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14 April 2018, 5:00 PM, North Palm Beach, FL

Less than three weeks until my departure. I have things to do. I need new tires. The front tire has about 3/32" left, the rear 4/32". The front is reaching the marginal point, some would say it is there already. The original tires were replaced at 13,653 miles, just before my US Northeast Ride. Probably the same then, not enough tread for several thousand new miles, so I replaced them before riding out. I have a little over 14,000 miles on these, so I have made an appointment to get that done. Plus fluids. I don't ride a lot between my big rides, there's not that much to see on a bike around here. It is quite flat. To see into the distance you need to get on an I-95 overpass. Because I don't ride much, I replace fluids before I do my long ride. It has been a year since the last fluid change. I will have to do it once on the ride, but I don't want to replace tires on the ride.

I have started getting the bike out more the past couple of months, getting myself, and my bike, ready. Today I did that, 2 1/2 hours, 115 miles, from North Palm Beach to Belle Glade, Pahokee, Port Mayaca, and back to North Palm Beach. I rode along CR 880 (Palm Beach County Road 880) from US98 to Belle Glade. It was a terrible washboard. I already knew that, but I think it is worse than it was the last time I was on it. It was almost as bad as US-71 in Louisiana between Alexandria and Baton Rouge. CR880 does not have all the cracks, just the washboard.

I go to Port Mayaca more often than other places around here. I go up on the dike overlooking Lake Okeechobee. Today there were some other bikers up there. One gentlemen, whose name I unfortunately forgot to get, was of great assistance taking a picture of my bike (and me).

After I got back to North Palm Beach, I put leather conditioner on my Royal Canadian Mounted Police gloves (they are great with big gauntlets). The black leather on the back of my hands turns grey from the sun on my long rides, so I need to make them look nice again. Done.

On my ride today, I was in full dress, just like I am on my long rides. I have Aerostitch pants (armor and rain proof), a Tourmaster summer jacket (also armor with a million little holes for ventilation), cowboy boots (because I am riding a horse, iron though it may be), my HD short sleeve shirt (which usually remains hidden), my full face helmet (I used to have a 3/4 helmet with a face shield, but the full face helmet is so much better for the long haul in the wind, less turbulence and quieter), my two knee braces (one for each knee), and my Nike Dri-Fit pants (keeps my legs cooler and protects the knee braces from getting scratched by the Aeorstitch pants). I started using one knee brace several years ago, then used two on my last ride or two. It makes it so much easier for me to keep my bike upright when I am stopped, makes my knees much stronger. The problem is that my knees are old, more than 75 years old.

It was a beautiful ride today, I am very pleased with my vision. I see better (without glasses or contacts) than I ever have. I first got glasses when I was 13 years old. I got my first contacts when I was 18. I have worn contacts since then, until January 1, 2017. That day when I took them off, I never put them on again, I was preparing for cataract surgery. That's the primary reason I did not do a long ride last year, I would have to use glasses, and I hated wearing glasses riding my bike. My vision was not good, about 20/500 without glasses or contacts, so the glasses made everything look distorted, smaller, farther away. With my new eyes, I am 20/20 in the distance without glasses or contacts. It is wonderful.

I have been getting my laptop computer ready to go. I just put Office 2016 on it this afternoon. My laptop crashed late last year, and I had to get a new one. This will be the first time the new one has been on a ride. I think it is looking forward to it. I need it badly, it would not be possible to keep this website going without my laptop. I update the website every night on my rides, with pictures and text. I spend a couple of hours on it. Every picture goes through Photoshop.

I need to tighten the vents on the lower fairings. They keep closing because the toes of my boots press on them when shifting or using the rear brake. Annoying.

I am sure I need to do other things to get ready. But I won't waste your time with that now.

Whenever I update my ride travelougue, as I have done today, I set it to take a web visitor to the most recent page. If you have wound up here, know that there is a previous page called "Intro". You can click on it on the menu at the top left.

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