Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 53

Waukeenah to Spirit of Suwannee Park

Today we got to start the day with a waffle breakfast provided by the KOA, with coffee, and orange juice. It was a good start to the day, along with conversation with a couple that is touring the country by car.

When we hit the road we started by following route 90 for a good part of the day, this section was very nice – not much traffic, and good scenery around. We finally went back to the side roads, where we experienced the rolling hills of Florida, every bit as bad as the hill country in Texas (just in case you didn’t read my other posts, Florida IS NOT FLAT!!!!)

As we rolled along the biggest thing I noticed was the moss in the trees, and how much if it there was. Some areas seem worse that others but either way there was a lot of trees covered in it. It was very picturesque, and I found myself stopping more than once for pictures. When the moss seemed to disappear, the fields opened up and we began to see a lot of flowers again. The fields and roadsides were covered in yellow and purple flowers, and they were in full bloom everywhere you looked.

The hills did not change all day except to maybe get a little worse as the day wore on ( I don’t know if they were worse or we were getting beat up by them!). We were heading to Spirit of Suwannee Music Park for the night. We called to make sure they had room, and they did. The bad news – it’s the only night of the week they have no restaurant or music!!! Try to avoid Tuesday nights at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park if you can.

We passed through Lee, Fl. today and I have to say they are quite proud Their motto even proclaimes it - when you enter town there is a sign that reads: "Lee Florida - little but proud" I guess you have to be awfully proud to boast about your size!!

We arrived and went to the convenience store down the road to get provision for cooking this evening, the prices were a little high so we decided to wait and check the camp store. After checking in we were advised the camp store closes at 5:00pm it was now 5:10 – of all the luck – we now had to set up and go back to the convenience store.

We picked our sites and set up, then Ron took his bike (he unhooked his trailer so it was light and fast) and shopped for dinner for us. He returned and we made elbow pasta, marinara sauce, and hotdogs. Good enough for me. Dinner finished and cleanup all set we turned in for the night, we have a 79 mile day again tomorrow.

Today’s Garmin Information is as follows:

Day 53 Waukeenah to Spirit of Suwannee Music Park by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Day 52

East Shore Campground Ga. to Waukeenah, Fl.

Getting up this morning was tricky. I had to shake my tent pretty good to get rid of some of the ants before I climbed out. Once I did this and removed my belongings, I moved the tent to the paved area to shake it really good and pack it away. Once finished it was up the 85 ft. or so climb to the park entrance, and back to Chattahoochee for coffee and breakfast at Subway.

Today is a planned 79 mile day and the weather is looking really good, a chill in the air to start and no humidity to speak of. We hit the road and were able to make good time, we passed some logging areas that were getting ready to be closed off, so they were burning the remaining trash they did not want. This filled the area with so much smoke that it was like a fog at times.

The fields have changed to mostly open land and not much to speak of on our route for farming, but we did see something for the first time today – a pig farm – up to this point I think it is the only thing we have not seen being raised.

We arrived on the edge of Tallahassee, and were to get on a bike trail. This did not happen; we ended up at Florida A&M, with no sign of the bike path we were to take. We asked a worker for some directions (Dez) and he was more than able to help us, we followed his truck right to the bike path we were supposed to be on. He explained where we went wrong and said it is not marked well (I think he was trying to make us feel better at this point). We thanked him and said good bye and were again on course.

We still had a good way to go but were able to make good time, and before long(even with all these rolling hills) we arrived at the KOA Tallahassee East. What a nice campground. We again had purchased food on our way so we could cook in camp. Tonight it was macaroni, sausage, diced tomatoes, and chili beans. It was far better than it sounds. It was dark while we were cooking, so the mosquitoes were quite unbearable, we ate quickly and showered for the night, and off to sleep.

Today’s Garmin information is as follows:

Day 52 East Shore campground to Waukeenah, Fl. by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Day 51

Ponce De Leon to East Shore Campground, Ga.

We got a good early start to the day today and were going to go to Subway for breakfast, but instead decided to go to the next town, so we were farther up the road. This was a mistake, we did not find anything close by and ended up taking two small detours off course to try and find food –unsuccessfully.

The Garmin on my bike said there was a Waffle House about 6 miles away from where we were, so we decided to go there. By the time we stopped for breakfast we already had 22 miles in for the day. Neither Gerry nor Ron had been to a Waffle House before, so they were surprised to see that they had such a good menu and well priced to boot! We ate and back tracked to the route and were again on our way.

During our ride today, we ran across a sign that kind of bewildered us all. It was in Caryville, Fl., and read: "WELCOME TO CARYVILLE,FL.-WORM FIDDLIN' CAPITAL OF THE WORLD" Annual Festival. If anyone out there can enlighten me as to what exactly "worm fiddlin' is -- I would greatly appreciate it! Otherwise it is just one of those things no one would believe - unless they saw it for themselves. You know-- things that make you go HMMMMM?!?!

We had a choice of two campgrounds, but could not get in touch with either of them to be sure we could get a site. Tammy had called and offered her help; she made some calls and got through to East Shore Campground. She looked up the information on East Shore and found it was an Army Corps of Engineers park. It is alongside a manmade lake with a dam and power plant at the end. It is known to have beautiful sunsets, as well!

We finally arrived after a late day hill climb of about 80 – 100 ft. 2 miles before the campground. As we approached the campground we were met by an unexpected surprise - the campground was in Georgia. That is pretty cool, because now we have made a ninth state!!!

The campground was down about 85ft. from the guard house. That was going to be a rough start to tomorrow! When we got our sites and set up camp for the night. Just before we got to Chattahoochee we bought some stuff for a dinner at the campground again. This time we did Penne with olive oil, garlic salt, cheese, string beans, and canned chicken. It was actually way better than it sounds as you read it! We ate dinner and---oh yeah--- I forgot to tell you about the ants – the ants are like sugar ants – but they number in the millions…literally!! There were nests everywhere, and as soon as you put anything down they swarmed it. This was a bit of a pain, but the good news, is they don't bite.

We finished dinner shook off our tents and climbed in for the night – I only hope they don’t find their way in.

The Garmin information for the day is as follows:

Day 51 Ponce De Leon to East Shore Campgrond, Ga. by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Day 50

Blackwater River State Park to Ponce De Leon

Leaving the park this morning we passed through a lot of forest area, and it was very muggy today. We were camping about 2 miles off the route, so we had to back track a little to get back to the right road out.

If I haven’t mentioned it yet, let me say right now for the record – Florida IS NOT FLAT!!!!! It’s like we are back in the hill country of Texas, with its slow rolling hills, and never ending rolling hills. We have climbed along the shoreline and into forest areas that were higher than I ever expected.

We had a planed day of about 65 miles, which it ended up being very close to, what we did not expect was the extreme humidity we were encountering. It was a short day, but because of the heat and humidity we took our time and ended up riding for 5 ½ hours. Along the road towards the end of our day we came across a father and son who have been on the road for three years, the son was 15 – it seemed a little strange to us, and did not know what to make of it. They said they sleep in the woods along the way and they had just passed the 14,000 mile mark. They were headed for San Diego, then heading up the coast.

The only real town of note today was De Funiak Springs; it is a very cute town that seems to be centered around the historic district at Lake De Funiak. We stopped at the lake to check it out, and it must have been prom night, as there were several kids in formal attire getting their pictures taken. We stayed out of the way and went to see the ducks. There were several large rather ugly ducks in the water, so we focused our attention on a few pictures of ourselves at the lake. That’s when all the ducklings started swimming our way. We instantly got our leftover bread from last night and fed the duckling so we could get some pictures.

A little girl came over to watch and demonstrated just how easily one could grab and hold and duckling, we were a little more cautious, since the mother ducks were in the area and closing fast. We used up our bread and rode around the rest of the lake. The homes in the area are beautiful, and show many different architectural styles, and some nice elements of scroll work on the porches.

It was time to move on as we still had a few miles left to go for the day. We arrived at Ponce De Leon, and headed for the hotel, it would be nice to sleep inside in the air conditioned room for a break. We showered and headed out to do laundry and dinner. The laundry mat was on the way, so we stopped and put our clothes in the washer, and would return after dinner to dry them. We were not too concerned with someone stealing our clothes because -1) there was nobody around, and, 2) who wants somebody’s biking shorts and a few Cycling Semicolons biking shirts?????

It was off to dinner, we walked the mile to the end of the road and we chose the Bar B Q place over Sally’s, because none of us has had too much Bar B Q on this trip. Excellent choice, the food was unbelievably good – I had the 2 meat dinner (brisket and sausage) the brisket was awesome – the best I have had since I was in Texas. The people were extremely friendly and we began talking about how difficult it is to get a good brisket meal home, unless we do it ourselves. The owner came out with his just smoked brisket to show off how it looks, and I think he burned his hands in the process. The place was called 4 c Bar b q and they are on the web too!

We could not resist and also ordered desert, strawberry pie, it too was very good. We had to leave soon so we could dry our clothes, the laundry mat closed at 9:00 pm and it was already 8:15. We walked back a half mile to the laundry mat and dried our clothes and went back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

The Garmin information for today is as follows:

Day 50 Blackwater River State Park to Ponce De Leon by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details

Day 49

Big Lagoon State Park to Blackwater River State Park

Today started very overcast and dreary, we did not hold out much hope to stay dry. We left our campsites and headed out for breakfast. The clouds did give way to sunshine, and we were starting to feel the Florida humidity. We went through Pensacola today and passed right in front of the entrance to the base there. We did not get to see the Blue Angels (this is their home base) as they were not flying today. We rode through town and decided to take a break next to a statue, that we found to be “The Sanctuary” by Sam Nettles – it is a beautiful sculpture of a mother, father, and child. It listed as both a shelter and memorial for the families, parents and friends of lost and missing children.

We ran into two Pensacola police Officers there so we stayed and talked for a few minutes with them, one was a female officer who, as she explained to us was the first female officer in Pensacola to be promoted, and the first to be awarded their highest honor. They gave us some advice about riding through town, and wished us well.
We drove along many miles of beautiful white sand beaches and really nice homes along the beach area. As we pressed on we crossed a bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, and got to watch boats of all sizes navigating the waterway. At this point we were not far from our destination – Blackwater River State Park. We found a Wal-Mart and bought some provisions for dinner.

When we arrived we were amazed that the park was full, the ranger was not in so we went to the campground to find the camp host, we found one site open, told the camp host but when we went back someone came in and set up a tent. We were without a site; we went back to the office and awaited the rangers return at 5:30. When he returned he had to do a drive through the campground, and said he would see what he could do and if not then we would have to use the overflow with a cold shower, yuck!
We were fortunate enough that someone booked two sites and only needed one, so we had a site for the night. We set up camp and made dinner for the night- Farfale pasta, with Sausage, and red sauce. It was quite a meal for camping. We all turned in for a well deserved rest!

The Garmin information is as follows:

Day 49 Big Lagoon State Park to Blackwater River State Park by wegotguts at Garmin Connect - Details