The long way home.
Well today I am too close not to end up sleeping in my own bed tonight.
It has been such an amazing trip leaving on May 23 and today is July 14th, that is 51 days by my count a full 7 weeks.
I will have to check the total miles when I arrive but my feeling is that it will be over 10,000.
Since A1A was a little hectic and from here south it becomes nothing but one big city Boca Raton down to homestead not to mention the most aggressive bad driver city in the world Miami. I am thinking of how to get down to Alligator alley and get that last picture of the Alligators on the way home. I also could drive across the state from here past the South side of Lake Okeechobee the big O. Anyway I go now the roads in Florida are flat as a pancake and curves are hard to find.
If you stand on top of a 5-gallon bucket you can see clear across the state.
I have a few more thoughts to write out once the bike is in the driveway but the essence of the trip will be living on and causing me to daydream of those far away places for a long time to come.
I can almost hear the voices of the Navajo men chanting in time to the beating drum away in the distance where the red sandstone rocks rise against a clear deep blue sky.
I can imagine the quiet and the gentle whisper of the wind on top of the White Mountain where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine still sits and waits for yet another winter to come. See the picture below.
Not forgetting I am now riding in one of the most dangerous states, yesterday I saw more ladies on cell phones driving obliviously down the road, I saw more old folks in big white Cadillac sedans crawling down the road, and a lot of Harley riders that for some reason in Florida don’t give a wave like they do in the rest of the country.
This is a good picture of Rebecca talking on the phone first thing in the moring still working the adoption with the county court reporter. Nice Kitchen!
The longest day ever.
A1A is a quirky road by the sea and near Daytona and Cape Canaveral it has some places where it just stops and doesn’t go through along the coast. You find yourself facing a sign that says road dead ends in 7 miles and there is no access to the mainland.
Now for real estate value that is where I want to live. For touring down the coast this was a nightmare. I managed to avoid any big waste of time and miles but HYW 1 is a poor substitute for riding next to the water where it is at least 3 degrees cooler. The heat was fierce welcome home to Florida in July. I always tell everyone it isn’t to bad here in the summer you can cool off at the beach with a jump in the water or you are usually inside somewhere in the AC. Not today, today A1A was just brutal on my body. The NOAA weather band said it was 98 with a heat index of 110. There were several rainstorms that I was able to ride through and I enjoyed the few minutes of getting soaked and a little cooler. The last one when I was on I-95 at 70 mph was a little bit scary wondering if I would hit a puddle and hydroplane or not. The cool of the storm was so good to my overheated body. I don’t think I ate the right lunch seafood, and I don’t think I really did enough hydration. In fact I had a power-aid and a couple of red bulls. The last hours on the bike before I arrived in West Palm beach were just pain my butt ached, my head hurt, my stomach felt lousy, every bump was just beating my kidneys to death. I think the hardest part of the day was the route, A1A has just a million stop lights and after riding for 5 hours I had come only about 100 miles. I was averaging less than 30 mph and all that stop and go shifting and holding the bike at the stops was really hard on me. Now I have stayed away from too much whining about how the conditions are but for the riders out there it is something they may want to consider.
About Vero Beach I was just cooked even though home was a potential 4-5 hours away it seemed way to far. I called up my friend in Christ who lives close to West Palm Beach to see if I could crash at her pad. It turned out Rebecca was house sitting at a beautiful home inland so I made it there and my was it a special place. Rebecca’s friends from church had invited her to live here for a while in the guesthouse next to the horse paddock and coral. This home is on a large acreage so the horses have plenty of room, and the pool was perfect after a long ride. Florida pools are not cool they warm up in the sun and run in the 80’s but it was soothing and getting out the breeze was cooling.
Rebecca works with Shepard care a Non-profit organization that helps with crisis pregnancy. In a nutshell it is an adoption agency but they are sponsored by the church so that there can be less abortion in the world.
After I was reconstituted we went into Palm Beach for Sushi, it was so good!
Rebecca however was on the phone the whole time brokering a deal between a birth mom, a family, and the adoption agency about an adoption they had been working on that had fallen through and then here at 11 pm on a Friday night the birth mom changed her mind and wanted to go through with it. This lead to a lot of calls back and forth between about 5 parties and Rebecca god bless her puts her whole heart into these things.
Between bites of sushi she was able to pull it all together by midnight. She was off to resign the papers by 9am at the office. The Non-profit world needs people like Rebecca that want to see the world a better place and are willing to put in long hours of selfless devotion to the cause with not to much in the way of compensation in this lifetime.
I am sure here reward will be in heaven.
Here is a picture of the pool house and the corral behind it.
Friday the 13th.
The Salty Dog
Where does a young mind start to take shape form a personality, dream of far away places, doing things that you can’t do in your own back yard, a longing for a new style?
Well back in the 8th grade my Uncle Bud and Aunt Susan was married in Chicago.
As part of this my cousins came out for two weeks from Cupertino next door to San Jose, you might know it today as Silicon Valley but that was just getting started at that time.
My Aunt Liz my mom’s cuz and her great husband Dan, and my two cousins my age Steve was the same age and Paul was a few years older a freshman in college and didn’t make the trip. Everywhere we went Steve would tell me things like my brother Paul is so strong he could just rip the lock and chain off this door. Steven was so cool and had a great collection of OP or Ocean Pacific clothes, you know surf T-shirts. Well we had a grand time together and when OP finally came to Columbus Indiana about 24 months later I was into that brand. Like any good Hoosier I was Mr. OP T-shirt with someone ripping up the waves or a tropical scene, Levi blue jeans, and a pair of Nike shoes and I was ready to go anywhere.
I wore the OP all through high school and I remember some guy saying why do you wear OP you don’t surf?
A girl behind him piped in and said shut up OP is cool.
Well Spring Break comes in High School and Daytona was a big spot for Indiana folks on Spring Break and let me tell you it still is today.
I saw the Salty Dog t-shirts in the hallways and thought they were pretty cool, the next year when I came down to Daytona with my friend Jon Forster and his German exchange student Martin Veltin I stocked up on Salty Dog shirts to go with the OP.
A couple of older kids at a party started calling me the Salty Dog and they thought it was funny.
But here is a picture of the original Salty Dog in Daytona beach still making a killing selling those t-shirts.
I stopped in last fall and picked one up and purchased a new beach towel. I had to show the kid working there the Salty Dog beach towel I purchased there back in 1985 that has not really faded at all after a billion washings and trips around the world.
As the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy states there is nothing more important than having a good beach towel.
I was here for the Biktoberfest last year before I purchased Grace. I had worked the internet hard to find a cheap room on a week when the whole beach was sold out.
I returned here to my secret spot on the beach, even today the bookit.com, travelocity, & Hotels.com had the average room rates at about $84 -$140 per night for the worst of the little old dives not on the beach.
I proudly was able to score a beach front room that was good enough in my budget range.
Never pay over $40 for a room!
When in doubt dive in the bushes and camp.
Just kidding I have not had to sleep out anywhere I didn’t want to on this venture.
Although so many of those trophy homes along the beach seemed to be empty and there were some empty lots along the beach. As I have learned from the homeless folks on Fort Myers Beach there is always somewhere to sleep no matter where you are on God’s green earth.
St. Augustine is another of those great places that you just have to come for a long weekend and check into a little historic 400 year old bed and breakfast and wander through the narrow streets or take a horse drawn carriage tour. The old fort fires it’s cannons every day and was never taken in a battle. Every time the fort at St. Augustine was exchanged between countries it was a deal on paper. If you can shoot your cannon farther than the other ships trying ot run in to your harbor you are for all practical purposes invincible. You just keep shooting out there and make sure you have more than enough food and water to out last the barricade.
As luck would have it at this point in the day the batteries in my camera were gone so I only was able to get a couple more pictures of the day.
The treelined streets of St. Augustine.
Technical note Grace dosen’t really mind cobblestone streets but the beat the driver up.
When I made it down along the Atlantic past dunes and homes next to the sea, past fishing boats, and a few families fishing off the bridges along the passes and into St. Augustine I had to seek out the famous Fountain of Youth.
Ponce de Leon did come ashore here and now you can stop between 9-5 and for a fee see the natural spring said to be the Fountain of Youth although it’s medical credentials have never been proven. They give you a dixie cup to try the spring water.
To bad & so sad, for me that I was there after 6 pm and the gates were closed.