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.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Jacksonville, FL to Terrell, TX by Bus

My journey from Jacksonville, FL to Terrell, TX started out a little rough. I was up literally all night Sunday night transferring the remaining boxes I had from my 5x10 storage unit into a 5x5. I managed to get the medium sized U-Haul boxes - Fully Loaded - stacked seven high, and similarly heavy boxes of files (yep, still got plenty of those left) stacked on a five shelf chrome wire rack, again, all the way to the ceiling.

I don't know for sure what the weight limit is on those racks, but I'm sure I'm pushing it! By 4:45 am, I was finally done, and laid out my blue mat, my sleeping bag, and my buck wheat pillow so I could take a rest in the now empty 5x10 unit to await pick-up from Alisa. I almost dozed for a minute or two and then decided my time might be better spent doing some yoga as my body was feeling quite strained from all the efforts of the last few days.

Prior to getting on the bus, I was confronted by the fact that transporting my bags was going to cost me much more than I'd expected. Although I had looked pretty hard to find baggage limits, fees, etc., on the Greyhound website, I wasn't able to find anything, and there was no additional information on the tickets that Alisa and I printed at her house. So, my first checked bag was free. I was pushing it with two good-sized carry-ons, i.e. one carry-on and a big bag/purse with my back-pack and lunch bag in it - Thanks to Alisa for always having re-usable (and stylish) grocery bags in the car! But that left another larger duffle, medium duffle, and my uncle's suitcase I had been borrowing since I left Weatherford, TX.

Total at the bus depot, was an additional $55.00. And that left my bulk-food bag for Alisa to ship as soon as she can. Although I had hoped to leave enough money in her account to cover my storage rent for the next three months (July, August, September), I'm afraid the baggage fees put a big dent in that plan. Hoping the Chrome Racks I have on Craig's List will sell sometime soon, but, if you'd like to help out at this point, please feel free to use the "Donate" button in the right-hand column of this blog page. Thanks!

When Alisa and I were waiting at the station in Jacksonville, we spied a couple of guys carrying bright yellow and black panniers - fellow cross-country cyclists. One of them ended up sitting next to me on the bus so I got the scoop on their trip. They're names were Dylan and Vincent and they'd just finished a seven week trek of their own from Phoenix, AZ to Jacksonville (mostly) on the Southern Tier Adventure Cycling route. Having already shipped their bicycles from Jacksonville, like me they were taking the bus, three days for them all the way back to Seattle. As Vincent was telling me, he's wondering how he will make the adjustment to being "off the bike" and once again clocking miles in terms of minutes by car rather than hours! (As I no longer have a car to drive myself, I guess I'm generally still on "bicycle time".)

(It was raining as the bus traveled through Tallahassee, and I remembered it was also raining when I was riding through there roughly the same time last year. I also saw a few familiar spots earlier, in Lake City for instance, before the bus moved off of HWY 90 and on to I-10.)

It was a rough bus trip though. My legs and arms are bruised and strained from shifting and hoisting all of the boxes around. As with my computer skills, I freely admit my limitations when it comes to planning ahead and keeping things running smoothly, but, at the end of the day, (or, in this case, the end of the night), everything was done that needed to be done. (Once again speaking to the fact that sheer determination and will-power can sometimes overcome deficits in other areas!) I know that I am getting back on the road having done the best "I" could to make this second half of my cross-country journey a success. And even though the bag fees were a blow, the money was there, and even though I feel even "tighter" this trip than the last, something tells me, things will continue to work out along the way. Honestly, I am still grateful for the experience of Living On Cash as it does have a way of keeping you in the moment more so than credit!

I want to offer a special thanks to recent contributors, either through direct donations, signing up to be members of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, or buying items I had for sale. So thanks Ron, Glenn, Sandy and Carl, and of course, Mike K. It was also great to meet and talk with fellow SCA'ers, Bob and Leilani at the VFW on Friday night. And thanks to Tim as he bought my bright purple and teal back-pack for his daughter Faith recently. I hope she enjoys many Happy Adventures of her own. And thanks to Mike and Janet for signing up to be new members of the NAPF.

And, once again, Big Thanks to my friend Alisa for giving up her room for me over the last two months. I was joking with her on the way to the bus station about how much more open it looks now that it doesn't have all of my stuff scattered everywhere! (Still some "stuff" left in the garage, but hopefully, that will all sell eventually!)

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P.S. Remembebering the "Rumble Strips" of Alabababamamama

While on the bus, I was shaken from my resting state by loud noise and vibration, only to look at the road we we're traveling on to see "Rumble Strips" on the shoulder. When I was traveling these Alabama roads last summer, I recalled how hard it was to avoid them as the shoulders were too narrow to accommodate my trailer fully right of the rumble strips, which meant I was more often forced to ride to the left of them on the roadway. Not sure if these "sleeper bumps" as I like to call them have caused a significant positive impact on sleep related car accidents, but I know from personal experience, they sure make it harder and less safe for cyclists, at least ones like me with trailers! It does highlight the idea of State Sovereignty though, as I have noted these significant differences in road conditions state to state along my route.

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