Five Days Straight in the Saddle!

Monday, April 17 thru Friday, April 21: 320 miles starting in Old Town, Florida, to Eufaula, Alabama

Here are some random thoughts from the bike saddle (which is torturing me) on week 2:

Florida: Once I biked out of Tampa into the heartland of this state I found it very desolate. Some logging industry was evident, but I had periods of riding for over one hour without seeing a car, home or person. I checked out the Goethe State forest by riding through it, but I did not find much.

Gorgeous Rainbow Springs

Easter Sunrise service at Dunnellon, Florida.

Florida has rivers that are created from underground springs (Dunnellon and Rainbow Springs) where the water is clear to 10 ft and you can see fish easily. What a treat to swim in this spring where the water is always 73 degrees. We also attended Easter service and worshipped on this spring!

Georgia: We left Florida behind this week and entered Georgia and discovered the delightful city of Thomasville. We walked Broad Street and visited an Oak Tree that was so large President Eisenhower also chose to see it (The Big Oak….336 years old).

The Big Oak

Next we stopped in Albany, Georgia. I did not care for this city. No bike lanes, no bike culture and dangerous riding.Two times reckless drivers ran me off the road as they tried to pass other cars. The city seemed depressed, and it felt like I was entering 1985. Bye, Albany, and I won’t be back soon–not until you respect cyclists!

Finally, on Friday I rode from Albany to Eufaula, Alabama, again crossing state lines. This was a long day starting late in Albany due to tough traffic (I stopped at McDonalds for 45 minutes getting up the courage to take on the traffic out of town). Temps reached 90 and I found some awesome hills for the last 30 miles. Some climbs lasted over 1 mile. Nice! This was an 82-mile day fueled by one bowl of Oatmeal, 1 PBJ and a Cliff bar plus 4 water bottles. I biked over 50 miles before finding a gas station or store to refuel. Very desolate.

Lessons Learned from My Second Week of Travel:

  1. Bought a Brooks B17 touring saddle in Albany (Only good thing about this town is Cycle World and its owner Terry) and this is making the difference. Still suffering…just less!
  2. Jane has learned to completely set up camp. Steep learning curve but she has conquered this task in less than 1 week. Doesn’t need my help and now instructs me on how to set up the awning! (Jane’s note: I have still not mastered backing up the camper.)
  3. There are areas that are very remote and I doubt many ever see these regions.
  4. Pecan trees are everywhere around Albany….large trees that look kinda like Oak trees in large orchards sometimes one mile long. I have no idea how they pick the pecans. Will google the process.

My son told me before I left on this journey that the most important thing I will need is Grit. He should know as he walked from LA to Jacksonville with only a backpack. I have mad respect for what he accomplished as this is hard. I’m learning something about grit. I think about it and consider it for hours on the bike. Grit!

Today (Saturday) is a rest day. Back in the Brooks saddle tomorrow morning!

More soon. I will leave you with a quote of encouragement my mom left on our pillow the night before Jane and I left:

Kick up some dust!

3 thoughts on “Five Days Straight in the Saddle!

  1. Whitt

    I see that you took my advice about changing saddles. Kind-of. I thought that Brooks saddles take a month to break in? I guess you will find out. Perhaps if you WASHED OFF the GRIT, rather than embracing it, you would not need a new saddle…

    I hope that you are recording all of this, so we can watch hours of home-movie upon your return.

  2. Laura

    What an adventure! I’m praying for you! Hope the great experiences outweigh the saddle sores.

  3. Carol Jewell

    We love experiencing this with you! Mark, you amaze me with your grit. Jane, you amaze me with your willingness to go so far out of your comfort zone and learn to drive the truck and camper (although with Mark’s saddle problems he is pretty far out of his comfort zone too!) Soon you will master backing up! I have no doubt!

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