Day 2 [Key West, FL]

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2014

[Distance traveled: 22 miles]

Today’s the day it worked out for us to officially take our trikes to downtown Key West, and road testing them in town before we head northeast next Monday or Tuesday. It is really wonderful weather down here right now – this is definitely a good time for cycling in Florida.

Which reminds me, that next Sunday is the annual Horrible Hundred out in Clermont that I will be missing again this year….ack! Maybe next year. I am sure that Sugarloaf Mountain will still be there!

Sugarloaf-Mtn-NW-slope-with-clouds

It was a little “scatter-brained” prepping for the ride….it really had been a long while since we had ridden together, maybe 6 months, and we weren’t quite sure where everything was that we packed on Thursday morning! That takes a few weeks to remember which pocket has which item! Ha.

Here is Earline focused in the morning….what do you think about her “bling” baseball cap?! [I really am not sure WHAT to think!]

Earline focused and ready to ride

We did our usual A-B-C check [Air in our tires, Brakes working okay, and Chain lubed and running free], plus some stretching of our muscles, and prayer time.

BEAUTIFUL day today. Did you now that there are almost 1700 islands in the Florida Keys? And about a hundred of those are connected by the bridges of Highway 1, or what is called the Overseas Highway. And how many bridges?

I was pretty surprised when I heard this.

The number of bridges connecting those islands is EXACTLY the same number of bridges that we went over during the 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour.

Do you remember the number? [I’ll tell you at the END of this blog entry.]

[Smile.]

There is a separate bike path we are told that goes all the way into downtown Key West. But then, we ran across THIS sign:

Bike Lane ends

What??!!?

Now, where do we go?

Hmmmm.

Well, we stayed on the same side of the road, and about 300 feet ahead, we ran into another sign:

Bike Lane begins

So I guess the interruption was “temporary.”

We went past the Naval Air Station that I mentioned to you yesterday. I fact, this morning  I was able to record one of the jets taking off….and let me make sure to point out, this is recorded INSIDE the apartment!

 

Here’s a picture of the entrance:

Front of Naval Air Station

We soon then came across our first long stretch of water….bridge looks a little skinny, but it turned out to be a good 4 foot wide, a lot better than the 36-inch wide draw bridge that we had a tangle with back in 2011. Read about THAT here!

This is called the Boca Chica Channel, channels being the water that separates the islands.

Boca Chica Channel

Once into Key West proper, we rode along Roosevelt Boulevard on the north side of the island….the road had been recently upgraded, and it was a very pretty drive.

Earline along north side of island2

Key West is a VERY bike-friendly town, and it was a little comforting to us to see all the bicycles everywhere….they may outnumber the cars!

Headed to Mallory Square

And the cars did seem to show deference to the various bikes, trikes, and mopeds.

Trouble with the MOPEDS, though, is that there are more things that can go wrong with them…like the ENGINE. But never fear, we saw the Moped Hospital!

Moped Hospital

We eventually found Mallory Square….and we saw these two “colorful” characters. They were being pretty rowdy, one was very drunk, it seemed, and like it describes in Proverbs 23:29-35, he is probably really hurting right now!

2 guys at Mallory Square

Right next to Mallory Square, we did NOT see this last night, so it must have come in during the night, the Disney Cruise ship “Wonder.” It is HUGE, about 50% bigger than even Noah’s Ark!

Disney Cruise ship

It was real pretty down by the pier and the Key West Aquarium. There WAS signage that said bicycles were not allowed, but I saw lots of bikes on the pier, I saw a sign that said don’t lock your bikes here along the fence, AND there was even a place on the pier to rent bikes! So I’m not sure WHO to believe….hmmmm!

Jon on pier

I did some repair work on my trike, and we hung around for a while, looking for folks to engage in conversation, but no one approached us, except for a few kids who weren’t afraid to express their enthusiasm and say, “Nice bike!”

We later ran across an area that had some historical significance…it was called the “Southern White House.” Apparently several U.S. presidents have used it as vacation or second kind of “command center.”

We also saw this sign [I circled what caught my eye]:

Convent sign

Wait, wait, wait, what….what did you say?

Holy NAMES?!

Nope, no-no-no-no. Psalm 111:6-9 says that:

“He has shown HIS great power to HIS people by giving them the lands of other nations. 

ALL He does is just and good, and ALL His commandments are trustworthy.They are forever true, to be obeyed faithfully and with integrity. 

HE has paid a full ransom for HIS people. HE has guaranteed HIS covenant with them forever.

What a holy, awe-inspiring name HE has!”

Oops! No Mary here!

And Peter CLEARLY states in Acts 4:12:

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.

That should clear up ANY confusion!

Finally headed back to Coppitt Key, and again rode past the Salt Pond Keys on Roosevelt Boulevard.

North Roosevelt Blvd in Key West

Also on the way home, we saw a couple jets circle over us, and descend to land….LOUD! And I got a picture of one of them:

Jet fighter landing

Final mileage total today — 22 miles.

Oh, and we did stop one more place….I was able to engage a couple people in conversation for almost AN HOUR outside of a Ross clothing store….because, yes, Earline was IN the store buying a few white things that she forgot to bring to counter the heat of the sun on hot days like today!

Hour front of Ross

Sigh.

ONLY thru God’s grace,

jon

[Oh, and by the way, there were 42 bridges over the Mississippi River on our 2010 Mission POSSIBLE Tour, EXACTLY the same number that we will be crossing in the Florida Keys. Of course, we will be crossing other bridges later, like the Venetian Causeway from Miami to Miami Beach, so we’ll do MORE than 42 this trip!]

Day 36 [Galena, IL – Mississippi Palisades State Park, IL]

TUESDAY, JULY 6, 2010

It rained off and on most of the night, and since we had pulled not only our just-washed clothes but even our panniers into the tent, everything stayed dry (for the most part).

Ready to leave Palace Campgrounds

Earline did notice that some of the clean clothes she hadn’t washed (I mentioned to you yesterday that ALL of my clothes needed washing!) in the panniers were damp, probably from the water splashing up from the rear tires on to the unprotected tire-side wall of the pannier.

And they were starting to smell a little mildewy. Earline put one of the Purex 3-in-1 sheets in with those clothes to counteract the mildewy smell, and prepare for when we might run across a laundromat today.

The drizzling from on top eased off, and a few small patches of blue sky showed briefly, but checking the weather radar on my phone, I noticed that some more heavy showers were headed our way. So we quickly “read the signs” [Matt. 16:1-4] and determined to get packed up before the rain arrived.

The tent itself was so wet, tho…I pulled of the tent top tarp, and hung it on a tree. We wiped off the picnic tables on the adjoining sites, and tried to lay everything out on them to prep for packing, and to get SOME air on them from a slight breeze that might dry things a little bit. I put the tent on it’s side to get some air underneath.

We have ALWAYS used a drop cloth under the tent, and I would recommend that you always use one as well. It prevents moisture from coming up from the ground to the bottom of your tent, and protects your tent from a myriad of little cuts and scratches from twigs, rocks, roots, etc.

Most of the folks in the camp left yesterday, after the holiday, but one of our nearby neighbors had stayed, a family group with several adults and children, and 5 dogs. They said they do this almost every year. [Family involvement!] Earline talked to one of the ladies, who was a nurse for an ENT doctor, and she said they had 5 Deaf clients. She also said how she advocated for the Deaf, and was stressing communication with THEM, and not only thru their hearing relatives. BRAVO!

After leaving the campground, we saw this interesting idea for accents for your (or the DAH Nursery) garden…..ROCK ON!

Accents for garden, rock on

Headed down into Galena and stopped to talk with Vern at the Visitor Info center. She had been so nice on the phone as we were entering into Galena, that I had promised to stop in and say hello. However, the lady that we talked with behind the desk was so “nice-nasty” it gave us a bad taste for the entire city. Was it because we looked a little “unkempt?” Was it because Earline was Black? Was it some political agenda? I don’t know.

Maybe she was just having a bad day. She refused to give us her name, but she did say that she’d say hi to Vern for us.

Galena looks like a really pretty little town, and I understand they will soon be putting in a bypass to cut the truck traffic thru town. Already they have a pretty little bridge with a pedestrian walkway over the Galena River.

[Can I count this bridge?….maybe not.]

Pretty pedestrian bridge over Galena River

We headed out of town on Blackjack Road, and met Carola.

Carola on Blackjack Road

Carola is an avid CYCLIST, and gave us some helpful tips concerning our route.

The road was a little strange…rolling asphalt, no shoulder, fairly steady traffic, and sometimes so pitched around the corners that I was afraid I’d tip over! Of course, this is a problem only for you who ride TRICYCLES!

BARN ART ALERT!!

Thanks to Ric and Ila, who made us aware of barn quilts, and the artistic canvas that old farm barns present, I will feature here ANY artistic expressions that we find displayed on barns, or by the barns themselves. Here’s a BARN ART featured on the east side of Blackjack road:

BARN ART Garlic

[I guess garlic needs to be promoted…..hmmmm.]

And then came THE HILL.

Start of Chestnut Mtn hill

Some of you have seen the WiFi Pedalers brochure where I am in front of Sugarloaf Mountain – a steep road I’ve been up a few times just west of Orlando. And I believe Sugarloaf is a 13% and 11% grade. Pretty steep.

Well, this part of Blackjack road up to Chestnut Mountain lodge was actually about 3 times as long as Sugarloaf, and a 15% grade! Here’s proof (and these 2 pictures are only the very top and bottom of the hill…..MUCH more in-between):

Struggling up Chestnut Mt

15 grade sign

It took us about a half hour of stopping and starting, and we BOTH made it….but it was a tough one. I’d have to say, probably the toughest of the trip, mostly because it was so steep.

The corn is bigger an more mature the further south we go, and Earline, trying to understand where the ears of corn come from, had a chance to see her first tassels and corn silk.

Tassels and silk

Then a mile or so later…..pfoop, pfoop, pfoop….Earline had our first flat tire of the trip. It was a nasty gash – couldn’t find what caused it, but the gook inside the tube had tried to seal it….lots of gook all over. Yuck.

And unfortunately, it was the rear tire, so I had to take all the gear off the trike, remove the tire, change the tube, fill IT with new gook, and replace the new tube and tire, and then reload the gear…..WHEW!

First flat

Couldn’t get the CO2 cartridges to engage, the cheap spare tire pump I had left wouldn’t properly attach to the valve, and the flies were numerous AND biting……ACK!

Here’s where I repaired the flat:

Rolling hills in Illinois

A couple people asked if we needed help. Jerry the motorcyclist stopped and chatted for quite a while. Eventually we overcame ALL obstacles and continued the tour.

BARN ART ALERT!!!

Not sure what this is, but it’s on a barn, and it IS kind of interesting….sort of….

BARN ART spiral

Nice downhill into Hanover, and it continued flat and mostly downhill [but with NO shoulders, AND….it started to rain….ACK!]

On the flat road past Hanover, saw this little waterfall along the side of the road. With the wet conditions of the past several weeks in this part of the country, streams are running full, and bluffs are “leaking” many places along the way:

Waterfall side of road

We went as far as Mississippi Palisades State Park and decided to camp there. John, the attendant there, told us that the capacity was around 250 units, but there were only 8 to 10 people in the camp that night. I asked if we could put up our tent in a PAVILION to dry out, and he said OK! Yea!

Pavilion to dry

Also met a neat Christian couple at the camp, Les and Doris Herron, who have a side-by-side recumbent quadricycle. Spent a nice evening talking with them (and had some WONDERFUL angel food cake.)

Thank you!

Earline Doris and Les

TGG,

Jon

Day 17 [Columbia Heights?, MN – St. Paul, MN]

JUNE 17, 2010

Up bright and early, around 5am, broke camp, and left nothing more than a few squished leaves where our tent had been:

A few squished leaves

Headed down the route mentioned in Bob’s book….the directions are excellent, and we marvel at the work that went into making it possible. Got our first glimpses of downtown Minneapolis. Went past a bridge under construction, but the MRT didn’t go across that bridge anyway. Still, we had many detour signs to follow (kind of like life, huh?!).

Glimpse of downtown

Bridge by St Anthony parkway Cambridge

Camden Bridge detour

The road down Northeast Marshall was fairly busy, with very little shoulder, and cars parked all along it. The river was just to our right, but the scenery was….well, unscenic. Did see SOME interesting things, like this concrete plant:

East Marshall concrete plant

Also went under or over several train tracks, indications of a bustling transportation of commerce that takes place every day. Here’s one trestle we went under that goes over the river:

Active train trestle

We went over the Plymouth Avenue bridge. (Note of caution: be sure to follow Bob’s book on this one. There is a bridge just a few blocks BEFORE 8th Avenue that the Great River Road follows across, but this is NOT the bridge YOU want.

Of course, the bridges now are getting much longer, and the river is getting much wider. Here is the Plymouth Avenue bridge, which is Bridge #21:

Bridge21

 

Bridge21 with Earline

This is the view north from the Plymouth bridge:

View north from the Plymouth bridge

From this point we went south down the west side of the river. It really is a pretty ride/walk along the river, and there were a lot of joggers, walkers, upright and recumbent bikers out on this Thursday morning. Even…..some recumbent TRIKERS!! Three wheels ROCK!

Young Trikers

We stopped and had some devotions down by the Hennepin Avenue bridge and the famous Grain Belt Beer Sign (at least somebody told me it was famous!). This is apparently is the site of the original, wooden, and FIRST bridge across the Mississippi in 1855. It was a suspension bridge, 620 feet long, and 17 feet wide, and teams of horses had to stay 100 feet apart when crossing!

Hennepin bridge and grain belt beer sign

Down here we also had a chance to make a new friend, Namond, or as his friends call him, the “Satanic Mechanic.” What a wide range of experiences this man has had! He, as he said, “talked our ears off,” did some bike tricks, recommended the Hard Times Cafe with some great food and strong coffee, and even went to the local bike store and got some maps for us. Here’s Namond:

Satanic mechanic

Stopped at and went across the famous St. Anthony Falls Stone Arch Bridge. There’s a lot of interesting history concerning the St. Anthony Falls and this bridge. Bridge #22:

Bridge22

South side of Stone Arch bridge

And a view of St. Anthony Falls on the north side of the bridge, FROM the bridge:

Stone Arch Falls in Mpls, MN

We went underneath several more bridges, as we left downtown Minneapolis, and saw this guy working. How would you like HIS job?

De-graffiti guy under bridge

We finally made it down to the Ford bridge, and it was so WINDY…..I actually checked my flags BEFORE we headed over. [Well, apparently THAT didn’t work!] Bridge #23:

Bridge23

This, sadly, was the last picture of my flag, because when we got to the center of the bridge, a HUGE, I mean HUGE gust of wind assaulted us, and we had to shield our faces, pebbles and sand blowing and pelting us from every direction!! And I can hear Earline screaming, and I wonder, what??!!

Well, nothing TOO serious, but there is my flag, my FLAG, fluttering down to the river below. ACK!! Maybe someone down river that reads this blog will find it……[a moment of silence]….

Here’s Bridge #23 on top, looking west, back the way we came…..

Bridge23 Ford Parkway looking west

….and the view north of the bridge that my flag disappeared into…..somewhere…..[sigh].

Wide Mississippi from Ford bridge

The view on the OTHER side, the SOUTH side of the bridge was of Lock and Dam #ONE on the Mississippi.

Lock1B

From the Ford bridge we headed down to the Crosby Farms area, and found that the road was shut, as they were working on the bicycle path there. So we decided then to leave the trail and head straight up to Auntee Liz’s place. [You remember, from Day -3.]

We went up a Sugarloaf-Mountain-like hill, Davern St…..TOUGH with all the gear we have on….but we’re taking it small steps at a time. That’s the advantage of trikes:  you can stop and take a break for a bit, and then start up again and go a little ways further, WITHOUT losing your balance, OR taking your feet off of the pedals.

Now here’s a sign that you don’t see in Florida:

Snow plow sign

When we got to Liz’s, some of the back-room-billards-guys tried out the trikes. Many smiles and questions. Some guys picked up on it pretty quickly, and were zooming around the block in no time:

Riding at Auntees

Got showered and went to the final night of a local ministerial alliance revival. Got to hear a MOST EXCELLENT men’s vocal group and mass choir from New Hope…..GREAT! Also got to hear Michael play drums, who said he’s been playing for 12 years (and he’s only 14!). Here’s Earline and MIchael:

Michael and Earline at revival

Over the course of the day today, had the opportunity to share the Mission to perhaps 30 to 40 people one-on-one. Whatever it takes.

Thank all of you AGAIN for your prayers and support.

TGG,

jon

Some final thoughts on yesterday’s HH, and a few pictures

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 – 10:25 PM

Failure? Some might call it that. Realistically it was a goal not achieved. It’s true that I didn’t have all the facts. When I got to Rest Stop #4 around 3:30, Tom was so gracious to bring me water even after the rest stop closed. But THEN….he let me know that if I was still riding after dark that for insurance reasons they would have to pull me off the route. I was shocked! I didn’t remember reading that anywhere, but I must have missed it. I thought back immediately to all the “putzin’ ” around I had done up to that point.

Monteverde convenience store
Now doesn’t this trike look noticeable enough to ride after dark?!!? Actually, this was at the Montverde convenience store. By now all the Rest Stops were closed, and Nature WAS calling. I guess the camera flash reflected off the the shiny spots. This was probably around 15 minutes before I was pulled off the route.

Blogging and texting from my phone, taking pictures. I did have a little mechanical difficulty when one of my brake lines came unhooked, and it took maybe 15 minutes or so to figure out how to fix that. The main culprit was the first rest stop. There must have been 30 or 40 people line up at the 4 porta-pottys when I got there. That took some time. I walked around trying to find Earl – I thought he said he’d be at the first rest stop. But I couldn’t find him, and talked with a nice lady volunteer to see if she knew Earl, but we couldn’t figure out who he was (I later saw him at rest stop #3…..HEY, EARL!)

I was walking around looking at all the food, gathering ideas for our own trip next summer; I took pictures of a couple groups in front of the fire truck, I had my picture taken:

Firetruck at HH
Jon! Stop taking pictures and get busy!

I met Phil Mix and his friend Paul, that were riding their I.C.E. trikes; we discussed what a good dealer Mark Power at Power On Cycling in Riverview, FL was (that’s where they got their trikes).

Mark and Linda
Mark and Linda Power

Phil also noticed a loose bolt on my trike, so he fixed that (so perhaps there was a critical purpose for meeting Phil and having that large bolt tightened – it was more than one full turn loose!).

Phil Mix
Phil Mix and banana consumed. Thanks for the fix-it, Phil! You can see some folks lined up behind Phil, but most of the people at the porta-pottys had cleared out by now.

And I talked with some other folks – I easily spent 30 to 45 minutes at that first stop. Well, you live and you learn.

And, like Earline said, isn’t that what family life is like? You set goals: you succeed at some and you fail at others. But the question is, how do you respond to those failures? If you fall down, you get back up, you learn, and the next time you do better, you make more informed decisions.

And STILL with all the extracurricular stuff I did, I guess I still almost finished before dark – my finish would have probably been around 6:30, 6:45. And considering I had only ridden a trike any significant distance only 2x before this in my life: each time about 25 miles or so when I rented the Sun trike at the Lake County Line, once on the West Orange Trail, and once when I went up to Sugarloaf to make sure I could make it up that hill with a trike….so, this time, 92 miles….I guess I did alright. Not hurting TOO much today….HA!

And I DID finish this morning. And I DID go up EVERY hill without stopping. The 3 steepest pitches (IMHO) were:

3) The Scrub Jay Rd. pitch up from 561A

2) One of the Buckhill Road pitches headed south from 455 – can’t remember which one – 1st or 2nd one, I think. (there’s so MANY!)

1) That darn little pitch up from Old Hwy 50 called Forestwood

The FUNNEST to go down: Ta-Dah! It’s a tie between Sugarloaf SE and North Ridge – did some SERIOUS whoopin’ going down those two hills. What speed did your computers say? Had to be close to 50.

Well, enough of that….what most of you want is PICTURES! Here’s a few:

Trikes in PT
Yes, both trikes fit INSIDE the PT Cruiser.

Trek booth at HH
Outside the Trek booth on Saturday

Iowa bent
An early bent made in Iowa

Earline and Keiron
Earline and Keiron at our table on Saturday

Early morning fog on Lake Minneola
Some early morning fog on Lake Minneola

Gettingwarmedupfortheride
Getting warmed up before the ride

Howard on his bent
Howard on his “bicycle” bent

Nervous for the ride to start
Do I look nervous? I AM!

Prayer before the ride
Moment of reflection and prayer before the ride. Now THAT’S cool!

Start of the HH
AND THEY’RE OFF…..Start of the 100 mile ride

West Side of Lake Minneola
West side of Lake Minneola

West Side of Lake Minneola2
2nd photo from the west side of Lake Minneola [I actually STOPPED and took these pictures…..ack!]

Northridge Assent
Here we go! First big Climb, up Northridge Boulevard – people clumping, walking, falling….

North Ridge assent2
But this is FUN! It really is [keep telling yourself that!]….

Third time tower
A THIRD look at the tower on Scrub Jay Rd. (the same one in 2 previous blogs). Look at the blue sky! (and say, did everyone stay under 15 MPH when going DOWN the hills…..NOT!)

Haybalesinthecountry

Some of you hundred-ers might remember these hay bales out on, I think, Lake Emma Road. Here, and on Villa City Road, it was so peaceful! Wonderful ride.

Top of SugarLoaf
From the TOP of Sugarloaf…..beautiful, huh?! But late!! (with a SAG truck nervously watching just to the left of this picture!) Also, take note of the SINKING sun….ack!

Of course, it was not much later that I ran out of daylight and was forced to stop my travels. SO…..

Backatthesamespottofinishitoff
Back to the same spot I got stopped at last night.

BackatthespotIgotpickedup
Notice the one flag had suffered some battle damage! There’re pieces of it somewhere (probably on the Sugarloaf downhill!).

Fosgate tower
Remember the tower on Fosgate? Wonder what it would look like from the bottom looking up? (Now that’s a weird picture!)

Top of North Ridge
This HAS to be a fond memory….the last thing you remember seeing before falling off the North Ridge cliff! Wheeeeee!

Cheerleaders reception
FINISHED!…..and a cheerleader’s reception….cool. Way cool.

 

HH 2009 century.cdr

Whoo-whoo!!

NOVEMBER 16, 2009 – 10:32 AM

Finished! Whoop-whoop! Who’s your daddy?! (North Ridge downhill was AWESOME! Almost better than SE Sugarloaf.) Whee!

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Made it to the 1st rest stop!

NOVEMBER 15, 2009 – 9:52 AM

Beautiful day! Seen a couple people fall already. I heard there’s over 2,000 of us out here! (So THAT’S why there’s over 50 people in line at the port-a-potty!) Met a couple other gentlemen riding ICE trikes. Nice folks. Next segment takes us around Sugarloaf. To the next rest stop!

Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

Rider Pak Pick-Ups / Day before the Ride

NOVEMBER 14, 2009

Okay – just slept for 6 hours (cuz I got NONE last night), and now [11:30 PM] I have to get up in 5 hours to head over to Clermont to get ready for the Horrible 100, but I did want to send out a few thoughts quick.

This blogging thing is still new to me, so I appreciate your patience. I’m going to try and set it up here now to send you blogs FROM the ride (how about WHILE going up Sugarloaf….

Sugarloaf with clear skies

….now that would be cool). (And if I ever upgrade my phone, I should be able to send you pictures from the road, too!) (2 cools)

I’ve got some pictures from today’s pre-day race, but you’ll have to wait until next week for me to load these here.

We had set up a booth, and showed off the ICE Trikes that Power On Cycling supplied for the weekend. We had a chance to meet many wonderful folks like some of you, and some of you had a chance to even sit in them and take a little spin. I will be riding the T tomorrow, oops, I mean, TODAY. Earline will stay with the booth while I’m riding, and be showing off the Q that we also have along.

So, let me get a few more hours of shut-eye….the weather looks like it’s going to be absolutely gorgeous, and they’re expecting as many as 2,000 riders, so this should be interesting. Even if everyone was spread out over the 100 miles evenly, that’s 20 riders per mile, or one rider every 250 feet! I’m taking the camera WITH ME, and should get some GREAT pictures. (Remember, on a trike you can do that!)

Lord bless!

jon

 

Sugarloaf and Trikes: More Horrible 100 Observations

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009

The question is, can a trike do the Horrible 100, specifically can it conquer the mighty Sugarloaf Mountain?

Yesterday I had a chance to answer that question.

Went to West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades Co., and rented a Sun tadpole trike. The people at West Orange were very helpful, even with some of my odd requests. (like stick-um….see below a little bit.)

Sun trike at West Orange
A tadpole trike by Sun (I’ll have a few comments about this trike at the end.)

Having done the entire Horrible 100 a couple weeks ago, I knew from the map where I wanted to go – today’s purpose is simply to see if this trike can handle the rigors of the hills north of Clermont, and especially Sugarloaf Mountain, and if I can do it in a timely manner.

After adjusting the length of the pedals bar, and the seat (this is as low as it would go), I headed west. Well, not exactly. I couldn’t shift!

I had put on some sunscreen on my face, arms and legs, and with my hands slippery, I couldn’t grip the handles! Had to come back to the store and look for something to give my hands some grip. (Note to self: bring your GLOVES next time!)

Finally found that washing all the sunscreen off my hands eventually allowed me to grip and twist the shifters (which did feel stiff and tight). Unfortunately, I can see where that could be a dangerous situation if you’re trying to tug and twist on the shifters and go straight ahead at the same time, especially in a high traffic areas.

Took old 50 over to Turkey Farm Road…. made it up that hill with really……not MUCH effort. Hmmmm. Turned up Fosgate Rd. (this is part of the Horrible 100). Then turned on Grassey Lake.

Saw a deer – a young buck! (Obviously lost.)

Deer in Clermont
This deer overslept!

Continued up Grassey Lake….what a gorgeous day today!! The sky was so blue!!

Bluest Blue Sky
Talk about blue!!

Turned on Citrus Grove Road, and before turning right on Scrub Jay Road, saw this in front of me – part of the Horrible 100….NO WONDER I was panting going up that hill last time! I didn’t remember it being that steep.

Citrus Graove Road
Citrus Grove Road hill – part of the Horrible 100.

After turning right on Scrub Jay Road (the Horrible 100 in reverse), I AGAIN went past this tall tower.

Scrub Jay tower from north
Same tower, different day, different bike…..er, ah, TRIKE!

One thing I’m realizing as I’m headed out of town, is that these hills seem to be a lot easier on the trike. Part of it, I guess, is the gearing. I can shift way down, and still proceed. I might be going slower up the hills, but the effort doesn’t seem near as hard. Plus, I’m not having to worry about BALANCE. I went up and down Grassey Lake and Scrub Jay, without even having to go in the lowest gear. I’m thinking that Sugarloaf WILL be conquered today.

Headed west on 561A after Scrub Jay, NICE long downhill – I’m in the top gear in the back (8), and top in the front (3), and just cruising along. Drinking a lot of water – almost out. Hope those thermoses are still at the top of Sugarloaf.

I forgot to mention this in the last blog. Right before the turn to Sugarloaf, there is a horse farm, and the fence is COVERED with…[wait for it]…. shovel heads. Yup!

Shovel heads
Shovel heads? What can it mean?

I think I figured it out – obviously, everyone who has died from fear or heart attacks going up this mountain, they’re actually buried right here on the spot, and each time they use a different shovel to dig the grave! And…..HERE THEY ARE!

And here it is, again – the dreaded Sugarloaf Mountain!!!!

Sugarloaf with clear skies
Sugarloaf Mountain – it LAUGHS at those who try to conquer it….we’ll see!

Take my last swig of water, rev up the ‘engines’…..and off we go.

I figure I need a record of this, so I put my camera IN HAND, and off I go. I put the front gear in the lowest setting, and figure I’ll leave it there for the whole ascent, so it’s my left hand that holds the camera. Just to show the superiority of the trikes, I’ll TAKE PICTURES WHILE CLIMBING the mountain. Try doing THAT on a bike!

The steepest pitch is right in here, beside the small yard lights on the right that have stonework pillars that they’re set in.

Assault on Sugarloaf, with shoe
Yes, that’s my foot….taking this picture WHILE climbing up the mountain.

Got it totally down in first gear at this point, but no sweat….okay, maybe a little sweat. Okay, maybe a lot of sweat, but I’m not gasping for air like I was on my bike. My legs DID start to get a little tired about 100 yards from the top, but I MUST do this. And just then…..

Dog on Sugarloaf
Bark, bark, growl! Will he attack?? The gate just to the left of this photo is WIDE OPEN!

Mind you, I’m taking this picture WHILE continuing to climb the hill.

But the dog doesn’t come any closer….heh, he’s probably trying to figure out what in the heck it is that I’m riding!

Finally, at the top! No stopping, some picture taking along the way, and the trike has conquered.

Conquering trike
We came, we saw, we conquered.

Now, to see if that water is still up around the corner. I’m thirsty!

Okay, here’s the house….what??!!?

No water top of Sugarloaf
No water??!! ACK!!!!

You can see a gray spot on the driveway WHERE the water stand was….but not today, I guess. Well, I was GRATEFUL when it was there for me last time.

NOW…..time to go down the south slope.

Kicked the trike into the highest gears, and off we go. Within 50 yards I’m going faster than what I can pedal, so I’m just hanging on. Picking up more speed…..I’m guessing 45 to 55 mph at my fastest. Especially with the direct steering of this trike, I need to concentrate on keeping it straight and true.

WHEW!!!!! That was fun! Here’s what I just came down.

SE hill of Sugarloaf
Coming south from Sugarloaf. I think I surprised the UPS guy!

Some MORE downhills now….this is fun!

Whoops!! Just ran across this sign….NOW they tell me!

40 MPH speed limit
Shhhhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone!

Filled up with water in Montverde, and headed back in to Bikes and Blades.

Now remember, from Sugarloaf on down to the bike trail on old 50, this is all part of the Horrible 100, and near the end of it, actually, so these downhills should be much appreciated.

Saw this – whatever it is – headed south from Montverde. Is it a castle? A golf resort? Hmmmm.

Montverde castle maybe
Very gorgeous, but what is it?

When I got back in to Bikes and Blades, discussed some of my adventure with the store manager, Mr. Taylor Powell.

Taylor Powell

I had moved the steering handles back on the direct steering bars, to give me a little more control. I was glad I had, because coming down some of those hills, it was everything I could do to keep it going straight.

I hate the seat on these Sun trikes….not just dislike, but HATE…..NOT comfortable. I was experiencing what they call “recumbent butt.” Had to keep shifting from one cheek to the other!!!

And granted, this is a rental trike that has probably been through some abuse, but it felt kinda like dad’s old ’49 Chevy truck. A lot of shaking and bumping. Kinda of a rough ride, and a lot of veering from left to right to left, and that was when shifting (it was tough to shift, even with dry hands), AND when braking. A lot of brake steer…had a hard time continuing straight when braking hard.

Experiencing the grip shifting on this trike being so stiff, I am thinking now that thumb shifters are the way to go. That way if the shifting tightens up, or my hands are sweaty or greasy, I won’t have to worry that my steering will be affected.

(I have since been assured by a couple of sources, that the Sun trikes are notorious for swervey steering – and apparently the direct steering is partly to blame.)

Good things? Not too much, I’m afraid on this trike, except…..when I WAS able to shift, it would slide completely through all of the gears from top to bottom, smoothly, and on demand. The high end was not very high, though, and I often was going faster than what the gearing allowed me to pedal.

But the low end….the low end was a GOOD low – I could climb even Sugarloaf without much real difficulty, and I appreciated that!!

All in all a good test of a trike going up the hills north of Clermont. Time-wise, even stopping and starting, adjusting the water bottle, taking lots of pictures, it took about 3-1/2 hours.

So looking at the map – maybe 25, 30 miles. Which means I probably averaged close to 10-11mph. Almost enough to complete the Horrible 100 before they close the booths!

Gotta do some more training!

(P.S. By the way, Taylor gave me TWO tubes and a patch kit to take with me…..I was PREPARED this time!)

(P.P.S.S. Course, when I am prepared….NO FLATS! Ha!)

jon