With a final ride of just over 60 miles, we rode down the boardwalk into the Atlantic Ocean, thus finishing our cross-country ride. As Denise noted, it was a bit anti-climactic, but still, we did it!
After several days of cold, cloudy, and wet weather, we once again enjoyed riding in beautiful sunshine and warm Florida temperatures. We rode 72.6 miles with only 837 feet of elevation gain, so it was flat and, as seems typical for the Florida roads, smooth going. We spent the night in Osceola National Forest, which made for a nice change from the standard “rv park.”
This rest day was not planned at all, as we were hoping on pushing through the last three days to the coast, but with thunderstorms and rain for most of the day, we were forced to stay in the camper for the day and postpone riding until tomorrow. We spent most of the day reading, though we did venture out into the chilly rain for a wet game of putt-putt golf.
After passing through Midway, Florida, we are officially more than halfway through Florida. Yet, despite riding through lots of wetlands, we still haven’t seen any alligators–though we’ve been looking! Today’s ride was pretty non-eventful, though we did stop at a cool restaurant in Monticello, Florida for lunch called RevCafe. All in all, we rode 66.2 miles with 1,913 feet of elevation–mostly in long rolling hills. We have decided that Florida wins the prize for the nicest roads of any state we’ve ridden through–they are smooth and have a fairly consistent berm/bike lane, which is a sweet difference from many of the rough, narrow roads we’ve ridden so far.
We rode 71.3 miles today and climbed almost 2,000 feet. The morning was quite chilly despite this being Florida, so we bundled up in our warm riding gear and rode anyway. By the afternoon, the sun came out and warmed it up slightly–though it is still only about 62F. Brr! Right as we started our ride, we met another cyclist heading east. He rode up to us and said, “Hi, Jim!” It turns out, he was one of the people we had tried to recruit as a driver, but instead of driving, opted to ride it himself with his wife driving sag. We leapfrogged with him a bit, but now are at the same rest stop for the night. Our initial connection with him and his wife is actually through his daughter Lindsey, who flies with Africa Inland Mission out of Nairobi and is a graduate of Liberty University, where somehow she and Abi got connected years ago. What a small world!
We started later today thanks to thunderstorms rumbling through the area all morning, but still managed to ride 61.6 miles. We had a slight tailwind most of the day, and enjoyed more of Florida’s bike lane along 90, as well as the tall pine forests on each side of the road. The road was full of long sweeping curves and rolling hills, which made the riding fun. We also managed to stay dry, which is always a bonus!
Early in today’s ride, Abi found a cell phone on the side of the road, and once returning to the rv at the end of the day to attempt charging it, was able to contact the owner and arrange for its return. The gentleman who owned the phone had accidentally left it on the back of his truck while driving and was overjoyed at its return—even offering to donate to a charity as reward for the return of the phone (so I gave him the Neighborlink Fort Wayne website). Cool stuff.
We spent today at Santa Rosa Beach soaking up the sunshine and saltwater…and trying to even out or at least fade our cycling tans. I’m not sure that last part worked, but we did enjoy the beach! Abi and Josh went stand-up-paddleboarding with dolphins, and Josh even saw some sting rays. We all got some reading in, and played a bit in the chilly, but clear water. It was a relaxing, wonderful rest day.