An even better day gets us closer to St. Augustine
By David Freeze
Late last night, I was still trying to figure out a good place for tonight’s lodging. There was a list of towns ahead with nothing, and one well ahead that might work. I was doing all of this when I should have been getting closer to bed, but I called the Deerwood Inn and Campground. I spoke to the owner, Celina Adam who gave me some good insight. But I had several challenges, but should never let that be a reason not to take on a good adventure.
My room last night at the Seminole Inn was so nice that I wanted to get to bed early, but that didn’t happen. I figured it would take 103 miles to get to Deerwood, just over six miles south of Madison, Florida, making the total 109. Also, today was the first day on Eastern Daylight Time, so I lost a riding hour. And I had to ride right through Tallahassee.
My only other option was a Bed and Breakfast in Monticello. Only problem was the owner didn’t really want me. I would have to get up too early and might bother others, she wouldn’t let the bike inside plus she made the price too high, especially since I would not get the breakfast. I probably made her happy by not calling back.
I was determined to make Celina’s Deerwood and the big miles before dark. It’s been said a few times that I got a double bag of determination early on. Leaving Sneads, my first town was Chattahoochee where I hoped to see Lake Seminole, but couldn’t. Then on to Gretna where I got two egg and cheese sandwiches that were terrible. I threw away the second. Next came Quincy with not much traffic for a town of 8,000.
The state capital, Tallahassee was next. With about 200,000 residents and part of my ride past Florida A and M, it took a little more than a very hard hour with constant hills and heavy traffic. Tallahassee rivals El Paso for hilliness, but what saved me was the nearly constant bike lanes or the symbol that cyclists could take the whole lane. I never got a horn or a bad comment.
Then was the challenging ride to Monticello, my favorite town of the day. I met Tina Dollar at the Shell Convenience Store. She at least made me think of chunking the very challenging day by telling me about their motel. But you knew I wouldn’t and did not. Monticello was the prettiest small town of the whole trip so far, with lots of beautiful older homes and a stately courthouse that sits in the middle of a traffic circle. I got several friendly waves before leaving. At least 10 miles of sparkling new asphalt made that segment very enjoyable and fast.
Next two towns were Greenville, where I fueled up and then Madison, a beautiful town where I turned off US 90 East for the first time in several days and took SR 53 to I-10 where Deerwood Motel and Campground are located. I got a great room in a busy place and pasta meal from Celina when she said she made too much!
The day was perfect, with only a slight headwind, helping me to make 109 miles by dusk. Darn near the way I planned it and a lot of prayers went into it.
For tomorrow, I will join up again with US 90 and figure it out from there. Sometime during the day tomorrow, I will put together a plan to likely finish on Monday in St. Augustine.
Thanks again for following along! One question today, how many rides over 100 miles have I had? I will look it up for sure, but I think around 20 after today, spread over all the rides since 2013. Every one is special!
See you back tomorrow for the next update!