Apr 2, 2009


TOMORROW IS THE DAY! The guys are scheduled to arrive victoriously in St Augustine, Florida!

Today's exciting trip news (reproduced with permission) from the Coast-2-Coast USA team - a bunch of brave dads/uncles/brothers/friends of children from the UK, cycling across the southern continental United States from Oceanside, California to St. Augustine, Florida to raise donations for the Children's Hospital for Wales and the Noah's Ark Appeal. They've been pedaling their butts off (probably literally) and pushing their way through across an entire continent, up and down mountains, through the scorching heat of the Mojave, blizzards in the New Mexico and rush hour traffic in Texas! If you're in Florida - turn out and welcome them in style!

Previous days entries here:- March 19th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, 28thhere. Listen to Coast-2-Coast USA's Richard Belcher on Interview with Americymru member and Coast2Coast rider Gareth Evans:- Radio Glamorgan with Peter Cox!

Two Day Count Down

We're in Florida. Head winds have been with us since New Orleans. Cyclists and crew are very tired and there is a feeling of overall weariness. Two days to go and then I'm sure we will be re-vitaised!

Andy nearly had enough!

Mervyn trying to find forward gear and being rather heavy handed - 'It won't go in for me!'

Gar's #12

New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama. Day 12

I did go out in New Orleans, and I loved it!! Gwent will be coming here on tour next year, especially if they give us a guided tour of the hustler house again. The live music was great, and plenty of bars to choose from. Happy days.

A wake up call from the belcher at 9am, and the guts were churning, not wise, should have saved it for Friday. A quick subway and alka seltzer for breakfast, food of champions, and it's off over the Mississippi Delta, and a load of spectacular bridges towards Mobile.

Louisiana in the morning, Mississippi through lunch and in Alabama by 4pm, but there wasn't one bullet hole on the signs. The roads flew pretty quickly today considering, and the beaches that ran alongside the gulf of Mexico were superb, the only disappointments were the weather, very humid and sticky...and Rich's puncture.

One more state...Florida, our final destination. 3 days to go, still over 500miles to go though. Weather looks promising, just a couple of Tornados to our east. Pretty sure they'll be gone by then.

The Boys on the Beach

Looking for people to suggest names for the boys!

Gar's #13

Mobile, Alabama - Panama City, Florida - Day 13

After the antics of New Orleans, Mobile gave a chance to recharge the batteries, and an early night, with a bit of sleepwalking apparently thrown in for good measure, meant I was ready for the bang the next day.

After a hearty breakfast of chilidog and pizza, we made our way from Mobile and Spanish Port. Less than two miles into the ride, tricky Dicky's tire played up, which left me to complete the whole leg by myself. In a strange way, this was nice, as it allowed some 'alone time', seen as everybody had been on top of each other all trip. Decent time was made into the wind, and the scenery changed from the tree lined avenues of Alabama, to humid swamp lands as we crossed the Florida border.

The Belch had made up for his puncture by joining the Bear and Phillipousis for a cheeky threesome, which left me to put up with Stoney getting over-excited about any bridges that came into view. He did behave though, he kept it in. Again, the welsh bald eagle and myself did good time, and I had an opp to catch up with the Belch.

Next stint again was decent, good distance made in time, considering the crosswinds and the Florida traffic lights. The bang was still on, and the light rain went some way to cooling us off in the sticky conditions.

Today was the last time we'd see a beach before the Atlantic, and although the Gulf of Mexico has proved spectacular, the back-drop of hazy, humid conditions, and the evidence of hurricanes Katrina and Rita did tarnish it somewhat.

The final stint of the day brought us to our destination for the night, Panama City. It's possibly the equivalent of Western Super Mare, except a fair few more arcades, surf shops, and 20 storey condo blocks, but you can't hide the fact it's spring break. The student jocks riding around in either 'pimp my ride-esq' trucks or on scooters. The divs even started to throw empty trash at us as we exited town. They should have gone to Miami or Mexico like everyone else...pikies!!

Hotel is great, quick dip in pool and Red Lobster for supper, nicest meal on tour (except for the home cooking of Taos and Mrs Dai Evans from Mobile...and Jackies ribs).

So we’re in Florida, our final state, 48 hours and hopefully we'll be in a St. Augustine bar having a few beers. Tomorrow again will be a challenging day, over 200miles if we’re to make the last day shorter, which will enable us a beachside finish early afternoon Friday. Everyone is tired, everyone has various sore bits, but no doubt, everyone cannot bloody wait till 4ish on Friday.

Ready to Come Home?

My little dragon is a girl and her name is Suzie and she will be with me all the way from Coast 2 Coast.

Phil is tired too!

Yes we are tired but Merv is insisting that we write a trip song. He's such a prolific lyricist - he's already on his 12th verse with a chanting chorus of: 'IN WITH THE BIKES, OUT WITH THE BIKES'

We were desperately trying to find something that rhymed with Houston and then Merv found it: 'SING SONG as long as we say Houst -ON we'll get away with it', says Merv

Rich's #12

We started our 12th day just outside of New Orleans, with Gareth looking a little weary from his exploits the night before. We could see even more of the damage inflicted by hurricane Katrina. The previous day there had been a good number of damaged houses but there didn't appear to be any fallen trees, but to the East of New Orleans there was evidence of forests bearing the brunt of the winds as well as yet more houses decimated and whole communities laid to waste.

Strange really how we in Britain complain about the weather, yet we seldom see the extremes we've actually experienced in the past 2 weeks let alone the likes of hurricane Katrina.

Our journey came to an end in Mobile where there had been plans for a local TV crew to film us, but tornadoes to the North of the state meant they were utilised elsewhere, giving further confirmation of the mildness of our own climate.

We stayed in church accomodation in Mobile. This was arranged courtesy of David Evans. David's parents were from Aberdare and he heard about us from connections Andy had with Welsh heritage groups.

We were treated to dinner and spent a comfortable night in one of the church buildings. Once again the famous Southern hospitality in evidence.

So to today and the trip from Mobile to Panama City and It wasn't long before we were in our final state; Florida. Unfortunately Gareth crossed the border alone as very early in our stint I punctured.

I'd fixed a puncture from late the previous day but in my haste hadn't actually checked the condition of the tyre. Only when this next puncture occurred did I do this and discovered a small fragment of metal lodged in the tyre.

Because of my modest mileage I went out in a 3 with Phil and Andy. The intention being that Gar would go next with either one of the Odd Couple before we resumed with the usual pairings. However, a puncture for Phil meant I went next with Andy. We had anticipated that we'd be riding along the seafront but the road was a little in land and so the views were not quite what we had anticipated.

When I did get near the coast - last couple of stints with Gareth - fog had started to form and so my view was more or less confined to the air drumming, human jukebox that is Gareth Evans, and contrary to what he was singing (shouting) at me I am unconvinced at his claims to be "the hot stepper" or "a lyrical gangster". Murderer - most definitely, provided we're talking about murdering a song.

A good day's riding today but I feel tired. Only two more to go though so we're within touching distance.

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