Suwanee River State Park to Ichetucknee Springs State Park
We woke to cold temperatures again this morning, but not as cold as it has been. We completed our usual morning routines and pedaled up to the park's entrance station with our fingers crossed. We were hoping the rangers would give us a break for sneaking into the park after hours. We had good intentions, so we figured we could get out of any trouble relatively easily, and being on bikes is always a help. Come to find out, the ranger didn't even blink an eye. We paid for our night and headed out onto the road.
Within the first few miles, the sun really gained some purchase in the sky and we were treated to a rare (for our trip) warm and sunny Florida day. We stopped to take off our long sleeve shirts and soaked in the sun happily. The terrain here is either very flat or gentle hills, and we are surrounded by a nice pine forest that sometimes gives way to stands of live oak trees. These are nice to see because they are the only green leafed tree around this time of the year, and they are heavily draped in Spanish moss. When the wind blows, the moss sways back and forth and is every bit as relaxing as palm trees swaying.
With the weather so nice, I knew we were going to meet cyclists headed West today. Sure enough, we met one gentleman named Mike cycling the Southern Tier East to West. Coincidentally, he lives in a town that we rode through when we were on the Pacific Coast route. We chatted with him for awhile and then continued on. We stopped for a lazy early afternoon lunch break and ate our hard boiled eggs.
For most of the day we either had a tail wind or a side wind which contributed to today's lazy feeling. We saw two more touring cyclists on the road before we got to camp, but didn't talk to either one. We stopped in a small town to buy some milk for breakfast, but the only food store was a gas station. We were surprised to find some local, non-homogenized, hormone free milk in the gas station, so we bought it despite the fact it came only in half gallons.
We arrived at Ichetucknee Family Campground next to the Ichetucknee state park. We got ourselves a camp site and set up camp. Dani gave me a reprieve from my usual set up duties because I was starting to feel a bit under the weather. Unfortunately, I think I have come down with a little cold, but hopefully I will be over it in no time. Not long after we set up camp, another group of touring cyclists came into the same campground! That is the first time we have stayed at the same place as any other touring cyclists on the whole Southern Tier. We talked to them and told them about our trip, and they told us they were just 3 days into their trip. One man in the group of five named Pete told us about many of his cycling journeys. He has ridden his bike all over the world, and went 7,800 miles in one tour. The most amazing part, he didn't start touring until he was in his sixties, and now he is 72 and is riding the Southern Tier. He didn't look near his age, and was as excited about bike touring as we are. Let that be a lesson to all of you out there who think you are too old to start now. It is never to late to start bike touring.
After today, we just have a few more days until we reach the Atlantic Coast and St. Augustine, Fl. We cannot believe our trip is almost over.