The Breen Machine

The Breen Machine
CyclOcar at the Guadalupe Desert Salt Flats, Texas nearly 2,000 miles into it's 30,000 mile journey. Pedal Power = Carbon Neutral Living

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hello Mobile

Interesting signs:  

Trespassing - Violators will be shot - Survivors will be shot again!

This place is guarded with a shotgun three days a week - guess which days?

Be an organ doner - give your heart  to God

I eventually arrived in Mobil early evening, emerging from the tunnel and passing by the USS Alabama and a Phantom aircraft on display.  I was warned about travelling through the city at night by it seemed OK to me.  Lovely old buildings with the large columns at the entrance which reminds you that you are in the deep south.

Found a hotel to stay and the machine has been allowed to stay on display in the foyer.

Wish I didn't have to leave!

This afternoon has been a whirlwind of experiences.  I met a man with five sons who makes handbuilt guitars for a living.  They all play several instrument each and I am beginning to think here has the edge on Nashville.

This was confirmed when they told me this is the holiday area for great musicians and songwriters.  Everyone knows someone famous nearby that you realise Nashville is the shop window but Gulf Coast Alabama is where they live and get inspiration.  Believe me if you get a good local band on a sojourn to do a gig here you are getting top acts and talent.

I decided to take Phill's advice and sort out picture quality by buying a descent camera.  I went into Walmart and got a Nikon Cool Pix with separate AA batteries (in case you need to change whilst away from a charger)

Quick trip to Pirates Cove and then ready for the party.

Captured George on my new camera.


Oh and Tony give my love to Josie and Alex -  I am not superstitious so mentioning the 'P' word doesn't matter if you are using the best inners and tyres!

Goodbye Lillian's Cafe

I visited the local hotdog festival in Elberta which has many of German origin.

I had a great time at the Halloween party.  I bought a Batman costume - only trouble was they had run out of adult ones but had an 8 - 10 year old Husky version = husky is a nice way of saying fat.

I had a hell of a job getting into it and then cycling to the party,  Then everyone started laughing.  I had put it on backwards, but I wasn't going to change as it had taken me nearly 10 mins to get into it.  Then I realised I couldn;t get out of it to visit the toilet and George had to come to me rescue.  Cracked him up!


Afterwards I felt like I was the prize in a competition as several people offered me somewhere to stay.  I ended up in a beautiful house literally on the beach.  What I failed to mention was that as I was following George in his 4x4 I turned the corner too soon and ended up on my side in a storm drain.  I really thought that I had broken the pod and screen but to my amazement there was no damage.  Thanks very much Wyre and Maggie for letting me stay on your couch. 

Wyre & Maggies Place

I cannot recall how many people I talked to but suffice to say they were very interesting.

I must leave and say my goodbyes to all especially George & Kim of Lillian's Cafe on Hwy 98.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Where Do I Begin

Rhetorical really.

I had one of the best nights out of my life.  The hospitality kept growing all night.  Vic and the band were one of the best I have ever heard and as it was their first night together without any practice as a group of three I was blown away.  They played a huge array of styles but their Hotel California did it for me.  Their mastery of the guitars and the different sounds I have never heard before.  Unfortunately it is an extremely competitive business and getting that lucky break is as we all know extremely difficult.  Three guitars playing together is a superb sound.   They decided last night to continue the band with a new name as Highway 98 - which is the road that runs next to us.  They sat for over an hour having discussions over a name and having gone full circle came back to the one decided upon in the first place.  We had a short talk after the show and as they now want to go on tour I asked them if they fancy doing one in the Algarve down to the Costas next Spring/Summer.  Discussions I might add were not drink driven as they were well sober and if I can find an initial venue it would be great to have an open air gig.

I also met one of the most interesting guys I have ever met, his fascinating life is a book which should be written and all I was able to achieve was to record a small part of it.  Daryl was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam and has two purple hearts adorning his Stetson.  He was shot seriously twice and, after the long conflict, was dismayed that their huge sacrifice was not being recognised when they came home.  I gathered from his stories of flying ops after the war in South America and Africa that he got up to some very interesting stuff.  I don't think it matters so much these days but his knowledge of how things were secretly funded and his amazing understanding of world history and politics is stunning.
His grandfather was Cherokee Indian and he is really in touch with spiritual things.  He carries and ancient piece of petrified wood from his grandfather around his neck.

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The Machine & Truck


Danny, Kim & George wouldn't see me sleeping in my tent and Danny took my Machine on the back of his pickup truck to his farm where he gave me a room for the night.  He doesn't mind me saying he is a true 'Redneck'.

As I entered his house set in hundreds of acres of forest and farmland I noticed the confederate flag adorning the wall.  Even the dog had studs on it's collar!

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No Comment

Although he rubbed up against the law seriously several years ago he is so funny and great fun to be with. His stories of life on the wrong side would be funny if they weren't so tragic.  He has learned his lesson and has gone straight for several years.  I asked him what brought this about and he said that crime does not pay.

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The Confederate Soldier Lampshade!

Having spent time in prison for attempted murder and for robberies he came to the conclusion that he would have earned more money with less risk than getting a job and working hard.  I might add that the circumstances regarding the attempted murder is one that anyone could have found themselves in.

They are all advising me not to stay in Mobil as I might need an escort through the tunnel and as it is Halloween tonight they say it will be difficult travelling and finding somewhere to stay.  They have persuaded me to leave tomorrow so it sounds like I will have to listen to another great Alabama band.....tempting!

I think they really like the idea of my Machine sitting outside to attract more customers and discussion. Tonight it has been renamed the Bat Mobile and I might even get the outfit from Walmart!

The beaches here are the purest white sand I have ever seen.  The water is WARM and so clear.  This is a lost paradise.  Forget Florida.  Come to the 70 mile stretch of Alabama where tourists are a novelty and one thing is for certain you will receive good old Southern Hospitality - this is not a myth - and don't forget to pop into George & Kim's place at Lillian's Cafe and also look up Daryl if you want to heard some incredible stories.

I also met a super guy call Shane and I gave him my AAC cap.  Today I noticed him wearing another one, so I asked him where it was and he said he put it in the glass cabinet he keeps for very special things!


Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome Home Alabama

In some way I was really pleased to be leaving Florida especially after the verbal abuse last night.  I crossed Perdido Bay bridge at 17.00 local into Alabama and spotted lots of old rusty abandoned cars as gate guards.  Got the wrong impression as no sooner had I gone a few miles when I encountered true southern hospitality.

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Perdido Bay

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Welcome to Alabama

Lillian's cafe beckoned me.  Kim & George made me feel very welcome, offered me a coffee and to stay for the pumpkin carving ceremony.  They told me that last week they had a very large fundraising party for breast cancer and hundreds of people held hands in a chain around the bay.

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Lillian's Cafe

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George & Kim

Met a fellow Brit called Vic Saul who is playing music tonight and he kindly gave me a copy of his album.  He has designed a revolutionary guitar which Gibson were close to producing.  Please check out his website at:
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Vic Saul

George, Kim and several others have offered me a place to sleep for the night.  One kind gentleman even offered me a cabin on the beach!  However, I would rather camp in the grounds of the cafe to be close to my machine - I think they understand.  Kim let me, on the understanding that she brings me a coffee in the morning.

Such amazing hospitality!

As for the machine she is fairing extremely well.  Dare I say better than expected and no punctures yet.  Those tyres and inner tubes are well worth the money,  I even kipped in it for an hour outside a convenience store as my head cold really made me weary.  The temperature today started at a cool 16 degrees and maxed out at 27 degrees and 21% humidity which was perfect for cycling.

My thought for the day: 

When you go to the toilet you have generally to push the door or touch the door handle to go in and after washing your hands you have to touch the door handle to leave!  Surely you should have to pull to open and push with your body to leave?

Leaving Florida

Took wrong way and ended up nearly on the US Interstate Highway.  Had to go 15 miles back on myself.

I am once again in a McD and summarising my time in Florida.

List of most things that I will always remember:
  1. US Flags adorning everything.
  2. Injury Lawyer Signposts including dial BP 888-Oil-Spill Specialists in abundance.
  3. Everything for sale by the side of the road, cars, boats, machinery etc - Car forecourts resorting to hundreds of balloons on the cars - that should help - puts people in such a happy mood!
  4. Everything is $ something.99 cents, etc.  If you have a meal for $9.99 then after tax and the expected 20% tip it ends up over $12.00.
  5. Sad to see older people, often down and outs standing dressed up in cowboy, pirate outfits etc. trying to entice people into stores.
  6. Everybody is suspicious of any deal - they want to know what's the catch 'cause they expect one!
  7. There is no such thing as a free lunch here.
Wish McD, Walmart etc would consider putting cycle racks outside their stores - and also the city laying and marking proper cycle paths clear of rubbish from the main road and that don't suddenly disappear into ditches and lamposts.

Jeremy Clarkeson is alive and kicking here and the amount of verbal abuse I received last night because I suppose I was within sight was unbelievable.  I might add that this seemed to be only dished out by testosterone fueled men!  After all you have to be strong to press your foot down on the gas.

Goodbye Florida and my favourite City was Pensacola - a mix of the old and new with very little traffic.

Alabama here I come.

Woke up with a slight cold.  Hope it passes 'cause I don't feel too good.  Beautiful clear day and only 17 degrees so cycling is much easier.  I even had to put the sides down as it was a little too chilly.  Should be in Pensacola in around an hour and then across to Mobil in Alabama.  Feel like I am getting somewhere at the thought of leaving Florida.
Ps.  Whataburga has free Wi-Fi also so I am not confined to Big Macs every day!

Time for Change

I had been cycling well past Destin before popping into Mick's place for a non alcoholic drink.  Met Cindy & Shane Pierce before I realised that the new time zone meant that the clocks had gone back one hour.

Cindy lost her mother to breast cancer nearly a year ago and was very enthusiastic about the machine.  Shane who is an engineer on C130 Talons at nearby Hurlburt Field in the US Airforce is about to leave for Iraq. A few minutes previously I had sat underneath the approach path watching the stuff land.  He kindly donated $15.00 and I must thank him once again here.  Take care out there please and thank you Cindy for all those Seven Up refills!

Oh and I forgot to say that I had a bit of drama when a young lad and his mother approached me outside and wanted to use my phone to call a 'cab'.  Turns out they were in the middle of a drug deal and when the supplier turned up Cindy new immediately what was happening as she called the police a little to  late though. So if anyone wants a supplier his number is on my phone!

Interesting approach on a sign by a car business - 'We need customers not a bale out'.

I left and tried to once again find somewhere to camp - eventually deciding to sleep in my bag near the road. The total for the day 67 miles.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Destin Ation

Arrived at Miramar Beach (I remember it from the Top Gun film) the Airforce base at Elgin is just past  Destin.  Think I will look for a campsite as I am once again drenched in sweat.  The first campsite I tried I thought they meant $17.99 for one night but they meant $77.99! They say the weather will change tomorrow and I hope it does.  Cycling in heat without the humidity is hard enough but at least sweating helps keep you cool.  I am resorting to hanging out my T shirts on the back of the machine to dry.

Everyone without fail is fascinated about the machine and I have had people offer me drinks and food regularly.  Very good hearted people who go out of their way to be helpful.

Great that all the McDonalds have Wi-fi access.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

HOT - HUMID & Hot & Humid

Started off at 11am after sleeping over 12 hours.  Met Lesley and Jason who arrived just as I was leaving..  Lesley is from Surrey and obviously loves her dogs as she brought one from England and has one adopted and another one from Jason to contend with.  They have traveled from Washington State in a zig-zag looking for somewhere to settle their roots.  Jason is a butcher and manages to pickup work here and there.  I was a little concerned when he brought out his meat cleaver though!  I hope they are successful and manage to settle somewhere. Lesley said she wanted to learn to drive an eighteen wheeler truck as the money was good!

It soon became apparent that I might have to change to night shifts as the humidity and temperature combination meant I was going through at least one litre of fluid per hour.  I am now sitting in Hardee's using the notebook computer I bought in Tallahassee.  Although I initially thought it would be too much extra to carry it makes keeping the blog up to date easier especially as most fast food places have Wi-Fi.

So I am finishing off a hamburger before setting off through the night to Destin on the Gulf coast in a cool 27 degrees.  Changed my mind about going to Panama City as it turns out it is just one of those big high rise tourist places.

Hope to be there early morning and then see whether I camp somewhere during the heat of the day or find a motel.

Danny & Shirley called me to wish me well and I felt the urge to return and pick up where we left off.  Danny has decided to give up drink and other 'things' and has enrolled in his final education course so that he can go to college.  It is touching to realise I had an influence in this decision and it is a funny old world 'cause if I hadn't met him and given him some advice he might never have done it.

Managed to find a motel at Elbro and what a welcome sight that was with 87 miles clocked up.  Checked in well past midnight and after a hot bath for my aching back I fell asleep deeply until awoken well after 11am checkout time by the owner!

Tuesday 26th October

A few doors down from Danny & Shirley I spotted this sign.
If you cannot see it then it says - No trespassing and if the dogs don't get you my gun will! - with I might add a picture looking down the barrel of a 45 Magnum!

Set off from Shirley and Danny at 8am but soon found myself struggling with the humidity!  After 10 miles or so found myself dehydrated and being ill in the carpark of McDonalds.  A chap working inside recognized the symptoms and came out with a cold Seven-Up.  Really nice of him.  After several more cups of refreshing drinks I ate and headed off towards Panama City on the Gulf of Mexico which they say is very beautiful. This reminded me of Morgan a few days ago who said that the oil spill had been exaggerated as she was involved in some of the cleanup of birds.
A few hours later I found myself falling a sleep at the 'wheel' so I pulled off into a side area, laid out my sleep mat and found myself waking up in 40 degrees and 80+ humidity some 4 hours later.  Initially I was angry with myself but on reflection I obviously needed the rest.

Boiled peanuts at Walkers Pecan Place

Don't know if you can see the price of petrol but the significant thing is everything is x Dollars and 9/10ths cents!  I suppose a bit like 99p

I arrived at the Luther Hall Landing, State Park campsite next to Lake Talquin with showers and all the facilities completely free of charge!  Really beautiful watching the setting sun and talking with Jeff who is one of the three people staying here in his tent also.

Tranquility for free

He has lost his job and is awaiting repayments for work already done.  He seems to be three days away from losing everything except his pickup truck and tent!  

He was fascinating to listen to except he was a little worse for wear however he said that his great, great uncle was General Sherman from the Civil War and who’s name is also given to the US tank.  I therefore interview him on my voice recorder for interest.  Thinking about seriously doing a series of interviews with people on my was as there are so many fascinating stories out there.

Time for bed as it is 09.45 EST 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Long Weekend

Tuesday 26th October.

 I was worried until I realised Danny was only going to chop wood!

I enjoyed staying in Tallahassie so much I decided to stay until Tuesday morning.  Some great people especially Danny, Shirley and Kelly.
Danny & Shirley live with their two boys Nyah & Mysyah in a trailer park on the outskirts of the State Capitol.  I met them when at the hotel as Shirley is the receptionist there.  Their life story is an extremely heartbreaking and yet at the same time a heartwarming one and I have only heard a little of what they have to say.  I decided that they had so much to tell me about their life in the poorer areas of society that I decided to record their conversations with me.  I am sure that many of you like me would be fascinated to hear what it was like for Danny to be working on the streets selling drugs at 11 years old and then bring up a son single handedly when only 15 years old.  This at the same time as being very ill whilst also supporting a sick mother, and not getting gunned down going about your 'business' on the dangerous streets day after day.

Danny if you read this don't worry you are on the right path now and I promise you I will try to help you in any way I can. Shirley his partner was a registered nurse and high up in the staff at a hospital.  One day she left her two children in charge of her husband and he upped and left leaving the kids alone for several hours.  When she came home from work and the police were there.  She was charged with abandoning them and lost her right to work in the profession she loves.  She could not afford to attain the services of a lawyer and yearns to be back doing something she loves.

Kelly who also works in the same hotel used to work in the local prisons as an addiction councilor and his story is also extremely interesting.  He has agreed to send me some sensitive material for an article which would be difficult for him to say publically here.
So maybe now you will understand why I spent longer listening and talking to them all and trying to understand what it is like to live in the US today.

I also met Kristie who's father was a famous pilot in WW2.  His aircraft are in the Pensacola Navy museum still with his name on them.  His great buddy now directs the museum and she arranged a flight with the Blue Angels team - the British equivalent of the Red Arrows.  Initially I was quite excited about the prospect but I am sorry Kristie but I don't find the idea as appealing as it once would have been as aviation to me now is a thing of the past and I would ask you to arrange it for someone else that may be passing your way one day.

10 minutes from now I will be heading for the coastal town of Destin some 140 miles away - strange as it looks so close on the map!



Old habits die hard!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Well I was well and truly lost!

I stopped at a Pecan reststop.  Tried boiled peanuts but they are too salty and messy for my liking.
By strange coincidence I met a minister for the local prison.  I asked him if he knew the way to a camp site.  Unfortunately something went wrong and I ended up in the middle of somewhere.  Now I know that it is not a good idea in this part of the world to knock on anyones door but frustration got the better of me and I made the tentative effort to follow a farmdrive towards the house but became very unsure after seeing someone with a rather fearsome looking rife.

My fears were soon proved to be groundless when I was met but a happy group of exited children.  It was someones birthday and I suddenly become somewhat the star of the party.

Assistance given I headed for Tallahasie and arrived at the motel around 8pm after completing a total of 79.36 miles for the day.

Checking in with Shirley proved to be fortunate as I could not get the machine into the room and she cleared it with the manager for me to leave it 'on show'. in the lobby.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday 22 October

I spoke to Gerry just after he had had lunch.  So far he has done 28.32 miles today and it was 37 degrees  He is in the bible belt & has gone through 3 countries today where you can’t drink alcohol.
He went through Salem, a small village where he was hoping to get some water, which was just like a ghost town, where the only building that appeared to be occupied was the post office.
He will soon be cycling to Alabama where he wants to try typical Cajun food, grits & gumbo.  Just before he gets there he will cross  into an other time zone and will then be 6 hours behind us.
He will then head to Pensacola and cross the Mississippi river to New Orleans, where he has been told some parts can be dangerous. 
All restaurants give Gerry iced water to take with him.  He was just north of Perry hoping to get to Tallahassie, 52.3 miles away tonight.  The trike is performing well with no problems at all so far.

Thursday 21 October

Gerry cycled 65 miles yesterday in 6 hours 9 minutes, averaging 10.5 miles per hour.  The total distance cycled to date is 174 miles.
He stayed in a campsite at Steinhatchee over night, which is just before Perry. It is an old fishing port on the Gulf of Mexico, which was the smuggling area for Marijuana, which locally used to be called Square Mullet due the the shape of the shape of the bales when it was shipped.  There is even a long, straight street that was deliberately made is such a way that aircraft could takeoff and land in order to get the stuff in or out of the area.  The 'industry' was killed off and with  new regulations for fishing the port and community contracted extremely. 

He met the following lovely, interesting people at the campsite:
Keith Peacock used to be one of the top tattoo artists in the States and was friends with the Allman brothers.  He tattooed them & gave Gerry photo of him tattooing Alan Woody, the bass player who died of heroin overdose.  On it he has written ”To Gerry may god bless you on your journey”.  Dwayne Allman and Barry Oakley from the group both died in separate motor bike accidents.  Keith has been married & divorced 6 times, twice to same woman!  He now lives happily in his caravan where he says he has a roach problem and Gerry said roaches were running around. He gets paid on 1st of month and was skint until then so Gerry bought him a beer.  The love of his life now is Willie his bike 900cc Honda motorbike!

Jason Praytor is a correction officer of local correctional institution there and has 3500 inmates in his facility alone. They have a saying here which is Detroit has the car industry, Kansas has wheat and Florida has prisons.  There are more there than anywhere else in states and they have many inmates who were involved in the drugs industry.  He said that lifers are the easiest to deal with because they think if they behave they may get out one day.  

The state of Florida has turned this into an industry .lso because the Federal Government actually takes out a bond of $100,000 per inmate and then receives interest sufficient to easily cover all costs,  So there you have it.  Prisons are a legitimate and extremely important revenue scource for the State of Florida.  The USA puts more people in jail than anywhere else in world.  He said he was very respectful of what Gerry is doing and said he would love to do something like that one day.  He wanted Gerry to be guest of honour at sisters wedding at the weekend, which was a very nice invitation but Gerry wants to push on.  He gave $20 dollars for the breast cancer charity.
October in USA is breast cancer month and everywhere Gerry goes he sees pink ribbon stickers everywhere.  At the campsite he also met a man called Brian, who is working on the Mobil pipeline, and his daughter Morgan.  She’s raising money for breast cancer and was dressed from head to toe in pink and was wearing a breast cancer wristband.
Gerry was amazed to find Bars whose walls were decorated with 300 one dollar notes with names and comments on!  This area used to be so affluent that people could afford to do this.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Suwanee River

 John & Rosie the Dolphin at Discovery Bay

15.00 EST 21-10-10

Again managed to borrow a computer in Hardy's restaurant from John - who by coincidence is an Experimental Aircraft Association member and a pilot of landplanes/seaplane, helicopters and gyrocopters.  He used to run the Young Eagles group and sent more than 10 young people solo.  He has a great outlook on life and moved to this part of the US because it has a slower pace of life and nothing to do with the fact that they are the biggest producers of illegal Marajuana!
and it is a shame I cannot stay longer as we have a lot in common.  He said that the purpose was not to teach them to fly but to show them they could do anything but not everything if the wanted to.  A great philosophy I think.  He said that the Oshkosh and Sun & Fun fly in's are definately losing numbers despite what we might read.  He is presently putting a Jet engine in a swamp buggy!  Amazing what they manage to get up to over here - same with aircraft also.  Just build it and fly it seems.  He also told me that around 30% of drivers in this area do not have insurance and therefore drivers who have insure themselves against the uninsured!

Well I could write several pages but I think I had better get on my way to Perry before it gets dark.

Jet engine for the airboat

Wednesday 20 October

Gerry woke up to find he was underneath the flight path to Leesburgh airport hence the load roaring sounds through the night!  When he came out of the tent he found a man there who asked me if he could help me.  Taking him literally, Gerry said "yes I have to get to San Diego!" He didn’t see the funny side and said that “here is not the place to stay”.  He was very unfriendly so Gerry packed up & left, heading towards Ocala, which is a large town about 30 miles across.  He stopped at a gas station to pump up his tyres, "$1 for 3 minutes of air – no such thing as a free lunch here everything is charged for.  $1.999/10 almost $2 dollars for a bottle of water that’s even more expensive then fuel which is just $2.749/10, a gallon – why they just say $2.75?"
By 11 am it was very humid and 33°C.  He saw signs up saying and share of my house for sale – things are really bad it seems.  He gets the impression that Florida is just like a dinosaur on its last legs!  People seem tense and the atmosphere is not as friendly as it usually is get over there.

Yesterday he had lost his flags so bought some more today, along with a Union Jack sticker.  He was given a breast cancer sticker and a smiley face sticker so has put those on the front of the trike as you can see from the photo.

I called Gerry for free on Voip but for some reason he has been charged to receive my calls, so he called into a Verizon store in Ocala and explained what he was doing to Scott Whetter, who spent a long time helping him get a free transfer to another phone package which means that he can receive calls for free and also email photos back home to be loaded on this blog. – he's really pleased about that so a big thank you to you Scott for your help and advice.

Later he travelled through The Village, with 80,000 OAP’s, it is the biggest concentration of OAP’s in one place in the States and they are all riding around on motorised wheelchairs - one even asked him where his motor was!

He had just seen two people on bicycles – the first since he's been here which made a nice change from V-signs and comments like “get an engine”!  I spoke to him at 6pm his time and it was still 30°C but it had got up to 40°C today.  He had only cycled 36 miles so far today becuase sorting out the mobile phone took a while.  He's following Route 27 North-West to Perry and Gainsville.

On about 20% of junctions there are people with handwritten signs saying “Homeless family need work or donation”.  He said it was sad to see that this is happening in what is the richest economy in world.  He will photograph this next time he sees it. 

He ended up cycling 62 miles today.  He couldn't find a campsite so booked into a motel.  When he went to the local bar, the people there asked him where he was staying.  When he said the motel they said "what roach motel!"  Not the best motel he's stayed in!

Tuesday 19 October

Gerry had a late start as when he came to leave the hotel the bike would not fit through the door even though he had chosen a hotel with wheelchair acces thinking it would be ok.  So he had to take the screen off and put it back on once outside!

He left hotel at 09.30 on a hot and humid morning.  Headed North-West to Ocala.  He says "nobody over here walks or cycles, everything is car orientated.  People look at me as if I’m an alien in this machine and some have even asked me where the motor is!"    He bought himself a cheap phone with a camera – they are really expensive here compared to Europe –and now he is contactable.  The economy must be really bad, people are on the pavements (I mean sidewalks!) with signs pointing to shops saying buy this and that at such & such a discount!  He's never seen that before.  He cycled just 47.7 miles today as its hard going in this temperature and humidity.  He found somewhere to camp next to the road. 

He was so tired that he just put his ground mat down and crawled into his sleeping bag.  He woke up in the dark being bitten by mosquitoes, so put the tent up.  Unfortunately he didn’t realise that some mosquitoes got into the tent and was bitten throughout the night.  However, he slept quite deeply despite hearing a load roar every so often.

Monday 18 October

Got the bus to the airport, which was more difficult as the pod, now out of its box, would not stay on the trolley!  Once at the terminal, as it only had foam taped around it as protection, Gerry had it wrapped completely in cling film.  After all his trouble, when he checked in, the staff didn’t even weigh it!  The flight was good and uneventful all the way to Orlando although the American immigration process took 1 hour.  Checked into hotel in Orlando, not a great hotel but ok to sleep and assemble the bike ready for the off early tomorrow.

Just Starting! Sunday 17 October

This is Karen and I'll be talking daily to Gerry and posting for him when he has no way of doing it during the trip.
Rob, Karen & Gerry Packing the trike into the car ready for the trip to Faro Airport.

Apart from Gerry and I having to repack the large square box with the pod in at Faro airport so he could take more weight as hand luggage and reduce the excess baggage charge, the trip to London was uneventful.  Once at Gatwick, the coach to Heathrow was easy and the National Express staff were very helpful in helping him get the boxes in the bue.  Once at Heathrow the left luggage depot was unable to accept either of the bike boxes unless they were unpacked as they were both too big to go through their scanning machines, so he had to take them with him on the bus to the hotel.  The bus driver let him on with them but at the next stop an inspector got on and was not happy that the driver had accepted the boxes.  However, Gerry & the boxes all arrived safely at the hotel and after being fortified by a very good curry, he unpacked the pod and disposed of the box as he felt that he may have a problem getting it on the plane next morning.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Junction Tavern - Williston, Florida

Hi Everyone - This is my first live post from the USA using Jessee's computer - she is at the bar and I have tasted my first well earned beer served by Denise.  They cannot belive that I am undertaking this journey and warned me that Texas is awfully big.  It takes around a day to cross in a car.  Danny who is a Marine recommended following the coastal route from here via New Orleans.  It is funny but I always wanted to visit it anyway.  Got stopped by the police tonight and I reckon the excuse of inadequate lights was a reason to find out what the Breen Machine was!  Especially as I have two on the front and two at the rear.

So after three well earned Michaloeb's and two Bud's I'm signing off for tonight.

Ps.  If you think you have economic problems take my word for it it's not better here according to real people like Danny.  The world news is not telling the truth.

Now I am  attaching a photos of us all tonight.  Till tomorrow signing off - Gerry

Friday, October 15, 2010

Getting concerned

I am now starting to realise what I have let myself in for.  The Adventure Cycling Club of the USA rate the Southern Tier Route (the one I intend following) as being advanced for an experienced cyclist but I intend using a pedalcar!

Managed to get everything in the box!

Three days to the off and the final kit list comprises of over 200 separate items which include:
Water purification system
Solar panels
Indicators & brake light
Stereo music system
Short wave radio
CB Radio
Sat Nav
Cooking stove (64 grammes)
Magnet LED’s
Exped Downmat (withstands minus 45 degree ground temperature)
900 gram two skin tent
Electronic alarm
Three sleeping bags (Down, Silk & Synthetic)
Desert & Arctic clothing
Vehicle – 30 kg
Kit – 15 kg

Well after a day and a half Rob Watson - the new Breen Machine production manager, finally got the whole lot into one standard bicycle box and another small box for the fibreglass/Kevlar pod. Phill's idea of cutting it in half to make it even smaller I thought was not very funny especially as Rob initially thought he was serious!
Let's hope that BA stick by their word and transport it free!
Carolien visited yesterday but unfortunately I was out. She left some stickers for her charity and I will try to raise awareness during my travels. Please visit her websiteand I hope that you can help in some way also.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Monday 18th October sees Gerry Breen (more info at of Lagos, Algarve, Portugal fly to Orlando, Florida, USA for the first stage of what is hoped to be the first Pedalcar journey around the world.   This will see him cycle unsupported across the States to San Diego, California a distance of over 5,000 kilometres where after a break he will take the southern route down through Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras , Costa Rica & Panama.  After another short break he will continue down through Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil all the way down to Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America.  He will then travel through Canada and Alaska before crossing the Pacific to continue through Japan, China and the Far East before heading back across New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East and hopefully ending his journey after a European Tour. 

His Pedalcar has many special features including water purification system, solar panels for recharging batteries, stereo music system, GPS etc.  He will be carrying everything he needs for the journey including state of the art camping equipment and all weather gear.  The whole unit weighs some 30 kg fully loaded and cruises on level ground at 25 kph.  He will average around 100 km per day and stage one across the states is expected to be completed in around 50 days.

His wife Karen will join him in San Diego for a two week holiday in California, Arizona & Nevada after which they will return to the Algarve for Christmas before Gerry will fly to Mexico to continue stage two.

One of the aims of his travels is to create more awareness of human power and he will be donating the cost of every litre of fuel he saves to Cadela Carlota e Companhia an animal protection charity in Lagos, Portugal.  The Pedalcar known as the ‘Breen Machine’ was designed and built by Gerry over the last two years and has been well tested including two trips to Morocco with one to the northern Sahara.  His decision to design the machine came after he cycled from Lagos to Hadrian’s Wall, Scotland some two years ago.  He felt that although he was fit enough to do the journey he experience severe discomfort and fell off his bicycle on several occasions.
Wherever he has been it has been well received and has caused a stir.  On one occasion a trip to Marrakesh resulted in Gerry and his wife Karen donating various items including a bicycle to deserving local people.

The main attributes of the Pedalcar over the bicycle are that it is more aerodynamically streamlined, comfortable, stable and offer protection from the elements in adverse conditions.  Pedal cars or Velocars were extremely popular in the 1930’s but were banned from competitive events due to the fact that they were faster and more durable than the standard bicycle and therefore they suffered a major setback until now….
In the USA and Australia they are now becoming extremely popular and are experiencing a very fast growth once again.  Gerry would also like to experiment with electric power systems and is looking for partners in the venture who will be able to assist in production whilst he continues with international promotion.

Gerry’s journey can be followed by a link on his website at and more information can be obtained whilst he is away by contacting Karen Breen, Algarve Airsports Centre   Telephone 00351 91 490 3384.