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.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Peddle day 42: Planes, Trains and Bicycles

The winds were blowing
Another day of hazardous winds, says NOAA.  No kayaking possible.  Biked instead past the Port of Everglades.
Yesterday the winds were over 30 knots!  Definitely too high to kayak.  So I set out to bike the route.  Fortunately we drove the route in reverse to check out whether the neighborhoods would be too dicey.  Communities I'd be going through looked okay.  When the road was along the beach, the winds were too strong even for biking! The surf was amazingly high and wicked.  Had to delay until today.

The wind forecast for today was again for hazardous wind, but with top wind speeds of only 24 knots.  Again not kayaking weather  When I awoke to pouring rain and a flooded campsite, I decided it didn't look like biking weather either.  So we did some errands, including buying an umbrella.  That purchase worked perfectly, as the rain went from a steady downpour to occasional light showers.  On the spur of the moment I decided to hop on the bike and try it.

My biking route was very varied.  Seaside section was very touristy, but not many folks out in the high winds.  The biggest hazard there was the blowing sanding that collected along the bike path.  I was being blown by the wind and pedaling at a good clip when I hit the first patch of soft sand.  It abruptly slowed me and I skidded into the curb.

The signs about street lights and nesting sea turtles were fascinated me.  Do the hotels along the beach also turn off their lights?
Turtle nesting sign
Biking over a bridge to come back to the mainland side, I passed the Port of Everglades and saw one of the huge cruise ships, the Coral Princess.
Looking over the bridge at the Coral Princess.
In the nearby shopping district, I saw a very resourceful homeless man, sleeping in a fancy bus stop, complete with his folding bike.  But then again,  I look very much like him, all scruffy on my folding bike.  Maybe others look at me and see a homeless person.  So perhaps this man is also on an  expedition and just needs a rest.
Nice place for a rest
Next I had to bike around the end of the airport runways.  The road was right along the train track.   Trucks zipping by on one side and trains on the other.
Train passing me.
Around the corner there were planes taking off over my head.  I was in the middle of transportation.
Planes above me.
Because of the wind and rain, I wore my NRS gear for biking.  My Hydroskin neoprene shorts stay warm when wet.  My neon green paddling shirt keeps me visible to motorists.  My hot yellow paddling jacket is water and windproof.  I had my own little personal climate going on inside my comfy jacket: moist but warm.  It was good to arrive back at a boat ramp on the ICWW and see Chris waiting for me.
Using my NRS paddling wear: perfect for biking in wind and rain.
Thank you to everyone who emailed me and left comments on the blog about my decision about continuing on.  When I set off in the morning I wasn't completely sure which option I would settle on.  But after I had passed the starting point of the sailing leg, and pedaled for another 17 miles, it seemed a waste of those 17 miles not to carry on to Key West.  My decision is made.

When I started this expedition, my goals were:
  1. to get from Maine to Guatemala
  2. to kayak over 2,500 miles
  3. to use a sailboat to cross from Florida to Belize
  4. to stop along the way to tell the stories of Safe Passage and
  5. to raise friends and funds ($150,000) for the Safe Passage school
So how am I doing in meeting those goals?  Here's where I stand at the end of today's biking leg:
  1. I have covered the entire distance from Maine to Guatemala. Check out all the blue dots on my DeLorme website that shows that the entire expedition.
  2. I have kayaked and biked over 2274 miles.  Because the whole purpose of the expedition was friend and fundraising, I had to stick to a schedule to be able to make my prearranged speaking engagements. That meant that in the first part of the expedition, when the winds or waves of flood waters were hazardous, I had to "motor-portage" me and my kayak.  In this last portion, I have avoided that by instead using my little folding bike during hazardous weather.
  3. After I had to stop kayaking to have spinal surgery, Bernie Horn generously took me on his S/V Polaris from Fort Lauderdale all the way to Guatemala, and we had a huge celebration with the children and parents.
  4. I have told the stories of Safe Passage to hundreds of people along the way, and thousands more have had access to the stories through the hundreds of media stories covering the expedition.
  5. I have raised over $418,000 for the Safe Passage school through small donors, large donors, Rotary Clubs, churches, corporations and The Rotary Foundation.
The expedition has been a huge success!  But there is still that second goal unmet, of covering over 2,500 miles not including the sailing leg.  When I think of the grit and determination of the children, staff and parents at Safe Passage, I can't leave that goal unmet!  That's why I am carrying on by kayak (and bike, if necessary) to Key West.  By my calculations, that will get me very close to 2,500 miles.  I may have to make a few small detours to visit a few tropical keys to make sure that I do go over 2,500 miles.  That's a lot of miles!  It seems even longer now that I am nearing the end of my expedition.

It's all part of life to make plans, and then have the plans change as life intervenes.  I am not much of one for long range plans.  I like to go with the flow.  That has been one of the toughest parts of the expedition: having to keep to a schedule.  Now that schedule is almost finished.  There are less than 10% of the total miles to go.  129 days of kayaking and biking completed and only 15 days left to go.  Head down, and carry on!

Gratitude List:
  • Deciding to carry on
  • Wind mostly at my back
  • Seeing the crashing waves and the wind blowing the sand
  • Not being on a cruise ship
  • Chris waiting for me
Date: January 6, 2016                                                 Restart Paddle Day: 42   Paddle Day 129
Start location: Pompano Beach, FL                              Launch time: 12:30 pm
End location:  Hollywood                                             Land time: 3:00 pm
Average speed: 9.7 mph                                              Max Speed: 18 mph
Miles: 21.8
Total expedition miles with kayak and bike: 2274         Motor-portage miles: 404
Kayak Storage:  Easterlin Broward County Park
Host: Chris Percival


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  2. Carry on, wishing for clear days ahead.

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