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