There's a novelty to riding your bike in places far from home.  I've taken my bike with me on a trip  to the Jersey Shore, to St. Augustine, and on many trips to my home town of Bedford.  I'm still looking forward to the day that I take it on a trip to visit my brother in Mesa, Arizona.  Cycling is such a cool way to explore and experience other parts of the country.

Driving south through Virginia, Robin and I took a short detour on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  We were treated to a beautiful sunset along the way. -- November 25, 2017

Each year, Robin and I spend the week after Thanksgiving in West Palm Beach, Florida.  I know that  flying would be easier...but I like the thousand mile drive!  I get to spend time with my wife, see the Country, and easily take my bicycle!  I really look forward to riding my bike along the Florida coast.  It's so amazingly different from riding in south-central Pennsylvania.   You can forget about hills...there aren't any.  Don't even think about packing cold weather gear and  "wind chill"...the temps are comfortably in the 80s.  Pine trees are replaced with palm trees and the seemingly endless Atlantic Ocean takes the place of  Pennsylvania's corn fields.  

Pedaling near Juno Beach, Florida. -- November 27, 2017

Pausing to view the ocean from Juno Pier. -- November 28, 2017

Florida's State Parks sure look different than they do in Pennsylvania.  No pine trees and mountains...just palm trees as far as you can see at John D. MacArthur State Park -- November 29, 2017

The longest ride during my stay in Florida.  I rode from West Palm Beach to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. -- November 30, 2017

Near Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse I came across this old Spanish anchor.  It is nearly 300 years old and was pulled out of the ocean near Jupiter Inlet. -- November 30, 2017

Happy December!  An easy ride near John D. MacArthur State Park with Robin.  We paused near the water to watch the pelicans, kingfishers, and other birds on the water near the park.  -- December 1, 2017

This is a first...I stopped for a pelican.  This not-so-little guy decided to take a rest in the bike lane! -- December 1, 2017

I passed this mermaid on each of my rides during my week in Florida. -- December 2, 2017

A new ice cream shop...Sweet Treats and Ice Cream is located just about 500 feet from where Robin and I were staying. -- December 2, 2017
Robin and I had fantastic weather while we were in West Palm last week.  It rained just once...but not enough to put a damper on any of our plans.  I was excited to get out for a ride each of the six days we were there.  My rides weren't all that long....the longest was just over 27 miles, the shortest just over 10 miles, and the others somewhere in between.  But the length of the rides didn't matter.  I was somewhere new and different.  I found that the wind along the ocean can be just as much of a challenge as the toughest hill climb back home. Riding in Florida proved to be a lesson in patience every time I came to a draw bridge...and I found that I don't enjoy riding my Roubaix over the open metal grate surface that makes up the "draw" part of the draw bridges. Probably the biggest challenge riding along the coast was the wind!   Even though my daily rides were almost completely flat ( I climbed a total of 210 feet in 120 miles of riding) the ocean wind was intense.  It was amazing to pass three separate flag poles...all within 100 feet of each other...with the flags flapping in three different directions!  I seemed to be riding into a stiff head wind no matter which direction I pointed my bike.

The wind coming off of the Atlantic Ocean was super intense!  John D. MacArthur State Park. -- November 29, 2017

I'm not making those comparisons to complain about my rides...actually, just the opposite.  The flatness of the rides and challenges of the wind added to the novelty I previously mentioned.  There were other things too...first, and foremost, the ocean.  I'm always in awe of how beautiful it is.  Riding through, and past, John D. MacArthur State Park I couldn't help but notice the drastic differences between Pennsylvania's and Florida's State Parks...both beautiful in their own way.  In Pennsylvania, I've braked countless times for deer, snakes, fox, wild turkeys, and the occasional black bear...but for the first time in my life, while riding in West Palm, Florida,  I had to stop and yeild to a pelican!  I've come across many fire towers while biking in PA...but lighthouses are rare....on my longest ride of the week I rode out to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and took in some of the local history.  What was my favorite part about pedalin' the West Palm Beach area?  I guess I would have to say the countless miles of "bike friendly" bike lanes (which shouldn't be a novelty, but unfortunately they are)...which made all of my rides that much more enjoyable.

Robin and I headed to City Place in West Palm Beach for dinner and a movie.  A stop at Sloan's Ice Cream capped a nice evening out. -- November 30, 2017

Life is a journey...not a destination!

David A. Raymond -- December 8, 2017

Back home, back to reality, and back riding in the frigid 30 degree air!  Yesterday, I paused at a friend's house to take a pic of his 20 foot Santa Claus.  As far as Bob's concerned, either go big...or go home!  -- December 7, 2017

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the rides featured in this post...

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.   

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit HIGHPEAKSHIKING.COM and YOURTRUENATURE.COM!