New Adventures?

I am hoping to embark on another great adventure in six or seven weeks, and perhaps a very different one a month after that.

The first plan is to ride my bicycle from Key West, FLA to Portland, ME. The FLAME ride (how could I not so name it?) will only happen if I, any fellow riders and the sag wagon driver have all been vaccinated. I have an appointment for a first shot toward the end of March, so I’m somewhat optimistic on that score. Others, I don’t know about.

It almost goes without saying that because of all the restrictions on how we’ve been living our lives over the last year, this adventure should have the feeling of a prison break.

The ride would be organized much like the 39-day, 3,249-mile ride from Los Angeles, CA to Old Lyme, CT that I did in 2016. This year’s journey would be something like 2,000 miles, depending on the exact route chosen, and much flatter; it would take three to four weeks, depending on lots of unpredictable factors.

Because of uncertainties about whether the ride will actually be doable and exactly when it would begin, I have not yet given serious effort to finding a driver for the sag wagon. At present, I’m looking at a possible April 19th departure from Key West, which means a driver would probably leave New York in a van with bicycles and luggage in back on the 17th. Those dates might get pushed back a week or two to accommodate vaccination schedules or others’ needs.

I asked some friends if they would like to join me for all or part of the ride and received several expressions of interest. My guess is that as with the cross-country ride, few or none will be able to take the time to do the whole thing, but several will join for a few days each. Most likely, more than several will join one or more of the segments between NY and ME – home territory for most of my friends.

The sag driver’s job is multifaceted. Be near enough to the riders to help if there’s trouble; help plan routes; help with general logistics – e.g., with making hotel and dinner reservations; have fun. I will pay all the driver’s costs and a modest stipend, but the only real reason that somebody should want to do this is if he or she thinks it would be fun. Needless to say, I will be looking for somebody who I think has a very high sense of personal responsibility.

If you know of anybody who is available for and possibly interested in the sag driver job, I suggest you have him or her read my posts about the cross-country ride, here, to get a sense of how the adventure is likely to play out. If anybody is still interested after reading that, please have him or her reach out to me through

Assuming that the ride happens, I will post daily notes on it. Entirely apart from whatever enjoyment you may have gotten out of reading about the cross-country ride, I’m sure that if I hadn’t written those posts, I would have forgotten way too many wonderful details of that adventure already. I cherish those memories, refreshed or otherwise, and I have no reason not to believe that this one, too, will be fit for savoring long afterwards.


Separately, you may be interested to learn that I am very seriously considering going back to work on a full-time basis. Indeed, it’s because I may do so that I’ve moved up the timing of the possible FLAME ride from its originally-conceived mid-May starting date. I have been considering starting a new business for a long time, and the pandemic’s more-or-less official end seems like the logical go/no go date. If I decide it’s a go, my ride posts are very likely to be short because after the days’ rides I’ll need to be talking to businesspeople and reading legal documents. Perhaps time pressure will force me to be less verbose than I was last time…

M.H. Johnston    

2 comments to New Adventures?

  • Vivian Yess Wadlin  says:

    Not surprised that you could not stay “retired.” I couldn’t either. Getting nervous I won’t finish my projects before I am cold stone dead. Yikes.

    Good luck with whatever you jump into. Will you come across Walkway over the Hudson on your trek? If so, let me know.

    • M Johnston  says:

      That’s exactly the sort of reason I’m not likely to take the shortest possible route – too many friends to see along the route, more or less. Sounds fun.

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