Change of plan!!

Trip Start Jul 31, 2007
Trip End Oct 10, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Sunday, August 12, 2007

well hello all. So as i have found out in past trips abroad and infact daily life at home, things can change pretty quickly. Until Thursday evening at 5pm local time I was destined to cycle East to West. To cut to the chase I am now cycling South to North! Although when I designed the trip I knew that things would be hot in the southern stretch of the US and that I would have to take appropriate measures to ensure that I would not melt away, I guess I overlooked just how hot it can get. Whilst waiting to leave for the bus station and hence travel to Saint Augustine and begin the coast to coast effort I decided to call a very kind fellow cyclist who saw my posting on a cycle website and mailed me with an invitation to some alternative routes around Austin, Texas, as there have been some heavy construction works begin recently which would alter what the maps I have would offer. After 10 minutes he had managed to not only inform me of how to solve the otherwise problems, but also had talked me out of the route altogether. Far be it for him to not want me to undertake a cycle challenge, more like he did not want to hear that I died doing it. He lives in Western Texas and cycles there often and mentioned that in some low lying areas (below sea level) in both Texas and New Mexico, that the temperatures would be in excess of 45 degress C, or 115 and above. Regardless of how much water you try and drink there is no way that the human body can handle those conditions whilst physically exercising and not fall ill. He basically said that I would struggle intensly regardless of fitness levels and others have said the police would most likley have picked me up to save them writing the death report after finding me half eaten by the vultures. So not wanting to disbelieve somebody who has fisrt hand experience of cycling in such areas and had no reason other than being a caring person, to dissuade me, I backed out of the plan. I have no intention of not returning home or arriving in a body bag. That route can wait til another time I guess.

So thank you Bruce for your advice, it has put to rest a few worries that I had about the temps and now realsie why the route is not advocated to be ridden during the months of May through September. So apart from some now redundant maps (they will see themselves on ebay in the coming months) the Southern Tier was no longer part of the plan. But to quit and not do any cycling and not complete a challenge worthy of the sponsoring so many of you have been kind enough to pledge was not on the plan either. SO he suggested that continue to Saint Augustine and ride north to MAine, along another route that the Adventure Cycling Association produce maps for. This route is one that he has ridden half of in the past and he advocated it for numerous reasons.....
1) although its still the summertime and the US is hot everywhere, especially right now during a heat wave, that the temperature would be manageable, decreasing a little with northern lattitude and would not be life threatening!
2) unlike the Southern tier, there would be far fewer if any major cities to negiotiate and hence insane levels of traffic
3) there are many more campsites along this route and infact services of all types, ie no stretches of 100 miles without anything like it would have been in some areas of Texas
4) the scenery and history are unparalleled, changing and beautiful, not monovisual and hence boring such as the desert would have become
5) it is, for a large amount, a coastal route (I like swimming)
6) it sounds safer than the other route for lots of reasons and I have friends midway!

So I was sold on this new idea. He very kindly sent me the maps that he owned for this route and the remainder I need for Virginia to Maine I shall order and collect from a friends place in North Carolina, a state close to my heart and one that I will cycle through on this new route. So the departure point remains the same but the destination (Bell Harbour, Maine) is a littel different from San Diego. The distance is less than the coast to coast event would have been but to ramp up some more miles I will most likely take a detour and ride some of the Blue Ridge Mountains, apparently
a stunning 400 mile run. Either way I will still be seeing off over 2000 miles, I think this is still worthy of the sponsoring.....hope you all do. This will be done solo too, although for a while it looked like I had a travel buddy who eventually could not make it due to work problems.

So other than that I have all of the gear ready to leave and would have done on Friday if the new maps from Bruce had arrived here in Atl in the morning. They didnt arrive until midday, too late to for me to take the bus and I was tempted into a weekend of relaxing at my lovely hosts' parents place on the shore of a huge lake 45 mins outside of Atl. THis was perfect prep for the ride as swimming, great food and water skiing are all things that put me in the right frame of body and soul to get on and cycle. So tonight I leave FINALLY to Florida to build my bike and head off on a new trail. I think things, although longer than anticipated in terms of getting off the ground, have worked out for the best and after looking at some other blogs from people who have also cycled this route, I am feeling excited aswell as a little anxious. THat I am sure will turn solely into excitment as the nest few days unravel and the day to day schedule of events and American roads on 2 wheels become nothing but second nature.

So, I cant change my website which has lots of information regarding the old route I am now NOT taking, but none about the new unexpected route of course. For info on this please use this link:
and to see some photos of the whole thing and another persons perspective on the whole thing use this link: 5&v=Au
(copy and paste these URLs into the browser)

I still have the urge to see the desert and might get a cheap flight once the fundraiser is complete, and go see some of it, minus the bike etc which will now end the trip on the closer coast line to the UK and hence conveniently cheaper for me ship back.

SO thats all for now, I am packed and once again ready to go and must take my amazing hosts out for food as a thank you to them for all of their kindness over the last 11 days. Then its 10 of the best on the Greyhound before I find myslef pitching a tent in Florida.........and then hauling myself, my bike and the 40 pounds of gear up the coast.

So thanks for reading and please stay in touch, I will enlighten you all of my latest conquests as soon as is possible, photos too I hope.
Take care wherever you are.
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