The United States of Broken Hearts

THIS TUMBLR IS ABOUT ONE MAN'S SOLO BICYCLE JOURNEY FROM VENTURA, CA TO JEKYLL ISLAND, GA. DAILY HAPPENINGS, DAILY PICTURES AND MAYBE SOME DAILY VIDEO.

Stats/Reflections

To start, here are a few stats on the overall journey.

  • Total trip length start to finish: 24 days
  • Total riding days: 21 days
  • Total miles: 2836 +- 5 miles.  (the third to last day google maps blunder was the only non-exact day. I could figure it out, but don’t feel like it. I also spent 8 miles riding around Lake Havasu city, which is not listed on this blog)
  • Average miles per day: 135 miles/per day over 21 days
  • Most miles per day: 200 miles, Defuniac Springs, FL to Naylor, GA
  • Shortest miles per day: 80 miles, Mineral Wells, TX to Dallas, TX
  • Longest day: Defuniac Springs, FL to Naylor, GA - 15 to 16 hours in the saddle
  • Longest push in shortest time: 312 miles from Defuniac Springs, FL to Jekyll Island, GA in 32.5 hours, includes food/water stops and a terrible nap on a picnic table in a gazebo at the Naylor, GA community park.
  • Longest stretch between towns: Twentynine Palms, CA to Parker, AZ - 110 miles through the Mojave.
  • Hottest temperatures: 100+ in the deserts of California and Arizona
  • Coldest Temp: 40’s at night in Arizona
  • Highest Elevation: 8200+ near Flagstaff, AZ
  • Lowest Elevation: 0, but Louisiana may have some locations in the negative.
  • Biggest Town/City: Dallas - Fort Worth: 6.5 million
  • Smallest Town/City: Red Hill, NM: 1 home, It had a town sign too.
  • Total flats: more than 5, less than 10
  • Total wrecks: 1
  • Total weight lost: guessing less than 15 lbs
  • Total verbal arguments with drivers: 3
  • Total middle fingers given: less than 30
  • Total times I looked to see if my rear tire was flat: close to 100 times a day
  • Total dead animals I passed: 150-200

A few reflections after pedaling over 2800 miles.

  • During September and October, the prevailing winds do not come out of the west.  They come out of the Southeast.  I had a tailwind 5% or less of the time and a headwind/crosswind out of the southeast 50-60% of the time.  No wind the rest of the time.
  • One thought that helped me through was telling myself that nothing can go on forever.  Sometimes this was good, sometimes this was bad.  Examples:  This rain can’t last forever, this shitty road can’t last forever, this heat can’t last forever, etc…  The bad, this fast pavement won’t last forever, this cloud won’t block the sun forever, etc…
  • Nothing can prepare you for the mental sanity test that a strong headwind or crosswind for miles upon miles will lay upon you.  This probably isn’t true, I just had not even thought about or ever imagined i’d ride through 4 days straight of wind in west Texas.
  • I don’t understand west Texas.  It’s barren, flat, windy, hot and everyone drives a brand new American made truck.
  • For toting itself as a biker friendly state, Arizona had the worst shoulders ever.
  • Louisiana has some of the smoothest roads ever.
  • Your rear is not meant to sit on a tiny bike seat for 8-15 hours a day for days in a row.
  • Your hands are not meant to rest on bike handle bars for 8-15 hours a day either…hoping feeling and strength in my fingers come back at some point.
  • Dogs in the south hate bikers.
  • 90% of drivers will give you lots of space, 8% don’t care and 2% will move into the opposite lane going up a blind hill.  I assume these 8% are generally angry at everyone.  I assume the 2% are looking for someone to end their misery or don’t have a lot of common sense.
  • Water is a necessity when riding in 100 degree temps, your body will actually start to shut down fairly quickly without it.
  • You get about an hour of sane thinking in the morning if you’ve received a decent nights sleep, after that your brain goes into an odd pedal, white line, look at car, do I have a flat tire, don’t run over that tire tread wire state of mind where thinking becomes difficult.
  • There are a lot of towns in the southern United States barely eking by.  Businesses shut down, homes boarded up and just a sense of no hope.
  • Seeing the Atlantic Ocean was a good feeling for sure, but nothing’s really set in yet, nor may it ever.

For anyone that has been reading this blog or finds it later on, feel free to email any questions to me at the email below.  I’ll do my best to respond.

david@arcadeapparel.com 

Thanks for following, maybe the next adventure will have a little more excitement…

Last Shot. Sunrise at the Atlantic.
Final Riding day 21, Final Trip day 24.

Riding day 21, Trip day 24

And so just as it began, it comes to an end. I rode through headwinds and rain for the last 112 miles into Jeckyll Island, GA. As I hit the beach I was greeted by my parents, Grandfather and DH. Journey from coast to coast complete. Maybe a reflection day tomorrow, for now I’m done.

Atlantic ocean 24 days later
The gates to normalcy.
Cat nap at the community park before the last ride

Riding day 20, Trip day 23

Yesterday will go down as an extremely long and for the most part, uneventful day. It started off on the wrong foot though as I left Defuniac Springs. A part of me actually thought I would make it through the entire trip without wrecking on the bike, an idiot highway worker thought otherwise. I passed by a few highway litter clean up crews with their vehicles parked in the grass next to the shoulder. Sure enough about a mile down the road one of these guys pulls his van and trailer over right in front of me and slams on the brakes. It happened pretty fast, but next thing I knew, the trailer was inches away and I was tucking and rolling across the pavement. I got up pretty fast and immediately let the man know my thoughts. I was furious. I stopped yelling to put my shoe back on which was still attached to the pedal and evaluate my bike. Fortunately the bike came away unscathed and I escaped with only a lot of road rash, which feels awesome when baked in the sun all day. A little more scolding and I was on my way. The rest of the day went on without any problems and eventually I was able to finish the day off in Naylor, GA, reaching the elusive 200 miles in one day. I had no service last night, hence the morning post, but I’m already on the home stretch to Jeckyll Island.

Riding day 20, Trip day 23. Defuniac Springs, FL to Naylor, GA