Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Wow! Alzheimer's Trippin' on Audible! Interview

Howdy howdy!

Can you believe it??? I posted yesterday that I was waiting for the audio book to be launched by Amazon and Audible and Itunes. This morning it was there!

I made a short link for you.

So you can send the link to your friends and post it on your social media.

Thanks again to Robin Siegerman the Voice Actor who put so much life and fun into my writing.  What a thrill.

Here is a short link to the sample so you can share that with friends too if you want to.

Podcast Interview Coming Soon!

And then, I went up on Twitter to let folks know and saw that the interview I had with Jennifer of the Fading Memories Podcast is going to go LIVE on November 5th.  It says 5 a.m.  Is that my time or her time?  She is in California.

Whoo hoo!

Can we stand any more excitement?

Thanks for being part of this new "trip"!

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Thought Switching, Fundraising, Book Launching

 It is Tuesday, October 29, 2019 and my mind and body are all over the place.

Before I get into what I have been up to, I want to share a statistic put out by the Associated Press.  

More than five million people
in the United States
have Alzheimer's Disease.
We have just over 329 million people in the USA.  So five million is a lot, but it is less than two percent of the population.

Now that figure doesn't tell us how many have dementia.  Remember that dementia is the set of symptoms.  You can think of dementia as the umbrella of symptoms.  Under those symptoms are many reasons, diagnoses, or folders.   Debbie Selsalvage says the folder under the umbrella with the most papers in it (people or cases) is Alzheimer's Disease.  

There are many, many causes of dementia symptoms.  Some of them are curable.  That is why it is good to get to the doctor if you or a loved one is showing symptoms.  Sometimes it is just a vitamin deficiency, a tumor, or a medication side affect.  

Speaking of Debbie Selsalvage, she is part of a fundraising effort for Dementia Education happening at the restaurant that I go to with my bike group every Saturday morning.

I am donating 10 paperback copies of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I deliver them tomorrow when I go to buy my ticket(s).   I don't know if they will have a drawing and give them away or if they will sell them to raise more funds.

I haven't decided if I am buying more than one ticket.  I can think of a lot of people I would like to invite to go with me.  If you want to go and want me to pick up tickets for you, let me know.  I could meet you out front by the rooster.   


I am not over it....  
What? you may ask.
The day George died.

Notice I didn't say, being a widow or missing George or George not being here.

I mean I think of those things and I am adjusting, but the biggest effort (and I talked with others who have this symptom) is getting my mind to not mull over the last days.  Some widows have lived wonderfully with their spouse for 50 years or more and still their thoughts loop and loop over the last weeks, days, hours.

Today I was having a busy and great day.  It still is a busy and great day.  At 6 p.m. after a warm and sweaty and active day I decided I needed to shower.  I showered just fine in the master bath.  

Afterward, on my way walking through the master bedroom I remembered him lying on the floor there unable to move.   I quickly made the effort to change the subject in my mind.  I don't need to go there again.  We had 41 years of memories.  I don't need to replay that one.

I do well with the mind switch.  Right after he passed, the thoughts looped obsessively.  It is like a worry loop only looking at the past instead of the future.  I was trying to think of what I could have done differently in those last hours.  I think this might be a traumatic-event symptom of the brain.

I had to make the effort to stop those thoughts.  Logically I told myself I was a loving wife and cared for him well.  I could continue to torture myself with those images and thoughts or I could re-direct to something more positive. 

In my long life I have read and practiced positive thinking and thought re-direction.  So I created a fun image that I could think about whenever I caught myself heading down that same thought path. 

Want to know the image I created?  Doesn't really matter, just make up an image or remember a nice one from the past.  Something that gets you to smile... puppies playing, babies laughing, a pretty scene.

OK, twist my arm!  I will tell you the image I created.  I call her Bertha.  She is a large busty woman in a low-cut, tight-fitting, teal gown with glittery sequins.  She is leaning toward me and shaking her finger at me and saying, "Oh no, girl!  You ain't goin' there!"

So Bertha and I interupted my thought loop again and again and again.  Now the switch happens so often and so fast that it takes less effort.  And sometimes it doesn't even take Bertha!  But it still takes a little effort.


I don't sleep in the master bedroom yet. I sleep upstairs.  As we fall asleep we relax, our guard falls away.

Shortly after George passed, I slept in the master bedroom with no problem.  I slept on the floor in a different part of the room.  That was when there was not a bed in the room... just fresh carpet and paint.

When the bed was put back into the room, it had to be placed in the same location.  It is a different bed, but it is the same size and the only wall it fits on is the location it was in that last day.

It has been well over a year since George has passed. It still takes effort.

I wanted to share that experience in case anyone out there is experiencing the guilt, the what-ifs, the horrible images of a trauma.  If you want Bertha, she's available.


 OK, now for the mind and body all over the place stuff.

Audio Book

I have approved and submitted the first audio book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George, to Amazons audio book division (   As I have told you before the narrator, Robin Siegerman, added so much fun to the book!  She is great!  Did you listen to the sample yet?

ACX said it takes 14 business days to go through a book and if there are no problems they release it.  Only it seems like this has been so much longer than 14 days.  I keep checking to see if it is released yet.  Today I wrote them an email.

In the meantime I am working on a press release, gathering emails of editors and reporters who might find it news-worthy.

The Journey Continues

I am preparing for the launch of the second book, The Journey Continues.

The editor I hired, Patrick Hartnett, has completed his work.  So now I get to take his edits that he made to the audio script and put them into the Kindle version.  DONE!

Since the Kindle version has colored pictures and the paperback version had black and white photos, I am now going through the paperback adding the edits.

In the meantime the voice actor, Candace Tuttle, is working on recording the book.  My goal is to have it all done by the launch date, December 4th.

Candace wrote to me yesterday, "I'm enjoying the story and your attitude through all of it.  I can't believe how active you stayed through such draining times!  And I laughed about the lady's dad who got his walker stuck in the bathroom!!"

Which reminds me that this blast of activity with the books and life is an on-going thing with me.  It is the energy of care-giving re-directed.

The official launch of The Journey Continues will also involve press releases, a celebration (just coffee and a reading) at Cattle Dog both here in Inverness and one on December 6th in the Tampa area, Social media images and blasts.  More info on that coming in a future post.

And I just put together a Launch Leader Team on Facebook to help me spread the word when time comes and help me keep my thoughts clear.  I feel there is too much to do and too little time.  I can use some clear minds of some talented fans to help me launch successfully.  If you would like to add your talent and enthusiasm to the team, private message me on Facebook:  Susan Straley.

Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders

I do the newsletter and schedule for the Withlacoochee Bicycle Riders.  I got up this morning and thought I better check the schedule so I can remind folks when our ride start time changes.  I send everyone the schedule at the beginning of the season, but no one remembers to write stuff into their calendar... including me.  I learned that our ride start time changes today.

I quick had to get an email out to the group.  And as I was doing that I realized I have not reminded people of the upcoming special rides for November.  So I had to put that newsletter together and send it out the committee for review and approval.

All that before jumping on the trike to go ride with some of our riders for a shorter ride because I had an appointment with a health-insurance agent in the afternoon.

Body Moving

It seems as we age we need to keep moving in order to... well, keep moving.

I am just thinking that there are still parts of my body I am neglecting as I do all this other exercise.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I still ride my trike with the bike group.  

On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go to the clubhouse and meet up with my friends in the neighborhood.  We do high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT) for about 20-30 minutes and then yoga.  

After that I really need to work my bones, so I have to get to the gym at least twice a week to lift weights.  Somewhere in there I am supposed to walk for the old bones too.  That doesn't happen as much, except to walk the three blocks to the mailboxes in the neighborhood. 

If you aren't moving around, here are the simple exercises I did with George to keep him ambulatory.  At least try to do these.



Did I tell you that my traveling is done until the spring?  I was going to fly my trike to Arizona but the people I was going to visit had some medical stuff going on so I canceled my flight.  I have a credit sitting at Southwest Airline until July.  So I am going somewhere, maybe still flying my trike to Arizona.

I am glad to be here in one spot.  So much to do, so little time. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

I Did It! It Was Wonderful.

Hello Friends and Folks Trippin' with me!

It is Monday, October 21, 2019.  I am writing this from the relatively cool patio of my home in Inverness.  The windows are open, the fan is going, I am in my space in my place.  Tired and happy to be here.

There are no ants crawling up my leg, no fellow campers playing country music.

Last I wrote to you I was at the McDonald's in the early morning on Friday.  I was tired of being hot and disappointed with my beach snorkel experience at John Pennekamp State Park.  The park is known for it's reef and snorkel experience. I found the water murky and once the water got deep I could see nothing but the murk in front of me.  I got scared.

I would swim back to where I could see the bottom, and then try again.  Maybe it was the slant of the sun, I thought.   But each time I saw nothing and the fear that something big might appear, was too scary.  I gave up.

I was tired of waking up in the night with no breeze and feeling over-heated.  I was debating going home.

After I left McDonald's I went back to camp and I took my shelter down.  I had enough shade and the shelter doesn't provide much protection from rain.  I was simplifying.

It seemed too hot to kayak.  I had said I would kayak with Mary.  Mary is the only other Sister on the Fly at this event that was not diving but was going to snorkel.   She is real nice and I enjoy chatting with her and her mother Jean.  Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer's several years ago.  She is in a research project and the disease seems to be moving so much slower, if at all, in her than it did with George.  Everyone is different.

This is Jean and I.

There are many kayak paths among the mangroves in John Pennekamp.  Last night one of the Sisters told me to be sure to use bug spray.  The idea of kayaking in thick mangroves with bugs didn't appeal to me on this hot day.

Mary stopped at my camp and said she was heading out to kayak.  She said the weather report for tomorrow, the day we had paid ahead of time to go by boat to a reef to snorkel, was predicting rain and winds. 

I said I was tired of waiting in anticipation.  I came here to snorkel and then it might get canceled.  I just wanted to go.  She felt the same way.  She said she would see if we could book a snorkel trip this very afternoon. 

And she did it!  Thank you, Mary!

In the picture below, Mary is the tall one in the middle.  Gail, on the left, organized the Sister event.  Debbie, on the right, agreed to let me share her campsite because my site was only available for two nights.  I will be moving to her site later this weekend.

Thanks to Mary, my day was looking brighter.  We were scheduled to get on the boat at 3:00 this afternoon.  I had time to go for a ride!  Mary was fine going by herself in the Kayak. 

I felt so much better once I started riding.  The whine of the morning lifted.  The breeze that I created by riding felt great, and there was plenty of shade on the trail that goes along Highway 1. 

I don't know how far I rode.  I don't have a speedometer on my trike anymore. 

I stopped at a grocery store and bought a bag of salad to take back to camp for lunch.

I had enough time before the boat trip to work a bit on incorporating the edits to my second book: The Journey Continues

Just as I had myself set up to work, Debbie came over.  She had been on a dive this morning and she just got back and said I could move into her campsite now.

OH!  It was after 2:00 and I had forgotten this was the day I was moving from my own camp site to her site.

For those of you who have not camped in Florida you may not know how booked the best campgrounds can get.  Some campgrounds, especially in winter, have to be booked way in advance.  In fact some fill up with reservations within hours or even minutes of opening up for reservations eleven months in advance. 

I rushed to put my computer back in the car and drive my van over to her site which was only down a few sites. 

I rolled my trike over to her site. 

I tried carrying my tent cot by myself over to her site, but I ended up dragging it.  Making a loud scraping noise until Debbie came to help me carry it.

It was time!  It was time to get ready to go snorkel.  I planned to ride my trike over.  The dive shop was right across Highway 1 from our campground.  Mary was driving her truck over.

I used a bungee cord to attach the flippers to my bike rack. 

When I was pulling into the lot of the Sundiver shop, I heard a ping.  I wondered if I had run over something.  But it wasn't that, what had happened is somehow the bungee came loose and wrapped around my back wheel hub.  It took me a while to get it untangled.

I was surprised to learn that we don't launch from this location.  Fortunately Mary was there with her truck and I was able to ride with her several miles up the road to the boat launch site.

I bought a pair of sunglasses at Sundiver.  They fit over my prescription glasses just fine.

I was hoping the water would be clear so I could see and not be terrified.  When the captain slowed the boat to park I looked down and the water was aquarium clear.  I could see the bottom easily from in the boat.  I was thrilled!

I followed the other snorkelers and slid off the boat.  Just as Gail taught me, I relaxed face-down and began the breath and stroke my way in the direction the captain had told us to go.  I was floating and bobbing in the gentle waves high over the sandy bottom.  It was lovely!  I floated over some purple and green fern-like things waving up at me from the bottom. 

I peeked up and looked for Mary.  I spotted her.  She asked if I saw anything. 

"Just a purple thing," I said.

"I saw a purple thing and a green thing," she said. 

I went back to floating and replayed that conversation in my head and started laughing.  Can't do that, water will get into your snorkel.  You have too keep you lips sealed over the tube.  I tried not to smile, but I was soaring.

Then I heard Mary shout at me, "Sue!  Over here!  It's amazing!" 

I moved toward her and the other snorkelers.  There is was, the reef.  It was like floating in an aquarium watching the fish from above...  four-eyed butterfly fish, angel fish, and parrot fish.

Here is a website with some pictures of the fish I saw.

I was afraid to take my camera/phone into the water, so I don't have any pictures to show you.

I wouldn't have been able to name any of them, except that Gail had us watch a video and then quizzed us.  I could hear the parrot fish as they take their beaks and chomp off bits of corral.  I saw them poop out sand just like in the movie.

We had a whole hour of floating and watching the fish.  I was starting to get cold and my throat (with all the mindful breathing) was getting dry.  I was just ready to get back on the boat when the hour was over and I saw I was one of the last to return to the boat.


I was elated!  YAY!  I did it!  I DID IT! 

And guess what... no jellyfish, no stingrays, no sharks.  I did it!  And it was the best!  I probably won't ever do it again, but that is OK.  I am so glad we had arranged to do it a day early.

I told Mary, "I am going to shower, make a chili dip and bring it and chips and my beer over to your campsite tonight and hang out with you." 

As I said it, I thought I should have phrased that as a question.  But hey, we are Sisters and we are here not just to snorkel but to socialize.

I had a lovely evening hanging out with Mary and Jean.  I sprayed myself with 40% Deet.  I still got bit, but not more than six times.

We checked the weather again.  Rain and wind predicted.  I have done what I came for.  Though I paid for Saturday's Dive and Dinner, I just am ready to return home.  I am tired of trying to sleep in the heat. 

I saw on the South Florida Recumbent Riders Facebook page that Will Byers is going to be biking with trike riders in Davie, Florida on Saturday.  I look on the map.  It is right on my way home.  If I get going first thing in the morning I can get there in time to ride with them at 8:30 a.m.

In the dark in my tent-cot I text Gail, the event leader and let her know I am heading out first thing in the morning. 

She is gracious.  I feel bad about bowing out.  She worked so hard on getting everything organized and so many Sisters canceled before the event.  Some just not showing up.   Then I get here and leave early.  She was so pleased to learn that I had gotten out to snorkel and that I had a great time. 


Biking in Davie, FL

I couldn't sleep.  Again is was very hot and there was the prediction of storms in the night.  I put on the rain fly, which cut the breeze.  I got up and took it off, but still it was hot.   I finally got up at 3:30, showered, and packed up and left by 4:30.

It rained on and off all the way to Davie.

I arrived early at the Burger King in Davie where the South Florida Recumbent Riders were supposed to meet for the ride.  I took a short nap in the drivers seat, with the windows up.  With the rain and cloud-cover the car stayed comfortably cool.  I wonder if I could sleep in the car on hot nights... run the air a while and then sleep in the driver's seat.

The first one to arrive was Jane Weber!  I had hoped she would be joining the ride.  She had told me on the ride in the Everglades that she is work-camping at the KOA near Davie. 

I saw a tiara in her car and asked about it.  She had decorated a bike helmet with gems and a tiara.

 Jane is one of the younger ones biking with us.  She is part of Strokes on Spokes or something like that.  She had a stroke at a young age.  She is weak on one side, but is thrilled to have found recumbent tricycling so she can exercise and socialize.

Then Jim Mcrea arrived!  I had ridden with him in the Everglades too.  Then Will Byers and Marie arrived.  Hale hale the gangs all here!

I met Laura who was leading the ride and Steve (below) who took our group pictures and was the sweep.  That means he rode behind us all so we wouldn't get left behind if we needed to stop.  Thank you Laura and Steve!

 The route was on paths, roads, and sidewalks.  The scenery was always changing, we went through parks, along canals lined with large homes, and across a few bridges.


We did about 20 miles.  Then off we went our separate ways. 

Will's group will be visiting my neck of the woods in early November.  I promised to come visit them at their camp at Rainbow Springs and to join them for a ride on the Withlacoochee.

Driving Home

It was over four hours to get home.  I could easily drive all the way, but I had not gotten good sleep in a few nights and didn't want to push it.

As I drove I kept waffling back and forth.   
Yes, I am going all the way home.  
No, I am going to stop a treat myself to a nice night in a motel and take my time getting back on the road tomorrow.

I was wondering if I should stop and search for Bok Tower on the map.   I had never been and so many that have gone there tell me I should go.  The gardens are lovely, they say.

I remembered it being somewhere just north of Lake Okeechobee and I had just passed the lake with it's high levee.

I think I did stop, but then got distracted by a call or looking for a motel.  I pulled into a couple of motels, but they were either over $100 for the night or too grungy to be a treat to stay there.

Then I saw a sign for Bok Tower!

There was a Root Festival going on (whatever that is).  There were lots of plants for sale.

I bought a navel orange tree for my back yard.

I love this wall of air plants.  They are tied up with fishing wire and the spinners used on trike flags.

I send a message to Joyce who is staying at my house and watching over things for me. 

"I am coming home today."


"I have decided to get a motel.  I am tired."

And then...

I have changed my mind, I am pushing through.  I am one and a half hours way.

It is dark when I arrive in Inverness.  My phone beeps at me.  I glance over when I am at a stop sign.  It is from Joyce.  The combination lock on the house isn't working.  Joyce and Gail are locked out.

I didn't bring the key with me.  I didn't need it.  I am home and I am not able to enter.

I find Joyce and Gail slapping at bugs waiting for me.  The sun has gone down, the mosquitoes are biting and we can't get the door open.

"What about the back door," Joyce asks.

It is keyed to match the front door, and I don't have the key on me.  The key is in the house...   I look for my hidden key.  I did not change it after the new lock was installed.  The key doesn't work.

I use my iphone to google for a locksmith.  He said it is $75 for their services.  He said give him 45 minutes to arrive.

Gail, Joyce and I hide in the garage away from the bugs and we wait.  He works and works on the lock.  He tries the back door locks.  

"They usually just pop," he says.  Finally his boss checks on him and comes to help out.

It turns out these locks are very secure - pick-less.  He is going to have to drill through the lock.

Finally the door is open.  I am able to unload the essentials into the house.  A reasonable $122 included replacing the lock and selling me a combination box where I can keep a key just in case.

He said, "You need to change the batteries twice a year, do it around daylight savings time just like your smoke detectors."

I marked my calendar before I went to bed.

Though we got to bed past our bedtime, I slept well.  I was not able to sleep late.  My inner clock woke me up at 6 a.m.

Thank you ATC House Sitters!

I had posted on the Affordable Travel Club that I needed a house sitter for September and October.  Joyce stepped in a brought her friend Gail.  They have been clean, quiet, pleasant, and positive.  They even scrubbed my grungy coffee pot!

Joyce and Gail took me to dinner at Stumpknockers on Sunday night.  Thank you!

It was great to have a day at home to catch up on some stuff. 

I find out from my brother that his wife is in the hospital.  It would be best if I postponed my plan to fly to Arizona in November.  I am tired of traveling, though her pain is not good news, being home right now feels so right.

I canceled my flight.  I have a credit now that expires in July.  We will see what comes up.

I planted the orange tree, visited Anytime Fitness and chatted with my sister on the phone.  A great first day back.

Life is good.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Feeling the Whine... and the Vulture Story

I am back at McDonald's in Key Largo this morning October 18th.  I only have two more days here and I can't wait.

But before I get to the whining, let me tell you about the vultures.

I had vultures in the title of my last post, but ran out of blog time before I got to the story of the vultures.

On Wednesday October 16th I was up before daylight and I packed up in the dark.  Once I turned the corner off the Timiami Trail (Highway 41) and headed south toward the Keys I was in territory that was new-to-me.  The road wasn't as rural as I expected and was mostly just a two lane road with lots of construction.

I figured I will never get down this way again, so I should check out Flamingo.  I had wanted to go to Flamingo since I heard about the trip my bike group took there years before George and I moved here.  They had biked the road passing many gator.

I stopped at the visitors center on the road to Flamingo and asked if I would see Flamingo there.

No, the ranger told me.  There are no Flamingos in Flamingo.  Ahh, well, then, why go?  It is a long drive and I had been thinking I would see the pink birds on stilts.

I went to the next visitors's center that was only four miles down the road.

When I pulled in the lot I was amazed to see so many vulture.  There were three groups of them.  Two groups were fighting over two different blue tarps on the ground.  They were tugging and grunting and hopping and flapping

I grabbed my camera and walked toward them.  I saw a car with a blue tarp on it and I wondered if there was dead body in the car and that was why there were so many vultures here.

I took pictures and video.  Then I turned around and there were four or six vultures on my car.  They were tugging on the rubber around my windshield!

I chased them away and then ran back and grabbed one of the tarps they were fighting over and covered my vehicle.

I did a quick walk of the board walk, but I was worried about my car.  What else might they want to eat?

When I returned to the parking lot I chased the vultures that were liking something underneath one of the cars in the lot.  And I stuffed a tarp under there.

I chased them away from another car, but then I realized I would be chasing all day.  I found out there was a bin of tarps provided by the Visitors' Center.   So when a couple of women pulled up I told them about the tarps and the vultures.

As I drove out of the lot I passed a convertible.  There were seven vultures pecking and pulling at the canvas roof.

What surprises me when I think back is that the Visitor's Center provided tarps but did not have any big signs warning visitors.  Strange.

Now I was done with the road to Flamingo.  I set off for John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo.

After I set up camp I texted the Sisters on the Fly event host.  She had offered to take me to a beach as a beginner snorkeler and give me some instruction.

Gail lives in an airport neighborhood.  Simple homes with big drives with room for boats and planes and cars.  All the houses face the grass runway.

Gail told me that she had 60% cancellation for the event, so there will only be a few women here for the Sister's event.

The beach she took me to had lots of Jelly fish that looked like lace doilies setting on floor of the sea.  It was scary for me to float over them, worried that I might have to step down.  Gail said it was good for me because when you are swimming over the coral reefs you should never put your feet down.  You harm the reef when you do that and could get injured too.

It is very hot.  Sometimes I wake in the tent and I am covered in sweat.  There is no breeze. 

 The next morning I rode my trike to the beach at John Pennekamp to try some more snorkeling.  There is a point when the gentle slope of the sea floor drops and there is nothing there.  I can't see a thing.  No fish, no nothing.  I was terrified.  I swam back to where I could see the sandy floor again.

 And there may be crocodiles in these waters!  Crocodiles are much more aggressive and dangerous than alligators.

Now I don't want to do this.  I want to give up and go home.

I am making excuses.   It is hot, I am tired of traveling, I am tired of the mosquitoes and the no-see-um.  Am I talking myself out of jumping off the boat into the dark and scary ocean?


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Ibis, Vultures, and Sweat

It is Thursday, October 17, 2019 and I am writing this from a McDonalds in Key Largo, Florida.

I like going new places and being surprised by new sights.

I last wrote from a Starbucks in Miami.  Then I thought I only had one more night at the Everglades campground.  I was mistaken.   I had two.

Kamp-rite Tent Cot

I like sleeping in my tent cot.  I am outside so much.  If I wake up in the middle of the night I can see the stars and listen for any sounds.

I expected the Everglades campsite to be full of sounds.  I expected a shrill of frog calls and the rustling of bushes and the rumble of gators.   Crickets, I heard crickets and an occasional air boat in the distance.  In the early mornings I heard trucks that seemed to thunder across the Everglades on the Tamiami Trail in the early morning hours.  I didn't see a lot of trucks when driving that road.

The one downside... or maybe two, to sleeping in my tent cot.
Sometimes I wake up and there is no breeze.  I am covered in sweat.  I have to get out and move around to get cooled off.   Fortunately the bugs aren't too bad in the middle of the night.

I think about hanging a little battery operated fan, but how long would that work?

The second reason my set-up isn't ideal right now is that when twilight comes, the bugs come out, and I have to go lay down in the tent-cot to get away from the bugs.  I have tried spraying myself and staying out, but I can't spray enough, they still buzz around my ears and get in my nose.  So I go to bed shortly after the sun sets.  I read by flashlight.

I have clusters of bug bites on both knees.  Why the knees?  I figured it out.  Sometimes, when curled up in my tent, my knees set against the screen of the tent cot.  Those buggers are biting me through the screen.

Missed Opportunities

The thing about traveling and blogging is I don't have much time for anything else.  I mean I didn't spend time and attention to see where my fellow Shark Valley trikers were going next.  I had made my reservation at the Midway Campground and that was where I was going to stay.  It turned out that they were biking probably an hour or two away.  I COULD have joined them on one of their rides.  If I WOULD have taken the time to map their starting location.

But I didn't.  So I was on my own.

After leaving Starbucks I drove back toward the campground and stopped and rode the Shark Valley Trail one more time.

During our moonlight ride the night before I was at the front of the pack and kept having to wipe cobwebs off my face.   When I pulled my trike out it was covered in sticky cobwebs from our night-time ride.

My first impression of that trail when we rode it in ... what, 2010? My first impress was that there were so many gator on it.  I remember standing on the tower and looking down.  In the grass around the restrooms there were huge gator.  Probably seven to 12 of them scattered around the tower.   Now no gator.  If you want to see gator, choose to come during a drought and in March or April.  April is mating season.

During my ride this day I decided to return in February or March with friends. 

At the parking lot a woman stopped me and asked if the trike would be helpful to her.  She is going blind and has had to give up riding because she can't see the flaws in the pavement.  

I told her this kind of trike would keep her from falling.  I also said that she should get a trike with one wheel in front that she can hook onto another trike.  If her husband rides she can keep riding even after her eye-sight goes.  She was thrilled at the prospect.  Though she has some work to do convincing her husband, he was not at ALL interested in our conversation.

Back at camp, I saw a guy walking around the campsite with a nice camera with a telephoto lens.  He was taking pictures of birds and showed me a few of the lovely little things.  It amazes me that someone can capture a still of those small birds that are always moving (flitting).

He was wearing a shirt that said something about "python hunter".  He is a government contractor that hunts the big snakes in the Everglades.  He says that hunting in the winter is much easier.  The snakes go to pavement at night to get warm.  So in the winter he hunts at night.

A Gift of Another Day

I had fully expected when I woke the next day I would be packing up and heading to the Keys.  But I woke and the phone told me it was only the 15th of October.  I had another day!  At first I was disappointed.  But then I realized, how often do you get the gift of another day? 

What was I going to do with it?

I decided to drive to Naples.  Take a shower and work out at an Anytime Fitness.  There are no showers at the Midway Campground.  I have been taking sponge bathes and washing my clothes in the bathroom sinks. 

 I arrived at Anytime when the sun was rising.

A lovely shower first.  I hung my clothes in the van before starting my workout. 

After Anytime, I drove near downtown, parked, and got out my bike.  I took a picture of the intersection in case I needed it for finding my way back to 7th Street and 9th Avenue.... or was it 7th Avenue and 9th Street?

 Before I left Inverness, I had bought a mirror to replace the one that fell off.  Since I have the gift of an "extra" day, I took the time to find some shade and put on the mirror.

 My idea to walk the beach was squashed by two things. It was getting very hot already in the sun and this sign made me worry about wading in the surf.

Instead I toured some of the back streets, the used google maps to find a buffet.  I was hungry and the scale at Anytime told me I had not gained on this trip even with all the eating I felt I was doing. 

 I spent the rest of the day working to apply the edits from the Editor to the Kindle version of The Journey Continues.  It will launch December 4th and I have to have it up-loaded at least a month in advance so that people can pre-order the book. 

I left the library a little after six p.m.   I was driving the Tamiami back to Midway Campground when I saw the sun shining on hundreds of white ibis in a tree by a bridge.  I quickly pulled over to grab a picture.  I ran back to the bridge because the sun was already gone and the light was fading.

 As I approached the bridge there was a huge splash.  Obviously a BIG gator was startled by me.

 I will add a video later. 

But right now the sun is coming up here in Key Largo and I want to snorkel at the beach a bit to get more comfortable before I jump off the boat into deep ocean water.

More 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 ...