An expensive day! (Day 9)

The day started great with lots of coastline to see! The beautiful houses were all around and the speed limits were just right. By the water, people had the right idea of going slow and enjoying the view! A lot of these side roads were 25 and 35 mph through the towns and I was just loving it! Here are some photos from Bethany Beach.20160914_09173520160914_09231320160914_092336.jpg20160914_092414

Next stop, Ocean City! (Unless of course something else catches my eye.) There were spots down route 1 that bumped back up to 55 mph, butttt there were really nice wide shoulders for bicyclists. It wasn’t too long before I was right in the middle of these huge massive hotels! Places to eat with advertisements for all you can eat crab and shrimp were everywhere! There were all kinds of scooter shops and very eccentric eye catching mini golfs, hotels, and restaurants. Looking back at my pictures I am disappointed in not capturing this better from downtown Ocean City. 20160914_10035820160914_10463720160914_104834

Another beautiful boardwalk of course! And so I continued, Ocean city was fascinating, but it still seemed in a bit of a lull and a light snooze from what it was designed to be. On to Berlin! (No not the one in Germany… at least not yet. ūüôā ¬†)

While merrily making my way down the shoulder of the 55mph road and almost reaching exit 113 to Berlin, I heard this terrible shredding noise on my moped. Oh boy… From my past experience and now over 10,000 miles on the bike, I knew it had to be the transmission belt. On yet again come the faithful hazard lights on good ole bintelli and the pushing begins! And let me tell you that it is hot when you are not zipping along at a brisk 37 miles per hour.

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Stopping at the closest gas station I grab my phone to see if there are any scooter shops in Berlin. Nope. The closest ones my phone and some people tell me are in Ocean city. It’s looking like I might get in around a 2 1/2 hour walk pushing Bintelli back. Well, it will be good exercise! One gentleman said that if anyone could help in all Berlin it would be Cropper just down the street. “Worth a shot at least,” I thought. Getting to Cropper, the lady said they can’t help but that she didn’t mind me sitting there and calling around about a possible ride. ¬†As one shop in Ocean city said they couldn’t schedule in pickups today, another said they could be out and pick me up in a half hour! Perfect. I was never worried at all, and what would it have helped. I honestly was excited to see what other people I met as I get a closer look than I ever would have at a small town called Berlin.

The guys at this mechanic shop were incredible too. As I waited around they asked what I was doing and couldn’t believe I came all this way on that tiny thing! They offered me some water as I waited, some doughnuts, and even some lunch. 20160914_123644

We joked around and they said that if I had the belt they could do it for me no problem. Christian said he was tempted to even take some time off and continue south with me. It was around 40 minutes after my ride was supposed to arrive when Christian was ready to take me and the scooter himself into ocean city. The other gentleman said to give him just one second because he knows a guy that owns a scooter shop and would get a huge kick out of the fact I am going all the way to Florida and came from Michigan. He gave his friend a call who gave me another phone number to try, and assured me that he will take good care of me!

Not wanting to have one guy show up however late with me being gone, I gave it a few more minutes. The boss of the shop, after hearing my plans, said he knows one of the higher ups that works at the Chesapeake bay Bridge Tunnel and he will call him real quick to see if I can go through on a scooter.

This was too much fun.

One of the guys said he would just go for it while the other said I might have to rent a Uhaul to drive through, but we all decided that getting the moped into the back of someones truck and paying their cost across would be a good bet.

After a few minutes we heard back and a 50cc is NOT allowed through the tunnel. It has to be able to maintain the speed limit of 45 mph.

My scooter ride showed up and he was the good connection with the friend I almost called! He gave the guys at the shop a really hard time in jest asking what they were doing and why they didn’t just swing me over themselves. With the gentleman at Cropper saying to make sure to hook me up so I can be going 55 through the tunnel, the Cycle City shop owner said he would have me doing a wheelie through it!

Shout out to Cycle City for all the help and really getting everything fixed! When everything was torn down, not only was the belt absolutely shredded but the whole front with the rollers, roller case, and front slide were really worn and needed to be replaced. The Appalachians were rough on my poor little bike.

The shop gave me a great price on getting my bike back to the best shape its been, including replacing the transmission fluid. I asked Jack how far on average mopeds go and he said around 11,000. : / I am sitting at close to that now. (I may be giving you a call yet Mr. Stoltzfus!) But until the engine blows or a more serious problem develops I must continue!

It was purring again and I set off to Assateague island; a beautiful spot with wild horses, incredible hiking, and more. There were nice signs saying to be careful for the wild animals and how wild horses will bite and kick and how you will be fined if you try and touch them!

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After driving around the Island, I looked for a good place to camp. From the extra time in Ocean City getting my moped fixed, there were a lot of bikes starting to appear. Exciting! The city was awakening! Turns out it is bike time this weekend! The campground I stayed out last night had a TON of bikers come in and kept telling me how much fun the weekend is going to be. With more and more bikes arriving the campground around 10 miles from Ocean city I was tempted to stay. I do enjoy motorcycles, but my trip south won’t be postponed! It will be getting cold anyway.

Until next time.

 

The Coast! (Day 8)

Waking up at Seashore campsites, my neighboring camper asked if I wanted some coffee. “Sure!” I said, and walked over with my thermos. After talking for a bit I found out that Jerry lives in Lancaster and works for Sight and Sound Theaters! They put on incredible live action performances of Bible stories. (Noah, Samson, Moses, and more.)

After thanking Jerry for the coffee and finishing our talk, the coast beckoned! I had not seen it yet from arriving at night and I was excited! Hopping on my trusty moped, I set off for about 5 minutes to arrive in Wildwood NJ.20160913_082515

The boardwalk was a cool experience and I would love to see what it was like just a month before. It was blatantly obvious that its prime time of the year was past with the few people in contrast to all the shops, restaurants, and rides. This New Jersey coastline seemed all too quite.

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Going to a McDonald’s to catch up on some blogging, I listened to the neat accents of my neighbors at the tables next to me. I don’t know if it is New Jersey, the Mcdonalds clientele, or just a bad day, but both the first and second couples that came starting bickering. Each person sounded like they needed to tell the other why they were right or persuade them to see their point.

I bought some milk from Mcdonalds and had the good ole milk and granola in a bag. Delicious! 20160913_113646.jpg Who needs bowls anyway?

After cruising around more to the north on side streets and main strips, the next item on the daily agenda was to continue south!

For the first time in my trip I was going to be on the water and I was pumped! ¬†I followed the signs to the Cape May ferry and shortly pulled up the to the registration point. Thirty Four dollars later and I was first in line to board. If you look closely at the picture on the top right you’ll see Bintelli right at the front!

It was interesting and kinda sad that security had to go around and look under the vehicles with a mirror to help prevent any threat.  After this was done, I was first on the ship, and the cruise began! There were some nice food options and a bar on top. I met a lot of interesting travelers on board. One was a middle aged lady with a fairly large travel backpack. She said she has been traveling all over since May of 13, if I understood correctly. She lost her car earlier from an accident and was just traveling by foot now. When I asked what she was traveling for, she said to keep her sanity. Another gentleman with a more scraggly beard, Harley Davidson hat, and flip flops started talking with me about how he sleeps in his car a few nights, then goes to campgrounds and saves on drink money by carrying around a cooler. There was another very professional looking young couple that have lived in New Jersey for 20 years and had always explored other directions. It was the first time for them taking the ferry south.

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After arriving, I explored around Lewes Deleware which had a quaint downtown strip with good places to eat. Dinner, more exploring and a campsite later, I called it an early night with a lot to see tomorrow. My camping neighbors were from north Montreal and only one of them spoke pretty good English beside fluent French. The one lady told me a little bit about what it is like where she is from, and the conversation began when she saw me setting up my hammock for bed. A few people have been surprised by the hammock, but most always think it’s cool.

Goodnight!

P.S. Thanks for all the comments and kind words, I do read all of them, but don’t always have time to respond.

 

 

 

 

Family and Friends (Day 6-7)

Both Sunday and Monday were mostly catching up with family and friends. Going out Sunday afternoon with my sister to drive around where we used to live was strange. It is the first time I recall going back to one of our old houses. Seeing our friends from the area was really wonderful though! 20160911_182448.jpg

While traveling to our friends in the car, 55 mph felt so fast and even wrong to me. It seemed like rushing to get from place to place, and I found myself wishing that the speed limits were slower. I suppose if I were to be back in a car or faster motorcycle for a little while I would get used to the extra 15 mph and not complain, but I wish others could take a step back and enjoy the journey a bit more with me.

I can’t tell you how many times I have seen caterpillars crossing roads while on my moped, which I had never noticed before in a car.

I am grinning just thinking about the Amish buggies speed and their ability to enjoy the landscape and familiarize themselves with everything around them on a very different level than the cars zooming by. I have learned a lot by just taking time in places to sit and relax for a bit and let the world keep going.

After all that, I must say there haven’t been too many spots where the back roads connecting Cincinnati and the East Coast have been less than 50 mph. My moped has felt severely under powered when traffic comes. It would be safer to have a ride that can stay with traffic when the cities come.

Our friends in the picture above made me super jealous with a DR650 all ready for a long journey; big gas tank, windshield, road tires… fully loaded!

And let me tell you, this beast of a machine had no problem keeping up with traffic. It would purr along those side roads and leap up the hills. The owner said to give him a call if my moped breaks down and I need a bike to continue the trip. When he let me take it for a spin, I am pretty sure the people I passed could see my beaming smile through the helmet!

The only downside I can see to safely being able to keep up with traffic is losing the over 100 mpg that the moped gets. It hasn’t even been 20 dollars in gas for this trip yet. : P . At this point, the moped is still running strong though. ¬†: / Lol.

Sunday night, I stayed with some farmer friends who unknowing helped me question the hustle and bustle of life even more.

I helped feed and water the animals, and learned an absolute TON on how farming should be done. From their open and rolling hills in their backyard, the sounds of the rooster announcing the morning and zero traffic beckoned to me. 20160912_075854.jpg

It was a gorgeous day!

The eggs and meat from their animals tasted so much better than any I have ever bought from a grocery store. I wish each of you guys could try some of their happy hens eggs!

In the early afternoon, I set off for the coast! Atlantic ocean here I come! Specifically Cape May campground! For those plotting my course, I roughly took 72 South from Manheim to 222 South over to 40 East trying to get to 322 East into New Jersey.

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Susquehanna River

After getting turned around a few times in Wilmington and doing my best to avoid busy and pretty fast sections of 40 East I made it to the bridge. (322East)

I so badly wished I could have stopped or even taken a picture on this bridge, but I couldn’t. I really have some beef with people driving here too. This was the biggest bridge I have ever been on. It was super high up! I could look over to my left and see the Philadelphia skyline and to the right these other huge oil tankers far beneath the bridge. Google maps does not come close to giving justice to the experience but hopefully you can imagine the wind and how much crisper and vivid everything was on this absolutely massive bridge. (Just breathtaking, especially with the setting sun too!)

Google Maps of the bridge!    (Click here!)

My problem with the bridge was the nice signs showing 35 mph the whole way! (RADAR enforced speed limit signs to boot!) Everyone was going 45-50!!! It was infuriating, this was a good way across at a good speed, but I guess the 4 signs saying 35 meant nothing. Here we go again with the Bintelli emergency flashers. Have I said yet that while this trip can be done on a 50cc moped, don’t…Just don’t. Cause that’s my advice.

I was into NJ, and it was starting to get dark. Oh boy. AND cold! Just after getting over the bridge the Atlantic Ocean must have brought the temperature down at least 10 degrees! I was still a ways off my destination camp ground friends had recommended.  But I pushed through. The land reminded me of a flatter PA. 20160912_191222

There were some nice small towns with people out running and lots more trees appeared going SE. Finally arriving to the campground at 8:45 with about 45 min to an hour of riding in the dark, it was good to set up camp.

The guy at the small building with the electronic gate of the camp at 720 Seashore drive was incredibly kind. I let him know I am not looking for any water or other utility hookup and am just looking for a spot to throw up my hammock to sleep. He thought and thought to try and think of a good spot where it wouldn’t even cost me. Calling another co-worker to come down and to ask her opinion, we traded stories as we waited. She ended up checking with her boss and leading me to a spot I could stay fairly close to the bath house and bathroom for free! Thank you so much Seashore Campsites!

This was written from a McDonald’s within walking distance of the OCEAN! Stay tuned! A lot of exciting things have already happened today! ūüėÄ

 

 

 

11 1/2 hours of driving! (Day 5)

Waking up at the Super 8 was exciting for a few different reasons; all my electronics were charged, there was free breakfast, and I was within, what I considered, to be driving range of my sister’s place. Only a few mountain passes to cross. I got this.

After eating a very hearty breakfast, I asked the gentleman at the front desk what route he would suggest as 50 east had been the absolute worst! While I was on it, I highly questioned whether I would get pulled over if a cop were to see me while I was driving along the shoulder. The gentleman at the front was shocked hearing I had drove from Michigan and reassured me that 50 East changed to a regular back road and would be an excellent choice. He was soooo right. It was the most beautiful route yet.

Being a Saturday, there was very little traffic and I was sooo thankful for that. I didn’t have one semi pass me while going 20 mph up this very steep mountains. Here is some video.

I saw so many other bikers as I got into Pennsylvania enjoying these mountain roads and almost everyone gave me the biker wave. There were a few signs that I tried to get but didn’t quite take the picture in time showing the 9 degree grade down for miles. Other sections showed the truck speed as 20 mph going down, and other signs showing how they absolutely had to pull over if they were over a certain weight and check the brakes first. The cars were all going around 45. Going down I was able to keep up and beat most vehicles down by cruising around those hairpin turns. It was awesome!

I also learned that my moped makes a funny noise when it is getting close to 50 mph.

50 East ended up changing back to a super highway and I hopped on 220 North to 30 East. I decided I was absolutely done with this highway business. Even IF I was able to go 65 with traffic, the view and scenery was so boring compared to these other back roads.

Coming down these mountain passes, there were really neat gas station halfway down that were full service and had a restaurant in the general store/gas station/diner. It was really odd to me the different items for sale in this building that wanted to be everything.

 

The pics of the store itself are definitely worth zooming in on! And of course I bought a excellent fresh apple dumpling made from the older ladies behind the counter before I continued down the mountain.

I made it to Maryland and got some more good pics.

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After meeting up with some other bikers and having them ask if I wanted to join their ride, I politely declined as I would not be able to keep up. When I came out from my bite to eat at the Chat and Chew Restaurant it was back on the road!

 

Here are a few more pictures of the awesome climbs and descents. 20160910_12112720160910_121445

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All smiles while going down!

I would love to re-ride this road on a bike that can climb up these hills at 55 and go faster downhill. Can it be done on a moped, yes. Should it be done on a moped, no. (Going so slowly up, if there happens to be traffic, with the tiny shoulder, is not the best!)

Pushing ahead and getting closer every minute, the roads leveled out and stayed absolutely stunning. Passing the Amish in their buggies and soaking in the countryside with the mountains in the distance, the riding was still delightfully entertaining. My bottom would occasionally get sore and I have a few different riding positions I’ll have to show in a later post to help any stiffness!

Continuing through the small towns with their unique stores kept a smile on my face. It is so nice to see Starbucks, McDonald’s, and other big business not yet being able to reach their hand in and take away from the culture and diversity of the area with their branding and business plans.

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As I continued up 75 with a detour to 850 East and eventually through Harrisburg on 230 East, the darkness began to set in. Only a little bit farther! Riding at night is not good, lots of bugs and it is unsafe getting over with low visibility of debris on shoulder. But I made it! 20160910_201926

What an adventure!

 

 

 

 

 

Appalachian highway (Day 3 and 4)

I googled some welding shops around Fort Thomas and headed to the bank to get out some money. Arriving there a few minutes too early I asked another gentleman in his car if he knew any good welding shops that could fix it. Pete went to school for welding and knew a guy just down the street that was a good buddy who could do it no problem! 20160908_090208.jpg

After making it to the shop, the owner said he could, but his welding stuff was on the second floor. He recommended another shop down the road, who ended up sending me to another shop. No one wanted to fix it and I decided that I don’t care anymore and left. About 30 min down the road, the bike started making a bad noise at maximum speed coming from the muffler area. Sigh….. Oh man…. I quickly pulled into a car repair place and asked two young guys if they could do it. They were super helpful and helped me get the job done! 10 dollars later, it was fixed!

After cruising east for a good bit, I couldn’t help but wonder about my ening oil. I checked my oil and it was on the very bottom of the dipstick.. Maybe on the very bottom. It was hard to tell. Time for an oil change. Asking around there was a incredibly kind gentleman who owned a collision repair shop that said I could use his tools no problem. Grabbing the oil from a gas station, it was done a few minutes later and I continued down the road.

Now comes the boring part. The extremely boring highway of a highway section that the locals recommended.  I am just going to add these pics and leave it at that. I lived on the shoulder of the road for hours. Not fun! 20160908_14134420160908_164253

After a long time, I finally arrived in a neat college town named Athens and met some college guys celebrating a birthday party. They were cool with me hanging my hammock out back and had a lot of fun riding the moped. 20160908_200033.jpg

After waking up the next day, and cruising around a bit I headed out. Athens has some cool streets that are all brick, and other really steep ones. 20160908_182328.jpg

50 East was basically the same as the other highway pictures I showed and not a good time. After entering West Virginia, the very very steep side roads at 55 mph were more dangerous than the highway! (There are no shoulders on the side roads.) 50 East has a nice wide lane as you can see in the pictures above.

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I did not take many pictures today with the frustration of terrible moped routes here. It is much more dangerous as well with everyone flying by at 65 and focusing on the shoulder of the road and any potential debris. I took some long breaks and am going to map out a better route for tomorrow. I made it to Bridgeport West Virginia and am calling it a night in a Super 8 for internet and a place to recharge. Until next time!

Highways and byways (Day 2)

Waking up nice and early to another gorgeous day, I ate my granola bar and set off to meet my brother and sister in law near Cincinnati. Google maps said it wasn’t going to be too long and had a few different options avoiding the highway using Route 27. As I proceeded along, this route 27 changed into as much of a highway as I have ever seen. From the 55 mph side road, route 27 morphed and evolved into what I considered a super highway. The speed got bumped up to 60 mph, it became a two lane, one way with exit signs and exits every mile or so. ¬†The opposite direction was two lanes with the same conditions! Come on Google! I immediately got off and plotted a less direct side route.

The road was sweet again with the bike humming along and quickly crossing into Ohio. 20160907_084410.jpg It was very similar to Indiana with large farm silos and more time to think.

Cruising through the small towns was always a welcome change of scenery and I would keep an eye out for a coffee shop or small county store where I could get something unique or special to the area that I am not used to. There were a few times that I noticed a old coca cola sign and thought about seeing if you could walk in and be handed a glass bottle of coke. Not from a machine and not by special request. Just by going into an old-timey general store and the old glass bottle being the regular. Maybe some licorice in a glass container.

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With my brothers place waiting for me, I pushed on. Getting closer and closer to Cincinnati. I was surprised going by all the corn and soy bean fields with the different signs that were posted up showing what was treating the different crops. There were signs for “Asgrow” and a handful of others too. A quick google of “asgrow” will tell you more about it.

The scenery in the South of Ohio changed a good bit with more hills and trees. I spoke with a few people asking recommendations as to which routes to take for a slower ride into Cincinnati. The other route that I looked at was 127. It was just fine for a good stretch before booming into a fast paced double lane one way super highway! Stopping at Greenville to fill up my tank with 2 dollars, one of the cashiers recommendations was 127. (This was after I explained that my moped is what I am driving and it’s top speed.)

Out google maps came for a quick study session. While the cashier didn’t recommend any other route she did mention that 127 does go back down to a 2 way 55mph road at Eaton. I plotted my course and took a beautiful extra scenic 503 South to Eaton. A few of the hills where hard on the moped and my top speed dropped dramatically. Thankfully the fairly quiet roads didn’t cause for dangerous driving.20160907_122305

20160907_134811 The weather was warm and I was close to Cincinnati. After another stop and some serious map planning and a bonus bunch of miles around the west side of Cincinnati, I found my entrance to the city.

Good bye quaint little scenic drives, hello big city. Coming in did have some breathtaking views of the skyline and thankfully it was nowhere near rush hour.20160907_143327.jpg

20160907_185113.jpg Meeting with my brother and sister in law was a wonderful stop and I even got to cruise around the city in style in his convertible.

P.S. With the general bumps in the road along the way I noticed that my moped started to sound louder! After examining the muffler, it has cracked and will need to be welded or I’ll sound much more like a Harley. ¬†: /

Time for bed, hope you guys enjoyed!

The good and the bad (Day 1)

The day started out wonderfully with incredible weather and with very high spirits. For the first day, there was no limit to how far I could or would even want to go. The journey began at 8 a.m. Cruising down just near the coast of Michigan was everything I hoped for and more. I was moving right along. The moped was performing excellently, and with very little hills, I was constantly staying right around the maximum speed of 40 mph; perfect for soaking in all the nice houses and green landscape. 20160906_090302.jpg

After a handful of hours and a nice amount of time to just enjoy the sound of the moped pushing me on to new undiscovered areas and possibilities, I reached Indiana! Farms started popping up all over and the road traffic decreased. Time stretched itself out even more than it had through Michigan; constantly broadening my horizon to the vastness of the world. It was a good feeling, and there was little to no monotony in the long peaceful stretches. Sometimes it is nice to just be able to enjoy your surrounding and not need to be thinking about whats next or what needs to be done.20160907_080421.jpg

I would occasionally think about what a different life it would be for me to live out in the country and be so far from any hustle and bustle. Personally, seeing what there is to see and being where the action is has much more of an appeal to me, but there is a lot to be said for being content in the quiet places.

Soon enough, I came around a few bends in the road and was magically transported to Rome!! I couldn’t believe me eyes. My mind drifted to the Italian mopeds, the Colosseum and so much more!!! I was pumped!

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As I rounded the bend, I sadly discovered that I had not been transported to Rome. A small town in Indiana had decided to just take the name. Saddened, I pressed on. The small shops of the town were a nice change from the farmland and it was very exciting to see people walking down the streets.

As the road kept disappearing behind my little moped, I found myself arriving in Fort Wayne. It was around 3 o’clock and I decided it would be a good place to stay the night. There were a ton of people walking around and so many different places to eat and explore. The visitor center kindly gave me a map and some recommendations of the best places to eat.

With my trusty moped, I continued to explore and see the parks, Indiana Tech, and more! I soon felt the need to get a little exercise and walked around eventually grabbing some food and sitting outside to do some people watching. 20160906_175224.jpg

I ended up walking to the park in the north of Fort Wayne and smiling as a young boy was playing in the fountain. The parents with their dog watched the child, and another couple were having their photo’s taken. As I walked back to my moped to leave and observed some others playing and talking about Pokemon Go, I could not feel the moped key in my pocket! The quarters had fooled me and tricked me into thinking it was still in there. It had fallen out! I must have not put it fully in my jeans. Starting to sweat, I traced back the loop I had walked, thinking how horrible it would be on the first day to have screwed this trip up! It was around 7 o’clock and the sun setting weighed heavily on my mind in case I was unable to find it in time.

Completing the loop, I had not found it, and none of the others I asked had seen a key either. This was looking bad. With very few other options, I started the loop again. Walking and constantly scanning the ground I desperately searched, vowing to make sure that if I found it, it would be the last time I wasn’t sure it was securely and fully in my pocket. A little bit farther up the sidewalk a piece of black caught my eye, and a wave of relief washed over me. I had found it! Securely in my pocket it went. Whew. With a newfound sense of caution, I arrived back to my moped and searched for a good place to sleep. ¬†Finding some nice trees, I set up shop just outside of Fort Wayne and called it a night. ¬†20160907_071910.jpg

Day 1 complete.

A moped adventure! (Pre-Trip)

Ever since I first owned my moped, I always loved cruising around on it. Much to the slight concern of my parents, it is going to be the vehicle for the cruise South! Attached is a picture to help get a rough idea of my route while avoiding the highways, and my Bintelli moped with just over 9,000 miles. It is a 50cc and the maximum speed is right around 40 mph. This will be an interesting trip!

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The stops in Kentucky and Pennsylvania are for visiting family, and housing will vary from wild hammock camping to couch surfing! I plan to take LOTS of pictures and keep you up to date on all the fun times!

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Will I break down? Maybe. Will it most certainly be an exciting adventure? You better believe it.  Depending on how far I get each day and interesting sites along the way, the first part of this journey to Florida will be at least 10 days.

Upon arriving in Miami I am looking into purchasing a ticket to Costa Rica for a couple months to work on my Spanish and keep exploring! For the benefit of my fine readers and my own personal experience, the ticket will not be purchased before arriving to Florida. There may be a boat that I will try and hitchhike/work for a ride or other exciting options! Stay tuned!