Some people celebrate their birthdays with cake and presents.
Des Moines, Iowa resident Jack Day celebrated his 70th birthday by setting out on a 7,000 mile bicycle tour.
Day began the two-wheeled solo journey from his doorstep on March 15. Over the next six months his plan was to venture south to Key West, north to the tip of Maine and loop back to his original starting point.
He utilized biking and travel websites to create an itinerary for himself, locating couches to sleep on or safe patches of grass on which to pitch his tent at each stop.
After two months of pedaling, Jack hit a major milestone in his journey: on May 13, he reached Port St. Joe.
“He’s a real people person,” said Debbie Van Vleet, owner of Happy Ours Kayak and Bike Outpost on Cape San Blas.
Van Vleet played last-minute host to Day during his visit to Gulf County. En route from Panama City, Day was unable to find a couch in town utilizing his normal network. He sent an email to Van Vleet and she was able to save the day, offering a patch of grass for his tent.
The next morning Van Vleet had breakfast with Day and he entertained with stories of his trip so far as well as his future plans for the journey.
Day likes to make new friends and often highlights his hosts on his website as a way of thanking them for their hospitality and spreading good will.
“I really wanted to support his efforts,” said Van Vleet. “I hope I can do that at 70.”
Her father is 91-years-old and rides his bike 10 miles a day. She shared the story with Day who promised to take a bike ride alongside her father once he reached the town of Jupiter.
After the coffee was gone and the conversation had ended, Day loaded up his bike and hit the road.
His next stop was Fort Myers and then he’d be headed for Key West would mark the halfway point of his journey he’d then turn around and work his way up the east coast as he headed for Maine.
At his age, Day is regularly reminded that people have low expectations for him but he’s always happy to share his story as an inspiration to others.
“I'd rather keel over having fun, as opposed to slowly disintegrating in a rocker on the porch,” said Day.