So much time to think, too tired to remember. The dilemma I am in. While on the road, ideas tend to flow easy. Maybe it is the repetitive motion the body is programmed to do for countless hours that frees the clutter from the head. This is the only explanation I can come up with. Either too much thinking leads me to daydream, thus putting the bike into the ditch or the lack of, leads to an eternity in between stops.
Day 15 Marianna FL. | End: Ponce De Leon FL. | Milage 748.2
Another one of those days where you would rather flip the pillow over, letting the cool refreshing side takes you back to that dream that was not quite finished. I woke up on that red couch. Ryan was sleeping and the dog was in my face. As Dirk ran to the restroom first I teased myself with 10 more minutes of sleep. I don’t even think I regained my spot in that incomplete dream.
We departed, setting off for new sights. The taste for the road was back, but again the scene was lost of dialog. I guess spending 24/7 with someone really tests the conversation. Everything that has been said was repeated once last week and again yesterday. The road is quiet except for the sounds of cars approaching from behind and blowing past into the distance. An occasional honk or hand out a window waving back at us kept the spirits high.
As the sun grew higher in the sky and the mercury felt the need to follow. The common gas station has become our haven. Stopping to fill our water and to enjoy another Arizona tea, drink of choice for a hot day…. and a coke…
Not such a hard day of cycling… maybe just the few intense hills that kicked our ass, but nothing out of the ordinary. As we approached Marianna, we stopped for some groceries and to get our bearings for our last few miles to camp. Doing so we made the call to the state park to only find out there is only one campsite open. First come first serve they stated. Dirk and I jumped back on the bikes and made a dash for the finish. The hills gave Dirk problems and I tend to lead them out… with this time constraint, I just nailed it and left him to catch up. I rounded the corner scared that all this energy was to be wasted on someone that rolls up in a car 15 seconds before me. Smiling with the most disgusting grin as they pass, the nightmare playing in my head as I sprinted up and down the hills to get to the ranger station. As I arrived, I was relieved to grab the last camp in the whole park.
We found our spot in the back of the park about 2.5 miles down a dirt road. Not the best news I wanted to hear after hauling ass there, but we can’t be too picky. Upon entering the campsite, the world’s population of mosquitoes was there to greet us. The night ended with the annoying horse flies and insects following my every step. A few phone calls and my eyes had called it a day.
A new twist. Instead of waking up and setting off, we hung around for a tour of the caves. We stayed at Florida Caverns State Park for the night and why not see these wonders. While waiting on a bench waiting for the tour to begin, we ended up talking to everyone, taking questions like it was breaking news. A couple of guys with their lives packed on their bicycles and looking pretty grungy tends to raise some interest. It was fun, I love meeting new people and having conversation.
When we departed down the road, many of our cave touring friends waved from their vehicles as they passed. As the excitement passes, the road again took my mind and we made it to every checkpoint without a problem.
Out of nowhere a storm crept in from behind and this was just about the biggest storm we have encountered. The lighting was intense and thunder was loud. The cars passing were yelling and pointing backwards, all playing out like a movie scene in real life. As we pass a random house along the highway, a man just laughs and yells out…” Yall better hurry.” I couldn’t help but laugh and look behind to see Dirk on my tail, rain and lighting falling from above.
We turned off to a warehouse that was down highway 90. Asking the owner if we can seek shelter under his garage, he laughs and points toward a spot, we made it with minutes to spare as the wind whipped in and around the yard. Spreading out the tarp and a couple shirts for a pillow, we slept through the storm.
Waking up to the chatter of birds and the intensity of the sun peeking through the clouds, we picked up and continued our journey.
The more north we go, the more south it becomes. We make our last rest stop outside of town and grab a drink. Only 30 minutes prior we saw two cyclists heading east, the first sign that we are not the only insane people around. We come to learn that they are from San Diego. Their driver was filling up his gas tank as he spotted us and walked over to start a conversation. Coming from the west, San Diego he says. As he spoke my mind just fogged as I day dreamed how easy of a ride west to east could have been, down hill and with the trade winds. Forgetting to nod my head Dirk asks me a question and my dream disappears.
We decided to end the day in this small town. Not going to be an asshole but truthfully the few people we have managed to speak with didn’t even acknowledge us. Rude as Hell, so I will leave with that note… loosen up Ponce De Leon.