I stayed up late last night talking with fellow travelers in the hostel: a young woman from Ireland headed west and a young couple from England headed east. All three have been to the US before but have never been to the midwest; they go back and forth between the coasts through the South via Greyhound because there are more interesting stops that way... I guess they don't think there's much of anything between Minneapolis and Portland.
[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group on February 23, 2005]
I slept poorly because every few minutes raccoons launched a new assault on my trailer. In the morning I found muddy footprints all over it, and a bunch of sand inside the blue bin where they had squeezed in a paw or two.
I started out the day by riding north into Palatka. I stopped for lunch at a Huddle House, which turned out to be pretty much what it looked like: an imitation of Waffle House, but with about twice as many items on the menu. Their chicken sandwich couldn't compare. If I eat there again, I'll order something I can't get at Waffle House!
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.
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!
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.
[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...
I had a nice quiet ride down US-19 today, but when I got to Cross City and stopped in at the library, the librarian told me about a rail trail that parallels the highway all the way to Chiefland, which is roughly where I was headed.
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 also warned of the si