Day 95 The End (2957 Miles) (78 days Riding)

Tuesday October 29 2013 I slowly pedaled my way through Saint Augustine.

Saint Augustine at Last

Saint Augustine at Last

I stopped to chat with the owner of a small shop who said he rode a unicycle as a kid. He was impressed with my machine, so I suggested he upgrade at  Occasionally a car would pass and toot or shout they read about me in the paper yesterday.  A Trolley driver giving tours stopped at a light and started a conversation.  He had his mic. on so everyone could hear his side of the conversation but not mine.

I scrambled over The Bridge of Lions crossing the intracoastal.  The sign at the base said bikes could use the full lane.  There was no shoulder so I pushed as hard as I could to make it over so I wouldn’t hold up traffic any longer than necessary.

After crossing the bridge I headed toward Anastaisa Park, then another motorist stopped me.  He had read the article and wanted to congratulate me and take a picture.  All this frolicking put me a little behind schedule so I kicked into high gear to ride to the Atlantic.  When I passed the ranger station in the park, the ranger blew on a party favor and said everyone was gathered at the end.  My adrenaline started pumping and now I was riding at 16 mph over the bumpy park road.

When I neared the end of the road and saw a gathering of people, I was unprepared for the group of friends and family who awaited my arrival.  Besides my crew, My mom, Suzi, and Katy, (my sisters), my cousins Joe and Nancy, my aunt Ruth, friends Dennis and Dorthia Quinn and Eva Hottinger were gathered to witness the finish.  There were also a number of bystanders who got caught up in all the hoopla or had seen the article.

Approaching the Finish

Approaching the Finish

The Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean

Celebrating The Finish of our Epic Adventure.

Celebrating The Finish of our Epic Adventure.

My Family and Friends are Awsome

My Family and Friends are Awsome

Time to Stop

Time to Stop

I want to thank all my family and friends who never doubted I could pull this off.  I want to thank all those who gave me moral support and contributed to my cause.  Thank you for donating a wheel for my ride.  And I want to thank my crew.  My Chauffeur – Joan Drnek, my Navigator – Joan Drnek, my PR person Joan Drnek, my Travel Agent – Joan Drnek, my Chef – Joan Drnek, my Bartender – Joan Drnek, my Domestic Engineer – Joan Drnek, my Launderer – Joan, my Procurement Personal – Joan Drnek, my Auto Detailer – Joan Drnek, my Cleanup Crew – Joan Drnek, my Paparazzi – Joan Drnek, (most of the photos with me in it were taken by Joan) and Cheerleader – Joan Drnek.

Some of you might be surprised to learn I was not the first to ride a unicycle across the country, and I certainly won’t be the last, but as far as I know and until I am told differently I believe at 58 years old I may be the oldest.  You may also be surprised to learn I was the fourth person to cross the USA by unicycle this summer.  Cary Gray recently crossed from East to West and is headed down through Mexico and beyond.

Dustin and Katie Kelm finished an East to West crossing earlier in October.

Many people have already asked “What’s next”?  I truthfully don’t know, but those of you who know me best, know there are likely to be more adventures in the future.  For those of you who followed this blog daily you will be glad to know you can resume your regularly scheduled programs.  For now.

If you haven’t already done so it is not too late to help cure ALS by donating to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, at

Day 95 Stats: Rode 6.32 miles at 8.8 mph, Max= 16.6 mph, Calories=211, Ave heart rate=97, Max heart rate=132, Ascent=292′, Descent=328′, Max elevation=57′, Min elevation= 5′, Temp=79 degrees, Total trip miles=2957′

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Day 94 On the Door Step of Saint Augustine

The day I began this journey on March 1st I rode 14.1 miles when my tire blew out and I experienced a dynamic UPD.  I hoped to ride at least 20 miles that day.  That 14.1 miles remained my shortest leg of the ride.  Until tomorrow.  I’m not saying how many miles I have to go but my last day will definetly be my shortest.  I want to savor the ride through Saint Augustine and on to Anastaisa Park.

My plan is to arrive around the crack of noon, but part of the beauty of this ride has been no absolute distances or times for any given day.  I simply stopped riding when I felt like it or my crew showed up, whichever came second.

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Day 93 The Cool Down Begins

Broke my first spoke on stage 2 today.

I am getting close to the end of my ride so I am doing the prudent thing after any significant exercise.  I have started my cool down by tapering off my distance.  You can’t just quit riding a unicycle across the country cold turkey.  You have to ween your self off the ride, otherwise you could experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

You could find yourself sleeping 10 hours per night when you only need 8.  Wiping your nose with your cycling glove only you aren’t wearing a glove.  Eating ice cream in the middle of the day for no good reason.  Sitting down at your computer in the afternoon and writing dribble in your blog because you haven’t done anything worth writing about.  Wait, I’ve been doing that the whole ride.  That may not be a true withdrawal symptom, just a personality quirk.

Oh yah, thanks to my cousin Joe who did some PR work the Jacksonville paper Florida Times-Union wrote an article about my journey.

My plan is on schedule to ride through Saint Augustine and arrive at the waters edge in Anastaisa Park at the crack of noon on Tuesday October 29.

Day 93 Stats: (don’t laugh) rode 20.66 miles at 11.8 mph, Max=16.6 mph, Calories= 616, Ave hear rate=112, Max heart rate= 141, Ascent=135, Descent=167, Max elevation=63′, Min elevation= 0′, Rode 1:45 out of 2:20, Ave temp=63 degrees, Total trip miles= 2930

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Day 91Gainesville to Palatka

Last night we were fixing dinner in a park near Gainesville when a gathering of folks in the park came over to check out our rig.

Eastside Garden Club

Eastside Garden Club

They were members of the Eastside Garden Club.  One of the members, Marshall McIrby graciously invited us to camp at his house where we spent a very pleasant evening on his farm.

Marshall and Dave

Marshall and Dave

The McIrby Farm

The McIrby Farm

Neighbor pulling Marshall's dead Gulf Cart

Neighbor pulling Marshall’s dead Gulf Cart

His donkey and rooster made sure we didn’t over sleep.

Good day today.  The roads in Florida continue to be consistently in the best condition of any state on the route.  Today was sunny with little breeze.  The average temperature was 69 degrees.

My intention was to take it easy for the last few days of the ride.  The trouble is my crew has been taking their time so I have been riding too far.  After 40 miles I called it quits in Palatka and called the crew.  They were 25 miles behind me so I was compelled to buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to pass the time.

The flavor was Fish Food, containing chocolate ice cream with marshmallow and caramel with fudge fish chunks.  It was only 290 calories per serving.  There were however 4 servings in the container.  The servings were small so I had no problem dispatching the content and disposing the evidence before my crew arrived.

When I am done with this ride I vow to significantly cut back on my paper usage in hopes I can contribute to less production of paper and reduce the number of logging trucks blowing by cyclists.  The next time a cashier asks if you want paper or plastic, please say plastic, or better yet, bring your own reusable bags, and save a cyclist.

Tomorrow (Saturday will be a rest day) We will stay at our friends Slick and Eva’s house.  Despite being a bit ahead of schedule I still plan to finish the ride on Tuesday Oct 29.

Day 91 Stats: Rode 40.66 miles at 12.8 mph, Max=17.4 mph, Calories=876, Ave heart rate=105, Max heart rate=128, Ascent=561′, Min elevation=735′, Max elevation=184′, Min elevation= -5′, Ave temp=69, Riding time=3:10, out of 3:58, Total trip miles=2909

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Day 90 – Gainesville

Day 90.  When I started this adventure I arbitrarily guessed I should be able to ride across the country in about 90 days.  Now I am convinced I could have done it if the ride was not interrupted.  I was in extremely good shape when I aborted the trip to seek treatment.  The roads I have been riding on since I resumed are some of the best on the trip and I could have easily continued with the type of mileage I was riding when I left off.

That being said, my attitude for the second stage has been a little more relaxed.  For the most part I have not tried to push myself as hard knowing I have no need to hurry. Unfortunately for my crew that means they have less time to dawdle around during my shorter rides.

Today I rode into Gainesville Florida and decided I was done for the day.  A special thanks to Jack Kohn who bicycled along with me and showed me some short cuts to and through Gainesville.  My crew was exploring sink holes so while I was waiting I treated myself to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream worth 1080 calories.  My ride only consumed 1160 calories so I can only eat 80 calories for the rest of the day, that’s not even enough for a light beer.

Day 90 Stats: Rode 39.03 miles at 12.5 mph, Max=16.9 mph, Calories 1180, Ave heart rate=113, Max heart rate=139, Ascent=600′, Descent=502′, Max elevation=201′, Min elevation=44′, Ave temp=56 degrees.  It was 44 degrees when I started out this morning.   Riding time= 3:08 out of 4:14.  Total trip miles=2869

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Day 89 From Suwanne River State Park to Ichetucknee Springs State Park

Today was one of the best riding days on Stage 2.  It was 57 degrees when I started, and the average temperature for the ride was 70 degrees.  I had the breeze on my port or starboard quarter all day, so I popped the shoot and sailed along.  Even after the rest day I finally grew weary after 48 miles of relatively fast riding.

I was passed by many logging trucks today.  They must all attend a special logging truck driving school.  They never drive under the speed limit regardless of circumstances, and are sure to drive safely, never crossing the center line.  However one driver must not have finished in the top of his class because today he slowed down and went into the other lane when he passed me.  Although he did have another motorist right in front of him showing him the line.

My opinion of buzzards rose a little today.  I saw a total of three dead buzzards along the road but was surprised when I did not see any of them being picked over by their brethren.  Apparently even buzzards have standards.

Tomorrow I hope to make it to Gainesville Fl.

Day 89 (Riding day 73) Stats: Rode 48.12 miles at 13 mph, Max=17.3 mph, Calories=1303, Ave heart rate=117, Max heart rate=165, Ascent=712′, Descent= 751′, Max elevation=206′, Min elevation=39, Temp= 70 degrees, Rode 3:42 out of 4:26, Total trip miles=2830

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Day 87 East of Madison and the Suwannee River

Day 87 was hot and humid, and a little less overcast.  I said goodbye to US 90 today.  I will be on more back roads until I reach Gainesville.  Route US 90 was good to me. It provided smooth pavement and good shoulders.  I could have taken it a bit further but opted to stay on the Adventure Cycle map routes.

The route from here in not very direct.  I will travel from Madison through Gainesville then to Saint Augustine.  I figure I have 5 to 7 more riding days and likely at least two more  rest days along the way.  Weather and body permitting I am tentatively planning to arrive in Anastaisa State Park on Tuesday October 29th.

I have seen more dead snakes along the roads in Florida than all the other states combined.  Today I saw a dead rattle snake.  I was tempted to stop and cut off the rattle but I would have had to use my teeth and I wasn’t hungry because I just ate lunch.  I did see a black and red striped snake I think was a mud snake.

Looks like rain on Tuesday 10/22 so I think I will take the day off.

Moss may not grow on a rolling stone but you know you are moving slowly when fungus starts growing on you.  This may also shed some “dark” on why my solar panels are having difficulty keeping up with my electrical needs in the sunshine state.

Fungus but no Moss yet.

Fungus but no Moss yet.

Day 87 Stats:  I rode 40.2miles at 12.3 mph, Max=17.6 mph, Calories=1065, Ave heart rate=109, Max heart rate=139, Ascent=703’, Descent=689’, Max elevation=175′, Min elevation=64′, Temp= 75 dgr., Riding time= 3:16, out of 3:56, Total trip miles=2781.

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Day 86 Woodville to Greenville FL

Today I stated out still wet from the rinse cycle, but dried out on the unicycle rack.  It was cooler today as I rode on smooth back roads with rolling hills until I made my way back up to US 90 in Monticello.  The crew decided they would wash the car in Monticello and said they would pick me up in a half hour.  Thirteen miles later they caught me taking a break just West of Greenville.

Saw a snail crossing the road today.  Finally someone slower than I am.  I challenged him to race but he was headed in a different direction.  Whew!  I’m glad I wasn’t put to the test.  My legs seem to be getting stronger but my back lags behind.  Speaking of behind it is a bit soar from two days of riding in wet shorts.

The crew isn’t buying the wash, rinse and dry method of my cycling apparel, so they are  doing laundry the old fashioned way with a real washer and dryer.

Day 86 Stats:  Rode 44.6 miles at 11.8 mph, Max=16.2 mph, Calories=1155, Ave heart rate=108, Max=133, Ascent=873′, Descent=827, Max elevation=241, Min elevation=24, Temp=70 degrees, Rode 3:41 out of 5:07.  Total trip miles=2741

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Day 85 (Riding day 70) East of Tallahassee FL

Today was a little more interesting than yesterday.  Yes it rained today so I went through the rinse cycle.  Now I won’t need another bath for a week.  Rain is in the forecast again tomorrow so I’m thinking about getting an umbrella.

I weaved my way through Tallahassee along with traffic until I made it to the bike path.  Knucklehead does’t understand bike paths so I don’t try to have him give me directions when the route uses them.  Apparently I miss calculated the distance to my turn off, got caught up in racing a couple of bicyclists and missed my turn.  This detour cost me a total of eight miles in the wrong direction.  That’s a lot of extra miles at the end of the day on a unicycle, especially in the rain.

Day 85 Stats: Rode 41.17 miles at 11.9 mph, Max=17.7 mph, Cal=1127, Ave heart rate=109, Max heart rate=136, Ascent=525′, Descent=702′, Max elevation=225′, Min elevation=17′, Temp=70 degrees, Rode 3:28 out of 4:17.  Total trip miles=2697

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Day 84 East of Quincy

Day 84 my legs felt a bit better after a rest day, if you can call hiking through caverns restful.  Today I rode 6 miles when a lady stopped me and said she was from Toledo Ohio.  She said she saw the article in Jackson County Floridan the day before.  Not sure why but she was surprised to see I was on a unicycle not a bicycle.  I told her about the blog but she doesn’t have a computer.  She said she has a smart phone but it is smarter than her.

It rained on me while I was riding today.  It is hard to believe that in 84 days and 2650 miles this was the first day it rained on me enough motorists had to use their windshield wipers.  Then I got the great idea to put a bar of soap under my helmet and let the rain dissolve the soap and run soapy water over my person.  I was able to wash myself and my clothing all at once.  Very efficient.  Unfortunately the rain stopped before I could remove the soap and start the rinse cycle.  Never fear the forecast for tomorrow calls for more rain.  I’ll rinse tomorrow.

I’m sure glad Florida is flat, I would hate riding any more hills.

Flat Florida

Flat Florida

Day 84 Stats: Rode 43.46 miles at 12.0 mph, Max=17.7 mph (Yikes!), Cal=1254, Ave Heart rate=113, Max heart rate=139, Ascent=1066, Descent=1017′, Max elevation=196, Min elevation= -22, Temp = 70 degrees, Riding time=3:37, Total time=4:31, Total trip miles= 2656

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