This is my first post "from the road"! For all of you who have been following my story from the beginning, that would be my blog on March 27, 2011, we have "Lift Off"...Finally! : )
There has been A Lot of EFFORT involved in getting to this point. My initial departure from Maryland included the effort of selling off and/or moving my "stuff" into storage, while simultaneously trying to plan for my trip, setting aside, purchasing, or actually designing and creating the equipment I thought I would need, while simultaneously trying to make sure I was leaving the proper information behind at my job at the National Institutes of Health so that my departure would not result in a "knowledge loss" for the lab in which I was working as a supply manager. At the same time, I was also being approached to do the TEDx talk at George Washington University. Preparing my talk added another level of effort to all the rest.
Once I relocated to Florida, I restarted the whole process, moving my belongings from storage in Maryland to a facility closer to where I was staying, so that I could continue to sell off my "stuff", at this point, not only to raise money for my trip, but simply to have money to live on in the mean time. During that time I found a new focus for my journey, in the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF), promoting the work of author Paul K. Chappell, and setting my sights on attending the NAPF Peace Leadership Workshop in Santa Barbara, CA July 22-29. (Links to relevant websites can now be found in the right side menu under "Important Links".)
During the month of March and the first two weeks of April 2012, I was juggling last minute projects and belongings between my friend's house in Orange Park, FL another friend's house in Jacksonville, FL, and eventually, two storage units as I was shifting from one to another, not to mention multiple sorting and transport of "stuff" to garage sale, bazaar, and flea market sites.
So when I finally got on my bicycle around 7:30 pm on Sunday evening, April 15th...my effort became that of pedaling. The ensuing darkness enclosed me like a blanket, and suddenly my life focus was reduced to the circle of light trailing the white line of the road ahead of me...
Needless to say, I let out a loud "WooooHoooo!" when I spotted the dimly lit sign of my first "pit stop"- the quite humble, Hawkins Motel in Baldwin, FL. Megan, the motel manager, was kind enough to hold a room for me, and my arrival around 11:00 pm was not a problem. I was glad to find that the room was large enough to hold me and all of my equipment. I even had space to do my yoga by the side of the bed the next morning. (Unfortunately, what I did not realize soon enough was that the refrigerator was sufficiently cold enough for me to re-freeze my smoothies and chill all of my other food, as my next three days would be without such facilities!)
During my next leg, from Baldwin to the Osceola National Forest, I kept thinking it would be another relatively short ride, like I experienced getting to Baldwin. However, I was completely "fresh" coming into Baldwin, whereas in leaving, not only were my legs and back tired, I was also traveling in more sun and heat, which make their own unique demands on one's body under any conditions.
Nevertheless, as I knew I would have to from the beginning, I persevered, making stops as necessary, including one at the Olustee Battlefield, before reaching my destination.
The ride into Osceola National Forest took me about five extra miles off of Highway 90. That may not seem like much by car, but for me and my heavily laden bike, at the end of a long day, it seemed Much Longer.
I did, however, manage to reach the park with just enough daylight left to make contact with the campground host, Dianne, receive a graciously offered Free site in support of my efforts and my cause, and set-up my tent before it got dark.
The warm shower at the campground bath house Felt Wonderful ...unfortunately, it also washed away all of my bug repellant, so as soon as I was back to camp, I holed up in my tent, eating, making notes from my trip, and reading a bit, before finally calling it a day.
(..to be continued...)
Pedaling for Peace
On April 15, 2012 I started riding my bicycle cross-country from Jacksonville, Florida in voluntary support of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) and the work of author and Peace Leadership Director for the NAPF, Paul K. Chappell. By July 4th, I had covered over 1300 miles to just west of Luling, Texas where a major mechanical failure brought this first stage of my cross-country journey to an end. After storing my bicycle and trailer with my aunt and uncle in Weatherford, Texas, I flew from Dallas to Santa Barbara, California to attend the NAPF First Annual Peace Leadership Summer Workshop. I then lived and worked in Santa Barbara for several more months before I returned to Jacksonville and sold off the rest of my possessions that I could to help fund a continuation of my journey. Starting June 8, 2013 and ending August 9, 2013, I rode from Weatherford, through 400 miles of the central Texas hill country, including Austin, Texas, back to Luling. It was at this point that a friend of mine invited me to work for a brief period in Pennsylvania before flying me back to Santa Barbara where I continued volunteering for the NAPF as well as for the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition. As of August 9th, 2014 I began"Stage III" of my cross-country adventure, this time heading south from Santa Barbara to San Diego and then east to El Paso, TX. It was there that illness, winter weather, and diminishing resources brought that leg of my journey to an end. After staying with another friend in Columbus, GA for several months, I moved "back home" to Kentucky to stay with my dad for a while and build a better "resource base" for future endeavors including review and further tracking and primitive survival skills training at Tom Brown, Jr's Tracker School , and a possible longer tour of the east coast, northern tier, and north west coast back down to Santa Barbara, CA.