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  1. #1
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    I am back from my first tour, and it was everything I hoped it to be and then some...

    I went from jacksonville beach Fl, to Lake City, to Keaton Beach, to lake city, back to Jacksonville beach. total trip was 391.5 miles in 5 days. I did 95 miles day one... 100 miles on day two, 7 miles on day three (my rest day farting around Keaton Beach), 92 miles on day four, and 96.5 miles on day five. I camped out every night in camping / RV facilities.

    I experienced so much I don't know where to start... I experienced nice weather, tail wind, HEAD wind, constant wind, rain (it poured for about 75 of the miles on the last day) I met some fantastic people all along the way, and one psycho on the last night in lake city that litterally had me fearing for my life. I had some good food, but mostly crappy food along the way in the various small towns. I have some fantastic pictures (I will post them somehow later today)...

    Ok, the story on the Psycho before everyone asks... I set up camp late Wed night in an Rv park in Lake City. I set up two lots away from this big tent type thing (I thought it was just storage) anyway, after dark I am sitting down looking at my pictures when this guy walks right up to me... he was about 325lbs SOLID MUSCLE... He was probably 55 years old, and had a FREAKY looking perfectly white afro that was standing straight up... He had cotton balls sticking out of both of his ears, and was only wearing bikini underwear. he said "have you ever seen the movie Hellraiser?" I thought he was just being an ass so I giggled and said "not recently... that would be a good one to watch before going camping" he got a very angry disgusted look on his face and said "you think that is funny? You have some f***** nerve doing what you did... some f****** nerve.. You think that movie was funny? that guy was standing there without any skin. they took all his skin while he was still breathing... and you have some f******* nerve doing what you did..."

    Obviously at this point I was feeling very uncomfortable. I said "so where are you from?" he ignored me.. and started uncovering his motorcycle.. he was throwing his tarp around and moved his bike to the other side of the tent. then he came back to me again, and said "you have some f****** nerve. How can you be so f****** ignorant? You know the hurricanes and tornados and everyone dying are all signs, and I tell you what you ignorant f*** they aren't signs for me that is for sure. You think it is funny to not have any skin? you will f****** see... You will f****** see.

    At that point I stood up and said "Ok, look man, I don't want any trouble, I was not trying to croud you. I will be happy to move my tent." he ignored me as he walked around to the front of his tent.. not sure if he heard me I walked a couple steps toward him and said "did you hear me? I am sorry for bothering you, I am going to move my tent now" he quickly charged at me waving his hands saying "get off my f****** lot you SOB, Get the F*** away from me. I already moved my bike off your land, now get the F*** away from me" He was like one foot away from my face when he said this, and I was balled up ready to take him down.... (keep in mind, at 6'3'' 250 pounds, I am not a person who is normaly bullied) He turned around and went back in his tent..

    I quickly gathered up all my stuff and moved all the way to the front of the park, under a huge bright light, in plain view of the main road. I loaded my ***, and with it by my side went to sleep. I got up early packed up and left without incident. I figure that the great injustice I did to him was that I put my tent too close to his (even though I was 2 lots away)

    It ended up being quite a learing experience. for one, I will NEVER stealth camp in central florida... I could not even imagine coming across someone like that in the woods... I litterally could have been killed.

    Anyway, the trip was great. Thank you everyone for your help! I will post a link to the pictures soon!


    Mike
    Last edited by mcavana; 03-24-06 at 01:49 PM.
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  2. #2
    bificurated RiotBoi's Avatar
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    Glad to hear it went more or less well.

    Bringing violence invites violence.
    Split Tongue Drunk Hammer Weilding Death Merchant

  3. #3
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Ok, I am attempting to post some pics...


    (this is the tent and motorcycle of the psycho)












































    can you see the pictures?
    Last edited by mcavana; 03-24-06 at 01:55 PM.
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  4. #4
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Kool pics. Glad that wasn't me...I have a tendancy to empty the magazine and ask questions later. Almost shot a neighbor point blank range with my 12 guage back in '92 because he had me freaked out <similar long story>.

    What kind o bike is that?
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  5. #5
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggus
    What kind o bike is that?
    It is a Trek 6700 frame.... every other part is NOT origional. built the entire bike using recomendations from everyone on this forum.
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  6. #6
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    Nice pictures and looks like you got in some pretty good miles as well.No. Fl. really is a great place to tour.I toured up to and around the Gainesville area then back a few years ago and would really like to get back to that area on bike again.

    But,your experience at the rv park is one reason I prefer to stealth camp.Last weekend I toured up to Jupiter(Fl.) and around the remote wetlands west of there.I steath camped in a spot I have once or twice before and all I encountered was a beautiful star filled night sky through the pines.

    By the way,looks to me like your phycho has been living there ever since the last hurricane took out his trailer.

  7. #7
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Way to kick out the miles, Mike - Coast to coast!

    How'd all your gear work out for you over the actual trip? Are you glad to have practiced setting up the tent a little before the first nights' rainstorm?
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

  8. #8
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    Way to kick out the miles, Mike - Coast to coast!

    How'd all your gear work out for you over the actual trip? Are you glad to have practiced setting up the tent a little before the first nights' rainstorm?

    Thank you for all your hep bek! my gear all worked out perfect. Not a single bad purchase! I definately over packed a bit, but I knew that would happen (I think it is mandatory for a new bee) I am VERY glad that I practiced and read and read and read before the trip. I would have made some MAJOR mistakes without doing so. I am so glad that I got the poncho right before I left... I would not have made it home on that last day without it (seriously).

    It is simply amazing how such a relatively short trip can open your eyes to the world. I can honestly say that this trip ranks among the best times / experiences I have ever had in my life. The only major change I plan to make for the next trip is to try to find someone to go with me. There were some times when it was great to be by myself, other times it would have been nice to have a friend along.


    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  9. #9
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    Did you report that guy to the owners of the campground and/or the police? From what I understand, he did threaten you. He might be posing some risks to other people. And although I might be terrified at the idea that you were touring with a *** (typical Canadian reaction I guess) I am glad to see that you opted for a more diplomatic way.

    I hope this event did not trouble you too much and that you were able to enjoy your trip. Love the pictures!

  10. #10
    half man - half sheep Doggus's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like you had a friend if you weren't so picky about who you hang out with <snicker> <snicker>
    "The cycling community is so small that it is nearly inbred." - Steve Tilford

  11. #11
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magictofu
    Did you report that guy to the owners of the campground and/or the police? From what I understand, he did threaten you. He might be posing some risks to other people. And although I might be terrified at the idea that you were touring with a *** (typical Canadian reaction I guess) I am glad to see that you opted for a more diplomatic way.

    I hope this event did not trouble you too much and that you were able to enjoy your trip. Love the pictures!
    I did report the guy on my way out to the owners of the park. To my dismay they were not very concerned about it. They said that they have had problems with him before... and that they would talk to him. I guess that they really just don't care as long as he keeps paying the fees.

    I considered calling the police, but I figured that all they would have done was warn him, then leave. At that point he would have been REALLY pissed off, and I would have been at an even higher risk.

    Anyways, I just posted some of the things I learned on this trip on the newbees guide... check it out when you have a minute.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...66#post2337166

    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  12. #12
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggus
    Sounds to me like you had a friend if you weren't so picky about who you hang out with <snicker> <snicker>

    NICE
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  13. #13
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    man, that dude back there sounds like a real nut job. and judging by that photo - i would have guessed it was for storage as well. weird. glad your story ended up well (i.e. not on the news).

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Delighted to hear you had such a great time!

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcavana
    I did report the guy on my way out to the owners of the park. To my dismay they were not very concerned about it. They said that they have had problems with him before... and that they would talk to him. I guess that they really just don't care as long as he keeps paying the fees.

    I considered calling the police, but I figured that all they would have done was warn him, then leave. At that point he would have been REALLY pissed off, and I would have been at an even higher risk.

    Anyways, I just posted some of the things I learned on this trip on the newbees guide... check it out when you have a minute.

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...66#post2337166

    Mike

    It might not be too late to let the police know about that guy. It might not change anything right now but in the event that many people complain about it, they might want to investigate a bit further... and that kind of info can be very useful to police officers... suppose they are called to that camping ground for some reason, extra knowledge about the type of person they could encounter could make a big difference.

    Anyway, I am saying this but on one of my first overnight bike trip, I was attacked by a group of teenage kids (I was only 13 years old then) who probably wanted to use our camping spot for drinking and I've never told the police about them. They destroyed our tent, tore some of our clothes, tried to get our money (we never told them it was hidden in a tree trunk) and menaced us with knives... I (or my parents) should have called the police but for some weird reasons I was afraid to do so... I regret it now.

  16. #16
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magictofu
    It might not be too late to let the police know about that guy. It might not change anything right now but in the event that many people complain about it, they might want to investigate a bit further... and that kind of info can be very useful to police officers... suppose they are called to that camping ground for some reason, extra knowledge about the type of person they could encounter could make a big difference. .
    You are right. I just called the Lake City Police department and told them everything that happened. They claim that they are going to send someone out to talk to him, but who knows if that will ever happen. They did take my name and number so the investigating officer can call me if he has any questions. At least maybe, like you said, they will take record of it, and be better prepared if they ever have to go out there on a call.... I will post if I hear anything back.

    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  17. #17
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    I meant to ask, what did you think of your tent and sleeping bag once you were on your trip? Were you comfy?

  18. #18
    Senior Member FXjohn's Avatar
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    haha..that psycho story rocks.
    Did you find yourself using a compass?
    Why was all the food you bought "crappy"?
    Why the pic of the house on blocks?
    Comedian Bill Hicks once said, "Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy a jet ski, and you never see an unhappy person riding a jet ski."

  19. #19
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
    I meant to ask, what did you think of your tent and sleeping bag once you were on your trip? Were you comfy?

    The tent and bag were perfect... the bag is so soft, and warm that I am more cozy then even my own bed at home. The tent held up to a constant 30 knot wind at Keaton Beach for 2 full days... plus when I was there a STRONG THUNDERSTORM came through, soaking everything for about 3 hours, and the tent kept me and my stuff perfectly dry. at the end of the storm my tent was actually sitting in a puddle (as the pic shows) and nothing I mean NOTHING even got damp!


    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  20. #20
    the commutor / tourer mcavana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FXjohn
    haha..that psycho story rocks.
    Did you find yourself using a compass?
    Why was all the food you bought "crappy"?
    Why the pic of the house on blocks?

    I had a compass, but did not need it at any point.

    The camping prepackaged (just add water) tasted like crap. It was nothing like the Pic on the front of it of course... the noodles didn't soak up much water, and it was a runny, bland mess. the rice and grits tasted like crap because #1 i didn't know how to cook them #2 had nothing to add flavor with me.

    The house on blocks if you read the sign is "captain crusty's pizza and subs" I just thought it was funny. Safe to say that I did NOT eat there.

    Mike
    "Ready to retire, just can't afford it yet!"

  21. #21
    Fred E Fenders fthomas's Avatar
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    Having lived in S. Florida I found it to be a hot bed of "Cultural Adversity"

    I always wanted to do a large poster:

    Imagine: Looking over a white sandy beach at a beautiful sunset over the ocean framed between palms. Two frail elderly people, tourist - Dad, Mom and a kid or a Touring Bicyclist in the forefront and the silhouette of a hooded man with a *** in the background. The caption would read:

    Welcome to Florida - It's a great place to die!


    Glad you had a great trip and though you encountered one of the many strange Floridians - you ended up safe. It doesn't seem to hurt to be packing, without a Concealed Weapons Permit I wonder what the law is regarding carrying a weapon in your panniers?

  22. #22
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    About camping food: when touring you can just buys veggies at the local grocery store to add flavours (and nutrients!) to most of the flavourless dried prepackaged stuff. As for myself, when the nights are cold enough, I love to buy yogurt to eat in the morning along with some fruits and some nuts... but most of the time peanut butter on toast or oatmeal is what I end up eating. I also tend to eat in cheap eateries along the way... you know those were you can get the special of the day for 5-7$ (usually pasta).

    At home I am a mean cook but on the road I am usually quite happy with simple food. Last summer however, I picked some nice mushrooms (chanterelles and oyster mushrooms) in the woods one day and we had a very nice wild mushroom diner. We just had to buy some heavy cream, green onions, wine and bread at a local grocery store.

  23. #23
    Seņor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Why spend big bucks on packaged camp food? There are lots of things you can find in the supermarket that only require adding hot water. A lot of them taste much better and cost about 1/4 as much as what you'll find at an outdoors store.

    I'm curious about what you've got in the other bottles - the ones that obviously not water bottles. Maybe you tell in your guide, but I haven't read that yet.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  24. #24
    Senior Member Caspar_s's Avatar
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    Top one is the air zound, below that is the battery for the lights then the water, and the fuel on the bottom. And two replacement water bottles on the front panniers.

    Oh, and you say the tent was in a puddle as the pic shows... what pic? The only tent pic is the psycho tent.
    Last edited by Caspar_s; 03-24-06 at 09:46 PM.

  25. #25
    Senior Member savage24's Avatar
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    Mike - You're killin' me man! It's 37 degrees here and I'm stuck at work reading about touring in Florida!

    Thanks for the pictures. Glad to here you had a good experience (overall). I'm going to get a touring bike this year (probably build up a Surly LHT) and get a few short tours in before summer is over. In 2-3 years I plan to ride from Port Angeles WA to San Francisco. What brand / model of tent were you using?

    I commend you for taking responsibility for your own safety and being prepared for a 'worst case scenario'. Fortunately, it sounds like you handled the situation very well and it did not come to that.

    PS I'm sending you a private message.
    Quote Originally Posted by catatonic
    "So, in this plan....when do we drink the kool-aid? I'm thirsty."
    "Marriage is a deathtrap these days. I would no more get married than I would own a chinese SUV."

    ....

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