Summary: East USA
Keith continued his ride across the continent. The second stage was from Austin, Texas to the Atlantic coast at Jacksonville, Florida.
From Day 25 (November 30th) to Day 46 (December 21st)
East USA totals: 1170.1 miles, 22,671ft and 82:43 hours riding.
USA totals: 2936.5 miles, 82,191ft and 209:49 hours riding.
USA Day 25 Saturday November 30th
So excited today as Keith is scheduled to arrive mid afternoon, we have been looking forward to this day for 3 weeks now,I have been so tempted to jump in the car and rescue him from the straight, boring long roads of West Texas. I hated the thought of him out there alone on Thanksgiving but Keith was determined to ride into town.
Charlee had given me a small list of his favorite things for breakfast and snacks etc, so I got busy in the kitchen a few days before, Soren malt loaf is not available in Texas so after searching for a few days I managed to bake him several loaves.
I rushed to make a welcome sign to place outside and just as I finished it, Keith was riding down the hill. So good to see him finally and eager to hear his stories from the past few months. He looks amazing and is ready for a cold drink, hot shower and lunch.
USA Day 26 Sunday December 1st
We took a quick trip out to Windy Point on Lake Travis before heading back to prepare for Sunday dinner, it was a fun afternoon with everyone here enjoying a roast dinner.
Keith and I spent the evening at a nearby Irish bar drinking cider and listening to the tales of Bike Rugby Japan.
USA Day 27 Monday December 2nd
We spent the morning at REI looking for a tent and then met up with Genevieve and Kristian for lunch at Hop Doddy’s. We picked up Geraint from school, he had seen Keith from his classroom and was very excited to see him again. Then we spent a few hours overseeing homework and playing at the park. William cooked a curry for dinner, a nice change for Keith as he had not eaten one in months.
USA Day 28 Tuesday December 3rd
Keith spent the morning cleaning up his bike and getting his gear sorted. Alex met up with him at Mellow Johnny’s bike shop and cafe, as it’s just a short ride from his office.
Pizza for dinner with the crew, plus Ryan a keen cyclist who wanted to hear more of Keith’s stories.
USA Day 29 Wednesday December 4th
Alex, Victoria and Keith met up downtown for lunch. Keith then explored the capitol and the downtown hike and bike trail. Kristian and Geraint met at a new place not far from my work so we all got together and decided to have BBQ for dinner.
USA Day 30 Thursday December 5th
Keith and I met for lunch and then he had a afternoon exploring Central Austin.
He put the word out that he was at the Draft House so time for a quick drink before heading home for dinner. William had cooked home-made pasta and ciabatta bread.
USA Day 31 Friday December 6th
Time to get back on the road, I think I packed him another 100 lbs of food to take, just kidding. After cooking him some eggs and bacon, he packed up the car as I had insisted on driving him out of Austin; Big Sister won this battle.
Big sad lump in my throat seeing him ride off up the hill, I was very tempted to follow him.
I have so enjoyed following the Bike Rugby Japan tour and feel so incredibly proud of them. So many memories and stories to share.
We only got to August on the photos as each one has a story.
I am grateful for the many people who showed them kindness on their journey, a bottle of water, or a piece of fruit, even offering them food and a place to stay.
Thank you Keith for stopping by, we really enjoyed your visit.
We will miss you.
Look forward to the updates.
My wheels arrived late last night (23:00). I went to bed reading up on the front hub adapter and reminding myself what I need to do in the morning.
I’m up at 6 going over the details of the new wheels before I shower and breakfast. Then it’s into Williams garage. I remove the tyre, brake disc and cassette from my old rear wheel, fit a new tyre disc and cassette to new wheel and partially inflate. I then remove the brake disc from the old front wheel, assemble the hub adapter and disc on the new wheel and fit an old rear tyre and partially inflate. I fit wheels to the bike, fully inflate the tyre and take for a spin around the estate. All appears well.
Debbie makes me a full english breakfast and packs enough food for me to get to the east coast (12 Days)! We’ve (Debbie) decided to run me to the outskirts of town to avoid the rush hour trafic. I finally get off at 9 o’clock. We drive through traffic to Manor on the 290 but roadworks going on so we carry on to Elgin. Debbie insists it’s the far side of Elgin. Then there is no hard shoulder. I’m thinking she’s not going to let me out till Jacksonville!
Finally we pull over and I put the wheels and panniers back on the bike. Set my Garmin up and say my goodbyes. Never easy as we don’t see each other often enough so it’s always an emotional time. I sling my leg over and promise to stay in touch.
The bike feels real good today with the new wheels and front pannier racks that are fitted much better than previous attempts. It’s a nice wide smooth hard shoulder, I have a tailwind and I’m making good time. Long rolling hills in front of me.
I pull over after 30 miles to eat some of the lunch that Debbie’s prepared for me.
Only 20 miles to go to Brenham so I contemplate pushing on to Hempstead, a place Deb and William have mentioned. It’s only after I’ve passed Brenham that I realise Hempstead is not on my route. Luckily I’m on the outskirts so only have to backtrack a mile or so.
Really happy with the bike and my body today. Been resting for a week and I’m sure my legs thought it was all over. They didn’t ache for long.
USA Day 32 Saturday December 7th
I’m up early and getting stuck into breakfast. This upmarket B&B has a kitchen full of food that I’ve been invited to help myself to; and that included the alcohol last night!
It’s a bright frosty morning but I’m out at seven. Not long before I’m out of town and on the long undulating roads. After half an hour I begin to get a screech from the bike. I can see nothing and can’t determine whether it’s from the crank or rear dérailleur. I pull over and lubricate everything and accidentally brush my hand over a hairy caterpillar. Now my hands and face are itching where I rubbed and touched it.
Not much improvement. I pull over again and dismantle the jockey wheels in the rear dérailleur and clean. I have all the parts lined up on a sleeper when a lorry goes past and blows everything into the long grass. After ten minutes I’m one bolt and one washer short. After another fifteen minutes, same story. I rebuild the dérailleur using the not ideal spares I’m carrying. The squawking is no better. I change the washer on the jockey wheel but it’s no better.
I’ve been riding four hours and covered less than 30 miles. SHIT.
I decide to inspect the whole rear mechanism, piece by piece. I remove all my panniers and turn the bike upside down. The rear cassette will not reverse and throws slack chain when I stop pedalling. Is it the new hub? It seems fine when I remove the wheel. The rear dérailleur and jockey wheels fine.
By now I’m covered in oil and grease from my many attempts at a repair. HOORAY I see the problem a tiny grub screw that holds the hanger on has backed itself out. I screw it back in 3mm with an allen key, rebuild the rest of the bike, load panniers and I’m good to go.
Sweet, no noises and I’m happy. 60 miles to go and it’s nearly midday. Not good, we calculate our time on the road at 10 miles an hour at that rate I’ll be riding in the dark for the last hour. I have the lights, but it’s not ideal.
I crack on, the road’s good and the wind is coming across my shoulder. I’m pushing 17mph for the next couple of hours. I take a short break to fuel up in “Conroe” and push into the weak headwind. Lake Conroe is on my left then it’s through the Sam Houston forest, very picturesque, for the last hour.
What I thought was going to be a horrid day turned out not too bad. I just need to clean the lubrication off the bike tonight.
USA Day 33 Sunday December 8th
I leave the hotel at 07:00. The weather’s cold and foggy and have my lights on as a precaution. I can only see a hundred yards or so down the road but the hard shoulder is smooth clean and wide. It’s a slight head-wind as well. There’s nothing to look at so I bury my head and push on along the rolling road.
After 4 hours it’s time to eat. I have fried chicken from last night and chocolate brownies. I’m parked at a farmer’s gate. the sun has broken through intermittently but it’s still cold.
I take my gloves and jacket off and carry on with 30 miles to go.
The sun comes out as I join the Interstate 11. It’s the first time I’ve ridden the interstate. It’s busy and noisy; not ideal. The good thing is it pushes you to go faster and it’s not long before I’m at the motel.
The manager is an Indian guy who’s convinced I’m a professional traveller.
It turns out he’s only been in the USA 6 months himself. He’s originally from Hyderbad central southern India. I knew more about travel in India than he did!
I had my first taste of catfish tonight though I’m not a great fish eater. But it looked better than the Tex Mex. In fact it was really good, in a tasty beer and soda batter.
USA Day 34 Monday December 9th
What a difference a day makes; it’s 18º this morning, humid and cloudy. No gloves and no jacket. However I need to push on this morning as a slight headwind forecast to get stronger as the day unfolds. It’s the same problem as yesterday in that the Highway 90 runs into Interstate 10; a very busy road, although the shoulder is very good.
All going well until I come to the “Calcasieu bridge” it looks like some sort of Thunderbirds take off ramp. But what really concerns me is the lack of hard shoulder. [this is the 1951 Louisiana World War 2 Memorial bridge over the Cacasieu River and Lake Charles: Ed]
I pull over and check my maps. A possible detour is a long way. I take on some food and drink and decide to go for it. I put on my rear flashing lights and don my flashing jacket. It’s the first time I’ve worn it and it needs to earn it’s place in my pannier.
Suitably dressed I go for it. Wow what a bridge; it’s a long ramp up to the top with a great view of the lake. But I’m concentrating on riding a straight line and keeping in close. Not a peep from any driver, they all do their best to give me space. So I’m relieved to get off the bridge pull over and take my sweaty jacket off.
I take Highway 90 for the rest of the day. It’s mostly quite but the intermittent shoulder isn’t good. 20 to go and I’m making good time when something sticks and is going around with the back wheel. The tyre is still inflated so I pull over to investigate. I have a huge nail in the tyre, but it hasn’t gone down. A puncture is better than anything I was thinking of and I’m soon back on the road.
I’m booked into motel but the receptionist is a nightmare; no printer,and can’t find my zip code or understand my ID (drivers license). Just give me my key please. It rained for the final 15 minutes and I need to get dry.
Subway for dinner. Not good enough.
USA Day 35 Tuesday December 10th
I have plenty of time this morning with a slight wind in my face but improving all day and a strong tail-wind to finish with.
I had lots of discussions last night as to which route I should take; either the I-10 fast road but good hard shoulder, or H-90 which frequently has no shoulder but it’s not so busy. Lots of advice on the internet
I decide to take the I-10 (Debbie 😞). It’s not raining yet but it has been and will do again soon.
I’ve only been on the road 15 minutes and the Police pull me over. (Well it’s happened in all previous countries for one reason or another). I’m not allowed on the Interstate. So what am I to do? He suggests I get off at the next junction and clear off out of his district down the H-90. That has no hard shoulder I say. He replies, it takes you away from me.
Stood there, six foot five, fit, armed and in his scout leader uniform!
So the 90 it is. Through Lafayette first and the rush hour traffic; chaos. Once through the road’s busy but with no shoulder. I give it 15 minutes and it doesn’t improve. So I take a back route. It’s much quieter but the roads aren’t great. It turns out I’m on the Spanish trail.
It’s raining hard and I’m soaked to the skin and only one hour into the ride. It just keeps on raining, but with the wind behind. I keep my head down and push on. I’ve given up trying to avoid puddles; it’s a waste of time. Twice my front wheel skids out on the white line. That wakes me up, but I don’t crash. Sometimes it rains and then it rains harder.
A real horrid day. Torrential now. I pull over to a fast food joint. Need to eat, warm up and use the WiFi.
I book a motel 25 miles down the road. Get back on the bike and realise I’m proper cold now. Why did I book it so far away? Last ten miles or so I’m battling 30>40 Mph gusting winds.
Keeping myself to the right hand-side, I press on past the air museum. Birds of prey are surfing on the winds above. Dozens of them. As they swoop down low I have a great view of my first “Bald Eagle”. Excellent.
As Morgan City appears there’s a large bridge to cross. I hope it’s not like yesterdays. I find a lane closed; perfect! I dodge between the cones and ride the empty lane. It’s perfectly safe. On the descent the other side they’ve left a machine blocking my access.
I hope the keys are in it. No problem, just take panniers of one side and I squeeze through.
As I’m approaching the elevated take off lane for my hotel my bottle cage drops off, probably due to the poor road surfaces today. The yellow bottle bounces in front of me and disappears down a drain onto the grass 10 metres below. Looking down I console myself that it’s lost.
I get into the motel dripping. I shower and dry my gear.
Zip Nolan was an American Highway Patrolman who for some inexplicable reason fought crime in the middle of Britain!
Running for years in The Lion, the strip had the gimmick of putting all the clues the reader needed to solve the crime and then asking the reader if they could solve the mystery before turning the page and finding the answer along with Zip.
USA Day 36 Wednesday December 11th
I woke up late this morning 6:40. No worries as I’ll still be out the door by 7:30. I breakfast in the motel; a nice spread. I meet Nick who is cycling the East to West Coast route. He’s been riding a couple of weeks and only gotten this far. He asks me about my trip and I give him the run down. An average of 75 miles a day surprises him, especially as I’m carrying 110lb, 50Kg (bike & gear) plus food and water. He wishes me the best and says enjoy the wind on your back today. That’s not how I read the weather this morning!
I get away at 8, but have to pull over after 15 minutes. I don my rain jacket and gloves. It’s strong, cold head-winds, grey sky. Definitely not a tail-wind. I keep my head down and pedal on, it’s going to be a very long day I suspect.
The morning is pretty uneventful. The roads are terrible; the worst since leaving Ukraine – uneven and littered with debris. I take lunch in a petrol station; the hot coffee is good but no fruit for sale in gas stations. Must have been spoilt across Asia.
40 miles to go and I spot my first alligator. No worries it’s flat on the road but it does make me think about where I take a leak though.
With 18 miles to go I turn right with the wind on my shoulder. It’s much nicer but I know the last six is back into the wind.
The approach into New Orleans is horrid with busy roads and gusting headwinds.
As I’m approaching The Huey P Long Bridge I notice no hard shoulder. Trying to cycle close to the wall in a straight line isn’t easy with large vehicles passing close and a strong gusting wind. It’s not a short bridge either. Glad to have survived I ride the last couple of miles gingerly through the traffic.
I’m at Ron’s Gumbo shop for dinner. Excellent Gumbo and a fried alligator starter!
USA Day 37 Thursday December 12th
I have a rest day today to look around New Orleans.
I’ve arranged an Air Boat tour for 9am; they contacted me yesterday and rearranged for 11. Not happy, that’s my day basically done.
I take an Uber cab downtown for the pick-up. Whilst waiting I meet a couple from Minnesota also on the trip. The bus is twenty minutes late so I email them. Obviously the bus turns up straight away. As I’m boarding the bus the driver gets a call asking why he hasn’t picked us up yet. Never mind. It’s half an hour drive back down Highway 90. The road I came into town on yesterday. It’s still very bumpy in the bus.
On arrival it’s the ‘All American’ welcome, what’s your name where do you come from. I’m allocated to boat seven. Our driver arrives and runs through the safety briefing. The weather’s awful, grey and wet. The boat speeds out through the bigger channels then slows as it enters the smaller channels. The driver points out Osprey, Bald Eagles, Egrets and Purple Herons. Snaking us through the smallest of gaps he gets us into an alligator pond. A Nutria dives for cover. Seems they are a pest here as well as Europe. The guide gives us a briefing about the alligators habits, some are very disappointed that they will not see one (cold weather). The boat won’t start now. He messes with it for a bit to no avail.
It raining hard now as we wait to be rescued by the back-up crew, if they can find us. An hour later rescue arrives. We transfer onto a smaller boat and ready ourselves for the ride home. Everyone is shivering from the cold and I am really feeling it in my shorts.
This boat’s super fast and on the way back we’re flat out. You can’t look ahead as the rain stings your eyes and face, so we’re all looking into the bottom of the boat. We soon arrive at the dock. I use the toilet and expecting hot coffee or something. Nothing on offer and I’m still shivering. Others are waiting on the bus for us. As I leave the shop I’m informed that people are getting their money back. Good for me, join the queue and they pay me out. Still cold though.
Luckily I’m first off the bus on arrival in the New Orleans French quarter. Straight into a bar and order beer and a PO-boy. this is a local take on a french stick sandwich. Very nice with spicy sausage.
I spend the rest of the evening, after warming up, visiting music bars with dueling piano, jazz, creole, sixties and modern music bellowing out along the street.
USA Day 38 Friday December 13th
I’m woken up by noisy neighbours at 5:30 and then went to breakfast at 6. I managed to smuggle a couple of bananas out along with three muffins. That will help on the ride today.
I’m not looking forward to the ride out of New Orleans today. It’s cold, wet, busy and foggy. Also I make two wrong turns in the first mile so it could be a long day. I’m suffering from my over indulgence of the local hospitality last night as well.
Finally I pick up a nice cycle trail through the city. So I stick with it and use my GPS as a rough guide. Within a couple of hours I’m clear of the city and riding across the swampy grasslands on a concrete road. I’m not keen on the concrete sections that bump every 5 metres. It rattles both me and the bike.
After 40 miles I cross the old Pearl river on a rickety bridge. I stop in the middle to photograph a couple of Brown Pelicans, the first I’ve seen. It’s still very foggy and wet.
At 66 miles I’m crossing the Bay Louis Bridge and it’s couple of miles long with a good cycle path. The view is terrible however due to fog.
When I hit the beach I ride on the boardwalk where I can. My lights have run out and it’s teeming with rain now. I stop to photograph a Bald eagle that’s devouring a fish on the beach.
A long straight run down the beach to finish in the pouring rain, but I’m not cold and happy with my 90 miles today.☺
USA Day 39 Saturday December 14th
Breakfast was fine in this tatty motel but I’m glad to be on my way.
The weather’s better: dry, light winds and foggy and it’s a nice easy flat start with a small tail-wind. As I leave town I’m followed by a group of young Americans. They are asking questions and pushing the pace. It’s fine by me and I’m enjoying the company and challenge. It doesn’t last long however and after a couple of miles they pull up. I’m warm now although the wind is chilly.
I’ve a ferry to catch today from Dauphin island to Fort Morgan. Ferries leave at 12:30 and 14:00. To catch the 12:30 I’d have to cover the 70 miles in 5 hours. Not likely but possible.
So I crack on and see what happens. The roads are good and it’s only light traffic but the fog is pretty thick in places so I see very little all morning.
The Biloxi Bay bridge is a two mile long low level concrete causeway with a good separate bike lane. Unfortunately the views are ruined by sea mist and fog.
As I approach Dauphin island the causeway is barely visible as it’s only metres above the sea. It’s 5 mile distance makes it disappear and the wind’s always going to be a problem.
Keeping one eye on my watch I press on and arrive at the port with barely a couple of minutes to spare.
The cloud breaks, sun comes out and it’s much nicer. The last 25 miles is pleasant; clear sky’s and a tailwind. Huge houses all built on stilts line the coast.
A walk on the beach tonight is a rare event in the last month or so.
USA Day 40 Sunday December 15th
I’m out the door at 7. I’ve got good cycle paths, flat and clean with better weather that’s overcast but warmer. However it’s still a chilly head-wind.
Pensacola bridge is a nightmare; I have a closed cycle lane and no hard shoulder. Once again I have to battle with the traffic over the long bridge. It’s nerve racking to say the least.
I make the most of the good roads and soon I’m 45 miles in. I pull over onto a gorgeous white beach which is a great spot to have lunch. The winds still whistling off the sea.
Fifteen miles later and I’m not feeling good. I’m tired of pushing against the wind and my stomach doesn’t feel great. I used tap water in my bottles today and maybe that’s why.
I take a Gas station stop to pick up fresh water, ice cream and chocolate and I feel better almost straight away. But I’m still tired.
Finally I reach the lodgings and take a brief walk on the beach before the sun goes down.
I walk out for dinner and spot a Chinese restaurant. Just what I need after a week of seafood. Good food and plenty of it.
USA Day 41 Monday December 16th
The first 40 miles is along the coast today. It’s warm and sunny with a torrid head-wind. Today is going to be a battle. It’s a good straight but busy road with a smooth shoulder. That’s all I’m likely to be looking at for a good few hours.
I’m concentrating on keeping the bike nice and straight in these blustery conditions. Only thing I’ve noticed apart from the houses adorning the white sandy beaches, is the Bald eagles circling above.
At thirty or so miles in a dog comes from nowhere and is chasing me up the road. One loud command and it backs off. I didn’t need that against this wind. Shite the dog is back and too close for comfort; I crank up and yell again and it stops. For the next mile or two I’m convinced it will return.
Turning inland I get a bit of a respite from the wind. I pull over at a gas station and buy water and make an emergency dash for the toilet. Not as clean as anything in Japan, but fine when your in a hurry.
I make a call to book a room in Bristol as only one place in that area available. Nice young lady takes my details. Then says you need to be here by 4 or we’ll re-let the room, as she puts the phone down. Now I’ve done slightly less than 50 miles in 5 hrs, 50 miles to go in less than 4!
Still the wind is slightly better. With 15 miles to go in less than an hour the road turns in my favour again. But then 10 miles later and I turn back into the wind. 2 hrs to get there and 25 miles, not to much of a task. If I wasn’t already 75 into my day.
Either I’m stronger or the wind’s died down but the miles are ticking down nicely. I even have chance to snap the storm ravaged forest and the Apalachicola river.
As I cross the river a sign says you are now on Eastern standard time. All my effort in vain. The clocks have gone forward an hour! I’m not happy.
It’s the last couple of miles and I’m totally spent; I’ve left nothing out there today. I arrive half an hour late (local time).
I pull up at the motel counter and all’s well. I get my room for the night and there’s a small local restaurant close by. Grilled Pork chops, veg and potatoes. Not great but good.
USA Day 42 Tuesday December 17th
I’m waiting for the sun to come up this morning,after the clock change yesterday. My plan is to ride 106 miles today so need to be on the road asap. It’s rained overnight and frain is forecast for today; heavy too. I can expect wet roads high humidity and a side wind.
It’s not long before I’m crossing the Ochlockonee river and the Apalachicola forest. This whole area is pretty scenic. The trees lining the roads form a tunnel. Must be spectacular in the summer.
Before long before I’m entering Tallahassee; it’s not a big town, but enough to keep me aware. The bike track goes through the university and I missed the turning. No worries I work my way around. Sometimes it’s awkward when the garmin takes you down an alley especially when you have been on roads for so long.
I’ve soon cleared the town and it’s time for lunch. It’s a gas station again but I have my own food and just stock up on fluids. I’m 56 miles in and 50 to go.
The rain starts as I pull away. No worries I’m drenched in sweat due to the humidity, so T-shirt and shorts it is. The rain gets steadily heavier. I can hear the thunder but see no lightning at first. It’s teeming with rain now and flash lightning is happening every couple of minutes. I can’t remember whether I should get off the bike or whether it’s OK to carry on.
I carry on; as long as the water’s running off the road and not pooling I’m good. Fellow drivers are looking at me in awe. What to do? I pull over and stand under a tree. That’s not right either. Just push on. Only 30 miles to go.
It does ease off a little just before I reach the Motel. The lady behind the desk isn’t too happy with the mess I’m dripping onto her polished floor. She advises me that there is a dryer in the laundry room. But it’s not for me. I wash everything then set up a line in the room and turn the heating up. 👍
The forecast is cold and sunny tomorrow, we shall see 😄
USA Day 43 Wednesday December 18th
As promised the temperature has dropped over 20º. It was hot and humid yesterday and it’s cold and sunny today. The first couple of miles today are on back roads until I rejoin the H-90. It’s tarmac but with a covering of sand. It looks very nice but I need to be aware of deep sand and it’s grinding my gears up.
I’m soon back on the tree lined 90. It’s very cold (below 3º) and the wind is over my left shoulder most of the time. It’s not perfect but better than the last few days.
Soon I’m passing through the Suwannee State Park and over the dark green river. It’s lined by Cyprus trees covered in Spanish moss.
I have no hard shoulder for long stretches today but the drivers are very courteous and keep well wide of me.
The ride through Lake City wasn’t very exiting and I barely got a glimpse of the lake. I pull up after the town and eat my lunch; just fruit and homemade malt loaf from my sister Debbie. I’m slightly into the wind now, but I’m looking forward to the last 20 miles;
an old railway line converted into the “Baldwin Bike Trail”. Pushing on to the 90 mile mark and I’m very hungry.
As I expected and hoped for, the trail has benches, water fountains and toilets at it’s start. I sit down and eat what food I have left. A local cyclist pulls up and asks a few questions. He’s embarrassed because he only rides 40 or so miles a week. I tell him he’s cool, even my own friends think what I’m doing is crazy. Little and often mate and off he goes.
The trail is very scenic but unfortunately slightly uphill and against the wind. Not what I needed to finish the day. I pull into the motel knowing I have less than 25 miles to do tomorrow.👍
However the Motel is shite; no microwave or coffee machine and I could have a lay in tomorrow if I so desired. A bar and restaurant attached so it’s not so sad. But the cider was rank! Fortunately the brown ale is much better especially in a pitcher😁
I washed my bike in the bath tonight as I may not get a better chance. Also my pannier leaked in the heavy rain yesterday so my travelling clothes are damp ☹️
We will see what tomorrow brings as it’s my last day on the bike.
Busy couple of days ahead.
USA Day 44 Thursday December 19th
I have a late start today. It’s 23 miles to the coast and then a dozen back to my hotel nearer the Amtrak station. I’m not allowed to book in before 15:00.
It’s bright and chilly again this morning with headwinds. It won’t worry me today. I don’t get out of traffic all morning. It’s like riding across London. But no worries I have plenty of time.
I finally reach the beach which has lovely white sands but nowhere for a decent photo opportunity. The pier is closed and the only access to the beach is over the wooden bridges that span the dunes. I finally give up and settle for the bridge. There is not a soul on the beach within range so I have to set the self timer on the camera.
I eat my last slice of home-made malt loaf (Thanks Debbie) and banana. Now it’s time for a beer; it’s almost midday and I’ve already spotted a bar. As I roll in a dog in the beer garden barks angrily. I’ll need more than that to put me off a beer today.
I grab a beer from the bar and approach the garden and as I enter the pitbull goes quiet thankfully. It’s owners ask if I’m from England and the story unfolds. It’s lovely in the sunshine and I’m enjoying the beer. It tastes very good today.
I leave the bar and cycle to my hotel with the wind on my back. Unfortunately it’s the wrong hotel. A sister hotel to the one I’ve booked. Mine’s another 2 miles away. Turns out fine as this is the place I booked and it’s very close to REI, the outdoor store where I can pick up a cardboard box for my bike.
I pick the box up and pack the bike. It’s getting late, 20:00. So it’s the BBQ pit just down the road. Excellent food and service.
All the packing is nearly done. The train to Orlando is at 8:30 tomorrow.
I can’t believe the cycling’s all done (for this year)!
USA Day 45 Friday December 20th
[Keith caught an early train down to Orlando and got himself packed and ready for his flight tomorrow. Spends the evening relaxing, including, I think, an operatic performance of Hamlet in the park!: Ed]
USA Day 46 Saturday December 21st
[Flight home! Next weeks blog will wrap the whole trip up and we’ll welcome home Keith and give a summary of the whole tour from those who started six months ago in Calais (Cathal and Carl), to the long ride across Asia where they first tried cycle-touring (or bike-packing as some like to call it these days). Then when Rylan joins for the downhill section to Shanghai. After that we’ll recall the rides around Japan and the Rugby before the solo run across the USA: Ed]