I wanted to title today “And Then You Don’t”. Moron that later. However, I traditionally kick off the first Sunday of any good traveling situation with Gil Scott Heron’s classic tune:
I’m up and out on the road early. The winds don’t pick up until late morning so I wanna get 30-40 miles by noon. This 180° maneuver by the wind direction is due to a cold front that moves through. “Cold.” That’s what John tells me as it’s 70° at 8am. I bid Laura and him adieu, heading north. Winds probably only 5-6 mph. At first it’s a lot of public beaches. Nice. Then the headwinds pick up, sooner than I expect. Pushing 13-15 mph. I’m considering changing the name of this website to “Trying For A Headwind”. Maybe that’ll shift the winds in my favor. The public parks give way to more private residences, small town kinda stuff. Then that third lasagna layer comes back with a vengeance as I hit the big money underbelly. Lush shit. More wealth than can be described. I roll alongside gates and locks and so much money. There’s an old Rolls Royce for sale.
I cruise on. Small beach towns. Big beach resorts. I stop and jump in the ocean. Am I getting used to this? Am I becoming a beach person. I stop and feel like maybe it’s all rubbing off a little. I stop and check my bank balance… nope. Still proletarian. Maybe next time.
Still on A1A, I finally see an East Coast Greenway sign. It’s pretty weathered. Nothing special about where I am, just a bike lane on a road. I suppose I am on the east coast and there’s a lot of green. The internet would have you think there’s a separate trail all the way up the coast.
I eventually see a US Bike Route 1 sign. Right at that sign, my bike lane get an extra stripe. Oh shit the federales done went and got involved by adding more paint. Two white stripes for me? Are Jack and Meg in on this? I thought all my federal tax dollars went to feed the military industrial complex. Take that Dwight Eisenhower. I wonder if Ike likes bikes. Shit is strange because these ECG and USBR signs aren’t at turns or very frequent. One couldn’t navigate these “routes” whatsoever based on this minimal and consistent signage. So what the purpose?
I turn a corner it’s and sweet respite from the headwind. My entire being is overwhelmed with the smell of McDonald’s French fries. There’s no Micky D, not that I’d eat that shit. Damn it’s the exact scent though. Probably copyrighted. I pass a bistro I assume has wonderfully tasty fried potatoes. Frites. Why I got associate that shit with giant worldwide corporate exported and falsified culture and general mis-nourishment though? Shit gets deep, I mediate on the existential nature of my conditioning. I’m a victim, brother. Of brainwashing. Even my conditioning has been conditioned. I can’t watch Chameleon Street right now so I throw the BlackStar album on and it washes it all away. Im pretty sure all of that goes over your head and all this over thinking is interrupted by quite a high skyway bridge I’m now going over. Like at this moment. Cars don’t want me here. Back down I go, make a right and then another right and I’m crossing another one headed back east. Right now. This one’s a drawbridge, so a little less steep. The cars still don’t want me here. On my way down, I spot a dead fish or two in the shoulder. I don’t stop to take a photo, though they serve as a reminder of what I really wanted to talk about…
Roadkill… I don’t wanna be it. Please cars don’t kill me. I intended to try a pool noodle and forgot it in fort myers. Then I find one in the lane. Score. So yeah roadkill, or to more broadly telescope out of the world of the dead for a second — wildlife. Ain’t seen any gators. Mostly birds and reptiles. Lots of those. A couple tortoises. One massive. One tiny. I spot a third — another biggie — and it is dead set moving toward the street on the other side. Biggie is up on the shoulder about to step into traffic when A truck whirs by and it shells up. I yell at this Christopher Wallace looking creature “you’re not gonna make it — go back!” And cruise on, never knowing how that saga ends. On that tip, I’ve seen minimal roadkill thus far. A mangled armadillo, a truly annihilated 3 foot iguana. And this little bunny now at my feet. So much murder in these streets, all in the name is speeding to the next red light. I take another beach break and jump in the ocean to clear my mind and cool my body.
Sunday late afternoon up this little isthmus of island beach everything and the sun ones are definitely up to 20mph. Smacking me in the face. Howling so loudly I can hardy hear the traffic or The Police – wrapped around my finger. Blondie is singing about “In The Sun” while the wind competes with every note. It pushes back hard. Right into my face. Every mile is easily twice at hard. Moving 8 miles per hour and dreading bridges, I’ve never felt like an old lady on Slow Roll more.
Some guy is fishing on the non ocean sign of this windy strip of earth. His name is Candy Mike. I didn’t meet him but I stop near his truck and it’s on the back window of his pickup. I really want to make fun of him and can’t. So I take a photo, eat some trail mix and move on.
A couple more hours and I make it to my destination. I meet Lori and Wayne and Devin. Lori and Wayne are definitely engineers. Wayne is a massive gearhead so we talk bikes. Lori has completed 131 triathlons. Crazy! They got a carbon fiber tandem touring bike with wireless gear shifting. It’s tubeless and has an elliptical chain ring. So it’s about as specialized as you can get. I admit that I’m just too old school for all of that. Devon has a ton of corned beef and cabbage and shepherds pie for us. I get my Irish feast on and wash it down with a Guinness. We joke about distances and mock arbitrary distances of runs and rides that people geek out about. Like “centuries”. There’s also the most adorable pup named Bailey and he won’t stop licking everyone. He’s super chill and loves to wait for crumbs to fall.
We chat a bit and call it a night, except Bailey because he’s not talking much. I hope by the gods of old and new that the winds shift again, because I’ll be pushing nearly a century up the coast mañana.