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.
- I sure am glad I ride a trike.
- 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.
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.