This November, I will bicycle (& skate) my way to Key West, Florida. It is the finale of my pedal-powered journey beginning (for me) in Bar Harbor Maine in 2015 — cycling southbound a week+ per year.
But, I don’t ride for me.
I ride — with a group of cyclists, test riders who are activists and pioneers — for you, your friends, your family and future generations who crave safe travels that don’t involve a cars. I pedal-power this distance for walkers, joggers, skaters, cyclists and those in wheelchairs who need trails & safe passages for commuting, recreating or just needing a dose of nature.
My fellow cyclists and I are part of The East Coast Greenway Alliance — a non-profit who works with communities along the Eastern seaboard to build or bridge trails from Maine to Key West that are car-free &/or safe-passages.
When a bicycle ride is too slow and an airplane is too fast, the next best option from California to DC is an Amtrak train. Before we secured tickets we had to be sure. We watched a YouTube made by a nice man with a camera who took us on a Superette-tour of the Amtrak sleeper room — equipped with bunk beds, private wash and bathroom and extra room for two people to watch the scenery roll by for 70-odd-hours straight. We couldn’t wait to settle in on the California Zephyr for the first leg to Chicago. Continue reading Traveling cross-country via Amtrak→
After a marathon-recovery breakfast of avocado toast and fruit, we repacked our luggage and said goodbye to the Pacific Coast Mountains and headed east to Mariposa.
As our drive took us inland the terrain shifted from lush coastal mountains, to lush farm flats, to San Luis Reservoir where all of the wind gods exhale simultaneously, followed by miles and miles of almond trees and eventually scorched soil and dust where a little wind is all it takes to clog up the respiratory. Continue reading The sheer awe of Yosemite→
It took all of 1 day to fall in love with San Francisco, but our schedule insisted we move along. After scoring an airplane bypass — i.e. 2 tickets for an Amtrak Sleeper for our return trip home (woo hoo plane travel is over!) — a double-shot of Peet’s Coffee and breakfast chow. the day could not have a better start. We tossed our luggage into the car-with-no-navigation and headed south keeping the Pacific Ocean to starboard. Continue reading Discovering Pacific Gold→
The California clock shows 5:30AM and coffee shops in our Russian Hill vicinity don’t wake until 7:30am so we tapped our watches as if speeding time along, wondering how we would survive this delayed awakening. But we did and departed our hotel (the neighboring-room ‘domestic’ situation sleeps) 7:30AM local time pronto. First stop an Italian espresso that did the necessary magic and off we were on a steady descent down Columbus Street heading toward Fisherman’s Wharf.
Walking with a backward lean made it apparent we were descending from an unusually steep mountain. We posed at each intersection photo-bombing ourselves into side streets that rose to the clouds or dropped to the sea, all the time marveling at the cyclist commuters taking on the uphill challenge barely sweating. No doubt San Francisco cyclists are equipped with twin-engine quads and an extra set of lungs. Continue reading Hello San Francisco→
By 5am the alarms were off. Slamming down a quick cup of coffee we were en route to meet with family, who would valet service us to the BWI airport for a trip to San Francisco. This would be my first flight in over 20 years — I was perfectly content staying grounded — but it was time to trample fears and travel in fast motion. Continue reading First flight in 20-plus years→
We checked for frost — didn’t see any — then looked for ice – didnt see any of that either, so before we loaded suitcases onto the baggage truck, we reopened luggage and rummaged for more clothes. Socks became gloves, neckwear became hats, multiple layers of thin tees kept the core warm with proper thinking, and anyone with a winter jacket – was looked on with envy. Welcome to Florida! Continue reading East Coast Greenway cyclists arrive in Titusville, Florida→
We departed St. Augustine on a leisurely pace, taking in the rich history of this city dubbed the oldest city in America. Taking extra care on the cobblestones, we weaved into a park square with cannons dating back to the 1500’s, and Christmas trees installed that morning, creating one more photo opportunity.
We departed the hotel at 7:15am sharp, and rode a brisk 6 miles to the quaint historic town of St. Mary’s, Georgia. We saw more egrets, pelicans, places designated as bird sanctuaries and not one coffee shop open for business. Patience is a practice, and there is always Fernandina Beach. Continue reading 79 miles and let’s just round up to 80→
The heat and humidity are back. After two days of rides that felt as if we had made a detour to New England, today’s temperatures allowed us return to shorts and tee shirts.
We departed Jeckyl Island in one large group, and many of us spent the next six miles mesmerized by the marshland views and a tall majestic bridge in the backdrop get closer with hopes that it was not on our route. Collective wishful thinking worked, and we turned away from that man made mountain to head south. Continue reading Cyclists ride the East Coast Greenway to St. Mary’s Georgia→