Saturday January 21, 2017, 52 miles (84 km) – Total so far: 1,058 miles (1,703 km)
Gainesville to Cedar Key, Florida. Sunset Isle RV Park
Ok, today was a hard day. I had a feeling it would be. The weather report was forecasting a storm with the potential of severe thunderstorms and even tornadoes to come in by late afternoon. That meant I had to get to my destination quicker than I’d been moving before so less talking and more riding.
Things started out well as I received another donation to FMF while I was eating second breakfast. Thanks to the nice couple from Cincinnati for helping out. Fueled with coffee and pecan waffles, I rode out of town on yet another bike path for 12 miles. Gainesville, you’ve got it going on for cyclists. Thanks.
Soon though, the wind started to freshen. As storms come from the west here, the winds move from the southwest to bring them in. You might have guessed I of course was heading toward the southwest directly toward them.
As soon as I got out of Gainesville, the scenery consisted of very long, straight roads lined with pine forests and palmettos. Not the most interesting of things to look at as I rode along. I could see cell towers miles away and it seemed to take years to get to them. Of course, the wind started to blow a little harder.
I was also tired from the last few days efforts. I have pushed a little harder as the temptation of a couple weeks of rest with Jeri, and the Frenchies in the RV motivated me to get there early. I tried all manner of diversions. Singing my new song, making up new ones. Talking to buzzards. Of course, the winds began to blow in earnest.
By lunch time, I was pretty worn out so I stoped at the Ottercreek Country Store for a hot dog. This is a very interesting place with many locally made products as well as several jared items from the Amish in North Carolina. Lunch and conversation was excellent as I learned a little of the history of the area. As I rested inside however, the wind was training for an outright gale.
Having another 20 miles to go, I gamely climbed back in the saddle, dropped my head down and tried to hide behind my fairing as much as possible. I’ve been working on the lyrics to a song about determining which direction I was to go every morning. Something about using the wind as a compass and riding around in a circle until I faced the it and going that way. I didn’t have to do the circle thing as the wind was blowing near hurricane strength.
Ok, ok. Now I’m exaggerating but I swear, the closer I got, the harder it blew. When I was ten miles out, I was going 10mph. At 9 miles, 9mph and at 8 miles…well, you get the picture. When the trees gave way to open marsh, I was struggling to do 5 mph and the high profile Clara was being blown all over the shoulder.
Eventually though, through perseverance, determination and cussed stubbornness, I pulled into Sunset Isle RV Park. There was Bessie the RV, with Jeri and the Frenchies to greet me. It may have been hard but it was worth it and I have a good story to boot.