A sight for sore eyes! We have been dreaming of our truck for the past month (and two days, but who’s counting) and here it is, fresh out of storage!

A sight for sore eyes! We have been dreaming of our truck for the past month (and two days, but who’s counting) and here it is, fresh out of storage!

Lunch at St Pete Beach…. 11 miles to go….

Lunch at St Pete Beach…. 11 miles to go….

26 miles to fort de soto!

26 miles to fort de soto!

Approaching Pinellas County, by Daniela

For much of the last couple of days, we have been close enough to our car that we could get a cab ride there. Yet we chose Ft DeSoto as our destination, so we’re going to get there by bike despite the final challenges that are testing us. These past couple days, and 85 miles, have been a concentrated revisiting of many of the challenges and fears we faced at different points, like “Daniela and Allen, this is your bike trip.” Two days ago, we rode through another bear habitat with all sorts of warning signs (warning cars not to hit them; they don’t really think about people riding bikes on this road). Yesterday, we checked off being harassed by trucks, dirt road with questionable outcome, and, of course, lots of dogs that go with those types of areas. But the good news is they were all fenced in. I’m guessing Pasco county has some sort of ordinance requiring fencing. Other than that saving grace, Pasco county does not get a good review from me due to their scarcity of shoulders and sidewalks. We had a really bad day yesterday just trying to find a safe place to ride- we ended up doing an extra 10 miles just trying to avoid Route 19, which was clearly not safe for us to ride on (this was especially clear after Allen tried to chase down a dump truck that practically brushed us). When we did find sidewalks, they usually ended at an inopportune time. They just stop, with no warning, sometimes making us end up on the wrong side of a divided road. Most people don’t notice things like this, but we notice everything. Other frequent bike hazards include small piles of gravel in the shoulder at driveways/intersections, which are like riding through sand and could make us skid out, and of course glass, which we are constantly trying to avoid (though clearly, given my flat record, I am not very good at this). Speaking of flats, I would like to report that while Allen won’t admit that he has a flat, he has a slow leak in his trailer tire and has to fill it every day. I think it counts as a flat.

We are in a very bad hotel in Tarpon Springs, but the good news is we are right next to the Pinellas Trail that will take us almost all the way to Ft DeSoto today.

All five of these buildings except for the post office on the right are either condemned, for rent or for sale. This is typical of over ~60% of the commercial buildings that we rode by between here and TX.

All five of these buildings except for the post office on the right are either condemned, for rent or for sale. This is typical of over ~60% of the commercial buildings that we rode by between here and TX.

 Cross City, FL - Inglis, FL

Anonymous said: Wow - you're almost there!!! I almost don't believe it. Good job you two! Melanie

Thanks, Mel. That’s right, we’re in the home stretch.  Wish you guys could be with us at Ft. DeSoto this time.

michellegbackus said: A few things. First, love the christmas photo! Thank you! Second, NBC Nightly News has featured stories about the record lows in FL for two consecutive nights. I'm thinking of you two and really hope you aren't camping. Third, saw you are going to be home for Christmas. Do you have an ETA? xx Michelle

Yes, it has been very cold here- we have been dressing just like we’re skiing as it’s been in the 20s when we head out in the morning.  Unfortunately the cold has kept us from taking advantage of some of Florida State Parks for camping, but the hotels are cheap and better for PhotoBoat productivity.  We’ll be back in the ‘hood on Christmas Eve- hope to see you guys.

Anonymous said: From the pictures it looks like Daniela is always riding ahead of Allen. Is he being nice so he can keep an eye on her or is he letting her clear the roadside
with her incredible supply of tools before he has to ride on it?

Yep,
I keep Daniela in front, so if anyone is run over by a cement truck, it will be me.