4/12/2015 North of Gainsville

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An easy routine is emerging. I’ve made one general rule for ebike touring: Whenever you stop to eat, rest, shop or sightsee, plug in. Using dual chargers on the Green Axle ebike allows me to pump in almost 1000 watts of power when the battery is low, and as it fills, 750 to 500 watts of power. So for an hour of fast charge I get about three hours of run time. I can work with that.

Also, except for staying at my sisters house overnight, I have stealth camped every night. This means no overnight ebike charging. This has been a non-issue.

I do keep my cell phone and tablet on a charger night and day- they charge from the ebike battery. I start out the day with a full cell phone charge, but the battery level in the cell phone still drops all day as the GPS consumes a lot of power…..

Now that the nervous jitteries are gone, I find ebiking to be relaxing. The road unwinds through my senses leaving them alert, still. On a bike tour, the journey is the destination. And what is the destination? The aliveness, the present tense, the unfolding, the letting go, the simplification of living. Electric bike touring leaves me less fatigued and so more able to enjoy the subtler perceptions. Electric bike touring leaves me fully exposed to beauty and hardship. It’s not Disneyland, it’s adventure.

This easy routine means that I am not constantly checking my battery charge, nor worrying about finding an outlet. It is 10 times more difficult to find wifi than an electrical outlet. My big plans for lotsa communication are faltering.

Last night it rained. I marvel at the efficient design of tents. This thin piece of nylon is stopping the rain just a foot from my nose. The rain pats loudly. The electrical lines overhead pop and hiss.

Packing a wet tent and gear means an earlier stop the next night to give everything a chance to dry out. The tent screen, ground cloth and fly get draped over bushes while I shower and cook. In 45 minutes they are dry and ready for use. I like being in my tent. It’s a cozy, well designed portable home with great views.

There was no outside outlet, and this was my only food choice. The manager said “Sure, you can do that”.

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Part of every bike tour, and it’s no different on an ebike tour, is to stop for treasures on the road. This find was a stubby screw driver. Ten miles down the road I met a man riding his bike. The conversation turned to jobs and he said he was a handyman. So I gave him the screwdriver. Nothing wasted!

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The First Day

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Beginnings give me butterflies. I am apprehensive, worried. The unknown might upset these cozy dreams. I don’t feel prepared enough. But at some point, the ship must sail, and sail she did.

My son Drew (Fez) was there to give me a send off, I left feeling loved.

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I ran into my very cheerful friend Ray on the bike trail.

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I decided to ride at just 15 mph all day to try and lose the rushing nervous jitteries. Once in beautiful central Florida I rode through citrus and cattle and phosphate mining country. Sherpa took me 110 miles before we ran out of daylight. My math tells me Sherpa could have done close to 200 miles at that speed using pedelec. I charged him four times, only once for an hour:

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Here at a food store where I ate lunch.

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Here at a community center.

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Here at a park.

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And here at Publix while shopping for groceries.

Not a dime is spent on fuel unless you count mine. Sherpa is very well behaved, and a pleasure to ride. It seems to work well to charge Sherpa whenever I stop, and to choose stops where I can charge. I begin to feel an emerging rhythmn for the trip.

I am listening to gunfire from my camp. There are lot of rounds being fired rapidly. It makes me feel safe. I’m stealth camped in a 200 foot road-median-forest across from a police training academy, where they have their shooting range. This is the last place that a criminal would choose to roost, so it’s perfect!