I’m in this campground til after 10am. Latest roll out so far. Getting my twenty dollars worth of primitive. I make what for various reasons is somehow my first campground coffee of the ride. It’s exquisite, unlike my plan for the next couple days. Jive turkeys invade my space.
I map out some things. Orlando is apparently the most dangerous place to bicycle in. Challenge coin? I decide on a short day toward historic Mount Dora. Anywhere “mount” and “historic” in Floriduh is intriguing and amusing. I hear there are hills. I want them. I know there’s wind. Coming from the direction I’m heading. I don’t want that. I pack it all up an head toward the water station and ferry.
Hills and winds are my copassengers on today’s fantastic voyage. That and my belief in pool noodle. She keeps me safe. I name her Petra. Pool Noodle Petra and I are like Wilson and Tom Hanks. Except I’d never treat a her the way Tom did that soccer ball. Dirty. You’re wrong Tom, so wrong.
Pedaling downhill and upwind is like missing the best part of something. It ruins what should be much more fun, so much so that it’s nauseating. I’m legitimately nauseous right now because of it. Or maybe it’s because of the entire bag of hot Takis that I ate last night. So much red number 4. Eventually I get to some nicely rolling hills. I’m up and down and I’m and down. I’ve hit the sweet spot, where I’ve normalized riding 70 miles a day, so a short 35 mile day helps me align my thoughts a bit. I’m in that happy spot, in tune with the environment and the natural world. I’ve got a turn coming up that I’ve been anticipating. Thrill Hill.
It doesn’t disappoint. A couple long climbs and one big old thrilling downhill. I hit the top of the climbing and let out a loud whoop. Cuz I’m whopped. I shift gears and begin the roll down. I just hit 37mph. Like just now. Im pretty sure I should not be texting and riding this fast at the same time. The front bags keep my horse steady as I push it to 40mph. It’s a rush and I take a slight decline all the way into tiny historic Mount Dora, elevation 184 feet. Looks like rain for the evening; I’m eager to explore a bit on foot and could use an evening lounging — so I opt for an historic cottage for the night, a nice little treat indeed.
Fast forward that ass way past all sorts of things that I’ve been blabbering about the last week. Bike ride stuff and all. Keep hitting FF until the point on the space-time continuum where I’m on actual vacation. This coffee slash craft beer spot is cool slash awesome on tourist slash visitor barometers. Ask Slash — Kordell or the dude in Guns N Roses, I don’t care. I bet either will back me up on this assertion. The young ladies working here are way more intriguing than the product they’ve been serving me. Like 90% of it is sours and IPAs and I don’t really like either. I get a barley wine. My intrigue I partly because of gorgeous smiles and friendliness, though mostly because Jaide here does small stick and poke tattoos. And I need a travel souvenir. Poke poke poke? I’m working out the deets with her now. It’s gotta be tonight or bust so it’s probably not gonna happen. Hard timeline. Meh. Her coworker Mera is actually the diamond and they definitely should unionize. Unless one of them owns the joint, then they should worker coop it for sure. A warm fuzzy feeling takes hold and I realize that this is what totally vacating feels like. Holiday! Hurray!
Later, some young dude with dreads walks by and tells his girlfriend how astounded he is that his dad something something the BMW and something something insurance – and I right now really actually realize I am really really on vacation now. Really. No riding. Just hanging out. Here the fuck I am. In the present moment and cashing in on my floating paid time off for this experience. My old pup Isis would have a sissyfit right about now. About this dumb ass deadlocked white boy, not my time off. Isis been a down ass bitch since way before Islamic terrorists stole her name — she’s never been very accepting any sort of cultural appropriation, especially the whole white people with dreadlocks variety. Barks at them hard, every single one of ‘em. Dogs know. I think of her and miss her. Wish you were here. You and Banh Mi. I walk on, checking out five blocks of this tiny little downtown. The sun it setting slowly.
Fast forward again and the staff is apologizing because my dinner is hella delayed. They tell they are shucking my oysters ahora. Really? Ok. They arrive. Creamy as fuxk. Yum. I order a negroni. I’m still on oyster Number three. It’s getting dark. This doesn’t feel like a bike tour. There’s all sorts of formal wear folks doing all sorts of shaking of cocktails in this open-container historically designated so and so. I’ve got some Grant work due back home, I consider heading in to knock it out… Butt.
I walk around more of this cutesy tourist haven, catching excerpts of tender moments from young lovers, interactions between retirees, and other little tidbits. I’m pretty sure I’ve covered all of it. I think too much about the sociological experiment that is my life. Sociology? Mixology? Numerology? Don’t know much about history. Don’t know much biology. I dunno Sam Cooke. I can’t call it. I continue bar hopping. I head back to the beer/coffee place. Jaide’s gone, Mera is still working. Putting up with tourists shit. Like mine. Eventually I finish up and head home. No souvenir today. I’d describe me passing out but I don’t remember it.