Wednesday, August 20, 2008

On the road again

The phone was ringing as I opened the door to our house the day we returned from the July trip. It was someone I had not yet met, inviting me to submit a bio and photo for the ECHO board website. I was not sure why they wanted this, but it seems that they were gathering former board members for a dinner in honor of retiring executive director Martin Price. Not satisfied with the 4000 miles traveled this July, I can't resist a trip to Florida to celebrate his years of service and retirement. (I might be gathering tips for MY retirement dinner!)

The appearance of Fay (the Hurricane, not our good friend of the same name) almost put the bike trip off and confined me to a car. But, I see the weather along my route dissipating and the forecasts for cities along the way are similar to average summer weather in the Southeast, so at the moment, it is planned to depart home at 6 AM Friday and arrive in Fort Myers at 10PM. Spend Saturday touring the ECHO facilities and sharing time with visitors, volunteers and other board alumnus. One current board member is Rod Frank, a veterinarian that we worked with in Haiti years ago.

The route will once again be planned as super-slab (rider talk for interstate highways) as time is of the essence getting down there. This time the interstates are not interesting ones (like I-77 in West Virginia) but more like boredom. There are opportunities to take 'shortcuts' in South Carolina and Georgia to get off I-95, the worst road in the trip. I will be off interstates in north Florida from the border to the Gainesville area, and then back onto I-75.

But seeing those people and especially celebrating with Martin and Bonnie will be worth it. My trip back north will be at a more leisurely pace. Sunday I will travel up to Clearwater and stay a day and night with my step-dad. I'll leave Clearwater early and try to get out of the high traffic density area by going up the coast on US-19 to Tarpon Springs or farther as the spirit leads. I suspect that the route will develop from that point and no-doubt will include meeting some interesting people and see some funny signs or other fun stuff. I'll share it with you when I get back.

The bike is great with the new rear tire, tuned up brakes and fixed headlight. All I need to do is clean all those bugs off the windscreen so I can collect a new crop of them on the way south.

Lesson learned: never trust a weather report, specially path of hurricanes over land. (Map from NOAA hurricane tracker service)

1 comment:

erica said...

Good luck with that 6AM departure time, since that didn't work out so well last time. =) Have an excellent trip, and tell Jerry we all said hi!