DAY 12

March 26, 1999

This morning I had a special treat....I climbed the grapefruit tree in the backyard and picked a nice big grapefruit.  It was very sweet and still tasted very good for being so late in the season.  I believe November it the best time to pick grapefruit.

Kathleen and I drank a cup of coffee and talked about Ayruveda Medicine and alternative healing methods.  Later, we quickly reviewed Strain-Counter-Strain Method.  This is one of the treatments I've been giving to my left knee.  We also went over the "Sun-Salutation" yoga method.  I was unsuccessful in this one as, Princess, their dog, kept licking my face. :-) While I finished getting my things together, Kathleen sent some work-related email.  Then we both rode to the Pinnellas County Trail.  It was raining a bit so we waterproofed my handlebar bag and trailer with garbage bags.  The trail was a nice ride and, for about 25 miles, I never had to worry about traffic.   Kathleen stayed with me for the first 5 or six miles.  This was the first time I had someone riding with me.   It was very enjoyable having company, and someone to talk to.  When it was time for her to turn around, we hugged and said goodbye....I felt alone :-(  But off I went.  All alone now, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to turn around and go back...and stay one more day.  But I didn't, I had to be on my way.

After riding a few miles my lonely feeling subsided.  Then Gene pedals up beside me and strikes up a conversation.  Gene has been a "Roadie" for years and wanted to know about my journey.  We rode together and talked for about an hour.  Although we kept a very slow pace, and I lost some time, I didn't care.   Gene was nice to talk to and he seemed to share some of the same philosophies of life as I do.  We discussed the gear I'm taking and about getting lonely on a solo trip like this.  I told him I have a Walkman to help out.   I bought it after hearing stories about South Dakota - being on long, desolate roads, that will test your sanity. He discouraged the use of it and said it was a No-No with "the club."  "You could get tarred and feathered" he said amusingly.   I've decided to use it only in isolated areas and not in traffic. Gene also recommended that I get with National Public Radio (NPR) to cover the story of my ride.  He told me about a guy that rode across the country and the NPR followed him with reports along the way.  This could be a great way to inspire others, like myself, that have never gone on a long bike ride before.   Gene also recommended a book that the guy wrote titled "Blue Highways."   When he was ready to turn off the trail we exchanged email addresses and he told me I could call him collect anytime while I'm on my trip.  Then he said that he would try to contact someone from NPR to get some coverage.

I followed the rest of the trail and kept thinking about "media coverage."  I never wanted to do this trip for any cause or get any sponsors.   And I really didn't want to draw a lot of attention to myself.  This ride is just for enjoy the experiences life has to offer me along the way.    But, if I can be an inspiration to at least get other people out riding a bike for exercise, then that would be OK. The trail ended and I hit the dreaded Highway 19.  It was difficult getting across but I managed.  And there was a shoulder to ride on.   There was a lot of construction and the shoulder became choppy.  It was very rough and bumpy, like riding on a washboard.   At one point I heard a "POP" :-(  When I looked back at my trailer, I saw some punk kid with a pistol-looking cap gun shooting at me from the passenger seat of a car.    Pop..pop...pop....  He just kept firing away as they passed... What a #!@$? punk!  And if another car rides up beside me and blasts their horn, I'm going to have to kick a dent in it!  Well, I won't, but Geeezzz....with that happening daily, and many times just today, it can really get to you.

At Weeki Wachee there was new pavement and a shoulder to ride on.  I rode on to Momosassa Springs and was really tired.  This has been a difficult day for me.   Two days prior, I had gone 70 miles and still felt great and had energy to spare.   But today, my whole body felt fatigued and my butt was unusually sore.  My knees didn't bother me at all…just my sore Butt!  Ouch!! It was almost 5pm and I didn't feel like looking for a campground, much less setting up my tent, so I stopped at a cheap motel - "The 3 Rivers Motel."  There were two older ladies that just pulled up as I was entering the parking lot.  The door was locked so they rang a buzzer located beside a sliding glass window.  A lady appeared at the window.  After questioning the ladies, she asked what I wanted.  I told her I needed a room.  She glared at my bike and trailer and then rudely told me "I'm all out of rooms."  And this is a motel with only two cars in the parking lot!  

So I biked a couple of miles to the Ramada Inn.  Going inside, I saw the two ladies from the previous motel registering for a room.  They said they were here because that lady was rude and they didn't like the way she treated me.  I checked into my room, fixed a cup of soup, and then went to sleep...

Today - 75.77 miles
Total - 557 miles

Today's Pics

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After returning from my bicycle tour, I designed a website for Kathleen to promote her Osteoporosis prevention program.  It is the first program ever developed of its kind, and I am very glad to be a small part of it.  It is: