Our last day, yeeey!
Today we carried on following the old railway cycling path.
In Hastings, we stopped for some food at a Ceasar’s pizza, it was very hot. It was strange to have a whole pizza for breakfast.
At some point, we had to choose between following the old railway route or our GPS route so we followed our GPS.
Our last stretch to the beach was closed (gate) so we went back and found the beach.
We had pictures taken by a very friendly guy who offered us to stay at his house but we explained that we couldn’t, as we had already booked our hotel and we had some work to do on-line.
Then we had some beers at a pub nearby to celebrate the completion. We are actually only 50 km away from doing a total of 5,000 km! We did 4,950 km!
We found a big turtle on the road as we were going to the hotel. They are everywhere.
We’ve done 4,950 total km over 8 US states in 88 cycling days and 31 rest days and burned 203,000 calories! And we gained 3 kg!
We paid a quick visit to St Augustine. It looks like a really historic town worth visiting again with more time.
Flying our bikes to Europe would cost us more than 100 euros each. So we considered selling them here on Craiglist. It would make us save the airline fee, plus the money we would get from the sale. I sold mine in Jacksonville for 80 dollars and Steve sold his for 40 dollars. We could have sold them for much more but they’ve done so many kilometres already, we don’t want to deceive anyone.
Our next trip will probably be to Vietnam. This time we want to follow the Ho Chi Minh highway from Hanoi to Saigon. This road goes through the mountains. We went from Hanoi to Saigon 2 years ago, but we followed the coast. This time we’ll do it through the mountains, with less people, less cars, longer distances, but we’ll take more rest days.
Avui hem agafat la “ruta escènica” amb menys cotxes (però un xic més llarga), que és per on passa la Southern Tier (la ruta que teòricament seguim).
Més tard, hem descobert per què la ST passa per aquí: hi ha un antic ferrocarril, ara carril bici esfaltat, que va perfecte. Tan de bo l’haguéssim descobert més aviat!
Ens hem aturat en una cruïlla, enmig del no-res, amb tan sols un sex shop i una gasolinera.
La gent de la gasolinera s’han impressionat amb el nostre viatge. Normalment, la gent ens ignora, però avui eren molt simpàtics i ens han fet donacions, ens han demanat targetes del nostre viatge, e-mails, etc. I també ens han donat begudes de franc.
Ens hem aturat en un restaurant “fatxenda” a Melrose per dinar.
Després de Melrose, ens hem separat sense voler, però ens hem tornat a trobar al carril bici del “ferrocarril”.
Hem trobat dos nois que anaven en tricicle en sentit contrari. El cel era blau fosc (s’acosta pluja) però no ha plogut mentre hem pedalat. El carril bici era envoltat d’arbres, per tant molt refrescant i no feia la calor criminal de costum.
Today was Saturday, so we did a long ride, although it was very hot so we struggled.
We wanted to see a “horse retirement sanctuary” but it was closed as they only open 2 hours a week and we got there 1 hour later. Apparently they give you carrots as your entry ticket, which you feed to them.
We stopped at a petrol station for some breakfast. There was a lot of traffic on the road today and they told us it was because there was an accident on the main highway so the traffic was diverted to this one.
We stopped again in Alachua for lunch at a typical diner. It was very colourful.
We stopped (again!) at another petrol station 20 miles later. It was VERY hot. No chance of rain today.
After stopping on a paved path next to a golf club, I tried to see if the golf club had a bar but it didn’t look open so we pushed on. Steve was pooped and lied on the paved path for almost 20 minutes.
When we were approaching Gainesville, we found a Mexican restaurant. Surprisingly, they had beer (normally fast food chains don’t have alcohol), so I had a Coronita and some guacamole with nachos.
We took a day off (again!) in Gainesville. We recorded the receptionist’s conversation, but it was useless, because my card was charged and it took me more than 2 months to recover my money after millions of calls. This is actually illegal and I could sue them for it.
We went to a local beer place where they had no food but said they were happy for us to get some food from another place and eat it there (weird).
We didn’t really see anything of Gainesville, we’re too busy lately, no time to “travel”. It is a pity because we go to all these places and cannot spend quality time in them. We still see quite a lot, but not as much as we would like.
We left Madison. During the first 10 minutes, the road was full of grasshoppers! They were on the road, everywhere, there were lots of them! I tried to avoid them but it was almost impossible.
We are already missing home a lot, these are our last cycling days and we are very anxious to get to the end and fly home, it’s too hot here.
We stopped in Live Oak for some food at Dixie Grill & Steer Room. We left the bikes outside.
There was a very fat woman. Some people are very fat in America.
I had a kale salad which was not bad, and they took my unfinished beer away (??).
We passed by a Native American church and a mosque (our first mosque in America). The mosque had a sign which said the place had CCTV surveillance.
In Lake City, we stayed outside the city, at Jasmine Garden Inn. It was not too bad, then walked (miles!) to find some food and ended up eating at Applebee’s. The food was very good but quite expensive.
Today was an average day riding through secondary roads, pinewoods, swamps, etc.
We stopped at Kwiky Food Mart for breakfast in the middle of nowhere, where I took a picture of two weird moths.
Apparently the green moth is endangered due to pesticides.
We went through Greenville, which has a lake, and stopped at a very traditional typical diner for lunch.
The waitress had a Southern accent; they only had soft drinks and gave us unlimited free refills.
Madison is a very cute and typical Floridan town.
Then we headed south to the highway where our hotel (Days Inn) is, next to a Denny’s. Another “motorway junction” with just hotels, a restaurant and a shop.
Again, the hotel charged me twice here but they refunded it some weeks later.
We took a day off in Madison to finish some work and do some washing.
We had lunch and dinner at Denny’s, where Steve got his military discount. He asked about the veterans’ discount and they were happy to apply it, although he is not American.
Today we did a short ride to the city centre to take a little rest from yesterday’s exhausting ride. We had breakfast at El Jalisco, a Mexican restaurant which was not bad.
On the way, we visited a few things, like the Capitol and Florida’s State University. The Capitol had pictures of the Orlando shooting victims, which happened recently.
Florida State University was founded in 1851. You can see how Tallahassee is a university city as it has lots of young people. It is not a big city but it has lots of large public buildings.
We were planning to go to St Marks tomorrow. St Marks is on the coast, it has a lighthouse and an old railway track, which has been paved and is now a cycling path. But the only accommodation (motel & camping place) we could find has no Wifi, so goodbye…
Tallahassee is very hilly, just like the whole of Florida.
We booked an Airbnb near the university. It was in a residential area, apparently with lots of university students. The Airbnb was some sort of ‘frat house’ and quite untidy. They rent their rooms on Airbnb when they need to go away for some reason (holidays, visiting family, etc.). People were very friendly but the place needed some hard cleaning
For dinner, I walked a million miles to get some take away sushi.
We left late, as there was no one home. We stopped at a place for beer, Steve got angry because he didn’t want to stop, just buy some water.
Our water never came, for a change. The beers were OK but we did not leave tip because we were angry. Lots of angriness to begin the day. The ride was okay but hot. It rained a little bit at some point.
We arrived in Monticello where there were just 2 petrol stations, a McDonalds (the real town centre was further north), and an abandoned restaurant. The sort of place where you stay in your room til the next day.
Although it was Sunday, we did a very long ride today, so we got there very tired and didn’t have much time to rest. Steve wasn’t very happy about it because he had a big job to finish.
We left very early (6.30 am) and found a guy at the motel who was hiking (if I remember well) and was impressed with our trailer and trip. We chatted with him for 10 minutes and gave him a card with the address of our blog and trip details.
I saw some smoke by the road, there was a little fire, I wasn’t sure if I should call the police but I finally didn’t. It looked like someone had burnt some grass but there was still a small flame. In this heat, it could quickly turn into a fire.
We crossed the Apalachicola river with the “broken bridge” and had some breakfast in Chattahoochee, at Hardee’s (fast food chain), where we had some burgers.
We went through a village called “Norway”. We wondered if we had gone too far, ha ha.
We stopped in Gretna for some water, it was FULL of mosquitoes. We had lunch at a restaurant, but the food was not very good and they only had Kool Aid to drink. It was ackward althought the place was beautiful.
Then I was much faster than Steve and we lost each other. I waited for him but he was not coming so I got to the hotel first. 20 minutes before arriving at the hotel, it started raining HEAVILY. This is very common in Florida. At first I thought “just a few drops, I’m almost there” but then the rain got very intense and I had to stop under a tree to waterproof everything. The receptionist gave me a towel (this is how wet I was!), so he did when Steve arrived 20 minutes later.
There was a 24-hour Walmart near the hotel where I bought some food. The hotel (Microtel) was very good and the price too. It is the first time we used this chain.
Today was a longer day (54 km), on a Saturday (so no work).
Apparently, Marianna is well known for some caves but we were too tired to go visit them.
On the way, we found a cross with the wrong text (”I am the light”), a pro-Trump ammo shop and several “lady bars”.
There was nowhere to stop along the way except for Roxie’s shop, which she will be opening next month and we were her first customers. She was very excited to sell us some water and was impressed with our trip. Steve was far behind me and I waited for him (with some mosquitoes) in front of Roxie’s shop. He was slow because of the extreme heat.
Once in Marianna, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant next to our motel.
Today’s motel was very good, well-priced and had the Southern Tier logo. We’re back on the route!
This morning we placed all the options we had on the table and decided (last minute!) to go to Youngstown as our cheapest possible option (80 euros!) at a reasonable distance (38km).
The motel owner would not let us pay less for the same room (unlike yesterday, when he just said “tell me how much the other hotel is and I’ll let you pay the same price here”), so we didn’t have many more options as it was Friday and prices go over the roof.
We had lunch at our favourite Italian restaurant across the road.
The road was straight all the way to Youngstown, with 2 stops at petrol stations.
I had some “cool aid” for the first time after seeing it on Family Guy. It was probably very unhealthy (it looked like it) but refreshing. The first ingredient was probably sugar and the second one probably colouring.
The Youngstown motel was “not good” for the price we paid but we’ve been in worse places. We found “one bed bug” (only one!) and we were afraid we would carry them forever but it seemed to have just been that one we found (weird).
Youngstown is full of old people. It is so sarcastic.
Again, not many cheap options so the cheapest we could find today was a room in Panama City (67km) at 83 euros! Even cheaper places with cockroaches and bedbugs were fully booked!
We followed the coast all the time and stopped for some brunch at a wine bar in Rosemary Beach.
The road was full of cars and there was a traffic jam after brunch, so we were passing all the stopped cars (yeeey!). Sometimes bicycles are faster than cars.
We passed through Santa Monica beach and Laguna Beach. All these names are Spanish.
We also saw the “Laguna Beach Christian Retreat”, not sure what that was, some holiday resort for Christians?
Stopped for “some ice cream”, which ended up being a huge one.
Steve was angry because he had jobs to finish and we were not fast enough. He gets angry when I stop to take a picture of anything.
We went through an upside-down building and a ship on the ground (??). Strange things here in Florida. The area had lots of tall blocks near the beach.
Tonight’s hotel is not bad (Rodeway Inn). For the price we paid, the deal was not bad.
We had to stay in Panama City as we both had a lot of work. On the second day, we went to the reception and told them we had found a cheaper room on Hotwire. Then the owner said he could offer us the same room at the same price we found on Hotwire. So we obviously took the deal and did not loose time packing and unpacking things.
We were trying to decide whether we should keep following the coast or head inland for cheaper options and how to catch up with the lost days (by taking a day off, LOL).
There is a good, family-run Italian restaurant in front of the hotel. The staff is friendly and the food is good.
It rained almost the whole day. The weather is like this in Florida. One minute it’s incredibly sunny and the next one it rains.
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