Ten Weeks In

Wheel full 70px I started this madness ten weeks ago today- August 18th- in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Wheel full 70px I’m the blue dot.  In the past 70 days I have traversed two Canadian provinces and 12 states. I am now in Georgia.


Wheel full 70px Only Florida remains to be crossed, which I will do by traveling from its northern border to the state’s southernmost point that can be reached by road.  That point lies in Key West, and I’ll get there on November 10th- a date I have announced and stuck by from before leaving Maine way back in September.  That took a little planning, a whole lot of pedaling and more than my fair share of good luck.  More on all that, and especially the good luck part, in a future post.

Wheel full 70px Oh yes, and


Wheel full 70px It’s right on the border with South Carolina, so I kind of got a twofer today. That, and a big “HOO-WAH” to my hosts last night: the United States Marine Corps.


Yet Another Benefit of the Space Program

Wheel full 70px A retired military ID card…


Wheel full 70px Don’t leave home without it.

Wheel full 70px I’m spending the night in a Navy Lodging Facility on the Wallops Island NASA base.  This area of the Eastern Shore  of Virginia has pretty slim pickings as far as campgrounds and motels are concerned. I was resigned to riding for a while in the dark to make it to a motel south of here that Google Maps made sound pretty awful and then I thought, “I wonder if Wallops Island has a BOQ?”   So here I am.

Wheel full 70px Oh, and


Wheel full 70px Four states left to go.  I can do this!

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more

Wheel full 70px When you make lodging arrangements at a non-chain hotel or motel through an online service- hotels.com as an example- in a distant place of which you have no current familiarity it has been my experience that you quite frequently wind up surprised when you check in- sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.  Yesterday when circumstances- a credit card transaction at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and two plain old fashioned that was declined, which led to the discovery when I called Wells Fargo that the card had apparently been compromised the previous day when I stopped for breakfast and had been run up by $3,000 or so- required that I scramble to reserve lodging somewhere so that I had a fixed address at which I could receive a Fedex package from the bank, I wound up having just that happen to me.


Wheel full 70px Provincetown- P-town– Massachusetts shares with Key West, Florida the longstanding reputation for being the center of the gay scene on the Atlantic Coast.  This goes way back to a time long before the current widespread acceptance.  I have had a few openly gay friends over the years and a few others who had never come out, but my exposure to any ubiquitous gay cultural environment was nil.

Wheel full 70px Until yesterday, when I found myself in a hotel lobby conversing with a number of really friendly men (in a nice way), all of them seemingly fascinated by a guy dressed in black spandex and polyester wearing shoes with cleats on the bottom that made this just wonderful “click-click-click” sound when I walked.  It was fun, and was repeated at the hotel’s continental breakfast bar this morning.

Wheel full 70px It appears I am staying in the premier gay hostelry in P-town.  I was personally invited tonight to the “Underwear Party” in the club, which happens to be in the basement of where I’m staying, seen in the picture above but I probably won’t go, as my stock of good-looking bicycling underwear is woefully short.  Cool to be included, though.


So I Fell Off the Bike Yesterday…

…but since I fell on my head I didn’t hurt anything important.


Wheel full 70px All kidding aside, it was one of those “perfect storm” sort of accidents  and I could’ve been seriously hurt.  A guy in an oncoming car who stopped and told me that he saw the bike go over ejecting me off of it and all of a sudden I disappeared with a shoe flying up in the air.  What happened was when I fell off the bicycle I went over into a three foot deep drainage ditch in the brush along the side of the road.  I landed more or less upside down and on the back right side of my head,  which is not a good thing and when you had cervical spine surgery just three years ago.

Wheel full 70px The reason all that happened was as I said above the result of a perfect storm of events.   I was on a steep uphill portion of the road. Traffic was fairly heavy, so I was this close to the shoulder as possible. The  pavement at the edge of the road was extremely degraded and broken. The white line was right at the edge of the pavement. The dirt shoulder was about 6 to 12 inches/.2 to .3 meters wide.

Wheel full 70px I had just reached the effective end of the usefulness of my front mid-range gear and had shifted into high gear. My right foot was at the very top of the crank rotation. The high gear failed to immediately engage, and the resulting chain slippage allowed my right foot to go forward very fast, pulling me to the right and unbalancing the bike.  My front tire almost immediately caught the edge of the pavement and I went over.

Wheel full 70px The  aforementioned motorist said from what he had seen that he was certain I had been seriously injured. He wanted to call an ambulance. I was able to more or less stand right up and told him I was fine, but that I could not find my right shoe. It took a while to find it- it had flown about 10 feet/~3 meters further into the brush on the side of the road. What did hurt was my neck, which felt very achy when I turned my head from side to side. Visions of my trip being over right there filled my mind.  I walked the bike a few feet up the road to a driveway entrance and sat down on a rock ledge.

Wheel full 70px The pain in my neck at that point did not seem to be getting any better, but it also did not seem to be getting any worse. I said thank you to the various motorists who had by now stopped and offered assistance and decided to ride on for a while and see how I felt. So I rode about 10 miles/16 Km further from that point before deciding, out of an abundance of caution, to find a motel and stop early for the night. Within a short distance of making that decision the Atlantica Hotel beckoned.


Wheel full 70px The desk staff there was very sympathetic and concerned.  When I convinced them that, no, I didn’t need to go straight to a hospital and, yes, all I needed was just a room with a comfortable bed for the night, I was given one at what I am sure was a substantial discount, as it turns out the Atlantica is quite the fashionable resort property. But that’s story for another time.

Wheel full 70px I contacted Heather and informed her of what had happened.  I told her that I planned pretty much to head for bed and rest through to the next morning. I said that if my neck didn’t feel any better today or I awoke with other issues, I would head for a hospital.

Wheel full 70px And today I feel fine. Oh, there’s a little residual twinginess,  but it’s nothing I can’t deal with him and it’s not the kind that makes me apprehensive that something has really gone wrong and it’s just waiting to do me in. So my ride continues. I have tons of great pictures and a lot of route information to post, but that is dependent on a fast Internet connection wherever I spend the night. I’m at a Provincial Park tonight, so finding one is not all that likely. But I will be back on track, posting-wise, within the next few days.

Day #2

Wheel full 70px Well, made it through the first day.  Wound up doing just a little over 20 miles/32 kilometers and spent the night at a Mom ‘n Pop motel in Baldwin, Florida at the end of the Jacksonville-Baldwin bike trail.


Wheel full 70px The room was not much to speak of, but it was clean, had a bed and the air conditioner worked.


Wheel full 70px Couldn’t ask for more.

Wheel full 70px As far as the bike goes, I had three issues yesterday.  The seat came a little loose, which I tightened this morning.


Wheel full 70px I kept kicking the front fender when I mounted the bike and once managed to push it out of adjustment so that it rubbed the tire.

Wheel full 70px I fixed that on the road yesterday but am going to have to be conscious of avoiding that mistake in the future.  The third issue was not a bike problem.  Both RidewithGPS  and Strava crapped out on me.  RidewithGPS reported the entire ride, but the mileage was wrong and Strava just stopped along the way.  I was disappointed, but what can you do?

Wheel full 70px I didn’t take many pictures yesterday- I was too focused on what was going on with the bike.  I hope to do better today.

Wheel full 70px Yesterday was also a very short day at 20.2 miles/32 km.  Urban riding accounted for much of that, and I just felt tired.  I could have pressed on and made it to Mcclenny, about 10 miles/16 km down the road, but it is a busy two lane, dusk was approaching, and there was a big thunderstorm off to the south that didn’t look good (it ultimately never rained here, but there was a lot of thunder).

Wheel full 70px Today I plan to ride to Booker, FL, just a little over 40 miles away.  I have an earlier start and won’t have spent five hours sorting and packing panniers.


Wheel full 70px Today’s weather is expected to be in the low 90s with intermittent rain this afternoon.  It rained for about half an hour yesterday while I was riding- like being in a warm shower.

Wheel full 70px Let’s go!