I have just awoken from the couch and a short preview of the night's rest and remembered I have not yet blogged about this eventful day. But this time it really will be short and sweet because I am up past my bedtime. Ok, maybe not. I'm always so wordy.
No stats today. They are in the garage and maybe possibly don't count anyway. More on that in a bit.
I woke early this morning while it was still dark in the city park in Ponce De Leon, packed up camp, cheated on my oatmeal with a fancy granola bar, and hit the road by 6 am, where I was greeted by this:
I was making good time and had high hopes of beating the storm, which, unbeknownst to me, was traveling my direction at 45 mph. I even took time to break on the side of the road at mile 36, enough time to be attacked by a few fire ants. Ouchgers! They really have a knack for biting on sunburns.
Around mile 46 or so, I crested a hill just outside of Holt and was greeted with the most ominous looking sky I've seen in quite sometime. Ruh Roh, I said to myself. The storm has arrived. Still 30 miles out and kind of sort of in the middle of nowhere, I wasn't really sure what to do, so I kept going.....until I saw the first lightning bolt. Yikes! I gotta get off this road!! Luckily, there was an opening just down the road on the left and, to my delight, there was a big shop and a man was running around trying to finish up his work outside before the rain started pouring from the heavens. I made it to the shop door just as the downpour began, knocked, and asked if I might seek shelter with him until the storm passed. He was more than willing to accommodate me. This is David Smith, my saving grace for the day. Well, one of them:
And this is his pup, Rosco. My new best friend after I shared my beef jerky:
Both of these boys are very likeable. After some chatting it turns out David is also from Kentucky. So many Kentuckians are appearing in my touring life an it is awesome. Keep em comin. David has been building houses since he was 17 but now spends more time racing cars in the late model series since the housing market has slowed. Super neat. He aspires to hike the Appalachian trail someday. Go, David, go!
My warmshowers hosts for the night were immediately awesome. Al and Sally Melvin of Milton, FL. Al was worried about me so he came and picked me up at David's place and brought me back here where I have been treated like family. That's when I found out the storm had actually been producing tornadoes near the town I had just come through. WHOA! Al is from Alaska, is a Vietnam veteran and aviation enthusiast. He most recently flew helicopters for wildland firefighting purposes. Sally is from Canada and teaches elementary school, and has self-published three novels. Way to go! Their hospitality has been amazing. Al even gave me a solar charger for my phone. Now I don't have to worry about it dying on me when I can't charge it at night. Right on!
Well, early day tomorrow and a big one at that. Tomorrow I leave Florida, a state that has been quite good to me, and cross over to Alabama. I'm excited. Are you?
P.S. I added a PayPal button on the side for those of you who were interested in contributing to my sweet tea/beer habits. Got one donation already. Thanks, Gene!