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 Pilgrimage Stats
Consecutive Days Riding: 2                      Consecutive Days Blogging: 3            Recent Days Mileage: 7                              Total Miles Covered: 12  


 It feels good to be climbing back on the stationary bike, while my legs were stiff and a little achy this morning it was not as bad as I imagined it might have been.  I hope to push a few miles past yesterday’s total.  I’m sure that with time I will find a level of mileage/exercise that is ideal, a balance between time, my body’s protests, and the needs to keep the pilgrimage moving ahead. 

boca chica by owen smith   

  As you have already noticed I finally got the map up and running, with a bright red trail to highlight my progress.  I have come to realize that the act of Blogging does not come with as much of a “how to” manual as I would like, so I must resort to a great deal of trial-and-error… heavy on the error I’m afraid!

     Early this morning I came across some Journaling I did a year ago include several poems I wrote as I hiked in the mountains of North Carolina.  I was preparing for what promised to be a grueling year at work and struggling with the decisions of my eldest son.  I fell in love with him before he drew his first breath some 18 years ago and I watch with sadness as he took his life in a direction no loving parent could endorse.  However, I also walked the mountains with a sense of hope.  There is always hope that someone might change their mind and return to a less perilous life.  But in the end it is his lesson to learn and not my choice! 

     One of the poems will close out today’s Blog.  I hope you enjoy it as they (more will come) will act as vehicles to convey both my sense of awe and wonder at the beauty and mystery of life as well as the struggles, dangers and sadness I encounter on my life’s path. Always remember you are not alone, there are other pilgrims, just over the horizon, around the bend, in the dwellings you past, in the smiles and glances you meet.

big copper by mathieu longpre

     This morning I tried to identify some of the treads in the blogosphere that this Blog meets.  In general it is meant to be an inspiration, to speak of connectedness with others (what I call the process of Spirituality).  I will talk about God and Religion sometimes, about “believers” who subscribe to various faith and sacred sites (some of which we will visit).  This Blog is intended to touch on both Philosophy and Psychology, about finding meaning in life, and experiencing life, about health and happiness, about struggles and pain.  Rather then tell you I hope you will visit enough to find your own meaning in my words and travels.

     As I start today’s virtual ride (day 2) I smile at the beaconing sand and beach shelters (See photo #1) along the road.  Not today!  I push forward past tranquil Gulf scenes (see photo #2) and cross over virtual ribbons of concrete and steel, connecting palm dotted islands (see photo #3). 

sugarloaf key by mvpsola   

  On this long stretch I am reminded of the special relationship I have always had with clouds.  Not just any cloud, with the large “thunderheads” of the plains.  As a youth they would sometimes grow into furious monsters, with green rippled underbellies, warning of tornados and hail.  They sent cold blasts of air over the prairie and waves of rain. My mother and siblings would retreat to the storm cellar or basement.  But I stood in the yard facing down the storm, filled with a magnificent sense of awe, never having felt so alive, as if the storm was passing through me. It was as if I was a conduit for its existence.  Many years later I would learn to label this as an experience of Nature Mysticism.  Such experiences explain why by the age of ten I felt a sense of reverence and of a greater power in nature, not in the brick and stone church with the chants of a long dead language, images of saints and a savior.

     The miles quickly slip by as my legs pound out a steady rhythm.  They feel tired and tight, but good! Seven miles covered while sitting in place moves me further up the map and deeper into my journey.  Thank you for joining me today.  I hope you enjoy the poem!

Within the Yin and Yang

 My head won’t clear

  Jumbled thoughts

    Not mindful

     But a distracting swirl

Emotional knots

  Waves of feelings

    Not pleasant

      But a tangle of fears

This is the dark side

  Of the swirl we create

    When we take the risk

      To care

 When we become a parent

  Watch with joy and amazement

    Their first steps

      React with fear

        when they fall

When we become a lover

  Feeling excitement and longing

    At their presence

      Heart wrenching pain

        when they leave

When we commit to a cause

  Become part of something

    Greater then ourselves

      A sense of hopelessness

        when the country turns away

 Within this swirling darkness

  There are points of light

Like fireflies calling for attention

   The smile of a child

   A new friend

   A rousing call to arms

   A perfect sunrise

Points of light that give

    Reasons for hope


I hope you have a wonderful day and again a special thanks to the various photographers from Panramio for the beautiful scenes.

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Pilgrimage Stats

Consecutive Days Riding: 1                    Consecutive Days Blogging: 2              Recent Days Mileage: 5                              Total Miles Covered: 5   


As I prepare to climb onto the bike for the first step (day 1) of my journey I find myself humming a tune.  Over the years my selections have ranged from: “I love you, you love me”… the Barney song (courtesy of my sons) to “If I only had a brain” from the Wiz of Oz (when struggling with work).  Today I find myself humming “On the road again!”  A good sign of excitement and hopefulness for the journey ahead!

piers in keywest by joeyz87

These feelings remind me of my youth and my family’s frequent moves.  There was a certain amount of sadness at being uprooted, but also excitement about new places and adventures.  So I approach this day with joy and excitement and a realization that there will be trials, challenges, “bad days,” aching muscles and misgivings.  But what journey in life doesn’t mix some costs with its benefits and aren’t there times when the costs in fact become the rewards.

A few quick notes, many details of this journey will be clarified for the reader in the weeks that follow, including additional sections to the Blog page. Most of the parameters of this journey are well established in my mind. However, I want it to unfold for the readers much as it has for me.

There must be a starting point to every journey mine started this afternoon when I literally put the bike together “out of the box!”   Now as I spin the stationary wheel and the mileage slips past, you have most likely gathered from the map at the top of the page that Key West Florida was our virtual jump off point.  The farthest point south and east, in North America that can be reached by road.  Many of the pilgrimage sites we will eventually visit lay up the coast and inland, miles and days away.  I have started here in order to giving my legs time to adjust to the regiment and my comfort with the mechanics of Blogging to grow.

I first headed North from the western pier (photo #1).  The nice thing about a virtual ride through city streets is that I don’t have to worry about street lights and traffic!  I traveled along the northern edge of the coastline watching sail boats move slowly about the harbor.  There are always unexpected sights when you have tourists with cameras, like the mysterious ancient stone head grinning at me from a side street (photo #2).

Olmec in keywest by eze16lg

Two miles into the ride, my legs are telling me I haven’t done this for a time, as I cross the first of many bridges to come (photo #3).  I pass through Stork Island and then face a long stretch of road with ocean lapping at both sides of the pavement .

I’m reminded of my youth and my naval travels, leap-frogging the Pacific and the Indian oceans. I had traded the wide open plains of the Dakotas for bodies of water and exotic lands. While my spiritual journey began on the wind swept plains, with the ghosts of the Indian peoples, it exploded to the surface with the sights, sounds and ideas of the orient! But more about those travels in the future.

on road out of KW by silviaemma

As I approach the next island (Boca Chica) I stop for the day having made five miles of good progress!  I have yet to choose a specific destination for this first leg of our serial pilgrimage.  This is a trip launched with a great sense of faith that the cosmos, nature, and the divine will provide me with lessons and destinations.  I have researched numerous religious sites up the coast near Miami, some eastern and some western.  Of course there is always the call of nature along the way, in the glimmering water, the majestic clouds and blazing sunsets.

sunset at keywest by Aeric

Thank you for joining me on my journey today, please feel free to click on the comments section below and leave your suggestions and/or words of encouragement.  A special thanks to Javabear for your comment on the dangers of setting one’s sight too high… I will do my best and be humble enough to accept when and if I fall short!

Thanks to Panramio and the various artist for the clip art accompaning todays Blog.

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Stationary: At a stop, motionless, still, at a standstill, inactive, fixed

Pilgrim: Somebody who makes a journey to a holy place for religious reasons; Somebody who makes a special journey

     Greetings and welcome to my daily blog.  With any undertaking there has to be a motive/ reason for starting and for the direction we take.  As often happens in a busy life, competing demands may cause us to set aside the good habits that we know should be a daily part of our lives.  Good habits can of course be replaced not just by neutral habits, but by one that are negative and work against our physical wellbeing, our spirituality and connectedness with other people.  Last summer I pondered the idea of making a pilgrimage/long walk to “spiritual sites” in the region where I live.  However, life demands (financial and family) made me realize this was not feasible. In addition, I spend hours a day sitting in my car commuting to work and my career as a college professor is not the most active.  As such, my body demands a more measured and steady effort at physical fitness.  I have in the past turned to journaling, and the introspection that accompany it, as a way of reviewing my life, its events, and the people who cross my path. I have always hoped that my creative endeavors (word, poems, stories) have touched people, and left a positive imprint on them.  After seeing the movie Julie and Julia I realized that a Blog could act as the thread with which to bring together my motivational, creative and spiritual needs.      

     I will ride my stationary bike, on a daily basis, the miles I cover will move me along (in the virtual world) the highways between “pilgrimage sites” scattered about the countryside.  Blog visitors can learn about the sites, follow my progress towards the site on maps, see what I would be seeing through the accompanying travel photos, and read my thoughts on spiritual matters of the day, personal insights and stories about my journey (past and present).  I hope that visitors will find my words and physical progress encouraging as they travel their own daily journey.  I hope that visitors will share their thoughts, questions and words of encouragement with me by leaving comments.

     While our journeys are ultimately individual and solitary, we also travel as families, communities, nations and humankind towards the future and a world we shape on a daily basis… I hope my small effort helps to shape a future of peace, joy, and coexistence with each other and with that which we call the divine.

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