TRIP 2002

Update #13 - March 07th
Apalachicola, Florida - 2,668 miles (4269 KM)

The ride along the rest of the Gulf of Mexico between Gulfport, Mississippi to Apalachicola, Florida went okay. This was pretty well the same route that I had ridden between January 13th and January 18th of this year but in reverse. It was interesting to see the changes in the progress of various housing constructions sites that I seen earlier in the year. The areas of road construction had progressed some also.

The ride the past couple of days has been okay. Nothing major happened which is great in itself. There had been no bike problems to mention except for a flat front tire from a pinhole leak possibly from a grain of sand. There have been good shoulders to ride along. For the last couple of days, the only problem that I've had has been the cold weather. There had been some nights where the temperature was in the twenties but I had a warm place to stay in. Today was the first day that I had actually been able to get out of my rain suit and put away my hooded long-sleeve sweatshirt from Germany. Also with today's, the temperature was in the high sixties but there was a brisk headwind coming from the East at about five to ten miles per hour.

Overall, the reception that I got through the rest of Mississippi, Alabama, and the Panhandle of Florida was pretty good. For most of the nights, I was in donated motel rooms. One night was on Dauphin Island that is at the Mouth of Mobile Bay. I was pretty glad that the motel was made out of concrete blocks since the rain was really hard. I was really glad that the sky was clear in the morning so that I could catch the ferry between Dauphin Island and Ft. Morgan.

One of the neatest things to happen was meeting a guy from Great Britain about eight miles west of Pensacola, Florida. He was riding his loaded bicycle down to Belize. He had started from Atlanta, Georgia around the first of the year and had ridden down to Key West (a lot braver thing than what I would do because of all the bridges). Since he was riding along the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas, I shared with him the route that I had taken to Corpus Christi, Texas, which is about two hundred miles north of Brownsville. We talked for about twenty minutes.

I spent two nights and one full day at the Laguna Beach Christian Retreat Center in Laguna Beach, Florida, which is about eight miles west of Panama City Beach. The center was pretty good and right on the Gulf of Mexico. I was given a room that had double beds, cable tv, and a kitchenette. I needed the day off since I hadn't had a full day off the bike in 45 days. The center was big with two campuses two miles apart. At capacity, the main campus can house 1,400 people. I can highly recommend the center.

Last night was possibly the strangest for the year. There are no motels in Port St. Joe so the churches have gone together to set up sort of a shelter above the police station. There was a room that had three cots in it with an outside entrance. They provided the bedding and the room had good heat. The only problem with it was that you had to go through a police check (personal background check for felonies and a search of belongings) and there was an 8 p.m. curfew. At least, I was the only person there.

Tonite, I'm spending the night with a Methodist minister friend of mine. Tomorrow, I will be heading out to Sopchoppy so that I can stay with another Methodist minister friend of mine possibly over the weekend. Sopchoppy will be the farthest east that I will be traveling in Florida this time. From Sopchoppy, I will be traveling north through Tallahassee and then on to Georgia.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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