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My Journey - March 2011

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My Journey - March 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:50 am

March 5th, 2011
I did not notice when I crossed over from the Keys to the mainland. I rode through Homeland. Oh! On the way out of the Keys, I met a lady selling newspaper subscriptions at Walgreen's. She tried with me, I told her I was trying to get in the newspaper as a story. A guy came by and spoke to her by name, they both worked for The Reporter Newspaper. She was new working for the newspaper. He gave me the name of Dave Goodhue, the editor. I called and confirmed a story to be done before I rode back after fighting miles of strong headwind. I went to The Reporter, keysreporter.com. I interviewed with David as planned. I stopped at Free Press next door, keysnews.com to talk with Robert Silk, who I talked with on the way in. He was going to do a story on me but, when I stopped in on the way out, he was not there. No coffee made at either place. ;(

I rode though Homestead, stopped at a church seeking a free place to camp without getting arrested or shot. They said congregated; two... (what is that official title?) and the priest, the answer was yes, they run a food bank too. I got some canned soup and tuna fish, tossed in my onion left over from the fruit and vegetable stand and feasted. I think the veggies gave me some issues, but, as the saying goes, this too shall pass. And it did, several times.

I passed through Coral Gables. What a display of social and financial status! Even the fire station was fancy. I stopped there, at the fire station on Old Cutler Road because the bike path went one way and the road (that I was supposed to be on) went the other way. We got to talking. Smile I left them my website and they gave me the last of their pot of coffee. Smile

I got to Miami, went through to Miami Beach and asked around for a free place to camp and free food. No food but the beach was where people pointed me to. I confirmed that while riding on the boardwalk when police on bicycles told me I could not ride on the boardwalk. But, I could camp for free on the beach, the police said so.

I saw 4 news vans parked on the side of the road. I went down the line asking the inhabitants of said vans “I am riding my bicycle around the world, do you want to do an interview?” One said maybe, the other scheduled... something for the next day.

I rode up to 46th street beach, the end of the boardwalk and unpacked enough to drag my stuff a few feet into the shadows to camp on the beach. I was told by a homeless man I could not set up a tent on the beach but a bedroll was OK. I pulled out my tarp and sleeping bag. I folded my tarp in half and set up my duffel bags inside the fold to create a stationary space and slept inside the folded tarp with my wool sweater and synthetic sweat pants under the sleeping bag.

It rained in the middle of the night, a short but furious downpour. I was not too badly soaked. I pulled the edge of the underside of my tarp in closer towards me to so there was a lip to keep the rain out. That might have worked if I had not put my hands and feet in the rain water while I slept. When I woke, my sleeping bag, tarp and duffel bags were damp. Not too bad.

I moved everything in separate loads up a few stairs back to the boardwalk. I packed up, ate a breakfast of peanut butter, mozzarella, honey, roasted mixed nuts and raisins on a corn tortilla and a wheat tortilla. Many gulls landed nearby and fought over something, looked like bagels, donuts or bread, I negotiated my share of the challah rolls. Smile A bit sandy and would definitely be better with something hot to drink but... hey! Smile

I rode further north, the winds were not coming from the north anymore, riding was easy! Except when they pushed me around instead of forward. :/

I stopped an outdoor cafe looking for a free WIFI connection. I asked tow women talking, with a tablet in hand, if there was free WIFI here. She said yes but I could not get on, probably because my batteries needed to be fed. We got to talking... for a couple hours. She told me about this library. I met a Vietnamese lady here interested in the sign on my back. She was in the library investigating pictures she had of a Portuguese Man'o'war. What was it? I had similar pictures and questions a few days ago. Smile Nothing on the internet, that I could find explained in Vietnamese, what a Man'o'war is. We had funn taking though. Smile

OK, done, caught up, time to find a place to sleep.
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Re: My Journey - March 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:50 am

March 9th, 2011
Whew, only a few days?! Short version I rode through Miami Beach on US 1A most of the way to Fort Lauderdale. There was a homeless shelter there. In the afternoon, I called ahead and left a message. I called again in the evening to tell them I was at the intersection near where they were located and I had no clue where they were. They were an outreach program worker, working out of their home, not a homeless shelter.

OK, so what do I do now? The outreach worker gave me a couple numbers. Nobody answered, it was Saturday night, the one day and time the homeless hotline was out to lunch. I called the police, Broward County does not allow free camping anywhere and all the beds are full at the places they called. OK, so what do you want me to do? I am riding my bike across country, I checked online and called ahead, I used the resources I got since then and still drew a blank. “I don't know what you can do sir.” OK, so don't arrest me if you find me sleeping someplace illegal. I hung up.

It was about 7:30PM, I found a church that had people in it. I went in, apologized for interrupting and asked for help, stating my situation. They could not put me up for the night or let me camp on any of their properties. I wasn't asking that, I wanted to know where a homeless shelter was or where they knew homeless people camped. There was a homeless shelter a few blocks away. I went there.

The homeless shelter only housed people enrolled in their programs. I could go to the walk-in shelter 10 – 15 miles away. They gave me directions several times but the map was what I needed. I rode on. Wow, was I tired. It got dark hours ago. Dusk is when I try to get off the road. Wow, was I tired. I got to the homeless shelter, next to the jail, and found I had to be checked in by the police. Itold them not to go anywhere, be right back. There was a sheriff's car at the jail with a deputy working out of his car. I told him about my travails. He said sure, took my ID card, told me he would meet me at the shelter. And away we went. I got my ID back and gave up most of my items.

They gave me a couple diabetic sack lunches. I ate and slept. In the morning, I met a guy, Dave, looking for ways to help homeless people. He was moving into an apartment that day, I offered to help. He also told me about the Renaissance Fair going on just a few miles away, and even in my direction – north. I went to the fair thinking he would call me if he was ready to move that day. We met at the fair. It cost $1.50 to get in the park. No problem, I could afford that! It cost $20 to get in the fair. Wait, I want my $1.50 back. Dave was waiting for a check to be deposited to his bank account. No moving, no helping. I rode on. I stopped at a hotel and asked if I could get on their free WIFI and drink their coffee. Yes and yes. Dave called, wanted to know what I was doing; free WIFI at a hotel. He needed to get on the internet and update his website, where was this hotel? He came over and used my netbook to update his website.

That was all in Fort Lauderdale. I rode on to West Palm Beach. I got to Boynton Beach (near West Palm Beach) late in the evening. I called the local toll free crisis line inquiring about shelter in the city. They sent me to CARP the only homeless shelter that takes walk-ins. I went there, their beds were full but I could sleep outside their emergency entrance. Good enough for me; I was not going to get shot, arrested or mugged.

I met people there I knew from when I stayed at another homeless shelter, Westgate, while getting the prescription for my glasses. Now, I was picking the glasses up... the next day, in thee morning. There were several people getting ready to sleep outside the emergency entrance when I pulled up. We got to talking. One guy, after an hour of talking got cranky about not getting to sleep with us talking. He had to work in the morning. He stomped off. I felt bad. One of the people talking assured me there must be something else going on for him to get upset like that.

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
I got up in the morning, packed and went to the VA to get my glasses. I was early getting there so I went looking for the homeless veterans department. Maybe they had something I could use? Free coffee, people to talk with? Smile They were in a mobile home trailer off in a corner of the grounds. They had a SHOWER and LAUNDRY!? My prayers were answered. I walked around outside, back to my bike (my clothes were on my bike) and rode back to the Homeless Vet Resource Center.

But, one of the employees was running the show. My clothes got washed and dried his way – “speed wash”, “speed dry”. Most of my clothes are synthetic, wool or silk – delicate and he put in a lot of soap and clothing softener. I really wanted to do laundry, but did I want to do it on his terms. Was risking damage to most of my treasured gear worth getting my clothes washed? Yes.

At least I did not have to shower his way. I reorganized my clean clothes and rethought / inventoried all the gear in both duffel bags. Then, I rode my bike around the VA hospital building to where bicycles are parked. I went to the Vision Center and got my glasses. What a relief, they fit, I could see much better and there were no scratches.

All that time I was in the VA, there were people asking me about the sign on my back – BikeToAustralia; lots of opportunities created to meet people. Smile I rode from the VA in search of a WIFI hotspot. Starbucks was where I landed. A man talked with me about my adventure. His neighbor works for CBS channel 12 news. He took a picture of me and my bike and sent it off to his neighbor.

I rode on north. I stopped at Bicycle World, said hello to the guys that repaired my rear wheel after getting hit by the West Palm Beach deputy sheriff weeks ago. They had the phone number to a fledgling community bike shop, Bicycle Exchange in Indiantown, FL. I called and talked with Paul. We agreed to meet. In WPB or up in Indiantown? Maybe inbetween? Don't know. I took highway 1A, hugging the coast, very pretty. I like the look of the houses there; not too ornate or so impressive that they are oppressive.

Daylight eventually faded. I was on 1A, just south of the NPBCC (North Palm Beach Country Club), riding along, when a vehicle pulls along side of me, a voice says something, something hit my leg, the full size gun metal gray pick up truck goes speeding off! They hit me! They threw what felt like a waxed paper soda pop cup from a gas station. Florida license plate WOO...

They turned right at the first corner, across the street from the NPBCC and hid in the marina parking lot. They were the only car in the parking lot with tail lights on. Yes, I was chasing them. They peeked around the corner with their lights off, saw me and tried to get out of the dead end cul-de-sac they chose to hide in. I blocked their escape, I played chicken on my bike with a full sized pick-up truck. They went around me on the grass and sped off. WOO OCT. As they passed, I sang out “I got your license plate.” Cross that off my bucket list, oh, call the police first.

I called, told the police I'd been hit, all the details, Nope, unharmed. I went looking for the lady walking her dog that I passed during the chase – witness? She was gone, wish the dog was pickier or had issues...

I went looking for whatever hit me, could not find that either. I waited at the corner, waved the police over when they arrived. I told him my story. Officer Bearsey is a bicyclist! BIG Smile Officer... they call him “Ski” - the last three letters of his name, he came by a little later, he's a bicyclist too! Smile We had a fine time talking. All they could do was knock on the door of the driver's house and have a conversation. Perfect, scare them straight, get the troublemakers on the minds of the police... perfect.

When the conversation was winding down, I asked them, off the record, where I might be able to camp for free that night. They settled on the Catholic church of the priest for their Fraternal Order of Police; “He's a good guy.” I rode my bike there and searched around for someone to talk to. Two guys walked out, Officer Bearsey pulled up. The two guys were priests on retreat, this was a a Catholic Retreat Center. They were on a quest; really good ice cream after hours on a weekend. Smile

They asked Officer Bearsey, they were from Kentucky and Michigan, respectively. “Kentucky, where?” They lived in the same town at one time and their relatives were the best of friends. I was the tiny catalyst that brought them together. Smile

Anyways, I got to camp on the lawn, way off in a corner. Beautiful building. I chose the darkest place, on flat land, to sleep. The lights of surrounding civilization at night were pretty. There were lights to the east reflecting off the water, lights on some of the docked or anchored ships, lights behind them on buildings, lights showing off a hotel to my south, lights to the north; part of the retreat center, and far off to the west, lights up the hill and across the road from small businesses on the other side of highway 1A. I was in the shadow of a druid's circle of Banyan trees. There were two marble benches ringing the druid's circle. I propped my bike against the closer one and started cooking on my Coleman single burner camp stove – Progresso New England Clam Chowder with canned tuna fish and the last half of an onion, spiced to taste.

Saturday, March 19th, 2011
I'm so far behind spreading the news. The sprinklers came on at 4AM. I panicked a moment then resigned to getting wet and drying out in the morning. They were hospitable, I had permission and the local police were the ones that introduced me to the priest and the church.

In the morning, I laid out my wet things to maximize drying. A maintenance worker on a golf cart came by. She told me I had to leave, I could not camp there. But... “I have permission.” “From who?” I did not catch the names of the either of the two priests on retreat. One of them had gone into the building to talk with someone last night who gave me permission to camp the night. That sounded unconvincing to me and I was telling the tale. She said she was going to talk with her boss. I told her I was going to walk up top, to the front door to thank them; meet her there.

Nobody was there, still too early by a few minutes. I brought stuff I was getting rid of, donating to... someone. Now the doors were open and, that was when I was told it this was not a church, but a retreat center instead.

I asked to talk with Father Immanuel, the priest assigned to the Fraternal order of police. I asked to use their bathroom to wash my hands. I just finished packing up my tent, pulling up the tent stakes and wiping them off. Now, I might be shaking hands with a priest. The staff said there were no clergy available for me to talk with and I could not use their bathroom. I felt unwelcome. To them, I was a foreign object, just like a thorn.

I've tried to understand their stance. They were close to a homeless shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry or homeless resource center but it still hurt. What hurt? I got warm fuzzy feelings from the police officers, expecting the same camaraderie from the retreat center. This was a local church and priest of the local police and these officers were the local protectors and defenders of the status quo. Did they have no working relationship, no camaraderie, no communications between local organizations with similar goals? This was a catholic organization, I was attacked and fought back victoriously.

My expectations did not fit reality. Back when I was 16 years old, I wrote; “If reality does not meet your expectations, perhaps, it is not reality that should change.” Don't you hate it when your teenage self reaches out from 30 years ago and advises you to stop this foolishness? He's right, it is not reality that should change. They let me put my things in order. I told them when I was leaving. (I took the things with me I was planning to donate; they were not likely to find good homes for my gear.)

I stopped several times at Indian markets looking for Asian markets. I had a fine time getting conversations going telling people, “I don't know where you are from but I am going there.” I met an interesting Indian man managing an Indian market. He rode his bicycle all over Europe and Asia some years ago. He suggested I get letters of support from the Rotary Club and the Jay Cees here in the USA to present to overseas organizations.

I found a church and asked to camp there for the night but they said they could not because of the liabilities. The priest suggested a place where he saw street people camping. “You didn't hear it from me.”

I stopped in a bike shop, remembering (finally, at the right time) my bike's front gears (free spinning gears are sprockets, the whole front assembly is a crank set) were not evenly spaced apart. I built the crank set over a year ago, in poor lighting and in a rush, not seeing the inequity. Because of the uneven spacing, my chain often slips when I shift from the middle gear to the smallest gear and it locks up when shifting from the smallest to the middle. The people at Real Deal bike shop in Jupiter, FL offered me a used crank set. But, my sprockets are not standard; my cranks are oval shaped, matching the differing strength of our body's ability to pedal with the oval sprockets.

So, I was keeping my ergonomically designed crank set. But, I wanted the spacers or washers that go between my sprockets. Bike shops usually do not carry something that specific. Maybe, Alan's Bike Center in Vero Beach might have it. The owner of Real Deal said “If anybody would have it Alan would. He doesn't throw away anything.” The bike mechanic has friends a few miles away that “can seriously hook me up with stuff; they are welders, they make bikes.” That got me going, I want to practice welding. Where were they at? Over in West Palm Beach, back where I came. Sad

I rode from West Palm Beach against the wind getting this far north, but now that the winds had shifted, I was going back to West Palm Beach against the wind. When the time came to ride back north, I knew I would be riding into the wind.

I found the house of “T3”, my West Palm Beach welding contact by flashlight. I talked with him on the way down, he was working late into the night, I needed to find a place to sleep. I rode around the neighborhood waving my flashlight around. Highway US 1 is a dividing line, east of there is nice, getting nicer the closer you get to the ocean. West of US 1 is poor. People are doing the best they can with limited personal resources.

A group of people were gathered at a street corner. I said “Hey”, one guy said “What's goin' on.” as I rode by, I saw they were all young men, some on bicycles. One of the guys stomped overly loudly after me shouting “Hey, that's my bike light!”

I looked behind me with my flashlight clutched in my trailing fist, “Come and get it' I said ina deadpan, dead serious voice. He could have caught up with me, instead, he stopped. I did not fall over, hit a parked car or race off to the safety of 'my neighborhood'. I was no fun to play with. But, his audience enjoyed the show.

It took a long time for the hairs all over my body to stop tingling. I gave up finding a place to hide out for the night. I called 211, the crisis help line, selected homeless and was directed, by helpful staff, to CARP. I spent the night there the first time I went through West Palm Beach, getting my prescription for glasses and the second time, picking up my glasses. I was back.

I met one of the ladies sleeping there, Brenda, at Westgate the first time through West Palm Beach. She was moving to... someplace in New England. I'd thought about her in the past few days. Brenda has a walking problem; something with her hips that makes her walk lopsided. But, she is smart, compassionate, hard-working and has a good outlook on life. She deserved better, on the way into West Palm Beach, I was hoping she would find it. Now, this night, she was waiting for a ride to... wherever that was so she could live in a house of her own. Happy tears for her.

The guys I was going to meet and work on my bike with, that event degenerated into “sorry guy but at least, I left the clipless pedals in a box on the windowsill.” Upgrading my Xtracycle with a one inch lift away from the tire would have to wait. So would socializing, nice pedals. The clipless pedals work with the clipless bike shoes I' been carrying around in my bags for months. I paid $2 for those size 14 bike shoes that fit me, not that I'm bragging, you understand. Cool

I rode back north, sure enough, against the wind. I talked with Paul from the Bicycle Exchange in Indiantown


Thursday, March 24th, 2011
I am backsliding. I do not remember some of the good, fun stuff that has gone on in the past couple weeks. That is what I have been trying to catch up on. I REALLY NEED TO WRITE EVERY DAY. New day's commitment; write every day (or at least, more often)

In Port St Lucie, I asked at a church if I could camp free; yes and they fed me too. The next day, I met a man riding a recumbent trike. I shouted “I want one of those with a Terracycle on back. We got to talking. We went together to Sprockets, the bike shop I got help from on the way south to Key West. When he got off his recumbent triut, he said he rides cross country, solo bike touring, averaging 50 miles a day. WOW, hats off to you, Rick. Rick invited me to his brother's birthday party. He got to show off hjhis 'found treasure from the road' and I got to socialize, spreading the Ari magic to the rest of his family. After the party, Rick and I went to a comedy show at his favorite pub. The comedians loved using my “BikeToAustralia” sign as improv material. They tried very hard to get me upset, to no avail, I gave them free advice on making jokes. Rick toyed around with the idea of riding with me but he decided to stay home and chase women.

I rode on. One of the people I met in the Florida Keyes said he, Bill Green, will help me with my presentation, making me more marketable, to get sponsorship. Bill called the bike shop and presented my case for I had two things on my agenda for Vero Beach, Alan's Bicycle Center (alansbicyclecenter.com‎) and The Source soup kitchen. It was about 10:30 in the morning when I got into Vero Beach, so I figured eating lunch at the soup kitchen was first. I wandered all over town looking for that place. I barely made it to the soup kitchen before lunch was over. Several people wanted to know what I was about, we talked for a while then I rode over to Alan's Bicycle Center.

Alan was indeed in but he was just visiting; he was donating a lot of bikes to a rummage sale. I think he said a couple hundred bikes were going. Neither he, nor his crew had time for me. BUT, I asked to use his tools to take apart my front bracket, that was no problem, in the middle of his store floor. Alan's Bicycle Center did indeed have the spacers I was looking for to change the distance between the sprockets (gears that spin freely) attached to my pedals and crank arms. I could have then for free. Alan did not stock the extra long, tandem length brake cable I wanted and he would have to charge me for it if he did. Nor did he have a used air pump or the specific kind of air pump I am willing ot pay full price for. (http://www.lezyne.com/micro-floor-drive-hp) I was happy though, delighted even; I got the old, hard to find, spacers I wanted for free. The rest of the stuff on my wish list is easy to find and not so inexpensive.

Before I go on, you might wonder 'what is so special about this air pump I am after?'. It screws on to the valve stem with a very long flexible air hose and it is very well made. Almost all bike pumps clamp onto the valve stem, getting an airtight seal is sometimes a challenge. Most air pumps do not have any hose at all, so when you use the pump, the valve stem is getting pushed and pulled with the wheel rim cutting into the valve stem every time. Most good air pumps accommodate both presta and schraeder
valves – schaeder valves are what cars use. But, to switch between the two types on most air pumps, you unscrew the pump mouthpiece, take out and reverse a couple internal parts. The mouthpiece can loosen on it's own and the internal parts get lost, creating a worthless pump. On the pump I want, the hose has a quick release, just like on air compressor hoses and you flip the screw-on-to-the-bike part around to get schraeder or presta. That does not get loose or get lost.

I left Alan's Bicycle Center looking for a place to camp. I was only a couple blocks away from the bike shop, there was a guy on a red bicycle, way too small for him, he was talking on his cell phone and he was riding barefoot. As I passed him, he said 'cool bike'. I said, talk with you after your call, if you want. Jamie ended the call, we talked about all the customizations I had done to my bike, altering it to suit my needs and we talked about my journey while I fixed up his bike a bit. He loved the idea of bike touring; he lost his job, was going through divorce, and was in Alcoholics Anonymous. He would love to ride with me, what gear did he need? A better bike and a something to carry his tent, etc in.

I told him I was, just now, looking for a place to camp out. He told me he had been camping out but, tonight he was sleeping in a motel room. I could use his tent or campsite. I followed him, looking his motel. It was a block behind us.

While he was talking with the motel manager, another man pulled up on his bicycle. He was wide eyed and wild eyed and asked where I was going, what was my story? I told him, Todd said 'You got to meet my friend, he lives just arounnd the corner. You can probably stay the night in his gallery.' I gave Jamie my card with my cell phone number and said goodbye to him.

Todd took me a block away, a few blocks away from the bike shop.Robert O'Rourke (http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000106128953) is everybody at Gallery 19 Green on US1 and 11th street in Vero Beach. Awesome artwork, interesting man with a great heart, very good musician and he just fell in love with Luisa, an artist from Italy moving in with Robert ASAP. Ladies, you're too slow! Wink He's incredibly skinny and almost as tall as I am. We got along famously. Robert is an accomplished musician and a really good artist. Look at his art on his Facebook account - we became Facebook friends. Todd wanted to interview me, I'd happily throw fuel on that fire. I suggested Todd, Robert and I all be part of the interview, in Robert's gallery. Todd called his friend, Garrett to video the interview. Miraculously, Garrett, who was at his mother's house would be right over.

Mimmo Amelio, artist and former chef for the Italian restaurant next door to the gallery came by and visited at some point, Mimmo and Robert are great friends. The interview went extremely well. We played out that scene late into the night but finally went to sleep. I slept on the carpeted floor in one of the gallery rooms. The next day, Robert or Todd called Rhett Palmer, a well known local talk radio personality, about doing an interview. Yes, interview tomorrow noon.

In the morning, I showered (such a luxury!) and spread out all my belongings on the floor of an unused room in the gallery. Now, everybody could see what I carry with me, what weighs so much. I parted ways with a couple pounds of stuff in the process. Rhett arrived a little late. I just finished arranging things. Smile That interview went very well. Rhett was good at directing the conversation.

Monday, wherever that day fit in, a reporter from the Vero Beach Press Journal came by and interviewed me. Smile His article was in the paper the next day! (http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2011/mar/21/with-help-from-vero-beach-shop-cyclist-can-trip/) Got to download the story and paste it on my blogs. (Brett Palmer just called me back and said the interview will air Tuesday between 8AM and 10AM. Getting a copy of that and going to post it after I get it.)

A man rolled up on a skateboard and looked at the artwork. Steve had been riding his bicycle cross-country but it broke down. Now, his skateboard was his transportation. Robert offered him some food. Mimmo came by and wanted Todd and I to do some work on his garden. Todd was out but Steve was in. Mimmo drove us to his house, very nice. Steve and I met Mimmo's wife. They both gave us instructions about the work. It was entertaining to hear Mimmo and his wife telling each other 'I know what I am doing, you got to listen.' Or, that is what their tones of voice sounded like; they spoke to each other in Italian. I was charmed by them. Mimmo gave me some money after the work was done and he gave Steve a WalMart bicycle, almost brand new. I asked Mimmo if he had a camera he was not using. He brought me the camera Tuesday, the next day.

Robert and I really enjoyed each other's company, walking and talking, speculating and ruminating, but he and I were both glad I was going. All these unfamiliar activities were hard work! Robert had to get back to painting and selling his artwork. I had to get back to riding my way up the eastern seaboard looking for working passage to Europe on a sailboat.

I was almost done packing up when Mimmo came by with a camera for me. Back in business! Todd got in some last minute pictures with Mimmo, Todd and I.

Saturday, March 26th, 2011
I took A1A for several miles but got off to chase after bike shops. I left my running shoes in Robert's shower! I called him and turned back around. I stopped at what looked like a yard sale across the street, sure enough but the lady said it was set up for NEXT weekend. 'I won't be here, see?' I showed off the sign on my back. OK, go ahead and look. Nothing there I wanted but they Gave me a pair of hiking boots in my size; her husband has big feet too. I called Robert back and asked if he would mail just the orthodic shoe inserts to the Baha'i Center in Jacksonville, FL.

I stopped at Island Stride, the Triathlon shop, thinking it was a bike shop, but got to talking with Jesse Hall. He invited me on Facebook and sold me his bicycle pump cheap. He directed me to Bob's Beahc Bicycle Works just down the street. They let me use their tools to install the tandem brake cable I bought from them with a 10% off price for being on a bike tour. You all hear that? Price reduction for bike tourists! I also got my rear wheel trued. They said it was time for me to strat looking for a new wheel, this one was wearing out. I finished up shortly after they closed, with all their tools returned to them. They gaveme a bottle of biodegradable bike lube. Perfect!

I camped at a really pretty vacant lot on the west sife of US 1. A train passes by several times a night but I got used to it and just slept longer into the morning. It was almost noon before I rode out.

I got permission to camp at St. Mark's United Methodist Church. I had to be packed and ready to go by 8AM, before the preschool teachers showed up. OK. I rode over to WalMart, just north of the church and bought a gallon sized gas can, the smallest gas can available. My camp stove burns either kerosene or gasoline. The last time I filled up the stove with gas, it cost 28 cents, I spilt a lot of gas on the ground and lasted a week. I talked with a a lot of people at WalMart. Smile

I got back to the church, set up my hammock between trees in the playground and cooked dinner, Progresso New England Clam Chowder with a can of tuna fish, some garlic, Italian seasoning and a small onion. Then went to sleep, WOW, 10PM, that late already?! The sprinklers came on at 1:30AM. There was one directly under my hammock chattering water out like a Gatling gun. My backpack, hammock and sleeping bag were soaked immediately. I fought the sprinkler for territorial dominance. I thought dark thoughts about the guy who gave me permission to camp there. Other sprinklers came came on next to my area at 2AM just as the one where I had been camping turned off. I stalked around, fumed and considered my options. I moved to an uncared for corner of the church grounds. Those sprinklers went off at 4AM. These were not the high pressure kind like before, I covered this one and waited, dreading what would happen next.

My alarm clock went off at 5AM. What a relief, time to pack up and get out of here! Wait, where am I going? Too dark to ride, too early to go to the beach across the street and spread my stuff out to dry. I made a pot of oatmeal with peanut butter and mozzarella cheese – comfort food and ate glaring suspiciously around me. Then I repacked and went to the Hilton hotel just north and told them I was riding my bicycle cross-country, see? Turning around and asked if I could get some of their complimentary breakfast. The restaurant is a separate business, you have to ask them. I did, Cathy said yes and I ate some of their breakfast too. Good coffee, great service, good food and variety of it too. I wrote a lot of this installment up there and then.

Then I rode to Sally's Beauty Supply and bought a cheap, blue, flat brush. I think it's called a scalp brush or comb. It packs well and does a fine job on my hair. I met a man there... his name... he invited me on Facebook... I'll get his name soon. Smile He is getting involved in triathlons and asked me about bicycles. We talked a long time. He and I parted ways for a bit, I went to the next local bike shop, Bob's Bicycle Shop. Yep, Bob owns all 3 shops; the triathlon one too. The new to triathlon guy met me after I was done talking with everybody in the shop. He offered to buy the rear wheel I was now looking for but it was too expensive. He bought me a headlight instead. Cool, I needed that too.

I camped out in a beautiful place just off US 1, next to Laguna Vista. That was this morning. I stopped at a restaurant, Peddler's Village Diner, to get water. Dana Jones, the owner, gave me lunch. He introduced me to Bonnie, a lady working at Teresi's Auctions, in the same business complex. Bonnie rode her bicycle from Rockledge, FL to Maine.

I stopped at an antique shop thinking it was a thrift store, got to talking with Dan, who knows a fair bit about local sailboating and going to Europe, he has a large sailboat. He told me about a flea market tomorrow I should go to and ask for... his name is on my map.

I stopped at Harvey's Groves asking about work, no work. But, interesting chocolate. Smile I stopped at Grimaldi's, another chocolate maker (www.grimaldicandies.com) and asked if I could camp out behind their... manufactory? Yes and they have electricity and running water. Oooh, deluxe!

OK, caught up, time to set up my tent, sleep then go to the flea market. Need to get their early. :salute:

Sunday, March 27th, 2011
Something upset my stomach. How do I delicately describe the mass exodus of every bit of food in my body? It came on very quickly and was not pretty. I was anxious about getting out of my tent fast enough. In the morning, I dug holes and buried the contents.

I packed up and went to the flea market. Almost nothing there I wanted – pair of socks and an open end box wrentch. Did not see the guy I should talk with, Randall and people working the flea market did not recognize his name.

I feel tired lately, especially in the morning. I am probably nutritionally deficient. I stopped at McDonald's got on the internet and paid for a McDouble.
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Re: My Journey - March 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:51 pm

Sunday, March 28th, 2011
I wrote for a couple hours, all caught up, and saved... That work is gone, no clue. Try again.

I rode around for a bit but it was Sunday, most businesses were closed. I rode from the mainland over to Merritt Island, headed for Port Canaveral to scout things out and get an idea where I wanted to be Monday.

I remembered I had not emailed any of the people I had collected contact information for when I was at McDonald's. I found free WIFI at Denny's on SR 520. I could use their WIFI without buying anything but, it was about to get busy, would I please move to the back? I did and went outside to put my bike where I could see it. Two guys that had been sitting at the bar hailed me outside. We got to talking. Ron and Bunko were planning to ride across the USA in a few weeks. We went back inside to talk more. We talked a lot. I never even plugged my netbook or cell phone back in.

Ron is 55 years old, he figures he had better get to doing what he has always dreamed of while he can still do it – ride across the USA on a bicycle. Bucko is his best friend and an adventuresome spirit. So, he better go with so Ron does not glom up all the fun. Smile They want to have no regrets when the party is over and it is time to die. I can relate. Wink

I talked about all the lessons I learned, practical tips like get a hammock, make your own mosquito net for the hammock, laptop bags make good but inexpensive panniers, 'dry bags' are essential, foods that pack well, where to get free water, WIFI, coffee, food and showers, couchsurfing vs warmshowers. I talked a lot.

They, in turn, told me where all the good campsites are. I asked if they would take me there; I could lock up my bike and we could drive there. All three of us packed into Bunko's JEEP Cherokee and away we went. They showed me the side of the road into Port Canaveral where a lot of fishermen camp out. That's the best place to see the rockets takeoff. But, it is not quiet. We drove to the end of North Banana River Road, this place is perfect.

The pine trees to the left of the road feel nicer when you step into the glade. There's no underbrush and the pine needles are pretty thick. We drove back to Denny's and my bike then said our goodbyes. It was great for both them andd me to meet, very fortuitous.

I rode back to the campsite. No, wait, I detoured to Wal-Mart and bought a 4-pack of yogurt, a loaf of bread and a bag salad. Hopefully, I could keep it down and it would address any nutritional issues. Of course, I talked with several people in Wal-Mart. I rode back to the campsite in the dark and setup camp.

I thought the pines, far from animals and people, next to the brackish water, on a windy night would keep the mosquitoes at bay. I was wrong. They made it a challenge and provided incentive to setup camp quickly.

It rained off and on throughout the night. In the morning, I strung up my tarp, rainfly and ground cover to dry. I felt clever coming up with ways to hang them up in the trees. But, it kept drizzling enough to keep my stuff from drying. Then, I got the feeling it was going to rain harder. The stuff that goes in the same duffel bag as my tent and tarp were sitting on a big plastic garbage bag on the ground. The big plastic garbage bag is my waterproofing liner inside the duffel bag. I put all that inside the tent. I setup my tarp as a lean to shelter, I scraped all the surrounding pine needles into a pile, making a bed to put my tent on then dragged my tent under the lean to, on top of the pine needles. The bed makes for good sleeping and prevents rainwater from puddling under and into the tent. I scraped more pine needles into a pile next to my tent, just in case. I put my other duffel bag on top of the excess pine needles for a seat. Oh, I moved my bike under the tarp. It started raining harder, great timing.

I was quite pleased with my setup and made a video with the camera Mimmo gave me. http://www.youtube.com/BikeToAustralia It started raining harder. My campsite is dry, safe, quiet and close to my immediate destination. Awesome. But, if I pack up, my relatively dry stuff gets wet. That sucks. If I stay here I get bored and antsy. That sucks. If I wait for a break in the weather, dry my stuff out and pack then ride in the rain... that is fun... for a little while. But, then what? I would have to find a place to camp in the rain with wet stuff. That sucks a lot. I am stuck here, that sucks. It's supposed to rain all week. No way! I suspect I am destined to work on a lot of projects I have put off for a long time.. put off for a rainy day.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
I packed up yesterday and rode inot town looking for the bike shops to say hello to – I knew they did not have a used 26 inch double-walled mountain bike rear wheel already from calling ahead. But, I am in the neighborhood and I feel obliged to meet and greet – I am a bicycling event. I was also looking for a damaged skateboard I can use to fasten my Rubbermaid ToughNeck kitchen to the top of my XtraCycle. What I have now is a thin piece of plywood. A skateboard 'deck' would be much stronger and have lots of cool artwork, mine would anyways. And I was looking for the air pump I want. No luck, a new wheel, like I want, costs $100, out of my price range.

I rode by a church with a sign on the side of the building. There was a phone number on the sign, I called and asked if I could camp under their awnings because there was a 50% chance of rain that night. Two guys came out to talk with me, Ken and Dave. We talked for a bit, Ken was excited like a kid in a candy shop hearing about my adventures. He decided to let me stay in the emptied out pre-school set of rooms. I was welcome to stay there last night and tonight. AND, they got free laundry! Dinner tonight is at 6PM and Bible Study is 7PM, I was welcome to both. I could rest up and do nothing at all, Ken encouraged it. It's too hard for me to do nothing. I met with everybody that works there this morning, Ken is the Pastor, oh. Smile I ran around today looking for a WIFI place to update my blogs, check emails, weather, craigslist... what else? Oh, Pastor Ken loaned me an interesting and short book advising how to run a church.

I went to the Mercy House Thrift Shop on North Atlantic Avenue, great place, great, happy people. I found and bought a serious score; a rain and winter jacket that I can take the liner out of. It is very colorful, bringing back fond memories of being called a “color-challenged peacock” by friends on NeverWinter Nights, online computer game years ago. I also got a fuzzy, thick, wool-looking cowl and a baseball cap with protection for the back of my neck.

Done, caught up. Be good!
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Re: My Journey - March 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu Apr 07, 2011 11:31 am

add a comment to make March follow February...
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