We are staying at Andrew and Stephanie McNeil’s on our day off, friends who used to attend JBC. Today they took us to a Florida Park that had lots of alligators, and we saw dozens with many being very close and very big. The signs said don’t approach them but I needed to get close for good pictures😄
i have used the term “rollers” often. Here is a picture of classic rollers that we bike often.
We had another super ride today. We rode 65 miles, beautiful scenery, gentle rolling roads, clear skies, little wind, very little traffic, and lots of energy. We are staying in another Florida State campground tonight that is very, very nice. Mary Ann bought a pile of firewood for $5 and I am sitting up by the fire reading and writing this. Everyone else has gone to bed. As I sat looking into the fire thinking and reading I was oblivious to my surroundings, and then I took a break and looked around and saw all these little blinking lights around me and all through the woods, it was so cool or as my son in law Aaron says, “rad”. I have seen “fire flies”or “lightening bugs” before but it has been a lot of years ago, but I have never had the experience of sitting in a lawn chair watching them at length by the dozens perform for me, at least that is what I am pretending. It is an amazing show that they are putting on, just for me. I was reading, as I sat here by the fire an article on my IPad about recently “spotted” black holes in space that were merging into one, and how confused the scientists were because things weren’t happening like they were supposed to and I chuckled as I read this statement, “we have no idea what is happening and why”. The little video clip of the stars, space, black holes was amazing and beautiful. Watching the little blinking lights fly all around me and then looking at the pictures of the universe I thought, it would take so much desire to not have a God to think this all happened by chance. The incredible intelligence behind it all seems so obvious. The Bible says, people will deny God because if He exists He would obviously be in charge, He would decide what is right and wrong, and people don’t want that. I believe and affirm that God is alive, He is creator of heaven and earth, He is Almighty, He is Sovereign, He is my creator, my Savior, my Lord, and I will live for Him and love Him with all my heart. Thank you little fire flies for the fine show.
We are camped tonight by the famous, historical and beautiful Suwannee River at a Florida State campground. It is probably the nicest State campground I have ever been in. Everything is very beautiful, the huge trees, Spanish moss, vines, the river and the trails. Big showers with lots of hot water and our camping sight is super nice as well. Today was by far the most enjoyable and comfortable day of bicycling we have had on the trip. We didn’t bicycle through any big cities, the roads were smooth, the shoulders were wide, the traffic was minimal, no rumble strips, few bugs, no wind, flat terrain, clear skies, absolutely gorgeous scenery, and only 55 miles. It just doesn’t get any better than that. I expect that tomorrow will be close to the same except we will go a bit further, 65 miles, and then stay at another Florida State campground that is supposed to be just as nice as this one.
After two 90 mile days on the bicycle today was soooo nice!! Slept in until 8 am, and the RV campground had a breakfast that was very, very tasty. Then we drove to a little church, in fact we just about doubled the attendance, but we had a great time with the people, and the sermon was good as well. Came back and ate and slept some more, worked on my bike, and watched some NBA play-off basketball. So far we have bicycled for 40 days, had 9 rest days, and gone 2,715 miles, for a skosh under 70 miles per day average. We have 5 more ride days left and we will be a skosh over 3,000 when we get our front tire in the Atlantic Ocean. So far I still have not had a flat tire on my bicycle, though I am expecting that one of these mornings John is going to let the air out of one of my tires while I am sleeping, he has had 10 flats. Well, I need to go, the ladies just built a fire and we are going to have s’mores.
We rode 90 miles again today though the official number from John is 89.7 for today and yesterday was 89.9, but I think I will officially declare both days to be 90 miles. I was very tired after yesterday’s ride, but today I was near death when we rolled into camp. There was a very strong head wind all day, we had lots of rollers so we were going up and down and the “ups” were particularly tiring, and we rode all the way through Tallahassee on our bicycles in crazy traffic. Part of what an adventure is for me is pushing the limits physically and the last two days certainly did that for me. It feels good now after a great dinner and a hot shower. Tomorrow we are going to sleep in, have a nice breakfast, and go to a little Baptist church, and then sleep the rest of the day. Five more ride days left and we will be a bit over 3,000 miles and ready to head home. So far no flat tires for me.
Today we rode right at 90 miles which is the most miles I have ridden in a day on the trip, but tomorrow we are going to be riding 91 miles to Tallahassee, so I will have a new longest. We are going across the top of Florida which is the wide part of the state. It was cloudy and cool all day but no rain and tomorrow it is supposed to be clearing with some sun, super. We are in a camp ground tonight and I am sitting in the laundry room where it is warm reading my IPad and writing this blog. Lots of head wind today, 10 mph with gusts to 24 mph, and tomorrow is supposed to be a bit worse. Florida has been great in that almost every mile we have been riding in a designated bicycle lane. I love designated bicycle lanes. Also, so far there have been no rumble strips in Florida, and no “chip seal”, the roads have been as smooth as my clean shaven cheeks. Also, of the States we have driven through Florida drivers have been by far the best and most gracious and careful around us as we ride. In the cafe’s, campgrounds, and motels people have been very interested in our trip and have asked questions and talked and talked until I was looking for the door. Yikes, it is now 9 pm and it is POURING rain!! Whooooeeeeee I hope our tent doesn’t leak tonight. I think I might just sleep in this laundry room😀
I recently wrote about the things that I hate most riding my bicycle across the USA . The top five are “chip seal” using 1 inch gravel which makes the road terribly rough to ride on. Speaking of rough, “rumble strips” can shake a bike apart and its rider in a matter of seconds, I hate rumble strips. A head wind is absolutely relentless in draining a rider of all energy quicker than climbing a 6 % hill. It seems that God has given us supernatural power in that which ever direction we ride the wind is coming from that direction at 10 mph. Also things that cause me to break my vow of not grumbling are bugs, especially when they get in my hair underneath my helmet, and rain that lasts all day long. On the other hand there are some things that happen on this trip that are better than a huge bowl of ice cream. I think number one is designated bike lanes. They are usually about three feet wide, clearly marked with nice white lines and a picture of a bicycle and rider periodically painted in the lane, and a sign that says, “bicycles only”. The sight of a bicycle only lane makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. They give me a great sense of security. Riding along in a bike lane allows my mind to be freed up to think about the future, sermons I am going to write, and fish I am going to catch. I love designated bicycle lanes. Today, almost all day long we were riding in a bike lane, and even though it was pouring rain all day it was a good day. I love designated bicycle only lanes.
Crossed into Florida today. We only have 8 ride days left. Today we rode all day in a torrential downpour. When I woke up this morning I looked at the weather report and I knew we were going to have an adventure when a big red explanation point popped up with a warning of flash floods today. I have never seen it rain so hard in my life, and we were riding in it. We rode 72 miles today and it was mostly flat with only a little bit of head wind but this is the most tired I have been at the end of any day on the trip. I think it is just the pressure all day long of trying to see and navigate in around the standing water and traffic. The challenge of it and the adventure of doing something like today that I had never done before was fun but it certainly wore me out. We are in Pensecola, Florida and because of the weather we opted to stay in a Motel again tonight, which is super because now I can watch the Golden State Warriors set the all time NBA record for most wins in a season as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies!