Charley’s Ride Across America 1.

Dear family and friends,

Well, alas, I’m not in Cuenca Ecuador practicing my Spanish. Instead:

I’m sitting in a cheap motel in St Augustine Florida, by myself, getting ready to ride my bike across the country from here to San Diego. Now I’m wondering whether I really thought this out.

I’ve spent many hours on the planning and logistics. The route is called the SOUTHERN TIER , put together by the folks at Adventure Cycling. I have both their paper maps and the iPhone app, like a good belt and suspenders adventurer ( or accountant). I am starting on the early side for this route as most people start about a month later. I chose the east to west route because I wanted to start in January, which is on the early side and because it’s flat on this end and I figure I’ll be fitter by the time I get to New Mexico’s 8000 foot passes.

My plan is to average about 50 miles per day, probably not including rest days, so this trip could take two and a half months. On a bike. Solo. Pedaling. Gulp!

It’s not like I haven’t trained. I’ve been riding solo and with Liz quite a lot in the last couple of months. Even trained some with a loaded bike. What I haven’t done is even once go the distance I intend to go each day. And the next 59 days after that.

But I have gone this distance per day before; two days in a row even. Back in 1967, at the ripe old age of 14, i borrowed my friend Tommy’s new 10 speed bike ( it fit well, Tommy is five foot six) and with another friend rode the two lane road all the way to visit my brother John at Ohio State, a distance of about 120 miles over two days.

I never got to do the return trip because after being missing from dinner a couple of days, my mother finally noticed one less kid at dinner( family of seven kids), called John and found me out. Oops! Guess I forgot to mention something to my mother. Figured I wouldn’t be missed as I’m the middle child of seven who doesn’t get noticed anyway. What do you think of that Dr Freud?

Yesterday  I picked up my bike from Sprockets, the closest bike shop. Using a service call Bikeflight, I had our local bike shop, The Broken Spoke, partly disassemble my bike and put it in a used cardboard bike box and send it via UPS to the local bike shop in St Augustine, who had it reassembled upon my arrival. All this costs money, but not much compared to going it alone as personal baggage on an airplane.

I’m worried about fuel to make up for the calorie burning of each day, so in true “ anything worth doing is worth overdoing” fashion I loaded up on energy foods as meal supplements: peanut butter, granola, energy bars, and several types of trail mix. This bike isn’t getting any lighter. I’m also energy loading, which means eating all I can as I prepare. Really.

Today I finish packing and prepping for a start on the morrow. And did I mention a brief stop to visit the historical sight a block away- The Fountain of Youth. Maybe, just maybe…

  I’ll let you know how that works out.

Love to all,


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