Left our very pleasant campground on the shores of Seminole Lake to drive back to Chatahoochee. This town is not to be confused with the river, Choctawatahoochee, just to be clear 🙂 An early morning thrill with a half mile long downhill right out of town! Bike speedometer hit 30 for the first time on this trip.
While going over our normal pre-departure routine for planning where we stop and for what, a car drives up and Gene, the nurse, joins us in conversation. A few years back, he and his two sons rode the Northern Tier from west coast to east coast. That is a substantially longer ride than the Southern Tour that we are now on. He was famililiar with it as well and is hoping to set up a “Hot shower and supper” stop for future riders of the ST. We gave him our card and wished him the best, as he did for us. Cross country bikers are a relatively small fraternity and can spot each other easily.
Speaking of routine, now that we’re about done with our first full week of riding, the “routine” is getting to be, well, routine. If you recall from the very first blog post, I had a picture of the seven “map booklets” that cover this entire ride. Within those booklets are 108 maps (15 per booklet) that meticulously show each mile, roadway, town, and distance. By noon tomorrow, we will be putting away the first 15 maps of Booklet #7 (last of the series since we’re going east to west vs west to east)! It makes us feel like we’ve accomplished something. A lunch stop is decided based on what the terrain looks like. At that stop, we will look for possible overnight stops that will have a place to camp STella. When we part ways at lunch, Cathy will research via Google and the map info what is available. Texting choices back to me, we set the “Alamo Point”, i.e. neither of us goes past that point without connecting. Routine.
Cathy’s arrival at Alamo Point, Ponce de Leon, was, as per usual, quite a while ahead of mine. She was able to explore a neat state park whose only claim to fame was a spectacular spring that delivers over 14 MILLION GALLONS of incredibly clear, pure water DAILY from its subterranean source to the surface pool directly above. Since it is technically “winter” here, there is no one swimming in the 68 constant degree water. The park ranger informed us there are upwards of 300 cars daily during the summer months.
We are within a half day’s bike ride from the state line dividing Florida and Alabama. I was thinking as I was riding today about the fact that Ponce de Leon figured so strikingly in both the beginning of the ride in this lovely state and now near the western end of the long Florida panhandle. His statue graced many notable places in St Augustine as its founder, and now his name shows up on the nearly “magical” springs that he so unsuccessfully sought in his vain search for the Fountain of Youth.
I had mentioned earlier the pulpwood business that seems to be the lifeblood of this area. I include a picture, as it occurred to me this is the equivalent of the grain hopper bottom trailers of the midwest. I gave up keeping count of how many full and empty rigs pass me in a days time.
Our camp for the night is of the “strange” variety, if for nothing else than it is totally empty, save for STella! The irony of that is, the camp could hold probably a hundred plus campers, plus there are cabins, at least three “lodges” that we can see, and areas for tent campers. Again, as with PdL State park, all the activity apparently is for “summer”. The big draw here is that there at least two mammoth underwater caves that the really adventurous can scuba dive into and through. My “adventure” meter stops well short of that activity.
Our dear daughter Brenna’s birthday is tomorrow, and as for years too many to count, will call her early to sing Happy Birthday. She dutifully listens and tells us she likes it 🙂
This post, as the previous two days offerrings, awaits a Wifi site.
Thanks to all for replies, good thoughts, and prayers.