On day one of this adventure, we loaded everything on the bikes and started riding. We both almost crashed before turning the very first corner! Why? The bikes were not properly balanced as there was WAY too much weight on the front making them hard to steer. Yes, we had taken several test trips, but this was the first time we had 100% of all of our gear loaded up (including 30 lbs of dog food and a week’s worth of people food). We got a very late start and it was already hot, so the situation required we muscle the bikes in a straight line and soldier on.
The very next day, we unpacked and repacked everything, focusing on weight distribution. We put the big things in first, testing weight/balance adding/subtracting where needed. The result was a much improved ride. Over time, we have fine-tuned all of the bags and gear and we now ride bikes that feel balanced and ideally suited to the purpose for which they were made.
Life can get like that too. We collect things all our lives, pack-up all our baggage and then maybe one day we feel an imbalance. Maybe we even do it for so long that we stop noticing things aren’t right. Every so often, we should unpack and repack our lives and consider discarding some things we no longer need. In life, just like the panniers on our bikes, there is limited capacity. Put the big things in first. Restore the balance. Life is short. Don’t spend it unbalanced and riding in circles. Whatever you do though, #justride.
Summary to Day 44
Total Miles: 1,184.18 (we broke 1,000! WOOP!)
Rest Days: 12
Motel/Hotel Nights: 11
Tent Nights: 29
Rustic Cabin Nights: 4
Total States: 4 (NC, SC, GA and FL)
Showers: We just went 11 days and only took 3 showers between the two of us. Eeek. Sometimes it gets scary out here on the road.
Something big is on our horizon! We have been counting down both days and miles until October 2 since even before we launched this trip. Mark’s mom, sister, and one of his aunts are all flying in to Ft. Lauderdale to visit for a week! We are excited beyond belief to see everyone. On timing this visit, it’s one thing to drive from one part of the country to another and hit a date on a calendar, it’s quite yet another to ride a bicycle about 1,300 miles and hit a day that was seven weeks out. We ended up going a bit too fast in the first 4-5 weeks, so we have had to slow our roll (ha) in the last few days. This has meant one or two rest days for every day of riding. It’s been nice, and we have gotten caught up on some of the things we were trying to do in our downtime. Like taking a shower.
Rooms with AC!
We have also discovered Airbnb, a website/app which allows us to sometimes find opportunities to stay inside for near campsite prices. That is a big advantage right now, as the heat, humidity and bugs are sometimes a challenge. We have a stay with an Airbnb member soon, so look for our update!
Run Wild Beast, Run
Biscuit is our loyal protector, and part of that job includes defending the tent area from wild beasts at night. Apparently, the best way to do this is to wait until everyone is sleeping soundly, then climb on top of Mark’s face, bark, and scratch fiercely at the tent mesh. This, in case you were wondering, doesn’t typically have positive results [B: Are we safe from wild beasts? Are we?! That’s all I’m saying]. All is well however after the application of a significant portion of an $8 roll of extra strength duct tape. This is the third such incident and we anticipate having the first ever tent made entirely of duct tape by December.
A Story from the Road
A few days back, we were leaving our campsite and an older man rode up next to us on a bike. He slowed to chat, “where are you going?” Georgia replied that we were heading south, and that we were on a year-long, 10,000 mile trip. Her words didn’t even register, so he asked again where we are going and the second time around, he heard the information. “OUT ON THE ROADS?! With traffic and trucks and crazy drivers?! With DOGS?! That’s not safe!” I replied that we were already about 900 miles in and had ridden all the way from the Outer Banks of NC. He said he only rode in the parks, and never out on the roads because it was too dangerous out there. We all chatted a bit more and he rode off saying, “wow, Wow, WOW!” in a progressively louder but more distant voice. That “wow” sounded to us like a mixture of disbelief, belief that we are crazy, and perhaps a bit of amazement that such things are possible. We still discuss that interaction, just like we sometimes revisit dozens of other interactions we have experienced. This trip, as with everything in life, has a risk and a reward. We can play it safe and never take a risk, but we will also miss out on living. We choose to live. We #justride.
Mark, Georgia, Junebug and Biscuit