Monopoly and Tears


The winds were ferocious off the lake and bitter cold. Mid February at 5 AM walking on top of 3 feet of frozen snow to a VA hospital in west Chicago for morning rounds…my last year of Medical School. At that moment I vowed to move South but where? It flashed through my mind… I always won at monopoly if I could get the three green squares. Pacific was to vague, PA too cold but NC sounded just right. And so 4 months later I moved never to leave.

Today I part early from Wilmington to head to the outer islands again, the first Topsail where I was introduced to the NC coast so many years ago. I was excited to see the draw bridge to the island and miles of clean white sand. A tail wind sped me on my way. As I approached the coast I noticed more stores than I recalled and wondered at the expanse of building before me.

5 miles later looking forward to a slow draw bridge instead I encountered a massive 2 mile spans 300-400 feet high. I pedaled to the top and looked out over the island to see hundreds of homes had crept in. I was stunned.

To the South rain clouds …so there wasn’t time to consider the change. The rains hit almost immediately and for the next twenty miles I became drenched to the bone in a warm spring rain.

At the north end of the island the winds were so strong I feared being blown into the sound. Safely across I found a McDonalds which had sprung up from the swamp …tried to get breakfast but was 5 minutes late.
I sat there dripping and composed myself while the staff made it clear my wet rags and bike were not welcome there.
I left feeling sorry for myself and pedaled on to the highway

leading to Jacksonville our nights stay.

Not far down the road I found a gas station with breakfast food …the staff said it was ok to come in and sit down.

While drinking my coffee and eating a mystery meat cheese croissant my drippings totally soaked the floor. Feeling sorry for myself suddenly in front of me was a 10$ bill.

I looked up to see a weather beaten young man.
“ Thank you for riding, my wife has MS. She is out in the car, will you please go talk to her”.

In an old brown van sat a young woman with giant light blue eyes. I approached her and she smiled. “ I dont feel too well, riding in a car makes me dizzy from my MS…my husband went to get me a drink. Thank you so much for riding as you do.”

I told her of my planned trip and how much I had raised…tears filled her eyes and she thanked me again. She refused to tell me her name and wanted the donation from her husband to be anonymous. I took her hand and held it for a minute, wished her well and she smiled through her still flowing eyes.

I turned…and suddenly …there was no rain or clouds but only blue skies …”not possible “ I thought “how did that happen just now?”

Angel whispered gently in my ear “ Just to remind why you ride again”…

I dedicated the next 16 miles to a young woman with MS whose name I don’t know who most likely I will never see again…



They died in a basement in 1862 during the middle of the Civil War.

After a blockade runner from Nassau snuck though a Northern Blockade supplies were unloaded through a temporary release of a yellow fever quarantine. A few days later Wilmington was hit with a massive outbreak of the plague. Deaths reached an average of 18 a day with a total of 1000 dead. The epidemic let up only after a rare snowstorm in November of that year.

Just 24 hours ago I entered my home state to the site of shrimp boats setting out for catch of the day.

Not far away I was greeted by MS supporters, always a good sight

and half way through the ride I was given a break with the first of three ferry rides to get to the outer islands off the NC Coast. 

Disembarked there were 2 long hours of riding before I entered the beautiful city of Wilmington, a laid back place. 

Our host showed us to our rooms and I set up my stuff.

Angel and Flossie , not needed for a while went off to explore and play. 

The building we are in dates back to the early 1800s. There are hidden passages, closed off rooms and spooky halls with tunnels.

Down this hall 69 people were quarantined in 1862 and all eventually ended up dead of the plague. 

At the end of the hall is a tunnel leading to the harbor 3 blocks away but none were allowed to escape.

We were told the ghosts of 69 still roam the halls at night.

When I retired  I shut my door tightly but wondered about flickering lights in the wee hours of the morn.

Only  later did I find Angel asleep guarding and keeping me safe all night. 

A rest day today and the NC Coast for the next week.

All is well

Too tired to write tonight. In a wonderful church , private room with couch, showers, washer, dryer, kitchen in downtown Wilmington. Group dinner of pizza, will sleep late then treating all to bagels in the AM. Rest day tomorrow. Story then. Now at 690 miles 1/10 done. Sleep well … I will.

The Uselessness of Turf Wars


Yesterday between rest stop one and rest stop two I noticed the support van going in the opposite direction. I wondered about this, perhaps stuff forgotten at the last stand. I never found rest stop two and was low on food and water by the time I reached the end. Famished I jumped off my bike to eat but instead noticed one of our riders sitting on the seat of the van in obvious pain. I went over to find that he had fallen early in the day and injured his right leg. They were getting ready to take him to an urgent care after riding in the van all day.

I asked to look his leg and knew within 20 seconds that he had fractured his hip, probably the femoral neck by my exam. I turned to the route leaders and told them to call the rescue squad immediately but one hesitated because … he had picked him up and knew best.

“ The immediate care will be good enough”

I looked them in the eyes and gently but forcefully said “ Call the rescue squad now”.

They did. 5 minutes later a firetruck and an EMT ambulance arrived. I explained I was an MD and we had a fractured hip on hand. They literally pushed me aside and ignored me. They were in charge.
They cut off his riding shorts, checked for bruising and pulses , moved his leg around as he cried out in pain, and then decided there was probably no break. They wanted him to stand.

I said “ No. He has a broken hip and needs a stretcher right now. “

4 turned to an EMT and said “ He will decide that not you”.

The EMT looked at the rider and said there was no leg length discrepancy so probably no break.

I looked him in the eyes and as gently as I could said “ If it’s non displaced the leg lengths will be the same”.

He hesitated then agreed to a stretcher. The scowling crew took not kindly to me forcing the issue so I left the scene.

Transported to the hospital he was found to have the fracture I described and is now on the OR schedule for a hip replacement.

Today as I ride I ponder the uselessness of turf wars. Over and over again they get in the way of meaningful progress or group cooperation. How many times have I witnessed this at my place of employment, among friends, even among family members. Why should it ever been part of the riders care?

Deep in thought I ignore my traveling companions most of the day. Along the way Flossie finds friends to try to cheer up my mood but to little avail .

The ride is over dangerous bridges and through heavily populated areas of Coastal SC. Traffic , small shoulders, thousands of turns and a slow pace over 65 miles made it a long difficult hot day.

But… every day has its “silver lining to a cloud moment”…last night my air mattress developed a leak in the seam and I awoke flat on a hard floor. Today at rest stop two I was able to replace it for 12$ at a Walmart!!! I can sleep freely again.

Tomorrow we cross into NC and leave this beautiful state behind.

Rain is in the forecast but it should be done before noon. More importantly after tomorrow’s ride we have a rest day…and I can rest, eat, sleep late and….wash clothes!

Flossie, Angel and more importantly Mother Nature all agree the stench means it’s high time…



I watch the field of donkeys fascinated…soft murmurs drift my way. Flossie comes up and says they are speaking to me.

“ Translate please”

“They say keep your Eyes and Ears open today”.

Down the road 20 miles out I hear whispers on the right.They grow louder as I approach but always soft and somewhere in the distance.

“We are the sentinels guarding this hidden palace”.

I peer into the thick wood knowing something sacred lives there.

A few miles later again whispers from the right.

“ We are the soldiers guarding this hidden palace “

Instinctively I know to go deep here would be lethal to a mere mortal.

The forest gives way to where mankind once lived but does so no more.

Even the long defunct church has been moved to a cemetery.

After 50 miles of wilderness I enter a tiny town to be stopped in my path by…goats. A policewoman and a young man are there trying to clear the road. As she fiddles in her car for something he tells me they are not his goats…he has sheep and sure enough just off the road is his flock. The young woman , the goat whisperer, returns with a bag of…Cheetos…

“It’s the only way I can ever round them up”…

They come running to get their treat and suddenly there is Flossie pretending to be a goat…no one can refuse free Cheetos. 

I roll my eyes and Angel and I move on.

Down the way I am looking for rest stop 2 to get water and food but Mother Nature has other ideas and changes the abode. The rest of the day I am without…

Luckily I find the outhouse in the back…at least some needs get dealt with in time…

I turn now towards the ocean and cross the Santee River made famous by Princes of Tides.


Nearby the whispers return and I stop to gaze out on the wetlands. A cool breeze at my back, the freshest smell I have ever known ,and a silence beyond belief layered over by the murmuring wind. 

“ Behold My Church, My Home” 

I do not turn to see where these whispers come from but instead look to Angel on one knee and Flossie Bowing to the ground.

I peer out over the marshes and feel absolute peaceful calm. I do not move but let the moments bath and cleanse my soul.

Silence, a cool breeze, and I know it is time to move on…

The Value of a Smile


Last night was the first time we camped outside in tents. We are lucky on this ride only two stops do not have churches hosting us. The night air was cool but refreshing and all felt it was their best night of sleep. The raccoons kept their distance…a miracle.

We are just south of Charleston when we start out…a short 38 mile day but it will be long in time given the transit through the city. A 15 mile bike path takes me to the bridge crossing into town.

I am immediately sent back in time with the Battery homes and make my way to the banks to look out over Fort Sumpter where begun the Civil War.

I try to take the ferry to the island but park rangers refuse to let me take my bike and there is nowhere safe to store it if I take the trip.

Instead I sit on the shore line and imagine the beginning or the War.

Rain is in the forecast so I decide to ride on to cross a long and treacherous bridge. Headwinds of 25 mph and the steep incline cut my speed to 4 mph but I trudge on.

Once across I head due East to an outer island and turn north to hug the shore. This reminds me so much of home on the NC Outer Banks. As I cross back to the mainland I encounter another bridge and look out across the inter coastal waterway as it meanders north.

I find great beauty here .

I was told before the ride from others who had done it that the scenery was boring and bland until reaching central PA. I wonder at their mistake. So far I have found beauty everywhere I have looked.

I remember once being 12 or 13 and going to work with my mother. She at that time was a school psychologist working with handicapped teenagers. I ate lunch with her in the school cafeteria and around me were a multitude of less gifted ones. I naively asked her who of them would ever be lucky enough to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. She smiled at me and said watch them a while.

I did.

And slowly I noticed a few holding hands, whispering to each other, snickering and obviously “ in love”. More importantly I noticed that as each smiled they became beautiful to behold.

On this ride there is beauty everywhere, one must just open their eyes. And if they take the time to do so they will find Mother Nature smiling back at them.

The Benefits of Not Being Kosher


I am usually a vegetarian but it is very difficult to stick to such a diet on the ride. I do allow myself small amounts of fried chicken each day. 

It is so important to get at least 80-100 grams of daily protein. This morning I just have protein powder, dried milk and instant coffee and start off on my way.

We know that our ride today takes us through the swamp country south of Charleston along the coast. Services are very limited.

I stop at the cross roads of Dale 12 miles out at a small convenient store. I am the only white male for miles around. Sudden silence engulfs the store as I enter and all look down. No one gives me eye contact.

I ask about breakfast from the grill to be told not allowed, Covid shut everything down. I’m not quite sure that is accurate as others seem to be eating at chairs and tables there. I buy Twinkies and coffee and eat outside not feeling welcome .

I pass by swamp shanties …hard to believe people live there. 

10 miles down the road I pass a massive plantation, miles long with green pastures full of thoroughbreds. 

Not much has changed here in the South. 

Ahead I see a sign for a small town ,Catholic Hill ,and low and behold there is indeed a long gradual shallow  hill that I start to climb.At the top a sweet church, the center of Catholic Hill. 

A sign tells the story of Irish settlers from the mid 1850 who decided to settle  on this hill in a swamp. Not many years later the church burned down but the community remained and rebuilt the church.

As I rest by the side of the road I see Flossie returning from a visit with local kin. 

“Want to her the real story of what happened? “With a grin. I wearily nod yes, you never know about a  Flossie’s tail.

“ Well Father Fiore, a kind old soul , was in the middle of his weekly Sunday sermon preaching the extent of human guilt. Almost everybody was asleep. Unbeknownst to the congregation  crocodiles had crept up from the swamp for a Sunday Feast. They burst into the church and gobbled down a few unlucky souls. The priest, beside himself, threw lit candles at the crocs with wide open mouths. The beasts turn and scampered  out not so much from fear but from the foul taste of Catholic Guilt. Needless to say the wooden  church burned down to a crisp.

I thanked Flossie for the info and decided to ride on.

As the morning progressed I recalled I was supposed to answer a few emails and had forgotten .I stopped near a beautiful swamp to deal with my work.

Suddenly Angel tapped me  on the shoulder and whispered “ look there in front”.

Two big croc eyes and a long hunger snout. 

Having been dealt a blow by dogs last year I was not about to let a croc end my ride.

“ Hey croc, you don’t want to eat me! I’m Catholic and full of bitter tasting guilt”

Immediately the snout and eyes sink deep beneath the muck.

As I ride on I look back to see Angel and Flossie pondering the fading ripples on the slimy green water and hear Angel say “ I wonder what would have happened had he said he was Kosher instead?”



Twice now I have done the Southern Tier. The roads of west Texas are so poor you get used to riding a jackhammer for three weeks instead of a bike.

South Carolina has now gone one better.

The day starts in Georgia and as the sun rises I enter the fairytale city of Savanah. I feel like I have gone back in time with its massive Churches, homes, parks and  clean streets. By the time I leave the parks have become full of walkers runners, carriages, bikers and people just sitting on the grass. For the first time on the ride I just want to stop…for a day, a week, a month, a year, a lifetime.

But I must move on…

Suddenly I see a small sign that says I have entered South Carolina and the road proves that to be the case. Potholes , hundreds of repairs ,glass and debris line the road. Shoulders shrink to 6 inches and are overgrown with weeds. 

My bike starts to rattle and shake sharing the jarrings with me. It is beyond belief. Cars rush by oblivious to bike riders and for the first time I get taunts from passing pickup trucks. What a difference a few yards make. 

I start to worry about the fillings in my head and see ahead someone who might have helpful advice.

Standing alone in the middle of a swamp he looks so regal and wise.

With Flossie as a go between I ask for help. 

After some long moos and even longer creaks and groans in response Brown Eyes turns to me…

“ There’s a dentist down the road and some alternative transportation waiting for you next door”

Curious I ride on through pristine wetlands.

Suddenly in the distance I see the office I seek but as I approach I realize it’s Sunday and closed. 

Next door a pasture with potential mounts for me but these mother Clydesdales are busy tending their young and have no interest in me. 

What is one to do but rattle on. 

I finally arrive in Beaufort after 7 1/2 hours of tortured hot riding and reach a bike path which will take me to the nights resting place.

Suddenly above me  mechanical shrieks that raise the hairs on my arms and neck…across my bow not 200 feet above me… 6 Blue Angels appear. 

Flossie and Angel cheer as I nearly wet my pants.

Regaining my composure I watch them from a bridge in a swamp, on the bike path…They are here practicing at Parrish Island where boys become men. I start again but in the wrong direction and get lost…

And yet for all these happenings the White Rabbit still arrives an hour before anyone else. 

I will sleep well tonight.

A Scream


It stands by itself, protected as it should be. I am amazed that the road is built around it. Nature has been honored.

I ride away and wonder at someone’s wisdom and concern. Suddenly to my right there is a scream, and a tall one comes crashing down. The smell of pine tar fills the air while Mother Nature’s tears mist the air. A massive machine has clipped this giant in one fast motion, the majestic one exists no more. 

I look to the ground and see massive piles of its now dead companions. In the distance others weep in unison. 

All this to widen a road…

How different the priorities of the two extremes…One honoring Nature the other honoring Man. 

My thoughts turn to religion , there are churches everywhere … I wonder that Man should mesh religion with Nature in the end. 

I pass the Smallest Church in America and stop to pray. I don’t often do this but I am so vulnerable on the ride it happens naturally. There are no atheists in foxholes…

I cannot help but notice the massive tree that greets each who come this way. 

Inside the solitude allows a deep inner reflection and I realize the Smallest Church may in fact be the Greatest to allow an instant connection between a tiny soul and the Divine.

I can’t help but think to the massive Vatican with all its politics, money, power struggles, hypocrisies and even crime and then look to this small structure where the Divine easily melds inside.

I ride on…

Tonight I stay in  a small church outside on Savanah. It is not fancy, not large. The pastor has welcomed us with open arms with a safe place to sleep, a shower, someone to wash our clothes and a feast for evening meal. 

I think to the Vatican,  the Smallest Church in America and my home for the night. I think to the Tree that was saved, and that One that died, and to the huge bald Cyprus that protects that small little one…

If Man is to connect with Nature to save this present world , I have a sneaky suspicion the link will be our Trees…

Nature of the Caress


Context can be so important…important enough that I feel a need to back up.

I am lucky to have several new followers so I am going to pause and explain a few things…anyone following for 8 years will recognize these but so be it.

The White Rabbit was a name given to me 7 years ago by a riding team. There are two aspects to the name: 1) an early morning speedster to get the others going, like the rabbit in greyhound races…some times I break loose from the pack never to be caught, and 2) to flash in and out of the ride like the White Rabbit in Alice and Wonderland…often the two are combined with me being at the end long before others arrive.

“Lost Boy” I earned 5 years ago but deserved much earlier…I often find myself off course through endless daydreaming along the road. Once I ended up 50 miles too far north near the Canadian border but my most extreme wandering was on the Southern Tier. Confused at the map and my surroundings I found a farmer…” Where do you think you are son?” with a grin…” Louisiana?” “ Son you are in Mississippi! Turn around” …Now how does one cross a giant river and not know it? Daydreams abound…

Angel is my Guardian Angel. First met me at age 6…Flossie is a wise cow that Angel often rides. They both protect me on the ride…but still let me get lost from time to time…

The Four Winds…the Greek Gods of the Winds… either helpers or thorns in my side.
Boreus (North) Notus (South) Euros (East) Zephyrus (West)

On this blog I will wander from days descriptions, to deep thoughts, to things I learn. And there will always be Time Traveling…

I’ll share a little of each today.

We rose early at 6:30 but unlike the others I was ready to go at 7. White Rabbit took off not to be caught for the rest of the day. I arrived 90 minutes ahead of all the other riders. For the first time at 50 miles headwinds appeared.

Thus time it was Euros who wore me down. My speed went from 14 mph to 8 for three long grueling hours but I was awarded with tail winds over the massive Brunswick bridge heading

to a church for my nights stay.

Behind tonight’s church is a beautiful garden flowing with Spanish moss.

This flowering plant is found throughout the South living on oak and bald cypress trees especially in lowlands and swamps. It’s name is misleading as it is neither a lichen or moss. The plant consists of one or more slender stems with thin curly leaves which are 1-2 inches long and .04 inches wide. The stems grow in a chain like pattern.

The plant has no roots but it has small yellow- green flowers. The plant is not parasitic but is an epiphyte meaning it absorbs water and nutrients through the air though leaf pores. It does not kill or harm the tree it lives in.

Though Spanish moss has several industrial , medicinal and decorative uses. Mother Nature is fond of using it to calm White Rabbits down…