Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Day 21 03/04/05 48 miles

I left Williston a little before 9am. As in Heaven, I got to see a portion of MacGyver before my last ride. I was not in a rush to pedal the miles away to get some where today. My parents were coming from Atlanta and I expected them to arrive in Lake City, FL around 1pm. I expected Alt 27 (runs East & West) to have tons of traffic. Alt 27 is the only road that heads west. The portion of Alt 27 in front of the Williston motel had no shoulder; trucks ran the road all nite. However, as soon as you exit Williston there is a nice size shoulder. The traffic this morning was fairly lite and the weather, although brisk, had that picture perfect sky and visibility. I thought I could ride this all the way to the coast. I turned north on 339 after riding close to 20 miles on Alt 27. Country road 339 was the only road to not have shoulders today. However, I only rode on three roads. 339 reminded me of Georgia roads, I maybe saw a car every 5 or 10 minutes. About the only thing on 339 besides myself- Trees and farms...that's it. Scenery and relaxation.

My parents drove down I-75 and were to exit on to 47 in Lake City. Once I got to 47 I still had 40 or so miles to Lake City. 47 was also bike friendly- newly paved, wide shoulders and doesn't have constant traffic. So I was just in bike heaven today. The weather and roads put a great ending to my journey. My parents were ahead of my planned ETA, so they began to head south on 47 to find me. We ended up meeting in Fort White, just 20 miles south of Lake City.

I must thank my parents for taking the time to come and get me. I wish this journey could have continued for months on end.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Day 20 03/03/05 0 miles

Once again I took the day off and stayed in Williston. The motel still has no vacancy and I had to switch rooms in order to stay. The rain should be gone by early Friday morning.

Much has changed in a day. My trip will end tomorrow. My plans are no longer to go to Panama or Destin, but to meet my parents around lunch time in Lake City, FL. I'm not sure if this is the ending I want to my journey.

Day 19 03/02/05 94 miles

I left Bobby's at 10.15am. I was planning on riding 80 miles or so to Williston, FL. I guess Bobby and I don't plan bike trips very well. The ride to Williston ended up being 94 miles. After my stop at Rainbow Springs(natural spring), I thought I would only have to ride 10 miles to the Williston Motor Inn. Shortly after leaving the park, less than a mile north of the park on US 41, there was a sign stating Williston was 20 miles away. I had to quickly come up with a plan. Bobby had called the motel last nite, and they told him there was only one vacancy for tomorrow. That got us excited. But we thought we would wait until this morning to see the status of the rooms. The motel said they would hold me a room until 5pm. It was 4.30pm now, and I was 20 miles from the motel. I called my mother because I couldn't get the motel to answer the phone. My mother of course came thru again. In order to contact the motel staff, she ended up calling room 101 and asking them to have the motel call her. The motel claimed the phone had just been ringing off the hook all day. So thanks to the occupants of room 101 (update: the occupants of room 101 live at the motel, I think it's family).

The Williston Motor Inn($38) is the only motel in town. So I was worried...it worked out. The motel tonite has the "No Vacancy" sign on. Oh Boy.

Today's ride had the most fluctuating road conditions. The ride was similar to an all day roller coaster. On County road 469, with no shoulders, a mack truck almost took care of me. For some reason the trucker couldn't wait 10 seconds of his life- he went to pass and a tractor trailer was heading towards us. The trucker did not have time to make it past me, so he slammed his brakes and swerved into the oncoming lane. The oncoming truck swerved and put half his rig off the road and into the grass. I don't know how close the trucker came to tagging me from behind, but I'm just glad I didn't look in the mirror! I felt the heat from the truck's engine on my backside.

There were no shoulders to Floral City. The ride calmed down when I got to Floral City- there was a bike path, Withlacoochee State Trail, a 46 mile trail starting in Trilby and running north to Dunnellon. I probably got to ride 20+ miles on it. The trail is a paved railroad bed. It was such a relief to get away from impatient people. What's so important in life anyway?

The final turn of the roller coaster ride was the 20 miles on US 41 to Williston. US 41 is a 2-lane highway that doesn't have a shoulder and the speed is 60 mph. Riding was just horrible, but I made it to the motel around 5.40pm.

There's an 80% chance of rain tomorrow, the temp is dropping in the 30s, and I'm planning on riding to Perry, FL. Perry is approx. 95 miles from here, but who knows the actual distance. Tomorrow could be super fun! I'm not being negative, the cars just have such a large influence on me. The trip would be so much more enjoyable if I could separate myself from them. I spend more time thinking, "how can I survive this particular situation?", instead of acknowledging my accomplishments and the beauty around me.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Day 18 3/1/05 0 miles

I woke up this morning and was able to capture the second half of the 8 o'clock MacGyver. Today we leisured around; went to a mexican restaurant, a walk on a lake boardwalk, and got the bike chained cleaned($25). I really wanted the entire bike cleaned, but I guess it's best the chain at least got some attention. The chain was so oxidized, burning a dark red on my pretty porsche.

The weather for the next few days has the percent of rain possible. The wind is to remain brisk and unsteady. Sounds great for riding. We will see.

Bobby took me to an Italian restaurant tonite. He also helped me plan the rest of my trip. We logged the miles and the locations I could sleep at nite. This is the most planning I've done for the trip. I plan to be in Panama City by Sunday.

Thank you Bobby & Bowmans for allowing me to live with you. Good nite.

Day 17 2/28/05 77 miles

I didn't sleep much last nite. Sleeping Sunday kept me up. I was able to leave around 8.15am. The ride today seemed to go rather quickly. I put down 77 miles in less than 5 hrs. My speed stayed consistently around 20 - 25, sometimes higher. I felt relaxed; and the roads had wide shoulders and smoothly paved. There was only a small section without shoulders as I neared Clermont, as well as, 575 ( country road) that led me thru farm lands with no traffic.

If I worked this hard every day, I should be putting in close to 150 miles. I'm so weak.

I plan on taking my bike to the bike shop tomorrow; and Bobby gets home from school around 7.30pm. I'm sure the fun awaits. I've been here a little less than an hour and I already met one of the "golf drink girls". While driving the cart she let 30 or so styrofoam cups cover the fairway. I helped her collect them. Her name is Dusty, aka Dirty, but until I meet some more golf girls, she's the only one.

I worked on my journal until Bobby got home. It's nice to have someone to talk to about life.

Day 16 2/27/05 0 miles

The weather today calls for rain all day with 15 - 45 mph winds and tornado watches. I woke up around 6.30am to see what the weather would bring. It rained for most of the day, sometimes in sheets, but I never heard hail. I guess it's good I decided to stay at the Holiday Inn, but it puts me another day from Bobby. I guess it's kind of goals I set. I really don't look at the adventure as a whole. I instead see each day, sometimes I can't even see into the nite. But reaching Bobby's is my goal now; and I let the weather hold me back another day. If I looked at an adventure as a whole, it's too overwhelming...I really don't know, but I think it's how I see things- I doubt it.

My plans tomorrow, to leave bright and early, and attempt to reach Bobby's. The rain should let up, but a cold front is moving through. It may get into the lower 40s, upper 30s at nite.

In Key West I mailed home 4 - 5 lbs of equipment. My Frogg Togg pants, long sleeve Mountain Hardwear, T-shirt from the firehouse, along with papers and other small equipment I haven't been using.

I'm eating dinner at Sonny's, it's next door to the Holiday Inn. I also ate Sonny's in Sarasota for lunch. It's sad I'm so predictable and can't eat other options a restaurant has to offer. I mainly slept today.

Today's lesson:
You can't win all of them. But it would be nice to win just one.