Monday, March 1, 2010
High Springs and Great Folks
Today we decided to take it easy so that we could stay with a Warmshowers host in High Springs. Our host's name is Lys and she was one of the founding members of Bikecentennial. From Wikipedia:
“Bikecentennial '76 was a bicycle tour across the United States in the summer of 1976, in commemoration of the bicentennial of America's Declaration of Independence. The route crossed ten states and 112 counties in either direction between Reedsport, OR, and Yorktown, VA, a distance of about 4,250 miles (6,840 km).”
Bikecentennial inspired an increasing interest in cross country bicycle travel and using bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation. This very first big long-distance ride became the foundation for Adventure Cycling Association. Adventure Cycling is the organization that developed the maps we used to navigate our entire journey. They work to create national bicycle routes and promote bicycle trvel.
We were very excited to meet such an interesting and influential person in the world of bike travel so we were determined to make a stop in High Springs. It turns out that Lys hosts many cyclists at her home in High Springs and we would have made our stop here last night except that seven other cyclists were staying here last night! I am so happy to see all of the people out on the road enjoying bike touring as we have so far.
The terrain has been very flat today. The scenery a mix of live oaks hanging mossy arms over the roadway and neat and orderly rows of slash pine plantations standing at attention. Occasionally there was a green and neatly cropped pasture with cattle or horses grazing peacefully. These quiet side roads are a far cry from my previous conception of the headache of roads in Florida. We were delighted to enjoy the sunny day with a nice tailwind.
When we reached High Springs we had a great lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Greg had all you can eat tacos and I had heuvos rancheros (ranch eggs). The food there was very good and the tortillas were exceptionally soft and tasty! After lunch we headed down to the public library where we worked on the blog. It was nice to just relax and read some interesting and free to use magazines like Mother Earth News, Organic Gardening and Progessive Farmer, and People Magazine (haha, just kidding). The people in this library were comically loud and one lady informed everyone in the library that she hates watching sad animal movies and she won't watch Old Yeller because they have to put him down in the end. We picked up a few things at the grocery store and headed over to Lys's home.
We were greeted at Lys's home by three cheerful faces. Lys and her two guests, Jeff and Dave were beginning to prepare a wonderful meal of salmon, rice and broccoli. We quickly learned that Jeff has been traveling by bicycle for four years now and has logged OVER 43,000 miles. Yes, you read that correctly, not 4,300 but 43,000 miles! He began his journey in British Columbia, rode north to the Yukon and then made his way all the way down to the southernmost extent of South America and is now returning back north. Jeff has an amazing passion for riding a bicycle that many may share, however, he has lived his passion every day for the last four years and beyond. Dave is from the UK and much prefers cycling to his “normal” job back home. Who can blame them for that? I think it is true freedom to live on a bicycle.
They remind me of a quote by Henry David Thoreau that says “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as one, two, three and not a hundred or a thousand… We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without. “
Dave has been traveling throughout South and Central America and his tour will last 500 days. They met up in Louisiana before Mardi Gras and have been cycling companions since that point (which hasn't been long in their respective tours.) We were really excited to meet Dave because he has been anywhere between a week and 5 minutes ahead of us for the entire duration of the Southern Tier and we are glad to know someone else has been through the same conditions as we have. They were great fun to talk to and we loved picking their brains about the amazing adventures they have been on. We will always remember meeting these travelers and we look forward to following their blogs when our trip has ended.
We also had a great conversation with Lys about the Bikecentennial. She told us some great stories about leading one section of the trip from Missoula Montana to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Lys and her husband Dan have had many great adventures in their life and are still very active in working for things that Greg and I think are very important in the world today. Dave works around the country to help build walkable communities and the two of them have helped start countless important non-profits. Lys is currently working on establishing and coordinating community gardens in Florida and working to make her family self-sufficient.
Our evening in this home has been full of good company and rich with inspiration. Thank you Lys, Dave and Jeff.