Tuesday, April 28, 2009

High Springs here we are

The ride from Perry to High Springs was the prettiest ride yet in Florida. It was another pretty flat day. Lots of pretty wildflowers, cows, goats, and sheep along the way. Once we moved off the main road onto the back road to Ichetucknee Springs state park the scenery became prettier. The maps said it was a 76-mile day, but even with a side trip to the springs most riders were at the hotel (a throwback to the Sheffler hotel out west -- will do, but...) by 3 p.m. Another slight headwind day, but the slight headwind feels good in the heat!

The springs at the Ichetucknee Springs state park were really pretty. The spring closest to the parking lot is the one most people swim in. A spring further back was more isolated and elemental. Both are worth the visit, especially on a hot day.

This was my last sag driving day. The day included hauling an ailing rider to the hotel, riding interference at a spot where a pack of dogs were chasing riders, setting up 3+ sag stops, and backtracking almost 40 miles to find a rider (she had trouble with the cue sheet directions and wasn't where I could see her when I initially passed her), filling up the gas tank, and restocking the snacks and water.

I have enjoyed the sag duties most of the time. Everyone says they are so happy to see me. That may be the last time I hear that!!This group of riders has been so easy to sag because they usually change their own flats and ride together in predictable ways. Every now and then they got lost, but were resourceful enough to find their way home. Sometimes they would frustrate me by getting too far ahead of the bulk of the riders or too far back, which makes helping everyone more difficult, but everyone has to ride his or her own ride as long as it doesn't jeopardize the safety of the others.

Tomorrow is my last day-long ride of the trip. We'll travel to Palatka -- approximately 72 miles or so. On Thursday we have a very short day, with a police escort the last 3 miles to the beach in St. Augustine. Given how widely we tend to spread out during the course of the day, the trick will be getting everyone to show up at the designated spot by the time we have to assemble for the final 3 miles. Some riders will be there early. We have one rider who has been the last one out every day but one, and sometimes by 20 minutes or so. She will have to be up and moving quickly.

No bike stats today. Food: cereal, yogurt and a banana for breakfast. Had some oreos, half a banana, and a milkshake on the road. Had some curried broccoli and chicken over noodles for dinner. A rice krispies bar for dessert.


Thom said...

Now that you're almost done with the Southern route, what about riding behind (or ahead) of Peter on the eastern route back to Vermont? A rest day in Virginia to see Kak, no sagging....
You've made us all very proud - and we all feel very lazy and inactive. Gee, thanks!

marty said...

I can't believe you are almost done. You need to take on another challenge like this. I've grown addicted to your blogs! Some of my friends are following along, also, and are so impressed. You've really seen southern America up close and personal. It will be interesting seeing how you handle road trip withdrawal! Make sure you see the fort at San Augustine -it's cool!