April 3, 1999
|I left the Econolodge at 7:15am after eating the usual Oatmeal
for breakfast. Of course I used warm tap water since heating water on the stove
seems like a waste of time just to stuff some nutrients in me. Heading over I65, I
stopped at a convenience store to fill my two water bottles with Gatorade and bought two
extra to put in my trailer. I've always drank a lot of fluids but can never drink
just water. Since I started riding I've been drinking at least six 24oz.
Gatorade's/PowerAde's a day.
After leaving the store I continued straight and there were very few cars on the road. I got on County Road 7 and encountered a lot of friendly people smiling and waving. At one point, County Road 7 ends and I had to turn left, then right, to get back onto County Road 7. It was at this stop sign where I met a very nice older lady. She stopped her car and began asking all kinds of questions about where I was going and why etc... She thought it was wonderful and was very encouraging.
Continuing on 7 I passed a farmer and his wife on their front porch. They said good morning and waved, I said good morning and waved back while avoiding the chickens and roosters that wandered out to the road. But then I hit 80 and all the nice, pleasant, riding ends.
I can't understand why they build a 4 lane divided highway and not put a shoulder there? But yet, they build 4 lane divided Interstates and put a nice wide shoulder on them. And of course, you can't ride a bike on the Interstate but you can on a highway with a 65mph speed limit and no shoulder! I'll never understand why there are so many backwards things in this world.
Anyway, I rode on 80 and had to spend more time concentrating on traffic than enjoying the ride. After reaching Selma, I was stopped by a guy from a local sports paper. He said they had just done a story about cycling on the roads and wanted to do a story about my trip. He asked a few questions and took my picture. Then I continued on towards Paul M. Grist State Park by following 22E. I should have followed County Road 37. Some jerk in one of those big white box trucks almost plowed me down. I'm really trying not to let things like that bother me. I just keep telling myself that if I get upset then the other guy has succeeded. So now I try to smile and wave at everyone that honks at me, even if they are trying to run me off the road.
Turning left on County Road 16 the hills got much tougher but at least there was no traffic. After coasting down one hill, I started up the next hill and started feeling dehydrated and fatigued. This is the first time since the trip started that I had to make myself stop pedaling and rest because I was feeling exhausted. The temp was only 88 but it was very humid.
Making it to the state park, I was told just to find a spot anywhere in the primitive camping area and I could pay later. I set up my tent then headed to the office building/bathhouse on my bike to pay and shower. $11.00 for camping. Sure beats the motel rooms!
After showering, I fixed two packages of those "Oodles of Noodles". They aren't the healthiest, but they are cheap! This is when I encountered my first mosquitoes. I only noticed two and I killed them before they bit me. I was all alone in the park. The ranger said that the threat of rain kept people from coming to the park. My tent was set up at the edge of the woods and as I tried to sleep the sounds seemed unusually loud. I could hear the very distinct sounds of crickets, frogs, birds, and other creatures traipsing through the woods. I just kind of blurred all the sounds together and let them carry me off to sleep.
Today - 70.26 miles