Moving Day

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Tuesday January 31, 2017, 65 miles (105 km) – Total so far: 1,178 miles (1,896 km)

Cedar Key to Homassasa, Florida. Natures Resort RV Park

I’ve had a great time here at Cedar Key paddling, sight seeing, playing music and meeting wonderful new friends. The sunsets were spectacular, and the food was great. That saying, it was time to move on.

I decided to cheat a bit and ride Clara unloaded to Homasassa. After all, if there’s a way to carry 50 pounds of gear without placing it on your bike, why not take advantage of it? I have to say that the weather was perfect, the wind calm and the the traffic lite. Well until I got to Crystal River anyway. All in all, it was a fine day to get back on the bike.

Clara unloaded.

One of many beautiful bathroom breaks along the way.

I’d missed the hawks with their distinctive cries circling over my head. The sound of frogs singing in the ponds. The feel of the sun warming my face through crystal blue sky’s. The sight of a family of wild pig butts scampering off the grass back into the safety of the woods. The freedom of the road. It was good to be back.

Railroads played an important roll here. There were several exhibits along the way to enjoy.

Clara and I have engine envy.

I arrived at our new campsite in due course. We are backed up on the creek, surrounded by wadding birds, manatees and dauphins. It felt awesome to just sit in the sun watching nature unfold but I had a job to do. After all, its hotdog night at the resort!

A couple of years ago, I’d played music during hot dog night to some of my largest audiences. Of course they didn’t come to hear me, they were attracted by the brauts, chili and kraut. They did stayto listen however. Back then, I actually had been invited to play and had brought my PA system and microphones. Of course this time I was on the bike.

No matter. I went to fine Linda, the organizer of the event and as she served the meals, I asked her if I could play and play I did. Love these chances to perform in front of large crowds but love even more watching people tap their feet, dance and sing along with me. Oh yes, and I love the chance to talk about my ride, my cause event tour for Fender Music Foundation in an effort to “Give Music Life” to those kids in need. Even scored a gig next Tuesday to do it all again. Now that’s fun.

Later, as we walked the dogs prior to bed, the Moon, Venus and Mars but on the evenings light show. Pretty darn good day.

A Passion For Living

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Thursday January 26, 2017, 14 miles (23 km) – Total so far: 1,113 miles (1,791 km)

Cedar Key, Fl.

Today was a fun day. Not because it was cold, windy and overcast. Not because I saw incredible sites and had amazing adventures. Nope, it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with John.

I met John when I arrived at our camp site here at Cedar Key. Very interesting fellow with so many stories and as it turned out we shared many of the same interests. Both he and his wife Marina have been Jeri’s friends here while I’ve been riding around. She had told them about my tour and cause and John was very interested to know that I rode a recumbent bicycle.

You see, John had been injured several years ago to the point of being in a wheelchair. The doctors were not sure that he would walk again. John proved them wrong. Not that he is completely healed mind you but he was determined to do the things that made him happy. When they travel, they bring their toys with them. I have gear envy over their Hobie Cat kayak/outrigger/sailboat. They also have bicycles which they ride but which occasionally gives John troubles due to his back. The doctors had suggested a recumbent trike so when I arrived, John was ready with his questions.

I answered as best I could having little knowledge of trikes but lots of thoughts about Clara. Fortunately, there was a recumbent dealer on the Withlacoochee Bike Trail near by, so John was able to try several brands out and obtain more info there. When he came back, there was that glow of excitement on his face. Here was something he could do to exercise, have fun and enjoy the freedom of riding again without pain. One of my greatest pleasures in life is to see someone so excited and passionate about doing something they love.

He choose a trike he liked but there would be a delay of eight weeks until it arrived. Ok, they decided to change their plans and stay in Florida longer. That is, of course, until John convinced the dealer to go ahead and put him on the top of the list. End result, a beautiful, brand new CatTrike ready by Friday.

I anxiously awaited his arrival to congratulate him on his new machine but missed his return. Yesterday however, he proudly presented her and we went for a 14 mile ride together. He kept commenting on how great the trike was but worried about the engine. Sound familiar? Of course he knew that with time, that engine would get stronger and the rides would get easier. He even purchased a basket so his companion Abby, the Maltese, could join him. He joked about her not “pulling” her weight.

Abby perched just right for the view ahead and behind.

I have a saying I like to use. I don’t know if its original or not but it goes, “Don’t just dream about it, do it”. John is a perfect example and I know when I get discouraged, tired, lonely and ready to give up, all I have to do is think of him and his determination to enjoy what life has given him. Thanks John.

Meet John and his new machine.

Kayaking and Riding

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Wednesday January 25, 2017, 41 miles (66 km) – Total so far: 1,099 miles (1,769 km)

Cedar Key, Fl.

It’s been a relaxing few days here at Cedar Key, Fl. I’ve been resting and eating mostly home cooking that we had frozen and brought down. I’m quickly regaining the weight I had lost getting here. I’ve met several new friends and played some music around the campfire. The other day, we went kayaking.

Low tide behind the RV. The white dots are egrets, ibis, wood storks and white pelicans. Some day, I'll have a grown up camera with a telephoto lens.

It pays to know the tide charts as low tide takes most of the water leaving mud flats. This is nice also as all of the shore birds including Roseate Spoonbills who feed on the small creatures in the marsh can be seen close by. Even with the high tides, you have to navigate carefully to avoid the oyster bars.

The kayak, ready to launch at high tide.

Jeri and her friend Laurette had found a bald eagle’s nest on a previous outing and they took me and Laurette’s son, Thomas’ family, to find it. Soon, we rounded a bend in the canal and there in a large pine was a huge black nest complete with an adult bald eagle. I’m always excited to see these because they were so rare when I was growing up. Now due to regulated pest control practices and breeding programs, eagles can be seen much more frequently. These are such a majestic birds.

Looking at the eagle nest which is a black blob in the tallest pine on the right.

Jeri had to leave for a couple of days to attend some of our personal business so I’m here taking care of the Frenchies. Not wanting to loose all of the conditioning I’d gained in the last three weeks, I took Clara out for a spin. I’m always amazed how light and nimble she is without all the gear. We averaged 5 mph faster this way even with a stiff crosswind that increased as the morning drew on. Of course, rested legs may have had something to do with it as well. Regardless, I’d been missing riding and was reminded yet again of the joy of being out on the road. Soon, I’ll be out for even more touring and adventures but I’ll be patient and enjoy my rest and activities as a tourist first.

Clara at the Cedar Key Scrub State Perserve touted as "The Real Florida".

Cleaning and Being A Tourist.

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Tuesday January 24, 2017

Cedar Key, Fl.

Just an example of the wall murals in town.

Yesterday was spent cleaning Clara, equipment and touring the town of Cedar Key, Fl. The last two days were so windy that I was still glad I wasn’t riding. I’ll get enough of that I’m sure in the months to come.

Clara needed a lot of work. It’s amazing how clean her drive train became with a toothbrush, dawn dishwashing soap and wet ones, non-scented of course. All of her bolts were loose. Now they are tight. The sand and salt were all removed and she looks like a new mule ready to see the world.

Bright and shiny Clara.

The gear got a once over as well. I think it was the first time in three weeks that everything was dry at one time. The sand could not survive the tarp as it flapped in the relatively calm 15 mph wind. This will be decision time for some of the gear. Things that I never used will stay behind and as of now, I can only think of one thing to add. More of this in future posts.

The town of Cedar Key is small and quaint. There’s a large art community here in evidence but the galleries and wall murals. The town was known for pencil making from the local cedars that grew here. Now of course, tourism is key as well as clam farming. Apparently this area with just the right amount of fresh water entering the bay and ideal currents and temperature is just right for clams. You can tour the clam nursery and see how it’s done.

One of the many cedar trees that were not made into pencils.

It’s also the home of Tony’s Seafood Resturant where you can get his world championship clam chowder. He won the New England Clam Chowder championship three years running and was retired to their hall of fame. We bought a case, it’s that good.

Today is for kayaking around the islands and visiting the wildlife. A bonfire is planed for tonight with music by you know who. Excellent.

So, this is how they get pink.