Saturday, July 6, 2019

Fear or Excitement

I learned years ago that fear and excitement can be the same physical reaction in the body.  What really makes the difference is the label we put on those feelings.

The little bike tour I am about to do is nothing.  I am riding my bike to the airport, flying to Wisconsin and riding my bike to my sister's house.

What is that compared to what women and men have done and are now doing around the world?   Walking across and living in the Western prairies like the pioneers did?  That took guts.

I know of two women today (Katherine Zimmerman and Sylvia Halpern) who have triked through foreign countries with oppressive governments, few women's rights, and rampant poverty.  Yet they not only survived but enjoyed the experience.

Some of my friends say they are "afraid" for me on my minor trek.  What does that mean? Are they not excited about the adventure?  Do they only picture the bad possibilities and none of the good?

I heard a podcast recently and it said that some brains have larger or more active "fear" centers in them.  Persons with active fear centers do not see the world as full of good people and a few bad apples.  They see the world as a place full of bad characters from whom they must protect themselves and their loved ones.

This study (sorry I can't site it, I was just listening) also showed that there is actually a difference in the brains of those leaning left politically vs those that lean right.  Those in the red camp have bigger fear centers in their brains.  I am sure there are ski jumpers, car racers, and business risk takers that lean right.  What I am saying is (according to this pod-cast) they are more apt to be suspicious of strangers, government, and people who are different from them.

Here is the question I have -- Is the fear center built in... or is it that the fear center grows in response to fearful thoughts? 

So if some of my friends who worry about my safety as I ride my trike on paths and roads in Florida and Wisconsin -- are they being overly fearful or am I being naive and too trusting?


DOGS!!  DOGS!!! Not sweet cuddly puppies and warm hug-able labs.  DOGS with TEETH showing. 

You know what I fear?  Dogs.  Dogs that chase and bark and growl and sometimes bite bicyclists.   Dogs that scare the begeebees outta me.

I have been looking at Googlemaps and I can put the little man down in the street I want to travel and actually look around as if I were there.  Isn't that AMAZING!!!!  This technology revolution is just so mind blowing to those of us started life without a TV and grew up watching black and white TV with only three channels.  It is incredibly amazing.

On that particular street in Wisconsin where I put the little man down on the map.  I saw the street had a rundown trailer and a run-down shack.  It reminded me so much of the roads we traveled in Mississippi and Alabama on our trike trip in 2014 when we rode from Northern Illinois to Florida.  It seemed like every third house we passed had dogs that chased us.   Mississippi and Alabama were the worst for untrained barking, chasing, snapping dogs.

Looking at that street on Googlemaps, I began to feel fear instead of excitement about my trike trip.  "What am I doing?" I asked myself.  "Why am I doing this?"  "What if?"

But then I reminded myself of a book I read in the 1990's.  It is entitled, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

She taught me that the brave don't live without fear.  They feel it too.  That is the definition of courage.  It isn't doing things without fear, but doing things in spite of fear.

So I am going to prepare, just in case.  I have a whistle that I will wear around my neck.  I have a little can of HALT that is a kind of pepper spray that we used on those dogs in Mississippi and Alabama.

HALT doesn't hurt the dog.  It makes the dog uncomfortable for about 30 minutes.  Hopefully teaching it not to chase bicyclists any more.

I have read to yell at the dog, "Go HOME!" and "Get off the couch!"   I have listened to bikers that talk excitedly to the dogs (which I have tried and it works on some dogs).  "Come on boy, come on, you can catch me."

And now I am excited again.


Today I am doing laundry and cooking up the fresh veggies in my fridge so I can put them in the freezer.  Then I will clean out my fridge tomorrow.

I have practiced putting bubble wrap on my trike and have packed the bubble wrap and tape so I can prepare my trike for the plane ride to Wisconsin once I arrive at the airport in St. Pete.  I have measured my trike and it fits well within the size limits for sporting equipment on this flight.

Today, Saturday, I went to breakfast with the bike group at the Hen House.  Then a couple hours later I met some of the folks from our dementia support group at Cattle Dog.  This evening I go to our neighborhood 4th of July celebration dinner.   I love all the social activity and I hope that by loading up now I won't miss it so much in my travels.


I can easily point to the happiest time of my life.

George had retired (moved into semi-retirement) from running his business in Wisconsin on July 31st.  On August 1st we got on our trikes and started pedaling our way around Wisconsin.  It was hard at times, but I loved it.  It was my first time blogging and sharing our experiences with others online and I think that too was part of the thrill  and the fun.  I would ride all day and then sit in the evening or afternoon and review the pictures and share the day with others via

Maybe I will never be able to recapture that feeling of freedom and creativity.  But I won't know unless I try.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Testing, Trying, Experiments

Sisters on the Fly

   I loved it.  I didn’t think I would,  but I did.
   I was first introduced to Sisters on the Fly (SOTF) by my friend Debra.  She was dreaming of going with them camping.  
   Early this year I tried camping with friends.
   The first try I camped in my van.  It seemed like too much work.  I was worried about my stuff at night being out in the rain.  And during the day if I went on a long bike ride, I had to put everything in the van in case it rained while I was gone.  I know this can be solved by buying and carrying ONE MORE THING... some shelter for my stuff.  But I decided I didn't like camping in my van.
   The second try I bought a tent and camped in that.  I spent an hour putting the camp up.  Slept one night in the tent.  Then with the threat of rain for the next two days, I packed up and went home.  I donated my new tent to the homeless.

 Then some new friends invited me and Debra and other friends to a SOTF camping event about 2 hours from home on the Suwanee River.  It was held and the Suwanee River Rendezvous Resort near Mayo, Florida.  The resort had motel rooms.  I thought I would give it a try.  I didn't think I would like it much.  I thought it might be just a bunch of sitting around eating and drinking.  We did a bit of that but we also went Kayaking...

 on the Suwannee River.
 And cooling off in the springs.
And one morning my friends and I rode our trikes on a trail that went right by the resort.  It was only 16 miles.  Just right as we got off the trail before the day got too hot.

   I came home from the long weekend and joined SOTF.  And now, hopefully I will find time to travel with them again and explore new places, rivers, and trails.  Thank you, Robyn for the invitation, I am so glad I went!
   Robyn is part of what I call the "Texas Trikers".  They are not all from Texas, but if I am talking to someone in our bike group about the "Texas Trikers" they know who I am talking about.  They call themselves the "Traveling Trikers".
   It started out with a couple from Texas looking for a place to retire that is on a trail.  They bought a place in Inverness a couple blocks from the Withlacoochee Trail.  They then proceeded to share their excitement about their move with their triking buddies.  And now there are... SIX "Traveling Triker" couples that have moved into their neighborhood.  Wow!
   They hope to help each other and support each other as they age.  Isn't that cool?  My biking friends in Wisconsin, 20 years ago, would talk about doing something like this.  Well, these folks did it.

Small Solo Tour

  I think I told you I have been planning a bike trip.  I will bike down to the St. Pete airport and then (hopefully) fly (with my trike in baggage) to Wisconsin.  There I will bike to my sister's house in Rhinelander for a week long visit.
  I have solo toured once before with a tent and I got very lonely.  I didn't like it.  This time I have arranged almost every night to be with a Warmshowers host or an Evergreen Host or an Affordable Travel Club Host.  So I will get some human interaction each evening and morning.  That should help feed my need for social contact.
  I am excited.  I start biking on Monday, July 8th!
  Yesterday I did a test pack to see if I could get everything I needed in the two small rain panniers that my friends, Regis and Cindy, loaned me.  I learned from Sylvia Halpern, who travels the world with her trike, that she only packs one outfit for triking.  That's it!  She washes it out with shampoo each night, and it is dry the next day.  So I will be packing only three sets of clothes.  One for biking, one for evenings (and kayaking), and one for hiking in the woods (long pants) when I get to Wisconsin.

   Then I practiced packing up my trike.  Today I bought some plastic wrap to wind around things on my trike.  We will see if the airline rejects me.  Their website says maximum of 80".  My trike is 78"... plus bubble wrap.
   I tried pushing in the boom on my trike, but the paint job I had done would get ruined, and seems to be preventing it from moving anyway.

   I am excited!!  The trip down to the airport is almost all on trails.  Wisconsin will be mostly roads.  I hope they are smooth and not gravel or grass.  I hope to post videos and pictures here.  Though text might be difficult without a keyboard.  I am just taking my phone and ipad.

Book Progress

  People are asking when is the kindle version of  The Journey Continues coming out.  The answer is that I have not set a date yet.  The project I am working on right now is to put the first book into an audio book.  That means taking out the pictures (there are over 1200 pictures).  Where there are pictures I  may have to write something to tell the story or describe the scene.  Then I have to submit that for bid by Audio book recorders.  It is a process.
  I want to release the Kindle and the Audio of the second book at the same time.  So I am thinking it may take until January or February.  Though I am aiming for November, I also don't want to lose out on adventures and having fun and keeping fit by writing all the time.
  In the meantime I added some pictures to my Amazon Author page.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.
  Today I delivered paperback copies of The Journey Continues to the two bike shops in Inverness and to Frank DeGiovani, the City Manager in Inverness.  Since the story is a lot about the support we found in this county.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Coming in 2 Days - March 21, 2019 - Alzheimer's Kindle Book

Good Morning on this Tuesday morning.

Only two days to the launch of the book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George on Amazon Kindle.  

It has taken me well over 3 hours to create this video for you. 

I was low energy to start but it picks up, so hang in there.

If you are just visiting this page for the first time and want to follow the continuing journey of this old lady publishing her first and second books, riding bike, and traveling... Click the Join tab above to be notified each time Susan posts and update.

Until Tomorrow!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Only 3 Days to Alzheimer's Kindle Book Launch

Good morning!  Only 3 days to the launch of the first Trippin' book, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George, Diagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles.

I am up REAL early again this morning.  Too much excitement.  That's ok, I can get this post launched before heading over to the clubhouse for exercise and yoga.

Here is the link to the Laidback Bike Report.  The audio for me was awful!  I need a new computer.  Something I will have to invest in after the launch and all the activity after the launch.  I am afraid of switching right now.  But maybe I should just for these kinds of opportunities... on-line interviews.

A few months ago I arranged to have a service notify bloggers about the book launch.  They will be calling for interviews and posting about the book the week after the launch. 

My former neighbors are hosting an event in celebration of the book launch on Thursday morning at their clubhouse.  And later in the day my friends Kiersten and Denis will be arriving from Victoria Canada!  It will be great to see them.   It will be fun to see pictures of their grandkids.  They are flying in and won't have their trike with them so I am asking around to see if they can borrow a couple trikes for a few days.  Got trikes??? or a trike?

Comment below or on my Youtube Channel.

I am getting likes on the new page on Facebook.  Thanks to all who liked the page, Trippin' with Susan.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Alzheimer's Book Launch Count Down Day 4

Hello!  It is Day 4 of the countdown to the launch of the Amazon Kindle version of the book.  Watch and then there are links below. And Share Share Share!  Thank you!

Be sure to share this blog with anyone who loves recumbent bikes or is just now dealing with dementia in a friend or family member.  It isn't a depressing read, you will flow through the days just as we did.

Here are the links I promised in the video.

Laidback Bike Report March 17, 2019
Inverness, FL 12 Days of Cycling
Facebook Page @TrippinwithSusan
Facebook Group Susan Straley Writes
Kindle with Joy Cover
Kindle with Sunset Cover

Back again tomorrow...

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Alzheimer's Trippin' with George Book Launch Count Down Day 5

Here you go!  Count down to the book launch.  5 days left!!!!

A bit about the bike club, the Hen House Restaurant, and the City of Inverness, Florida.

Please share with those you think might benefit or enjoy reading Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.

The links to the book is below.  One book, two covers.

Sunset Cover:

Joy/Covertible Cover:

So far pre-orders on the Kindle are 26 total, 2 Sunset, 24 Joy.

See you tomorrow... well, you will see me anyway.  I will imagine seeing you.

Thanks for joining the journey.  If you didn't get the email notifications for this post.  Click the Join tab above and fill out the spaces to get added to the email list. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Topping It Off In Wisconsin

 Hello, A special shout out to the three guys that advised me through the purchase of my Ford Truck in May, Jim, Bill and Regis. On July 26t...