Archive for July, 2010

Mike’s Great Adventure: Picking the Trip

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

After my trip through North Florida in early 1987, I thought I was ready for something more adventurous. There was really only one organization that sponsored unsupported tours of the type I was interested in. This was Bicentennial (now known as Adventure Cycling Association). I looked through their brochure to find something that would appeal to me. This is the the cover to the 1988 brochure (the 1987 brochure I was actually using would have been similar).

1988 Bikecentennial Tours


and here is the complete 1988 brochure.
There was one trip that really grabbed my attention. It went through territory that I hadn’t been in before and had the right length of 3 weeks. This was the Great Parks North trip.
Great Parks North Trip Summary

Great Parks North Trip Summary

Mike’s Great Adventure – the trip before the adventure

Monday, July 5th, 2010

It is early 1987, my interest in sailing was dwindling. I began to dream of taking a bicycle camping trip.  Always a voracious reader, several books inspired me, especially “Miles from Nowhere, A Round the World Bicycle Adventure” In my opinion, this is one great book.

I was inspired and had done plenty of riding to get in shape. However none of my cycling friends were interested in such an adventure.  Not wanting to go it alone, I looked in magazines for tours that I thought I would enjoy.  I decided to start with a week long trip.  The one I selected wasn’t too far from home.  This was  a week long van supported bicycle tour of North Florida conducted by a little outfit called “Suwanee Country Tours”.  A van carried our bags, and we slept in motels and hotels.

We travelled several hundred miles through rural north Florida, making new friends and generally having a good time.  There was some weather along the way, but our GOR-TEX rainsuits made it bearable.

A Rainy Day

A Rainy Day


Even though it was long ago, I remember a couple of moments on this tour. One was this lunch stop at the fire tower. I’m not sure why this lunch break is recalled so well, but it probably had something to do with the brilliant weather.
Swanee Country Tours Van at Fire Watchtower

Swanee Country Tours Van at Fire Watchtower


Part of the trip was through pretty rolling hills, and another section through flat pine lands that were actively being logged. During this tour, we encountered a gas station at an off ramp on I-10 that sold ice cream cones for 10 cents. Even in 1987, that was a great deal.

The Group Takes a Brief Break

The Group Takes a Brief Break

One thing that I really will never forget about this trip, was one of the last nights. We were staying at an old fashioned wood framed hotel. Dave, our tour guide, had hired a local woman to make us diner. Well this women appeared to be a real Florida cracker. She didn’t wear shoes. Other than the lack of shoes, her dress was country, with a long skirt down to her ankles. She made us fried catfish in a large kettle. That was the first time I had eaten catfish, and to this day, the only time that I have had really good catfish. Boy was that catfish yummy. Nearly as good as her catfish was the Pecan Pie she brought for desert. Boy could that woman cook.

I slept in a downstairs room that night, while the rest of the group were upstairs. When I had to get up for a potty break in the middle of the night, I discovered that the place was literally alive with cockroaches. I never have seen so many cockroaches in one place, before or since. It creeped me out so much that I could hardly sleep after that. Boy was I glad to get out of there in the morning. I’m guessing that the folks upstairs didn’t encounter the same problem, because they never said anything.

Group Mug Shot

Group Mug Shot


Anyway, despite the cockroaches, it was a great trip and I made a bunch of new friends.

Now Taking Names for ACI Wait List

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

The Panasonic RQ2102 cassette recorder works about 100 times better than the period Radio Shack recorder that I was attempting to use. I recommend that all Apple 1 owners get one of these while they are still available.  Since it works pretty well, I’m go to go ahead and start the process for making a batch of ACI kits.

First,  I’ll take names for the wait list. Though the layout is done, I don’t want to invest the money until I build up a wait list of around 15 units. Send me an email (my address can found on my website) and I’ll put you on the wait list.  Once the wait list reaches 15 or so units, I’ll ask for money and then order boards and parts.  I expect the cost of the kits to be under $100.

I’ll publicly track the wait list with your initials, date I received your request, and number of kits desired on my ACI page.