April 25th, we leave for Key West. We will spend a few days driving down with plans to turn in our rental car, celebrate Peter's 65th birthday on April 30th in Key West, and on May 1st dip the front tire of our bikes into the water at the tip and start up the East Coast. I had not considered it before, but I wonder if we are even allowed on the beach at the tip. I spent 6 years of my youth outside of Jacksonville, Florida in a small town called Atlantic Beach, where the beach was public, I had my license when I was 14, I drove a Corvair (sp?), if any of you even remember the car existed once upon a time. I moved to Connecticut at sixteen, against my will of course, and was the new kid on the block, yet again, in my senior year of high school, and as ever, an outsider (my sixth grade school in 12 years of schooling - details will be in my memoir to be published after the trip). One of the things that was dramatic for me, however, was moving to a state (Connecticut) where the beaches are often privately owned. How could someone OWN beach - after living here for nearly thirty years, I have forgotten how foriegn it seemed to me then in 1969. Now, Florida is foriegn to me. I have not been there except for two visits in the last 30 years. I will be a tourist, not a native.
Lately, since taking a blood oath (metaphorically) to do this 2600 mile bike ride starting in Florida, I have been having flashbacks, a lot, even from those years when I was mostly in an altered state. Is my mind preparing me for something -- I certainly hope so. I wonder how much more I will remember when I tramp through streets and towns of my youth.