Whenever I go back home to Cape Girardeau, Mo., I take a ride down an abandoned stretch of U.S. 61 that has been bypassed by I-55. It deadends at a boat ramp on the Diversion Channel. That stretch of road has been underwater from the spring floods until just recently, so I was curious what it looked like now that the river has dropped.
Great day for a boat ride
I ran into Ed and Melinda Roberts, who were cast netting for bait to use on their trotlines. After a brief conversation, they invited me to go with them down the Diversion Channel and into the Mississippi River where they planned to set up their lines.
Ed’s goal is to put 400 to 500 pounds of catfish in the freezer to tide them over the winter.
How-to on trotline fishing
Here’s a video of Ed and Melinda setting out their trotline. You can read the whole story on my Cape Girardeau blog.
Just before I went out to pull my Surly Long Haul Trucker out of the shed, the sky opened up. I told the gals I was bailing. I don’t mind riding in the rain. I actually LIKE riding in the rain if I’m caught out in it, but I don’t like to START in the rain if I have a choice.
Bike riders can be SO smug
An hour or so later, Anne sends a smug email saying that she took advantage of a break in the weather to get in a 30-minute neighborhood spin. “Got misted just as I hit the elevator,” she bragged. “Now the sun’s out again!” To top it off, she followed it with a post, “Just stepped outside. There’s a rainbow over the Intracoastal, the sun is shining on my west side and it’s still raining a little bit. A trifecta!”
Just about the time Osa and I were exchanging emails lamenting our missed opportunity, the sky opened up again, the wind gauge looked like it was going to spin off the post and lightning flashed all around. We felt vindicated.
Spectacular light show
Half an hour later, Wife Lila looked out the window and said the light show over the ocean was spectacular. Foodie Friend Jan Norris posted something similar on Facebook, so we took a quick jaunt down to Bryant Park in Lake Worth where we could get a good view.
It took about 30 minutes to get our act together and get to the park, so we missed the peak lightning action, but what we DID see was awesome. It was far enough out to sea that we couldn’t hear the thunder, so I used Beethoven’s 5th for a soundtrack. It’s a cliche, but it seemed to fit the visuals.
March 26 was probably the best riding day of the seven Okeechobee Rotary Club LOST Rides I’ve been on. The temperature was just about perfect and the winds weren’t bad. I wish I had put on sunscreen about mid-morning, though.
I normally put up a large number of still photos in a gallery. This year I concentrated on trying to capture the spirit of the event in a video shot with one camera looking forward and the other aft. (By the way, that annoying “click-click-click” noise is the carabiner attached to the video camera’s safety lanyard. I’m going to have to find a solution that is quick to release, but doesn’t make noise picked up by the mike.)
The “flow” was different this year, too. Usually I shoot the group start, which puts me at the end of the pack. I can usually work my way through about a third of the group of slower riders by about the 15-mile mark, at which time a lot of the faster riders are on their way back.
This year there seemed to be fewer “slow” riders and the faster riders were more scattered.
Henry Creek rest area
Ice-cold water, grapes and other goodies were welcome as the sun started beating down. Rumors that Henry Creek would be a beer stop were unfounded. (Or, maybe I just didn’t know the password.)
Folks along the trail were friendly
With very few exceptions, everybody on the LOST – bikers, joggers, dog walkers, volunteers – smiled, waved or spoke as we passed each other.
Nubbin Slough 10-mile point
Nubbin Slough was at the 10-mile marker. A 20-mile out-and-back trip was enough of a challenge for some riders. Others, like this biker, did the full 54.7 miles to Port Mayca and back to the start.
We traded several emails where she said that she and two friends – Carol and Barbara – from the Atlanta area were planning to start in St. Augustine, ride down the east Coast of Florida to Key West. Kelly rides a Surly Long Haul Trucker. Carol and Barbara are recumbent riders.
Video of Atlanta Trio’s visit to Palm Beach
Bent, bike and tents in back yard
In the middle of January, I got a message asking if I knew of any place to camp in Palm Beach County. The county park they had planned on required them to pay for a two-day stay since they were coming in on a weekend, and they were going to be charged by the tent, not the site. It was going to cost more than staying in a hotel.
I offered up our spare bedroom, but they said they’d be fine camped in our back yard.
Long Haul Trucker with Click-Stand
I notice that Kelly’s Long Haul Trucker was being held up by a Click-Stand. “I read about it on your site,” she said. I was impressed that she had it made to match her LHT. I noted that she had copied my PVC pipe mount (attached to the the left side of the bike).
Kids grew up and the dog died
Barbara, packing her bent, said she’s been touring since she was 21. It’s gotten easier, she said, “once the kids left home and the dog died.”
Barbara’s mascot on her bent’s fairing was neat. If she’d spent much more time in Florida, she might have traded it in for a Love Bug or a Glades Mosquito, though.
They arrived early enough to get a driving tour of the area and have a good Mexican meal. They were impressed enough with Palm Beach to decide to go for a side trip on the Palm Beach Lake Trail the next morning before heading off to Ft. Lauderdale.
Just because you’re sleeping in tents and sweating on a bicycle all day long doesn’t mean that you aren’t conscious of how you look. Barbara makes one more adjustment before heading off to Palm Beach.
Kapok Tree dwarfs LHT
The roots of a giant kapok tree near the Flagler Museum dwarf Kelly’s Long Haul Trucker.
Tree almost swallows bikers
Kelly and Barbara posed in the roots of the tree. While we were there, a mother and her daughter quizzed the women about their trip. You’ll have to listen to them on the video below.
West Palm Beach’s impressive skyline
West Palm Beach’s skyline looks impressive in the background. The Flagler Museum is on the right.
Palm Beach Inlet
We stopped at the north end of the island for the obligatory Palm Beach Docks photo. On the way south, the riders asked if I knew of any public restrooms since the morning coffee was looking for release.
I explained that the good folks in Palm Beach don’t provide things like beach access or restrooms for commoners. On our way south from the inlet, I suggested that we stop at the fire station to see if they would let some tourists get some relief. They were more than helpful and friendly. You might want to file that bit of info away for a time of need.
The ladies posed for one last photo under the arch leading to Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago before I headed for home and they headed to the Keys. They made it safely home. You can see Carol’s photos and journal here.
When I invited rider friends Anne and Osa to the First Annual Velo’s Cyclery Christmas Cruise, I warned them that we might be the only ones to show up.
Organizer Juan Orellana had the same thought. “I didn’t expect but about 10 people to show up, so that’s all the maps I made up.”
As it turned out, about 42 riders showed up at Phipps Park in West Palm Beach to take a tour of the famous (in this area, at least) decorations around Gabriel Drive in suburban West Palm Beach.
Juan led the charge
Riders of all shape and ages, riding tandems, tall bikes, expensive road machines and beaters, some decorated to the hilt, pulled out of the park shortly after 7 p.m. for the roughly 6.5-mile ride.
Most riders wore helmets
Most riders wore helmets, although these guys opted for style over safety for the evening.
The neighborhood has been known for its extravagant decorations for as long as I can remember. Wife Lila insists that we make a pass through there almost every season. Traffic is usually a hassle, so I’ve considered riding on my bike, but dismissed the idea because I was afraid that motorists would be distracted and would run into me.
As Juan pointed out, “In numbers is better.” It helped that we made such a spectacle of our own with all the blinking lights and strange costumes that motorists were VERY aware of us.
My friends are ready for next year
Anne and Osa enjoyed their rides very much. They’re already looking forward to next year. Both of them managed to come up with excuses for missing the Freakbike Militia Choppernite 30 ride the night before, when temperatures were a bit more on the chilly side.
Juan said the event worked out so well that he’s considering doing other family rides.
Christmas Cruise Video
Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.