to Tallahassee

By Ben |

My plan for the day was simple and elegant: I would ride north to Tallahassee and stay at a campground west of town.  Rather than follow the most direct highway route, I would go a few miles out of my way to the rail trail that connects Tallahassee to the Gulf shore town of St. Marks and enjoy the peace and quiet away from traffic.

to Ochlockonee River SP

By Ben |

I took my time leaving my comfy motel room this morning because I needed to make a tech-support call to the makers of my keyboard, which had stopped working, and they operate on Pacific time, despite being in India.  So I watched two episodes of Buffy and changed my rear tire, whose slow leak was getting on my nerves.

To Eastpoint, FL

By Ben |

Last night was one of those magical nights when everything dries... Had I known, I would have done a bunch of laundry!

I rode into Port St. Joe and did some more route research at the library, but I was surprised to see how late it was getting already.  Come to find out I had just crossed into Eastern Time!

To Mexico Beach

By Ben |

The ride into Panama City this morning was so easy I felt like I was coasting.  Fresh off the bridge, I saw I convenience store offering free coffee, so I stopped in.  As I was drinking my coffee in the parknig lot, a young man sauntered over and said he had a BikeE similar to mine and a BOB trailer, and he was thinking of doing some touring.  We talked for a while, and I mentioned that I was having trouble planning a route into Tallahassee.

Feb. 9: Panama City, Minus the Plan and Canal

By Ben |

[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on February 9, 2005]

I've had some good times so far in the Florida Panhandle! On Friday I followed the route Bruce suggested around Pensacola to the west and north, but even that far from the coast I saw lots of hurricane damage. The sides of the roads were littered with asphalt shingles and vinyl siding, even as construction workers were scrambling to put new flimsy shingles and siding in their places! Those who do not learn the lessons of the past...

to Panama City Beach

By Ben |

Another beautiful day!  I woke around dawn and took my time getting ready.   I made another trip down to the beach to look for my camera, but someone had already brought it to the park office, where I was able to reclaim it.

I guess I succeeded in getting well clear of New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras.  Although I was still seeing beads along the highway shoulders as far east as Pensacola, today came and went without a single sign that it was Fat Tuesday.

to Grayton Beach SP

By Ben |

Wow, what a beautiful day!  It couldn't have been more pleasant... clear and dry and mid 70s, and my route took me along the gulf coast -- the real gulf, with waves -- on a paved bike path most of the way.

When I passed through Destin (suggested motto: "Why Settle for Destiny When You Can Have the Real Thing?"), the bike path was crowded with snowbirds on their morning walks, many of them clutching cups of coffee.  I thought it was odd that they kept bidding me good morning when it felt like 2:00 to me, but it was still only 11... time seemed to stretch out forever.

to Niceville, FL

By Ben |

I was prepared for today's ride to take all day, so I hit the road at sunrise and rode fast and hard, at least by my standards.  The ride was uneventful.  Around 2:00 I arrived in the "Twin Cities" -- Valparaiso and Niceville, Florida.

To Blackwater River SP

By Ben |

I had a couple of options for today... I could ride long and hard and reach the coast around noon and ride along the coast to Destin, or I could make it a short day and camp at Blackwater River State Park, in the middle of nowhere, and ride to Destin tomorrow.  It was the Interstate that made up my mind for me... the sound and smell of traffic and trucks idling on the on-ramp interfered with my sleep, and I decided I was fed up with following highways.  I'm not contributing to engine exhaust, so why should I breathe it all the time?

to Milton, FL

By Ben |

Carol fixed me a nice breakfast this morning to get me on my way.  Unfortunately something, either this morning or yesterday, gave me a persistent stomachache in addition to the lower-backache I'd picked up in the strawberry field, so it was an uncomfortable ride.