Today has been an interesting day. By interesting I mean completely and utterly SHITTY. Yesterday was quite nice though. I covered approximately fifty miles over about four and a half hours of cycling. That includes stopping for photographs and having lunch at a Subway, so I made pretty great time. That night I camped in Osceola National Forest near to Ocean Pond, a body of water which is as it sounds—a very, very large pond (basically a lake)—and one which I wanted to visit this morning but didn’t due to waking up to precipitation in the form of water falling from the sky. In truth I didn’t really wake up to much rain but I befriended a fellow, Connor, who was traveling by motorcycle (I thought him much smarter than I), and we struck up conversation which of course slowed my packing considerably. Enough so that by the time I DID manage to cram my belongings into the various bags that they only kind of sort of fit in, including the backpack that was not brought along with this intention, the rain, or the day’s SHITTINESS did truly begin.
It was with a sigh of exasperation and arms in the air with resignation and of course-ness that I wandered off along a hard-packed sandy road to Route 90, which, despite it being designated a “route” or highway, is actually relatively quiet and came complete with a cycling lane.
For twenty or so miles I pedaled. The rain let up some, then came down harder, then let up again, then, as though a zipper was undone along the bottom of some bulging cloud above me, rain came down by the bucketsful (as they say). My back ached from the backpack, my thighs chafed from my soaked bibs, and as I slowed down upon arriving at Lake City (checking for coffee and food resources of any kind from my phone) I began to shiver. Not the best set of circumstances to find oneself in.
As there were no small, specialty or family-owned types of cafes in town, I made my way to a Panera on the far western edge of town, chosen for its wi-fi and the heartier food options than the nearby Starbucks. Well? What else is one to do in this situation?
Anyway. I dined on warm carbohydrates, and was bought a coffee by a woman who cycles, runs and generally speaking stays active. We chatted for a bit and it was apparent that she was genuinely enthused about my trip. It was here, after stripping out of my sopping jacket and jersey for a dry top and my insulated jacket, that I decided to seek refuge for the night at the Driftwood Motel, an appropriately named place for the state I was in. So here I am, in Tallahassee, typing this up as though I was still in that motel with the time to write while my tent and other belongings were strewn about the motel room undampening in a pretended state of organization while I prepared my meh dinner of rice, red lentils, zucchini, garlic, and a few snagged basil leaves from a cart of plants lined up against a fence at Walmart.
Hopefully my things dry out completely overnight, though I’m not counting on that, and any rain tomorrow is spottier and weaker. Twenty miles is a pathetic distance for a day, and I’m rather done with this getting soaked business. I should probably just walk back to the Walmart and buy a poncho (assuming they have any)….