Tue 24 March 2015

Technology Detox in 5570 miles over 15 days

Posted by. James Jackson This article was posted in Routine and tagged with Technology Detox
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Laying down the miles to free the mind

terran chronicles universe blogTechnology Detox - What would you do to get away from your many screens and refresh your life? Well... I tried a 5570 mile road trip, and what a success it was.

Escaping our ice covered home in Mansitee with our bikes, and then riding them all over the Florida sunshine state certainly invigorated me.

I'd like to share some of our vacation's highlights with you.

Technology Detox Vacation (2015) : The Bikes

My wife, Jairis, and I have enjoyed another fantastic vacation with two of our great friends, Doug and Susie. We all live in Manistee Michigan, and drove the 1400 miles to the State Park in Sebring, Florida, in 29 hours. We took turns at driving, but still ended up stopping at a rest area for an hour and a half to catch a quick cat-nap.

Once we arrived at our destination, Doug and I unloaded the two large motor bikes via the rear ramp, while the girls set up the inside of the toy hauler. Seats, which can be laid flat to become a pair of single beds, fold down from the walls. The double bed is lowered from its travel position, above the bikes, to its sleeping position. A small ladder is still required to climb up into the bed, allowing the area beneath to be used for storage. Though the trailer’s ramp can be set up as additional living space, this year, as we were going to be away for days at a time, we did not utilize the feature. Cables hold the ramp level, while a canvas and screen enclosure is available to protect the interior from the elements. Doug and I made sure the trailer was level, plugged in the electricity and also discovered that the Wi-Fi was not working. It never did work, thus I was ‘unplugged’ for two weeks. This was a blessing in disguise, as I enjoyed a break from work, writing, and the pressure of maintain a social media presence.

Technology Detox Vacation (2015) : James Jackson on his Victory

Technology Detox Vacation (2015) : James Jackson at Venice on the Intracoastal Waterway

We had some great rides planned, and each morning we would all review the map of Florida to confirm the routes for the day’s ride. Susie loves her maps!

The very next day we rode 300 miles, and as my mate Doug promised, we rode by one of my ‘must visit’ destinations, Cape Canaveral. But, by the time we got there, it was dark! We returned to the camper via Disney, along highway four, and saw some fantastic fireworks. The following day Doug proudly commented that we had ridden by ‘The Cape’, and ‘Disney’, thus two of our must see destinations were now off the list, cheeky bugger.

During our Daytona trek, we were expecting to have an awesome day, but things did not quite work out as planned. The temperature dropped, the wind increased, and then it rained. We did our best to check out the shops, but did not get a chance to visit the pavilion. Our ride home was in the dark, at 52 degrees Fahrenheit, in the rain. A miserable ride, but thanks to the heated hand grips, heated seats, and the front louvers that I closed, we had some protection.

One of our two day jaunts was a trip to Captain Ron’s home, near Venice. While we were there Ron and his wife, Joan, took us out on their pontoon boat. We enjoyed a great trek to a memorable Tiki bar, and then during our return journey we saw a pod of dolphins. We stayed on the water for a long time, watching the dolphins swim up and down the channel. Once back on land Joan prepared an amazing meal, which we enjoyed thoroughly, and then we slept. The next day we rode back to the camper, enjoying some unseasonably hot weather.

Technology Detox Vacation (2015) : James and Jairis Jackson at Key West

The second two day trek was a long ride all the way to Key West. We took some great photos of us all standing with our bikes in front of the ‘Southernmost Point’ marker. We then rode back to Sunshine Key resort where we relaxed in an unexpected great trailer. The only hiccup was when I rolled my ankle, loudly enough for Doug to hear it ‘crack’. Thankfully the girls quickly made an icepack, because within ten minutes my whole foot had swollen up. Luckily I wear boots when I ride, and they provided a lot of support. I still favored stopping the bike on my left foot for the next few days.

During our travels, we stopped and experienced an awesome airboat ride through the Florida everglades. Before the ride, our boat operator showed off the small zoo’s alligators, and a huge snake. Jairis took one look at the snake, and bolted, fearfully saying, “Oh, hell no!”

During one of the days the girls went shopping, while Doug and I enjoyed a ride around Lake Okeechobee. We observed a couple of interesting things during the ride. Firstly, that the lake is surrounded by a massive embankment, meaning we only got a brief glimpse of the lake when we rode by a channel. The second thing we saw was extremely interesting. A pick-up truck stopped traffic just passed a rail crossing, and then the driver held his hand out of his window. A young boy ran up and tossed some ears of corn into the bed of the truck, and then collected some money. Once traffic moved again, we rode past the building where the boy was sitting with a bunch of other men, but we could not see any corn for sale…

Technology Detox Vacation (2015) : James Jackson and Robbie Cox at Archie's Seabreeze in Fort Pierce

Other places we visited included, numerous stores, a candy factory, and Florida’s Natural Orange Juice visitor’s center. We went back to the visitor’s center a few days later as I had lost my Gulf Shores ‘Orange Beach’ hat. Luckily, they still had it!

Our last riding day in Florida was a special one for me. I met up with fellow author Robbie Cox, and three of his 'girls'. The eight of us enjoyed a great lunch, well the six of them did, Robbie and I pretty much chatted non-stop. We talked about our books, marketing, editing, publishing, and more. Robbie writes an array of books, from short stories to full sized novels. His works transcend a number of genres, from his steamy romance novel, ‘Losing Faith’, to a fantasy world, ‘Reaping the Harvest’.

In all we rode our bikes 2665 miles, zig zagging our way all over southern Florida. It rained a few spots on us almost every day, but nothing like the cold, windy, downpour, at Daytona. Every time it rained, Doug and I would point at each other and claim it was the other person’s fault. Each morning I spent a long time cleaning spots and marks off my bike.

Our return drive took 30 hours, and once again we almost drove straight through. Along the way we dropped my bike off for its 10K service at a Victory dealership. It has 11.2K on it now, we never expected to do quite as much riding as we did. Arriving home feels great, and yet, at the same time is sad. It marks the end of our vacation, and a return to reality. Well, with that being said, I shall get back to writing, and revising. There are a lot of people who are anxiously awaiting the release of book four, ‘Alliance’.