Another strong day leaves just two remaining

Published 1:23 pm Sunday, September 5, 2021

By David Freeze
For the first time, I slept from the time I lay down last night until the 5:15 alarm this morning. And my eyes didn’t want to pop open like they usually do. Yesterday just didn’t want to end but it finally did just before midnight. It was still a nice night at the Deerwood Inn, especially after meeting Celina and Josh.
I considered jumping on the interstate at daybreak, figuring there wouldn’t be much traffic. I rode up the ramp and saw the sign that ended the internal debate. Essentially the same as what we have in NC. No bikes or pedestrians!
I rode back to Madison on SR 53, then rejoined US 90 East and struggled with road choice early. US Bicycle Routes stayed with 90 and I did too as long as possible. It was the coolest morning probably since San Diego. I rode through Lee, a town that bills itself as “Little, but Proud.” Two stores made up the town, a convenience store and a Family Dollar.
Next came Live Oak, and Welborn, just before I left US 90 behind for now.
I turned onto County Road 137 for 20 of the best miles since that first day in San Diego. All of it was lightly traveled,  nearly flat and just plain beautiful through mostly farming country. Next came SR 71 for the final ride of the day through Fort White and into High Springs, where I am tonight at the High Springs Country Inn.
One highlight of today’s travel involved me pedaling along that good 20 mile road. Not another vehicle in sight, but the one behind me blows his horn. I motion in an agitated way to go on around, and am surprised to find that it was a Florida Highway Patrolman.
I finally found the perfect overnight lodging. Here’s why. The room is great, spacious, priced right, comes with WiFi and plenty of ice, and is within about a tenth of a mile of a grocery, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Subway and a big enough convenience store. For the first time, I am not particularly hungry, even after 85 miles. I will still finish a quart and a half of strawberry though since the Y Service Club is paying for it.
As an added benefit, there is an outdoor concert across the road. I am going to miss this life on the road!
Here is the plan. I will have another usual day on Sunday as I head toward the St. Augustine Beach. Part of the day’s ride will include passing through Gainesville, a large Florida city. Then, if all goes well, I will actually dip the back tire Monday late morning in the Atlantic Ocean to officially end the adventure. I will get all the required photos, and head toward home. Good weather is still on tap through the period.
There is still fun remaining! See you back here tomorrow, when I hope to be sleeping 20 miles out of the oldest city in the United States.

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