I’m going to make this a two-part story, not so much for the story but rather for the pictures. I’d say that all in all it was fairly uneventful which for Florida riding, is a good thing. That said, we had some close encounters and met some interesting people along the way. We were also able to put in some real miles on a bike that we believe will turn a lot of people’s head in 2009, the Bella ATT. Coming off riding only a Corsa for the last year and only about 150 miles on the Bella, I can tell you that this bike kicks ass!
Day 1- First of all, Salty Sam’s marina is in Fort Myers Beach, NOT Fort Myers! Obvious? Well, spend a little time with the Bacchetta boys and you’ll find that the obvious is not so, well, obvious. We had wanted to be on the bikes by 10:00, but ended up getting started around 11:15. No big deal; the weather seemed to be pretty nice.
Sunny skies and headwinds. The whole bleeping trip, we had bleeping headwinds. Headwinds and narrow shoulders on the roads. Luckily, we had been thoroughly forewarned by our Bacchetta family members to expect this and all went pretty well. We only had about 65 miles on the first day, which proved fairly easy for all of us. Colliton of course, always provided comic relief whether he meant to or not. He is also the new “Master of the Head Pop”, ripping the title from my cat, Buddy J (Buddy is looking to regain his title by the way):
The setting: a nice road with a really narrow shoulder and good traffic both ways.
John: Guys, things are going to get pretty narrow coming up; be prepared.
Colliton: (Head pops out from the back, a common occurence the whole trip) There ain’t no bleeping way…(a common phrase the whole trip)
But there was a bleeping way and JS led us through it without any issues. All in all, the traffic was fairly heavy the whole trip but we only ran into a relative handfull of A-holes. That day had us ending up in Everglade City at around 4:15. We ate, had a couple of beers and parked our butts in front of the tube for the rest of the evening. Everglade City is a nice little fishing village but unfortunately, we weren’t packing the right gear.
Day 2- This was our longest day by far of the trip: 115 miles. This was a new PR for a couple of us, but most impressive was Jeremy, who finished it on a fully loaded Giro 20. His previous longest ride was only about 35 miles. Way to go Jeremy!
Crossing the Everglades was a new experience. I have never and I mean never, seen so much road kill in my entire life! I’m talking birds of every species, baby alligators and some sort of muskrat species. All that aside, it is also a very peaceful place to be. I usually only get un-ending silence when I go back to Kansas to visit, but I had it again out in the ‘glades and it was very welcome after waking up to police sirens every morning here in St. Pete.
Day 2 was also the only real incident of the trip. Some guy was crossing the trail in his car and totally failed to recognize us. JS had to stop and when I put on the brakes behind him, my rear wheel flew out. I was going slow enough that it was no big deal, but the explecitives that were flying out of my mouth were not fit for human consumption.
The whole day JS kept his mantra going; calories and hydrate, calories and hydrate. I guess a guy who just completed a solo RAAM knows a thing or two about feeding the machine.
As a side note, you’re probably wondering why I’m not writing in more details. Well, I’ll tell you why. We are a bunch of potty mouths (as my wife might say)! Can you bleeping believe how bleeping close that bleeping truck came to side swiping us? The sort of thing that causes us to cut out a lot of dialogue. In all honesty though, we pretty much stuck to a plan and rolled with the flow. At the end of the first two days, we all came through injury free (for the most part) and with good spirits.
Throughout the first two days and the whole trip, the Bella’s and Giro’s performed flawlessly. I know, we’re supposed to say that, but the fact is, they did everything we wanted them to. We had zero shifting problems, zero flats, zero everything; we just got on the bikes and went. So if you’re thinking that Bacchetta doesn’t do long wheelbase recumbents or that we’re not serious about touring bikes, then think again baby!