Thursday, November 12, 2009

Home Again

Well, that's it. We made it most of the way to florida, and had a hell of a time doing it. Now we've made it back home and back to reality. We didn't raise as much as we'd hoped for the charity, but we tried. Oh, well. Thanks to everyone who followed us on this trip and hopefully you'll be able to follow us on more in the future.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just get to Florida

Since the last post, the trip has started to disintigrate. Maybe it's the more urban environment we've adopted, maybe the company we've kept, maybe the booze or lack of sleep, but mainly I think we're just running out of time. Bill mims provided us a ride to Charleston, Kate has offered one to Savanah, and Bobby's vehicle will be ensuring our arrival in Florida by Halloween, and now the trip seems to have become more of a wait around to be driven trip than a bicycle trip. We have clocked over 800 miles on bmx bikes, however, which I feel is a big accomplishment, but our timeline won't allow for the original endeavor to fully play out as planned. Enough of this though, here's the update for the past days.

On sunday night we stayed with bill in a beautiful and remote cabin a short ride outside of charleston and then visited PK's ramp for a morning session early Monday. Actually it was around one, but he had just awoke when we arrived and it was easy to see why. The ramps were littered with empty cans and what appeared to be melted rubber, which didn't make much sense to us until we saw PK's back tire that showed some severe and recent fire damage. Accompanying pk in the former nights escapades, and for the past week as I understand, was Cody Jennings.

Cody had heard of our trip online, and when we met with him he was quick to announce his intentions to join us if we would allow it. We informed him that we were carrying only enough gear to provide for our needs and he would basically be on his own even if he was 'with' us, but he ensured us that his backpack filled with a full wardrobe of t-shirts, a small blanket and a bottle of mouthwash was all he would require. I guessed that two days would be enough to prove this wrong and, although I was correct, in my mind it would be two days of riding and campig out that broke him. In reality it was a bender that, sparing some details for the younger audience, left him much poorer and us barred from bars and houses throughout the area but with enough stories to start a new blog if we so desired. On the eve of the second day he was on a train home and dispite our plans to depart we were still in Charleston with April. We've been here since and are now awaiting Kate's ride to Savanah.

Check out the photos below fom bryce's camera that we were just able to upload.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nice set of hooters ya got there!

The owls! They're beautiful!

Slept on the beach last night in Myrtle beach. It seemed like a good idea at first, but after I crawled in my sleeping bag, added the sleeping bag liner, put all my clothes back on and was still shivering it lost a lot of it's appeal. We watched the steelers today at hooters and then headed over to he bass pro shop to wait for Bill Mims to pick us up. We're sitting at the stores bar right now.

I wasn't aware that stores ha bars until now, but I like it. I dropped my phone a second ago and now it has a large crack in the screen. Good! We'll be staying with bill tonight, and with April tomorrow in Charleston. More to come later.

P.s. For those of you not up to date on current popular movies, much of the blog recently has been a spin off of the movie Dumb and Dumber. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend that you do.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The hell with water! We're runnin on beam!

When you camp next to a military base you don't get much sleep between the sounds of gunfire and grenades. Even so, the forecast called for rain Wednesday afternoon so we planned to rise early and make the 38 mile ride into wilmington before the weather became a problem. We managed to coax ourselves out of sleep around 8 am, but unfortuinately the rain did as well. After about an hour of unsuccessful attempts at hitch hiking, we chose to give in and just make the cold, wet ride. 38 miles later we arrived in wilmington soaked, but with a nice place to stay and shower up for the night (thanks again mom and dad!). We desperately needed to wash our clothes and wanted to avoid the rain as much as possible, so we called a cab and soon met mr. Neil. We directed him to take us to a nearby laundromat, but he did one better. The soapbox, a local laundromat/bar, allowed us to clean our wardrobe and start our night out at the same time. After that new experience, we headed down the road to the front street brewery for a few more pints. There we met Michael who was on his way to work just down the road. It was $1 mystery beer night at his bar and he promised to choose well when we ordered ours, which he did.
After getting to the bottom of many mysteries, we realized that we had been joined in the bar by Fred B. Noe, bourbon ambassador and seventh generation Jim Beam master distiller, who happily posed with us for this picture.

The night ended with a sketchy ride home from a gentleman who had to make 'just one stop before I take y'all home' for reasons unknown...

Today started with a lunch of enchiladas and tacos from a local mexican eatery and a ride back to the downtown area to window shop. When we emerged from one of the thrift shops we ran into three men on fully loaded road bikes who we joined for a few beers, again at the front street brewery.

Jon, Blake, and Aaron are on a trip that they're calling the 'Ditch the Van Tour' from Boston to Florida and playing shows along the way (yes, there are instruments in that trailer).

After a bit of food and a few drinks, we parted ways and headed back to the hotel. Tonight will be a night to hang out and relax for tomorrow. Teenage mutant ninja turtles the movie is on tv.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

. . .a sixth of the way across the country in the wrong direction!!!

In the past two days, we've been turned around twice by faulty directions and wrong turns. A sixth of the way across the country may be a bit of an exaggeration, but suffice it to say that now we don't have enough money to get to Florida, we don't have enough money to get home, we don't have enough money to eat, we don't have enough money to sleep!

Welcome to north Carolina, where a 16oz coke apparently has more 'mmm' than a two liter. Gia pointed out in a comment on the last post that our blog is turning into a food journal, but as Bryce so gracefully put it, 'We just rip all day and get psyched on food', which is true. Every night is a struggle to find a decent place to camp that we won't be removed from before morning and one thing we have to look forward to at the end of each day is good food. Speaking of being removed from campsites, that was also a minor setback for us in the recent days when we were discovered by the owner of a local tree farm and instructed, politely, to get off his land. He was understanding of he situation and directed us to another tree farm down the road where we wouldn't have any trouble. At least it wasn't raining at the time, which it is tonight as I write this post. Other than food, riding, and camping, we haven't done much in the past days. We have, however, continued to meet 'characters' as Bryce calls them. Some nice, some crazy, some obviously under the influence of mind altering substances, but all eager to throw in their little bits of advice, criticism, or praise for what we're doing.

30 miles today. If we keep this pace up, we'll be on track for Florida on the 31st.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The first layer of hell

So first, you get a sore throat. It doesn't seem like a big deal, but now you have to ride 30 or more miles a day every day. Next it progresses to a fever. Your whole body aches and you're exhausted, but you have to keep riding. As it gets dark you find a suitable place to camp that turns out to be a cactus patch. As you are picking the cacti off of yourself and out from under your tent, a swarm of mosquitos and gnats cover every inch of your exposed skin and you can't hide because your tent can't get staked out until all the cacti is gone. You finally get in the tent and the bugs follow. After what seems like an eternity of swatting and flicking insects you are reasonably satisfied that all your unwelcomed guests are either fed or dead. Now you try to go to sleep but you can't because you're too sunburnt and feverish, and when you finally get some shut eye you have to deal with your inflatable, or uninflatable rather, pillow that needs attention hourly. This has been my life for the past few days, fun to say the least.

It's not all bad news though. The past few days, while some of the worst for me, also included some of the best days for Bryce and I on the trip. Since the last post we've been crusing through the outer banks in North Carolina. You can't camp anywhere around here without paying a hefty fee, which explains the cactus and bug dilema that haunted us the past few nights. But enough about bad experiences, here's the good stuff.

Just before my cold took full effect, we stumbled into Mulligans, a local bar and grill, for one last decent meal before we returned to the rice and beans diet. It was half price burger night, so we couldn't pass it up. We ordered our food and told the bartender our story, but she seemed confused. I think when we said bmx her first thought was of some type of motorbike. Regardless, we headed out to the patio to wait or our food and were soon joined, not by our food, but by the owners son, Aaron.
"Ya'll are goin to Florida on bmx's?!? You're not vegetarian or anything are you?"
Puzzled, we answered,
"Ok, good, my girlfiends making you guys a plate downstairs."
The next day, while riding and still semi-healthy, we met Don (Bryce insists his name was John, but I repeated 'Don' to him and he confirmed it). Don came upon us as we were eating lunch near the beach and we struck up a conversation. After explaining what we were doing and getting a bit of advice for the road from him he went on his way down the road, but as we put our heads back down to our meal we heard
"I tell you what I'm gonna do".
We looked up to see Don headed back in our direction.
"Heres twenty bucks. Treat yourselves to something nice tonight". And we did.

While enjoying our nice dinner courtesy of Mr. Don, we were interrupted by two men at the bar.
"So how far you guys hiking?"
Seeing our backpacks, a lot of people make this assumption.
"Going to Florida. On bmx bikes actually."
"Those litle bikes out there?!? You (expletive deleted)'s are crazy. Come on, we're buying you guys a beer"
Not being the argumentative type, we agreed to the proposition and explained to them more about the trip in the meantime. After hearing the whole story, Jim and Doug offered us more beers and the extra room at their beach house for the night and an evening of drinking, fishing, and clothes washing (that doesn't really fit in, but it happened) ensued. The one unfortuinate detail they left out was that they were staying with six others, including two children, who were as surprised to see us as we were to see them. Some of the residents were reluctant to let us stay at first, but after getting to know us, hearing our story,and realizing we wouldn't harm them in the night, they allowed it.

The next morning my cold hit full force (I wonder why?), and the skies threatened rain as winds gusted up to 40mph. I attempted to ride but after about five miles of pain and with a drizzle already starting, we surrendered to mother nature and my sickness.

We woke up in the tent hours later and searched for some reasonably priced food to eat. Soon we were directed to the Life Boat Community Church where they offer free dinners on Wednesday nights. Lucky us again. After breakfast for dinner at the life boat, we continued for another 5 or so miles (ok I lied about the 30 miles every day, but it sounded good, right? It was getting dark by then anyways.) and set up for our first night in the cacti.

The next day, I awoke as sick as ever and dehydrated. I hadn't been hungry much since the cold came on, but subway was one thing that sounded appetizing. We stopped there for lunch, picked up some phony nyquil, and then continued on to our planned destination for the previous day, the first ferry crossing. We camped out just after the ferry, again in a cactus patch and a day behind our plan.

The night time sniffling sneezing coughing stuffy head fever knock off seems to have done the trick fairly well. Apart from a little acheyness and continued dehydration, I feel reasonably well. We only rode about 13 miles today, but a 2.5 hour ferry ride took up a good portion of the day. We met some more cyclists, Tom and Tom, who are on a father/son ride from Rhode Island to the keys, and a Canadian couple who were nice enough to set us up for another good meal in the near future. Our second $20 tip in 4 days. I guess there's something in the water down here, southern hospitality is even rubbing off on the visitors.

Right now we're in the tent somewhere just off the ferry (actually we're probably riding, cause it's tomorrow now and we had no service last night). I'm not sure what this place is. It was dark when we set up, but it appears to be some kind of park.

Bryce lost his head lamp.