Morning coffee from an airstream with cousin Tony. Dr G as the student at UCF apparently call him. He’s a professional media megaman. He’s studying and writing about the political implications of the Purge movies. I’ve only seen the one film shot in Buffalo and made to look like Staten Island. Wu-Tang is on your brain. The airstream is next to a waffle spot, and he quotes one of the characters of one of the Purges I may or may not have seen part of: “All I can think about is Waffles and pussy.”
Not a bad combo I suppose. We hug it out and I hit the non motorized path out of Gainesville and have a lot more to think about for a majority of the day. Vehicle free. Fuck yes motherfucker.
I think I can smell the Atlantic at this point. Or maybe that’s my stanky shirt. Thinking about how I wanna end this amazing ride. Or if I ever want to. I feel like I could ride forever. Butt. I do have a few more days off work, I could turn left and head north as far as I can get. Butt. I have a shit ton of a lot on my plate the moment I am home either way, so taking the train might be the best option. Maybe ride another 1500-2000 mile ride later this year? I think. And think. And think.
I think about the other bicyclists I pass. I usually just smile or nod or wave. Sometimes i ring the bell. Bicyclists so often clash or mock each other, even thought we’re all in on the amazing secret of how great riding feels in so many levels. I think about acceptance and tolerance of people and situations and such. I’m at the point where any other approach just feels like too much work to me, even compared to these 80-90 mile days. I try to keep a right mind about simply accepting whatever comes my way, rather than putting a value on it or dismissing it. Some times this is people; we all should learn how to explode our empathy and tolerate and accept and celebrate differences. In fact. I would argue that disagreement is very American. It’s kinda sorta part of Democracy. Some times this is more of occurrences and events. Shit will go wrong at some point. The going will get tough. Let’s accept it as it comes and direct the change rather than continue to go through the change. All of this includes me accepting today’s nearly 90 mile day. I quiet my mind and pedal harder.
Later in the day I am greeted in the route by Rob and his dog Blanca. Rob is riding the southern tier east to west in segments. Today is their first day out and they’re going to Biloxi on this segment. There. See how easy it is to use there, their and they’re correctly? This makes the list: Nick, Jim, Chelsea w/ Taj, Justin and Rob w/ Blanca all on the cross country route. Not nearly as many as I met ten years ago on the Northern Tier, but exciting nonetheless.
I win a game of chicken with a butterfly. Then I lose against another. You win some you lose some is what the boomers say. This day worth of rail trail feels like the C&O and GAP Trail from DC to Pittsburgh. I pass streets with names like Carter Crabtree and Cracker Swamp. Rest stops. Quiet times in small towns. Snacking on an apple make the world go round. What’s the over/under on how many minutes until the core becomes a squirrel’s feast?
After many many miles I make it to St Augustine. In my mind it’s streets are paved in gold. I’ve been anticipating arrival into the oldest city in the USA. What happens in reality is that I take a break by the water and witness two bums fight. That was quite the change up, but entertaining as fuck nonetheless. I realize that it’s me and all the other bums watching. And that in the eyes of all the tourists, I am undistinguishable amongst them.
With nowhere to legally camp and a desire to not completely fall into bum life by tenting with them, I grab another motel, shower up and head down the street to the Blackfly. It turns out to be an amazing seafood restaurant and a conversation with a local provides proof that is is in fact one of the two best places in town. I sit at the bar and annihilate three plates of food. Shrimp. Scallops. Mexican street corn. Mmmm.