TRIP 2018

Update #11 - April 22nd
Titusville, Florida

Year Total : 1,000.01 miles (1,600.02 km)

April 11 M : Apalachicola, Florida to Carabelle, Florida : 23.24 miles (37.18 km)
14.45 C 08.55 R
Trip Total : 634.40 miles (1,015.40 km)

Twenty-third day on tour.

I had an okay at the motel. The room was pretty good. I got the heat on so I was able to dry off the wet clothes. I took a couple of hours nap. I updated the website.

I woke up around 6:16 am. I left the motel a little before 8 am. There wasn't any breakfast provided at the motel, so I stopped at the Piggly Wiggly to get some milk and a pastry for breakfast. From the grocery store, I took local roads to the bridge across the Apalachicola River. I walked up to the high part of the bridge. There was some road construction along the barrier island. They were putting in a small paved walkway across the barrier island causeway. I had a good ride across the lower bridge across the Bay.

I stopped at a gas station in Eastpoint for a short break. The temperature was warm enough that I took off my jacket. The ride to Carrabelle went okay. Between Eastpoint and Carrsbelle, I had six cyclists go passed me on touring bikes going west bound. The first two guys just zipped past me. I was able to get two of the riders to stop to talk. I talked to a lady and then a guy from Ohio. They were part of a group of 20 who were on an assisted 200 mile ride with Adventure Cycling. They had started from Tallahassee qne were cycling to St George Island State Park south of Eastpoint and back. There is supposed to be a guy in his 80s in the group.

I got to the motel in Carabelle around 1:40 PM. I stayed here before as a guest of the local Methodist church. I did get a ministerial discount. I opted to go to the motel instead of stopping at the nearby Calvary Church on River Road. I didn't feel like I was ready to camp out on a Sunday school classroom.

I've got about a 47 mile ride to the Best Western near Medart tomorrow.

April 12 - T : Carabelle, Florida to Medart, Florida : 36.23 miles (57.97 km)
15.36 C 08.64 R
Trip Total : 670.76 miles (1,073.01 km)

Twenty-fourth day on tour.

I had an okay at the motel. The room was pretty good. I got about seven hours of sleep.

I left the motel a little after 7:40 am. In Carabelle, I stopped to take some pictures of an old railroad caboose. It was open but there were no steps to the door. Also, I stopped at a gas station to get some breakfast because there was no breakfast provided at the motel.

The nine miles between Carabelle and St Theresa (where US 98 and US 319 split off) were really hard because there was no shoulder. I took my time riding my rear view mirror. There were quite a few vehicles who didn't pass me wide. I had to pull off the road onto the grass shoulder several times. Three vehicles passed me within a foot away. I did stop at a gas station in Lanark village for a break.

I was really happy getting on US 98 beyond the split because US 98 was repaved several years ago and there was a paved shoulder. Between the split and the Ochlockonee Bay Bridge, three of the Adventure Cyclists tourists rode passed me but one of them did stop. He was from the Cleveland area. The group was going to stop for the day at the Holiday Campground on the North side of the bridge.

Because of the slow ride out of Carabelle, I only made 18.5 miles (29.6 km) before noon. Before I got to the bridge, I rode passed some forest that had been burnt by a grass fire. I was able to ride clear across the Ochlockonee Bay Bridge. The bridge was the last bridge on the Gulf Coast.

On the other side of the bridge, I stopped at a gas station for a late lunch. I got a chicken tender meal with a side of fried okra. The lady who took my order gave me a double portion. I got my last glimpse of the Florida Gulf Coast about a mile and a half out of Panacea. In Panacea, I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few supplies. In the Medart area, I rode passed the SE corner of the Apalachicola National Forest.

I got to the hotel that I was going to stop at east of Medart around 3:30 pm. Tomorrow, I have about a 54 mile ride to the motel in Perry.

I had to do some surgery on Allison. One of the bolt sections holding the seat back to the seat frame had come loose and disappeared. The seat back was quite wobbly. I had some different bolts and a plastic barrel from a small adjustable two headed screwdriver that I shaved down with a knife blade to make it fit. The barrel is a little bit too long but it should work until I can find another bolt to use. It took several hours to tighten up the bolts since I had to find a way to get an adjustable wrench to stay put on one side of the barrel while I tightened up the other bolt.

April 13 - F : Medart, Florida to Perry, Florida : 59.37 miles (94.99 km)
16.36 C 08.64 R
Trip Total : 730.00 miles (1,168.00 km)

Twenty-fifth day on tour.

I had an okay at the motel. The room was pretty good. I got about six hours of sleep. There was a good hot breakfast.

I left the motel a little after 7:50 am. Instead of getting directly on US 98, I followed a newly paved bike path. I followed it for about 1.5 miles before getting back on US 98. I stopped at a gas station to get some hot chocolate and new batteries for my radio. I learned that the bike trail is going to connect to the bike trail in St Marks that takes you to Tallahassee.

The ride East went okay. About 12 miles from Perry, I met up with another guy traveling by bike. He had started from Orlando and was cycling to Colorado Springs. This was his 4th trip to do this .

By noon, I got 23 miles (36.8 km/ in. I stopped at a wildlife center that had a picnic table.

The rest of the ride to Perry went okay. On the way to the motel that I was staying at, I was surprised at seeing two guys on loaded bents roll up behind me. They were on long-wheelbase recumbents with under seat steering. I don't know where they had started but they were on the way to Tampa. I am assuming that they had come South on US 19 From Tallahassee.

I got to my motel around 6:10 pm. I had stayed here before maybe four years ago.

April 14 - SA : Perry, Florida to Mayo, Florida : 31.38 miles (50.21 km)
17.15 C 08.85 R
Trip Total : 761.38 miles (1,218.21 km)

Twenty-sixth day on tour.

I had a somewhat okay at the motel. The room was worn down. I had stayed here before maybe five years ago and I knew that the owners from India wasn't going to put some extra money into the motel to improve it. Around 7 pm, there was some loud music. I couldn't place it. I went outside to see if I could locate where the noise was coming from. It was either coming from a room on the second floor above me or from the restaurant across the highway. I was debating whether to go to the office to try and get moved to another room but around 8 pm, the noise stopped. There was the loud noise of a diesel semi truck going out. Once the semi truck went away, the noise level lessoned a lot.

I went to sleep around 9:40 pm. I woke up a couple of times to go the restroom but I was able to fall back to sleep. I woke up around 6:16 am. Instead of going to office to see what was available to eat for breakfast, I got something to eat out of my food pannier. It would have been like going back and forth two blocks but there was also a sign that you couldn't take the food back to your room.

I left the motel around 7:50 am. From the motel, I backtracked North up US 98 to US 221, turned North towards the downtown area, and then turned east on US 27. The ride on US 27 was a little tricky for about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) because the curbing ended at the city line. I stopped at a gas station for a break. Instead of being run by Indians the owners were Koreans.

Once out in the country, there was a shoulder to ride along. The shoulder was separated by a white line that had bumps instead of rumble strips. I rode through marshes and pine forests. There were a lot of open lands because of clear cutting. There was some small fir trees but there were a lot of palmettos. About 16 miles (25.6 km) out of Perry, the land opened up from forests to farm lands. Once I was out in the open, the winds picked up from the south - southeast. The wind was about 10 mph (16 kmph) and it was blowing me across the shoulder into the line of traffic. At least, the traffic was light.

Around 11:40 am, I had ridden around 23 miles (36.8 km). I stopped at a gas station outside of Bucksville for an early lunch. I got a one piece chicken snack and ate it at an outside covered picnic table. While I was eating, I got some disturbing texts from Knox in Hattiesburg. He wrote that the area was under a tornado warning and they were cowering in a bathroom. I tried calling Knox back but his phone went straight to voice mail. I called up my friend Johnny. He told me that everything was okay. It had rained hard and they did go into their safe room for a little bit but he was upstairs watching a movie with his two girls.

After lunch, the ride to Mayo went okay. I had to stop and watch a pitbull dog playing with a water sprinkler in the front yard of the house. I took several pictures and a short video. He was having such a good time that he didn't notice me going passed the yard. The temperature was either in the upper 70s or lower 80s.

The ride into Mayo was a little tricky because of the winds. I got into Mayo around 2:30 pm. I stopped at a Dollar General to get a few things. Across from the Dollar General was Cindy's Motel and RV Park. My plan was to keep on riding to Brandford but I wasn't sure whether I was going to find a place to stop for the night. Bad storms were supposed to come through the area after dark. There was a small motel in Brandford but there was no guarantee that it would be open and if there would be any rooms available because Brandford was on the Suwannee River and fishermen and divers used the motel. I decided to stop at the office of the motel here in Mayo to see if there was anything available. There wasn't any rooms available in the motel building but there was a travel trailer. It was pretty good. I got a good rate on the trailer. There was a covered area up front and a large fence where I could lock up Allison. This is the first time that Allison was pretty well unloaded this trip.

The rains supposed to start up around 8 am. I'm going to find a church tomorrow morning and then see if I could find some place to spend tomorrow night. Monday, I'll be riding to Alahua and getting a room at one of the motels on the east side of Alachua. I could try and go on to Northern Gainesville where there are some more motels but that would make the day around 61 miles (97.6 km). With Tuesday from Alachua, I would ride on to Ocala and that would be 54 miles (86.4 km). There is a PCA minister in Ocala who might let me spend the night with him.

April 16 - M : Mayo, FL to Alachua, FL : 51.35 miles (82.16 km)
18.16 C 09.84 R
Trip Total : 813.25 miles (1,301.20 km)

Twenty-eighth day on tour.

I had an okay afternoon and night in the old parsonage of the Methodist church. I had two good meals from the food that was left for me from the bride's prep meals. The rains lasted till around 2:30 pm. I did take a 90 minute nap on the thick sofa in the front room. I spent most of the afternoon and night watching movies on my laptop. Instead of spending the night on the sofa, I slept on the bed in the master bedroom. I did wake up a couple of times during the night to go to the restroom.

I woke up around 6 am. I left the parsonage around 7:10 am. It was really cool in the 40s. I stopped at a gas station to get some hot chocolate and also to wait for the sun to go up a little higher in the sky because there was a lot hiof glare. Once I got out in the country, I had a tailwind to push me along. The ride southwest went okay. I got the first 20 miles in by around 10:10 am. I stopped in Brandford to get something hot to eat. It was good that I didn't push on to Brandford Saturday afternoon because the small motel looked like it hadn't been used in a while. One sign said open but there was a paper sign on the door that said closed.

Going out of Brandford, there was a paved bike trail but the trail was pretty rough. It was a lot smoother ride. By noon, I had ridden 29.84 miles (47.74 km).

I stopped at a gas station in Fort White for a light lunch. I was a little disturbed watching the older people with their scratch off lottery tickets. I watched this one old guy with a cane plop down $20 for this Monopoly Game scratch off and the at least $50 more for five other scratch offs.

The afternoon was a little warmer so I was able to take my jacket off. The ride to High Springs went okay. I got on the shoulder of US 441 and it was a little rough. Coming into Alachua, I had to stop at a store to watch this small robotic grass trimmer. I took several pictures and a short video.

On the east side of I-75, I stopped at a motel that I had stopped at before. The motel was a Comfort Suites but it's now a Travelodge. I got a 10% discount on the room because it is now in the Wyndham Rewards program. It turns out that I got ripped off and overcharged. When I logged into the wifi network, I found out that the base rate for a room was just $56.99. I will be reporting this to Wyndham and telling the Indian owner tomorrow morning.

April 17 - T : Alachua, Florida to Camp Roosevelt (S Ocala), Florida : 60.27 miles (96.43 km)
19.16 C 09.94 R
Trip Total : 873.52 miles (1,397.63 km)

Twenty-nineth day on tour.

Considering how old the room was I got some sleep even though there was a lot of noise coming from the interstate and highway. I did wake up a couple of times to go to the bathroom. I woke up a little before 6 am. I went to the office around 6:30 am. The Indian owner wasn't there so I couldn't tell him that I was upset at being overcharged. There was this overweight young guy who probably wouldn't know what I would be talking about.

I left the motel around 7:40 am. The temperature was in the upper 40s. The traffic was pretty heavy into Alachua. I had to ride the sidewalk through town. The ride into Gainesville was okay. I stopped at a gas station for a break. The ride into Gainesville went okay except for when I got near the University of Florida area. There wasn't any bike path so I had to ride the sidewalk.

The bike path started up beyond the university. I only got 21.96 miles (35.14 km) by noon. I stopped at a Circle K in Idywild for lunch.

I got some texts from the Presbyterian minister in Titusville. I've been invited to stay over Saturday and Sunday nights. It was a little upsetting to learn that the new laptop battery didn't arrive.

The afternoon ride took a long time because there were quite a few hills to climb over and there were a lot of miles of rough shoulders. I stopped several times along the way for breaks because the temperature was in the upper 70s. Truck traffic was pretty happy but it got heavier when US 301 joined US 441. At least the terraign leveled out and the shoulder smoothed out but it became a little narrower. Most of the truck traffic turned towards I-75 at FL 326.

Around 6 pm, I decided to stop at a BK for some dinner. I rode through downtown Ocala. I rode passed quite a few motels but they looked quite rundown and the motels looked like welfare motels. I was going to go to a motel farther south on US 301 but I decided to stop at the Shang-a-Lai Motel. The owner was out watering flowers so this convinced me to stop.

I've got about 30 miles (48 km) to ride to Leesburg tomorrow.

April 18 - W : Camp Roosevelt (S Ocala), Florida to Silver Lake (E Leesburg), Florida : 40.07 miles (64.1 km)
20.16 C 09.84 R
Trip Total : 913.59 miles (1,461.74 km)

Thirtieth day on tour.

Considering how old the room was I got some sleep. The room was a little better than what I expected. Having to pay for wifi was a little negative but the signal was strong. I went to bed around 10:30 pm. I woke up once to go to the restroom but I was able to fall back asleep again. I woke up around 6 am.

I got on the road around 7:50 am. The temperature was in the low 50s but it was supposed to get into the 80s in the afternoon. At least, there was a slight breeze from the North. There was quite a bit of truck traffic but a lot of it turned south went Us 301 split off. I had a good ride through Bellview.

By 11:40 am, I was at 20 miles. On the northern edge of Lady Lake, I stopped at a McDs for an early lunch. The ride through the Villages area was tricky. The highway was a six lane divided highway with very little shoulder. The shoulder was mostly a gutter. It was hard riding in it because the highway had been recently repaved and there was asphalt chunks in the gutter. There was a sidewalk but it was really open. The curb cuts were closed so I got off Allison and walked across the intersections. Once I got to the southern edge of The Villages, the shoulder picked up again. I had a good ride through Fruitland Park into Leesburg. In Leesburg, it was a little tricky getting passed the intersection where Us 27 split off going south. I did some sidewalk riding.

Before getting to the hotel where I had a reservation, I stopped at a grocery store to get something cool to drink. There was a temperature sign at a bank next to the gas station and the sign said 89. When I got back to the highway after the break, the sign had turned to 90.

April 19 - R : Silver Lake (E Leesburg), Florida to Weathersfield, Florida : 34.71 miles (55.54 km)
21.03 C 09.97 R
Trip Total : 948.30 miles (1,517.28 km)

Thirty-first day on tour.

I didn't have a good night at the Microtel. There were some problems in the room. The transformers of the flourescent lights above the bed really buzzed loud. It was giving me a headache. I didn't have good sleep because of the large mirrors neon the wall behind the bed. I had flashbacks of the one-way mirrors that I found in the men's restroom-shower room in the family life center/ gymnasium of the First Baptist Church in Belle Glade, Florida. I had to convince myself that there was nobody spying in me. I did sleep lightly and I woke up once to go to the restroom.

It was around 5:30 am when I woke up. Around 6:30 am, I went to the breakfast room. There was a pancake making machine. I made myself a double batch.

Around 7:40 am, I decided to head out to get some miles in before it got hot in the 80s. The temperature was in the 60s. I got the help of another guest to get Allison out of the room and then outside the hotel. The temperature was already in the 60s. I got on the bike path and trail to Tavaras. I followed the bike trail near downtown Tavaras.

From downtown Tavaras, I was supposed to get on Old US 441 (FL 500A), I followed Cnty Road 462 and rode along the shore of Lake Harris. While I was checking out some lake shore birds, I caught sight of an alligator. I just saw the snout and the upper part of the head. The gator was probably seven feet from the shore. I tried to take a couple of pictures of it.

On the west side of Mt Dora, Cnty Road 462 connected with Old US 441. I followed Old US 441 through Mt Dora and then southeast back to US 441. Before getting on US 441, I stopped at a gas station for a short break. Between Mt Dora and Plymouth, the ride along US 441 was a little slow because there was a lot of truck traffic and the shoulder was rough. Once I got into Orange County, the shoulder became smoother.

In Plymouth, I stopped to take a picture of the sign to YMCA Camp Wewa, where I was a senior camp counselor in 1984. By 11:40 am, I had ridden around 23 miles. I stopped at a McDs for a lunch break. Once I got into Apopka, I had to sidewalk ride for a while. On the east side of Apopka, I got on FL 426 towards Altamonte Springs. The ride east went okay because there was about a 12 mile per hour tailwind. In Forest City, I stopped at a Wendys for a small chocolate Frosty. From the Wendys, it was a short ride to the hotel where I had a reservation near I-4 in Weathersfield.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have a short ride to University Park on the east side of Orlando to a hotel where I had a reservation.

The new battery should have arrived at the Presbyterian Church today but it didn't. For some unknown reason, the battery was sent clear across the country to an ecommerce center in Compton, CA and will be coming back across the country by USPS.

April 20 - F : Weathersfield, Florida to University Park (E Orlando), Florida : 20.17 miles (32.27 km)
21.53 C 10.47 R
Trip Total : 968.47 miles (1,549.55 km)

Thirty-second day on tour.

I didn't have a good night at the Ramada Inn. There was a lot of light coming into the room because the curtains didn't fit. The room was also noisy. I wished that the room would have been in the inner courtyard. I woke up several times to go to the restroom. I woke up before 6 am. I went to the office to get some breakfast. There were signs that said that you couldn't take food back to the rooms.

I left the hotel around 8 am. The ride southeast to FL 50 was kind of slow. The bike lane didn't go all the way so I went from the bike lane, to riding along side walks, and then back to the roads again. Along the way, I stopped at a Publix to get a few groceries. There was a large scale in the entranceway. I took off my jersey and shoes before I weighed myself. I was happy to see that I've lost at least seven pounds since I last weighed myself back in Mississippi.

Because of the traffic lights, I only made 18 miles by noon. It was really great getting on Colonial Drive (FL 50). I was finally heading towards the Altantic Ocean. I stopped at a BK for some lunch. After lunch, it was only a couple mile ride to the hotel where I had a reservation.

April 21 - SA : University Park (E Orlando), Florida to La Grange (NW Titusville), Florida : 31.54 miles (50.46 km)
22.31 C 10.69 R
Trip Total : 1,000.01 miles (1,600.02 km)

Thirty-third day on tour.

Last night was a little bit better than the night before. The room was a little darker. There wasn't much noise after dark. I woke up around 6 am. Instead of going to the office to get some breakfast, I opted to eat out of my food pannier.

I got on the road around 8 am. The ride East was sort of slow because there was a headwind coming from the east. Nothing really spetacular happened during the ride. I stopped a couple of times to take short breaks. At one gas station in the town of Christmas, there were a couple of boy scouts. I felt sad that I couldn't honestly donate to the group because of their inclusivity in allowing sexual deviants into the group.

By noon, I had ridden about 21 miles. I did stop at the St Johns River to take a couple of pictures of the air boats.

I got into the Titusville area around 1 pm. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. Right after I got Allison locked up and went inside, it started to rain. I tried one of the computer kiosks to place my order. It took pretty well twice the time that it would have taken if I went to a counter and placed the order with an actual person. I had to go through over two dozen steps and multiple screens. You could only pay via an smart phone app or credit/debit card. There was a computer glitch and I got a medium fries instead of a small fries.

From the McDs, it was about a five mile (8 km) ride to Dan's house. Dan had arranged for his assistant to come and let me in the house.

The next update might be posted between April 23rd and April 20th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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