Day 1. 108 Miles. Just Peachy State Of Mind.

Math quiz: how many carbon fiber centuries equal 76 miles in direct 20 mph (40 mph gust) headwinds on a 50 lb bike with another 50 lbs of gear? And please, express your answer in milligrams of ibuprofen. This counts towards our final grade.

My first morning on the road, I wake up in Florida and it’s fucking 50° and raining. As it eases into more like a mist, I head out. Wearing pants. And a long sleeve. And a jacket. Wtf? It’s not bad riding weather, though the steady direct headwinds remind of days through western Texas. This ain’t too fun. After a few miles I hit the state line. Gil Scott-Heron on blast, Hello Sunday Hello Road. It’s as if the ghost of Steve Jobs inside my iPhone knows everything I like. It’s Sunday. Easter. I’m positively staying peachy over preachy.

Georgia. The Peach State. 🍑. It’s a great emoji too. This particular one is now code for a booties. Behinds. Rumps. Rears. Back sides. Butts. You know. We all got ‘em. What’s a butfer? For pooping silly. And you probably know what’s coming next.

Fun fact. This was actually shot in Mount Dora Florida last year. Same butt though.

I push on down Highway 17. 45 miles in I spy a TA stop near I-95 has a Starbucks and a Subway. T&A. I indulge. In food and drink; they’re ain’t any tits and ass – and even if there was I stink like all hell. I’m gassed and have another 25 miles directly into a now intensifying wind. Needs fuels. The oat milk latte is muah. The sammich is meh. Moving along. I regroup and prepare to push on. I was hoping for a tailwind and didn’t get it. Now I’m hoping to take advantage of Sunday/holiday traffic volume to get through Brunswick Georgia with minimal issue. This is one stretch of the lauded highway 17 that is noticeably setting the inter webs ablaze in anger over it being considered part of the “East Coast Greenway” yet its really a 4-5 line highway who’s 18” shoulders have been obliterated by rumble strips. I admit it has sucked and continues to suck now — though I can tell there’s likely a tenth of the vehicles flying by me as there will be tomorrow. A rare occasion for less suck. I even pass up on a non paved rail trail that runs parallel for a few miles.

Let’s talk about the Sidney Lanier Bridge into Brunswick. It is a cable-stayed bridge that is the longest spanning bridge in Georgia and is 480 feet tall. It is named for poet Sidney Lanier who was hailed in the South as “the poet of the Confederacy. And here I am thinking he could be Buffalo Braves legend Bob Lanier’s cousin — RIP the Buffalo Braves.

This massive engineering marvel spans 1,250 feet and is like 200 feet over the water. It has four lanes of traffic and I see it coming literally 3 miles away. It’s the only way forward and it is daunting. I think back over the years of the various friends I’ve bike toured with and only 1 or 2 come to mind that would actually do this. With 50 miles already in on the day, I slowly push up the incredible incline into 40 mph winds gusts. I’m moving like 3 mph and there’s no room in the shoulder to slalom up. I’m realizing that maybe even those one or two brave souls might have waited this out. Maybe I should have. I can’t even hear the roaring traffics next to me. My Apple watch is telling me that loudness is making this is an unsafe environment for my ears. And the rest of me too. Well, I suppose my sphincter muscle is getting a workout. I’m fortunate the ridiculous Atlantic coast wind is directly head on – if it were from either side it would surely knock me over. I’d have to walk. Or take the midnight train. As it’s happening, I know this is in the top five of single most intense experiences in my life — and certainly number one for experiences wasn’t paying for or getting paid for. And only if I don’t die doing it. Yeah. I chose this. For free. Even coming down is treacherous as I still have to pedal with enough resistance in order to even maintain my balance. Holy fuck. Afterward I personally need to check for proof that I didn’t shit my own pants. I didn’t. I’m a big boy. Yay.

25 more miles through Brunswick and I arrive in Darien. Fred here has agreed to put me up for the night. Fred’s not here though. So he’s letting me camp out on his screened in porch enclosure in the middle of the woods. It’s got water and power and wifi and tranquility. Boom bam pow. Perfecto. I don’t get to meet Fred; I’m grateful for his blind generosity and this instantly conjures up all of the help I’ve gotten over the year from total strangers.

Ultimately my mindset and mind power get me through today. Not much room for snark or sarcasm when it’s this rough. At least not yet on day two. I try to stay positive plus persistent. Persistently positive. Set and setting. I have lots of what my cousin might call “brainy chit chat” with myself to keep me going. Most of it doesn’t end up typed because I’m busy riding. Don’t fret though, plenty of cutting cynicism is to come.

There’s a carbon copy day forecasted and routed for tomorrow. I boil up and wolf down some ramen, pop up the palace on the porch and get down into it. Lights out with sundown.

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
This entry was posted in bicycle touring. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Day 1. 108 Miles. Just Peachy State Of Mind.

  1. Tony G says:

    No tats in the crack? No ink up your… sink? We’ve seen it all before!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s