After yesterdays hardly-won battle of 54 miles in the saddle, with butt cheeks feeling the pinch, we were happy for this short day to finally arrive. If we had actually made it to our destination last night, we would only have about 30 miles to ride today, but because of the yesterday's issues we ended having to ride 41.67 miles today.
Because of our guerrilla campsite last night, we sprang up and out of the tent this morning, and were on the road within minutes.
Let me interject a quick point here:
Because of the ease of packing all kinds of stuff into the trailer, there were times where we could basically throw masses of stuff inside the 'sherpa' and just keep right on rolling. The trailer was a Godsend at times. We could throw rolled up tents, wet clothes, bags of food, sleeping bags, books, and piles of stuff inside. And it just kept right on rolling. It was super easy to have the trailer and pull it to. If you EVER go on a bicycle tour, you absolutely need to consider bringing along a trailer to help ease your load. Sherpa is about the best word I can use to describe it.
We were all freezing when we got up this morning, so stopped at a little store along the road to get soak up some heat inside the store, and then stand in the sun outside. We were like a herd of lizards waiting for our bodies to absorb enough heat to move.
After downing some food and some rays, we hit the road again.
A few miles down the road we hit a historic park, called Olustee Battlefield. It's the site of a bloody Civil War battle that actually ended with the deaths of thousands of soldiers. The Confederate (Southern troops) won this skirmish fought in 1864. Every year they re-enact the Battle right here at the Battlefield in February of each year.
Here are a few pics from the park:
From the Battlefield, we traveled for miles along an amazingly, quiet back country road. We road past Ocean Pond and the campground we were supposed to stay at last night. There were virtually no cars on the road for miles and miles and miles. It was probably the most peaceful road riding of the trip. And it was a gorgeous morning to ride. Not too hot, but plenty of sun to brighten the way.
About 10 miles from the final stop for this day we came to an absolute rarity in Florida... a waterfall. It is at a little place called Falling Creek. The waterfall is a towering 12 feet tall. Multnomah Falls it is not. Being one of only a handful of falls in Florida, we absolutely HAD to stop and check it out. The Falling Church park also has a 100 year old church, constructed with heart pine. The wood is termite resistant, which has allowed the church to weather the years with dignity.
Here are a few shots from our visit:
Here's a clip of Chris and Kait chatting, while we just milled about the Falling Church park. I include this picture because you can also get a feel for the load that Chris carried on her bike. You can see the rear panniers are pretty full. Probably about 20 pounds per bag, although they still could have held more. And then throw the sleeping bag on top of the rack as well.
And, of course, we had to hook up lunch at the nearby Quiznos sub shop. This turned out to be a deliciously, yummy food stop. Unfortunately, Chris decided to pop off a few incriminating shots of us trying to devour our food. Or course, all the other people inside the store were wondering why this psychotic woman was snapping dozens of pictures while the people she was photographing were simply trying to eat. The world may never know?
And the we finished off our day with a really early stopping point. We stayed at the Stephen Foster State Folk Culture Center. This is the 'center' of the Suwanee River culture and heritage, birthed by the popularity of Stephen Foster's song 'Old Folks at Home' about the Suwanee. There is a HUGE cultural exhibit building here, where crafters and artisans showcase their work during local exhibits and shows. There were bunches of people invading the building the week we were there for some kind of craft exhibit.
It was actually a pretty nice campground. And, if we weren't just passing through, would have been a great place to stop and explore for a few days. The art, the river, the park, and the town all had a nice comfortable feel to them.
We have since learned that the Stephen Foster tune is the State Song of Florida. WOW! I had no idea. This State Park is definitely worth a stop if you are ever in the area. There were tons of families out riding bikes, playing in the playground, and walking around the park while we were there.
Here are a few pics of Keeley and Chris hanging out at our site. Notice the stunning tan lines on Keeley's legs. Chris lovingly refers to these seemingly permanent tan marks as bikers tans. We all have them, as lovely memories still adorning our bronzed bodies. They might even be worse than farmers tans? I'm not exactly sure? The verdict is still out on that.
The parting shot for the day... our campsite.