Day 12. 736 Miles. Triumph.

I awaken, still never having the pleasure of molesting an alligator. A life not yet fully realized, I guess. It’s a chill morning here in Pioneer Park. Not like the vibe, the temperature. It’s like 59° and after 12 days down here I’m in danger of having my Western New York privileges revoked for stating the above. A lot like I’m Butch hearing from Marcellus Wallace (after having literally saved his ass): “When you gone, you stay gone, or you be gone”.

So what now? I’ll tel you what now. I kinda hate myself for being cold right now. I have to get moving, especially if I wanna pull off a successful advanced remote sleep. I am Jack’s thin skinned tropical sensitivity. I punch myself a few times, exactly the way Edward Norton does in that office — before he realizes he’s Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden. Only a Fight Club reference could follow one from Pulp Fiction. Finally, I pull myself together. More accurately, I put on my designer camo adidas sweatpants. Yeah. Adidas doesn’t pay me (they should); yet damn do I pay them. These are definitely the most comfortable, stylish and expensive pants I’ve ever worn. Serio. My entire life. And they weren’t cheap. I’m not gonna take a photo of them, I rocked them on the plane ride down to Fort Myers you can look it up. I’d never think of bringing these on a bike-camping adventure. These are a bit heavy and definitely cotton as fuck. Not what I normally look for. Plus usually gear gets worn hard. These situations test the limits of durability, craftsmanship and design. They’re only here because they fill out the pack cube with my raincoat and towel very nicely to make a camp pillow. Yeah I said it. I rest my head on them. Now, I’m wearing them. And fuck it I’m happy I brought them. And damn I bet I’m the best dressed motherfucker in all of Hardee County right now.

I emerge out of the penthouse and it’s wonderful. Campground coffee for just the second time, I check the nearest baños and they are closed for repair. Realizing I’ve taken zero wild poops so far… so you can bet your bottom dollar on what comes next. A little walk. A little dig. A loots wet wipes. Naturally in nature. The real au naturale. Me human, not dead yet. Ten minutes later and I’m five minutes late on dodging the park manager. Damnit. Even with all the white pickup trucks in this state, I recognize him straight away as he’s pulling around. My designer pants can’t save me. He looks like a Kevin. “G’mornin”. “G’mornin”. “I think I owe you fifteen dollars”, to which Kevins simply replies, “sixteen thirty five”. I have exact change and get a receipt. If I hadn’t left that message, I’d have probably gotten away with. The Advanced in advanced remote sleep means it costs nothing. It’s not about the money… it’s the principality of it, Smokey. Paradise lost, I eat a cookie and break the fuck out.

Timespace rolls on and on and one. More rural backroads through citrus farmland. More winds out of the west and I alternate between south and west. For 1/2 mile I go east and I’m reminded what a tailwind feels like. Weather and route are almost carbon copies of yesterday. I’m avoiding any place with more than 1,000 people in it. Out on the road, all I see are motorcyclists. No commercial trucks on this route for sure. Where’s all the personal vehicles? Ah. I turn a bend and see a flood of cars parked, it’s like Noah level flood. It’s Sunday. Baptist churches abound and everyone’s inside getting their delusional existential rationalization on. Opiates for the masses, I’m glad that at least it’s not the pharmaceutical kind killing everyone. Thank the spoke gods for that and the reduced traffic. Many of the motorcyclists wave. Some of them, and that’s usual. They wanna be called bikers. The long distance easy riders types are cool as fuck and usually have valuable info — because they are out there. You can tell them apart the same way I don’t look like a coordinated spandex superhero riding a feather. Pretty much 100% of them wave. It’s a low hand out sort of wave. They give it to each other and they give to me. I love chatting with them at stops too. Still not calling them bikers though. Not with that motor.

More farms. All farms. Petra does the damn thing whether shoulder or none. Currently there is no shoulder. She puts herself out there to protect me and I can’t thank her enough. My love for Petra is undying is eternal, and I hope she’ll join me on every long ride from here on out. I’m pretty sure humans can’t marry pool noodles in Florida yet, otherwise I might finally tie the knot, not.

I push into Port Charlotte and over a bridge in Punta Gorda. Fat Point? Whatevs. This is my first sizable population area in a few days and it’s comes with the yoozsh traffic. Oh hey, I’m back on the west coast of the state! I chill out for a bit, snack on a peanut butter banana burrito, contemplate the meaning of life. Nah not really, though I do let my mind wander a bit notice how awkward the idea of “guided meditation” is after days of riding, guiding my way along, staying deep in thought the whole while. Every other version of mediation seems silly now. Like how every sheltered table in the this little waterfront park is taken. Most of them with a cake and no people. There’s no shade to be gotten. Fuck it I post up and snooze near the restrooms. Quiet enough spot until it’s not.

I ride to the edge of town and take one last stop. I’m at Publix and I’m breaking the open container law and grabbing some quick and executional calories courtesy of Goose Island (nope they don’t pay me). Call the cops. I’m not normally an IPA fan, though the 9.9% ABV lures me in. Cause why not, what’s the worse that could happen. I push out, my return to Cape Coral now in sight.

This road is called Burnt Store. I have no idea what that means but it’s better than Highway 41. It’s a nice long stretch with a shoulder all the way to Cape Coral. I think. Five miles in… Fuck. There’s goes the shoulder. Even Petra is not into this two lane road moving where idiots think 55 mph is slowing down. I scranpble to find a reroute. There’s a strange picnic table chained to a sign in the middle of nothing else Not much options as I’m now bugging the Gulf of Mexico. Whaddya know. Durden Street. No sign of Brad or Edward.

I do however find Old Burnt Store road. It’s much quieter and has a bike lane. Science bless the old and…. Oh shit. Wu-Tang reference! Kills Hill 10304, you best to check ya neck.

I’m showered, shaved and emptying my fathers refrigerator at the moment. The loop takes 12 days and I’ve got a lot of thoughts about it. More to come. For now, I’m going to readjust to sleeping inside.

About tonycaferro

Entrepreneur, Citizen, Marketeer, Fire Fighter / EMT, Bicycle-Tourist, Booking Agent, Youth Mentor, Activist, Agitator, Coffee Addict, Foodie, Social Media Nerd, Amateur Film Critic, Son, Brother, Uncle & Rust Belt Representative. Follow me on Twitter @dtr45
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1 Response to Day 12. 736 Miles. Triumph.

  1. chuchi3782 says:

    That first picture is breathtaking. Im glad you didn’t have to wrestle an alligator! Had me a bit worried for yah! The weather is way better there than here. It snowed overnight which ended up being rough driving for the am commute.

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