My name is Jim Perkins. I am 65 years old and live in the mountains of northeast Georgia with my wife Sherry. I retired from teaching physical education and coaching cross-country and track and field, and since my retirement have completed two bicycle rides across the country (the “TransAm” and “NorthernTier”). Sherry, drove support on these rides accompanied by our dog Sandy. These two trips were like a dream come true. The experiences I had were amazing and life changing. The idea of riding all day across this beautiful country, meeting people and being accompanied by Sherry and Sandy was incredible.
But now it is time for a different experience. This trip I will be riding solo/self-supported. So, not only will I have to carry all of my camping gear, clothes and food, but I will not have the companionship of my best friend and our “wonder dog” (no more loving smile and wagging tail to great me at the end of the day’s ride).
However, some aspects of the trip will not change. Once again I will be riding to raise support and awareness for Asperger’s Syndrome and other forms of autism. As my friends and family know, my adult son, Steven, struggles with the daily challenges of Asperger’s. I was amazed during my ride across the “Northern Tier” the number of people I met whose lives were directly affected by Asperger’s and other forms of autism. These folks enjoyed sharing with me their experiences they had with friends and family. There were others who, after conversing, realized that maybe a friend or family member, not previously diagnosed, was struggling with Asperger’s or another form of autism.
Another aspect of the trip that will not change will be the people I meet along the way. From small towns to metropolises along the way they will be the same as those I have met on my other two trips. They will be diverse in all aspects of life, but they will be the same caring, helpful, interesting folks I have met before, just with different faces and names
I plan on starting the ride March 1st, from San Diego, CA The ride will be approximately 3,300 miles in length, ending in St Augustine, FL. I will be staying true to Adventure Cycling Association’s “Southern Tier” route with the exception of a side trip to Big Bend National Park.
The bike I will be riding is a Jamis ”Aurora Elite” touring bike with a 53/39/30 crank and a 11/32 cassette. I will be carrying my gear in a BOB trailer. I plan on camping the majority of days and cooking most of my meals.
This is my first self-supported trip of this magnitude so I am allowing fleibility in all aspects of the trip. We’ll see how it goes.