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I was looking around the house for waterproof socks and padded underwear. And just for the record, I don’t mean padded socks and waterproof underwear.

Anyway, it seems, I wasn’t the only one getting prepared for my upcoming trip. In my search for these essentials, I came across a box of party supplies under a blanket in a back closet. 

I didn’t even have time to scratch my head before the doorbell rang. There was a beer and liquor delivery man at the door. He gave me a big smile and a hey buddy hello. Ok, if I drop this stuff off a couple days early?

I thought there might be a mistake but he said, nope, says right here, deliver to the wife who will remain nameless. And, he says with a shrug, somebody wrote “woo-hoo!” on the order.

Can’t blame her. I’m not exactly a human disco ball in January. So, rather than subject her to my seasonal funk and funless face, I’m hitting the road. I’m getting on my bike with the plan to ride from Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to Tampa, Florida.

It’s a 500-mile test run. I’ve got a cross-country trip on the bucket list.

But first things first.

Now, I’m seasonally boring, but not completely stupid. I’m not doing this 500-mile trek alone. I’ll be riding with Rick Horan who rides one of those recumbent bikes. He looks like he’s in a chaise lounge, going 15 miles an hour. And, yea, I know. There’s something weird about guys who ride those things. I mean, I’ve known Rick for years but not well enough to state unequivocally if he’s a serial killer or not, so we’re getting separate tents. And separate fleabag motel rooms, the whole way.

If we can stand each other on this ride, we’ll map out the cross-country journey in early spring. I’ll do anything to avoid March in Rockaway.

Anyway, I’m bringing a basketball with me, hoping to make friends. But it’ll be like looking for Dr. Livingston, I presume, because my new friends have to be over sixty. Golden age guys still playing hoops are hard to find though you can usually smell them before seeing them. Bengay and Atomic Balm are not only introductory signs but gateway anesthetics for the guys still lacing them up.

The potbelly at the end of this 500-mile rainbow is an event called The Tampa Bay Masters. It’s a tournament with age brackets beginning at 40+. Organizers tell me they’ve got guys in their 80s still playing! Wow. Though that reminds me, it’s Florida. I’d rather see them driving to the basket than driving on the sidewalk. Maybe I’ll be a ringer and try to pass as an 80-year old so I can dominate.

My sidekick Rick, who can’t play basketball for shinola, is always on the lookout for the next big idea. He’ll be talking to strangers asking them if they have thousand-dollar ideas—he knows they’re not giving him their million-dollar ones.

My idea is AARP, Advil, Ace Bandage, and Airbnb should sponsor us. But forget my ideas, my hope is O’Connor’s Funeral Home isn’t our last resting spot. (If it is, you get to say, how ironic!)

Anyway, it should be a hoot. And we’re gonna film it and I’m gonna write about it—God knows, I need the material. If you want to see how this test run goes, you might as well have a look at the starter videos we’ve done. Go to Youtube and check them out.

And, hide the kids, there’s even one featuring me in padded underwear. 

(Google “Rockaway Times Youtube” – use the quotes or go to https://bit.ly/2QxfxZA). Watch Two Bikes and A Ball first. And hit the subscribe button).

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