Recap of the meetup as experienced from one of the participants (David). Even given all the bad luck in many ways it was still a memorable trip in which we all learned something.
Hope you enjoy........Mike
Wow guys what an experience,
As most of you know I went on a bicycle ride this past week. For many years
I had been thinking that my dream was to do a long distance un-supported
ride on bicycle. I had been looking in Crazy Guy on a Bicycle web site for
some time and I found a guy who was organizing a ride in south Florida. I
I took off by car for Bradenton Florida last Thursday. I researched the
weather and found that the projected forecast indicated 75 degree days and
50-degree nights. I packed a tent, one pair of long pants and a long sleeve
shirt to sleep in. No sleeping bag. I borrowed a ¼ foam-sleeping mat. With
the other necessities I figured I was “set to go”.
I met Mike at his house on Friday and we took off for Arcadia FL
on Saturday Morning at 9:00 AM. We waited and started that late because it
was cold. This was a round about route of 59 miles selected by Mike. A
bridge was out so we avoided a few miles and went 48 miles instead.
As you can imagine I got a bit tired and about 8 miles from the end I was
starting to develop “recumbent foot” (burning of the foot) I removed my
right leg from the SPD pedals and my foot hit the road. Being on a delta
trike, my foot bent back and I wound up twisting and running over my own
foot. OUCH!!! Immediate huge swollen ankle.
I made it to Peace River Camp Ground and Mike and I checked in and set up
the tents. We decided we wanted a couple of beers and were too tired to go
into town for supper, so we went to the front store and bought 4 beers and
something to eat. Two hours later I could not find my wallet. (I lost all
my ID, credit cards, and about $600.00 cash)
Dinner was fun. Mike and I exchanged information and histories and had a
few drinks. We started getting ready for sleep at about dark and both of my
flashlights went dead after 3 minutes. Mike loaned me one of his.
A couple of 24 year olds came over and informed us they were having a party
and asked for understanding if they got loud. By 9:00 PM I could not sleep
because of the cold, noise from the road and fretting over the wallet. Mike
and I went over and joined the party (FSU Grads)....(I'm a Gator) until 10:00pm. Made for some great conversation. The party went on until
5:00 AM and the temperature was in the 30s. I was COLD
Mike loaned me some money but I had no ID or access to any other funds. For the
first time in many years I felt a little vulnerable. Being older may be the
reason; I do not seem to remember feeling that way in my youth.
The next morning my ankle was non-existent from swelling and the wind was
out of the southwest and cold. We fought the wind all the way to
Caloosahatchee River State Park trying to stay ahead of the rain. (45 miles) We were lucky, and it did not
rain until we arrived so we were able to get under cover by the rest room. We were both looking forward to a warm shower when the park ranger informed us the water to the inside (hot showers) were not working. We ended up showering at one of the outside showers that only had cold water. Needless to say it was a quick shower!
Another great night of supper, drinks and conversation before bed and a
somewhat restless sleep on the very thin and hard mat. The guy that set up
this event had bike mechanical problems and was unable to attend.
We left the next morning facing a very hard and cold head wind. Speeds were
barely 10 mph.
We made it back to Arcadia at about 2:00pm and Mike treated me to lunch at
Pizza hut. OH MAN WAS IT GOOD. We rode another 11 miles and camped in a
cemetery in the middle of a cow pasture. I set up my tent, went inside and
never came out. I was hurting and cold. Mike brought me his small camp
cooking stove and we went to bed. It got down to 27 degrees and I froze all
night. By 1:00 AM I was sitting by the camp cook stove shivering. I was
wearing all my clothes and still……It brought back Army times
After getting all the ice off the tent and packing up Mike left just after daybreak and I waited until 9:00 when the sun had
warmed my tent enough to keep me from shivering. Again, I was pedaling into
a very strong head wind out of the west.
I stopped at a small Jiffy store at the cross roads of Myakka City to get
warm and rest. The folks there were staring at me and after some talk I
convinced them I was not a bum or drunk. They said I looked like I “just
got out of a ditch”. I stayed about 10 minutes and left early because I did
not feel welcome.
I went straight into Bradenton on highway 70, more dangerous but direct
route. ( sorry, I cheated )
After a long hot shower at Mikes house, he took me to a store and filled my
car with gas for the trip back.
Yes, I’ll try it again when my new credit cards come in, my swelling goes
down, and I start feeling better