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FLORIDA! *Does a little jig*

Can you believe this shit? I just rode my bike to FLORIDA and there is no "Welcome to Florida" sign! What the F***! Sheesh! I stopped about a mile into the state still looking for anything that said “Florida” on it and soon found a deputy chillin' on the side of the road... apparently bored.

That's right, I look like hell and I'm damn proud of it! Read 'em and weep, Henry Ford!


Twenty-five days after leaving base camp, I found myself in the sunshine state. Not too shabby, Chuck. Thanks, dude. Did you happen to look at the graphic on the first journal entry depicting my route? Well, take a gander and hold on to your pants, because this story has only just begun.

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"Here you go, sir, you have a good trip." Rock out, Georgia. You have produced a friendly folk more than happy to voluntarily donate bottled water to a bum on wheels. I take back my previous comment about the populus simply sitting around and scratching themselves. Hospitality greatly appreciated! Now where's my free pizza?!

No pizza around these parts... just lots of beef. While unprocessed, it turns out that Georgia beef can be pretty damn entertaining! I was cycling by one of the many pastures when I happened upon the world's most curious cattle. Turns out, they're not just curious, they're in heavy qualms with one another. You see, elections were coming up and nobody liked the candidates for king, so I decided to stop and make my own campaign for lordship over Curious Cow Kingdom.

Listening intently...


I spent the entire day making promises and demonstrating an ability to rule with a firm but compromising integrity. The votes were tallied and, of course, it was a landslide victory. But little did they know, they were all fooled; my intentions were less than amiable.

I think it's safe to say that both the cows and I are mentally ill.


Click the PLAY button to watch the video.


Chuck, Charlie, Ziggy, Shadowfax, Elvis and I ended the day about 80 miles short of the border after racing the fastest dog alive. Despite the photos comprising of just myself with a bicycle, I've found that company is all around me. Elvis, for those who don't know, is the name of my voice recorder. I named it after my late grandmother's parrot who repeats everything you say, but also because of Elvis Presley's musical talent and the recorder's ability to play mp3z.

I awoke. 80 miles to Florida... hrm... I think I'll just do about 50 and call it a day.

Ut oh... breakfast of champions -- something is up!



He looks too confident to do just 50 miles today.


Now I'm biking... and biking... and biking. The trip odometer reads about 50 miles... can I make it to Florida? I'm not sure if I have it in me... maybe it's time I land and call it a night. Done and done, enough riding for one day, I'm leaving. So, I left -- but where was I going? Oh, you baby-boomers all know the answer. Don't tell me you didn't grow up in the sixties... it's no secret. Today's path was less down the road than it was across the sky. No need for a camp site, no need to pitch my tent and no need to do anything illegal (I run on the all-natural). On my way out the door, I heard the words fall out of his mouth.

"It's time"

I was gone. In the blink of an eye, the bike became as light as a feather and more comfortable than a cloud. I could neither taste the sun nor hear him breathe. The great steed and his rider had everything under control. From pedaling to shifting and checking the rear-view for cars, I had unlimited confidence that my counterpart would get me there. It was a complete disconnect. I entered a scattered dreamscape where, of many things, time ceased to exist and nothing was without great meaning. Much of what I remember from the trip this day comprises largely of yelling violently about a Fender guitar and brief memories stemming from a periodic return to reality to ensure our existence was not in jeopardy. To resume visual awareness was to share the eye of a video camera sailing dead-focused in a straight line through nature as his pupils consumed the forward reality from the peripherals and out of existence. I knew I was on the right path. On one such return episode to reality, it suddenly made sense for him to have a lance. Why this is I'm really not sure... I really have no idea... but it made complete and total sense at the time. Where would I find a lance? I haven't seen a lance outlet in weeks... and AdventureCycling forgot to put them on my maps. I would get to the bottom of this... somehow...

Woah, time to make a left turn. Pay attention, dude. I snapped back into myself to realize I was less than 2 miles from Florida! SWEET! I thanked Charlie for the boost and decided to dig in the spurs, bust out the riding crop and let ShadowFax "show me the meaning of haste". I was going to reach the border on the edge of exhaustion just so I could feel the surge of such an accomplishment and make it the climax of a long day. But... now that I had to consciously use the muscles, I found myself putt'ing along at a turtle's pace just before I reached the bridge. I crossed... eventually. When I got to the other side, I stood up on my pedals intent to verbally claim my territory but all I could muster up was a weak bark followed by a lunge for my water bottles. Woops. I had the deputy snap a photo for me and ended the day in the triple digits for the third time since I left home.

I dropped in on Paul and Laurie in Jacksonville a day earlier than expected and they were both more than happy to accommodate me. I want to thank the two of them for taking me in though hardly knowing me and for the immediate "make yourself at home" feeling I got when I walked in the door. I think I'm going to hang out here for a few days and reorganize for the second and longest phase of the tour across the south... or as I call it, the deep breath before the plunge.

Rock n' Roll,

-Chuck

Is it me or doesn't this landscape seem to be missing gazelles, monkies, hippos and some alligators?



I can only show you the door...



I'm calling this photo "Sand Puddles".






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2002
Nobody says you have to wait until you're 59 1/2 to retire. As a rare inside view of early retirement, this book sets out the exact steps necessary to retire young.




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My name is Charles Tronolone and I'm attempting something a bit unconventional; I'm trying to make a living by writing while on a perpetual bicycle tour. How I got to this point is a story in itself, but suffice to say that I refuse to be just another cog in the machine. There's too much important work to be done and too many eyes to open for us to be content with personal goals or riches. In late 2006, I managed to escape the machine, and now I'm setting off to help bring it down.

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