First Taste of Freedom

Florida bound.   Two weeks ago my buddy Jim and I took off in the bus and went to explore Florida.  I passed by my old office on that Monday morning with a big smile on face as I started my journey southbound on I77.  The only agenda we had was to get our first century ride (100 miles) on the road bike.  We couldn’t think of a better place than the Florida Keys. That is the only thing we had planned going into this trip.  Well that and be back in Charlotte, NC in 10 days.  Here are all the places we either ran, biked, and/or swam:

Hannah Park in Jacksonville

Ginnie Springs in High Springs

High Springs

Santos bike trails in Ocala

Everglades (country loop 94)

Key Largo

Key West

Markham Park in Ft Lauderdale

Blue Heron bridge in West Palm Beach

Salt Springs in Ocala National Forest

The beauty of the trip is that all the places other than the Keys and High Springs were new to me and either recommended by friends back home or people we met on the road.  I felt like an explorer with no expectations, no place to be, and heck I didn’t even know if the bus would make it in the extreme heat the summer sun produced.  It was my first taste of freedom.  On this trip freedom consisted of having a beer in the crystal clear cool 72 degree spring water.  It consisted of riding my road bike 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West to get a beer.  It also means sharing stories with people with similar ideas and lifestyles by living in sailboats.  Having meaniful conversations with people who desire to make an impact in this world by sharing their love of nature.   Riding our bikes in the middle of night through the Everglades because we wanted to see alligators and other wildlife.  Running down a never ending dirt road in the forest and realizing you have gone way too far without any water and still having to run back.  Pulling off the side of the road and camping.  Watching magical sunsets.   Spending time with the marine life observing all the beauty and vibrant colors that exist underwater.   Doing 22 push-ups all over Florida bringing awareness to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Thanking veterans for their service so we could have this freedom.   Teaching a friend not to mess with things (screwing with a fish) and enjoying the ramifications when he did (some kid filled up his bike helmet with sand when it was parked at the restaurant).   To me this is freedom and now that I had a little taste of it I am desiring more.

Here are a few takeaways from this adventure:

The bus did great. About 2000 miles and no issues.  It was the first big test for her.

Seek out and follow the recommendations of places to visit from friends and locals. This is the way I am going to travel from here on out. (thank you Jere, Jon, and High Springs Salon)

Life is now a little more clearer with opportunity and the people that were attracted.

Enjoy every minute.   The next one is not guaranteed.



Enjoy the video blog of our first century ride:

Here are some other photos from the ride:


If you happen to be in Florida, I highly recommend visiting the springs.   They are all over the place and Ginnie Springs is really beautiful.  The water is so pure and cool.  I hope this video does it justice.   Cheers!


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