Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sharp Dressed Man

But Then Again,  They Might Have Been Car Salesmen
One day last summer I was out earlier than usual, doing a fast run to Daytona and on the way I was cutting along on my beloved Riverside Drive and two Roadies were coming towards me on the other side of this fairly narrow road. They were guys about my own fiftyish age, but they were clearly not Trailer Park Cyclists. They had that Look, that silver-haired-tanned-corner-office look and they were wearing matching jerseys of maroon and gold, their club colors I suppose. Of course they were riding those bikes that are made of the same materials as the Space Station and these two dudes were pedaling along really slow, laughing and having a good time out there in the early morning sunrise. They both smiled at me and waved and for one quick moment I didn't want to be the Trailer Park Cyclist anymore, I didn't want to be this Ragamuffin Bum that takes pride in poverty and rides around trying to encapsulate salt-of-the-earth observations on Life...hell no, for one quick moment I wanted a Corner Office on the Twentieth Floor and and a Hot Secretary and a Trophy Wife and all the other things that flashed through my ravaged brain on a morning run to Daytona.

Those guys looked sharp! Man they looked sharp and well-coiffed and at ease and rich and as I turned North on my old nitty-gritty Highway One for the highway part of my sprint North to wherever I was going I was a little embarrassed to be me, at the moment. I was grateful that those two dazzling Captains of Industry had deigned to acknowledge my existence and I was a bit ashamed of myself for not working harder at the American Dream. Then You-Know-Who butted in.

Those two guys probably wish they were YOU. 

Good Ol' Voice.

Tales From Days Gone By
“I doubt it, Voice, but thanks anyway.” But who knows? Here's what I'm talking about: Thirty-five years ago I  dropped out of college and went looking for a job. I got lucky and landed a position with a restaurant equipment supply firm as a district sales manager and just like that, I went from being a long-haired hippie freak college kid to a guy with a closet full of suits, a new company car and a haircut I picked out of a haircut catalogue my over-priced hair stylist wanted me to try out. No, really.

Quit laughing. This is serious.

Once A Pirate...
I drove from meeting to meeting and never really knew what my job was, exactly, but it seemed to involve a lot of flirting with receptionists and laughing at jokes told by old fat guys sitting behind desks. Every once in a while if I needed extra cash I would cajole and bully and con some poor Mom & Pop team into buying WAY more equipment than they needed at prices they could not afford. We sold it to them on a buy-here pay-here deal and when they inevitably failed, I would pull up with a big truck and our warehouse crew. While I stood there sympathizing with the bankrupt and bewildered victims, the crew would take the stuff back to the warehouse and steam clean it and polish it up and get it ready for the next unsuspecting Hopefuls who came along. I remember more than once these people would apologize to me for failing. They felt they had let me down. I was twenty one years old.

Don't Do It If You Can't Live Up To It
It just never sat right with me and at twenty-one I thought I was just being a killer salesman and a future Captain of Industry and I was proud to announce my title and flash a little cash at the local Disco (I said stop laughing!) but when I would on occasion find myself having a beer at a corner bar I would lie and say I worked construction. Man, one of the things I have always tried to get across to my sons is never do anything you can't brag about.

You've done a lot of things you can't...

“Shush, Voice, I'm pontificating here.”

Meanwhile,  Back To Bicycles
What does this have to do with cycling? Everything. I just can't stop to explain right now.

So ultimately I left my job as a scummy suit-wearin' fancy haircut-havin' disco-dancin' douche and hitchhiked to California. I got a job in construction and started doing all the stuff that I am still doing Lo Unto This Very Day. Except I added Bicycles.

Back To the Car Salesmen
So when I saw those two sharp-dressed cyclists cruising by that morning I knew that I had made a choice many years ago  and just for a moment I regretted that choice. Those guys had really good haircuts.

Tales of Brave Ulysses
But I am, after all the Trailer Park Cyclist. Had I continued on the Path of Avarice I might have ended up  pedaling along with those two Corner Officers in their matching kit, but then I would never have found my way here to the Whispering Pines Trailer Park. For the first time in the Park's history, we have a Full House. We have a waiting list. The other day the elderly Owners came to me and thanked me and gave me a  raise in pay. I am Changing this Park and thus I am changing the neighborhood. To celebrate, I went to Walmart and bought two new inner tubes and some much needed socks and underwear.

Uh Oh
Then, while I was doing my extravagant shopping something snapped inside my brain and I decided to Go Back Out and Make a Little Cash.

Go ahead and get it off your chest

“Shut Up, Voice.” But as usual, the Voice is right.

If It Ain't Fun,  Why Do It?
It has been a real blast here just fiddling around with trailers and I haven't even seen the inside of a motor vehicle in over a month. My beat up old Dodge Caravan threw a belt awhile back and the battery died and I just let it sit. Come to think of it, that was three months ago. I work where I live and I have become pretty comfortable and it took about a year for me to settle down and realize I was happy. I started writing this Blog and made many new friends who are just friends. They don't work for me and sometimes they give me stuff. I got started with Uncle Bill and our whole Barbecue Sauce Venture and just everything I do is fun.

For Cryin' Out Loud, Just spit it out!

I Get Gifts
“OK, OK, Voice! Sheesh!” What happened is that my Long-Time Reader and good friend Agent Kaz, (code name The SwellGuy) sent me a Care Package recently. He had some old clipless shoes lying around and decided I needed an upgrade from my infamous practice of riding around in flip-flops. I wondered what I would do with them since I don't have any clipless pedals and no extra cash to buy any, but today the UPS truck pulled into the parking lot and as usual everybody came out of their trailers Hoping for a Miracle. Today's miracle was mine, though, and as I carried my prize into the trailer I thought those must be some big shoes for such a big box, but I knew.

Aww, KAZ...
I knew and I was already blushing and embarrassed and the Blonde was there and when I opened the box there were the shoes and of course some Shimano SPD pedals and a cool little hat and a saddlebag with a multi-tool and some gloves. There was also a Really Nice Saddle and...a Bell Helmet. And some brand new Bontrager Bib Shorts.

A Helmet and some Bib shorts and I am wearing them right now and wearing nothing else and when Miss Jo came to my open trailer door a minute ago she was startled at first but then started laughing.

“What in the hell are you up to now” she asked.

“My friend KAZ sent me some bicycle stuff. Pretty cool, huh?” I stood up. “They have padding in the seat to make them more comfortable on the bicycle.”

“No Way!”

“Way,” I said. “Come feel.”

“Yeah, right.” she said. “I wasn't born yesterday. Are we still going to Home Depot in the morning?”

“Can I wear my new outfit?” I asked.

“Whatever,” she said, shaking her head and heading home. Miss Daisy had a huge dog-smile on her face.

See what I mean? Fun. It's more fun now and for a long time it wasn't and I don't want to rock the boat but I gotta hustle a few grand for the Sauce Thing and a couple other minor projects. I don't know. I'll figure it out.

Say thank you, KAZ

Thanks, Karl! I never get gifts so I don't know how to do it right but I really appreciate it, buddy!  And thank Miss Neen for me!

That's All,  Folks
Goodnight Everyone! Thanks for coming along for the ride! 

 Yer pal, TJ

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Trail's End Haberdashery

Friday, November 4, 2011

A Ride Report In Three Parts: Part Four

A Century is A Lot
I got sidetracked halfway through yesterday's Blog and started telling the heartwarming tale of the Family Life of Old Tim Joe, for what it is worth...but I also left myself stranded without beer or succor way up in Ponce Inlet, about thirty miles from the Whispering Pines Trailer Park. The ride did not end there. I had Miles to Go and there was a certain darkening to the sky that made me think I better go those miles pretty quick. The day was getting late and my business and reminiscing about Days Gone By was done and I was more that ready to leave the past behind and hustle on South to yet another little Market where there would be beer and peanuts and a quick sprint home.

Florida Climb
Florida ain't much for hills but we do have these artificial hills called bridges and the big ones are pretty big and I am on one now, climbing and spinning and going pretty quick considering how many miles I have traveled today, but it has been a segmented journey so filled with good moments and swift riding and short breaks that I don't feel a thing. I'm riding Me Little Darlin', a 1981 Schwinn Super Le Tour that I got from Coyote for twenty dollars, but there is considerably more money in her now. Early last summer, I installed a Mavic 36 Spoke Open Sport rim with a Tiagra hub. I also put on a Sram cassette and a new Sram chain and listen, those Were Dollars So Well Spent that I wish I could spend them again, but it may never happen. After 1500 miles or more they look and feel the same as they did the day they came off the truck. The Kenda Kwest tire I put on is showing just a little wear and all things considered I can only report Absolute Satisfaction with these products.

But right now I am descending on the down hill side of this big bridge and going pretty fast and there is something happening with the road surface. It is pretty rough and I just remembered that this is the original 27” front wheel with the rusty spokes and Kmart tire and is this safe?

Something New, Something Old
Sure, why not? I retained the big old wheel because I liked the way it looked and I get a kick out of doing things that might shock the purists; but also my brain tells me that this big thirty-six spoke rim is probably doing more than a little to create this super smooth ride that I get when out ramblin' about on Me Darlin.' Whatever the case, I made it just fine and cut left onto the river road again and it is only ten miles to the beer store and that blessed wind that has held steady out of the Northeast all day has cooled now in the late afternoon and has shifted slightly to the North and this will be a sleigh ride home with a cool, hard tailwind and a heart full of memories and joy of life.

Mumbles the Clown
I put the hammer down and blast those ten miles like nothin' and there it is, the Nova Road market and I dash inside to grab a Foster's and some more honey roasted peanuts. I really love those things. At the counter the cute teenage girl clerk wants to chat. I notice my hands are shaking a little and that I find it hard to speak. I am in Long Road Mode and I realize that I have not spoken out loud in hours and suddenly I feel the effect of almost ninety miles of pedaling my bicycle. I nod spasmodically and mumble at the clerk who now thinks I am a Challenged Person (which I am, sometimes) and then I step outside and I go over to the bike. I stash my peanuts and my beer into my messenger bag and I look at the sky. It is clear enough for now; there are only twelve easy miles left to go and I have a beer break coming up so it will be alright.

The Afternoon Break
I swing a leg over and hit a couple licks on the pedals and once again I am gliding. On days like this I feel more natural while pedaling than I do when I am standing and walking. The bicycle is part of me, or I am part of the bicycle;  it is a thing that is hard to define. I'm pushing hard, stroking steady and smooth in front of that following breeze and now I am crossing these three little bridges that will take me Home. Just on the other side of the third Little Bridge is a secret Creek-Side Clearing that houses the Homeless on occasion and sometimes serves as a Break Room for a certain Trailer Park Cyclist when he is Homeward Bound from a Journey to the North.

 Here it is a Quiet Spot and only six easy downwind miles to the Whispering  Pines Trailer Park and listen:  it makes all the difference,  stopping here.   Stopping here to stretch, fuel up on beer and honey-roasted peanuts is just what I need to get me through to the end. One  Hundred Miles Is A Lot.  One hundred is a lot of miles,  but not really;  today one hundred miles is hardly enough.  Right now  I'm sitting here At Peace and In the Moment;  right now I'm sitting here by Side of Stream: sitting here in the Here and Now  and being the good Zen Monkey I one day hope to become.  I am  Stopping By Stream, I am breathing, sipping the cold Foster's Beer and chomping on peanuts. I am  chewing them really good, so that they can  get in there and do their job. I need that juice now! I am  having a staring contest with a small school of fish that are just a few feet away, wondering who I am and what I am doing.

No Getting Out Of the Philosophizing
Which brings up a point that has beleaguered my brain for Lo These Many Weeks. What is a Century? It finally soaked through to my sometimes almost impenetrable conciousness that what I am calling "Riding a Century" is actually “Riding a Hundred Miles.” An actual Century is a group ride, and organized event. I guess. I really don't know. Nor do I care.

They Came From Outer Space
I saw some comment somewhere saying something to the effect about trying to finish a century ride in five hours, which of course is an average of twenty miles per hour. Now, in a group, working together, why not? But it sounds stressful to me. It makes me think of Responsibility and Concentration and a certain Regimented Procedure and it sounds like trying not to crash into the other guy's wheel and having to watch where you blow snot and worst of all, trying to “chat” and be a Good Fellow.

Not that there is anything wrong with all that. I've never done it, although I suppose it is inescapable and some day I will find myself in a group of guys wearing space-man suits and saying manly things and talking about stocks and hedge funds and carboluminum, even though I don't have any of those things and never will, by plan and design.

But What About Tim Joe?
But what I call a Century is something else. I may have to rename it. The Homeless Century. Those Homeless Guys you see out there on their bicycles are not out riding for exercise. They are not really riding to get someplace, either. What they are doing is Living On Their Bikes. They have no where else to properly be, except to sit in some stand of trees where their tents are and where they sleep. So they spend most of their day on their bicycles because once they stop moving, sooner or later they will encounter the police.

Don't ask me how I know all this.

How I Do It
 This is not a Homeless Rant. I know a lot of those guys and most of them know what they are doing, they know what they are doing and why they are living the way they are living.  It might surprise some of you to know that they like it just fine and that they see some of you as the victims of society.  But for now, let us set that aside. What I am trying to say here is that over the last few months I have fallen into the trap of being a Conscious Cyclist, of thinking about speed and cadence and carboluminum and Shimano and Sram. And while all of this thinking was made necessary by the many long miles that I have been riding in the Year of our Lord 2011, I fear that it has caused me to think of Me Darlin' Schwinn as a machine and myself as a cyclist. She used to be my Easy Chair where I would relax on Long Summer Sundays while I lounged about the countryside that surrounds my home. The casual observer would see a rather bedraggled old guy out pedaling around on quiet roads alone, but I was never alone, as you can see. I was riding with old friends who are gone and thinking about friends who are here. I was sneaking up on wildlife to whom I was no threat. I won't be making any road kill today.

The best parts of my long bicycle journeys are the moments like this one, where I pull off on my stealth machine into a small clearing at creekside and enjoy a well-earned beer and reflect on the day.  Many, many  times at this spot I have wanted to keep going.  I did not want the Ride to Stop. But the Ride never really stops.  The Ride never really stops if you are doing it right.

I think I will call it a Free Century.

And Then,  Home
So that's it! Six easy miles and I will be home. Slightly more than a hundred miles, but when you ride a Free Century, nobody's counting. I will pedal on back to the Park and hopefully Uncle Bill has stoked the fire in the Quasitron 6000 Steam-Powered Search Engine and hopefully he left me a couple cold ribs and some of the potato salad in the fridge. Remember, it is still Sunday Afternoon at Whispering Pines Trailer Park,  Where Time Stands Still. And I know those ribs will be there and I know Cold Beer will be there too, because that is how Uncle Bill (one of the friends still here) Rocks and yeah,  that is How I Rock Too.  Thanks for staying with me,  my friends!

By the Way:  Happy Birthday Uncle Bill!

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Rib Shack

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ride Report In Three Parts: Homeward Bound

And just like that, We're on the Downhill Side of a Hundred Mile Ride. I'm doing the Homeless Pirate Run. I'm blasting South along a River Road that is beautiful enough on it's own; but there is so much Magic and History wrapped up in this trail that we are riding on that I fear my Beautiful Dreamers will find their credulity stretched to believe it. Relax, guys, I am done with the history lesson. Maybe. Maybe not.  Ya never know.

South, then! Destination, Ponce Inlet. Let us pause for Visual Enlightenment:

This is the place where I live and ride

This is what happens the first time you taste Uncle Bill's Gator Sauce

Dangit!  I told the Blonde to get out of the way,  I'm photo-journalizing here!

Okay,  here is the picture I was looking for

Back to the Bicycling 
Ahem.  South to Ponce,  then.  I get there, I do that aimless Drifting Around by Bicycle thing I do,  I drift some more and then I pedal over to a Little Market that has served Ponce Inlet for many, many years.  Back when the TPC was building Hideouts for Millionaires me and the Crew would retreat there for lunch and shade.  These days,  I go there on my bike rides and  for you-know-what.  Beer,  I mean.  And after a pretty fast (even for me) blast down the river,  after meandering around this really nice sanctuary,  I am ready for the Homeward Beer and interested in seeing what changes have taken place at that little market since the  last time that  I was there, several months ago.  And change has indeed taken place:  They Are Closed.  Out Of Business.

OK, Now I'm Pissed
While it is true that I write this blog for fun and because I don't have anything better to do,  sometimes I have got to break it down and step aside from the jocularity (sparse as it may be) and tell the truth.  Twenty years ago,  before I went over to Tampa for a two-week job that evolved into seven years of hard labor and wheelbarrows of money,  I was a Pirate Captain and builder of Big Houses and I had a semi-loyal crew that went where I went and helped me do things that made all of us some money.  Not a lot of money  (for me that came later) but we made enough money to feed the fires and to feed the three-foot tall junior pirates running around in our various yards while the Big Pirates built fires and cooked meat and drank beer and said Har!

Listen Up 
The Best Pirate of them all was a guy we'll call Broc Branham and he was my Right Hand and a Better Man and all that and all those houses we built,  a lot of those restaurants throughout the South and etcetera may have been funneled through me and my various creditors but it was Broc and his Motley Crew that made it happen.

It was Broc Branham who made piles of lumber become buildings and and it was Broc Branham who made empty lots become places to eat and live.  One day we were sitting on the side of that  little market in Ponce Inlet, Florida.  It was the only market in the Village.  Off to the side was a retaining wall and some cool deep shade and we would go there to get Gatorade and slices of Pizza and yeah,  sometimes,  beer.

"We ain't gonna make it, brother,"  I said to Broc.  He knew what I was talking about.

"It'll be alright," he said.  "I'll make it."  

Fuck it man,  we were way down on payroll.  Being the Master of Disaster that I am,  I had conned the payroll company we were using at the time into carrying us for a couple of weeks until we got to the point in this McMansion where the tide would turn and I could get a big enough check to settle the waters.  But it had been a steady 100 degrees everyday and the boys were hurting and the contractor we were working for was holding the check that would solve everything until we did This Much Work and the payroll company was holding the payroll until they got a check...which was leaving the boys a little less than motivated.  And it was Friday.

"Look, Broc.  We'll send them home now and call it eight.  Then tomorrow you and me will come in and hack it out until we get the fuckers their money."  He looked at me with that hard-core direct way he had.  This was a man that was a little over five-foot-eight and about 150 pounds.  He could stare a hole through a brick wall.

"OK, Boss," he said.  

 And we did.  We sent them home and we all drank beer and whiskey that afternoon.  I learned a long time ago the Hard Way:  if you can't make payroll at least Buy the Beer and I did and the next day me and Broc Branham went up there and hacked away at it and got our asses kicked by the heat and by what came down to two guys doing the work of ten guys;  we hacked away at it until our hearts were nearly broke.  Then we hacked away at  it some more and we fucking kept doing it for six days until I could walk into that fat-assed contractor's office and not say a word.  He took one look at me and Broc and cut the check.

This is..Well...
Twenty years later I have come to this little market in Ponce Inlet to grab a beer and sit in the shade of that retaining wall and remember my brother Broc Branham.  But the market is closed.  No Beer.

And Cancer took Broc six years ago,  while I was off in Virginia, not here at home;   I was off working in Virginia and there is No Beer Here and no Market;  just these memories and the Blonde that Broc left behind and the two nine-year-old blonde-headed twins that lost their Dad...this must be why I like to ride Long Miles Until It Hurts but then,  I too am  getting old.

The Happy Ending
But what of that?  Old Tim Joe was an Old  Orphan his Ownself, Fat and Drunk and Dying the Hard Way over in Tampa Bay,  dying of loneliness and depression and one day he took a drive over to his old stomping grounds on the East Coast and accidentally-on-purpose bumped into the Blonde and the Twins and now we have been five years together...the Twins are sixteen now and the Blonde is her Old Self and I Am Here and I Am Pedaling My Ass Off and sharing all of this with you guys.

Magic and History,  wouldn't you say?

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Orphans Home

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Ride Report In Three Parts (Everybody Still Awake?): Pirates

The Story Thus Far
The Way I was headed this Sunday morning was a meandering run first to the west.  I had not been on the bike for days and just wasn't ready to fight a headwind at 10 A.M, so I took a morning boost to the West. After that I will turn right and feather my way into the Northeast, taking the wind on my starboard bow, angling in such a way that were I sailing I would be close-hauled and shouldering my way against wind and wave, doing some pounding and getting a bit wet. But not today; today I am only doing a little urban pedaling on a Long Ride.

Where I will turn right it is pretty far Out There on what was a Country Road when I first moved to this part of Florida  almost thirty years ago; but that infamous housing bubble and those rascally mortgage companies fixed that. Now there are a lot of three story office buildings and strip malls and condos that sit eerily quiet on a brisk Sunday Morning, and I fear they are just as quiet for the rest of the week as well. But these buildings suit me just fine. They are dampening the effect of the wind and this shiny new wide commercial lane is empty and I am a ghost, a ghost cyclist pedaling fast to the Northeast and putting down miles. I am looking all around me and trying to remember what this place was like when I first saw it, but there is not much to remember. Cow pastures and huge oak trees, primarily, those huge moss-draped Live Oaks that I call Worship Trees, because on a really hot Florida summer day they are good to sit under, drink your water and say a prayer.

It's True: I Am A Druid
I look at one office building parking lot. There is a big For Sale sign out front, worn and peeling and forlorn. Just behind the sign is one of those big Worship Oaks, spreading its branches wide and shading an empty parking lot. Once it had shaded cattle lying underneath to escape the sun.

Progress Is Its Own Reward and the plight of those cows and realtors don't concern me this morning. Today I am all about the miles and going nowhere. This stretch will give me thirty miles of progress, thirty miles of angling up on this route and then I'll have fifty miles and then I'll turn South. That will put the wind on my Port quarter, a broad reach with a lift and I will ride to Ponce Inlet. Sounds easy, doesn't it? Today, so far, it is.

Florida is a Pirate Place, and we are still here, all around, everywhere, if you know how to look. (Some of the worst pirates used to sit in those empty office buildings; but they have taken their plunder and moved on.) Were you to enter the woods behind many of these buildings you will find a tent and a bicycle, sometimes two or three. They go by the name of the Homeless, but that ain't it. These are Florida Pirates, unshipped crew waiting quietly for a Captain and a boat and a horizon. These guys live outside normal society but they are here, all the same. Were you to give them a  house to live in, you would soon enough find them sleeping out back around a smoldering bonfire.

Florida was founded by pirates. They called themselves explorers and Conquistadores, but if you ever ran into them on the high seas you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. One of the mightiest of these pirates was a diminutive little man with a giant ambition and a touch of the poet. His name was Juan Ponce deLeon.

I won't go into the history and story of Juan Ponce, not yet. I'm saving all that for a novel I'm working on about a couple of beach bum Hobie sailors who run into an old guy claiming to know where the Fountain of Youth is and who may or may not be Don Juan himself.

The Inlet
Today the only importance of the Spaniard Who Owned Puerto Rico is that an opening into the sea on the Atlantic Coast of Florida, an opening once known as Mosquito Inlet, was ultimately re-named Ponce Inlet and a Lighthouse was built there and a fishing fleet established and then, just like that, two hundred years go by and it has become an elegant tourist stop and an exclusive hideout neighborhood for retired corporate pirates.

My long Northeast trek is behind me. Those empty buildings did their job well enough, they efficiently blocked and tempered the wind and I am grateful for that; but I miss the pastureland. But what of it? Here now is Old Ormond Beach, once home to some of the greatest Pirates of all time, men with names like Flagler and Rockefeller. Here now is Ormond Beach and I am turning right again, the wind has not changed and I will get that bit of lift from a breeze that started out strong enough and is only growing stronger. This is cycling!

Break Time
I know a park where I can sneak a beer and a banana and some honey roasted peanuts. The market where I buy these supplies is frequented by those guys I mentioned earlier. Their pirate-cycles are out front. They're buying beer too, and why not? Nobody here but us “homeless” guys. 


Do Herons Fly At Night?
Last night before the wine took over I had gone out behind the trailer with Daisy so we could do our business. There was a small bonfire and meat cooking on the grill.  Looking up, I noticed the wind was pushing the palms around pretty good, and pushing the clouds out of the sky creating one of those crystalline nights when the stars twinkle and shimmer and seem close enough to touch. As I look two huge Herons fly over, pushed by the wind and looking not so much as though they are flying but rather hurtling through the sky, sent on a mission by whatever god deals with the ways of birds and leaving me (as always) glad just to be here.

I need a new saddle and often look longingly at pictures of Brooks B-17 leather beauties on the interweb, but what of that? I toss my empty beer can and banana peel and so on into the nearby trashcan, step from the bench of the concrete table where I am sitting (so that my feet do not touch the ground) and into the pedals. My old saddle is a cheap plastic thing I pirated from some other bike and is wrapped with black electric tape and so far this year I have put in almost 2500 miles sitting on that seat, so I think she will be good for a few more. It is about 26 miles to Ponce Inlet and that beer was good and the day is only getting better and my butt feels fine.

The River
I will be following the  River South to Ponce Inlet.  The tide is unusually high,  a result of that stiff East Wind  trying to blow the Ocean over the barrier island and into the river.  Helped by the gravitational pull of a nearly new Moon,  the waves are lapping up over the seawall and there is salt spray misting across the road.  The temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and I'm breezing along at 19 mph and I have to control myself to keep from bursting into song.  I am a bit wary;  the right combination of wind and wave could slap me down and off the bike and I am hard pressed to imagine a mishap I would cherish more.

This is a Blast!  Pirate Cycling!

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Pirate Hideout