Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November 30th: Day 27

Tallahassee to Perry
63 miles in 6 hours riding

Great day on the road!!

It's cold! We are missing camping but just aren't prepared for temps in the 30's at night so we've ended up staying in a lot of hotels lately. Looking at the ACA maps they continue on the northern part of the state for a few more days but the weather man says that the faster we get south the faster it's going to warm up do south it is.

After talking to a guy at a local bike shop we decided to head out of town on a rail-trail - and then go south east from there on hwy 98 into Perry. It was a great day of riding - even though we didn't ever take off our long johns all day.

Here are some pictures from. The rail trail today...

November 29: Day 26

Midway to Tallahassee
23 miles, 3 hours 6 minutes riding time

Today was a pretty frustrating day. We had a list of a couple of stores we needed to stop at but they all happened to be on the other side of town. After researching several search engines we had a plan for how to get across town. Best laid plans...once into town we ended up on a busy two lane road with no shoulder or sidewalk. Between that and Tallahassee's hills it was not a great day!

A comment on Tallahassee's hills - having grown up in Seattle I was still impressed with how steep they were let alone how many their were. It was interesting - one of the locals we talked to made a comment about how their hills "are uphill both ways" while another gave us directions and promised "just one hill on the way." There were three. Very steep, very long hills. He is so used to them he was oblivious.

We ended up getting what we needed and then got a hotel room on the south end of town. We even ended up having time to see a movie at the end of the day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

November 28th: Day 25

Marianna to Midway (just out of Tallahassee).
56 miles in 5 hours, 49 minutes of riding.

We ended up not riding yesterday. The weather channel told us it was going to be stormy all day - then it was going to be stormy from 11am on - it ended up being very windy and then raining last night. Oh well - such is life.

Our ride today was good. The wind was mostly behind us and we had some long stretches without hills. We are just about into Tallahassee - we'll spend part of tomorrow running errands in town before we head south towards Gainesville.

November 26th: Day 23

Vortex Springs campground to Marianna
54.2 miles in 6 hours, 28 minutes

No way around it - today pretty much sucked...hills, headwinds, bad roads, rude drivers, we pretty much had it all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

November 25th: Day 22

Happy Thanksgiving!!
We took the day off - caught up on a few things (like the blog) but mostly laid around and watched movies. It was great - not as good as a turkey dinner with family and friends but it was nice. Speaking of dinner - we ended up eating at the hotel because we were a ways out of town and there wasn't any taxi service. They had prime rib but no turkey - so we'll have to have turkey for Christmas!

DeFuniak Springs
9.3 mile run (if only someone could have brought us our bikes 10 miles down the road! As many of you know we are running a 1/2 marathon in January. We haven't been sure how to work in training runs but this worked well so we'll probably keep it up. We both felt good - we are thinking recumbents use similar muscles as running because it really didn't seem like much of an effort until about mile 8.

DeFuniak Springs to Vortex Springs
16.8 miles: 2 hours and 14 minutes

We made this a short day for several reasons - running this morning but also because the next campground isn't for another 60 miles. Also, Scott remembered staying at this campground over 10 years ago when he and Gretchen road the southern tier and he wanted to check it out.

It ended up being a bit more work than we thought it would be because we took a "shortcut" that ended up being a very rough dirt road! We can now say we've been mountain biking with recumbents! We ended up laughing at both ourselves and the people who drove by us and looked at us like we were crazy! :)

The campground is a freshwater diving destination with cave diving. It was fun to watch everyone get out of the water and then to visit with them. Diving gear sure is fancy these days - one guy we talked to was using a rebreather with a helium scrubber. He said he does a lot of wreck diving and had come here to practice with his dry suit and all of the equipment.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

November 23rd: Day 20

Blackwater Campground to DeFuniak Springs, Florida
53.2 miles: 5 hours 53 minutes riding

The word for the day was hills! Lots of steep hills...thankfully they stopped (or became less steep) right after lunch. We went through a lot of rural area and saw plenty of red dirt.

We got into town around 430pm and ended up going to Walmart to stock up. Of course shopping the night before thanksgiving is not much fun - no matter what state your in!

November 22nd: Day 19

Pensacola to Blackwater State Campground.
35.5 miles, 3 hours 45 minutes riding

We wanted to go farther but there were no campgrounds for 50 miles. We try to stay at campgrounds as much as possible but sometimes it a big hassle...

We followed the Adventure Cycling route and that took us on a bike path and then a very rural road with hardly any traffic. It was a beautiful, easy day and we were done by 3pm. The campground was beautiful and very clean.

We set up the tent and took showers. After that Scott got a fire going (first fire we've been able to have on this trip because of the draught). About that time it started to rain - really rain! We had to climb into the tent and wait it out. By the time it was done raining the fire was almost out! Never fear - he got it going and we had our hotdogs!

November 21st: Day 18

Orange Beach, Alabama to Pensacola, Florida
37.6 miles in 4 hours 37 minutes

Hello Florida!!

It was a great day of riding - up until we got to Pensacola. It was amazing riding through the Pensacola Naval Air Base. The best part was being buzzed by the Blue Angels several times!

Once we were off the base the riding got very frustrating - no shoulders, sidewalks that were either non existent or came to an abrupt end and drivers that weren't very tolerant of bicyclists.

Part of the problem was we went off the recommended path because I wanted to go to a movie - Breaking Dawn is important after all!

November 20th: Day 17

Dauphin Island to Orange Beach, Alabama
32.1 miles: 3 hours 53 minutes riding

Great day! We woke up to pouring down rain and a visitor on our tent. We decided to break camp and not have a breakfast in the rain - instead we went to get in line for the ferry. Turns out there were only two trucks and us do we didn't need to bother!

Saw a lot of activity in Mobile bay including some oil rigs and a huge shipping container barge. After about a 30 minute ride we then biked about 3 miles to a restaurant - by that time it was sunny and dry so we sat out on the deck. It was amazing to sit there looking at the view, watching a local kid dip net, drying out and warming up and eating some great food!

The ride into Gulf Shores was great - there is even a bike path for part of it.
We went to a great barbque place for lunch and while we were sitting there realized it was Sunday and that the NASCAR finale was on (it's easy to lose track of the day on trips like this). At that point we decided to get a hotel sooner rather than later instead of riding to the campground as we had planned (hey - we have no deadlines so why not just go with it?). :)

Congratulation to Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards - what a great race!!

November 19th: Day 16

Shepard State Park to Dauphin Island, Alabama
53 miles in 5 hours and 55 minutes

Hello Alabama!

Beautiful ride today! Had a bit of a headwind but we are getting used to that! :) We went through a lot of rural area and by a lot of Bayou's and over rivers. We ended up in the rural community of Dauphin Island. Hopefully you can see the bridge we went over - have to admit we had a discussion about the "bridge to nowhere"...

November 18th: Day 15

Long Beach, MS to Gautier, MS (Shepard State Park)
37.5 miles in 4 hours, 52 minutes of riding.

We ended up taking yesterday off because we had gotten a couple of offers on our condo and we wanted to be able to respond immediately. Of course it didn't hurt that there was a 25 mph headwind!

Most of this morning was spent riding along the boardwalk/sidewalk. We went by many casinos and over several bridges (along the coast there aren't any hills but you can guarantee they'll be at least one tall bridge to go up everyday!) the sidewalks themselves were interesting because they have so much damage from storms we would have to stop regularly to go around the damage. The alternative was riding on the road but with no shoulder we decided the sidewalk was a better option.

It was cold most of the day - we ended up stopping at a Starbucks to get hot drinks to warm up! We stayed in a State campground that was pretty nice although we've found that with all of the budget cuts most of them are poorly run and not kept up. We hope that they don't get so run down that they have to be closed.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

November 16; Day 13

Slidell, LA to Long Beach, MS
41.5 miles in 4 hrs 6 min

It's been a busy few days! Scott's bike was having issues, Scott needed his RA meds, we got a couple of offers on our house and we've had to dodge some pretty severe weather!

Woke up this morning to a severe lightening storm and a tornado warning. We didn't think we'd be able to ride at all but about 10 am the weather cleared and we hit the road!

It was an incredible day of riding with a tailwind and flat roads! We went over lots of bridges and Bayous. I've included some pictures including one of a great bridge that was two miles long. We met a couple from Vermont who own a bike shop - we look forward to seeing them next fall!

Scott insists that I point out that I had another flat tire...although this one seemed to be caused by the liner he put in my tire to protect it...but I don't mind - I'll buy him a ice cream sundae anyway! :)

We also made it into Mississippi!! Two States down, three to go!

It was interesting riding through some of the areas effected by hurricane Katrina. It's been 6 years and some of the scars have healed and yet many others haven't. In LA we noticed that many of the houses have been elevated - including many of the mobile homes. We've also seen thousands of those white FEMA trailers - most of them sitting in storage. Seems like a big waste. In MS on the coast we've noticed that there are many houses that haven't been rebuilt. They've cleaned up the lots but all you see are cement pads where a house used to be. The beaches are beautiful and very empty. The locals are positive about the recovery and rebuilding process and say that tourism is on the upswing.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13th, Day 10

Oberlin to Opelousas, LA
52.8 miles, 6 hrs, 34 min riding time

We have ridden a total of 331 miles so far.

It was a great day of riding! We dealt with strong head and side winds (between 15-20 mph) and horrible roads with no shoulders but we still had a blast!

We met a couple from Philadelphia who quit their jobs and our going to spend the next year traveling by bike around the most of you can imagine Scott was quite jealous! :) It was fun to visit with them and hope we can keep in touch with them in the future.

We road through a lot of farm country today - lots of old buildings and animals. As bad as the roads were the people were really friendly and nice about waiting to go around us when it was safe. We went through Mamou, LA and had some of the best fried chicken I've ever had.

I put my camera in my pocket today and was able to take a few more pictures- hope you enjoy them! Not sure how these will load on the blog but I'll comment on them in the order I see them in...

-Louisiana farmland

-It's pretty funny how many of the animals watch us intently as we ride by (except for the dogs who chase us)

-a very common use of Solo cups in the south...

-thought that was a cool shot

-the wind was blowing - not fun to ride through that dirt

-another cool old building

-Our first Piggly Wiggly - welcome to the south!

-okay - I admit I love old buildings!