Sunday, June 14th, 2009
Suwannee River State Park, FL to Tallahassee, FL (3 mi / 5 km and a long ride in a camper)
We’re sorry that these posts aren’t in order of when they happened, but we figured that yesterday needed some real time posts.
We wake up from a fairly cool sleep. Nate heads to the showers and I well, um, start cleaning up camp.
I’ve gotten pretty far, when I see Nathan walking up with none other than Ken Brown. Now we’d seen Ken and his fiancee and her parents at Chop Sticks Thursday night, but this was crazy. I went to school with Ken at UF and we’d been involved in IV together for years. (Random story: My freshman year of college I had programed in my head that girls should never walk alone on campus, especially at night. A bunch of us were playing pingpong at Broward dorm and I demanded (very nicely I’m sure) that some one walk me to my dorm which was about 150 feet away. Ken was standing closest and looked a bit shocked, but did the gentlemanly thing and walked me the few feet to my dorm).
Back to Day 6, Ken of course asks if we’re following him. We are not. I asked what he was doing here and he said that he was at his bachelor party! Furthermore, Berry Long, Brian Callaway, and Matt Stafford (sp?) were here! Berry was my IV staff and friend while I was getting my masters’. He was always willing to lend an ear or a hand when I needed it. Brian and I attempted to start the revolution in college. I kinda just tried to tag along. A good friend and I loved taking coolers and breaking in to his truck and buckling them into his seats…safety first! Matt was a little freshman when I met him and we “double dated” with Richard and Sherin one Valentines Day. It wasn’t a real date, but we sure had fun that night. It was just awesome to see these guys. I was in heaven.
Brian probably was one of the biggest inspirations for this trip because he biked to Canada by himself 2 summers ago. I think that’s when I first started thinking about such an adventure. But at that time I thought it was just a crazy Callaway thing to do. All I can say is thank you to these guys, they really pumped us up and encouraged and gave us breakfast!
The other Brian, our new Brian, was getting ready to load up and leave. So we had to bid our Gainesville friends farewell.
We loaded all of our stuff up in the back of new Brian’s Catalina huge camper and our bikes into the back of the SUV he was trailing behind.
What a ride we had! This is going to sound really cheesy, but sometimes you know there are people put in your life for a reason. Brian was that for sure. Not only did he give us a ride and make fresh coffee for the road, but he just shared his life with us. He has a great story and if you ever meet him, you’ll find your self just shutting up and listening and loving it. He lived in Japan in the Navy for about 6 years. He was in the 1st Gulf War. He loves his life right now with a wonderful wife and beautiful young daughters. He is happy and wants to remain so.
The evening before I had a weird bout with fear. This rarely happens to me. But my brain started listening to those fears that creep up: is Brian trustworthy? Should we go with him? What if something happens?
Nathan said that you can tell a lot about someone by how their dogs act around them. His bull mastiffs love him and are friendly. That’s what I really focused on. My fears were just that.
During I voyage, I shared a bit of this with Brian. He said, “My wife said the same thing. ‘How do you know you can trust these people.'” He said that our story made sense and he just got a sense that we were who we said we were. I felt good that I wasn’t the only one who might have fears and doubts every time and again.
Our ride was fairly short. About an hour.
He drove us into Tallahassee and we all went into an outdoors store and picked up a few things. We headed back to the camper and unloaded our stuff and loaded up our bikes and said our goodbyes.
Brian was a life saver and we are so thankful that our paths crossed.
We picked up a few things from Walmart and then headed to Sunshine Bikes a few miles away. The hills of Tallahassee are daunting. We reached the store at mid day and man it is hot! We headed into the store and quickly were aquainted with Ed. They told us we were lucky he was in, usually they don’t have a mechanic in on Sunday. He had enough parts to convert both our bikes to triple crank! We waited for our bikes and just hung out in the AC and out of the sun and loved it.
Ed is a bike mechanic guru.
After our bikes were done Adam picked us up. We love hanging out at the Hammonds. They have hospitality down. As well as recycling, doing dishes immediately and telling their guests that they can just chill out. (As my brother and Nathan know, I have no problem accepting this reality.)
Casey and Adam also live with her sister Kelly, and Kelly’s daughter, Katalina, who is almost 2 and quite cute. I love their doggy, Jamie, who loves to snuggle and sit at your feel and emanate love.
That afternoon Nathan spread out all of our wet tent stuff and used some waterproofing spray on our pannier bags and compression sacks. Casey and Adam were painting stuff outside and I was finishing Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities. Florida is hot. Seriously. If you don’t live here, you are lucky right now.
My foot was swelling up. I noticed it in the morning that my left ankle looked like a kankle. It was weird and swollen. But 8 hours later it wasn’t any better. It also had the weird rash. Adam is in med school and Casey is in nursing school. So at least I was in good hands. Neither knew what it was. Possibly a spider bit or allergic reaction to some bug bite. I kept it iced.
I also love hanging out here because we spend so much of our time just laughing and having fun. It makes me feel like a little kid just giggling.
Kelly made an awesome fresh relish for our Chicago dogs and then I took a couple of Benadryl to reduce the swelling in my ankle. I started getting really sleepy and just crashed about 8:30.
I’m sure things happened after. But I was out. I know the Magic lost. Suck face.