In Osceola, had time and space to unpack and re-pack all of my gear. I also took some time to make a few adjustments to my bicycle handlebar grips as I had been having quite a bit of numbness in my hands that I hoped I could mediate. Rotating the bar-end grips straight up has since allowed me to occasionally ride in a fully upright position resting my back somewhat (which has actually been in pain since my days moving all of my stuff around, three weeks prior to this trip). In addition, I had the chance to meet Fred and Judy from Texas, both of whom were quite receptive to what I had to share with them about my journey, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, and Paul K. Chappell.
(One potential incident of note: Construction crews on site rebuilding one of the bath houses and I managed to step on a bit of nail near the dumpster. It went right through the sole of my "Keen" shoe and was within a sixteenth of an inch of putting a hole in my heel. Definitely a close call, but no major damage done!)
I decided to take one last photo of the Osceola National Forest on my way out. Although I didn't have time to go swimming myself, it was one of the options at this little beach. Overall, it was a very enjoyable stay and a well maintained and managed park.
From Osceola, it was on to Live Oak, FL. After retracing the five miles or so to get out of the park and back to Highway 90, I still had another 35 miles to go. Now on my third consecutive day riding, I was starting to feel a little more tiredness in my legs. I have accepted from the beginning of this trip that, especially in the first few days and weeks, it would be slow going for me, with frequent stops.
One of those stops included a little bar/pizza restaurant where I met Joe and Mike. They graciously shared some of their pizza with me, encouraged me to talk about my journey, and they let me know they would be stopping again themselves at another bar in Lake City, so I should look for them there.
Coming into Lake City, some time later, I was confronted with what I have come to refer to as "lumpy bumpies" - ripples in the pavement just outside the main wheel tracks. As there was no significant shoulder, I either had to ride the "lumpy bumpies", bouncing and jostling my bike and rig uncomfortably, or steer into the main wheel track instead, putting me and my rig more into the line of car traffic. Luckily, most of the stretch through town was four lanes, so I could take the latter option and people could still get around me, but it was still stressful and slow going.
As anticipated though, Joe and Mike spotted me from their second pit-stop, The Rock Star Bar, calling out as I was about to pass. I pulled off, found a place to lean my bike safely against a fence, and took another fairly long break, talking more with them and a few other "locals", while enjoying lots of ice water to cool down and re-hydrate. In addition, since there were several motor-bikers in the crowd, they were all very generous in offering advice about various places I should see, or avoid, or be prepared for along the road ahead.
I managed to reach my destination for the day, "Sunset Manor" (luckily, before sunset...!). Bruce became my first "official" Couch Surfing host by letting me stay in an unrented trailer he had available just east of Live Oak. (This picture was also my first using my tripod and timer on my camera for this trip. : ))
Although I didn't have electricity, there was running water for a Cold shower, and to refill all of my water bottles. I used my headlamps after dark, and otherwise managed fine with the remaining food I was carrying for dinner...my Special Fried Rice and Finger Salad. Before I left the next morning, I even remembered to get my mung beans and lentils soaking, as I had plans to be cooking again, once I reached Monticello two days later.
(...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.