Interactive Route Map

Sunday, October 30, 2011

No Sleep til Brooklyn

40 days of travel, 40 more to go before California.

My week started off in southern Florida on a pretty bad note. Getting out of Miami turned out to be a hassle, but after 2 flats and some negativity from people I made it into (and out of) alligator valley. South-western Florida was such a bad experience that I got angry at the whole state and decided to bike through the night in hopes of getting north quicker. I took a 2 hour nap in a parking lot and made a couple of rest stops but other then that I biked straight for 30 hours and covered well over 200 miles. I was angry. Really angry at the fact that I spent most of that time passing shopping malls and stores. It wasn't the route I took, no, highways to the east & west turned out to be the same; hundreds of stores selling bullshit items that we don't really need, repeating themselves over and over again. I lost count of how many fast food places I passed and how many food stores were within a few feet of each other. 50 miles of store after store after store. Rationally and logically it made no sense, what kind of a society would want this? Main street always made sense to me; a couple of stores serving a small community, friendly staff & proud small business owners that knew what they were selling. These malls that we all flocked to for the sake of saving a few dollars are the complete opposite.

I was also angry at the people. People who would stare me down and not even ask what I was doing or where I was going. People who would flip me off when I waved to them or nodded. People who ignored me even after I said hi to them trying to end the staring contest they were trying to win with me. Whats up with this animosity and hatred I'm experiencing? In NY people are "cold" but keep to themselves, in southern Florida people made it a point to show their detest towards me.

As I rode north this started to fade, yet the unwelcomeness was still felt. "Hi I'm biking to blah blah blah, looking for a place for the night.. Know where I can find a spot to pitch my tent?" I asked one couple. "nope, you won't find any place like that around here."

I stayed at a state park for two nights, taking a rest day to get away from people and to reflect on a lot of things. Much of that day was spent just laying on a picnic table thinking. I got sad, and then miserable. I would have days like this back home, but haven't experienced any on the road so I guess everything caught up to me. I knew it was only temporary. I gave myself that time though, and let my mind wander. In the morning it was overcast and raining, but I felt revived. People started being more pleasant as I went further north, and my ubiquitous joy came back. I stayed at two state parks the following nights and met some awesome people along the way.

I'm now headed west, hoping to be out of Florida by Thursday, through Alabama on Friday, and out of Mississippi by the end of the weekend. That's the plan, not sure about anything else. Might end up picking crops somewhere along the way if I find the work just for the experience (:

Spending Halloween night on a beach near Carrabelle, FL. No rain fly; just the sound of the ocean and the view of thousands of stars above me.

Peace, W

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Alligator, Alligators"

Saw about three dozen of them today! They're big & fat & lazy. Also saw a panther crossing the road, also pretty lazily.

UPDATE: New photos up on flickr!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boar me not!

Couldn't sleep all night. Why? Wild boars kept creeping around in the woods, coming near my tent and oinking obnoxiously. At first I didn't know what it was, then I finally spotted em walking past my tent. I jumped out and chased them away. It didn't help as soon they were back and I was back out of my tent chasing boars and getting bit by mosquitoes. In the morning I spotted a few larger ones, good thing I didn't run into them at night! Will update this post with photos of 'em when I get a chance.

While biking through Daytona beach, FL I looked back and saw what looked like my trailer rolling besides me. After a delayed reaction I look back again confused by what I just saw. It was a human powered tricycle, very aerodynamic, cruising past me. As I was catching his draft people on the street kept pointing and laughing. I'm not sure if they thought his vehicle was funny, my trailer, me dressed in spandex or the whole ordeal put together.

Will be in Miami after 3 consecutive 100 mile+ days, hoping to rest a bit tomorrow. (:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Laziness & The Wind

I hit a corner stone the other day- Florida, the 9th out of 40 or so states that I will visit on this trip. With Florida came two things: unexpected laziness and expected coastal winds. The wind make going more then 10 miles an hour hard, and the frustration of not being able to go any faster leaves me out laying on the beach for hours not really wanting to do much.

Before I hit Florida I made my way through South Carolina & Georgia. I passed through Columbia which was probably the cleanest city I've ever been to, and then through Savannah which was fleeing with tourists. Finding camp spots wasn't too difficult but not exactly easy either, the only memorable spot was at a Pine-tree forest of a state park. Since most of the lower vegetation was dead due to the lack of sunlight it was easy for me to get far from the road and not have to hear a single car all night.

The roads in Georgia were mostly flat and straight, seeming to go on forever. I'd get bored a bit and start dreaming about food and everything that I would like to eat then & there. I'd finally get to a gas station after what seemed like hundreds of miles, buy whatever I've been dreaming of (mostly soda, chocolate, donuts & ice-cream) and have it not taste as great as I imagined it would. I'd tell myself "That's it! No more of this artificial shit!" and hit the road angry that I stopped where I had only to stop again at the next store 10 miles down the road to buy more of the same crap.

NJ had wide shoulders, PA had very little traffic, VA drivers were pretty careful, NC had the Blue Ridge Pkwy; Georgia and Florida have bike lanes that are covered by rumble strips. It definitely made covering the miles fa-uh-uh-uh-un-nn! I got on A1A & was disappointed as all it turned out to be was a busy road going through populated areas and cities. The beaches definitely made up for it though; you just can't beat white sand & clear water. Everyone I met in Florida has been unbelievably nice. However insignificant that bottle of water or free snack you gave me might seem it meant a whole lot to me. The conversations I have with people and the help I receive makes me sure of what I always insisted was right; that most of the world is good, and that however divided we might seem we will still help one another.

I spent the past two days at St. Josephs Carmelite Monastery in Bunnell, FL. They people here have been more then accommodating, letting me take a shower, cooking me some food and getting me some work. I have some 250 miles left til Miami, then I'll be making my way through Alligator Valley and onto the gulf coast. Will try and update this once I'm over there! Thanks for reading & I hope you enjoyed my stories from the road thus far. (:

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I'm 19 years old and have been homeless for 21 days.

I've never been happier.

Last night I stayed at the best campsite to date, a lake side spot in a state park. I made a fire, took some awesome shots, swam, and then fell asleep to the sound of lake ripples and the smell of a camp fire. Honestly, there was nothing that could have made that evening better.

Today while riding and listening to some Simon & Garfunkle I got a flat in my rear - trailer tire. I pulled over to the side and started to change it but was soon attacked by hundreds of fire ants and ended up running in the street trying to get my shoes and socks off as quickly as possible. I patched my tire and tube and was on my way with just a few more bug bites.

I'm staying at a friends family house tonight, probably the last time I'll be sleeping indoors for quite a while. I've restocked my supplies thanks to the generosity of my teammate Norms' family and am ready for the long haul south into Miami. Some new photos below, more on my Flickr!


but I'm not at a cemetery...?

The View


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Guilty Happiness.

This is going to be more of a personal post, as I want you to see every part of this journey that I'm on and not just the outside, happy-go-lucky stuff.

I've passed many areas and small towns in which people have very little. They're struggling to make ends meet, lead simple lives, and don't have much opportunity to move up. I feel guilty in a way that I'm able to have the freedom, happiness, and carefree attitude that I do. It almost doesn't seem real, as if at any moment it will all end and I'll be in their place. I sometimes wonder if I'm just lucky to be able to do this and to have everything so "easy". Then again the concept of easy/hard is relative so to most what I've done probably seems like a struggle worth national fame. The end result from all this is the realization of how little all the shit you concern yourself with really matters.

I don't think this will make much sense to most people, you have to really experience it & then have it come from within as opposed to just reading about it.

I made it to South Carolina yesterday and spend a day resting in Greenville. Sundays race took a lot out of me even though it was only a half hour. I lost my saddle and did most of it while standing; a slowly leaking front tire made me have to run through the final few turns as I couldn't corner with much efficiency. Finished 14th/ 60+ in the C race, had a blast in my first CX race and will definitely look for more along the way as I continue traveling. Tomorrow I'll be sleeping in Sumter National Forest, after that I'll head into Columbia; but for now I'm just thankful to have clean water & a warm sleeping bag. Goodnight!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"The core of mans' spirit comes from new experiences."

I've been on the road for two weeks now. Traveled probably around six to seven hundred miles, and climbed well over fifty thousand feet. I'm now sure that going through with this trip was the right decision.

I spent 3 days on the blue ridge parkway, and although it wasn't as flat as I expected it to be it was definitely beautiful. I passed by Mt.Mitchell but decided not to climb it, in hindsight I kinda wish I did. Biking is weird; when you're riding you exaggerate the pain you're in, and when you think about it later on you feel as though it was nothing.

I'm staying at Warren Wilson College near Asheville, NC for a couple of nights. The rest is welcomed but I'm getting itchy feet after just a day. While here I'll be competing in my first cyclocross race on Sunday at the Pigsah Brewery which should be a blast.

One negative aspect of this trip so far has been the dogs. They come running out of their yard & after me, some going after my foot and others after my rotating wheels. The other day I was riding on a county road when a dog ran out just as a car was passing me. The dog was hit, tumbled 30 feet and ended up in a ditch; it's hind legs were broken and road rash covered most of it's body. The owner just commented on how "stupid the damn dog is" and how he always runs out like this. I should have suggested installing a fence.

People ask me all the time whether I get lonely on the road and what I think about all day. The world is such a fascinating place with so much to explore and experience that it rarely "lets" me get lonely. Everything that surrounds me gives me comfort; I feel more alone when I'm surrounded by people then I do in nature. What I think about all day varies but is different from what most people think about. Most of the time I'm just in that moment, just thinking about what I'm seeing & hearing; just living. Other times I think about future trips I'll do, about building & architecture, about society & people & drivers. I try not to give much thought to things that don't mean anything; things that others think about just to pass their time on this planet in their constant brain fog. I'm living (and thinking) in the moment. All of the time, of course, my head is concentrated on the road ahead and staying safe... (:

I'm headed to Greenville, SC next, then to Columbia. After I'll be near the coast and should reach Florida by next Sunday. I've been checking climate patterns and temperatures for southern US in November & December, they look a bit intimidating but nothing I shouldn't be able to handle. Northern US will be a different story as I'll probably have to wait til early Spring to head out. In any case I will enjoy every day to it's fullest.

Thanks for reading and for all the support everyone has shown. All I'm looking for as far as "publicity" goes is to inspire others to travel as well. All the things that you think are holding you back are, in reality, just in your head.


Photos are up...

Feel free to check 'em out..

Snickers & a coke : D

Oh Mountains.

Power line crossing

Near a logging area/ farm

SO Awesome words cannot explain.

A warm welcome

Fri Sep 30, 2011- Yesterday marked my one week anniversary of being out on the road. I celebrated by dragging my bike up a 12% grade gravel road for 3 miles in the rain. I passed the Appalachian Trail on my way to the blue ridge mountain road, the white blazes made me smile and I made a mental note to remember this road crossing for next year when I'm Thru hiking. I got into Culpeper, VA, a town big enough to have picked up metropolitan silliness by having three of the same stores within a 2 mile spur of road, but was generally pleased with it. I stayed with an old friend from Middle school and got to feast on some really good muffins in the morning. Before leaving I cleaned by heavily soiled bike a bit and was on my way.

This morning the temperature forgot to get out of the 40's. I wore 4 layers & was still shivering the first few miles. After it warmed up a bit it was hard to keep cool while climbing and warm when descending. (It would stay like this for the next three days until I got on the Blue Ridge Pkwy)