Day 10 Griffin State Park, FL | End: Gainesville, FL | Milage 488
Hills. We find our selves in some strange and unfamiliar land. A place where the eyes can’t rest on the horizon as the road seems to disappear into the sky. As we round the lake and continue down highway 441, Dirk and I got our first taste of some elevation change with our sea-level legs. The small hills of Ocala remind me of my prior trip to Georgia where both Colin and Alex introduce me to the art of climbing and pacing my ride. Remembering the right and wrong way to approach a foothill was the key to preserving energy. Climbing north, I couldn’t focus on anything but leaving Florida behind and seeing some new terrain, new adventures, and new stories.
Things seemed to take a turn when I received a reply from an old classmate; we lost our bed for the night. Searching our brains for contacts in Gainesville, we pursued help, a place to crash, a home for the night. Facebook, family and friends all became vital lifelines as we continued our search, swatting horseflies while dancing on the side of the road as to not get bit. We hit the road once more, driven by the promise of a good night and some much needed company. Following the map on my phone, we navigated the now urban terrain with Subway in sight. With the sun now at our backs, the heat began to cook a killer tan, fading our somewhat new shirts. I’m not talking about a farmer’s tan; I am talking about an intense short-shorts tan that glows with the intensity of the moon.
Kimber, an older friend from grade school, not only gave us a place to crash but also showed us a little of what Gainesville is known for. You put a huge college in an isolated town… you get a party driven community that loves their football, well it’s party time! Wandering the backstreets of the neighborhood, we stumbled in a restaurant to gorge. Unloading the ponies of the bags and weight, the bike felt like a flimsy leaf. The bikes were now light as hell but extremely unstable as we tried to regain our balance on the naked bike. The three of us just cruised the streets, blinking with lights in the dark of night. Meeting countless people as we hoped gatherings and parties, we finally stumbled back home. The thought of sleeping early turned into a concern for hitting our mark for tomorrow as I lay on the floor. With a pillow and blanket… rest for tomorrow, making the run for Tali.