Conquering Florida

Date: February 28th 2017

From/To: Lake City FL/Monticello FL

Distance: 80 miles

I felt strong today. I wasn’t expecting the second day to start off like that, especially with the mileage I’ve covered already.

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I left the hotel around 7:30 (that’s early for me) and made my way to Route 90. That was one of the two turns I made today. My route ran 78 miles from Lake City to Monticello. The early morning fog hadn’t dissipated by the time I left, and I could only see about 40 yards in front of me. By 10:00 the sky had cleared up and the sun was shining, really shining. This was the second full day of sunshine and it was stating to bother me. I felt good and made good time nonetheless. Route 90 took me on a scenic route through Northern Florida. Wellborn, Live Oak, Lee, Madison, and Greenville were just a few of the small towns I passed through. I bet you’ve never heard of most if not all of them, and after passing through them you’d understand why.

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Crossing the Suwannee River

Route 90 is what you could call the locals road, maybe even the back road. As I mentioned previously, Interstate 10 is now the main expressway for people heading east/west in Northern Florida, and there’s not much reason to take 10 anymore. Regardless of how remote these towns are, the people are very hospitable. One man offered me waters and supplies after he saw me stopped on the side of the road having lunch. I made it to Monticello around 2:00, and found myself a local restaurant to sit down and have a steak sandwich. Today was my first night staying with a Warm Showers host, and I was intrigued about how the experience would go.

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Around 4:00 I made my way north of Monticello a few miles (and yes… I got lost trying to find the place, only to be saved by one of the hosts who happened to be driving home at that time). I made my way down a road that turned off onto a gravel driveway that ran a good distance into their farmland. I was then greeted by Diane, one of the hosts who invited me in, showed me to my room (and warm shower of course). Diane and her partner Maria are dog rescuers. At this point in time they have 6 dogs! I was greeted this a chorus of barking dogs as I walked in the door, and I made my way upstairs to settle in. By the time I was cleaned up Maria had returned from work. We had pizza for dinner followed by some great conversation in their living room for a few hours. They washed my clothes, provided dinner, and offered me to stay longer if I would like. Their only condition, aside from being a dog person, is that I write them a postcard when I return home. I saw why when I went up to my room. There were over 50 postcards from pervious guests. I learned that Maria had been part of Warm Showers since its beginning in 2000, when there were 6 people in the organization that now involves well over 80,000. Needless to say, the bar has been set high and I am looking forward to meeting more wonderful people like Maria and Diane. My trip has been off to a great start. I accomplished two ambitions days of biking, and I’m looking forward to an easy 27-mile ride into Tallahassee tomorrow. Only a few more days in the Sunshine State. Check back tomorrow to hear more!

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt

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