At long last the Pirate Tour is under way. Kathy drove us up to Gainesville this afternoon, not a moment too soon. I had a busy morning at the office dealing with an unhappy customer, which makes me anxious and unhappy as well. Anyway, with a little luck I’ll be able to put that behind me once we are actually pedaling toward our first port of call, Palatka.
The first chapter in our cross-country adventure was the Tour de Fred, at just about this time last year. It started in Little Rock, Arkansas and finished up here, 1,200 miles later, in Gainesville -- about a half-mile south of where I am sitting right now. We therefore pick up where we left off, stopping at Palatka, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Bay, Stuart, Boca Raton, South Miami, Key Largo, Marathon Key, and finally, our destination, Key West. The trip will be around 600 miles (just shy of 1,000 kilometers for our French followers). Our days will range between 50 and 85 or so miles.
I picked up Fred at the Orlando Airport yesterday. It is great fun spending time with him again. A little background: Like many of the world’s great idea’s, it is difficult to trace exactly how this year’s Pirate theme came to be, and how pierced ears with skull and cross-bones earrings came to be a central feature, but it is so. According to plan, I dutifully presented my lobe at a local mall’s Piercing Pagoda, where a nice young woman whipped out a nail-gun (adhering to all appropriate health and safety codes) and drove home a little blue titanium stud. In preparation for this trip, I replaced the stylish little stud with the fore-mentioned silver skull and bones a couple of weeks ago.
Fred, on the other hand, waffled and procrastinated, and finally quit discussing the matter at all about a month ago, which is the requisite healing time for a new lobe-piercing. I figured he had chickened out – a whole year having passed since his manly Tour de Fred (see previous posts), and with it the resolve to face pain and suffering head-on, or in this case, lobe-on.
Imagine my suprise when he settled into the car at the airport and I see none other than Jolly Roger himself winking at me from Fred’s left year. Suddenly I remembered a passing comment about superglue and I grabbed for his ear to check for a post protruding from the rear. Aaargggh! Sure enough, no post! The poser had actually cut off the post and SUPERGLUED the earring to his ear!!! Of course he has a hair-raising tale of a visit to a tattoo parlor with the best of intentions a few weeks ago, but jeeez, SUPERGLUE! By this morning the little skull had fallen off, but by the afternoon he had it glued back in place! I suspect he will tire of this shortly. On the other hand, hardly a half-hour passes without him emitting a most pirately “Aaarghh!”
More on the morrow, mateys!
Fred Replies: Arrggggg! It takes a manly man to superglue his ear. The first time I tried it, I couldn't get my finger off the pirate or my earlobe. There is some technique involved. It was pleasant to walk the streets of Gaineville after Kathy dropped us off and something like 35 years after graduation. The gnarled oak trees hung with Spanish moss and the streets with mists of steam from a recent rain. It's exciting and slightly anxiety-provoking (weather, cars, trucks, etc.) to be on the road again by bicycle! But arrrrggggg, I'm ready for tomorrow at 6:15 AM!