CHarley’s ride across america 2.

Dear friends and family,

I’ve ridden three days now and still going strong. Before I left St Augustine I planned on a visit and a drink from the Fountain of Youth. Thought it couldn’t hurt. I was wrong. A couple of nights before I left St Augustine I had dinner with Phil ( a long time family friend) and his daughter Natalie, who works in a museum down the street from the Fountain. I told her my plan and she made a face and suggested if I tried drinking that water I should get a map showing toilets across the State of Florida. I guess it COULD hurt!

I passed on that potential crutch and decided that I was on my own at age 69 for this ride.

My bike load is about 60 pounds, including food and water. It’s really heavy and unwieldy to walk, but once I get going riding it moves right along.

Why so much? I’m starting here in Florida where the temperature today is 84 degrees (F). I am eventually going over the mountains of New Mexico where it could still be snowing, so I need clothes for everything.

Food is a major weight factor. I actually have a bit of a food phobia from my youth. When I was 14, I was a freshman at a four year seminary school to start training for the priesthood ( I had set my sights higher as I wanted to become pope, but that’s another story). This was my period of fast growth as I grew almost nine inches that year. I needed to feed that growth. A lot. What I had to deal with was the hierarchy of being a lowly freshman who got what was left after the upperclassmen took what they wanted from the family style servings. I needed a lot and got little. My only respite was each week in my laundry case my mother and sisters would include with my clothes something like a loaf of banana bread. I would open the case and eat the entire loaf in five minutes. Then be hungry again for the next week.

Long story, but how then can I assume I’ll find enough food on the road to feed this calorie burning machine?

I rode my 50 miles today in intense heat. Eighty four degrees, full sun and riding on blacktop. Hot and tiring.

Tonight I’m staying at another cheap hotel which surprise to me includes an all you can eat dinner tonight and a full breakfast with custom omelets in the morning. I only had breakfast and minimal snacks today, so I might get my money’s worth!


This place also has an outdoor pool where I had a lovely swim to stretch out my muscles. A young family with two kids saw me in the pool so got dressed in their swimming costumes to do the same. For some reason they decided not to go in after all once they tested the water. It’s about 60 degrees. 

More to come,


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