The 2008 Tour d' Fred was conceived by Dr. Fred Coolidge, U of Colorado psychology professor, undiscovered rock star, wise-man and wit of international reknown. Fred and I were in graduate school together at University of Florida. (We had a previous adventure together involving a canoe, the Suwanee River in flood, and exceedingly poor weather, but that is another story.)
This ride is a celebration of vigor and vitality as Fred contemplates the fact that he is 60 years old. I myself am a babe of 58, at least until the end of June. Sixty is already in Ray's rear view mirror, but he completely ignores it and just goes for yet another run up Pike's Peak.
Originally meant to start in Colorado Springs and end in Key West, real world considerations have cut back the itinerary for all four of the geezer's taking part. Ray, Fred's next door neighbor and almost relative (the daughter of his current wife being married to Fred's son from his first marriage) did, in fact start riding in Colorado Springs. Fred and I will meet him in Little Rock. The three of us will ride together to Pensacola, where we will be joined by Mike, the only one of the group with serious, carry-your-own-stuff, bicycle touring experience. (Kathy and I have done numerous bike tours, but these were supported affairs, where someone is paid to carry your luggage from hotel to hotel and generally look after you). Fred, Mike, and I will end our ride in Gainesville; Ray plans to continue down the coast to his second home in Stuart, Florida.
Here's the plan:
Sat. May 24: Fly to Little Rock, meet Fred at the airport and taxi to Fedex to pick up the bikes. Head to the hotel, find Ray for lunch, then assemble bikes. Maybe take a short test ride.
Sun, May 25: Star City, Arkansas, 77 miles.
Mon, May 26: Lake Village, Arkansas, 64 miles.
Tue, May 27: Tallulah, Louisiana, 69 miles.
Wed, May 28: Natchez, Mississippi, 75 miles.
Thu, May 29: St. Francisville, Louisiana, 102 miles.
Fri, May 30: REST DAY.
Sat, May 31: Bogalusa, Louisiana, 102 miles.
Sun, June 1: Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 91 miles.
Mon, June 2: Dauphin Island, Alabama, 82 miles.
Tue, June 3: Pensacola, Florida, 53 miles.
Wed, June 4: REST DAY.
Thu, June 5: REST DAY. Mike joins the group.
Fri, June 6: Defuniak Springs, Florida, 95 miles.
Sat, June 7: Marianna, Florida, 58 miles.
Sun, June 8:Tallahassee, Florida, 74 miles.
Mon, June 9: Madison, Florida, 74 miles.
Tue, June 10: Gainesville, Florida, 100 miles.
* * * End of 2008 Tour d' Fred * * *
We expect to ride between 1,100 and 1,200 miles, which works out to an average riding day of between 78 and 85 miles – something like six hours in the saddle.