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Day 39 – 41: Gainesville to Crawfordville, FL

Case of the manflu so it’s a rushed post – will put up video and more in-depth writing soon – this is a quick ride update.

Day 39 – Gainesville to Mayo, FL (66 miles)

The bike got a service. Yeah! Meant a late start but worth it to have a fresh bike. Sounds like the bottom bracket may not have too much life in it, but should be good for a while so it’ll be interesting to see if it holds up to San Diego.

Florida, without question, is the best state to cycle in so far. There’s a state law saying that cars have to leave 3ft between them and any cyclists and the road shoulders, on the whole, are huge.

After a great ride through farmland and rural Florida (the sound of donkeys is quite bizarre when you can’t see them) the day finished, after several hours of night riding, in Mayo at 10.00pm. And with no headwinds at all.

Day 40 – Mayo to Crawfordville, FL (80 miles)

What a road. It’s probably one of the best roads so far. The Coastal Highway.

Set off from Mayo at about midday. Simple cycling enjoying the long flat roads that stretch into the distance, yet again with no significant headwinds. Just turn off and pedal.The sunny day turned to an amazingly clear and starry night on the road. Here’s a couple of snaps:

At around 8pm, in the distance there were a couple of flickering lights on the other side of the road, and after a while there was the sound of blasting metal music. ‘Ey up, what’s this about? Turned out to be Simon and Mike, from Gainesville. Gainesville? Maybe they’d been out for a long day ride. Nope. Simon had been on the road for 18 months, after setting off from Gainesville, and had cycled (with a boom box – hence the music!) to Washington state and this was his final couple of days before returning home. Mike had joined the ride in Louisiana for the final part. It was enjoyable and insightful to chat with someone who’d been living the bike life for so long. It sounds fairly bloody epic, bears and all.

More night riding and a late finish in Crawfordville, where the wonderful people at The Inn At Wildwood sorted out a room for a couple of nights.

Day 41 – Crawfordville, FL

Today there’s been thunderstorms and heavy rain across Florida, and tomorrow it clears up again. The offer of indoor accommodation couldn’t have come at a better time. Happy coincidence there. This was earlier:

Click here if video doesn’t show in your email browser.

Thanks again to The Inn At Wildwood – if you’re passing check it out. Great staff and an awesome place to hang out – especially when it’s pouring down! Onwards!



Vague Direction: A 12,000 mile bicycle ride, and the meaning of life.
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13 comments on this post

  1. Mike Cambray says:

    Hi David, now that is what I call rain!! Good job you were indoors for that. I am really enjoying reading your blog and what a road trip you are on. Simon and Mike sound like great guys and quite a journey to get across to Washington State and back – I guess Simon holed up in places if he took 18 months over it? I have been wondering if you have seen any places where you have thought about holing up? I guess one of the lifestyle choices that we all make is whether we are going to stay out on the road or if/when/how we decide to stick around in a place and make some relationships and put down what are usually called roots (I have never know what that has meant!). Asking people what they mean by ‘home’, or where is ‘home’ is an interesting question – is you home your bike at the moment, or is it the virtual world that you inhabit throught your blog, or is it the place that you happen to be? Where did Simon experience as home over the last 18 months – perhaps he was on a piece of elastic from Gainesville that always drew him back? As the USA is largely a nation of people whose families came from elsewhere over the last 250/300 years (many more recently than that), what does home mean to them. A topical question as we head to Christmas.

    Hope the rain has stopped and all is well. Sending good thoughts from Staveley – where it is also raining – but not quite so hard as Florida.

    Warm wishes,

    Mike x

    • Dave says:

      Hi Mike, apologies about the delay – road life!

      Thanks for your message, the ‘Where is home’ question is really interesting to think about and will definitely be part of upcoming interviews. (thanks!)

      Simon took his time and stayed in some places for weeks at a time (I think in Washington state, it was actually months). Didn’t chat to him about where he thinks of as home but they were definitely excited to return back to Gainesville so perhaps the elastic drew him back. Will try and get his thoughts on this.

      In terms of holing up, I’ve definitely travelled through places that I’d like to go back to, and spend much more time there (Savannah, Charleston and NYC probably top the ‘go back to’ chart at the moment). It’s a tricky one because of the end goal, and visa / monetary limits etc. It is a tough battle when it comes to holing up as this trip isn’t a Into The Wild style sack-off-society trip in any way, so fleetingly passing through places and not building any relationships longer than a few days can be very frustrating. It’s quite ironic in many ways that the project sets out to be about people yet how well can you really get to know someone in a day or two? It’s because of this that I’ve been thinking of having periods of a week + in one place (split up throughout the route), and trying to become immersed in that time.

      ‘Where’s home’ is a great question. I don’t think it’s the place I happen to be, not yet anyway. Maybe this will change after the longer breaks or going through a place that just ‘fits’. Maybe it’s the bike at the moment. It does have everything on it, in terms of food, warmth and shelter. So in practical terms perhaps the bike is home right now. But it’s the relationships that make a place ‘home’ so perhaps this trip is just a relatively (in the grand scheme of things) short adventure until the elastic reaches it’s limit?

      Do you have any thoughts on where home is / has been for you in the past and what ‘home’ means? Would love to hear them. And get ready to hear people answering the question ‘Where is home and what does it mean to you?’ in upcoming video snippets ;)

      All the best to you all and happy Christmas!

  2. Mike in PA says:

    As a coast to coast rider the summer of 2000, I am vicariously enjoyed following your trip . What is your total mileage at this point? It would also be fun to hear how your gear mix has changed, if any, from what you started with to what you have now. And I’m curious about cost so far – what is your average daily expense thus far? Continued blessings to you in this great journey, and keep things rubber side down.

    • Dave says:

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Total mileage right now is 1605 miles.

      Will do a post soon about gear mix, but to be honest it’s not changed that much from this: http://www.vaguedirection.com/gearheads-a-kit-list-that-isnt-a-bike-spec/ I’ve ditched some small accessories (like an electric shaver etc) but most is still the same. Sure it’ll change quite a lot when I get to the first monster hills!

      In terms of cost, I need to have a proper look, but it depends. A cheap day (food from Walmart or equiv.) and stealth camping can come in around $15 per day. As soon as you add a cheap motel in to that it shoots up to $65+, so I’ve been camping most of the time. Sorry for the vagueness of this, will have a proper look and get back to you.

      Hope you enjoy the journey going forwards, and happy holidays!

  3. Tony Norris says:

    Glad you had a dry hotel room. Knew it was rainin as I had watched the weather and knew about where you are. I’m familiar with your present location as I have been there many times. It looks like you will be fine for the next few days but it may get windy. The wind is worse for me than rain. What a treat meeting up with the two fellow travelers. You should meet more after Christmas if you stay on the ACA route. By turnin S/W from Crawfordville and heading toward Appalachacola you would stay on mostly deserted and excellant roads and travel thru many small fishing villages that survive by fishing and oyster harvesting. The local Appalachacola area provides a whopping 90% of the nations oysters. Where you are now is what the locals call “The Forgotten Coast” and they are proud of that title. We have been there many times usually from Christmas to after New Years and seen cycle travelers along 319 between Apppalachacola and Port Saint Joe.. If you are near there, try to find a bottle of Tupelo Honey. It is magic honey in that it is great for diabetics as it does not turn to sugar. Any other honey will turn to sugar in time but not tupelo. A great energy source.
    Stay safe and keep pedelin.
    Tony

    • Dave says:

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It was the heaviest downpour so far, Floridian rain ‘eh?! You’re totally right about the forgotten coast being amazing. Thanks for the interesting info. On the lookout for Tupelo Honey – thanks for the heads up!

  4. Tod Landess says:

    Great post. I love those starry night photos. Did you get any interview footage of Simon and Mike? I hope the weather holds out for you.

    Cheers,

    Tod

    • Dave says:

      Hey Tod,

      Unfortunately no footage with Simon and Mike – it was pitch black and they were so close to home so didn’t stick around long.

      It rains in Florida ‘eh?!

  5. Lois Lane says:

    Have enjoyed following you since reading about you in the ACA bike bits. As a veteran of two cross-USA trips and other long distance rides, I’m intrigued by your night riding. Have not done it myself. Happy to hear that you’ve found friendly drivers and good roads in FL. Know that you are inspiring people, and even though you may not hear from us, we’re reading your blog and wishing you the best!

  6. george foster says:

    ho ho ho merry christmas! have a great day muurt!!

  7. […] up having another day off (in the same place as the previous update) to recover from a bout of chesty illness. It was amazing to spend some recovery time catching up […]

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