On travelling acompanied

My blog writing process is always the same. I think of many things I could write about while riding, though rarely make notes, but imagine they will stick with me and make this time easier. These thoughts are gone by the time I actually start. I write a little, pick some pictures, stall a lot, write a little, stall some more. It can be a bit frustrating, and sometimes I don’t feel like I have much interesting to say, and eventually it has taken too much time and I just post something. You are welcome to report disappointment, but probably I won’t be writing again for a time, so why bother.

We made it back to Atlana, my father and I, the both of us. I wonder why, at times, when I was alone so many people asked if I get scared and why not and what about my mother and this and that, but when I decide to goad my dad into riding 700 miles with me from South Florida back to his home in Atlanta- possibly more miles than he had put on a bike in his life- no one wants to know why I was not scared of this responsibility. Well, I was a little nervous. He made it though, and enjoyed bike traveling and/or spending two solid weeks with me, in case you were worried but hadn’t told me.


The coast of Florida really is flat. The first day my dad mentioned that he thought he should be working harder, And the second did not dissuade him.

I think traveling by bike isn’t quite as some people who haven’t tried it would imagine. It isn’t so grueling, really. It can be in moments, but mostly, it is something to do for fun. Traveling by bike is slow, but you go at a comfortable pace and enjoy the slowness. If it isn’t fun anymore it is time for a break.


We visited friends -these two went to high school together in Ft. Lauderdale.


Yoga on the beach is for folks unafraid of sand. We watched from the pier.


Sculpture garden in Palm Beach


This guy moved to Florida in ’85. As we sat for lunch he would tell or ask everyone who passed about the submarine race, which he says he almost saw once, but we must have just missed now. Every day he comes to feed the squirrels. The birds do alright, too, because the squirrels refuse any peanuts with cracks in the shells. He called this ibis ‘Honky’ and teased it every time it knocked a peanut between the cracks, said it would be used as a pigeon when the beak wore down enough.


Wait, where are we going?

On traveling with another person: These two weeks were the longest I have been on the road by bicycle with another human ever. (By a lot, I think my previous record was five days) My father and I are pretty similar in some ways, including both being annoying and easy to annoy. It is important, when considering traveling in any form with another person, to consider how you interact and in what ways you can make keep this from becoming unpleasant. We hardly had any time apart during the two weeks, which actually worked out ok for us. I may have been obnoxiously encouraging, especially towards the end of the day, but we actually managed to continue civilly. I was prepared to do this with him, and in fact only to bike this section if he wanted to join me, and so compromising was relatively easy. We had some trouble when we would both hope for the other to make a choice we felt indifferent about. Some tips: predetermine a communication strategy, using bells and maybe hand signaling, because you can’t always hear words well from the bike. Plan to check in periodically, especially at turns or tops of hills. If one person doesn’t feel hungry regularly, they should eat whenever the other does. Remember that you want to have fun and also that you want the other person to have fun and that stressing at them will trouble you both.


In Florida one can find water right next to more water.



For days the only hills we climbed were the causeways across the intracostal.


While at first glance perhaps not the most interesting picture, it is important to note that the Kennedy Space Center is in the middle of a wildlife preserve. As we were arriving we saw a bunch of wild boars, with adorable piglets, though they all ran off when we stopped. The alligator at the edge of the water here enticed more people to stop and take pictures than the largest single story building (equivalent to the height of a 54 story I think) where shuttles and such are assembled which is standing beyond.


KSC is more things and information and videos and stories than one can consume in a day. Shuttles and rockets are huge, with small spaces for people.


Oh, Daytona Beach… Why, you may ask, does one need to note clearance on a tunnel leading to/from the beach?



So strange


Felt like rain all day, but after pushing through a headwind for many hours we came upon a pleasant evening in Saint Augustine.




At the front of Potters Wax Museum is the old drugstore, which is a neat (and free) place to wander through in Saint Augustine.




Henry Flagler is responsible for getting much of the development in Florida going, if I understand the history right. If you buy the railroad you can build it wherever you want. If you build places for it to go which are grand enough, you can encourage cities. This assumes you first get rich on oil.



I challenged these dogs, which quieted them a while. But mostly they barked through our whole break across the street from their house.

My dad is unprepared for and uninterested in camping. This meant a bit less flexibility with stopping, especially as we got into Georgia. As towns that people may actually want to stop in grew fewer and farther between, sometimes the options for places to sleep were 30+ miles apart, making the choice on where to stop a bit less of a choice. Occasionally we had friends, family, or warm showers folks to visit with, which is can be nicer than a motel/hotel, depending on how social one feels.



As we got into Georgia, or really just away from the coast, the forests and towns felt more like what I know from traveling through (and living in) the middle part of the eastern chunk of the country. Almost home.

There are hills as you start getting into Georgia. You cannot just hand someone your strategies for hill climbing, nor the idea that really, out there exist hills miles long and much steeper, these aren’t so bad… But it is better just to acknowledge that these are hard. It gets easier each day, or seems a bit less imposing at least.




Why is this beautiful?



Milan IGA chicken statue



Lunchtime at the Smarr post office




Forsyth, GA

I have made two previous entrances to the city of Atlanta by bike. My takeaway was, this will probably be the worst part of the trip. Turns out, though population density and thus traffic definitely increase as you get closer to the city from all sides, coming from the south east feels a bit less suicidal than any of the roads I found to try from the north and west.


Sometimes when it is almost over biking starts to feel harder, like your body knows it should be done, but is confused as to why it isn’t. Here, our first selfie just ten miles from the end. Note how we both have these eyes that sink into our faces when we smile into the sun, something about genetics.

And so we made it back to Atlanta. Sometimes I feel like my dad refuses to say good things about the trip, but I am trying not to overcompensate by making him say something positive in addition to noting how sore he got and how big the hills were, because there is actually no reason for me to get so defensive. I know he had fun. If he needs to point out that even though he made it it wasn’t easy, that is ok too.

For now, I am pretty much done traveling. I am hanging out with my family in Atlanta for a bit. I expect to be in Nashville the 25th or so, and then my mom and I will drive back to Pittsburgh the 28th-ish. I am excited about this. I am not the wanderluster that you may imagine. I am sure there will be much that I miss about traveling, but for now I am looking forward to having some of the regularity of living in one place for a while.

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4 Responses to On travelling acompanied

  1. Uncle Mike says:

    In the words of Pat Zietlow Milller, whom you introduced to us: “During your journey you’ll ramble and roam. But sooner or later, you’ll think of your home. After you’ve seen all you needed to see, a road takes you back where you’re longing to be. Back to that hill, under that bridge, deep in your valley, high on your ridge. Roads take you all over the planet, but then… you always can follow them home once again…”

    Welcome home, Aryn. For now… 😉

  2. John Clark says:

    Aryn: It has been interesting following your blog for the past year.
    .On April 3rd it will be one year ago that I met up with this young lady along the Welland Canal Trail and rode with her for several hours and listened to her ambitious plan for a cycling adventure that I had never heard anyone attempt before.
    If you write a book as per your Grandfather’s wishes let me know how I can get a copy.
    Good luck on the final leg of your unique journey.
    John Clark
    St. Catharines, Ontario

  3. Michaela says:

    What an opportunity taken; both of you- what a road you two paved of common ground, literally.

    What grace went with you both.

    Well he can just be happy that I kept all that worry to myself. Ditch the black jeans my brain screamed~to no one listening…and then there’s always rhabdomyolysis…..which becomes a distinct possibility when pushing oneself that extra 30 to the next bed….oh! The things you live to tell about.[Motto #2]

    And, you just can”t pay for that kind of entertainment !


  4. Lucia says:

    Can’t wait to see you!!! 🙂


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