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All the Way Around | Thirsty Bike

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Sand storms and cracked heads


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…

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