March 20, 1999

Woke up by early morning boaters well before sunrise.  But I couldn't move, my body ached too much.  Finally I forced myself up at 7am.  Man I should've trained a little bit for this ride.  I did try- I bought a trainer and hated it.  Then I decided to go on some short 3 day to one-week rides and injured my left knee when I fell on it the first time out.  So I didn't even touch my bike the final 6 weeks before my ride, giving my injury time to heal.     But I started my trip early enough and should have plenty of time to get in better shape.  And these 100-mile days have got to get easier!  :)

I've decided to deviate from my route.  I'll be meeting a friend of a friend in Okeechobee City, Florida.  So I'll be going along the east side of the lake instead of the west side.  I hope 441 will be as nice as 27 is with wide shoulders to ride on.

I got my stuff together and then brushed my teeth in the bathhouse.  There were several rednecks in there too.  And when I biked out, one redneck had a few sarcastic remarks for me as I passed.  I didn't notice that I was in a redneck haven last night.  I'm just glad to get out of here and on the road.

I followed 715 to Pahokee, which looked sort of run down. A bum asked me for change when I stopped at a fruit stand to buy a nectarine. Then took 441 North, which had a decent shoulder most of the way.  It was a hot day and my thermometer read over 90 but I was informed it didn't get to 90 today.  Maybe it is just the heat coming up from the road.  I stopped about halfway and took one of my quick power naps.  Then I stopped at a small, Podunk, bait/convenience store and bought a Gatorade and a turkey sandwich.  I ate the last of my MET-Rx bars for breakfast.

Arriving in Okeechobee around 3:30pm I called Lynn, that friend of a friend.  And that friend of mine doesn't know her all that well, having met on the internet.  So that's probably why I didn't feel too welcomed when I called.  After realizing she wasn't going to offer a couch or floor to sleep on, I inquired about camping or motels.     She directed me to the KOA campground and the Budget Inn.  I also asked about internet access and she said that she had a friend that owned a cyber café here in town.   But it won't be open until Monday, so I'll either have to wait an extra day here or will skip typing up my journal entries.  As far as the hesitation I could sense in her voice, I think it is only natural for most to be wary of guys traveling through on a bike, especially a lady that lives alone.  Even though it did make me feel a bit dejected, I really did understand her dilemma.

I biked past the KOA and didn't get a good feeling about the place.  My knees were hurtin' a bit too, so I thought I'd hit the Budget Inn and ice them.

While checking in to the hotel I spoke with a nice lady at the desk.  When she found out I rode through Belle Glade, she stated "I bet you didn't see many white people."  Then she told me how it has one the highest concentrations of aids in the world.  She also told me of
problems 2 cyclers from France had at the campground here in Okeechobee.  And how she took them in for a couple of weeks while they were studying snakes in this area.     After they left they were robbed near Sarasota and one was hit over the head.    After showering in my room, I headed across the street to the grocery store to stock up on food and powdered Gatorade.  After returning to my room, I called my friend Kathleen.  I was headed there next and wanted to work out the details.  I did a clinical intern at her private clinic when I was in college.   And I found her not only to be an exceptional clinician but an exceptional person as well.

During our conversation I discovered that the final four was being held in St. Petersburg and they had friends flying in on Saturday.  So I really need to get there prior to Saturday before they have all those guests.  That means no cyber cafe for me.     I'll have to leave either
tomorrow or first thing Monday morning.  If my knees are better, I'll leave tomorrow.     I'm starting to get a bit of a negative attitude here and maybe the sooner I can leave the better.  I put Zheng Gu Shui(an oriental concoction) on both my knees and my sore left shoulder and then went to sleep.


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