April 23 - May 3: Florida

4/29 - Live Oak (69 miles 2770 total)
69 miles from the super 8 near monticello to the best western in live oak, FL
what a gorgeous day for biking....tho' pretty toasty by late morning---& very humid. most of us left monticello around 7:15-:30. we quickly turned off US 19 onto beautiful county roads that wound thru the trees; at that hour, there were still layers of fog hanging along the treetops. at about 12 miles into the day, we turned onto US 90, where we would remain 'til mile 50. we went thru the towns of greenville, madison, & lee. patty fainer was driving the subaru today; she was parked in a mini-mall parking lot in madison to provide us a sag stop.
while there i took this photo of the 3 bike fridays on this trip. from left are gloria smith (she's the founder & owner of womantours; she joined us in tallahassee for the rest of the tour) with her orange "pocket rocket," bev with her blue "crusoe," & sari with her "new world tourist." bev is wearing her bike friday cycling jersey, with bike friday's motto on it: "performance that packs." learn more about bike friday.
later this morning, anne (in the orange top in the photo) had help from an unexpected source in getting to st. augustine. her back tire went flat; it's very hard to change, & patty (today's sag person--in the blue tank top) wasn't having much luck with it either. then along came the 3 fellows in this photo. they're from ohio. they left san diego on mar 31 & plan to arrive in st. augustine tomorrow, thus completing the southern tier route in 30 days (at approx 100 miles per day). they did say that they sometimes took a different road than recommended by adventure cycling if it provided them a more direct route & saved them miles. one of their wives is providing sag support.
not much after that we crossed a beautiful river....the historic suwannee river, the one immortalized by stephen foster. foster changed the name of the river for his song title ( "way down upon the swannee river") because he was afraid people would mispronounce the 'u.' (his original choice was "way down upon the peede river!") as it turns out, foster never saw the suwannee river; he just needed a river with 2 syllables for the title of his song. no matter---he's honored in this part of the country with namesake museums, motels, & restaurants.
several of us went a bit off route to the suwannee river state park, where we found a picnic table down by the river's edge & enjoyed lunch from our bike bags. in the photo, from left in front, are loralee, frances, & becky; in the rear from left: sari, roma, rita, bev (seated), patty fainer, & marilyn boger. we all enjoyed a serenade by patty playing stephen foster songs on her harmonica.
today we noticed quite a few stretches of heavily wooded areas that looked like tree farms; here's a photo of one, with the trees planted in very straight rows. as you would expect, we had to share our roads with some loaded logging trucks today.
this photo gives you a good idea of what our terrain looked like most of today....& our roads, which, except for a few miles on US 90, had no shoulders. this afternoon we often saw lots of wildflowers along the roadside....yellow, purple, & white. you can see some of the yellow ones in this photo. there are purple ones there, too...but not as easy to see in the photo.
we arrived at our motel in live oak around 3. michelle fixed a wonderful dinner: a veggie/tofu lasagna, bread, green salad, greek salad, & a delicious mixed fresh fruit salad. for dessert there was pecan pie & various ice creams. (i finished off the greek salad for my dessert.)
at the map meeting, michelle alerted us to take along swimming togs in our bike bags tomorrow, because there are some wonderful swimming holes along our way at ichetucknee springs. with the temps getting warmer & warmer, that sounds promising. our total mileage tomorrow is only 54.....to high springs.
roma, commenting on how we've all found new friends on this trip & enjoyed spending one-on-one time with some of them, presented the BITCH socks to karen (on the left in this photo), a "Beautiful Individual That (i will) Cherish Hereafter."
marilyn boger provided a clever musical ending to our evening get-together. to the tune of "it's howdy doody time," she sang a song she composed one night recently when she couldn't sleep. she agreed to letting me share the lyrics with you. they represent emotions lots of us have had...emotions that often switch from up to down--& back again--several times a day.

song title: Mixed Emotions

it's ibuprofen time;
there's pain in my behind.
my knee is aching so;
i've ten more miles to go.

the sun beats on my head;
my face is getting red.
the road's been kind of rough;
i've really had enough.

the motel's thru the town;
the traffic won't slow down.
i think that i may scream.
OH! there's a Dairy Queen!

the root beer float was cool;
i'll soon be in the pool.
my day's ride's almost done.
hey, that was really fun!

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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