June Challenge – to Jekyll Island, then and now

Alrighty, here we go with my first attempt at a challenge. After much searching, I really wasn’t able to come with then and now photographs that showed both me and a bike. So, this is going to be mostly a story, with a couple photos that hopefully capture the time vibe, and of course keep to the theme of bikes.

Back in 1988, when my kids were small (aged 3 and 5), our family started the tradition during Easter break of making the trip from our home in upstate New York down to Jekyll Island, Georgia to spend a week at the beach. This was of course an amazing experience for the kids, since NY was still cold and snowy that time of year, and the Georgia beach was warm and wonderful. More importantly, the island was full of bike paths, a great place to introduce the kids to biking. My daughter, at age 3, was just strapped into a seat on the back of course, but my son was trundling around on his little bike with training wheels on.

Go forward a couple of years to 1991, and both kids were capable of riding their own bikes. And that year, we had not only the four of us, but Grandma and Grandpa (aka Marilyn’s parents) too. And yes, there’s bikes for everybody. Here’s the picture of our poor little van after the 1100 mile journey.

The ‘Then’ photo
Yes, there are six, count ’em six, bikes on that van

Sadly, that was the last year we all went to Jekyll Island as a family. The next year, we took the kids to Norway to visit family, and the year after that we did a cross country road trip (which actually might be a story for another time). Lots of vacations after that, but never back to Jekyll.

Now, jump forward to January, 2017. Much has changed in the intervening 26 years. Both kids are in their 30’s with lives and careers of their own. Unfortunately, Marilyn’s Mom passed away just a few years after that 1991 Georgia trip. But, her Dad is still around at 89, living in an assisted living facility just a few miles up the road from us. My wife and I have both had a couple of careers, and have lived in three different places. So, here I am (or at least, here’s my bike), getting ready to make a solo trip back to Jekyll Island. I’m on a reconnaissance mission to see how the island has changed, and to see if it’s a place where Marilyn and I want to escape to when Vermont gets cold.

The ‘Now’ photo
My Vaya was brand new at this point. Note the reflectors that I hadn’t yet bothered to pull off the wheels

Since 2017, we’ve made the trip two more times, staying for a couple of months each time instead of a week. Assuming travel ever gets back to normal, we’re hoping to head back next winter. And if so, I’m sure I’ll be posting about lots of rides around the island.

Bonus picture: I think this is from 1990, on a rented tandem. I’m the goof on the back

Newly retired guy who likes to ride his bike in Vermont. Well, actually retired in 2016, so not really 'newly' at this point.

10 response to "June Challenge – to Jekyll Island, then and now"

  1. By: The Navigator Posted: June 3, 2020

    That is definitely one loaded-down mini-van. The tandem pic is great – you can certainly get up to some mischief as the stoker. It’s great that you’ve got a special place with lots of good memories to visit, too, for a change from home 🙂

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 3, 2020

      Yes it was definitely fun family times with lots of great memories. It was great to get back down there after all those years. Regarding the tandem, I remember it being lots of fun, although I’ve read accounts of couples touring on tandems. I seriously doubt our marriage would survive. We do successfully tandem kayak though, so maybe there’s hope.

  2. By: Bill Stone Posted: June 3, 2020

    Bob, that is one heck of a bike load on the mini van. I keep envisioning them flying off one-by-one as you cruise down I-95. Did you and your family by any chance star in one of those National Lampoon “Vacation” movies? 😉

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 3, 2020

      We were likely saved by the fact that with six bikes on the outside, and six people plus luggage on the inside, we couldn’t get up enough speed for anything to blow off. On our subsequent 7 week cross country trip similarly loaded, we did have a few Griswold-like events, including a ride through a sketchy part of Detroit that evoked a particular scene from that movie.

  3. By: gregblood Posted: June 3, 2020

    Congratulations on the very successful completion of your first Cycle365 Challenge. I think you’ll be just fine from this point on.

    I enjoyed reading that you and Bill connected on the National Lampoon Vacation movies. I loved those movies. And there is nothing wrong with being a goof on a tandem. I was reminded of another one of my favorite works of cinematic art, “Dumb and Dumber,” when the twosome were riding together on a mini-bike through the Rocky Mountains. Ha!

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 3, 2020

      Thank you! I only regret now not working the ‘Vacation’ theme into the post. Ah well, live and learn. Next time.

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 4, 2020

    Nice recreation!
    Im certain the bicycles were removed from the car tops before driving into the garage. 😉

    • By: BobinVT Posted: June 4, 2020

      They were! Although I still live in fear of the day that I forget.

  5. By: Suzanne Posted: June 5, 2020

    Thanks for joining the challenge!
    Love the tandem picture – then even I could ride no-hands! As for couples on tandems, my husband maintains we would need two. I wonder what he is trying to say.

  6. By: Scooter Posted: June 6, 2020

    Great story, but an especially a great tandem photo. I’m with Suzanne – Rachael and I would never make it on a tandem either. We tried it exactly once, with poor results.

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