Monthly Archives: July 2007

A Great finish and a Good Start.

Thanks so much to all my friends, family, and the cool people I met out on the road for keeping up with this adventure.
Grace and I still can’t believe we made it over 11,000 miles!!!

A few notes if you would like to start at the beginning of the trip and read through in the order I originally published you can search the first days blog from May 21, 2007 type in “Hello World” and when that comes up you can click on it and then to move forward the next sequenctial blog is at the top right of the text with an arrow.

The trip really set me up with a great perspective on where I have been the last 10 years and some of the Outstanding accomplishments in that time, as well as a few of the kicks to the head that I had to learn from along the way.
It is great to be me and I wouldn’t want to trade with anyone!

All that heat and a pretty good diet along the way combined with some good hiking and activity allowed me to shed about 20 pounds out there on the road. I am working on keeping that going and maybe loosing a few more.

I would like to pursue a few avenues of writting and adventure travel that would be more sponsored and maybe with the help of a wide awake editor could be published in the future.
Amazing how the spelling and comma feature of your brain fails after 12 hours of riding in a day.

I am still amazed looking back at the blog stats how many folks were along for the ride.
Some days it was well over 2oo, some days it was at a minimum of 40-60 people.
See if I was smart I would have said “hey if you are enjoying this blog please send $10 to:
my PO Box 2354 Fort Myers Beach FL, 33902.”
Of course I wasn’t that commercial or savy but it would be great to hear from some of you awesome people anytime!

Well honestly I am back to work as a mortgage broker helping people get their Florida dream homes, and refinancing the ones they already have. If anyone you know needs financial services here in Florida please send them my way!
I would be happy to help them.

johnmortgagehenry.jpg
John M. Henry

Advanced Mortgage Finanacial
3309 S.E. 6th Avenue
Cape Coral Florida 33904

John@Adv-Mortgage.com
239.645.8574

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There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

7.14.2007
There’s no place like home.

Well I pulled into the driveway and went in and my best friend Shena was there to greet me.
I wrote down the ending odometer reading and looked through my bag and pulled out the start reading from that night so long ago on May 23 after the season finally of “LOST” when I took off to do my Iron Butt Saddle Sore 1000.

I had decided not to worry about the number and not to run south to alligator alley a bit out of the way just to pump up my total miles. I figured I must be close to 10,000 by now and couldn’t remember my starting mileage for the life of me.
I purchased the bike in January with 36,660 miles on it; this is what the local master BMW mechanic called just broken in!

End Miles 51,261.
Start Miles 40,243.
Total trip
11,018 WOW!!!!
That was a shocker even to me. Maybe I should go back and change the title. I had originally done a map quest with all of the places I wanted to go and it came up just short of 8,000 miles. But of course that uses interstate and the shortest route and I sure didn’t stick to the interstate or the short route.

The gas in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina towards the end of the trip was less than $3.00 per gallon for 93 octane the good stuff. When I was in Santa Maria California around June 9th the gas there was $4.26 the highest price I saw.
Some places in Oklahoma the price went up and the octane fell to 90.

I have some more statistics to generate and crunch for you but for now, let me say it is very good to be home.
Shena and I celebrated with a Crab and prime rib dinner at Charley’s Boathouse.
And Sunday went out to Sanibel Island found some great seashells and got nice and pink walking in the Sub-Tropical sunshine.

The picture is from the Beach just a couple hundred feet from my doorstep.
Oh what a feeling!jhsunsetfmb71407.jpg

I have already been thinking about the next trip I would like to do with Grace and a friend.
Next time I would like to hit the four corners of the United States, going from Key West Southern Most Point, to the NE tip of Maine the city of Madawaska, then across to Cape Alava the most Western and Northern part of Washington State, then down the Pacific Coast to Tijuana Mexico just across the border from San Diego CA, then of course back home, that would be almost 9,000 miles on Map Quest.

PS. I have some more thoughts to add over the next few days so keep checking back.
For anyone who would follow or plans to do a great adventure like this I would just tell you I rode every mile no matter how hot with every bit of protective gear I had on me “every mile” there is no 99% 1 missed curve is all it takes. There are a few things out there that can just kill you dead and through no fault of your own. Semi Truck tires in the road, deer, missing slabs of cement in the freeway, other drivers and trucks that do not see you and try to take your lane.

I can only say that I am thankful and grateful to my lord for joining me on this trip and guiding my steps. I know there were many times that only through the grace of God was I able to make it safely. I know they say there are no atheist in foxholes but I can tell you on the open highway God is right there with you and there is no way to deny the beauty of his creation or the reality of his plan for all of us.
This country is full of beautiful people and places and the people are so proud and willing to share with you the best they have to offer in food or local spots to camp or to sight see. The people that told me they were scared and what if? The folks that were afraid for me that there would be bad or evil people out there on the road, I can only tell you it is an amazing world and to me it actually all depends on how you look at it. For me it was an incredible journey and I think back to my father and our family motto.

Life is a journey not a destination!

Home on the Beach

I pulled up to the beach acess and although I thought of just ridding right across the white sugar sand and into the clear blue waters of the Gulf, I paid way to much for the 12,000 mile service to do anything that crazy.
We were home on the beach, a couple in their swim suits headed out to get some sun snapped a picture of Grace and I in our moment of glory.fmbeachhome.jpg
After all the great places we visited on this adventure, hey Fort Myers Beach is not a bad place to call home today!

You know you are close to home when….

You know you are close to home when you pull into a gas station and you see all of the “Crackers” with their toys on a Saturday afternoon. In this picture you can see an airboat, a 4×4 that is ready to try to keep up with the Swamp Buggy’s, and there were others out of frame with ATV’s ready to roll around in the muddy back country of the swamps.airboat.jpg

PS while the name “Cracker” has some negative associations further north in Georgia where the cotton plantations used slaves. In Florida the term “Cracker” was a proud title like Cowboy. In fact the cowboys many Cuban used their whips to make a cracking sound that would drive the cattle. In Georgia they weren’t using their whips on cattle, see what I mean.

Swamp Cabbage festival !

One of my favorite rides on the bike down here is to ride out to the small port town of La Belle. La Belle is on the Caloosahatche river. The Caloosahatche has been turned into a straight canal but it has been one of the blue superhighways of the state for a million years. The Caloosa indians used it mainly in dug out pine canoes. The Caloosa indian name for river was hatche so the river was named by the Spanish explorers the Caloosahatche. Everything from Steamships to paddlewheel boats used this river over the last 100 years. The port of La belle celebrates a strange food every year the Swamp Cabbage. Now even though I went and tried everything you can think of from jelly, salsa, and chilli made with swamp cabbage I am still a little challenged to tell you exactly what it is. I thought it was heart of palm but no it is the center of a type of palm tree that needs to grow near water to be good to eat. It is a great festival and a fun time to try new things, or just kick back and watch the Armadillo races.labelle.jpg

The Big O.

Lake Okeechobee has been in a drought for most of this year. For a while this boat ramp was so low on water the fishermen couldn’t launch their boats. You can see the lake at the end of the green down the canal. Last year when I visited here you couldn’t see too much green it was all water out there. There have been times in the last 100 years that boats were stranded 20 miles from the waterline. You can’t blame the people who did this over the last 100 years. Everyone has always designed what they thought would be the most beneficial way to use, conserve, and protect the water while protecting everyone else from the water. Old timers here in Fort Myers say the water used to just sheet flow about 2-3 feet deep down highway 41 after a big rain. This state is so flat as it rose out of the sea and is mostly limestone that the water just sits on it. The US army corps of Engineers has installed a vast network of drainage canals in Florida to help this water escape without the very serious damage caused by flooding in urban areas. As Florida continues to grow we are now rethinking again how best we can manage this huge challenge.thebigo.jpg

Across the Peninsula of Florida.

As I decided that to go A1A any farther down the coast was just going to be a series of stop lights at every corner and taking me into the den of the road rage capitol of America, Miami. I thoght better of running an extra few miles down south and headed across the Flroda peninsula. I was able to head nearly straight across on Hwy 80 from West Palm to Fort Myers, passing by the South side of Lake Okeehcobee.

One of the main uses for the water stored in the lake is currently to grow sugar cane. This is a picture of the endless sugar cane fields on the South East side of the Lake. A friend in Baton Rouge is in the Surgar Cane industry down in the Louisiana delta. We have had a good talke about the environmental and economic impacts of this kind of agriculture in Florida. Although in the end we both like cheap sugar in our coffee.flsugarcane.jpg