Thursday, September 20, 2012

What worked, part 1

I was asked, “Are you really planning another trip?” and the answer is a definitive, “Yes!” How can you put aside something that offers so much? But what about the problems like broken equipment, rain and money? Few things cannot be resolved if you’re willing to make adjustments and, especially, if you learn from your mistakes. So, what did I learn?

One of the best decisions I made was to purchase “Cargo Short - Padded for Bicycling” from Aero Tech Designs ( By incorporating typical padded, skin-tight cycling shorts as an inner liner to ordinary-looking outer shorts, you have both the supportive feeling and practical advantages. Being able to enter a convenience store without attractive unnecessary stares and carry essential items in useable pockets was a really good thing. I am aware that Aero Tech is not the only manufacturer of such cycling garments, but they are made in the USA, their customer service is very good and their price is extremely competitive. After wearing one set frequently for several months I purchased two additional shorts. I have no reason to believe they will not give me a long service life.

Of equal value to Aero Tech’s shorts is Chamois Glide (, which I originally purchased as Body Glide. No matter what name, the stuff works, eliminating any concern about chaffing. It even worked on hot spots on my feet. You really don’t want to leave home without it.

Ortlieb ( As far as I am concerned the name says it all. Back Roller Plus, Front Roller Plus, Ultimate 5 Plus and Dry Bag all performed as advertised and as expected. Nothing got wet despite several encounters with heavy weather. The panniers and handlebar bag installed and removed efficiently and with their locking capability provided a measure of security (false or real) that I appreciated. Some tourists complain about the lack of pockets in Ortlieb’s bags, but I found this to be a non-issue. Not having to manage pannier covers before, during or in anticipation of rain was its own reward.

Adventure Cycling’s ( route maps are durable and accurate. They are not always the easiest to decipher in metropolitan areas and where signage is lacking, inadequate or different, but 95% of the time you where you are and where you need to go. Sometimes it is useful to have a broader view of an area for basic orientation, but most modern cell phones can deliver those as necessary.

Big Agnes ( also performed as advertised. Their Lynx Pass 3, three-person backbacking tent was large enough to easily accommodate me and all my bags. During the several heavy rains, I remained dry. Any issues with tenting were related to the quality of the campgrounds and my own limitations. Lynx Pass 3 went up quickly and stowed easily.

No, this is not the end of this list nor of the one that will identify what did not work or serve me well.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Some pictures I like

I took far fewer pictures than I expected. Rain compromised many opportunities. Other times I didn't want to bother, but have no regrets for having missed anything.

Here are a few, including repeats.

Love Sea Oats. Along the Amelia River, Fort Clinch State Park, Florida

First Coast Railroad Swing Bridge which connects Amelia Island with mainland Nassau County.

Before Interstate Rest Areas there were Roadside Rest Areas.  

Ten point five miles!
One of the things you notice at 12.5 mph.
Yep, Worms and Coffee. I settled for Gatorade and water.
Fascinated me.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

There you go thinking again.

The most difficult part of this adventure has turned out to be the ending. I do not want it to end. I do not want to return to what I have accepted as the real world.

I was reminded innumerable times as I traveled, that the natural state is not one of anger and confrontation, frustration and disappointment and the idea that warmth and compassion hinder production. Repeatedly, as I crossed coastal South Carolina, I put my faith in man’s common sense of goodness as log trucks and other vehicle shared my route. Perhaps it was good timing that kept me from Harm’s way. Next trip, maybe I get clipped by a right-side mirror or the rear fender of a dually. Or not.

Too often I have allowed the personal dream of everyday-life to consume me. For two weeks any such thoughts simply did not exist. “No phone no pool no pets ain't got no cigarettes” come to life as a confirmation that our burdens are mostly home-made. If we allow them, or give them too much value, they color all our existence. There are people around all the time who have REAL problems (and neither the Republicans nor the Democrats care enough for that to matter). Complaining about one’s own “plight” or devaluing the plight of others is self-indulgent and sucks. I offer this quote.

"It's fucking great to be alive, ladies and gentlemen,
and if you do not believe it is fucking great to be alive,
you better go now, because this show will bring you
down so much."
Frank Zappa, from "Just Another Band From L.A."

So, I think I have finally found my place and will be able to wrap up some of my observations and ideas about the actual trip then see about being a productive American once more. One or two entries should do it and I still need resolution to the plight of my bike. I’m already planning the next trip!