Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Milton to DeFuniak Springs, FL

Florida pine forests. You usually don't think of Florida looking like this.

Florida swamp. Wish we could see some gators

Milton to DeFuniak Springs, FL


Day 111

68 Miles

We actually slept pretty well in our cheap hotel last night. The location of our hotel was baffling though. There was not a grocery store in sight, so we looked at google maps, and sure enough no grocery stores existed within a mile from the hotel. So, instead of eating breakfast in the hotel as we would normally do, we went out for breakfast. We tried a new place we have been seeing all over the South. It is called Waffle House. We thought it was more or less just a fast food joint, but when we went in, we were happy to find that it is actually like a sit down Americana style short order cafe. We order up some waffles and omelets, and it was actually pretty good. Better than what you would find at a Perkins or something like that. After breakfast we stopped at the bike shop in Milton to buy a tube. We have been riding without any spare tube since the middle of Louisiana, and we decided it would be better not to tempt fate.

After making these few stops, we headed out of town on the Blackwater trail, a nice path just for non-motorized transportation modes. We instantly found ourselves grinding into a head wind, and it was cold. We are in Florida! I can't be cold here! We recently read a friend's blog from Western Washington, and she said it was nice and sunny there. Florida, for crying out loud, is even called the sunshine state. Shouldn't it be sunny here and not in the dreary Pacific Northwest? Maybe we did our trip in the wrong direction. Florida even took the state motto “Sunshine State” from South Dakota (Where I grew up), and now South Dakota now is called the “Rushmore State.” Come on Florida, live up to your reputation!

We were very surprised to find the number of hills that we did today. We always thought Florida was flat, but there was very little flat ground today. Instead there were many gentle rolling hills covered with solid pine forests. After the Blackwater trail, we found ourselves riding on back roads through rural country. At one point we came to a small settlement and a pit bull came running from his yard chasing us with more vengeance than most dogs. I yelled at him and he changed his focus from me to Dani. Dani looked back and saw this sizable dog coming at her with teeth bared. The dog lunged and Dani instinctively swerved as she was reaching for her water bottle to spray the dog. Right when she swerved there was a vehicle coming in the other direction and I screamed as I watched what in my head looked like it could have been a disaster. Dani dropped her bottle and steered back to safety. The turn of events caused the dog to stop, but I was so upset I tried to run the dog down and spray it with pepper spray. Unfortunately the dog ran home and I was unable to scold it for its aggression.

As I looked back toward the dog running home, I realized that the vehicle that Dani had almost swerved in front of while the dog was chasing her was actually the dog's owner. This was so upsetting because the person never even came out to apologize or control their dog. I made sure Dani was ok, and she was, but when she dropped her water bottle it broke and spilled all over the road. I went back and stood in front of the house and waited for the owner to come out, but they never did. I called the sheriff and they transferred me to animal control so that I could file a complaint.

For some reason, today was harder on me that most days are. I am usually full of energy, but my saddle was giving me more pain than usual today and it just took the energy right out of me. Riding most of the day into a headwind did not help. There was also an inordinate amount of jerks on the road today that either screamed at us or flipped us the bird for no particular reason. Who knew that bikes were so offensive. We were trying to ride 80 miles today, but by the time we reached DeFuniak Springs, my body was telling me it was time to quit, and the sun was going down. We tried to find a place to stay the night, and finally succumbed to the fact that we would have to stay another night in a hotel. Luckily, we were able to find a very cheap hotel that was only a few bucks more than the campgrounds down here tend to be. Hopefully we can get some good rest and have a better day tomorrow.



Staci said...

hahaha, Waffle House.... one of the south's natural wonders;) Glad you guys checked it out, it's hardly a trip to the southeast US without a Waffle House visit!
Sorry you guys had such a rough day!
Enjoy these last days, even in their challenges, they'll be over before you know it.

Meandering Marsupials said...

Hey guys, you're really getting close to the end of the trip now! That must be a fantastic feeling. We're starting to get that sense too, but approaching the other coast. We'll keep our fingers crossed for you that the dogs and rude motorists lay off. All the best!

Don Oyler said...

You guys are almost there! I'm really proud of your perseverance on this trip. The thing I'm most proud of is how when one of you was down the other seemed to fill the void with positive attitude. Not easy to sustain for months, and some really tough conditions. Good job!