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My Journey - April 2011

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My Journey - April 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:30 pm

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

It started raining again. I rode out of Cocoa Beach, I was determined not to be held hostage by the rain. Besides, locals quickly lose their tolerance for supporting someone else, they have enough problems supporting themselves. I do not want to be seen as a bum or social parasite. I got on SR 520, headed west to the mainland, but the raindrops hitting my face hurt. I hid out at the hospital for hours. I met a lot of friendly, curious people there. But, I still felt antsy and without a sense of accomplishment. I rode off into the night.

I got to Cocoa, stopped at Walmart, got some air put in my tires, hoping that was part of why riding was so hard. No, the wind and rain and cold and night were the lion's share of my challenge. I had a fun time shopping, hiding out from the rain and socializing though. Smile

I rode to US 1. There is a church at the corner of US 1 and SR 520, their lights were on and there were severla cars in the parking lot. I stopped and asked about shelter for the night. They were having a meeting and asked me to wait outside until after the meeting was over. I (happily) waited for what seemed like 90 minutes. They were my best bet for some kind of shelter and the church was on the corner of US 1, where I would be going north in the morning.

Two men came out to talk with me, Ricko and... the Pastor. They had no place for me to stay; liability issues again. But, the pastor suggested I camp out for the night unnder the overhang at the vacant building across the street. Ricko said, “Yes, I am the realtor for that building. Keep in mind I am trying to sell it. You should have no problems.” The pastor laughed, not knowing who was in charge of the building before he offered it to me. Smile

I thanked them and wrote down their names in case the police accosted me in the night. I took my duffel bags off my bike, took out my wool sweater and sweat pants (pajamas) and my sleeping pad and sleeping bag. I stuffed valuables against the far wall of an alcove with my bedding in front of it and my duffel bags then bike between me and the busy highway. My stuff was damp, it was a cold and clammy night, this felt like an unsafe neighborhood and the traffic was loud and often. This was going to be a bad night, maybe one of the worst so far.

“BikeToAustralia?” woke me up. “I met you at Wal-Mart, I put air in car tires.” Oh yeah. His was the voice of the black man with the braided hair who kept pretty quiet while I had spieled to the two white guys. “Yeah, I remember you.” “Come stay at my place for the night, can't have yu camped out like this, here.” I stuffed my things into my duffel bags and them onto my bike and away we walked arounnd the corner. Jerome lives in the apartments behind the vacant building, on the second floor. Oh, second floor... no, my bike was not going up those stairs in one piece. I took the duffel bags off and my Rubbermaid kitchen too, then we carried my stuff upstairs in pieces.

My stuff stayed outside, my valuables went inside with me. Jerome lives in a two bedroom concrete block cave. He's made it as homely as he can but there's only so much you can do with the inside of a concrete block. It seems, sometimes a young girl, his daughter, maybe, stays there. I asked no questions. I laid down keepiing my damp clothes on, hoping they would dry overnight, and went to sleep. I felt so lucky Jerome happened by, was amazingly generous, compassionate and capable of housing me. http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif

In the morning, I made a breakfast of my rolled oats and corn meal, added his last two eggs and an onion with some of my curry, dried, minced garlic, fresh ground pepper, his BBQ sauce and Worcester sauce. I offered him some breakfast and told him those were the last two eggs. He did not want any. I packed up as quickly as I could. He had to get to work, I had to get back on the road.

I stopped at 5 thrift stores and 3 food banks in less than 10 miles. Smile It was a busy day. AND the storm was past, there was no rain predicted for several days. Smile Ah! Another challenge survived. One of the food banks offers fresh fruit and vegetables on Fridays, this was a Friday, I was feeling lucky. Smile There were several people there volunteering or getting free food. They had free coffee and sweets and bread: yes, very lucky!

One of the women there told me she dreams of finding a shaman in Latin America and becoming their student. That would meet with resistance from the Christian food bank people, so hush-hush. I told her to live her dreams and not regret the chance not taken for the rrest of her life.

I did not pick up much of anything at all those food banks and thrift stores. I am only fishing for wool socks, summer weight knit wool or silk shirts, size 14 bike shoes In better condition than theones I am wearing, walking shoes, slip-on camp shoes, a collapsible silicone bowl, padded bike shorts, a bigger tent (in excellent condition)... all small miracles. I bought a handkerchief and later sewed it onto the back of the new baseball cap. I am told my new baseball cap is actually a woman's golfing cap. It has a huge brim in front.

I rode on and camped out for the night at the church across the street from the Cocoa Flea Market. They have a very nice but tiny beachfront that is almost water level, lower than street level so it was quiet and dark. I could see that beautiful night sky again. Smile They also have bleachers that faced the morning sun. I used thee bleachers as a drying rack for all my damp stuff. Smile Ahh!

I rode on. Nothing much happened until I got to Oak Hill FL. There was a police officer in the middle of the road encouraging politeness and self restraint merely by being easy to see. I stopped and asked about free camping anywhere nearby. He told me Seminole Rest National Park, don't know if camping is allowed there but it is not his jurisdiction. Smile I never got his name but, his father is http://www.nimblewillnomad.com/. WOW!

I rode to the flashing lights (landmark), turned right... OMG, a Dollar General store with a piublic library behind it. This is getting good! I shopped for nutritious sustenance, was tempted by the junk food and bought a big, cheap bottle of vegetable juice. I rode on to the national park. Carole, my ex-wife, called and warned me there was a huge storm coming. It was a storm front so big, it would cover the USA from north to south. That's big. That is... I am speechless. I keep going back to a past president denying global warming as a concern. Change is coming.

I set up camp to weather the storm. I put up my tent under my tarp - suspended overhead, on a tree limb and I was on a hill. It was a beautiful night. I woke up, started packing, THEN a few raindrops fell. I threw my tarp over my pile of stuff on the ground and waited for the rain to pass. I ate the last of some cookies with fresh ground peanut butter spread on them. I ate some of the apples I got from the food bank. I ran out of food to keep me occupied waiting for the rain to stop. I ran out of things to do while sitting cross-legged under my tarp while wondering if my stuff was getting soaked.

The rain slowed down for a bit. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and threw up the tarp before the wind 'could get a second wind'. I strung my tarp back up on the tree limb and staked out the corners. I neatly piled up my stuff to give it the most rain protection and allow it to dry when the rain stopped. I laid down on my empty duffel bag and waited and waited. When I woke up, it was still raining. I drifted off many times while thought I should take this opportunity to work on 'rainy day' projects. I finally woke to clearing skies.

I skittishly packed. Being packed when the rain started again would be good. Being under my shelter waiting for the rain to stop would not be bad. Being stuck in a sudden downpour with my stuff HALF packed would be bad.

I rode on through Edgewater into New Smyrna Beach. The road became increasingly urban and busy with signs, traffic and businesses. But they were closed for the night. I'd gotten on the road about 3 PM, dusk would soon arrive. Where would I be camping? I had $30, wanted to get a dry bag and a can of waterproofing spray from Wal-Mart and go to Sports Authority to get a bite valve for my Camel-Bak (to replace the one that fell off) and get a bigger, lighter weight tarp. I was convinced, more weather protection is in order. Wink

I was riding along and noticed a motorcyclist had pulled off the road and stopped on the sidewalk perpendicular to me. I was poised to tell him cheekily “You can't park on the sidewalk.” He waved and called me over. “Is that a Surly Big Dummy?” Well, that conversation was no effort. Rob and his brother, Brian have been planning to ride cross-country for years now, but something always seems to prevent them. I am the catalytic trigger that is going to push them over the edge. We three are planning to ride together. I am not sure what their plans are. Madison, WI was their plan but Europe with Ari sounds tempting. http://illiweb.com/fa/pbucket.gif

I stayed with them, on a farm/orchard since Monday night, April 6th. Rob gave me a wheel he has had for fouur years. It is a double-walled, 48 spoke (OMG!) 26” mountain bike wheel with a cassette. CHA CHING! I scavenged the V brakes from a junked bike they have and upgraded my front wheel center pull caliper brakes. That is a lot of gratitude and karma to work off!

How long will it take for our plans to bear fruit? Not long, I can not wait for more than a few days. Rob has a spare military poncho and rechargable Ni-Mh AA and AAA batteries I can have?! OOF, the karma is mounting! Smile Today is Thursday, April 7th.

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Re: My Journey - April 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:35 am

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Rob, Brian. their two dogs; Shiner and Chaos (respectively) and I left Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 at 11:30AM. Nothing noteworthy sticks out in my mind about our trip. That's why I have not posted here, just a few posts in Facebook. I need to get a picture of all of us taken by an innocent bystander. Wink http://s824.photobucket.com/home/biketoaustralia - pictures available now from April 10th and 13th.

We are going to Jacksonville, FL. I am timing things so I can be at the Jacksonville Baha'i Center tomorrow for devotionals and to pick up my mail at the same time.

A couple days ago, I was catching up with Rob and Brian, far ahead of me, on highway A1A just south of St Augustine. I passed Seafood Shack, a restaurant, when a lady customer yelled out “Where are you going?” I turned around, we talked. They gave me a little money. I wanted to bring some food to share for the night. I tried getting something I could afford at the seafood restaurant. (YUM!) No luck there. BUT, I met Bill, a man taller than myself. Z (I tell people taller than myself I see them as a freak of nature. Smile) Bill is a sailor who lived on his sailboat for 10 years. I gave him my contact info. He knows plenty of sailboat owners. He is going to ask his friends if any of them are going across the ocean to Europe anytime soon. YES!

I rode on down the road and stopped at... Hammock Wine and Cheese Shoppe at 5368 N. Oceanside Blvd. (A1A), Hammock (Palm Coast), zipcode 32137 (www.hammockwine.com). They are an awesome place (indoor and outdoor dining) to stop along the way to wherever or, even better to stop and enjoy some tasty tidbits!
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Re: My Journey - April 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Wed Apr 20, 2011 1:47 pm

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011
We rode about 30 miles a day until we got to Jacksonville Beach. Actully, just south of Jacksonville Beach, that's where Brian had enough pedaling and started walking. We walked about 6 miles, to a beach on the north end of town, where a police officer said we could camp the night. (just not too close to the downtown night life)

There was a guy sitting on a lawn chair out on the beach at about 1 in the morning, when we got there. He said he camps there every night. I got up at 6 in the morning to go to the Baha'i Center to get my mail.

A friend sent me a high quality camera and an absolutely adorable 4GB flash drive / bunny. You pull the bunny's head off to plug in. Macabre? Yes, but still very cute.

A while back, in Key West, I lost my old bicycle seat within minutes of getting the replacement in the mail from Spiderflex.com, the manufacturer. I was going to mail the old one to them (for laughs and research), I felt bad about losing the old seat. Anyways, someone found the old bike seat and gave it to one of the people I made friends with. They gave it to a friend who mailed it to me. I had no idea what it was but, I knew something in a mysterious box was coming my way.

My replacement cell phone was also sent to the Jacksonville Bahai Center. The trackball stopped scrolling down after a heavy rain. I gave up on it after a week. One day before I got to Jacksonville, the trackball started working again.

So, that was the three packages I had waiting for me in Jacksonville. Rob called me in the evening and told me he and Brian had paid for a campsite in Hanna Park. Very inexpensive but I was a long ways off and night was falling fast. I camped in the woods.

That night I realized I had been avoiding Rob for a long time. When we first met, he had asked if I minded him smoking, I said No, if I don't like something, I move away. I had been keeping my distance from Rob for a long time. What was the point of traveling together if I was avoiding him? I rode to their campsite in the morning, got there at dusk, said goodbye and took the ferry north. I thought that put me in Georgia. Not quite. Time to go, more later.
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Re: My Journey - April 2011

Post  ChasingSanity on Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:34 pm

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011
The ferry dropped me off on the southern edge of St. Marys, GA. I found a place to duck into the woods and camp. In the morning, I stopped in at the recycling center on the south side of town and got weighed my bike. The whole thing, including me, and weighed my bike. The answer was shocking, My bike weighs 200lbs.I got to work on that. I got to talking with the people managing the recycle place, Krystal and Chris invited me to camp the night at their place. I camped out in the backyard. In the morning, I rode back to their work site and straightened out the bent parts on my Extracycle. Then I rode north again.

I stopped along the way at Colby's Restaurant to ask directionsand get on their free WIFI. Yes I was on the right road. One of the customers bought me a portion of the buffet. Mr.'s Cumming and Hill tried to buy me dinner too. I said “You too slow.” Smile

I rode on into Brunswick. I asked if I could camp at this huge church on the corner of highways 17, 82 and 303. They said No but the Hostel would let me camp for free. Finding the “Hostel in the Forest” was not as easy as the locals seemed to think. I did not see the big, glaringly obvious sign on the side of the road. But, I eventually rode down the right road and called them. YOU have the internet, it would be easy for you to find the hostel if you want.

I met a lot of good people there. The next day was 'Earth Day', I stayed for that too. It was great fun and they know how to cook. I got to give a lot of people massages. Ah, what a treat! I was encouraged to work there for a while but I want to get to Europe. I plan to smell more roses after I cross the ocean.

There was fun deep into the night. I got in too late for a bed and slept on the floor. I should have checked upstairs or in other buildings? Missed opportunities. Wink I left about noon after getting treated to breakfast and hugging many new acquaintances and packing up.

Caught up!
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