April 23 - May 3: Florida

4/30 - High Springs (56 miles 2826 total)
56 miles from the best western in live oak to the high springs country inn in high springs, FL
the actual mileage to high springs was more like 53, but some of us took a little detour into downtown before wending our way back to the motel.
our route today was again a quiet one along county roads, except for the 13 miles we spent on US 90 getting out of live oak this morning, & the 8 miles we spent on US 41 getting into high springs this afternoon.
today the highlight was a stop at ichetucknee springs state park. most riders packed swimsuits on their bikes this morning so they'd be ready to dive in when we got to the springs. in this photo, you can see how well-prepared sandy is; at a sagstop just outside the park, she perched her sandals on her bike's aerobars & her suit across the handlebars. she wasn't going to lose any time getting into the pool. we kidded her that she looked like a triathlete.
we've sure been impressed with the state parks in florida, & this one is no exception. the swimmers were disappointed that the "blue hole" wasn't open for swimming; patty fainer had told us it was a must-see. in park info, i note that visitors often scuba dive at blue hole spring to a depth of 40 feet.
but the pool that was available to us--the head spring--was beautiful, as you can see in this photo. there are some bikers in the front of the pool....some still in bike clothes.
as i watched from the sidelines, i saw a canoe float from the grassy area nearby into the swimming hole, as you can see in this photo. the swimmers were a bit taken aback.
those of us who didn't actually go swimming enjoyed the setting & dangling our feet in the very cool waters. in this photo, anne's on the shore; mary (from boston), karen, & cynthia are easing their way into the pool.
a little later, this group gathered in the water; from left are kathleen, bryn, sandy, laura, mary from boston, roma, & karen. you can see how clear the waters are. those who went swimming commented on the many beautiful fish they saw.
after an hour or so, we pedaled out of the park & on south the remaining 20 miles to high springs. yikes it was hot, & the humidity made the sweat well up onto all skin surfaces the minute we'd stop, even for a few seconds. roma went ahead to the motel, but as sari & i pedalled past a mall, rita yelled out to us, "want to go for ice cream?" she knew the answer.
she, loralee, & becky had stopped to shop, & while in the stores, asked about places in town to eat ice cream. they learned about a soda fountain in downtown, so we followed them there. roma saw us pedaling right past the motel & called out to ask where we were going; when we told her, she got back on her bike, crossed the highway, & joined us.
high springs has a cute little old downtown. we stopped at the "soda fountain & bridal registry" shop. what a combo, eh? the 2 women behind the soda fountain filled our orders...root beer floats for some, malts & shakes for others. i ordered a double-thick chocolate malt made with chocolate ice cream, & it was fabulous. i haven't had a real malt in years & years.
then we wandered next door into an adventure outfitting shop that had lots of interesting merchandise, among which were hats with "hair" attached. roma & i couldn't resist trying some on. when we saw this photo, we were amazed at our ability to synchronize our blinks so we both had our eyes closed at the same moment.
bike clothes were sitting out to dry on lawn chairs all over the motel parking lot by the time we biked in mid-afternoon. roma, sari, & i soon followed suit; we share my clothesline. the phone in our motel room is always kept pretty busy, since roma & sari make quite a few phone calls & i connect my ibook to check emails....then later, to send the day's web report & photos. you'd think that life would be pretty relaxed once we're off the road, but usually it's a flurry of hand laundry, phone calls, computer work, plus the endless arrangement/rearrangement of STUFF in our bike bags & duffels to get ready for the next day. which is not to say that all riders spend their time this way; we have lots of colleagues who are getting several books read during afternoons & evenings on this trip.
michelle made a delicious salad supper....an onion/cucumber salad, tabouli (sp?), the corn/cilantro/avocado/red pepper salad she's made before....plus bread, roasted chickens (in those little plastic bubbles from the grocery store), & fresh strawberries with a couple choices of cake for dessert. after supper was the map meeting; michelle announced she was offering 2 choices for routes tomorrow---one 73 miles & the other 108 miles---to palatka. amazingly, 2-3 are thinking they'll do 108. the rest of us had no trouble choosing the 73-mi option.
some had heard weather forecasts that include rain for thurs & friday. as we walked back to our rooms after supper tonight, a rip-roaring thunder/lightning/rainstorm descended. as roma said, the storm sounds & looks real neat tonight, but won't look that way if it's still around in the morning.
then michelle again tackled the discussion about logistics for the friday afternoon & saturday morning person & bike transport to the bike shop, shipping sites, & airport. at this point, it sounds like a nightmare, but i suppose everything will work out sooner or later.
patty elliott related that she'd heard from the reporter, mike cerre; the segment that might include people on this bike tour--probably about 3-4 minutes long--will air on good morning america this friday morning at 7:40 or 8:15 (i assume eastern time).
karen made the BITCH socks presentation to vicky....pointing out that vicky is Bubbly, Bouncy, & for a while had Braids, that she's Intriguing, that she Chops veggies for suppers, & that she's interested in Herbal Healing. so those are lots of words applying to vicky that start with the letters of the BITCH word on the socks. vicky is on the right in this photo.
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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