Monday, February 2, 2009

Update from Shannon

We are having a relaxing evening in Ruskin this evening just south of Tampa. We haven't posted in a few days because things have been quite crazy, so I thought I'd try to catch up a bit. Lylee has more rad photos to come very soon!

Here is a little overview of the last few days:

We had a fabulous time at Tent City on campus as UCF. I learned that Jane could be a scream along. Art arrived after biking solo through the dark 20 miles from the train station to the college on the craziest road- a fast and scary and sooo under construction sans shoulders road with big concrete barricades! Then Evan and I broke over a dozen strings in a little over an hour on three different guitars.

We played the next night at the Dandelion Cafe ( 618 N Thornton Ave (407) 362-1864) and had some of the tastiest vegan food and met some of the sweetest people you will ever meet. If you are ever in Orlando you should drop on by and meet these folks and eat some tasty, tasty food! Major thanks to Mujahid for biking us through town and helping us navigate the bike trails and road of Orlando.

We intended to leave UCF early the next day and get a jump start on our trek to Lakeland. Between pouring rain and last minute tasks, we only made it about 20 miles to our friend Jason's house. Art and I hit up the post office to do some last minute mailing. After dripping all over their floors and standing in line for about an hour, the crankiest postal worker ever glared at me while weighing and stamping a million packages of cds and posters. We busted out of there to get Evan and Lylee and move my car to a safe spot for the duration of the tour. Since we are on a gas fast- ie. we are not taking rides or using vehicles on the tour, I couldn't turn the car on. Instead, I put it in neutral and everyone pushed it into our friends driveway where it will live for the next five weeks. It was a lot of fun. We also pushed the car that was already in the driveway out and then back in behind mine. It was a lesson in the things wetake for granted and how much fun it can be to do things together. We had a delicious dinner made by Lylee before we headed out, about 10 hours later than planned...

We hit the 100 mile mark on the way to Jason's house to sleep before heading on to Lakeland the next morning. We all shouted out "100 miles" in jubilation and then the crank arm/pedal fell off Evan's borrowed bicycle at the same time. It was pretty laughable. We didn't have a spare bolt or a socket wrench and it was late. Luckily Jack is out walking his dog at 11pm at night and we went over to his place and got the bike all fixed up.

After 4 hours of sleep we were up bright and early and ready to head out for our first long ride, about 55-60 miles to Lakeland.

We actually biked 85 miles on our first day by accident after neglecting to check the milage from our route with the milage google gave us for a different route. Who would have thought that the scenic route with a bike trail would have taken us 30+ miles out of the way? I realized it when we reached the 55 mark and still had about 30 miles to go. It was not a good moment. We all fell off our bikes during the last couple of hours. We would stop and someone's legs would go jelly and they'd fall over. It was a bit ridiculous. We finally arrived a bit late after getting pulled over by the local police and forced to ride single file on a road with no shoulder because the cops didn't know the bike law. We played a show at the UU Church in Lakeland that same evening even though Evan and I were exhausted by the time we finally rolled up!! Lylee and Art were pretty sleepy as well but I think they got in a few minutes of shut eye between songs:)

The best part about all this craziness was that everything seems easy after that. I had a little bit of trouble with my knees (even with the fancy new and amazingly wonderful Surley Long Haul Trucker donated by Shifting Gears Bicycles in Bemidji - founded by Diane Pittman, CONTACT: 9180 Goodnuff LN NEBemidji, MN 56601-7080 (218) 751-8134.) I could not have done that on my old bike without serious injury! A little bit of rest and arnica and my knees have forgotten all about that day. Evan had to ride it on his borrowed single speed because the USPS "lost" his bike in the mail. It finally arrived in Tampa, but I was amazed at the hills he handled with the single speed. I definately also got booty sores from sitting in the saddle for so long without building up to it - a first for me. Lylee hooked me up with some great salve and I have some other herbs with, so I am almost all healed up by now. I wouldn't recommend anyone do 85 miles on their first day, seriously not the best idea:) But we lived to tell about it and we are vigilant with mileage now and checking things like wind direction and speed.

much love and more to come,

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