Secondary Roads

My life on the road, exploring, adventuring and experiencing. Part journal, part travel guide, part history lesson, part stream of consciousness. The world is my bucket and the list is endless!


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On The Road Again……

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May 2020 RV Trek

Well the time has finally come to get this circus moving again.  I know, I know….. the plague has not yet subsided in many places.  I am sensitive to that, but there are other factors over which I debated before making my decision.  Gulf Shores is becoming overrun with tourists.  It’s a thriving beach area and believe me, you’d think nothing was ever different.  It’s also becoming quite expensive since it’s now tourist season.  There’s a new sign over Mobile Bay reading “Damn the Corona, Full Speed Ahead…….to the beach!”

The simple fact is, social distancing and self-quarantine had virtually no effect on my lifestyle.  I stick mostly to myself, only go places where crowds exist, like grocery stores, when I need to, and I finally do have a mask.  Seriously, about the only thing I was forced to give up was going out to eat, which I don’t do very often although I did my share of take-out over the last couple of months.

I will be missing some things along the way that I would normally take the opportunity to visit.  For instance, I would have visited the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic site today under other circumstances.  The museum is open, but even in these counties where the infection numbers and rates are low, I don’t feel the need to be part of the problem.  So, I will keep from those types of activities till things are much closer to normal, or what used to be normal.  Just gives me a reason to someday return this way.

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Rides in Baldwin County, AL and the very northwest corner of Florida

About the most questionable activity I will continue is golf.  But there again, the precautions golf courses have put in place have reduced the risks to almost nothing.  Nobody touchers your bag or clubs but you.  Most grills or restaurants are closed or are only serving through the walk-up window or the refreshment carts.  Only 1 person allowed per cart, even if you came as a group.  If not, they are not pairing strangers together.  I’ve played a few times since March, always completely by myself and except for the refreshment cart girls, never within dozens of yards of another person, never mind six feet.  You may disapprove but I think it’s not unreasonable.

So I arrived in Orange Beach/Gulf Shores (they are essentially the same place and I did change RV Resorts one time from one to the other) on March 11th and left yesterday, May 29th.  Aside from some golf I did get some good riding in.  In fact, I pretty well managed to cover southern and central Baldwin County.

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Thanks Strava Heatmaps. The darker the color the more times I rode on that road.

It’s good to be moving again.


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Stages of Corona Hair

When the world shut down I decided if “They” wouldn’t let me get a haircut, I’d refuse to shave.  Peaceful protest….yada, yada, yada.  At that point it had already been nearly a month since my last haircut.

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Mid March, about a week after quarantine and business closures

Today, 90 days exactly since my last haircut, the hair service industry returned to business here in Gulf Shores.  I have not gone that long between haircuts since at least 1989.

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A week or two ago

It was a two and a half hour wait.  I didn’t stick around as they allowed you to check-in and then come back.  Time well spent getting groceries.

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This morning before heading off to Great Clips

Now I admit that I do kinda like the way the top looks all wavy and such, partly because it makes my face look less fat………but it was driving me crazy!  So were the whiskers, truthfully, but I made a commitment.

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Halfway there

Ahhhhh…….nice and clean……..  It’s shorter than I normally keep it and I’ll let it grow back  but it feels sooooo good.

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Who says global pandemic can’t be fun.


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Follower Interactive Test

Hello dear followers. I am experimenting with a new functionality and I need your help. I am looking to expand the viewer experience of my posts by adding 360º and panoramic photo viewing capability.  Below you’ll find a couple of photos. By clicking on the photo and then moving the cursor around in the photo you SHOULD be able to see it in its panoramic or 360º format.  Please let me know if this works by leaving a comment.

Thanks!

Enjoy………I hope.

 

 


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To The Mailbox….. And Beyond

What’s the most exciting thing you did yesterday?  I’m pretty sure none of you are going to say, “I went to my mailbox.”  But I did and it was indeed the most exciting part of my day.  Now for most of you that’s probably a daily, or at least weekly, and rather benign occurrence, but not for me.  I’ve had my mailbox for 2+ years now……and I’d never been there before yesterday.

BWWOoP3GQS6aNhP5x3MOAgOne of the questions I’m asked most often when people find out I live on the road full-time is, “How do I get my mail?” The answer is, MyRVMail.com.  It is a mail forwarding service and also serves as a legal address, so, not a P.O. Box.  For a small yearly fee and the cost of postage, my mail will eventually find me anywhere on the road.  Well, almost anywhere.

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This is why when you ask for my address, it is in Crestview, FL.  My mail goes there, these lovely folk take it in, scan a photo of it, send me an email with the scanned photo attached and keep it in my box until I contact them to forward whatever they have to me.  On my end, I log on to the website and have the the options for them to shred and recycle it, open it and scan the contents for me, or forward it on to whatever address I provide them.  Zip, Bam, Boom and Easy Peasy!

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Hi Tech!  And no, that is not my FedEx package

Traveling west along Highway 90, I passed right through the center of Crestview.  How could I not stop?  Not just to see the operation, uh… in operation…. but also because I knew I had mail to pick up.

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There I am…….. #5144

So there you have it.  One of the little know, but fascinating aspects of life on the road.  Really, it’s the little things in life.


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The Lowest High Point

Yes, yes, a couple of years ago I said that Delaware has the lowest high point of the 50 states.  I was wrong.  It happens…… far more than I’d care to admit.  Turns out it’s Florida.  And this point is BARELY in Florida.  It’s only .7 road miles to the Alabama border.CTHR%4unR3OYHAUdkt0e0g

So that marks off another state high point with a lovely ride.  Challenging second half with a pretty stiff southerly wind. Screenshot 2020-03-09 16.00.48

7fek%mfeTMiy2U9YOS4OoQIf I hadn’t told you I was in Florida you probably would not have guessed it from the photos.  The panhandle, once you get a few miles north of the Gulf Coast is completely different from south Florida and what most people imagine Florida to be.

Ansel Adams I ain’t!

 

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Field Afire!  This was so much more Crimson in real life.

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Almost On The Road Again

Screenshot 2020-03-04 15.25.02As we move towards Spring….. and more importantly Daylight Savings Time (WooHoo!!!) I’ve finally left central Florida and moved up to the panhandle.  Two years ago I spent some time on the barrier island of St George.  I’m now just a few miles west, on the next island over, taking advantage of another of Florida’s fabulous state parks.  This time, St Andrews State Park.  I guess the initial settlers in this part of Florida were British.  Uh, I mean the initial European

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Hiking around St Andrews State Park

settlers of course.  I haven’t quite “hit the road” again though because after a week here and a couple of days knocking the “high point” of Florida off the list, I’m headed further west, just across the border to Orange Beach, Alabama for a month.  THEN I’ll be “on the road” for most of the rest of the year.

Weather’s been pretty crappy since I got here a few days ago, but I managed to explore by foot around the park for a couple of hours before the deluge begins again this afternoon.

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the park interior

If I’d known it was going to hold off for this long I might have played golf this morning as the conditions would have been perfect.  Warm, but certainly not hot under the overcast skies and not even a stir of a breeze.  By the time the sun is supposed to make its next appearance the winds are supposed to pick up as well.  Such is early Spring on the Gulf.

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Wading my way around Sandy Point. 

Don’t be fooled by the overhead photo, if you walk the beach around Sandy Point at high tide there are places your gonna get wet.  Plus, a lot of that beach in the satellite photo is gone after last year’s hurricane.  There’s still a lot of visible damage in and around Panama City and Panama City Beach.  Again, such is life on the Gulf.

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Big difference on the leeward side

The Hermit Crabs were out in abundance along this stretch.  I have no idea why this one is walking backwards, but it seems something I’d do.


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Bikey Things

I’ve made up for my lack of cycling this winter with bike buying.  I came here with three bikes.  I’ll be leaving Orlando at the end of the month with two, one and a half of which are new.  Nope, not a mistype.  1.5 of my bikes are now brand new.

How does one purchase Half of a bicycle?  By replacing and upgrading the drivetrain.  For you non-cyclists, the drivetrain is the pedal cranks, chainring, chain, and rear cassette (or the gears).  My 2014 Stumpjumper is a fabulous mountain bike though starting to age a bit.  If you shop for a mountain bike nowadays you’ll find that most have gone away from two chainrings up front in favor of just one, with a wider variety of gears in the back.  This is referred to as a 1x (pronounced “one by”) setup.  Along with this many are now available with a mind boggling, but leg helping, 12 gears.  So I’ve updated my new half of bike by converting my old drivetrain to a 1×12 (“one by 12′).  I’ve ridden it a few times on some of the rare but great single-track trails here in Central Florida and it’s a joy to ride.  Mostly, I wanted to simplify, which I’ve done by this, but it was also time to replace those components.

Speaking of simplifying, there’s no better way to simplify a bike than by getting rid of it.  I only had my gravel bike for a few of years and I enjoyed it while I had it, but I got very few chances since I’ve lived on the road to put it to good use.  I found nearly all of my opportunities to ride it were as well, or better suited by riding my mountain bike instead.  And schlepping around 3 bikes on an RV can be something of a pain, so I decided it was time to send her off to a better owner where she might be ridden more often.

And then there’s my new bike.  BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW!  I didn’t have my Trek road bike very long either, though I definitely got my fair share of rides in. I put somewhere around 5500 miles on that bike in 3 years.  I had no plans whatsoever to buy a new bike this winter.  Pieces just kind of fell in to place.  Orlando, apparently, is not such a good place to sell your immaculately kept high-end bike.  In Washington, D.C., where I’ve sold more than one bike on Craigslist, within an hour of posting I’d always have at least 2 or 3 interested inquiries.  In Orlando, with my gravel bike, I got 8 interested emails, every single one of which was a scammer.  My Trek garnered one.

Wheelworks10thAnniversarylogo_noBackground-Final-smallInstead I utilized Bicycle Bluebook (bicyclebluebook.com) and their Trade-In program.  I took my bikes to Wheel Works , my fantastic local shop here in Winter Garden, got them appraised and traded them in for about 2/3 of the price of the new bike.  It’s a hard deal to beat getting a brand new bike for nearly 70% off.  I couldn’t pass it up.  So now allow me to introduce my favorite new toy….2020 Specialized Roubaix

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Finally, I’ve upgraded my storage and carrying system as well.  For the last two years I’ve had a standard bike rack on the back of the RV and had various bike covers on them. 396T9vg4TJyo6I8mUqZOBgThe covers did a fine job of protecting the bikes from the elements.  The problems were those covers, as all rack covers, are open on the bottom.  They’re not really designed for full time storage on the back of a moving vehicle.  All manner of road-spray and such would still get them filthy.  It was also quite a pain to get the middle and back bike off the rack.  Last year, while at Zion National Park, I saw a small RV with this fully enclosed bike carrier and thought I’d finally found my solution.

They are made by Komo Creations in Quebec, and they are NOT inexpensive, but I think it’ll be worth the price for the added protection and security for my $6000-$7000 worth of bikes.

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Two bikes in the Komo.  I take the front wheel off the mountain bike because it just barely fits and that makes getting it in and out much easier.