And there goes my cushion again

Wheel full 70px Well, it may not be drizzling this morning but I’ll wax philosophical for a moment and say that into every long-distance bike tripper’s life some rain must fall.  My turn came this morning.

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Wheel full 70px Last night I noticed a wobble in my rear wheel.  I’d stopped and had one wheel or the other or both trued at several shops along the way.  No big deal there.  I had a piece of strap iron on a bike path get sucked up into the rear wheel and break a spoke in New Jersey, but that happened not too far from a bike shop and was dealt with in short order.

Wheel full 70px I’m assuming what happened in today’s situation was that a combination of the terrible pavement on roads across Kennedy Space Center plus a perfectly placed bump in the pavement somewhere close to the end of the day may have pulled through a stress crack in the rim and created the slot-like hole you see in the photo.

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Wheel full 70px Fortunately Stuart has at least one full service bike shop: Beyond Bikes, which is where I’m at now waiting for a replacement wheel to be built.  So once again I’m losing the little cushion of extra miles I’ve built up, but that’s how these things go.

Halfway down Florida

Wheel full 70px Yesterday along the coast north of the town of Stuart I passed the halfway point between the state’s northern border with Georgia and my destination: Key West.

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After tonight’s stay in the Palm Beach area, the remaining destinations are

Sunday, Nov 6 – Fort Lauderdale
Monday, Nov 7 – Cutler Bay
Tuesday, Nov 8 – Key Largo
Wednesday, Nov 9 – Marathon/Bahia Honda
Thursday, Nov 10 – Key West

Wheel full 70px The weather appears to be holding in my favor for the last 300 miles/500 kilometers of the ride.

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Wheel full 70px The rain predictions for today and tomorrow are for brief periods of drizzle- the same as have been in the forecast every couple of days for the past few weeks but have never materialized.  My weather app says it is supposed to be drizzling right now, but I guess it is hard to see in all that sunshine that’s currently outside my window.

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“Flamingo Sky”

 

Seven days, 350 miles to go

Wheel full 70px Today there is just a single week of my bike trip left.  Each day will be “the last,” as in “the last Friday of the ride.”  I still haven’t really dealt with that- I’ll keep you posted.

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Wheel full 70px After riding across the southern end of the Kennedy Space Center complex

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I finished up yesterday’s ride on the coast across Indian River from Melbourne.  My nephew Jack met me there and we had a nice evening of pizza and conversation at his friend Julie’s house.

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Wheel full 70px I got a chance to do laundry in a real washing machine as opposed to a motel sink.  This morning I got a  bright and early start back where I stopped the evening before and will ride about 70 miles/~110 km down the coast to Stuart.

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Wheel full 70px As this is written I am in Fort Pierce, with about 50 miles/80 km behind me. It’s been another gorgeous sunny day with a light tailwind. There haven’t been that many glimpses of the ocean, but it is always very easy on the eyes when it comes into view.

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A Week

Wheel full 70px One week from today I will ride my Surly Disc Trucker into Key West, Florida.  A trip that took three radical changes of plans (and, come to think of it, two four day hospital stays) to get under way will be over.

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Wheel full 70px Today’s ride will take me back to and through the Kennedy Space Center and on to Melbourne, where I will spend the night with family.

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Wheel full 70px After that, my daily destination points, barring unforeseen change, are as follows:

Friday, Nov 4 – near Stuart
Saturday, Nov 5 – West Palm Beach
Sunday, Nov 6 – Fort Lauderdale
Monday, Nov 7 – Cutler Bay
Tuesday, Nov 8 – Key Largo
Wednesday, Nov 9 – Marathon/Bahia Honda
Thursday, Nov 10 – Key West

Wheel full 70px So there it is- all laid out and looking mighty finite.  Time to hit the road.

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Eight days, 400 miles to go

Wheel full 70px When you watch the Florida coastline go by at 10 miles/16 km per hour, it is hard to get a sense of moving along toward an ultimate goal without reference to a map.

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Wheel full 70px The state is just that darn big.  The only state I will have spent more nights in was Maine, and that was back when I was averaging about 30 miles/50 km a day.

Wheel full 70px But this, I think, puts it all in perspective.

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Wheel full 70px The entire ride nets out at about 3,500 miles, give or take some ferry crossings and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  At the steady 10 miles/16 km per hour pace I’ve maintained more or less since Day One, that’s around 350 hours spread over 12 weeks I will have spent pedaling a bike.  I find it interesting that I gained over that time not the ability to ride faster but the ability to ride longer with fewer rest stops.  With a favorable wind and Florida’s “parking lot” terrain, I could probably do a “Century” day now, but it wouldn’t be because I would push out 14 or 15 miles/~25 km per hour for eight hours or so.  I’d just ride in my groove of 10 miles/16 km per hour for 10 hours plus a couple hours for rest breaks, leaving at daybreak and arriving right after sunset.

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Wheel full 70px Will I do that before I’m through?  Not likely, but it’s nice to know that I could now if I really wanted to.

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Ocean City, Maryland.  Note the control city on the overhead sign.

Wheel full 70px I will note, so as not to seem completely oblivious to real life, that the Cubs won the World Series tonight. I’m a lifetime White Sox fan, but will give credit where credit is due. The Cubbies worked for it, and it’s just too bad Jack Brickhouse isn’t around to say “Hey, hey!”

Nine days, 450 miles to go

Wheel full 70px That’s where I was at this morning- a quarter of the way from the Georgia border to Key West.  The trip is ending way too fast.

Wheel full 70px I rolled through Daytona Beach yesterday.

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Wheel full 70px Last night my friend Scott drove up and met me in New Smyrna Beach, where I spent the night.

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Wheel full 70px We had a great dinner at a place called Blackbeard’s Inn.  I ate a huge prime rib, which was very tasty.  Scott and I spent a couple of hours filling in the gaps of our decade plus long friendship on the Internet.

Wheel full 70px Today the highlight was a sign.

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After I passed it I rode for what seemed like hours through scrub and swamp, until I came to a gate where I was politely told I couldn’t go any further- that the road across the facility was closed to the public.  So I rode over to the mainland and stopped in Titusville for the night.  I’ll enter the space center from the south side early tomorrow morning and take a look around.

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Wheel full 70px Tomorrow night’s destination is Melbourne, where I’ll get together with my nephew Jack.  It should be an interesting day.

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Ten days, 500 miles to go

Wheel full 70px After cycling through St. Augustine yesterday,

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I’ll bike through Daytona Beach today.  I’m starting the day in St. Augustine Beach and should get to New Smyrna Beach tonight.

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Wheel full 70px Unfortunately yesterday was the first day I saw actual damage to structures (as opposed to just piles of debris and ruined appliances and furnishings) resulting from the hurricane.

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Wheel full 70px It is pretty sobering to ride past several miles of this kind of storm devastation.  I know that it’s sad for the folks who have experienced it, but living anywhere on the southeastern Atlantic Coast involves a trade-off.  It’s close to paradise, but this is the inevitable downside.

Wheel full 70px Even at the beach, not every day can be a day at the beach.

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