Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Interlude: Everglades National Park

Throughout my time cycling through the United States and visiting areas nationally protected, there has only been one that I visited without Eddy.  That being Mt. Rainier in Washington.  I now add to the already bloated list Everglades National Park.  I visited the park with my Parents.  We originally were going to bike there and stealth camp along the way, but like the best laid plans of mice and men, this didn't happen.  Either way, I was there and took pictures.  The Everglades are being killed by civilization as the water is only now trickling down to southern Florida when it once flowed like flowing water.  Irrigation, canals, reservoirs are all stealing the blood of the glades.  The animals and environment pay dearly, and the efforts to restore or protect all take as the foundation that canals and irrigation and reservoirs must always continue.  but I digress...

See them all at

Monday, March 5, 2012

Phase 3: Complete

The thing with phases are the same thing with each day on a bike tour. Where you start is so different from where you end. So with the ending of Phase 3, lets take a look back to where we came from, where are, and where we're going. And by we I mean me.

Way back in Texas, the humble beginnings of Phase 3 began. With snow flurries, ice, and overcast skies, I did find myself in Alpine, Texas. Chris' girlfriend Brittany came to join the bike tour with Chris and Phase 3 did begin. I ventured forth solo to Big Bend, my last national park so far, and headed across the get expanse of Texas. Rain, fogs, winds, and slogs great and small were in the cards for Texas, along with hills, music, new years, Gulf of Mexicos, and one of the worst places in America, Port Arthur. WOOF!

And then, finally, after more than a month, I entered Louisiana. Through marshes and swamps, more rain and winds, I finally  made it to New Orleans to meet up with friends. A week of debauchery, or at least one night, and I was on my way around lake Pontchartrain and back towards Baton Rouge for a last minute friend visit before heading north into Mississippi and the Natchez Trace Parkway. A week on the parkway and I had forgotten all about the fact that the rest of the south wasn't a low traffic highway where cars go way around you and there are free campgrounds all over. Mississippi and into Alabama, as loyal Binglers will recall, was not for the faint of the bicycle tourer's heart.

Crossing Alabama, in the back waters, the pine forest, and hills and dogs and I made it to Georgia along the Chattahoochee river. I followed the river more or less, passing through the diminishing hills, through state parks and down toward the pan handle of Florida. Sunless skies greeted me in the Sunshine state.

From the capital to the coast, I rode through the prairies, the forests, the flats, the Okeechobee lake. A few days ago I biked to the Atlantic, not only declaring Phase 3 complete, but also my second cross country bike ride. Me and Chris left the Pacific Ocean in Morro Bay, California on October 6, 2011 and I saw the Atlantic Ocean on March 1, 2012, 6,482 miles.

Phase 3 was 3,643 miles from Alpine, TX to Boca Raton, FL. My total mileage thus is 14,947.6 miles. It has been 10 months since leaving Burlington, VT. But what every Bingler is asking, if Phase 3 has ended, doesn't that mean.... YES, PHASE 4!!!!

Phase 4, or the final phase as it's called on the street, will of course begin in Boca Raton, Florida and will conclude not so far away in Asheville, North Carolina. It's a shade under 1,000 miles and will mark the official conclusion of this bicycle tour. I have already been in contact with the Mayor of Asheville and finally, a tinker tape parade will be awaiting my heroic entry into the fair city nestled in the mountains. Long and long have I awaited the glory, gold and free buffet that should be awarded me. Long and long I say.

Stats galore will be revealed then, and not a moment sooner. Also, pictures of the elephants and albino black crows that will be on display for my parade will be posted. It's been a long strange trip and I have loved almost every moment. I'll be sad when I hang up my touring wheels, but they won't get too dusty I'm sure. I look forward to learning the landscape of the Appalachians by bicycle and by foot.

Well, until Phase 4 starts and I actually have stuff to say about biking, keep pedaling

Friday, March 2, 2012

Another moment

I tramp a perpetual journey;
My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff
      cut from the woods;
No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair;—
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange;
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents
      and the public road.

Not I, not any one else can travel that road for you,
     You must travel it for yourself.

I am reminded today that this day is another day upon the wondrous circle of life and death, and that we all continue perpetually on.  Pausing at times to reflect, we sometimes tack stock of where we are and judge.  But perhaps, on those days, those moments when we look, perhaps there is another way of seeing ourselves, our small life.  

Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I
         know it. 

I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe,
         and am not contain'd between my hat and boots, 
And peruse manifold objects, no two alike and every one good,
The earth good and the stars good, and their adjuncts all good.

I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth,
I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and
         fathomless as myself, 
(They do not know how immortal, but I know.)

Every kind for itself and its own, for me mine male and female,
For me those that have been boys and that love women,
For me the man that is proud and feels how it stings to be
For me the sweet-heart and the old maid, for me mothers and the
         mothers of mothers, 
For me lips that have smiled, eyes that have shed tears,
For me children and the begetters of children.

Undrape! you are not guilty to me, nor stale nor discarded,
I see through the broadcloth and gingham whether or no,
And am around, tenacious, acquisitive, tireless, and cannot be 
         shaken away. 

Perhaps on this day we let go of our self judgments, our negative thoughts, the constraints
we place on ourselves and those imposed upon us.  We are not these selves we hold on to
so dearly after all.  So on this day I will take the time to just be.  Aware that I am here, in life,
amongst all the wondrous creatures and beauty that we have the miracle to behold.