out. then the wind was blowing all the bugs right into my face. then the roads got bumpy. basically, all of that happened, but twice. it didn’t start getting much better until i reached lake ockechobee. then the bike lanes disappeared. something was always going out of my favor today, it made riding difficult.

when i went to turn to get on the lake okckechobee trail, the gate was closed and locked. sigh. i’ll just go to the next opening. the trail was about 20 miles to the part of the lake i needed to get to. i was tired and wore out, and being next to a giant lake the wind was terrible. it was really beautiful though. i wish i had been in a better mood for the lake, i did get a few photos though. i think after riding 120 miles, i wasn’t too concerned about the lake. later on in the evening, when i was almost to camp, i was riding down the lake trail, the bugs got so heavy that i had to keep my head down and mouth shut. they were everywhere. that had been going on for about five miles. i would occasionally look up, see nothing and look down again immediately. until the last time. i saw a gate about eight feet in front of me. not like a tall gate, but a galvanized bar, stripped with reflective stickers. i slammed on the brakes, but it didn’t help much. i was going too quick. the bottom of the gate meets with my front rack and they have a 1/4” difference. anymore than that and i would be in a lot worse shape. my rack went under the gate and my blanket on the front rack absorbed most of the impact. from everything stopping so suddenly, both rear panniers had come off and one of the front ones. i put them all back on and started riding to find out i had a slow leak in my tire, and it was dark. i pushed really hard to get to the campsite before it got too bad.

while i was setting up my tent tonight, i saw the pole had been damaged from something. i have a tent pole repair kit, but i kind of wish i knew what happened.

i’d love to write more, but i’m dead tired. i rode a total of 140 miles. yes, that’s right 140. it would have been 135 or so, but i made a wrong turn. it’s crazy that i rode that far, and now i’m just wore out. cheers to making it so far in one day, the longest yet. that puts me only 260 miles from key west if i go directly. day 46 done.

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