to Salt Springs, FL

By Ben |

I left Diane's place late in the morning and followed a route she recommended to avoid traffic returning from yesterday's Daytona 500.

Today's forecast said nothing about rain, but a light sprinkle began around noon and kept up all afternoon.  It was just heavy enough that I needed to wear my poncho; fortunately the day wasn't hot enough to make that an ordeal.

Homosassa Springs SP

By Ben |

Late this morning, Diane drove me out to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  Like a lot of Florida's state parks, it used to be a private attraction and so seems a little bit Disneyish.  We got on a boat and rode to the main part of the park, but the boat wasn't on a rail, and the wildlife along the river was all real!

to Marion Oaks, FL

By Ben |

I slept in this morning and made a hot breakfast and was able to thoroughly dry the tent before Diane arrived at the campground.  We rented a canoe and paddled up the Rainbow River to its source in the other part of the park.  Along the way Diane pointed out cormorants, egrets, and other wildlife.  The water is some of the clearest in the world, very popular with scuba divers.

Feb 18: Ocala - southmost point!

By Ben |

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on February 18, 2005]

Hi, folks! I've reached the southernmost point of my tour: the home of my friend Diane in Marion Oaks, Florida, just south of Ocala. It feels good to be here! I had some misadventures this week, but the joke's on me and I get it, so imagine me smiling as I tell you all about it...

to Rainbow Springs State Park, FL

By Ben |

On the highway this morning I saw a man walking, pulling a big duffel on a luggage cart.  I did a U-turn and stopped to talk with him.  He said that reading the Bible in Greek a year and a half ago had convinced him to get rid of all his worldly belongings (except the duffel) and live in what he called the "Celestrious Realm," which I took to mean the more or less natural world.  He told me that traveling faster than 25 mph damages the soul, and that I should camp illegally more often and "shit in the woods" whenever possible, the better to lead a celestrious life.  He a

To Steinhatchee, FL

By Ben |

Around 3:00 in the morning, the wind shifted and put Perry downwind from ... a paper mill!  It was several hours before I got used to the smell and could go back to sleep.  The day that followed was so humid that I could see my breath although temperatures were in the 60s F.  So the good news is that my laundry didn't dry smelling like paper mill!

I had a choice today between riding US-19 or a longer route nearer the coast.  I chose the highway because it had good shoulders.

To Perry, FL

By Ben |

I had two options today: I could ride east all day and reach Suwannee River State Park around sunset but have lots of camping options (close to Interstate 75) from there on south to Ocala, or I could make a shorter hop southeast to Perry and risk not getting a campsite but be farther from the big highways.

To Monticello, FL

By Ben |

I packed up in Dan's house this morning and arrived at his coffee shop just after it opened.  Dan's car was parked out front, and the barista confirmed that he was sleeping there.  I checked my e-mail over coffee and then biked to the UU church.

I went to church today looking for Alex, not for freebies, but the members insisted I share their potluck lunch.  One of them offered me a room for the night as well, but I said I was headed out of town immediately.  No one remembered having seen Alex.