Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bear Country?

My first flat. I think I fixed it. I hope.
Beginning Day 3, 185th mile, 9/27/08, Cross City Florida

I camped at the end of the Nature Coast Trail. I had several animals checking around my tent during the night. Small animals like raccoons or maybe a fox. I forgot to pee around my tent. Cati says use ammonia but I think there is ammonia in pee???

While I was packing the tent up, the forest and wildlife service came to see what I was up to. The big fella with several chins in a Ford 3500 diesel stopped and I said "good morning". He said "keep is safe" or "I'm keeping is safe", which either have very different meanings. I went to grab my camera to take his picture and he was already using that government training to make a Y turn and beat it. I still can't say if he was telling me to be safe, or if he was protecting the people of Cross City from me and my bike.

I got a later start this morning. i really didn't want to get up. It wasn't nerves or fatigue. I was just plain sticky from needing a shower and my grubby self didn't want to move. So off I ride, hoping once again to find a gym for a workout and a shower. About 15 miles into the ride I find a convenience store and an RV park. I walked into the store and asked the clerk if the RV park had shower facilities. She had thin long dark straight hair with very dark lipstick and a gloomy persona. Until she smiled real big, completely altering her Elvira image and softly said, "they sure do honey, I run the place, you just go along and take a shower if you need one." There was a brown little building behind the store with restrooms and showers. In 10 minutes I felt like a new man .

Perry, Florida was ahead about 30 miles. And it was at least near 90 degrees today. Bicycling is cooling to the feel of the body, but you can tell by exhaustion when the heat is starting to beat you. As I was nearing Perry on my last sips of water, I knew I had come close to feeling beat down by the heat.

Huddle House is kind of like a truck stop I think. Its a 24 hour diner with a convenience store and gas pumps under semi size canopies. I think that makes it a truck stop. Beginning at 6 miles to Perry the Huddle House had a bill board every 1/2 mile so that if you weren't hungry when you were arriving, you would definitely be hungry by the time you got there. Well, I was hungry anyway and stopped for another 2 hour eat, rest and recharge. I can't say much about the food here... Stick to the family mom and pop restaurants I told myself.

Perry is junction town between going north to Tallahasee or west along the coast. Its 41 miles to Newport which I thought was out of reach for the time and energy I had left for the day. NOT!!! I had planned to stop at a camp called Ecofina but swiftly passed it and pedalled on.

Problem: This part of Florida has a lot more bugs than the north and south hwy 19. Now I am travelling toward the coast and at dusk I was swimming on the bicycle through swarms of knat size flies, and diving dragonflies (I think they were dragonflies, there were huge either way). So my choices were to stop and unpack my bug spray and put on my long sleeve neon yellow jacket, which would take about 10 minutes in the dusk knowing that I would be under attack the entire time. Or I could keep moving at 18 mph, a speed at which they seem to be unable to attack me at, but I take the occasional but down the throat while breathing. I had 10 - 12 miles to go, so I picked up the speed and rushed on.

Just before Newport, I found the Newport Park Camp Ground. It was dark and I rode my blinking LED light up to the office where Ed and Vivian Brown checked me in. For $15 I get to have a second shower and one in the morning also. Sold! I stopped and clock another 85 miles for the day.

Some one told me this was bear country. There were more bears in Florida than in any other state. I haven't seen any.


Shannon said...

Hey there, I am linking all kinds of people to your blog, it will be intersting how many people end up as members of your blog. Love you, watch out for those animals :-)

Angie D. said...

Hi Travis...I heard about you from Ed and Vivian Brown. We were staying at the Newport Park campground the same night you were. I was wondering what you were doing all by yourself...Now we know! Happy trails!

Angie & Jason (from Panama City)