Sunday, April 30, 2023

Day 7: Flying Solo, Chapter 3

​Today was such an amazing day filled with several “first” for me. The roads, tailwind, and scenery were beautiful, which made for a great day to add some extra miles. 

There is something about riding a century with Ruby. I’ve done 110 before, but never 121 miles! We were both at our best today. Nothing to prove by doing it, I just love the distance and speed.

As I was riding, I looked up and there was a white van pulled over to the side with a young family, clapping and cheering me on. As I stopped to talk with them, it made my day. It really doesn't take much to just be kind and encouraging to people. 

About midway, I stopped at McDonalds to plug in Ruby for a bit, ate lunch, and took back off. I assume that's where I messed up my RWGPS, when I decided to go more. I’m really good at doing that🤷‍♀️But, we finished strong.

Another “first” for me today: I had my “first” flat for this entire trip. I consider that really good when I read most people have several. So, this means my “first” to fix a flat… will see how it goes.

I am settled in for the night and need to tackle the be continued tomorrow with the results🥴

You meet the nicest people when you least expect it

Another Bridge

And yet another bridge

Ruby gets a "charge" out of stopping at McDonalds

Bridge, My Thumb and a Dam

Ruby needs a Farrier

Today's Metrics 4-30-2023

 Well, I think I've found the secret to "Fast Endurance Cycling." It involves eating a Domino's Pizza in bed during a thunderstorm the night before your ride. That will make you go fast the next day. Oh, and having a 20-mph tailwind helps as well. I was originally going to take two days to go from Panama City to Tallahassee. But with the tailwind, I literally flew my first 66 miles. So, I decided to go another 55 miles. Unfortunately, I only have one Metric for the first 66.3 miles. The second Metric stopped working at mile 34. So, I'm going to put up the entire 121-mile route. I'm sure my Metrics would have been similar had RWGPS not crapped out on me the second half. I got my century! and then some to boot. 😀

Metric #1 - The First 66.3 miles

My Entire Route for the Day - 121 miles

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Tourists Day

​Well, Guess I chickened out racing to stay ahead of the storm today, so decided I would enjoy the beach again. Will send pictures later as I see what I can find to do until the weather changes. 

Later…..I’m going to go be a tourist and “smell the roses.” 

Not today, Thank You! ...but maybe I should have😒

That didn’t work out so good for me. Severe storms, no beach or shopping, just Dominoes delivered. Now I have crazy headwinds for my first 35 miles to fight tomorrow. Lesson learned, “make hay while the sun shines”, I think is how it goes. Anyways, tomorrow is a new day!

The clouds were a boiling cauldron of darkness.

Another lonely soul braving the storm

The sea was angry this day, my friends.

I could have beaten this but.... 

Watch it rain backwards

Friday, April 28, 2023

Day 5 of Flying Solo : Chapter 3

​Seems like day 3 and 4 disappeared. After my back-to-back long days, I woke up with sore knees screaming for a break. The Pastor asked me to stay so that the church members could meet me Wednesday night. I was so glad that I did. I immediately felt like family. 

Thursday morning the storms came thru and set in for the day. Br Richard hauled Ruby and I to my host for the evening in Gulf Breeze. It was so good to see Georgie and Denny Payne. It’s been a long time since they moved from Murfreesboro to work at their son's church.

This morning, I left early to head towards Panama City. With a good tail wind behind me and my head zeroed in on my ride, Ruby and I made amazing time. Probably one of my best days. 

I rode the coast most of way. I love the beach, especially this side, so I decided to get a motel and spend some time watching the waves. Something about the sound of the ocean calms my heart, which I needed today. I also went out to eat at a restaurant alone today but won’t be doing that again anytime soon. I guess that is one of the “first” that I’m not quite ready for. Hopefully, my grandkids won’t mind going with me still. 

I am beginning to see light at the end of the journey now. If I can keep up my pace, its looking like I could be dipping Ruby’s tire in the East Coast waters by the end of next week. 

But until then, we will keep chipping it off, one day at a time. 

Richard and Ruby

No riding in this!

Denny and Georgie Payne with Cornel and Major Payne

Norriego Point and Destin Harbour

Ruby and I choose this house 😉


Panama City Beach

Welcome to Destin

Welcome to Panama City Beach

Christian Retreat Cottages - my home for the night

I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Words alone can't describe this!

Today's Metrics - 4-28-2023

 I had a great tailwind, and I was in the zone. My best average speed the entire trip - 16.5 mph. My fastest moving pace of the entire trip - 3:38. I'm proud of my good day. I'm feeling like I might pop a "century ride" before this is over. 😏

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Day 2 of Chapter 3 Mississippi to Alabama

​Sorry I didn’t get this posted last night. After getting settled at the church parsonage, I joined my hosts for dinner. We enjoyed the meal and fellowship so much that I stayed until 8:30, then fell asleep when I sat down on the bed.

I left Biloxi after a good night's rest at 7:00 am. My goal for the day was to just make it across the ferry on Dauphin Island, but was there at 1:30 for the 2:00 boat, which left 3 available afterwards! Since David and I had ridden this route a couple of times in the past, I chose to take the 2:00pm ferry. Lots of sweet memories as I went back in time.

I always enjoy watching how much attention Ruby creates when she’s fully loaded. People share their dream of riding. Some that are “just a dream” while others have gone from the dream to the plans, asking lots of questions and advice. Then there are those that are amazed that riding a bike across country is even doable. And of course, there are those that think you are just crazy🤣 All leading to interesting conversations.

My ride was mostly along the coast. The beach was calling my name, but I had to keep going. The traffic was not bad at all. I crossed several bridges. Stopped at McDonalds for tea and Ruby got a quick charge. After all, we were both putting in a lot of miles😎

All in all, it was a beautiful day to ride 91.6 miles with no headwind. Always thankful for safety and no flats.

So, you think my videos will be crooked?

Ruby on the Biloxi Boardwalk

Another Bridge

But, this one had a lane just for me!

From yesterday's ride

Sunrise on the Gulf

Don't fall over!

Beautiful Catholic Church

Ruby got a charge while I got some fuel.

Goodbye Mississippi 👈👉 Hello Alabama

I was 14th in line to cross this vertical lift bridge.

Headed to Dauphin Island

Dauphin Island Water Tower

Ferry Gate

Fairy waiting for the Ferry.

More waiting

Random Man on Ferry

Ruby was nervous.

Ferry was sold out.

Approaching Fort Morgan - a 5-mile Ferry Ride

Colorful Vacation Cottages on Dauphin Island

Shell Banks Baptist Church
Over 150 years old

This Shell Banks Baptist Church rests near the location of the first Indian village in America visited by a white man. This was the Indian village of “Achuse” visited by Admiral Maldonado who was one of Hernando De Soto’s officers. This was in 1539, 81 years before the Pilgrims kneeled at Plymouth Rock and 68 years before the colony landed at Jamestown. Now I'm here 484 years later!

Richard and Patsy Otterburg - Thank You!

Pastor John Ballard - Bless You!