Last night, Frankenbutt made a pasta and chicken dinner that cost about $5 to feed all three of us. We stumbled onto “just add water” Knorr’s pasta packs that sell for about $1 each and have all the spices included; tried them at home and liked them. Last night we had 2 packs of “butter and garlic” noodles to which we added one package of chicken (similar to the tuna packets; no refrigeration needed, costs about $2.75). It was just the right amount to feed three of us and Coco was glad to lick the dishes clean before I washed them.
After dinner, Frankenbutt grabbed the phone and video recorded a turtle race … you know life is good when the most exciting thing happening is a turtle race! Post turtle race (fyi, the turtle won! Not the hare!), we all took showers, except for Coco, who rolled in the dirt. Post shower, I went to the sauna! Well, it’s actually a laundry room, but I found the laundry duties more entertaining by thinking of it as a sauna. Because most all of our wardrobe is made from spandex and wicking material technology, it all dried within 15 minutes! I’m all for cutting my chore time down.
We all slept better last night, mostly because we were tired. We got up @ 7:30 am and I started breakfast: burnt pancakes. Ok, I didn’t burn them all. But, I did make at least 5 before I got our Primus stove adjusted to the right temperature. Not one to waste stuff, Frankenbutt and I spread peanut butter (individual packets @ about sixty five cents each by Peanut Butter and Company) onto the pancakes and made little protein sandwiches. The Beast got the better of the pancakes and enjoyed a tasty PBP, Peanut Butter Pancake sandwich and again, Coco was glad to eat the one burnt pancake none of us would even consider. Don’t feel badly for her, she usually eats dog food! Which would you prefer?
We finally got on our bikes around 9:30 am, later than we planned. We are still feeling our way on the most efficient way to break down camp and who’s to do what. We got out onto Route 301 south and were pedaling at a pretty good pace until we hit road construction: no bike lanes and uneven sidewalks that randomly start and stop. Rarely do my pannier bags “jump off” my bike but today the lesser expensive Schwinn bags were on a bungy jumping spree! When this happens, I have to stop immediately so that I don’t drag them and tear them apart. As the lead rider, in noisy traffic, I almost caused a 3 bike pileup style accident each time. It happened 4 times! We were all getting frustrated and decided that we’d need to fix that issue before we attempt the West Palm Beach, FL to Clemmons, NC leg of our ride, which is 785 miles in 2 weeks’ time.
As we turned the corner onto Cortez Rd in Bradenton, we saw Ryder Bikes. Although we are loyal to J&R Bicycles for everything BMX, we needed touring specific options for our pannier bag issue and we needed it soon. The Ryder Bikes salesperson went over a few options with us and we settled on a pair of Trek brand panniers that cost $69 for the pair, plus he gave us a 10% discount for a total of $67.08 after the discount and with tax. We paid and left some NBL BMX brochures. The new panniers have top mounting hooks (with better engineering than our Schwinn bags) PLUS a locking ring to anchor the bags at the base of the pannier rack and rap around straps, giving us 3 points of anchorage. We’ll let you know if we made a good choice once we test them in the real world.
We rode on into Sarasota via Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd and got a line of high fives from some locals. There were 3 boys, about 10-12 years old, riding their bikes and curious about our “ride the nation” sign; we told them we are riding our bikes 3000 miles this summer and their eyes got huge with disbelief before they all said “COOL!” I felt really good at that moment!
I was apprehensive about arriving at Sarasota BMX because although I contacted them and sent them the same emails I’ve sent to all 25 tracks we plan to visit, I received an email from their track secretary stating “Unfortunately, at this time, our track will be unable to assist your event.” I was disappointed when I received that email, especially since every other track I’ve talked with has been so receptive and excited at the idea of promoting our sport. I realize that our adventure might sound like a crazy idea, but already we’ve gained publicity for our home track, Tampa BMX, via news stories that ran in the Tampa Tribune and The St. Pete Times.
Upon pulling into Sarasota BMX, we were immediately greeted by a Tampa BMX rider, Brianna, and also John from the Sarasota County commission who was surprised to hear about our adventure. He told us how Sarasota County has worked hard to improve the track (and it shows!) and how he wished the media had been alerted about our arrival; would have made an excellent photo op for the track and Sarasota County. I also saw some of the ladies I’ve volunteer scored with for the past 8 years, including Kathy Bostrum and Laura Pingol, who introduced me to TC, the track director at West Palm Beach BMX and we had a terrific discussion. It’s nice to find others whose main goal is to keep our sport fun, family friendly and in the media spotlight. TC, I’ll see you in a week for the Gator Nationals at the fabulous Okeeheelee BMX track in West Palm Beach, FL. Kathy Bostrum worked her magic and scored us free camping here at the track! Thanks, Kathy!
Well, it’s that time of the evening when the sun’s setting and I need to locate my head lamp and contact lens case. More later.
Remember, go to Twitter.com and search “ridethenation”; join for free and follow our midday tweets. Also, go to google latitudes to track us online (more info in prior blog).