Thursday, July 25, 2019

Empty Time Angst


I got back from my mini solo tour gone awry.  I was feeling ok about not going to Wisconsin.  I was already planning another trip to visit my sister and my son in September.  I had a wedding to attend so I had already had it on my calendar.  No big deal.

But -- I came home.  Most of my friends had left town.  Even those that don't go north for the Summer were gone for a few weeks.   I went a whole week without a social dinner... well, almost a whole week.  And for me that is something.  I felt funny.  I started questioning all my life choices.

Do I want to move?
Do I want to get a trailer and travel the country?
Do I still want to write and publish books?
Am I really any good or are my friends just being nice?
Maybe I should get a REAL job with a pay check.
If so, then I will have to move, right? Since there are no jobs that pay in Citrus County, Florida.
Maybe I need a house-mate to share this big space with me.

Wa wa wa... I felt tears in me, wanting to get out.  Just like so many days when I was caring for George and saying the long-slow goodbye.  What is that all about?

One of the things that was also feeding this crazy thought loop was that each day I would check the sales on my books and they had fallen to zero.  ZERO!!!  So much effort and ZERO.

I had heard that sales fall off after Amazon runs your kindle for free for a while.  I had done the free 3 days at the end of June.  Was that it?  They didn't tell me how long do the sales sag after a give-away period.

I don't know.  I even sat still for 20 minutes.  You know, meditated.  I should do that every day, I know.

Ok, so that was LAST week.


I started reaching out to plan social activities for my evenings.  Bam bam bam, stuff fell into place and I even got invites too.  So only one night this week is on my own.  Pretty cool.

And I made a new shorter video to use in a Facebook advertisement.  I am targeting non-fiction readers.  I added a picture that Gabriella took of me at my speaking event last month.  And a quote that Audrey left in a review or comment.  I like it so much.  I was hoping to show pictures of the trikes so the viewer would get an impression of the bicycle part of our journey in the first book.  They didn't show up so good.

Let me know what you think.  Each change I make is going to cost a bit for the artist to make the change.  But let me know anyway, in the comments.

I am interviewing Audio-book readers to turn the first book into an audio-book.  I don't know if I should.  But I am moving in that direction, investigating, learning.


We are having a lot of rain here.  Tonight I am going to meet some neighbors at a Mexican restaurant nearby.

And now I am feeling a bit better.  Each morning I am trying to re-write my to-do list so I can see all the things that were done that I don't have to continue adding to the list.

This morning I attended a breakfast networking meeting.  They were promoting a conference called Global Leadership.  I have signed up for a Woodstock event put on by the group I joined, "Sisters on the Fly".


For now I am NOT getting a camper, I am NOT moving.

I AM looking for a housemate to help share this 4-bedroom townhouse full of my stuff.  I am NOT polishing my resume but I am open to a summer job next summer.

OH!  And I am planning on trying to fly my trike again to some place this fall.  I am thinking I haven't visited my brother and his wife yet since he moved to Arizona.  Different airline this time, and definitely I will have a PLAN B in case they reject the trike.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Wind At My Back, Friends Pulling Me Forward

I was up at 4:45 because I was keyed up about beating the heat on my cycling trip home.  I would be riding from Tarpon Springs to Inverness, a ride of over 80 miles.  It had been a few years since I had ridden that far, I was a bit nervous.

It was predicted to be 95 degrees, humid, and sunny on Sunday.  I packed two thermoses of ice water, a bottle of Gatorade, and a baggie with salty pretzels and nuts.  If I am smart and keep re-filling my waters, I should be ok.

My neck had stopped hurting during my day of rest.  I had bought a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide and was swishing it around my chipped tooth two and three times a day.  It had done the trick!

Sunday morning is a good time to travel by bike.  The traffic is lighter because many sleep in or sit in church pews.

I assembled my things and got them all packed on the bike and was riding by 5:30 in the dark.  I was glad I had packed my front light and a flashing back light because it was very dark when I departed Ellen's home.

I took a different route to get back on the Pinellas trail, going down the sidewalk on Hwy 19 instead of the narrow shoulder on Alternate 19.  It worked well.  It helped that I had ridden this area several times because there are several dis-connected trails on Google called the Pinellas Trail.

As I rode the sky became a light blue-grey and I watched bats fluttering to fill their stomachs before returning to their roost to sleep the day away.

Sometimes when I stopped I posted on Facebook to let my friends know I was making progress toward home.  It was cool to have them cheering me on.  As I headed up the Sun Coast Trail I realized I was being pushed along by a nice tail wind.  YEAH!!

Shortly after I got on the trail two young men heading my way on their racing bikes must have touched wheels.  One went flying and crashing.  They were about 200 feet from me at the time.  I could see that the guy that crashed was in pain, and his buddy was ignoring that and trying to get him up off the ground.  When I arrived the guy on the ground was asking for an ambulance and his buddy was trying to talk him out of it.

I called 911 only, here is stupid me, not hearing anything and going hello? hello?  I hung up.  The 911 operator called me back and I still couldn't hear.  I then remembered I had been listening to a book on my phone with my earphones.  I had taken the earbuds from my ears as I was approaching the accident.  I unplugged the earphones and could hear the 911 operator.  We were about a mile north of the Starkey Park Trail intersection.

It was clear the guy on the ground (who was sitting up by then) was bleeding bright red blood from his mouth and had hit his head.  He told us he thought he had broken his jaw.

I left after the ambulance was on its way and a trail ranger had stopped to help.

As I rode away I had two thoughts.

  1.  I sure am glad I ride a trike.  
  2. Your life can change in an instant.  You can lose ability, change life direction and trajectory, and even die.  We like to think we are secure and that the ability or the lifestyle we have now will continue, but the only thing for sure is that things do NOT remain the same.
At Hwy 50 I turned toward Brooksville and stopped for refreshment.

I was feeling good!  My friend, Robyn, who had helped me find a Sister on the Fly to stay with the last two nights, had messaged me that she could come get me if I ran out of steam.  It was so nice to have that option.  Maybe I would have felt awful without that option.

It was getting mighty hot in the sun, but I had made it to Brooksville around noon.  The Good Neighbor Trail and the Withlacoochee Trail were ahead of me and they both would have some shade.

My legs were feeling good, it was just the heat that was becoming difficult.  I would stop in the shade, read some more encouraging posts on Facebook, and keep pedaling.  Wetting down my shirt at Townsend park I decided to go straight to downtown Inverness and visit the Ice Cream Doctor.

Thanks to everyone that followed my journey here and on Facebook and boosted me up with messages, emails, thoughts and prayers.  You ROCK!

About 85 miles.  Not bad for a 66 year old widow lady.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Rested Enough?

Ellen has been a gracious hostess.  She has made me feel welcome and engaged me in lots of great conversation.  I have basqued in the aircondtioning, soaked in the food and beverages, and loved on Stinky the cat.

Tonight, after cooking dinner for my hosts and making a mess of their kitchen and stove, I have wheeled out my trike and locked it up, ready to roll in the morning.  All the bags have been hauled back in because there is a lot of theft in the area.  I will have to re-assemble things in the morning.

I am setting the alarm for 5 a.m.   It is going to be a hot day so I would like to be through the SunCoast trail by noon.  We'll see.  I did NOT arrange for a stop/sleepover part way.  Years ago, George and I rode the whole way from Inverness to Tarpon Springs.  83 miles.  Can I do it now in this heat?  I have packed nuts and salty snacks, a bottle of Gatorade and two thermoses of ice water.  There will be gas stations and restaurants and parks along the way for refilling the waters and refueling.  Since George and I rode to Tarpon, we moved 5 more miles away... 88 miles.

Several friends ride over 100 miles several times a year.  Preston rode his trike 100 miles in one day for every week of the year just a few short years ago.  Dana Thomas recently biked across Florida in summer heat.  Over 100 miles.  I am only 66, I got this!   Just the same, I might put a shout out for possible lodging in Brooksville just in case.

Today Ellen and I tried walking but it got too hot in the sun and we turned around (95 and humid).

Ellen took care of her husband living with dementia.  Now she is caring for her 93 year old Mom that has some short-term memory loss.  As we talked I have learned that her adult life has been about caring for others.  Children, foster children, homeless people, disabled old dogs, and me, all under the her momma-bird wings.

I hope to see her and Amy again at a Sister's on the Fly event.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Some Days are Like That

So last night, here I was, exhausted, comfortably sitting on a balcony overlooking the beach.  Enjoying the sunset and sharing a picture on Facebook.   When I noticed that it hurt to swallow.

A pain above my Adam's apple.

Before I left I had started getting some pains in my neck and I suspected it was from a tooth that had chipped while I was in the Netherlands.  It was a back molar with a large filling and the whole side of the tooth had fallen off.

I have an appointment with my dentist set for the end of July.  I thought, since I had not felt pain, I was ok to wait a couple months to see the dentist about it.  Just before I left I tried to get in, but it was near the 4th of July and my dentist was off for the week.  I went to the walk in clinic and asked for antibiotics to combate the infection if I needed it on this trip. I got some and I am carrying them with me.  I don't want to take them.

We all have heard about the damage to the gut bacteria that can be caused by antibiotics.  My gut has been functioning well and I don't want to mess with it, thank you very much!

I don't know if you are like this, but a strange pain and I start to think of what it could be.  I am pretty sure it is the tooth, but still.  Once you have something happen like cancer or heart or any serious diagnosis it makes you realized that you are not immortal.  Bad stuff CAN happen even to us.

I took two Tylenol and went to bed hoping this morning the pain would be gone.  The good news is, it only hurts when I swallow.  The bad news is the pain is still there on top of an over-all tiredness.

I went too long yesterday, I think.  I am feeling not my normal positive self.  It has been 5 days in a row of biking.  As I bike I think of Dan Sheridan.  He is right now biking across the country with a group.  Into the wind and over mountains, in the cold and in the heat. 80 and 100 miles a day.  They go 5 and 6 days before they get a day off the bike.  I am a wimp.

FORTUNATELY,  my friend and fellow Sister on the Fly, Robyn, checked around for Sisters in the area that might be able to let me crash for a day or two.  A Sister on the Fly in Holiday, FL contacted me and offered me a bed on her porch!  Yeah!  And I had met her and her mom at the Sister's on the Fly event I attended in late June!  I am so grateful and glad to have a place to crash and folks with whom I can converse.

It was a slow hot ride, but I am close to her place now, in the Tarpon Springs Library.  I have bought a bottle of wine and some pretzels and hummus.  Ellen tells me she is having a friend over and they are all going out for fish and I am welcome to come along.  YEAH!

I am looking at where to go next.  I know I have wanted to ride to Polk City from Inverness.  Doing the Withlacoochee and the Van Fleet Trail in one day.  It doesn't excite me today.  I will chat with others and see.  Maybe tomorrow I will have my energy back.

Ellen had offered to come get me and bring me to her house.  I will bike it, I insisted I would ride it.  A part of the ride was on Alternate 19.  For those of you who have never driven on 19 and Alternate 19, they are highly congested roads.  There is so much water around and they are the only through roads going north and south along the West coast in this area.  The big problem for bikers and walkers is they did not plan for pedestrians and bikes.  Fortunately on one side of Alt. 19 just north of the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs, they did include a sidewalk across the bridge.  On the south-bound side.  I was heading North.   I rode against traffic so I could see it coming and pull off the road when it appeared the vehicle was big or the driver wasn't paying attention.  Most bicycle-vehicle accidents happen when the biker is struck from behind by an in-attentive or impaired driver.

I made it to Ellen's,  Met her little dog, "Little Bit" and her big affectionate cat, "Stinky".  I arrived in time to avoid most of the rain.  What a wonderful oasis.

I am feeling like a need at least one day to rest and re-group.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Risk and Reward

I felt uneasy about not having a place set up for tonight to lay my head.  I kept telling myself I had plenty of time to look and if all else fails I could pay for an expensive motel room.

I said goodbye to Peg, my Evergreen hostess in Largo.  It was a nice stay, last night she drove me around to show me the area and then took me to the Regal Theater with huge lounge chairs.  We saw "Yesterday".  Lots of great Beatles songs and a fun story.

There were two places Peg told me about that I wanted to see.  Near her home is the Largo Nature Preserve with extensive board walks.  I looked at the map and there was a Racetrack gas station right at the entrance.  So this morning I went there first, got my large coffee and took it with me into the park.  I exchanged my bike sandals for my tennis shoes and walked the extensive boardwalks.  The planes and handrails are made with that plastic/wood hybrid.  Very well done.  Lots of birds to see.  The wadding birds perched on the railing weren't too skittish and I could sometimes pass them without them taking flight.

Early in in my walk I saw three, what I thought were, parrots.

I saw a couple with binoculars so I asked them.  They said they were Budgies that fly here from Cuba.  I don't know how I got into my story, but I learned that the woman was also from Wisconsin (New Berlin), she had walked parts of the Apalacian Trail.  We chatted quite a while for just meeting on a trail.  I learned that he had been part of 60 people in a research trial for using stem cells to re-create vertebrae.  He is doing well.  He said there was an optional second stage of the surgery that he chose not to do because he felt so much better after the first.  Those that did the second surgery got pins and plates and didn't do as well.  It is thrilling to hear about such advances in helping people with chronic back pain.

Leaving the nature center I rode to the Pinellas Trail and Rode to Downtown St. Petersburg to the Dali Museum.   The ride was fun.  I chatted with My sister and made a plan to visit her in September. She said it was hot up there and it is good I didn't come now.

Then I chatted a long while with my friend, Bev.  We became best buds in Junior High.  The ride seemed to go fast with all this human interaction.  But in reality I didn't arrive at the Dali Museun until almost two.

Before I left Inverness I bought a hefty combination lock for the bike.  As I was using it today, I kind of loved and regretted the combination I chose for it.  George and my wedding anniversary.  It is a reminder of what I am missing.  Though I know he would be happy with that choice.

I left, I thought, in plenty of time.  I actually thought I would arrive back in Largo and find a motel by 5:00.  I mean, Googlemaps said I less that's two hours away.

I didn't want to get a place in St Pete.  It would cost too much.

I stopped a few times and tried to find and call motels but got no answers.  It turns out, when I arrived they were weekly rental places.  No one was around to talk to.  I finally found a place with a vacancy for $100.  It is run down, with hair and sand in the corners.  But when I stepped out on the balcony it was all forgotten.

Tomorrow befor I leave here I want to walk the beach.  A Sister on the Fly has offered up a porch couch for a couple nights so I can figure out were to next.  Home?  South?  East?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Flying Florida to Wisconsin w Trke?

This morning I am up early and anxious to get going.  Flipping through my head are all the things I need to do to get my bags and my trike ready for flight.

Let air out of the tires.
Remove and fasten my clip on shoes to the trike.
Shifters in down position.
Fasten flag to trike
Tie and bubble wrap so won’t snap.
Remove and dispose of my halt and the boat horn.  No Arisols on the plane
Open the air pump from the locked position so it can float or pack it on my carryon bag.
Remove phone holder and light.
Bubble wrap greasy parts and chain.
Saran wrap so it looks wrapped good but keeps the front wheels able to roll and the brakes able to function.
Oh!  Go back a bunch of steps and use plastic ties to keep crank from moving.

So much to do in the right order!

Then the test.  Roll it up to baggage check in.

Last night I checked into my flight.  It requires an Allegiant app in my phone.

Adventure.  Fear and excitement.

It is now 3:27 pm.

I left Peg's home at 8:00 so I would have plenty of time.  My flight was scheduled for 1:30 and I only had 7 miles to get to the airport.  It took a whole hour because of the long waits at the many stop lights.  I was thrilled to see the airport and found a spot in the shade to work on prepping the trike.  It was my first time and I probably went over board with the bubble wrap and Saran Wrap, but I didn't want them to have an excuse not to take my trike.

Finally at 10:35 or so I rolled up to baggage claim and all the clerks started chattering, "what's that?" And the clerk that was waving me over said, "That's a recumbent trike!  I have been wanting one."

So she categorized it at a bike, called over several people to confirm that it was outside the linear limits they allow.  And rejected it.

I told her and the people she was talking with several times it was a mobility device, but they were not listening.  Bike, Recumbent bike is what they were calling it.

I was close to tears.  Now what?  I asked if they could keep it while I was on my trip.  No, federal regulations blah blah blah.

So I rolled over to a bench and with tears in my eyes I called my sister and left a message.

Then I called Peg, my Evergreen Club hostess from last night.  "I haven't made the bed yet," she said.  BUt then she said I could store the trike just about anywhere around there, a restaurant or a business.  We talked about me riding back to her place (1 hour) after I put the trike back together and then she would give me a ride back to the airport.  I could still go, but without my trike.

I said it was pushing it too close.  She even got off the the phone with me and found a funeral home willing to store my trike and it was only 1 mile. Away.  Peg urged me to call Uber and have them take the trike to her house or to the funeral parlor.

All great ideas but I was done with the stress.  I didn't want to be rushing with my heart not knowing if I could make the flight.  ANd the clerk had already noted that I was canceling my flight.  I was already thinking about what I can do to make this turn out better.

YOu know, make lemonade...

And by the time she had called with the funeral home it was 11:30, the time I was supposed to be arriving at the airport.  I was already thinking of possibilities... The Daali Museum, Clear Water Beach, Doing a bike loop, riding down to the Everglades with this time set aside for travel.

By the time I had removed the bubble wrap and ties and tape, re-pumped the tires, made some comments on Facebook, it was after 1:30.  I had not eaten yet and I was so ready to chill over a meal. I had to call all the folks I had planned to stay with on my journey in Wisconsin.  I had to figure out if I would just pedal home or find someplace or someone to have fun with while I am here.

By 3:30 I was back at Pegs.  She mentioned last night that she really likes to go to movies but hasn't that many folks to go with her.  So maybe tonight we will go to a movie.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Inverness to New Port Richey Pedaling Slow

Geese.  Trying to blog with my iPhone and iPad is not working.

I can't post pictures in the right order, the screen jumps around.

I was up at 4:00 with thunder and lightening.  I thought I would have to start this tour in the rain, but the rain never hit me.

For you route geeks.  I went Withlacoochee trail with a stop to feed the goats in Nobleton.  I also mailed a book at the postoffice in Nobelton.  The postal clerk was strange and threatening.  I was mailing a book.  He asked several times if there was a note or anything in there beside the book.  He said the will Ezra's it and mail it back to me if they find a note in there.  In Inverness the clerks are friendly and take my word for it the first time they ask.  

Withlacoochee trail to the Good Neighbor trail.  Stop at the Sun Rise Bistro for coffee and Soup at 11:00.  The owner let me in early.  The staff waited until the official open time to wait on me, but the owner brought me water and oooed and aaaaed over my adventure.
Back streets to hwy 50 sidewalk to the SunCoast Trail.

Rescued a tortoise that had been turned upside down by a dog that ran off when I rode up.  I don't know if the tortoise was still alive.  It was very heavy and never emerged or moved.  

I also rescued a tortoise in Starkey park on that trail.  This one had been turned over on its back in a fight with another tortoise.  This poor guy had dedicated on his belly.  

I do not arrive at my warmshowers hosts, home in New Port Richey until 5:30.  They made me supper.  I had bought myself food.  I may eat it anyway.  I shouldn't still be hungry, but I am.

 I don't know how many miles I did.  I left home ar 6:30.  Tomorrow is only about 35 miles.


Words will be added later.

A Miracle and a Good Laugh

 Greetings from Inverness, Florida. I have sooo many stories to tell.  So much fun to share.  But I will save you from yawns by telling you ...