An old friend, Tom Landes, and I decided to start our ride in Florida for a number of reasons. First and maybe foremost is that it will be warm down there in early spring (80s daytime, low 70s evening). And, since the trip will take at least 30-days we are counting on the temps up north to moderate as we head along the coast and end in May. Generally, the trade winds blow south to north and the sun is positioned so it is mostly on the right side and behind us.
The scope of the challenge was another factor. I was looking for a long challenge with reasonable limits. Since I’m just retired (as of 3/2/18) I thought this would be a great way make the break something meaningful. I’ve never been away from my family for a longer period of time. I’ve been riding a bike now for some 30 years and have the experience and knowledge to know what I can do and my limits. Only problem here is that I’m new to touring and camping (it’s been a long while) which adds to the complexity and fun of figuring this stuff out. Tom, on the other hand, has actually ridden a Florida to New Jersey ride himself about 5 years ago. He’s at least 5 years older than me! He will help guide us through the details and is a good travel companion.
The last good reason for choosing Florida is that Amtrak makes it easy to cart the bikes and is reasonably priced. We have a roll-on train called the Silver Streak that has a rack for the bikes. Taking a bike on a plane is a costly and inconvenient process for anyone as you need to break down parts of the bike to disassemble and then reassemble when you arrive. Of course, the plane mode is also subject to more damage and is time consuming and more worrisome.
So, we roll out of Newark Penn Station on Monday, April 9, 2018 take our seats in our double cabin and relax for the 26 hour ride to Fort Lauderdale – our last trains stop and beginning of our journey.