Night 39- Tallahassee, FL
Plans change constantly. You have to go into this kind of thing expecting it and welcoming it. Fortunately this time everything worked out just fine. It still came with changes though.
So we crawl out of the brush around 530-600. Not the best sleeping spot we’ve snuck into, but it worked and luckily it wasn’t too cold that morning. Pack up and push out.
It’s a different kind of riding first thing in the morning. Especially that early and when it is still dark. Everything is calm and there is virtually no traffic. Nothing but gas stations are open, so that’s where we ran off to. Potty breaks and some coffee to wait for the sun/subway.
Russell saw there was a park nearby that we figured we could check out while waiting. A couple of monuments and a large building at the one end is enough to convince me. Russell found a geocache puzzle to solve and walked about taking pictures. There was one statue that I enjoyed quite a bit. There are plenty of reasons not to like Theodore Roosevelt, but the guy knew what he was about and I do like “the four freedoms” that went along with this particular statue.
Sun is up fully now, time to grab some food and get ready for the day’s grind. Just one more day of grinding then we get to take a break.
Planning for the day, we sent messages to 8 or so hosts in Tallahassee. These warmshowers folks are pretty cool. Even if they wouldn’t keep us for two nights, there were enough of them close together that we could just change location while seeing the town. Messages sent, we hit the road.
I know I’ve gone on and on about route 17, but that was the east coast. We are in the southern tier now. It’s all about 90. Today’s section may have been just as straight as the previous day’s, but that was covered up by the introduction to Florida panhandle’s rolling hills. We are no stranger to hills and there is a certain satisfaction to overcoming each and every one. The wind was fairly low today as well. But knowing that the next day was a “vacation day” made them seem endless. I suppose like work on a Friday before a long weekend.
We had lunch in Greensville and hung out with Ray Charles statue. A restaurant near by was blasting his and other soul Christmas music straight at us. It wasn’t terrible. Just loud.
After another few hours of riding we took a 30 minute break in Monticello. Their town hall or some large building was located in the middle of a traffic ring. Pretty cool, but it wasn’t our end goal. Worst yet, we had made it this far into the day and hadn’t heard back from any hosts… great.
So time to change targets. Originally we only contacted people with rooms, couches, or facilities. Now I called up a man named Ingolf who made mention of a large private back yard and a downstairs shower we could use. He answered with a bit of excitement as if he was expecting my call. Turns out it was because of my phone’s area code. He had another guest who was already going to stay with them. A girl from Gettysburg. He welcomed us to join in for spaghetti and a campfire. We would figure out tomorrow, tonight we had spaghetti and stories.
Our host is Canadian born with close German heritage. An excellent guy who could be a brother of J. K. Simmons. Maybe a twin. I mention his heritage because of a story he told us after seeing Russell’s chess board. His father participated in the German/Russian front during WWII, but did something a little different to fighting. He would knock on the door of Russian homes and, speaking no Russian at all, would simply challenge them to chess. It sounds like he was an excellent player as well as a good sport since he lived to tell the tale and play against our host. Ingolf admitted he could never win against him unless he was down by one pawn. For those that don’t know, this changes the game by quite a lot. Well, he told this story and then admitted he had the very chessboard, an old flexible canvas type mat, framed up in the house (There is far more to this story and an autobiography that was found and later published).
Now there is a sight and story.
In a time of uncertainty and confusion towards the monuments of the past, we have seen quite a few of them. I’ve grown quite a lot of respect and understanding towards the monuments of those who fought for what they knew and lost their lives doing so. Even in the case of the Nazi party, there were certainly just boys who got caught up in only what they knew. Now we have our good friend Ingolf in front of us because his father knew differently.
The other guest of the night was Stephanie. This girl has been riding since Gettysburg, but she went down to Key West and has bounced around. Some days riding 25 miles, other, much more motivated days, riding up to 107 miles to reach her target location. The end of her trip is in New Orleans, a brief visit on our trek. Just a really up beat and motivated person. She has done quite a bit more sight-seeing than us, but thats where we diverge. We have half a year ahead of us already. She will be done in a week or two with only sights to slow her down.
It sounds like we all might just hang out during this break day. Drop the weight and bounce around town.
Have a great day everyone. I’m hanging out by the fire munching on crunchy peanut butter and just waiting for the coffee to roll out of the house. It’s never expected, but plans change.
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