Sometimes we get ideas for rides from Adventure Cycling, sometimes from Bikepacking.com and sometimes from talking to fellow bike travelers. We got the idea to ride Southern Tier in, wait for it…
Tom retired in April 2022 which coincidentally was about the same time the stock market turned into a giant dumpster fire. We’d dreamed about spending two months in warm, sunny Florida riding bikes, playing pickleball and basically escaping the bitter cold (to us) winters in Indy, however with the stock market in the garbage we weren’t sure we should commit to that expense right out of the retirement gate. Seems like everyone likes Florida, especially in the winter so prices were high and availability, low. Thanks Hurricane Ian.
I’d been looking for a place online for a couple hours and sending inquiries but basically I was coming up empty handed and had pretty much given up. Tom got home from the gym and we headed off to daily communion service at 6:50am as we do most every morning if we aren’t riding.
Back to the inspo to ride the Southern Tier. That morning the reading happened to be from Acts 9:1-19, and yes I was paying attention in church. All of a sudden I got hit with a bright idea, like that bright light that knocked some sense into Saul.
Why not ride our bikes across the southern part of the country instead of going to Florida for two months? We can start in San Diego and when the route ends in St. Augustine, we can turn right and head down the Atlantic coast to Key West. Done and done.
We won’t be able to play pickleball for two months but we’ll get our bike touring bods back while at the same time save a heap of money, add California, Texas and Louisiana to our 50 state bike chase and I’m sure enjoy a few tamales, Tecates and churros while en route.
The two of us, our Salsas, bike bags and everything we need for two and a half months months will fly out to San Diego mid January for our winter escape. All in all it’s about 3,600 miles. Shorter than our Northern Tier ride yet longer than our Great Divide adventure. But alas, Southern Tier is mostly pavement. #HighwayAnxiey
To see what the first day looked like click here and for a wrap up of our journey, click here.