March 30, 1999
|I woke up to a gloomy, cloudy morning, and thought for sure it
would rain. At 9AM I was back on 267 and followed it to 20 west. There were
plenty of tailwinds all morning as I headed west. By now, I'm really finding out
that the wind does not blow east most of the time. Prior to my departure on this
trip, I studied the wind direction and speed statistics for major US cities since 1939.
Since starting this trip, two people have told me that I was going in the
wrong direction due to the winds. Everyone seems to believe you need to ride west to
east, but that's not true. I've also noticed that the wind direction in the
afternoon is usually different than the direction in the morning. So if you don't
like the morning wind, just wait....it'll probably get better in the afternoon. As
for as Florida to Alaska, or Alaska to Florida, the route is more vertical than horizontal
on the map. So even if the west to east contention was true, a route like this in
either direction would have more crosswinds than tailwinds or headwinds.
When I headed north at Blountstown, I encountered some crosswinds due to the winds blowing east to west. The road begins to get hilly, which is somewhat challenging since I'm used to all flat land so far. I followed 71 north to 90 west into Mariana. Then I had to ride three miles through the hilliest terrain yet. Ugh...It was tough. Upon arriving at Florida Caverns State Park, I was informed that all campsites were full. The lady was not very pleasant, probably because of all the tourists that come through here. I had to pedal the three miles back to 90 through the hills again. While doing 30 mph on a downhill, with no shoulder, a big truck tried to pass me. I thought for sure the orange cones, stacked on a mount sticking out from the truck, were going to plow me down. It was either the phone or electric company with a big white truck that had one of those things on top to lift someone up to the top of a pole. This was the closest yet I've come to being hit, and the closest yet; I've come to being tempted to use my finger at him. Next time I will ride the middle of the lane and make him wait. I will also call from a pay phone before going out of my way to a state park.
Heading back west on 90, I rode a couple of miles and found a cheap motel, $35.04 with tax. The lady was very pleasant and talkative. She made me feel very welcome and put the smile back on my face that was missing....
Today - 78.24 miles