I Should Have Practiced More

Retirement is hard. I’m having trouble getting into the flow. Take today, for example. I completely forgot that it’s Friday. On Friday’s I get up really early and ride to Friday Coffee Club. I slept until 7:45. Then I made a pot of coffee, sat down to a bowl of cereal, and read the paper. Mrs. Rootchopper walked into the kitchen and said, “No Friday Coffee Club?”

Fail.

In my defense, it is that time of year when the low humidity and cool temperatures make for perfect sleeping. In the aftermath of the bike tour and with my rib still healing, my body just wants rest. So I am feeding the beast.

Each day, though, I have a plan to do one or two specific things. On Tuesday it was volunteer at WABA in the evening. Don’t tell Greg but we didn’t get a damned thing done once Kristin cracked open the tequila. Anyway, since the WABA office is 16 miles from home, volunteering also means a pretty decent bike ride. (On the way home I encountered several people headed to the High Heel Race in Dupont Circle. I didn’t want to say anything but I think some of these women were, um, not. Women, that is. A couple could play wide out for pro football teams. And they could go a little lighter on the make up and sequins. Just saying.)

Today, after waiting for the temperature to rise, I rode the Cross Check to the Lincoln Memorial. Just because. And it was super nice out. And the trees are turning. Like this one across the river from the Memorial.

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On the way home I pulled over to record another odometer milestone.

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Not bad.

I’ll put the Cross Check away for a few weeks and give my other bikes some attention.

Once I got home, I mowed the lawn. Mowing the lawn feels like you are accomplishing something even when you really aren’t.

Then I went inside and did something I’ve been meaning to do since I got home. During my bike tour to Key West, hurricane Maria made landfall on the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Two of my BikeDC friends (who, incidentally, don’t know each other) are from Puerto Rico. They each spent many anxious days not knowing the fate of their families. (From what I can tell, all are accounted for and out of immediate danger.) A week or so later, I started riding in southern Florida. Even a month after hurricane Irma made landfall in the Keys, the devastation was obvious. I simply cannot imagine what the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico are like. So today I made a donation to the American Red Cross. You can too. Here’s the site.

http://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief/hurricane-relief/hurricane-maria-relief-information#Domestic-Response

 

 

No Way So Hey – Day 27

And so The Mule and rider rested.

I got about 10 hours of sleep last night at the hostel. I had my ear plugs in. Sorry if I snored roomies, I was dead to the world. 

Last night’s dinner at a Cuban restaurant, El Siboney, was a bit of a risk, I’ve gotten sick on Cuban food three times in the past. The Omega in Adams Morgan (DC) was a two-time offender. It was delicious but something got to my tummy.

The hostel is crowded. People were hanging  out in the courtyard and listening to Latin music. It was a fun vibe. 

Today was a day off. I rolled slowly around town without the pile of stuff I brought with me. The Mule felt like a carbon fiber bike.  I wore my Tevas and a floppy hat. Hello tropics.

I had a hearty breakfast at Camille’s another Cuban place. The two restaurants and the bar I went to last night are away from the touristy strip called Duval Street. 

I rolled through town and found the ferry terminal. It turns out the ferry doesn’t run on Tuesday or Wednesday, so I’m leaving on the Monday evening boat. Yeah well. 

I spent a few hours shopping for essentials. Sunscreen, soap, Dramamine. I looked in vain for a big bag to consolidate my luggage. Maybe I’ll just ship some of it back. I’ve got time to figure it out.

I stopped at a bike shop and had my front brake adjusted. Suffice it to say this bike is going to get beaucoup TLC when I get home. 

Back at the hostel I did my roomies a favor and did laundry. Truth be told, my clothes don’t smell bad. They’ve been rinsed every afternoon by Mother Nature.

I also lubed my chain. It has been exposed to too much salt and sand and water. Thank god I missed the king tide here a few days ago. The streets were flooded.

After being all grown up, I rolled to Mary Ellen’s bar for a grilled cheese sandwich. Amanda (my former co-worker and advance person for travel destinations) made me do it. You were right Amanda. Muy bueno.

No one called me Forrest Gump today. 

Also, special thanks to Katie Lee for cheering in my absence at Nats Park last night. The sound on the bat TV was off but I could hear you and your crew loud and clear!

Tonight it’s drinks and maybe dinner with Melissa. I have all day tomorrow to hang out.

No Way So Hey – Day 26

I began the day dowingca quart of sports drink and 1/3rd of a sub sandwich. And then I hit the road at 8 am. 

The directions were easy: Go south. 

Storm debris increased with each passing mile. Some stretches were perfectly clear, probably because crews had finished the clean up. In other areas piles of debris ran down one side of the road. 

The middle Keys got hit hardest and it showed. Debris was strewn among the mangroves along the east side of the road. Roadside piles were bigger and bigger. At a state park a consolidation area was set up. Plant based debris was being ground up into a mulch. Lord knows what will be done with the appliances, furniture, and house parts I saw. South of marathon the mother of all debris piles stretched on and on. Mount Irma. It’s hard to believe a month has passed. I can only imagine what Puerto Rico is dealing with. 


Under normal conditions there would be flowers and breezes. Now junk and smell. 

Any discomfort I might have on this trip pales in comparison to what these people have been going through for the last month and a half.

If I had s place to stay in the middle Keys I’d have gone to the sea turtle rescue place of the dolphin research center. But the only place to stay was in Key West. 

The morning was cool and humid. Then the clouds burned off. It got hot. I drank and drank and drank. I forced myself to eat so that I wouldn’t bonk.

As it turned out stores were open almost all the way to Key West. I stood in one. A young Israeli dude started talking to me about the ride. He was incredulous. Hr called me Forest Gump. Just last night a convenience store clerk did the same. Bike Forrest! Bike!

The ride wasn’t all trashy debris. Many miles were spent in bridges with the Atlantic on my left and the Gukf of Mexico on my right. The water was a pale green. Just beautiful.


I rode on the shoulder of US 1 and never had a problem with cars. One picked up pulling a trailer right hooked me at an intersection but he was no match for The Mule.

(The bike path along US 1 would have been nice but it was blocked by debris so often as to be useless. Near the heart of the storm it was torn to pieces.)

I crossed the seven mile bridge. Seven miles with ocean and gulf. Jesus. What a ride.


At 80 miles the skies turned black, just like yesterday. Temperatures dropped. Ran fell. The storm passed. I rolled into Key West and took the path along the sea wall.

I ended up at the Southernmost point in the 48 states. No more road. 


Dang.

Former co-worker Melissa is in town. She was an all star on Mrs. Rootchopper’s staff. She steered me to a local Cuban place. I ate all the food. So good. 

And so I rode 101 miles today, 1,953 miles to the end of the road. Time for s few days of rest before a ferry, two more days of biking, and a long train ride home.