Miles today: 58.2
Total miles: 611.6
Ride time: 4:49:41
Avg Speed: 12.0
Max Speed: 28.9
Weather: 64ish, sunny, cold breeze from the north northwest
Today was good. Although it was a little chilly with the breeze, the weather was far nicer than yesterday, almost solely due to the absence of tornados and 50,000 lightning strikes per hour. Almost.
I woke at the usual time, about 5 am, but stayed in bed until a little after 5:30, when the delicious scent of fried ham finally lured me to the kitchen. Al had begun cooking us a breakfast of locally milled grits, eggs, ham, and toast. YUM! I was feeling it. I had seconds.
I had planned on hitting the road by 7, but soon realized I had forgotten to take care of the fingerprinting portion of my background check for the Forest Service. So Al drove me over to the sheriff's office and we got it all squared away and mailed out, 2 weeks late but at least they'll get there. Then we loaded up my bike and headed to radio shack to get an adapter for the solar charger. Al insisted on buying that, despite my assurances that he had gone above and beyond already. Thanks, Al!
I finally got moving around 9 and felt pretty sluggish all day despite my good night's rest. I would normally complain about the wind here but I gave that up for Lint. I've slowly realized the earlier I start the better I feel at the end of the day.
I was seemingly making good time until I saw Georgio's Pizza in Pensacola and just absolutely had to stop because I've been craving pizza for three days or more. It was decent and served its purpose, which is to say it was kind of disappointing. But onward! The scenery kept improving but my legs did not. By the time I reached the state line I didn't think I would have enough time to make it to the last ferry across Mobile Bay to Dauphin Island and since my mind was tired too I decided to stop at my present location: Gulf State Park.
When I was picking this camp spot I imagined a quaint little state park with 20 or 30 campsites. But when I arrived I found the most gigantic campground I have ever seen. Apparently, I have found the destination of the great snowbird migration. All 496 campsites: full. 496!! I still can't believe it.
After I got set up and started cooking red beans and rice, George and Karen from across the street came over to say hi. They are in their 60s or 70s, have been married 50 years, and are from New Jersey. They spend the winter months down here. They like to bike, too. And Karen's dream is to ride cross-country like me. George is originally from Germany. Super neat folks. It was very nice talking with them.
Not too many notable features today. But I will say the gulf shores are beautiful and it's a shame BP mucked them all up. Seems like I passed a discarded set of Mardis Gras beads about once every ten minutes for a while there, especially around Perdido Key. Looks like I missed a heck of a party. Spring breakers seem to be slowly trickling in but, thank goodness, I am early. The last couple of hours riding today were filled with giant condo-skyscraper-hotel-looking buildings. The typical kind of development you see on beautiful beaches. Kind of depressing. But what can you do.
Tomorrow's destination is Vancleave, MS. Yeah, two state lines in two days. I'm getting spoiled. But let me eat my cake while I'm not in Texas, where I will be for close to three weeks. OH, speaking of which, once I get to Austin I'm taking a break for a few days and flying to the Western United States conclave (AWFC) at Cal Poly to be a judge. That's timbersports (yes, like you see on ESPN!) for those of you who don't know what a conclave is. It will be nice, though somewhat sad, to be on the judging side instead of competing this year. I very much look forward to it.
I keep forgetting to do this but I really want to thank Cycle Analyst in Denver for hooking me up with my bike. I put it off until the last second, like I do with most things, but they are awesome and were able to get me a bike just a few days before I left. A little embarrassing on my part but I'm glad it all worked out. Super awesome bike shop and very nice mechanics. Stop by if you are ever in the area and check out ryan's mustache. It's killer.Thanks guys!
Sleep is coming, I can't stop it. Must go. But first, pictures.
Crazy house in Pensacola
I was feeling patriotic
Take care of yourselves.