Monday, February 22, 2010

We enter Florida today!

Gulf of Mexico from the Scenic Highway

Maya and Max and their nice tandem, looking ready to ride the Southern Tier

Welcome to Florida! We made it this far!

Greg liked this street sign since we are big fans of the Colbert Report

Sand Dunes and the Gulf

Gulf Shores Alabama to Milton, Florida


Day 110

56 miles

4,446 miles total

Last night it rained. Now, when I say it rained I mean it rained a lot and it rained hard. It was extremely loud on the tent, like a million little drummer boys equipped with snare drums and symbols. This was a full on thunderstorm. I don't know when the last time was I heard a thunderstorm as good as this one. We are lucky that we pitched our tent on a slight slope on sandy soil. We didn't get wet in the tent at all and there was no puddle under the tent in the morning either. Despite the storm, last night was one of the warmest nights we have had on our whole trip. I don't think it got below the mid-forties. It was very refreshing to wake up in the morning and see sun coming through the rain fly. We talked to several retired folks who rode up on their bikes to ask how we fared in the storm and if the raccoons had bothered us. Apparently everyone else in the campground knew about the raccoons except the hosts.

As we were preparing to leave, we realized that today was going to be really warm and extremely humid. We took a bike path out of our campground to the east and into the city of Orange Beach and right onto our route. Shortly after leaving Orange Beach we met a couple on a tandem who are riding east to west on the southern tier. Maya and Max are riding a sweet 15 year old Santana tandem and have been following the Southern Tier and riding some off route along the coast as well. We were excited to hear from them that there are two more cyclists eastbound on our route ahead of us. When we first met up with Maya and Max they told us these guys are just five minutes ahead of us and when we parted ways they may have been 25 minutes ahead. We never ran into them during the ride today, but we may see them at some point between here and St. Augustine. One of the cyclists ahead of us has been riding his bike for three years, from the states to the Tierra del Fuego and back again. They sound like some interesting folks who we would really like to meet.

Not long after leaving the campground we made our way to Florida, the last state we will ride our bikes through on this trip. We are very excited about experiencing possibly a whole week of favorable weather while in Florida. It will be a nice change to ride through pleasant weather for a while. The Gulf coast of Alabama had lots of summer homes but the same coast in Florida has been very quickly and very majorly developed with huge skyscraper condos and apartments forming a wall at the edge of the sea. It went on like this for at least 10 miles while coming into Pensacola. Pensacola had a nice downtown but traffic remained pretty heavy for the rest of the ride. We rode along the Gulf Coast Highway leaving Pensacola. The road here was slightly rolling and many of the homes overlooking the Gulf were large and looked very expensive. The last 25 miles of riding today were very heavy with traffic but had a decent shoulder. We pulled into Milton about 4PM and realized we still had over twenty miles to get to our original goal. With any closer campgrounds being full or requiring more riding on busy 90 we decided to stay in a cheap motel in Milton. We have not actually caught up completely on blogs for awhile so we decided that we would get them done tonight and sleep well in a bed. Tomorrow we will ride through to the last map of our journey.


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