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TRIP 2007

Update #04 - March 07th
Ocala, Florida
1,141 miles (1825 KM) since Jan 01st
300 miles ( 481 KM) since March 03



It's been five days since leaving Americus, Georgia. I've made good progress in getting down to Central Florida. I'll be riding through the area around Lady Lake tomorrow. I've averaged around 60 miles per day. Pretty good for somebody who has taken a month off the bike and in January averaged around 30 miles per day.

Lady Lake was my goal for this part of the trip. Back in the early part of February, the town was in the path of a tornado that had killed 20 people. Along a 70 mile stretch of destruction that extended to the Atlantic Ocean almost 2000 homes were damaged or destroyed. I wanted to see how the recovery effort is going and if there is something that I could do to help out. The Church of Christ in Lady Lake was destroyed.

It is kind of ironic that I'll be leaving an area that had a tornado to go to one that had some in early February. It will be months or possibly years before things get back to normal in Americus, Georgia. The tornado that struck around 9:30 p.m. about a week ago was an F-3 with winds around 165 miles per hour. It caused destruction about three miles long and a mile wide starting about four blocks east of the downtown area. Two people lost their lives when the tornado hit their house. The biggest thing that it damaged was the hospital.

Electricity was restored in the area of Americus I was staying by early Saturday morning so we were without power for about 30 hours. From what I've been told through telephone conversations is that the main east and west roads through Americus have been cleared of downed trees and rubble. President Bush made a stop in Americus about eight hours after I had left Americus.

The ride from Americus to Ocala went really well. I had one flat because off a small piece of wire stuck in my rear tire. I have had to stop several times to work on my rear seat. The seat had been removed from the bike during it's shipping back to Americus from Oregon. I just need to find the right spot that fits my leg length and also get it so that the seat is clamped tightly to the frame so it doesn't slip backwards. I think that I have got the problem fixed now.

I've got a good start on my tan again. During my trip across the country last year and the trip up the Pacific Coast in January, the tan lines (especially those of my helmet strap marks on the sides of my face) had faded away. I've using sun screen but also I've got to deal with windburn. It's also been nice to ride without a jacket. Back in January, I had to wear five layers of clothes as I made my way up the Pacific Coast.

Two of the past five days were home visits arranged through the cycling association that I belong to Warm Showers. I had a good night with a gentleman in Gainesville. Tonight, I'm staying with a host family, the Millers. They are riding across the country as a family of four from Astoria, Oregon to Portsmouth, New Hampshire`to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Cancer Foundation. The Millers have a website at www.tourdemiller.blogspot.com. There was going to be a stay over with another Warm Showers member in Lake City but the phone number that I had was disconnected. Depending on what I find in the Lady Lake area tomorrow, I might stay in the Lady Lake area for a few days or I'll keep on going south and maybe stay with another Warm Showers host in the Apopka area.

From Apopka, I'll be heading SW across Florida to Arcadia and Wauchuala (near Tampa) where Hurricanes Charley and Francis hit in 2005. I was in Wauchula for about a week helping the American Red Cross about two weeks after Hurricane Charley hit. I was actually in Arcadia during Hurricane Francis. I was one of the volunteers who stayed at the United Methodist Church who helped out the 100 plus people that stayed at the church for four days.

After my stop in Arcadia, I'll be heading east towards either Ft. Pierce or Stuart, Florida on the Atlantic Coast. I'll then be starting my trek up the East Coast. I plan to ride up to Maine and then head west. I'm not sure how far west I'll be getting this year. I have the first 4,000 miles of the trip tentatively mapped out. I'm looking at possibly be out between 8 and 10 thousand miles this year.

I'll try and post an update as often as I can if my plans change. The next update should be posted between March 14th and March 21st.




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