After a month and a half on the road and about 1,200 miles, here is the first video update. It entails the multiple attempts to leave from December 2012 to January 2013. Watch it in 1080p!
Leaving Pensacola turned crazy fast! My plan was to follow the coast all the way to Fort Morgan and take the ferry over to Dauphine Island, Al. When I left Pensacola there was a severe storm warning but, if I’m anything, I’m stubborn as a mule, so I maintained my route. That is until the storm started blowing me all over the road as well as what I first thought was sleet but turned out to be sand. I had taken my visor off of my helmet because it had become so scratched that it was hard to see out of and, like a fool, buried it in my trailer. I tried to justify my sunglasses being enough but I knew better. By the time I heard my little common sense fairy screaming at me, I had a scratched cornea (healed now), though I didn’t realize it until I got out of the storm. I turned around, like most of the cars on the island where doing, and headed inland and north towards Mobile, Al where I had some parts shipped ahead to Dustin, a couchsurfer up there.
One very important thing was a new sprocket for my gearbox to replace the one with the broken tines from the monster dirt hill that sheared my chain in two places and broken the sprocket. Somehow I made it about 300 miles with half of the tines broken on that sprocket. I also didn’t get my rain gear on in time and the temperature dropped like a bucket of gold once the rain started so I decided to find a campground with a shower facility to warm up and dry off. It wasn’t THAT cold and I probably would have been fine but I’ve had hypothermia a few times and it is not a pleasant experience, to say the least. Very fortunate to have all of my fingers and toes!
I showed up to the campground with a cracked head cylinder that equated to a screaming little monster sitting behind me. So very loud! My rig garnered a lot of attention before but now, almost every single person that was visible would just stare and there where way fewer smiles and thumbs up. Here is a video of my temporary fix that got me to Mobile, Al.
I stayed in a big tent in Dustin’s backyard for three or four days and caught up a lot of work. It was also a lot of fun hanging out with him ,his roommates and a couchsurfer that was easily the most well traveled person I have ever meet (recently hitchhiked into Iraq!!) Crazy dudes but a blast to hang out with! It was also a very contemplative time for me that I spent thinking about family, my future course in life, stability, and things like that. But soon it was time to move on. Plus, the legality of my transportation choice is somewhat of a grey area in Alabama (leaning more toward the black) and my engine with a cracked head cylinder was life having a pissed off screaming monster behind me! You could hear me for a 1/2 mile away at least. Luckily, the cops had better things to do than hassle me. Actually, the cops along the whole route have been very nice and helpful and I think a little protective of me.
Now it’s on to Mississippi and then Louisiana…
If I had to use one word to describe the journey thus far, it would be “whirlwind.” 900 something miles to get from Augusta, Ga to Pensacola, Fl. Circuitous would certainly be the one word to describe my route. Whenever I’m asked “how long will it take you?” My response is “9 months” but always with a give or take stipulation because I don’t want it to be a race but really, I’ve felt the most satisfied moving forward, laying down rubber, making miles, rushing for the Mexican border. A fear of running out of the money I’ve managed to scrape together over the past four years is one reason but mainly, the appeal of the unknown, of foreign lands, of foreign people, and foreign languages draws me on. Of course, I will be the foreigner and these things are only foreign to me and my perspective.
I’ve had some great experiences with people so far. I was taken in by a wonderful couple in McIntyre, Ga, I had a guy pull up when I was on the side of the road in Fl and invite me back to his house where I got my first shower in a week, his wife cooked me breakfast, and he did my laundry. Traveling always teaches me that the world isn’t actually going crazy and most people are just really nice and willing to help out.
I’m currently being hosted by an awesome guy named Dan in Pensacola, Fl. We’ve had a lot of fun, playing beach volleyball, seeing the sites and while the rest and chance to catch up on correspondence and go through my gear has been nice and needed, it’s time to keep heading west. Who knows what the road has in store for me up ahead and what strange places I will sleep next? Only one way to find out and that is to keep heading west…
Well Matt’s bike’s drive system just isn’t holding up to the abuse we are putting on it. It’s a friction drive that uses a drive roller pressed against the tire to drive it. We knew it wouldn’t be a long term solution but we hoped it would last longer than it did. Even after I was carrying most of the weight with my bike, his drive roller was just eating through tires so now, I press on my agnostic pilgrimage alone and my bike is living up to her name, solitarios machina (Latin for “The Lonely Machine”)
While Matt will be missed, I look forward to the quite and solitude of the road.
After four years, lots of work, no social life, two knee surgeries, 6 months on crutches lots of money and lots of failed starts, Thirsty Bike is finally rolling forward. And south. The beginning has been plagued with mechanical problems but nothing that some road side mechanical work, grease and some busted knuckles hasn’t been able to fix. And some help from my folks. And new tires. And a few new trailer wheels. The trailers have taught me to not trust the manufacturer but oh well, lesson learned. Every day, packing and unpacking goes a little smoother. Not a “lot a little” but a “little little” if you know what I mean. Slept by fields of cotton and wheat, behind churches, and in the carport of a really nice couple in McIntyre, Ga. Spent a lot of time back tracking from small town to small town in middle and south Georgia, trying to find parts for Matt’s bike. The whole thing has been really hard but I knew what I signed up for. If I wanted glamorous, I would have been neurosurgeon .
I love traveling the back roads. People are much nicer outside of the city. Even the drivers are a lot nicer. The bikes generate a lot of attention wherever we go. Drivers smile and wave and when we stop, we get lots of questions. Some times when they ask where we are going, I say Argentina but they look confused so I say Texas and then it clicks that we are going a long distance. Someone even asked how I was going to get across the ocean! I think I’m going to start carrying a little waterproof map to point to
Finally finished my expedition bike. It’s cro-moly steel, super long chain stay, set up for climbing mountains and cruising
long distances. It goes 32mpg and gets 200 mpg. How does 15,000 miles on one of these sound?
Matt and I traveled up to Charleston, SC to check out Water Missions International and find out about their efforts combating the growing global water crisis. They have had projects in 49 different countries and served over 2 million people!