I don’t feel any younger when I wake up. Older in fact. Always, really. My shoulder is killing me. In my professional emergency medical opinion, it’s the result of something somewhere somehow. It really hurts too. To add insult to injury, my bicycle — beautifully leaning against the table next to me — now has a flat back tire. What the fuck? I pull the wheel off, can’t figure out the cause. New tube. In the process I figure out my cone is quite loose. I tighten it up as best I can with an adjustable and feel fortunate to have found that before it got much worse. Kinda need you back wheel, hang in there pal.
Now pulling inland away from the gulf coast, we’ve got partly cloudy skies and a hefty wind out of the south. Roaring twenties. Mid to upper miles per hour twenty somethings. I sound like a pilot or a weatherman. Florida US-90 has that same Texas US-90 appeal to me. As I’m thinking this, in cue Damon says “Yo, I’ll take Florida 90 over Texas 90 all day bro”. Hmm. Ok then. To each his own.
This wind is half and half on my right side of and in my face. The wind never gives us a break. Not one. I’m doing my best to push along miles and gain momentum over what has become a more rolling terrain than there’s been in quite a while. The environment has changed once again. Hills and tiny cute climbs and descents. You go Florida! Distracted drivers operating death machines are passing me at a furious rate and much closer in fact. A fucking sheriff’s car passes a foot away from me! I can hear it when they are super close. I let out loud a sounds as they narrowly let me live in peace.
The flag fanaticism of Texas is back too. Louisiana and Mississippi were pretty solidly flying a singular American flag. While I do like me some flags, the “one flag at a time” display is my fave. Keep it simple stupid. Florida likes them in bunches. They fly a lot of ones with expiration dates. I fight a headwind downhill at 12mph and think about how strange it is that there’s legitimately less flat earth and yet more flat earthers round these parts. The thought is interrupted by an actual flat. Science damnit. Not again. Kind of a slow leak. I find the hole and patch it outside a gas station.
15 miles later and I’m half flat again. Super softie. Fuck. This explains why I’m feeling so strong at the start and so weak toward the end of each chunk of miles. Lower and lower pressure. The 85° heat and humidity has me exhausted and I don’t feel like patching or anything. And I’m not gonna apologize for not using the metric system to anyone either. I just put 80 hand pumps in the slow leaking tube. We make our merry way up the 90 to a place called Marianna. As far as I can tell Marianna isn’t much. Really a pretty shitty town outside of a very Havana-like United States Post Office building. Godless commie bastards… the USPS, not the Cubans. I love them both either way.
Further up the 90, I am now completely employing the “stop every 12 miles and give it 100 hand pumps” technique. There’s a long history of this cultural strategy, all of it in coded oral tradition until just now. Whoops. It all adds up to some good old fashioned time traveling into the Eastern time zone and Chattahoochie Florida. We immediately turn north off of the 90 instead. Like flipping from FOX to CNN or something, I make a hard left and into Georgia – our ninth state of the ride!
Two miles up and $14 later and we’re set up luxuriously at East Bank Campground. It is maintained by the US Army Corp of Engineers and is a magnificent campground. It is worth the detour to pop up the portable penthouse right on the shores of Lake Seminole. I’m gonna enjoy it instead of writing about it now. Good night.