Saturday, April 17, 2010

Living the dream

So it has been awhile since I was last able to update the blog. We have had a few milestones since the last update. First we finished cycling through Florida, then Alabama, then Mississippi and we are now in Louisiana. I will pick up where I left off. Back in Florida I had my first flat tire of the trip, The tube didn't really have any damage and I checked the wheel and tire for the cause but didn't find anything. I changed the tube and got back on the road. A few blocks away I had another flat, but again I could not find the source. Our host had told us there was going to be another cyclist staying the night and he would arrive a bit before us, needless to say we were really excited to chat with another rider. We were only a few miles from being done for the day and we saw another cyclist up ahead, so we put the hammer down until we caught up with him. He turned out to be a Native American rider from Arizona, who had ridden from Arizona to Key West and was heading home. He showed us some pictures and told us the same story about getting pulled on stage at an Oakridge Boys concert a few times before we parted ways. Our host for the night was a great guy named Joe. Joe and his wife are big time scuba divers and his wife rode her bike across the country last summer. I never got to meet his wife because she was back on her bike and riding across route 66 this summer. Joe and his wife are both retired from the Air Force and have lived all over the world. He had tons of diving stories to tell and his house was full of really great photographs that he had taken over the years. There were actually two other cyclists staying with Joe the night we stayed. One was from Houston and one was from Canada, both were tons of fun. The other two cyclist had come with cold beer and we all ordered pizzas. The Canadian played the guitar for a bit and then we cranked up the classic rock and enjoyed the cold beer.
The next morning we all took off together, but Del and I quickly passed and pulled into a grocery store for breakfast. We ate a bunch of junk food and headed over a long bridge to a very scenic ride. The scenic road was very skinny, about twenty miles long, and had ocean views on both sides. The weather was great and the scenery was unreal, but I got another flat. This time I realized that I had 4 or 5 really loose spokes. I tightened them up and wobbled down the road another 20 miles to a bike shop where they trued my wheel for free and wished us luck. We continued into Alabama and rode about 88 miles to a ferry that took us across the river to Dauphin Island, AL where we camped for the night.
The next day we rode across a long bridge to get off of the island and started the long day. We rode along the hurricane wrecked coast all day and after about 80 miles we stopped so Del could get online and check in at work. I did not get online because my rack failed as we turned into the parking lot. The aluminum mounting bar cracked in half and my bags were dragging on the pavement. Just then an older gentleman from Holland rolled down his window to tell me how pleased he was to see me traveling by bike, which is quite common in Holland. We chatted a bit and I asked if he lived here now and he said that he lived a few blocks away. I asked if there was a hardware store around to see if I could use a tester drill to re-drill the good half of my rack. He said that he would go get his drill and be right back. I was thrilled at the offer and when he returned we talked about bikes, airplanes and boats while fixing my rack. Turns out he is a sailboat distributor and also flies commercially. What a stroke of luck! About the time I finished repairing my bike Del had finished at the office and we were on our way for the last 25 miles before the sun went down. Unfortunately, my mechanical problems didn't end there. I broke a spoke a few minutes into the ride. With the sun setting and many miles to cover I just ripped it off and continued wobbling down the road. As the light was almost gone we witnessed a high speed chase on the other side of the road, I mean this guy was flying down the road with 15 cop cars chasing him. We made it to camp and called it a night.
Today we woke up early and hit the road in an attempt to hit New Orleans, by early afternoon. We rode fast and made it 65 mile to the french quarter for lunch and a cocktail. After lunch we biked around and listened to some music before heading on another 10 mile to our host's house for the night.

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