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.


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!!  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.

Preparation


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.



Memories

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 Crazyguyonabike.com.

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.
  Choices.
  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.


Joy is a Choice

 Hello, I am glad I went to Jean's to help her with the paperwork.  She appreciated my efforts and she paid me!  There will be more work...