Life On A B-I7

Follow @bradjadkins on

Southern Tier - Sun Nov 17, 2019

Day 64

Madison Florida to Lake City Florida

The day started with my Hallmark Channel friend driving me north six miles to put me back on-route. She was a hoot. When I left her to go get some dinner last night, she was watching a new Hallmark movie. I said “How did that one end?” She looked at me and said “How do you think?” I said “the same way the one before ended?” She laughed and said “of course!” (I knew the answer, we were just bantering.) She was driving an old RAM pick-up truck. It ran pretty well but it was beat-up. She called it her “garbage truck.” I assume that’s because she hauls garbage with it, but I’m not completely clear on that. I looked down at the gas and brake pedals and to my surprise, saw that they both had lighted covers. I’ve never seen that before. The pedals were reflecting bright red flames throughout the driver’s side foot well. It was spectacular! I asked her about it, how could you not? She explained that she bought the truck from a Mexican. She was very proud of it, she hasn’t put a penny into it in five years. She bought it for $500.

About 11am I rolled into the town of Suwannee. Yes, the same as the river made famous in song by Stephen Foster. This is not the only notable thing about the town. I was about to meet a man that would fill me in on a couple of other interesting historical footnotes. I turned off the Main Street that was Hwy. 90, looking for a cafe. I wanted a cup of hot coffee to warm me up. A block down the street, across from the Suwannee Court House was a shop with a sign that said simply, “Cafe.” There was a fellow bringing all manner of sports clothes out in front of the cafe. I figured what the heck, I’d pull over, maybe there was a cafe hidden in there somewhere. I got off the bike and asked him if the cafe was open. He said “No, only on Friday and Saturday.” I was getting ready to push-on and he said, “come on inside, you look cold and I have some sweatshirts on sale you might like, at least you can warm up a bit.” Well how can you refuse that sort of offer, even without coffee.

I went inside and the place was loaded with sports clothing. Tom introduced himself and said this was the last of his inventory from the sporting goods store he sold a few years back. He was parting out. Well, I poked around and ended up buying three pieces of gear with a retail value over $100. I paid $14 for all of it. I’ll make room in my panniers for just about anything at that price. We chatted a bit and he said, “come here, I have something to show you.” We walked into the back, this is where the cafe is on Friday and Saturday, he pointed to a full bar. I said “are you telling me you’ll open the bar just for me?” He nodded. I sat down and looked over his bourbon selection and ordered a Crown. It’s noon on Sunday in a Florida County that was dry 6 years ago. Everybody that is anybody is in church. Tom has opened his bar for me. I’m humbled, and just a little bit amused. We chatted as I sipped my Crown. He told me his Ted Bundy story, I told him my D. B. Cooper story. I probably could have sat there all day with him, I’m sure he would not have minded.

He told me all about the Kimberly Leach trial that took place at the Suwannee Court House right across the street from his cafe. Kimberly was Bundy’s last victim. I don’t intend to talk about the trial or Bundy. He was a monster. His victims deserved to be remembered. This story is about Tom. He told me when Bundy was on trial, he ate at his cafe. It was a logistics thing. One day Bundy walked out of the Court House with the cafe’s menu under his arm. The name of the cafe clearly visible. The trial was in the national news and the video of Bundy walking out of the Court House with Tom’s menu clearly visible under his arm was viewed nationally. Tom started getting calls from friends asking him how he managed to arrange that!

I told Tom I had to hit the road and he said “your a Seahawks fan right?” I confessed. He walked me over to his wall where he had all nine retired High School jerseys worn by the local players that had made it to the NFL. Included was the jersey worn by Kelly Jennings, Seahawks Cornerback drafted in 2006. Tom proudly mentioned that he had actually presided over the retirement of Kelly’s jersey. Tom has seen a lot and been a focal point in the community of Suwannee, that’s for sure.

Today started out cold again. It was cold all morning. I covered 43 miles and decided that was enough for today, I ride just how I like after all. I had intended to ride 75 miles but when I arrived in Lake City, that felt like far enough. I checked in to a hotel, leaving the 75 mile day for tomorrow. It is showing signs of warming up. I think tomorrow is going to be almost civilized.

Miles: 43

Two days to go.