Day 1: Reality Check

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Orlando, FL to Fruitland Park, FL (58 mi / 93 km)

Note: Please don’t be bothered by the multiple changes from the first to third person. When riding a bike sometimes it will feel like an out-of-body experience in the Florida heat after 6 hours of riding. Also, I change tense at any point I feel like it. This is a blog. I figure it will be okay.

Things that have happened: list-ish version

We geared up and left by 7:20 Tuesday morning.

We took 441 for many miles.

The first 15 miles seemed easy.

Then it wasn’t.

Then we took a break and Amy forgot that her left foot was still in the strap. She toppled over on to Nathan and he toppled over on to the ground with Amy and her bike. And his bike. We got up and drank some water and had a snack.

There was lots of gross road kill.

There were many cars.

There at least was a shoulder.

We saw a Chili’s in the middle of the day. We took refuge. Weirdly we drank water (You know HH all day every day, 2 for 1) and had grilled chicken. (I really like burgers and fries)

We road to a park and chilled out in Eustis for 2 more hours during the heat under a pavilion. Old women were fishing and smoking. So were teenage boys. Though not together.

Amy pulled out her Z-Lite and feel asleep for a while. She wondered if they would make it to Lady Lake.

It did not rain, though it felt like it would.

We got back on our bikes and continued riding down 441. We had come about 35 miles at this point.

Nathan’s tire gets shredded by glass. Thankfully we had a spare tire with us.

Nathan’s new inner tube springs a leak 1 1/2 miles later.

We stopped at Noble’s Golf Carts some where outside of Leesburg. A nice older gentleman asked us if we needed some help. It was getting late so Nathan asked where we could pitch a tent. The man kindly replied, “You can pitch a tent most anywhere.” Then he told us about a state park just up the road. We headed on our way. We stopped at a gas station and filed up on water and as we were leaving our friend showed back up and said that he had gone ahead and told the park we were coming and inquired if we could camp there. We have found so many nice people along the way.

Lake Griffin State Park: aka Mosquito Heaven, our well… you know. No offense to the fun people that work there. They thought we were a bit crazy. By that part of the day we were.

Now things get fun.

We get to our campsite and are swarmed by the largest mosquitoes that I think have ever existed ever. We pitch a tent and decide that we have to get out of there before we get eaten ourselves.

We of course put all of our things on the picnic table and gently laid the rain fly from the tent over it. We threw out sleeping bags and sleeping pads in the tent and took off.

(Can you see where this is going?)

Food is the only thing on the horizon for us.

We bike 1/2 a mile down the road to this Italian place and order a pizza and garlic roles. About 10 minutes after we sit down we hear someone mention rain. Nathan then gets up to ride back to the campsite to put on the rain fly. But of course it is too late. It is pouring.

Classic. We pitch a tent and don’t put on the rain fly. It doesn’t rain, it pours.

I find this a little bit funny. Nathan, however, doesn’t. Come on, it is a little funny.

We wait out the storm for a good 45 minutes. Then ride back to our campsite. Absolutely exhausted. We pour a few gallons of water out of our tent. Lay out our emergency ponchos and sleeping pads, which are fairly dry from being rolled up, and don’t bother with the sleeping bags (they were in waterproof bags but it was too hot). We just prayed for no more rain.

Day one ends very wetly, but we are glad (mostly) for the adventure. And we are certainly glad that we are in this together. You have to have a sense of humor, otherwise, it’s over.