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2/19/2014 Bucket List Ride Day 4

Loaded bike

Fully loaded bike with saddle bags and B.O.B. trailer

Fully loaded bike with saddle bags and B.O.B. trailer[/caption] We started with a plan.  Over the past couple of days we have been falling a bit behind schedule and we need to be at Bob’s Bicycles by Friday, requiring averaging 60 miles per day over the next three days.

The plan was to get an earlier start, reduce the number of stops along the route to only every ten miles.  We need to average about 10 miles per hour and to go 60 miles to Mobile Al. Oh yeah, and for me to carry all of dad’s stuff, which I had planned to do from the beginning, but it had to be his idea.

Retired Marine

I met a retired Marine at IHOP

I met a retired Marine at IHOP[/caption]It’s always fun to meet people along the way and I met an old retired SeaBees/Marine at IHOP and it was fun to chat with him a bit while we ate breakfast.  We sat at IHOP just trying to wait out the fog.  It is kind of depressing to look out a window knowing that if we don’t start riding soon we are going to lose another day and fall even further behind.

After another hour or so we decided that we were just going to have to ride, fog or no fog.  We powered up our lights just hoping that the cars behind us would see us in time.

Foggy Sea Board

Wooden sea board

We rode along the sea board for a good part of the morning and the fog still kept me from being able to see the ocean.  That was so disappointing to me but after crossing a really long bridge the fog broke.   On the other side was a really cool Lighthouse!  I love lighthouses and that required a stop for a few minutes while I took pictures.  This is the Long Island Light House and it is in process of being restored.

We started the ride with a long flag on the back of my bike in hopes that it would help cars see us.  We lost the top half of the flag on day one leaving a little stubby white stick on the back of my bike.  Dad was really nervous about our flag being gone and he wanted to solve the problem.  He was willing to stop at various stores to find a new one.  Arrrggggg, more stopping.

Long Island Lighthouse

Me in front of the Long Island Lighthouse

Luck!  Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car dealership type of flag on the side of the rode and it fit perfectly on my little white stick.  Success! The flag mission is over, or so I thought.  Dad wanted it to be higher up above my head and he was bound and determined to solve the flag issue.  After a few more tries we decided to stop at Lowe’s.  Dad bought a reflector pole thingy that usually goes on the back of trailers and some super glue to attach it to the old one. (This is relevant later in the ride)

Now the flag thing is completed and we hit the road again.

As the miles clicked over I was really encouraged because we were averaging just under 10 mph and we were pacing well.  With only 37 miles to go, I felt that today was going to be a banner day and that we would indeed hit our 60 mile goal!

Long Island Plaque

Plaque describing the history of the lighthouse

We kept turning the pedals and dad was getting tired.  The good news, the flag was now long enough that dad could hang on to it and I could pull him along.  This was a nice change for me because I was able to ride hard and for a few miles we had really picked up the pace, I’m sure it was a site to see for the cars.  My bike was loaded with rear saddle bags, a big yellow bag on my rack and a fully loaded b.o.b. trailer with two saddle bags strapped to the top and my dad hanging on to my flag.

The ride was uneventful for several miles until we came to the Alabama border and realized that we still had 28 miles.  Uh Oh!  It was getting dark and dad was getting tired.  The conversation went from “Wow, we are making great progress” to “We need to find a place to stop very soon”.  Our mileage calculations we wrong and we had so much farther to go than we thought.  It became obvious that we were not going to make our destination.

Welcome to Alabama

Alabama State Line Sign

Dad sent me to scout ahead and I soon found a small town.  While asking people where the nearest hotel was, a guy in a red pickup truck stopped by and we chatted until my dad showed up.  Gary Smith and his chiwawa named “Hey Dog” warned us sternly that we needed to get off the road before dark and get out of this town.  He said this town does not like cyclists and it is too dangerous for us to be here.

Then he offered us a ride into town and my dad said yes.  I could tell that dad was struggling and although his pride was hurt by having taken a ride, he was grateful to be done riding today.

Gary Smith and Hey Dog

This is Gary and his dog “Hey Dog”

We loaded the bikes in the back of the truck and crawled into the front of his stick shift F-150 with “Hey Dog” sitting between us.  This was a scary ride. Gary’s truck bouncing like a boat and swaying all over the road.  “Dang, I’ve got a flat” said Gary and we pulled over.  Yup.  Flat tire with a cut in the sidewall.  Bum luck, but Gary had a compressor and filled the tire enough to get into the very edge of Theodore where he stopped at the first tire repair place we came to. The people there looked like they came right out of the movie Deliverance and they were looking at us like we were from Mars. Ironically even they warned us that if we stayed in this part of town we were going to get mugged and that someone was going to steal our bikes.


These are the Deliverance people we met at the tire station

This was motivating to us.  We quickly unloaded everything from Gary’s truck, throwing things out and getting out of the way.  Gary was in a HUGE hurry to get back to his property before the air ran out of his tire and we had to move quickly to get out of his way.  The tire shop crew told us that we wanted to ride to the other side of town “Under the bridge” and get there as soon as possible. Wow!  I’ve never been warned by so many different people that we needed to leave an area.  This was scary.

The ride to the hotel was one of the longest three miles, we were just crawling along trying to find some place to sleep.  Whoop Whoop!  Up in the distance, under the tunnel was a whole strip of hotels!  Yes!  The day was soon to be over and we checked into the Econo Lodge.

9 Flying carAdventure not over yet.  As we were wheeling the bikes in, I noticed that one of the saddle bags was missing.  CRAP!  We left it at the tire place and my heart sunk.  Just this morning I decided to put my computer in one of the saddle bags so it would be easy to reach.  My heart was pounding until we got into the room and discovered that the missing saddle bag only contained a pair of shoes and a few tools.  My computer and all the important stuff was still with us.

I’m not riding back.  The deliverance people at the tire shop can have the bag.  It’s time for bed.  Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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