Today everything felt damp inside the truck. So our campsite goal was the KOA east of Tallahassee for laundry day. I’m blogging while 2 loads of wash get done. The country roads the route followed were mostly flat except for the 12 miles I chose to ride. Very pastoral.
I found a good car wash and washed the truck. CLEAN makes a big difference to me since I spend so much time in it. It also struck me that we have a color theme – blue with red accents. It was a good day for The Rider and The Crew.
Yesterday we cooked dinner at an I-10 rest area west of Tallahassee. It might have made a good campsite except for two reasons. The first is in Florida vehicles cannot stay more than 8 hours. The second is that we have read it is less safe to overnight in rest areas close to cities. So we moved to the Flying J down the interstate.
This morning was foggy and rainy, so we moved slowly, hoping for the fog to burn off. After dropping off The Rider, The Crew went to check out Goodwood museum and gardens.The home was built in the 1840’s with the grounds filled with heirloom plants.
The neat thing about the house is that it feels like the owner just left. All the furnishings and personal items, art and family photos belonged to people who lived there. A wealthy woman purchased it in 1912 to use it as a hunting lodge to entertain guests. People like Tolstoy and Helen Keller. She added cottages, a pool, and a roller rink. The grounds are kept as they would have been in the 1800’s, slightly overgrown and are not overly manicured.
The Rider missed a turn and lengthened his route. The positive part of this is that we were able to return to Shell Island Fish Camp to overnight. It is in St. Marks on the river. We discovered this in 2012 and enjoyed the spot. They only charged us $10 to camp overnight. Another place where the people make the difference.
Nothing much happening on the road to Tallahassee. Except hills.
We are about 89% done with the Southern Tier route. We are now in McDonalds in Tallahassee because it’s pouring & they have Wifi. The newer ones like this even have plugs. Here is the view from the window. I think he wanted in out of the rain.
On days like this, there is not much for me to do. So I started collecting travel quotes that I will share with the reader. Good food for thought and inspiration.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
“Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.”
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”
“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
October 16 – The day was uneventful until The Crew could not locate The Rider. It felt like I kept driving and driving, even after I left a phone message at 1pm, our usual meeting time at the end of a day’s ride. The mileage seemed like more than was realistic and still no return call. When Dave called, it turned out that he unconsciously road off-route. It turned out to be a short cut, but I was still ahead of him. So I turned around & drove back to pick him up. When I got there, he was having a lengthy conversation on the phone. It became apparent that he was doing a phone interview! You can read the story below.
Florida Caverns State Park is right outside Marianna, FL and we are staying 2 nights for a layover day. Nice campsites and a Blue Hole swimming area in Chipola Creek that I plan to check out. Park structures were built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in 1932.
October 17 – We were at the Visitors Center by 8:45am as directed, to get in on a cave tour. The park has limestone caverns that the CCC opened in 1932. The tour was about an hour, a 3/4 mile hike, the deepest part 65 feet. Our guide was very informative, probably a geology major j- he was really into it. The cave was much more interesting than I expected. It;s a limestone karst area and the formations in the cave were pretty awesome. I felt like a little kid.
The significance of today’s ride is Map 7. This means 6 out of the 7 maps of the Southern Tier Route across the USA are complete. The Rider rode 38 miles, the longest distance of Stage 2, for a grand total of 2566 miles.
I checked out De Funiak Springs, FL. A nice surprise along US 90.
Located between Pensacola and Tallahassee, DeFuniak Springs emerged in the 1880s as a railroad final destination resort. The founders engaged the Chautauqua Brotherhood association to help them design another Chautauqua-type institute in north Florida. It has a wonderful library (the oldest in Florida still serving the public), and a unique collection of Victorian homes that encircle the nearly symmetrical spring-fed Lake De Funiak. It is one of only two naturally circular bodies of water in the world. (Switzerland has the other one.) I’d love to be around for the Christmas lights on the circle or the home tours.
There are not many camping choices in this area, so I decided to return to Sunset Lake RV Park. It was a 26 mile drive, but I lured The Rider with their scheduled ice cream social at 5:30 pm. And their cyclist rate is only $12, so it all evened out. After a bike ride I hung out in the jacuzzi again. Everyone was so friendly there, that we spent the evening in the clubhouse and met some folks. People are usually curious & amazed by our story.
RV Park vehicles
Today’s ride was a shorter, more hilly one for The Rider. I spent most of my morning updating personal finance information on my laptop in McDonalds.
We arrived at the Sunset RV Park on King Lake near DeFuniak Springs, FL in early afternoon. Really nice place on a lake. Good facilities, including a clubhouse and a pool, and welcoming to cyclists. It has a real community feel to it. Plenty of time for a decadent afternoon at the pool. And the first jacuzzi for Stage 2 of the trip. Mid-October and The Crew is swimming outdoors!
Today’s route took us around Pensacola bay inland. The weather was hot, humid and sunny. This was true already at 9 am, when I enjoyed a cup of coffee at Bagelheads overlooking the bay after dropping off the rider. You put money in their honor jar to pay for your cup. The roads became less traveled as we left the beaches behind.
Eventually they became back, back roads in the pine forests. The Long Leaf Pines are tall skinny things with 8 inch long needles. Ship masts were made from them at one time.
I noticed wild bushes with dramatic purple berries. It’s name is Beauty Bush and it has mosquito repelling properties.
The Rider got more miles in than he wanted because when I called to check in with him, the call dropped after I learned that I was ahead of him on the route. I didn’t realize he was ready to be done, so I just waited where I was. It was a long, tiring ride that effectively wiped him out. Fortunately, we didn’t have to drive far to camp. Our campground for the night was just off-route, Blackwater River State Park, a popular canoeing fishing area. These two alligator signs discouraged me from swimming in the river.
The variety of poisonous snakes that lived there didn’t make the thought of hiking too desirable either.