Life On A B-I7

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Southern Tier - Thu Nov 14, 2019

Day 61

Marianna Florida to Tallahassee Florida

The Weather App (I still trust it, but I’m starting to have doubts) told me it was 45 degrees this morning. No way. I pulled into a gas station to get some coffee, it was 9:30am. Chatting with a fellow inside, he asked me if it was cold enough for me. I told him it felt colder to me today than it did yesterday. He agreed. So Weather App be damned, this morning at least it was colder.

It was a good ride. I left at 6:30am so I got some good miles in before noon. Today I entered the Eastern Time Zone, so I lost an hour, making my decision to leave early this morning even better. I arrived in Tallahassee at 2:00pm Central Time. I spotted a Zagat rated burger joint so I pulled in to have some early dinner (first dinner if your a Hobbit). The Odometer on my bike told me I burned 2,500 calories today. That doesn’t seem right to me. It determines calories burned based on my weight. But since I’m packing maybe 40 pounds of gear, it has to be more than 2,500. Regardless, I figured a 2:00pm burger and fries was a tasty idea, and well under 2,500 calories. (Note: it turned out I was carrying almost 80 pounds.)

I was describing the pine forests in the South to a friend. She said it sounded like Bend Oregon. As I was riding again today, I realized that was a very astute comment. It does indeed look like Bend Oregon when you are in the areas where the pines grow. As I recall from my Weyerhaeuser days a long time ago, the Southern Pine grows very fast compared to Northwest species. Forty years to first harvest. When the logging trucks go past me, it seems like they are carrying mostly first harvest trees.

I’ve had three days now of cold weather and today reminded me a lot of the Pacific Northwest. Today the sky was grey for the entire day. There was an 80 percent chance of rain in Tallahassee by 5pm. It started raining lightly just as I was finishing my burger and getting ready to ride to my Hotel. It was light rain, not a concern really. It feels like the Weather App is trying to regain my confidence.

I set out for the Hotel at 3:45 Eastern Time. The route took me right through the center of the FSU campus. I expected that because I picked a Hotel that was just on the other side of campus from me. I love college campuses. My strategy had an unexpected benefit. As I was cruising along, and I heard the sound of horns. I turned into a parking lot to listen. The FSU Marching Band was practicing nearby. I headed toward the sound and ended up right next to the practice field. The FSU Marching Band was rehearsing for the game on Saturday. I was on the other side of a fence, but I wasn’t more than 15 yards away from the band. I sat there for almost an hour watching. It was like being on the sidelines during half-time. I watched as they rehearsed all the songs individually. After that, they ran through the entire program from start to finish. They are very good, not as good as the UW Husky Marching Band, but still very good. Sometimes you laugh and you don’t know why. While the band was rehearsing, the conductor was critiquing the finer points of the bands formation. At one point he said “We are not the Wisconsin Marching Band.” I had no idea what he meant by that, but I still broke out in laughter because it didn’t sound like a compliment.

Watching the FSU Marching Band was the highlight of the day. But there was one potential highlight that I let get away from me. Earlier in the day I saw a sign that said “State of Florida Re-Entry Facility.” I figured that is where State Prisoners are sent prior to their release back into society. There was an open field beyond the sign. I couldn’t see any buildings, but I noticed an elderly black man walking in the field not far from the road. He waved at me. I waved back. Sometimes when you are cycling, you loose track of time. Other times you lose track of reality altogether. What I’m saying is you can get so focused on the goal and the motion that you forget there is a whole world out there. About a quarter of a mile down the road I realized I should have pulled over and chatted with that man. We would have had to shout, but maybe he would have come closer to me and we would have had a conversation. There was no fence there to prevent that. It’s possible. I was on a divided highway, so I couldn’t safely turn around and go back. I was disappointed with myself for getting so caught up in my goal and the thoughts in my own head, that I couldn’t see the opportunity right in front of me.

I need a day of rest. The last three days have taken a toll on me. I think tomorrow I will spend the day in Tallahassee. Perhaps I’ll go see if Dale Earnhardt Jr. hangs out at the Chevrolet Dealership that carries his name. Maybe not. I need to make some decisions about what my final route to the Atlantic will be.

I’m having my Hobbit second dinner at the War Horse Whiskey Bar. Of course I’m having a Manhattan, but I’m also having a chicken parm sub. I just introduced myself to Christian. Total Nerd. He’s wearing an Oregon State Robotics T-shirt. He’s such a nerd I had difficulty getting him to talk to me. All I could get out of him was he did his post-grad work at OSU. I guess I’m not nerdy enough. Wow, that’s saying something. He has three friends with him. Two of them (and the robotics post-grad) are drinking something that looks like Rose wine with ice in it. Blah. It’s sort of fun writing about them when they are sitting at the table across from me. I will stop myself now.

Miles: 66

Cold again. Unseasonably cold I’m told, like really unusually cold.