Sunday, July 10, 2011


OK the first trip is in the books and I've gotten a lot of questions so here's a couple answers and a long video recap of me trying to take a picture every 15 minutes or so. I know it's 17 minutes long and doesn't really look like I did much of anything but 6 weeks in 17 minutes is hard to convey all the challenges. As I watched it a couple times, I did start to remember how tough the first 3 weeks really were.

So here's some of the Frequently Asked Questions....

Is my butt sore?

Not really and never really was. Remember I'm used to sitting all the time anyway the past 25 years in an office, so that was all about the same. The only butt issue I needed to worry about is rubbing and chaffing and I had special lotion I rubbed on myself to help with that. If you need help with where that is because you are getting into biking, just ask me and I'll get you the specifics, but it's right where you think probably. I had a couple days where I'd run out, but I had lower miles those days and it didn't get too bad.

What was the worst day?

Most everyday had 30-40 "hard/worst" miles in it the first 4 weeks, but, probably June 6 Camp Wood TX to Kerrville TX 90 miles was one of the harder ones. Heat, 10% climbs ( walking of course, 3-4 of those, an early before dawn day to get going, heat, 11 hours long, heat, and 10 miles of city traffic to finish.

What was the best day?

Besides the last day and finishing and seeing the family, obviously that's the best day.. I still have to go with the 2 monster climb day to Emory Pass and the decent on June 1, 79 miles Silver City to Caballo Lake. 6 hours to climb the mountain and 1 1/2 hours of down hill and down wind to get to Caballo Lake NM. The beauty of the climb was easily the scenery and the route through the mountain. I still remember racing down the mountain and across the desert with a tail wind all alone for 20 miles seeing the end in sight. That was a good, good ride where I knew I survived the hardest 10 days of the trip and physically I was still standing (pedaling).

Who was the most interesting person?

There were many, but Randy in Salome AZ stands out for some reason. He was pretty much the first on one the trip I called to set something/anything up to sleep. I was a bit nervous about where I was going to end up that night. He didn't have a room, but wanted to make sure I was taken care of because he cared about the bikers. And he was a Rock Star ( ok, he supported the rock stars) but I could listen and ask guys like that questions all day long. His tour badges were a really cool thing to see and hear about.

Didn't you get bored?

At times in the day, yes, but mostly no. Lets face it the scenery changes every 200 yards or so on this kind of trip. It's not like I rode 2500 mile on a velodrome track. There were times when the road was 30 miles long, straight and flat where I thought I was a hamster on a wheel. The days, hours and minutes though pretty much required focus and concentration to make sure the path was right and road debris didn't get you. So, nope I really didn't get bored.

How did you stay motivated?

I did want to write about a topic, but it never fit in there. I mostly convinced myself I was an Individual Athlete and this was my job. I was obviously not an athlete for money or fame or world records, but it was my job to do this day in and day out. I think that we all forget that for each of the "superstar" athletes we all see and hear about and know that they make tons of money, there are probably 100-200 athletes just like them that we don't know about that have put in just as many years, weeks, days and hours to be as good as they can be at doing one specific thing ( golf, tennis, biking, or really any sport). All those "others" probably just make a "decent" living but they've committed probably the same amount of time to get there. There's just a half a step here or split second there that separates them from the superstars.

Anyway, I was an athlete for 6 straight weeks, full time. It was awesome, it was fun, but I can't imagine doing it for 10, 15, 25 years of my life day in and day out. So I think much of my motivation was that I had a 6 week contract with myself to do as much as I could with this adventure. But I can't imagine what the "real" athletes go through to stay motivated and I appreciate even more what all of them have done ( likely their entire life) to do what they need to do to be competitive and make a "decent" living. I think athletes deserve every dollar they make.

Do you regret taking the train?

Sure we all have regrets after we get through challenges, but I've always kept the perspective of "Did I make a good decision in the moment?" is what really matters. Whether it was the train, whether it's a parenting decision, or whether it's a business decision, the only regrets should be when I know I should have made a better decision in the moment. The Train ride was the right decision at that time. The next 400 miles was desolate, out of cell range, HOT, and would have caused me much more stress that I really thought, at the time, could have kept me from finishing, so no regrets, its was a good decision at that very moment. Could I have done it, most likely? Did it change my whole experience of the trip, probably not at all.

Can anyone do this?

OK, that's not really been asked, but it's my statement/question back to everyone. The answer is YES anyone can do this. It may not be all the way across the country, it may not be with all the gear, it may be a little at a time, but I really do believe anyone can do this activity. Come on, we've all been riding a bike for like forever. This is just a little different way to go about it, but you're still just pedaling! Get out there and do something it doesn't have to be on a bike, just get away from the cable TV and do something. It's going to be much more rewarding than not.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely, without a doubt! As a matter of fact 2 trips are already on the drawing board :). I can't imagine not doing this more really. There may be some changes on how it's done and not alone, but it's the coolest way to spend 3 days, 7 days, 2-3 weeks or even 3 months. Any amount of time for anyone would be rewarding. It's great physical exercise, it's a great way to see the country, and it's a great way to just get out there and experience the people and the beauty of the country.

So until the next trip... thanks everyone for:

1) Following along on the blog, it sounded like it was worth clicking on your book marks and following along.

2) Sending me a quick email or a quick text or a comment on the blog ( if you could figure out how to post) along the way. It really didn't take much more than a quick "way to go, keep it up you're doing great" to keep me pedaling each day.

Thanks again Jim Peters for taking care of Pavin' The Way and supporting this trip from the very first time I brought it up.

Thanks again Pavin and Creean for taking care of yourselves!

Thanks Kelly for being the best wife/spouse/partner ever. I know this was harder on you than it was on me. You're the best.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

All done!

Savannah GA to Hilton Head Island SC 42 miles.

Total Adventure

2,939 miles
153,694 calories
199 hours 27 minutes moving time ( 8 Days, 7 hours, 27 minute )
283 hours 15 minutes Garmin "on the clock" time (11 Days, 19hours, 15 minutes)
Total Climb 66,701

Today's ride:

Stats - 42 miles ( 2,517 )
Calories - 2,488 ( 141,448 )
Time - 3:23 (199:27)
Total Climb - 404 ( 62,246 ft )

Had to really work for it to finish off this trip. First 13 miles were....
1) Monster 160 foot bridge from Savannah to South Carolina to start the day
2) 4 mile no shoulder road after the bridge with heavy traffic.
3) FLAT Tire on above road.
4) Killer mosquitoes immediately swarming when stopped to fix flat road.
5) 8 more miles of no shoulder, slightly less traffic road.

Relief!! back to room to ride. 13 miles through the SC country then onto the home stretch into Hilton Head Island.

1) 1/2 mile no shoulder.
2) HHI bridge
3) Lots a traffic
4) Had to take the long route because the toll bridge says no bikes.
5) Of all things we haven't had, bicycle traffic on a real bike path.

We are about a block away, and some lady yells from her car, "You from San Diego?". Us-"Yep". Lady-"woo hooooooo!! way to go". There were many recruits hanging around ready to cheer us in and she just had to leave since we were a little late because of the longer route.

I had my protective "dog horn" ( which didn't get used) ready to go. So I started blowing it as soon as I heard the cheers from the make shift crowd that Kelly, Pavin, Creean, Connie and Frank had put together. It was very easy to see everyone as Kelly had a 10 foot banner with "FINISH LINE, I just biked from San Diego" on it. What a great way to finish!! Sounded like we missed the ambulance and fire truck or police car that was trying to hang around too. Lots of hugs and kisses and some quick pictures and then it was off to the Atlantic Ocean.

I didn't realize how perfect of a place to have picked out to "land". They had a "blue carpet" out to the beach which was great to roll the bikes down to the water. I didn't really realize there were going to be A LOT of people on the beach, and i mean A LOT! So that was a really great to watch everyone look at us, ask us "What are you doing", and congratulate us on making the journey. That was a pretty special moment for me, I actually made it, I had this bike in the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean.

What a great adventure.

Going to take a break from writing, but hopefully you can check in a little later when I have time to look at the whole trip and wonder a little more about what I was doing and what I saw.

The White House is safely back together again!!

Yep, that's where I need to head today!

160 foot bridge to warm up the legs right out of the gate.

Awesome view of Savannah GA from here. Not supposed to do this on a bike apparently ( according to the sign).

State #10, check.

Country side cruise through South Carolina.

OK 1 more McDonald's stop before I'm done.

HHI Bridge crossing.

HHI bike paths. Safe, but slow.

Pre-ocean finish at the Pope Street roundabout.

Blue carpet all set up for us, Thank HHI beach patrol.

First dip into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Wolf Pack is in the water.

What a trip!

Pacific Ocean

Gulf of Mexico

and the Atlantic Ocean

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Savannah GA and 1 more day.

Hinesville GA to Savannah GA ( 53 miles )

Made it all the way to the east side of Georgia today and 1 more day to go. It was so nice to get a text that Kelly, Creean and Pavin were leaving the same time I did this morning. I had a much shorter day!!

Good storm last night brought a nice fog this morning. lasted til 9:00 or so before it burned off. Almost half way to Savannah by then. It was a 1 stop day for drinks and a quick rest, then on into Savannah.

What a cool town and history lesson I got today. A lot going on here since 1733. Original state capital, civil war battles, slavery, and ship trading in one of the original 13 colonies. Really cool town to visit if you haven't already!

Had a good lunch at a local brewery, checked in to the hotel, and I took a 10 mile ride to the Bonaventure Cemetery. Well worth the ride, it was way cool to see how the plots were laid out, all of the family members in the plots and 200 years of historical burying. Very cool, and I'd call it a must see if you are here.

Then a stroll along the river walk ( couple pub drinks and dinner along the stroll ). All the historical cobblestone streets and rise up the river banks to the town, the warehouse, and the whole river was very neat.

After that on to a Haunted city tour in the back of hearse. Great ghost stories, great history of the 100 of thousands of people that dies in battles, slavery, and drunken sailor escapades was a great time.

Foggy morning.

Foggy ride.

1/2 way Richmond Hill GA

Even the road markers wear a helmet.

Done and ready for lunch.

Our pub crawl count was 3.

Ready to honor the dead.

I didn't recognize any names.

One of the more elaborate plots

Plot "A1".

Streets from the river up to the city.

The old mortuary is now a haunted bed and breakfast.

Free Masons from 1734!

I wasn't in that one, but I was in one of them.

Original bar and brothel built in 1734. Priorities, gotta build that as soon as the city was settled.

This bridge starts the last day!

I can't wait for tomorrow to see my family after 6 weeks!!!

Stats - 53 miles ( 2,475 )
Calories - 3,101 ( 138,960 )
Time - 4:48 (196:04)
Total Climb - 499 ( 61,842 ft )

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Water Towers and Wipeouts

Blackshear GA to Hinesville GA (57 miles)

Let's start with the Wipeout. Splatted me and the bike on the ground today going through the city with construction going on. Very smooth move with many on lookers to laugh at. Had 4 lane highway narrowed down to 2 lanes and tight shoulder, so had to ride the sidewalk. That was great until they decided to finish the last 15 feet of sidewalk with a pile of sand ( instead of concrete for me to ride on). No worries, I see a break ( but I also think I see an elderly lady behind the wheel coming up from behind). So, I make my move, hop down (inch, inch and a half lip) on the "pre final surface coat of blacktop off the concrete curb. Sprint around the last 15 feet of unfinished curb, hop the front tire back onto the concrete curb ( inch inch and ahlaf again). But the back tire decides not to play along , wah wah wah.... :( Bike twists, J-dog falls right, luckily most of it up and into the sand, but left a quarter size piece of my left palm on the ground. Hop me and and the bike up as quick as possible to make sure we don't get run over. Laugh, dust myself off and enjoy the shear excitement of a bicycle wipeout in front of many. Then stop at the C-store, clean off the blood and dig into the my bags for a band aids. No worries, no I can't tell if my partially paralyzed left hand the whole trip is hurting or not.

Water Towers (more cool pics and how they work here)....been meaning to bring these up. Some time after Austin TX, I started to notice the water towers again. It's too bad I had forgotten what they really were all about. My smartphone, google maps, interstates, bill boards, and getting to my destinations as fast as possible had fainted my childhood memories of these wonderful statues.

As I've ridden off the new beaten paths and back on to the old ones the past 3 weeks, I've simply had to watch the horizon for the water towers to know I was approaching the next town. I started remembering traveling as a kid and how I'd have my Atlas Map, following our path and tracking the next town, always wondering when I'd see the Water Tower. What color would it be? Would they have a town logo? What was the zip code? Back then just like it's been the past 3 weeks, I'd see the water tower long before the town and know I just have a few more miles to town.

So, as the last 3 weeks have progressed, I've remembered how the Water Towers are the Light Houses of the land and realized that the water tower symbolizes a lot of this trip for me. The past 6 weeks has been so refreshing to 1) live simple ( no car, a bike and 2 small bags, OK I got all my gadgets, but you know what I mean!), 2) admire and enjoy the rural towns and all the things they symbolize to me, and 3) be entertained and cared for by all the people I've met along the way.

Way to go Water Tower for always being there.

Screven GA 31560

Waycross, GA 31501

Normal start of the day ( it's not Waffle House, managed to stay away from them)

Another beautiful Georgia morning.

Cool place, just didn't realize it at first. It's a locomotive repair shop. Probably had 30 engines out on the ground 10 bay doors where the engines come in, and a huge yard in the back with 40-50 engines back there.

Not creative enough :(

Apparently this town knows how to party.

Almost done with Georgia pine forests

Orange barrel dodging before the wipe out.

I don't think I figured this one out.

The secret's out now.

Rolling into Hinesville.

My man CT from Jazzy's barber shop. I had a great time in the back of the barber shop in CT's chair. Here's what I learned....CT's from DC ( but he's a Cowboys fan ). People from here split their loyalty to the Jaguars and Falcons. CT's got 2 boys and a 5 year old girl that "owns him" already. I'm next to Fort Stewart, largest Army base east of the Mississippi. CT's wife is an Army RN and served 13 months in Iraq while he took care of the kids ( you rock CT!!). Women are the #1 conversation in black or white barber shops ( CT's worked them both). My gray hair's the easiest hair to cut. We shared stories and decided we're all alike, we work hard, we want the best for our kids, and we need to take responsibility for our decisions, doesn't matter what color your skin is or how much money you have. Thanks CT, I'm glad I found your chair today.

Stats - 57 miles (2,421)
Calories - 3,428 ( 135,859 )
Time - 3:42 (191:16)
Total Climb - 344 ( 61,343 ft )

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sort of like a machine.

Valdosta GA to Blackspear GA ( 75 miles )

I know this is the 39th day of the trip and I should be pretty good at this by now, but, I still gotta pedal. Today I was like a machine for 5 hours and 75 miles. That's 15 MPH average, best of the trip. I know it was flat, I know there was a little tail wind, I know I pissed Aaron off with yesterday's comment about be the lead wolf so he pushed it today, but that was a good ride. Miles 31-35 were even at a 17.1 MPH pace at the end of my 36 mile non-stop run. That was a fun ride.

We went a little further than planned because Waycross hotels were a bit expensive and out of the way, and the wind helped us the extra 10 miles or so. But.... the $40 hotel here is certainly in the "bottom 5" of the trip. I pretty much try not to look around too much, 'cause you just don't want to know what you might find.

First 36 miles from Valdosta to Homerville GA was pretty clean road, 4 lane divided highway, a little climb of 100 feet and pretty flat. I went straight through all 36 miles and then stopped at Jerry's Cafe in Homerville for some eggs, bacon, and cinnamon roll. Good stuff, but I've got to start throttling back on the caloric intake now. The post office was right across the street. So close to shipping back the extra 10 pounds of camping gear, and the route maps ( heavier than you think) , and the 15mm wrench I bought in El Paso to take my pedals off if I needed to on the train. But I didn't, it's a "gotta lug it all the way now kind of thing". Also, I'm a little worried if I throw my weight off something bad will happen. Karma maybe?

Next 27 miles, maybe the most treacherous of the trip, certainly top 3. Down to 2 lanes with an 18" shoulder, heavy truck traffic, and constant monitoring of the mirror to see what was coming up on me and timing it with oncoming traffic so they could move around. Bailed to the side of the road about 10 times when the semis were coming and going past me at the same time.

But, it was beautiful southern Georgia landscape. Red sand roads, occasional pecan grove ( very mature trees, way bigger than New Mexico ), and A LOT of pine trees. All kinds of forests of them. Newly planted, newly harvested, half grown and big and tall ready to go. Very very cool to ride through this area and pretty much what most of the pictures were from.

I'm going to miss starting out days like this. (That's the bike talking not me)

Down town Valdosta GA.

Morning logs.

Pecan racks in Valdosta

Didn't realize what was passing me otherwise I'd have raced. Not as fast as the sprayer yesterday, but still pretty quick.

Hell yeah I got the conductor to blow the whistle!!

OK seriously this is what I heard the trees talking about. Tree in the forest-"Well I don't know why she got to go be a pole". Pole-"Girl, I'm straight as an arrow, you got a booty on you that's why". Tree in the forest-"Oh no she didn't just say that, girl you are in big trouble". Pole-"Back it down girl, you don't really want to be where I am". That's all I can repeat, it got really nasty after that.

There has to be a country song already out there about this creek. Seriously somebody find it for me.

I got nothing for this one that's nice.

"Wood Yard Road" - seriously, we see it, don't need the sign for it.

Artsy, still try to have one of those every so often.

Apparently I was on the Okefenokee Trail today.

Jerry's cafe to the left, train stop on the right.

OK, Mile 1 is at the start of EVERY county here in Georgia. It's really throwing me off. How's that go? 911-"How can I help you". John-"Yeah I'm at mile 1 with a broken body from a semi that just hit me, can you help". 911-"What Mile 1 are you at?" John-"Mile 1 that's all it says". 911-"Well do you know what county you are in?" John-"not from around here, so NO!!!".

Found out where these go.

The Acme Pole Company in Blackspear GA.

Pine Tree stages of life:


Half baked

Mature and ready to go loggin'

Stats - 75 miles (2,364)
Calories - 4,345 ( 132,431 )
Time - 5:00 (187:34)
Total Climb - 384 ( 60,999 ft )