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.
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.
[posted to the Wheeled Migration Yahoo Group, February 13, 2005]
I've really been enjoying the longer days lately... for the first time since October I can sleep in, take my time riding, and still get to camp well before sunset. Well, most of the time, anyway...
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.
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.
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!
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.
[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...
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.
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.