Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 30 Through the Forest

After a rest day the world did not look quite so gloomy. We were up and into the breakfast by 5:45 am.  A quick eat and we were off at 6:10.

Sadly the initial half mile was uphill. That is a tough beginning for someone who warms up as slowly as I do. As it turned out, the road was not as flat as the previous several days. In fact it was rolling. The trouble is that on our fully loaded bike with the trailer, we don’t roll so well.

The ride from Palatka to Salt Springs was challenging. We had to climb over a couple of steep bridges as well as deal with the “rolling” terrain. The picture is a view from one of those bridges. We had been told that there was nothing between Palatka and Salt Springs and that was accurate. We were also told there was not much in Salt Springs. That turned out to not be too accurate. There was a resort which we did not need. But there was also a little restaurant that served quite good plate-sized pancakes. We had a nice waitress who kept bringing us water so we could top off our camelbacks. We talked to lots of people who were amazed at our trip. We met a couple who were on a Harley trike and who understood our wanderlust.

Finally we were off. It turned out to be a tough ride. The terrain was definitely rolling. There was nothing between Salt Springs and the end of the Ocala National Forest about 30 miles away. Well, there was a porta-potty at about the half way point. It was hot.

Finally we came out of the forest and there were several minimarts. We stopped and drank and ate a bit. We got information that there was basically one motel about 5 miles down the road in Umatilla. After our break we took off.

The next several miles were very difficult. The terrain was no longer rolling. It was consistently uphill and there was a pretty good headwind building up. It was miserable. Add to that, the usual late afternoon thunderstorm appeared to be arriving in the early afternoon.

We got into town, asked for directions and found the motel. The office was closed and there were phone numbers on the door. We put the bike undercover just before the storm hit. I called a couple of the numbers and got the owner who came over in about 15 minutes. We checked into a room. It was very 1950s but huge with a full kitchen. The woman upgraded us I suspect when she heard that we bicycled from New York. She said that her husband, an attorney was from Hornell, NY. We chatted for a while. She checked the modem to make sure the Wi-Fi would work. Then she offered to let us use her washer and dryer for free. Wow.

My son-in-law just sent me this link which I had managed to miss. It is a link to the article written about us by the reporter we met in Richmond Hill, Georgia.

Today’s ride: We rode 58.9 miles at an average speed of 9.4 mph. We were on the bike for 6 hours and 12 minutes. We are now 1313 miles into our trip and the end is in sight.

Debbie’s emotionometer: Good mood most of the day. Grumpy the last 5-6 miles as we desperately needed to eat, drink, rest, and cool off after 30 miles of no services. After resting, drinking, and eating the mood improved. There was also some anxiety about the approaching thunderstorm with us still on the bike. Fortunately, we won that race and got under cover before the storm broke.

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