I am a grandmother paddling alone over 2,500 miles from Maine to Guatemala. Along the way I will be:
- telling the story of the children who live in the Guatemala City garbage dump community
- honoring their entrepreneurial mothers
- talking about the success of the Safe Passage model school and
- raising funds for additional grades for the school.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Peddle Day 39: New Year's Eve Celebration: Medical Clinic

Our home for the next week, including screen tent "office" where I write.
Finished the back and forth and finally back on the most southerly leg, going south, but by bike again.  Still waiting for Deb and kayak to heal.  Excitement was a New Year's Eve trip to a medical clinic.

Did another two days worth of "piddling".   That's a family word that includes paddling and pedaling.  Since I am the kayaker and Chris is the biker, we use this term to encompass both activities.  We were moving campsites, so I needed to get as far south as possible to avoid long shuttles from the campsite.  The tides and winds were not favorable for a long push.  My wrist is still iffy, and I had yet to repair the kayak, so did another day of biking.

Started by another ride through tunnels of banyan trees.  Somehow these tunnels give me a deep sense of meditative calm.

Most of the day was biking along three barrier islands, with short jaunts back to the mainland to get from one to the next.  Some sections were lined by the driveways of expensive beach houses.
Beach house central.
Each drive had the house number and either the owner's name or their name for their beach house.  When I came to one sign with "412 Service", I thought of Robert Service.  Then the next drive said simply "412".  Of course, "service entrance", not their name.

There were sections kept wild by the Nature Conservancy as preserves, as well as sections of public beach access, where my heart soared as I caught glimpses of the ocean through the sea grape trees.  I really am a water person, not a land person.

Atlantic Ocean through the sea grape trees
Going over one mangrove marsh I found the biking equivalent of lake and bay waves. I already knew that the equivalent of large ocean waves were hills and mountains.  Florida has none of those.  The only time you have to peddle up hill or down hill are when you go over the high bridges.  Smaller bodies of water generate shorter, steeper, choppy waves that can be a real challenge in a kayak.  This section of the bike path had a similar challenge: small but steep ridges that continuously crossed the trail.  At first I didn't think they were much of anything and carried over at speed, only to have my seat continuously rammed hard into my body.  Ouch!  Now those little ridges have my utmost respect.

It wasn't until the end of the day that I reached the start of the miles of high rise condos of the Palm Beach area.

I had noticed lots of coconuts lying on the side of the road, and wished I was in Guatemala, where I would have my trusty machete and be able to open them and take a deep drink.  I was thinking a lot about drinking, and not just because it was New Year's Eve.  I had a water bottle cage on my bike now.  Too cheap to buy a water bottle, I purchased a bottle of "electrolyte water" because it had a cap that could be easily opened one handed.  I'll use that bottle for months by refilling it.  My mistake was being too cheap to through out the "water" it contained, and instead drank most of it.  Only then did I read the label and found that I had basically been drinking salt water, and was way over my normal daily intake despite my copious sweating.

Once we set up our new home, Chris decided his injury needed medical attention.  The day before he had been helping me carry the kayak down a boat ramp to the water.  He had slipped, dropped the kayak and fallen on the slimy mess that often covers the ends of boat ramps.  The many resulting scrapes hadn't responded to cleaning and topical antibiotics.  His foot was swelling and oozing.  A quick trip to a medical clinic provided confirmation of the infection and oral antibiotics.  Glad we are starting a new year.  Hope it's a year of fewer injuries.

Date: December 31, 2015                                             Restart Paddle Day: 39
Start location: Hobe Beach, FL                                     Launch time: 7:50 am
End location:  Riviera Beach                                         Land time: 10:50 am
Average speed: 9.1 mph                                               Max Speed: 18.3 mph
Miles: 24.4
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2211          Motor-portage miles: 404
Kayak Storage:  Easterlin Broward County Park
Host: Chris Percival


  1. Dear Deb, Hello from Maine. I just discovered your quest for Safe Passage via the article in the Christian Science Monitor. I think it is a very good article. Here's the link: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2015/1215/She-s-paddling-a-kayak-to-help-dump-dwellers-in-Guatemala.
    I was very excited, because I met you at Penobscot School in Rockland a few years ago, when you needed a translation recorded in French to help you deliver a speech for Rotary in Québec. I am still excited because I know a bit about Safe Passage and remember showing the film to middle school students when I taught French/Spanish in Bath, ME. I am impressed how many articles and how much info there is about you on the Internet. May God bless you and your husband and helpers on the last leg of your journey to Guatemala City. May the God and the weather surround you with mercy and hope. I will keep you in my prayers and share your journey and blog with friends. You are an inspiration to me! yours in peace, hope and joy - Margot Stiassni-Sieracki --- domusic@gwi.net

  2. Hi Deb, You are such an inspiration. Where there is a will, there is a way. You and Chris are masters at this. Be safe and take care.