Gainesville

I’m pretty sure that about 40 of my almost 50 miles today were uphill.  I didn’t know that was even possible in Florida!  I’ve been seeing lots of Spanish moss and dead armadillos lately.  It’s not quite as hot as it was yesterday, maybe because of the little rain storm I biked through.  I think I’m going to have to accept that it’s going to rain at least once every day while I’m here.

It was pretty exciting getting a bike lane on the highway.  There’s a 3 foot passing law here in Florida, but I think the best I can expect is a foot and a half.  There are lots of nice drivers here, but lots of fast, close ones too.

Tonight is my first warmshowers host on this trip, looking forward to that!  Hopefully I’ll be in Tallahassee in about 3 days.

DeLand, FL to Ocala, FL

Distance: 59.24
Time: 4:10:12

After 29 hours on trains and nearly 60 miles in the 90 degree heat, I decided to spring for a night in a hotel. It’s my vacation, right? I didn’t realize just how many palm trees and lizards there would be in Florida. Figured that was just the movies and tourist areas. And the heat, come on it’s November! I need to find where it’s always in the high 60’s
Anyway, Gainesville tomorrow!

Starting again

The train tickets are bought, gear is getting packed, and I’m ready to take off.  I’m heading to Deland, Florida to start a bike tour from the Atlantic coast to New Orleans.  If you still follow this, be sure to check back for updates from my trip.

still alive!

Hello everyone!  I made it to Seattle, and then to San Francisco.  I’m not still in Idaho!  Everytime i think I’ll get a chance to update this I get distracted by something.  I still have lots of stories to tell and I promise I’ll get them up here soon!

Idaho Falls to Fairfield: 160 miles across the Arco desert

I did it in a day. And what a hellish, grueling, windy day it was. At least while I was on my bike, which amounted to 8 hours in the saddle. (my longest day on the trip)

I left Idaho Falls at 6:30 AM and set off to Arco where I was planning on camping at nearby Craters of the Moon. And it was windy. I mean this was soul-crushing, face-chapping, make you want to get hit by a truck and die wind. I was about 35 miles from Arco, right next to the INL nuclear sites, when I stopped for a drink of water. I had to stop because if I tried to drink while riding, the wind would either almost knock me over or blow the water into my throat. Either way, it made me choke. While I was drinking, a pickup pulled up next to me, the window came down, and an old lady leaned over and said, “You look like you could use a ride.”. We got my stuff in the back of the truck and we sang Merle Haggard and Gene Autry songs as she drove me up to Arco.
After she dropped me off, I stopped and got some lunch then headed on towards Craters of the Moon. As I was leaving town my chain skipped a little. I switched gears and didn’t think much of it. Then about five miles later it happened again. I switched gears again. Then again. Then again, until I had tried every gear combination. It got so bad that on every pedal my chain would skip. I was now about 10 miles out of town. There was nothing else to do, so I stuck out my thumb. Finally, after I had decided I may as well start walking my bike across Idaho, a truck stopped. We tossed my gear in the back and threw my bike on his rack and drove away, past Craters of the Moon.
Jason is a larper from Iowa who was on his way to some big fight in Hailey, ID when he picked me up. As we drove, we swapped talked about making chain mail and swords.

We got to Hailey around 4:30 and I went straight over to the bike store to beg some chain lube. They cleaned up my bike, lubed my chain, and at 5:00 they sent me on my way. They told me about a good camping spot just about 20 miles down the road, and a bike trail that would take me almost all the way there. As I was riding, the main roadkill I saw was coyotes. I knew that if I camped, coyotes would immediately come tearing through the thin nylon of my tent and rip my body to shreds. Or worse, they’d smell my food and tear apart my panniers. So I pushed on another 45 miles to Fairfield where I was going to stay the following night with Randy, a warmshowers host. We talked on the phone, and he said it was fine if I came in a day early. I finally got in at 10 and stopped on the edge of town to try to get something to eat, either at the store (closed) or at the hotel’s vending machine (didn’t exist). Some people staying at the hotel came over to me and gave me bananas and coffee cake and water! Then Randy met me at the hotel and led me back to his guest house where I ate for the rest of the night until I passed out.

Yellowstone pt. 3

After the petrified trees on specimen ridge, I don’t remember the exact order in which we did things. In the next day and a half, we saw every geyser basin and thermal feature in the park, went swimming, saw Yellowstone lodge, spent another freezing night camping in West Thumb, and drove over the continental divide a lot.
The animals we saw included:
Wolf
Bear
Zillions of bison
Elk
Deer
Coyote
Some sort of social, burrowing rodent

From Yellowstone we went down to the Grand Tetons and hiked around Jenny lake to Inspiration Point. It was a nice hike despite my tattered shoes which were torn to ribbons from the hiking in Yellowstone. I think it would have been more inspirational if it hadn’t been covered in families that took the boat across and boy scouts.

From there we headed down to Jackson and over to Idaho Falls where we just made the deadline to return the car. Their plane was delayed so we had a tasty dinner in the airport restaurant. Then I was back on my own.