Day 82 Marianna Florida

I rode on US 90 from Westville to east of Marianna.   Once again the road was smooth with good shoulders and as the map says gently rolling hills.  Today the stars seemed to be aligned, although I could not see them through the sun.  Much of my side of the road offered shade and the breeze was minimal.  After working out the morning kinks, I cruised along pleasantly.

I crossed over Alligator Creek and decided to take a break to see if I could spy any alligators.  I didn’t see and alligators but I did see some alligator food.Turtle

I traveled through Caryville, Bonifay, Chipley, and Cottondale.  I had made 30 miles when I arrived in Cottondale, and I was thinking I might make 40 miles today.  A young couple (sorry I forget your names already) who were very enthusiastic stopped to talk to me and take a picture.

Then I pedaled onward.  The next town was Marianna with a population of over 6000.  There was traffic and traffic lights and rolling hills but I was able to stay in high gear through much of the town.  With all my focus on riding with the traffic I must not have heard Knucklehead and missed a turn. I continued on US 90 pushing on out of town.

The miles were piling up and it was getting a little late to meet up with my crew.  I heard my phone ring so I rode to a good stopping place.  The call was from the crew but there was no message.  I tried to call back but got no answer.  While I was waiting a photographer showed up and wanted to take some pictures.  He said he was from the Jackson County Floridan paper and a reporter saw me riding through town and sent him to track me down.

Then my crew called and with the help of the photographer we figured out I was off route and my crew was out ahead of me.  While the crew started back for me I got a call from the reporter who interviewed me for the paper.  My crew arrived and waited patiently while blathered on.  I’m going to be infamous. Check out the Jackson County Floridan.  10/17/13 on line. http://www.jcfloridan.com/news/article_e25bc242-36ab-11e3-b151-001a4bcf6878.html?mode=story

After riding 5 days and finishing with a 45 mile day I’m going to take a day off tomorrow.

Day 82 stats:  I rode 45.64 miles at 12.5 mph, Max=17.6 mph, Calories=1451 (enough for beer and ice cream), Ave heart rate=119, Max heart rate=140, Ascent=871’, Descent=878’, Max elevation= 228, Min elevation=81, Ave temp.= 76, Trip miles=2612, Riding time= 3:39 , Out of 4:22.

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Day 81 Crestview to Westville

Day 81 was a better day.  Clouds provided some comforting shade, and while the Easterly trade winds were putting me on a beat they were not too strong.  I rode along US 90 on smooth pavement with a good shoulder.  My route took me through the small towns of Mossy Head,  DeFuniak Springs (which is just fun to say), Argyle, Ponce De Leon to Westville.  All totaled up their populations don’t equal 7000 souls, and over 5000 of those belong to DeFuniak Springs.

I was a little concerned today with my mental state when I started having flashbacks of logging trucks that gave me so much grief in Texas and Louisiana.  Then I realized I wasn’t having flashback, they were real.  At least they were not doing 70 mph as they barreled by.

A little perspective.  I feel like I am moving slowly, but my first 7 days on this stage doubled the mileage I rode in the first 7 days of my stage one.  On stage 2 I have ridden 239 miles so far and have 405 remaining according to the map.  There are 7 map sets by Adventure Cycling covering the Southern Tier route across the US.  Today I rode onto map set 7.

Day 81 Stats: (Day 67 of riding) Rode 38.23 (most so far on stage 2) at 11.6 mph, Max=16.6 mph, Calories=1165, Ave heart rate=113, Max heart rate=135, Ascent=604′, Descent=794′, Max elevation=307′, Min elevation=73′, Rode 3:17 out of 4:02.  Total trip miles=2566

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Day 80 East of Crestview FL.

After yesterday’s effort, I wasn’t up to riding very far today.  It didn’t take me long to figure out my body had the same idea.  As I rolled along my back and my legs began to compete over which one of them could convince me first to end my ride for the day.  Both of them were making very convincing arguments.  My legs kept pointing out the head wind, but my back pointed out the camber of the shoulder on the road.  I was about to settle the debate by flipping a coin when my crew showed up.

I decided to halt the rivalry by claiming the crew thought I should stop.  At first I thought the crew had my best interest in mind.  But know I’m not so sure they weren’t  just concerned I might ride too far beyond Sunset King Lake RV Resort with the jacuzzi.

Crew Enjoying Jacuzzi at Sunset King Lake RV Resort

Crew Enjoying Jacuzzi at Sunset King Lake RV Resort

Sunset King Lake Pool

Sunset King Lake Pool

At this rate I may make across the country by Christmas.  On the up side maybe this is the way it was meant to be.  I haven’t pushed my rides much past the crack of noon so we have been getting to camp early enough to take in the surroundings.

Day 80 Stats:  Rode 29.79 miles at a blistering 10.8 mph, with a max speed of 17 mph. Calories=1024, Ave heart rate=113, Max=138 (just didn’t have the energy to push any harder), Max elevation=270, Min elevation 62, Ascent=948′, Descent=787′ It was sunny, ave temp=76 with a 7 mph head wind all day.  Rode for 2:45 out of 3:34.  Total miles 2528 in 66 riding days.

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Around Pensacola Bay (Day 79)

I Rode from Pensacola up around the Pensacola bay.  This route is considered a scenic road through the Bluffs of Florida.  Most tourists enjoy a ride along a scenic highway, but when I am riding on my unicycle I interpret scenic as challenging.  Somehow in one of the flattest states in the union I managed to ascend and descend over nine hundred feet.  That would have been an easy day in stage one, but not so much since I resumed my ride.

On top of that my crew got out ahead of me when I was riding a section of bike path from Milton. When my crew called to check where I was the call was dropped so I didn’t know what they were going to do.  They must not have been able to find reverse because by the time I caught up with them, I ended up riding my longest day for stage two .  Between the heat, humidity, hills, and the distance I was a whipped pup.

Day 79 Stats: Rode 37.83 miles at 11.3 mph, Max=17 mph, Cal=1220, Ave heart rate=116, Max heart rate=142, Ascent=947, Descent=935, Temperature= 80 degrees, Total time=4:12, Riding time=3:21, Total trip miles=2498

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Pensacola Florida, Last State (Day 78)

I’m taking my Doctor’s advice who cautioned me about my advancing years and moving along at a hermit crab’s pace.  He is an OBGYN.  Just because my child bearing years are behind me doesn’t mean I am so advanced.  After taking a rest day yesterday I rode 36 miles today from Gulf Shores AL to Pensacola FL.

Welcome to Florida

Welcome to Florida

I came to an intersection and Knuckle Head said to turn right.  I saw a detour sign and figure we better have a conference.  I sat down on a concrete island at the intersection in a thin line of shade offered by a utility pole.  Within seconds I was being mauled by fire ants.  They were biting me in the butt through my shorts. I figured the only solution was to get back on and ride with the natural squirming motion on the seat satisfying my itching.

Finishing My Ride in Pensacola for the Day

Finishing My Ride in Pensacola for the Day

The roads were flat and smooth, and the day was hot and humid.  I figured I could use a little bath after the ride.

The Fat Rider Floats

The Fat Rider Floats

Day 77 stats: Rode 36.07 miles at 12.1 mph, Max= 16 mph, Cal=1399, (Returned some of those at Peg Leg Pete’s), Ave heart rate=129, Max heart rate=158, Ascent=295′, Descent=289′, Max elevation=81′ (over causeway), Min elevation=12′, Ave temp was 79 degrees.  I have ridden 2461 miles in 64 days of riding.  Rode 2:59 out of 3:54 today.

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Gulf Shores Al. Day 76

My legs are sore.  (You big baby) Another beautiful day to ride.  Partly sunny with a sea breeze.  On to the “infamous” Dauphin Island.  Fortunately there was only a light breeze when I rode over the causeway to the island.  There is a good shoulder on the causeway but it is high and only has small walls on the sides, well below the seat of my uni.  It gave me the hebe gebes.

Starting Over Dauphin Island Causeway

Starting Over Dauphin Island Causeway

Approaching the Bridge

Approaching the Bridge

I Thought Alabama was flat.

I Thought Alabama was flat.

I made it over the causeway and rode up to the ferry line just as it started loading.  My support crew arrived just behind me and we proceeded onto the ferry to cross the Mobile Bay.

Crossing Mobile Bay by Ferry (cheater)

Crossing Mobile Bay by Ferry (cheater)

We camped on Dauphin Island the night before I arrived by unicycle.  I spent the night there once before, but that’s another story.  We Stopped at the Pelican Pub to prove a guy can have just one beer there.  My crew convinced me to have another, but we managed to escape after just two.  That wasn’t the case the last time I visited the establishment.

Pelican Pub  The scene of the crime

Pelican Pub The scene of the crime

Just on beer or two

Just on beer or two

Pelican Pub Dock

Pelican Pub Dock

After crossing the bay I rode another 20 miles to Gulf Shores Al.  I could see my crew was drooling over the beach so to avoid a mutiny I declared we would take a break tomorrow and give the crew some R&R.  Really it was the rider who needed the R&R, but don’t tell the crew.  Can you blame us.

Gulf Shores Beach.  Can you blame us?

Gulf Shores Beach. Can you blame us?

Day 76 Stats: Rode 30.58 miles at 12.2 mph, Max speed=16 mph, Calories=1211, Ave Heart rate=119, Max heart rate=157, Ascent=246, Descent=226, Max elevation=114, Min elevation= -8, After riding 63 days I have covered 2425 miles.

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The Shores of Mobile Bay (Day 75)

Today my legs protested about the mileage I rode yesterday.  I am in such poor shape, even though the roads were smooth and flat I was only able to ride for 2:35, covering 30 miles.

The day was a bit more humid but mercifully overcast.  There was enough of a breeze in my face much of the time that my quads thought I was riding up hill.  Tomorrow should be a short riding day as I plan to assault the infamous Dauphin Island.  Then connect with a ferry to cross the Mobile Bay.

Stats for riding day 62:  Rode 30.01 miles at 11.7 mph, Max= 16.1 mph, Calories=1156, Ave Heart rate= 129, Max Heart rate= 155, Ascent=446, Descent=551, Max elevation=125, Min elevatioin= 10′, Rode for 2:35, over 3:12.  Ave Temp=74 degrees.

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Alabama! Day 74 (Riding day 61)

Let the games begin.  It’s October 8th and I started stage two where I left off from stage one on May 12th.  My GPS said I started in the same place I left off, but my legs, lungs, heart, balance, and stamina started a ways back in the trip.  A long ways back.

But it was a beautiful day to ride.  The sun was shining (I had to use sunscreen for the first time since I left Ohio) the temp. was a cool 60 degrees and the breeze was still asleep.  The roads were mostly smooth and relatively flat.  What more could I ask for.  After about 20 miles I was asking for a motor.

I wasn’t pushing on this first day back but to tell you how slow I was riding, I was passed by a house.  I had never been passed by a house before.  Every house I ever saw along the way I always passed.  I was tooling along on a two lane highway with no shoulder when I saw something very huge in my tiny rear view mirror.  I hugged the side of the road as close as I could when a house drove by me.  To be fair it was only half a house, with the other half in hot pursuit.   I suppose one half was trying to catch the other which may explain why they were moving so fast.  If the house had a garage I would have been tempted to pull in and take a break.

I did ride a little farther than I planned for the first day and made it to Alabama.  I hope I don’t regret my ambition tomorrow.

Alabama State Line

Alabama State Line

Day 61 stats.  I rode 36.7 miles averaging 12.2 mph, Max speed 16.2 mph, calories= 1547, Ave heart rate=135, (very out of shape), Max heart rate=155, Ascent= 617′, Descent= 604′, Max elevation=36′, Min elevation= -70′ (blub blub)  Riding time was 3:01, Total time on the road= 4:06

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Southern Belle

It is Sunday October 6 and I hoped to begin stage two of my ride by the 7th, but I cought wind of a southern belle headed my way.  I haven’t met her but I couldn’t help delaying my ride on her account.  Her name is Karen.  I hear she won’t be around long and I plan to start my as soon as she leaves town.

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Heading for Stage Two of My Cross Country Unicycle Adventure

It is October 1st and my crew Joan (her multiple personalities) and I are heading to Mississippi to begin stage two of my unicycle trip across the country.  The first stage was interrupted by my Leishmaniasis friends.  I am healed now but no where near in shape, which is not surprising because I trained for this stage just like I did for the previous stage, with a river trip.

Bill, Maryl, Joan, Slick and I floated eight days on the Middle Fork of the Salmon river.

Always an adventure I had a great Middle Fork trip once I lowered my weather expectations.  We hate to leave cold soggy Idaho for warmer climates but the time has come to move on to our next adventure.

We will travel from Boise Idaho to where I left off riding on May 12th near Biloxi Mississippi.  The plan is to start riding again on October 6th or 7th.  Stay tuned for more updates when the ride begins.

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