April 23 - May 3: Florida

4/28 - Monticello (42 miles 2701 total)
42 miles from the marriott courtyard in tallahassee to the super 8 near monticello, FL
since we had such a short biking day, breakfast wasn't 'til 7:30. the weather was beautiful again, but today was warmer.
there were some extra visitors "in camp" last night & this morning....reporter mike cerre & a camera crew of 2. they had been in touch for quite a while with patty elliott working on a story involving her son, who is a marine currently in iraq. mike spent quite a bit of time last month with patty's son's division as they advanced on bagdad. this morning they took some footage of patty & other cyclists along the early part of today's route.
in this photo, the 2 fellows of the camera crew are following patty elliott as she wheels her bike out into the parking lot to check her tires before leaving; patty fainer is on the left with the tire pump. later mike cerre & the camera crew traveled along our route in a white van, with the photographer sitting in the open rear door shooting backwards.
mike cerre will let patty elliott know when the segment involving her, her son, & the bikers will be aired; she thinks it may be during 'good morning america' this friday morning, may 2.
the revised route we took out of tallahassee was along a beautiful tree-lined road. in fact, we ran across a road sign that alerted drivers to move slowly on this "canopy road." i'd never seen such a sign before. in this photo under the sign are, from left, sari, rita, & loralee. unfortunately, i had to shoot into the sun, so the photo isn't the best, but you get an idea of how beautiful the roadway was.
it wasn't only the trees, but also the spanish moss cascading from the tree limbs that made this stretch almost magical. here are loralee (left) & rita further along on the morning's ride.
at one point we rode past a lovely, huge pasture with horses in the distance. as we pedaled closer, one horse saw us & cantered in our direction, 'til he was right there with his nose over the fence. shortly, a cute little pony came up beside him/her. i couldn't resist taking this photo of them. i wished i had an apple or 2 to share with them. i'm sure their interest in us had something to do with treats they thot we must be carrying.
the direct route today would've taken us on a county road cutoff over to the super 8 on I-10 before we reached monticello. but loralee, rita, sari, & i decided to ride the extra 6 miles into town to look for a (hopefully) quaint spot to have lunch. the last couple of miles were on hwy 19, a multi-lane, trafficky road with construction on it. once in town, we stopped a couple of times to ask locals for their restaurant recommendations. we settled on the courtyard restaurant, where i enjoyed the buffet. there were lots of southern dishes on the buffet....including collard greens, pinto beans, cornbread, & i don't remember what else. the others had sandwiches.
when we arrived at the restaurant, laura, kathy groen, & gay were just finishing their lunch. when they left, i went outside for a minute to get their photo. today they're wearing the new bike jerseys they bought at tec's bike shop last evening. for weeks & weeks at the beginning of this tour, laura & kathy rode together all the time; we all called them "the twins," since they bike almost in sync, & because they often wear matching biking clothes. gay has been riding with them for a week or 2 now, so when laura & kathy bought their own new jerseys last night at tec's, they bought a matching one for gay, too. now the group is "the triplets."
as rita, sari, loralee, & i left the restaurant, loralee spotted a store across the street with a big "sale" sign stretched across its front, so over we went. it turned out to be an absolutely great shop with lots of interesting merchandise inside---high-quality things at good prices.....definitely not your run-of-the-mill souvenir place. rita, loralee, & i made some purchases, & we all talked with the owner, margaret levings. she is a biker, too.
here's a photo of margaret out in front of her store, "great adventure outfitters" in monticello, FL, on a wicker bicycle! if you're ever in the vicinity, be sure to stop in. margaret even drove down to the super 8 around 5 this evening, picked up several bikers, & took them back to shop at her store. many found great buys.
this evening, michelle fixed chicken, rice with steamed fresh broccoli, collard greens, green salad, & for dessert....angel food cake with fresh sliced strawberries. the vegetarian option, which is the one i usually have, was tofu with a spicy peanut sauce, & it was delicious over the rice & broccoli.
tomorrow it's 65 miles to live oak....& another best western near a walmart (as catherine said, "haven't we stayed there before?").
in making the BITCH socks presentation, gay said the socks were going to someone whose presence elevates the tone of our team. she gave them to roma, "Because It Takes Class, Honey." in the photo are gay (left) & roma; notice the socks themselves have surfaced again.
If you would like copies of the original, full-size photos, feel free to e-mail me with your request, and I'll save your note and get back to you after the ride. Stay tuned....

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