Monday, July 14, 2008

Link to New Blog

With the ending of this tour, I've decided to create a new blog to share stories and pictures with family, friends and whoever may be interested. I continue to stay active with cycling, hiking, birding, and just general travel both locally and afar when possible. On any given day and more often than not, I may just be out cycling the central valley region. I also enjoy photography so a blog is the perfect medium to show pictures. Go to Herb's Blog

Some Notes from my Southern Tier Tour

It's better late than never so here are some notes from my tour:

The question most often asked by people we encountered was: “Why are you doing this?”

Use a bicycle that is made for touring when doing a loaded tour if you don’t want bike problems.

Adjust your bike so you are more upright (touring position) rather a low racing position. Comfort is the key to enjoyment.

Carry extra spokes and learn to replace a broke spoke if you plan to tour. The Kevlar spoke replacement kit is a great quick fix and don’t forget the cassette removal tool.

Best panniers for rain protection while touring are the Ortlieb.

Handlebar bag are indispensable on the road for quick access to items such as camera, maps, food, sun block, etc.

Be simple with your clothing. You can make with a lot less than you might think: Two set of riding cloth and one set of walking cloth with a few essential extras. Use layers to stay warm on the bike and off. Make your garments serve double-duty.

When touring, you can actually survive on peanut butter and jam sandwiches and instant oatmeal if you can’t find anything better.

Touring is more enjoyable when you are fit and ride your own pace.

Riding with 17 people made our arduous trip more fun. This, however, would only be true if you are lucky enough to get a good cohesive group.

One of the funniest moments occurred when several people drank a hummingbird mix thinking it was a new drink.

A bad moment: Realizing that I had caught the flu just two weeks before the end of the tour.

My favorite drinks on the road were Gatorade, V8, and chocolate milk.

My favorite treat at the end of a day’s ride was ice cream.

For scenery, the best campgrounds are the State parks.

For facilities and services, the best RV parks are the KOA’s.

My favorite city along the Southern Tier route was Austin. Second was St. Augustine.

For me, Texas was the friendliest State.

Hardest Day was the 80-mile day to Seminole Canyon. The last forty miles was into a strong headwind. That evening, Tom and I also had to prepare the dinner.

Worst dinner during the tour was Marconi and cheese with dried beef jerky.

Coldest morning temperature encountered was 27 degree.

One of my favorite regions was the Gulf Coast from Gulf Shores, Alabama to Pensacola, Florida.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Back Home

It has been three days since I returned home and the demands of daily life threatens to consume my thoughts as I try to reflect upon our cross-country journey. It was a great ride. Alas, all good things must eventually come to an end and so our tour across the southern States ended on the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean on a warm day under an expansive blue sky. Like everyone, I was sad for our journey’s end, but glad to finally finish. In the end, the group was more like a family on the road. Throughout the endeavor, we helped and supported each other, accepted our differences, and stayed focused on our common cause. I had dreamed of riding cross-country, but the actual experiences of this journey were truly so much more than I could have imagined. I had some minor physical difficulties and a case of the flu during the last two weeks, but the ride was a complete joy to have done. It is difficult for me to put into words all that had transpired, so I hope the pictures have given you a good sense and feel for our journey. For me, the fulfillment of one dream seems only to inspire new dreams. So, I’m looking forward to what the future unfolds. My thanks to Andy MacIntyre, the gang, and to you for your notes and well wishes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Around St. Augustine

Our Dinner Celebration

Frank presents Andy with gifts from the gang for a "ride" well done...

That should help on Andy's next tour, the Northstar, if the going gets tough..

Goodbyes are always so difficult after such a great experience

Nick ponders after receiving the infamous "doorknob" for good. It was passed from rider to rider through the trip.

Eileen gives the verbal awards... Most flats, No flats, fastest...

Best of Luck Mattie in your future, whatever you decide.

Going to the Atlantic Ocean

We ended our journey by riding to the Atlantic Ocean.

It was a great trip Tom, better than I could have imagined.

Photo time you guys...

Tom, Dick and I

Frank and Andy celebrate...

That's one way to dip your wheel...

Frank and Eileen congratulate each other...Great job!

The beach scene around us....

It was a great journey for all of us...

Our Last Day to St Augustine

Frank enjoying the morning on the Hwy 17 bridge to East Palatka.

Steve and Dave leading the way out of Palatka. It our last day, so enjoy!

First Baptist Church in Hastings.

View of the St. Johns River along the CR 13.

Nick enjoying the ride along the St. John River.

Doug leads the way.

Frank and Eileen: Everyone rode with a smile in their hearts today.

View of the St. Johns River along the CR 13.

Our last stop at Molasses Junction before riding into St. Augustine.

We did it!!! St Augustine....

Tom rides through the historic section of downtown St. Augustine.

Mattie, who arrived yesterday, walks Tom and Doug to the Pirate Haus

Our Youth Hostel, the Pirate Haus, was located in the heart of the historic city.

To Palatka and Blue Crab Festival

Dee leading the way to Palatka.

Everyone is enjoying the last days of the tour. Tomorrow is the last day.

The William Penn Motel: "This is an awesome room!"

Carnival rides at the Blue Crab Festival.

River view from the festival.

Nick and Doug enjoying the food, crafts, music and activities along main street.

View from our room at the William Penn Motel.

Dinner was at Angel's Diner, one of the oldest in the city.

There was plenty of room at the counter..

Sunset along the St. Johns River

We don't have clouds like this at home.

Night photo from our motel.

Night photo from our motel.