Money talks: can I afford this?

2014-01-12 Home in Tampa

Home in Tampa: cozy, convenient, clean and affordable.

Trip update: Saturday night I pulled into a cheap motel in Land o Lakes, exhausted from pushing against a stiff headwind all day. The first place to stay was so far down US 41, that I only had 30 km to my hotel in Tampa the next day. I am staying at the Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport in Tampa all week, enjoying a cozy little efficiency that has everything I need and nothing that I don’t.

The bounce box arrived in good condition (to my surprise), so I can reuse it. I will replace it with two smaller boxes at the next mail stop.

This week marks the end of the planned part of the Southern Swing 2013. I have spent the week assessing the first four months of the trip, and laying out the next three months in broad strokes.

I have not finished closing out the financial year for my company, but I analyzed the cash flow in the last quarter. That includes the three months that I spent bicycling from Keller, Texas, to Gainesville, Florida. The data should be adequate to determine if I am making enough to keep this up indefinitely.

The short answer is yes. Continue reading

Office support on the road

Trip update: Last weekend, I rode from Gainesville to Ocala, Florida, through the vast horse country in Marion County. Marion is one of the largest counties in Florida and has more horses than any other county in the USA. What I found surprising was that the oldest horse farm in Marion is only 50 years old, so the equine industry made a massive impact on Central Florida in a very short time. We are talking racehorses here, and the animals staring proudly at me across the fences were some of the most beautiful horses I have ever seen.

I spent four days with my high school classmate Tom and his wife Marcia. It has been a special pleasure of this trip to connect with people whom I have not seen for decades. I felt so very much at home, that I hated to leave on Wednesday, to continue my trip. I stayed with George and Susan in Inverness, thanks to the Warm Showers organization (www.warmshowers.org). They rode the Withlacoochie Trail with me, and showed me where to shop, eat and even get my bike fixed. They ride Cat-trikes, which are high-end recumbents made of aluminum. Very cool and very lightweight (www.catrike.com).

Susan and George head out on their Cat-trikes.

Susan and George head out on their Cat-trikes.

Now I am on my way to connect with the bounce box that I mailed from Gainesville. I am also looking forward to a mail shipment at the next stop, which brings me to the subject of this week’s article.

Continue reading

Maintenance: the wrench on the road.

Busted bounce box

Even with reinforcement, this box did not survive a short ride from Pensacola.

Trip update: Perry, Florida was not only the end of the Forgotten Coast and the Big Bend, it marked the end of two weeks of rainy headwinds. On Saturday, I rode half-way to Cross City on a broad reach from the northeast, before a German analyst named Ute stopped her van to give me a lift to my motel. The good fortune continued with tailwinds on the Nature Coast Trail and State Road 26 to Gainesville. I have been working here all week, collecting my mail, repacking my things, and researching alternatives to the cardboard bounce box. So far, no box has lasted more than one trip. I am just lucky not to have lost anything through the holes and splits in the boxes. I am investigating alternatives to the single-wall, cardboard box that is the UPS and Postal Service standard. Continue reading

No card, no service: insurance on the road

Trip update: Staying with Rich and Mary in Southport allowed my blister to heal nicely. Sunday, we went to lunch in Panama City, getting there in Rich’s Grand Banks Trawler, Calypso.

Rich and his Trawler Yacht, Calypso.

Rich and his Trawler Yacht, Calypso.

On Monday, I let them give me another day off the bike by taking me to my next stop, Port St. Joe. It was one of Mary’s favorite shopping destinations, so we made it an outing.

Continue reading

A blessed Christmas on the road

This is a special post. One might call it off-topic, but Christmas is never off-topic as far as I can tell. I will continue preparing the post for Saturday in just a moment, but right

Night Rider

Rolling Christmas Tree by Meredith Coe

now, let me wish each and every one of you, regardless of your religious views (or not), peace and happiness today and safe travels on the journey of life in the coming year.

Smooth roads and tailwinds,

Jonathan.

That hurt! Dealing with sickness and injury

Trip update: The Southern Swing 2013 is swinging again. Last Saturday, I rode my loaded bicycle through the freezing rain to the bus station in Charlottesville, Virginia, and boarded a Greyhound bus for Pensacola, Florida. Pensacola is a pleasant city at the extreme western edge of Florida. To my surprise, it was colder there than it had been in Charlottesville, so I was glad that I had my winter bicycle kit on. It felt good to curl into a warm bed at the home of one of my shipmates from my Navy days. Continue reading

Staying out of trouble: confidential and classified material

Trip update: It has been a quiet week, although I have gotten much physical exercise loading furniture and boxes from the storage area in our carport and porch into the house, so that the contractor can close out the renovation project. I finally finished on Thursday, so I am almost ready to resume the Southern Swing 2013.

This week I would like to share some thoughts about what to do on the road with confidential material and classified material. These comments may apply mainly to technical writers, translators, and others who work off-site for agencies or companies for whom document security is a concern. Continue reading

Cutting the umbilical cord

Trip update: I am still in Charlottesville, helping Daniel move things back into the house. I am living out of my bounce box in the guest flat (formerly my apartment), and I intend to leave it ready for the next visitor. Except for buying more groceries than normal, the situation is similar to staying with my cousins in Texas. I am taking advantage of the sudden return to Charlottesville to repack my boxes more rationally, as I described last week.

This is a good time to discuss the support that Daniel and Tracy provide me. Arguably, for me to live truly on the road, I should be able to cut the umbilical cord to home. Over the coming months, I will test different ways to replace these services: Continue reading

What I left behind

Trip update. Well, I didn’t really get down to a bicycle and a bounce box. Last Monday in a chilling rain, I shipped two boxes UPS to Charlottesville, Virginia. Actually, one of them would not have been there, had I shipped the ATA Conference stuff from San Antonio, but it made sense to send it to Houston, where I was not paying for a hotel, then take my time trying to organize the boxes.

Monday night, I boarded a bus for Charlottesville, Virginia. This represents something of an interruption in the Southern Swing, but it makes sense: Continue reading

What to take

Trip update. I am still in Houston, Texas, visiting with my cousins, and working on both a translation and business left over from the ATA Conference. I will be hitting the road the day after tomorrow, but not before hearing the Houston Symphony perform Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4. Houston is a full-size, proper city, and I am enjoying being surrounded by the conveniences and luxuries of a major metropolitan area.

Being here has allowed me to evaluate my packing. There are some things that I wish I had brought, and there are other things that I should have left behind. This week, I would like to discuss what I brought. It is a very personal list; anyone’s packing list for a trip like this will be unique. Continue reading