Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Journey of GuaJaTaKa: Day 4, PaIsLeY to MeLBouRnE

Traveling by bike gives you the chance to appreciate the little things.

That whole day before seemed like a week long journey....  And as I packed up my camp I marveled at how far I traveled in one day.

I could hear voices off in the distance.  I came out of my tent and could see several SUV's on the side of the road, folks standing around chatting.

I moved a little quicker. Packing up my things a hair faster.  Not being entirely sure who was off in the distance. I eventually found out it was a Florida Trail work crew. Interesting.

I got on my bike and pedaled out of the woods.  I had wings again today.  Motivated to meet up with Edith. Seeing a familiar face during such a long trip is one of those little things that you appreciate.

Any soreness I had from the previous days efforts had gone away.  I had a little cheek chapping happening, so for the first time during the trip, I decided to apply some DZ and to wear padded shorts.

Maggie Jones rolled fast.  Nothing Stops GuaJaTaKa.  It seemed like a blink and I was at our meeting spot, the Cozee Cafe in Heathrow.

I ate like a KING.  Straight up HOGGED out, eating FULL ON bikepacker style, doubles of everything, lots of espresso, lots of laughs and conversations.

I look HORRIBLE IN THIS PICTURE>  Edith on the other hand a beauty... beauty and the beast???
I feel for Edith.  I feel for any woman that dares to be in a relationship with me.  The fact is, I am a FURNACE of passion about what I DO.  Constantly stepping it up.  Once I succeed at something, the next challenge gets bigger.  I DON'T want to sit still,  I always want to be on the move.  So consequently I feel bad for the one who has to deal with it.  There are many positives to being by my side, and many many downsides as well.  I reckon it would be a lot easier if she just came along ;-).

We spent about an hour and half together and I left.  The route thru Lake Mary, Winter Springs and Oviedo was via the Cross Seminole trail and soldiers creek.  Part bike path, part singletrack.  I took a Detour to the Shop to say hi to my co workers and to get more Chamois Lube.  I had picked up just a little chapping and I was doing my best to stop it, but noticed I barely had any lube left.

It was fun to say hi to my co workers.  It was fun to think that just a few days before I was in Georgia and I just pedaled ALL THE WAY TO WORK.

I kept my visit brief cause I had made plans to meet Edith in Melbourne to stay at a Hotel and then Meet up with Charlie Kemp the next morning, my riding buddy for the rest of the trip.
Urban singletrack through Oviedo

I left the shop, got back on route, rolled fast through the path, then followed the route into the Little Econ Forest.  When I got to the edge of the forest I got a message from my boss at work telling me I forgot my wallet.  I was already far from the store and I was pretty upset that I was going to have to backtrack especially since I was on a tight schedule.  On my way through town my Friend Craig had asked me if I needed anything to call him, so I did. I called him up and asked him if he could swing by the store, get my wallet and drop it to me.  Since I had just started the forest portion it was a short back track to get back to pavement and a good spot to wait.  Overall I lost about an hour because of that fiasco, then navigated the tight bridges and slight flooding before reaching the banks of the Econolokahatchee which was elevated, scenic and twisty singletrack goodness.
More hidden track

I got across the Trestle Bridge onto the other side and came across a few folks.  One guy was walking.  I stopped and asked him if he wanted me to tow him out?  He declined said he didn't have to walk much further, (I'm pretty sure he was wrong he still had at least two miles to go).

Every single body of water is Swollen in Florida.  
Came across another group of cyclist and gave them directions to the road, one guy looked like he was ready to pass out.

Flagler trail heading towards Chuluota. If you look careful you can see the walking rider
Made the pavement and then weaved my way through Geneva and then Taintsville and Chuluota eventually making my way to SR 50 and detouring off route to Melbourne.  The seven mile road ride to Melbourne seemed endless... Dark... Dank..... Not enjoyable, and I worked my tail off to help finish it faster.

ModeL T?
Edith was supposed to meet me at 8pm, and I beat her there and we managed to get the People at the hotel to let me in and I showered up and kicked up my feet feeling pretty satisfied that another day was done.  Excited as well that I was going to get a chance to have a riding buddy for the rest of the trip and to finally be leaving the chilly weather.


Friday, May 02, 2014

The Journey of GuaJaTaKa: Day 3, PeTer K's To PaIsLeY

That next morning I had a lot on my plate.

I felt like I was behind schedule so I needed to ride from Gainesville to Sanford Florida.  I was pretty determined to make that happen.

Peter took me to waffle house and was kind enough to treat me to breakfast and great conversation.  What a guy, salt of the earth.

Cabe Crisler Hammering me on the Hawthorne bike path, thanks CABE~!!!
I got dropped off at Super Cool Bike Shop where I was going to meet up with Cabe Crisler who was going to guide me across the city via the secret singletrack system.

I chatted momentarily with the employees of the shop and then we got underway.  Having fun, shredding trail.  We passed the HOBO habitat, and man was it creepy to see a hillside covered in tarps and shacks and garbage.  It looked like something you would see in a third world impoverished country and only a stones throw away from the University of Florida.

We rode through the campus.  That was fun, seeing all the College kids hustling about.  Seeing all the mopeds.  Constantly ringing my bell and craning my neck to gawk at one sight or another.

Before Long we got to Hawthorne trail.  It was literally a blink and we cleared town.  Cabe was riding way fast on the bike path and he was wearing my ass out.  Of course I kept quiet and just hung on for dear life, but I was happy when we got to Hawthorne and he turned around and went back home, geezus, I hadn't hit diesel mode yet and that speed was KILLING ME, LMFAO.  I guess a more modest person would of piped up, but me, I am the Singletrack Samurai, aka the Naked Indian, I kept my mouth shut and HTFUd thru it.
Hawthorne bike path

At the Trail head I took a break.  That morning before I left, Peter had a surprise for me.  A counter full of food for me to take with me.  When I left his house, I had 20 wings in a big zip lock bag.  A bag of trail mix.  A bag of pistachios.  That combined with my can of stew and a big bag of kettle cooked chips, meant I had enough food to get beyond Sanford and didn't need to really bother with any stores the rest of the day.

It all seems like a blur, pedaling the pavement and dirt roads between Hawthorne and Rodman damn.  I ate lunch at the Damn, my wings, made tea from powder and water, something new I was doing this trip.  And then pedaled on.
Lake Oklawaha the view south from the Northern end

The View from the Bridge towards Lake Oklawaha going over the man made barge canal.
I rode up and down 88, keeping my speed fast.  I was resolved, focused, determined.

Old Forest Road 88, cyclocross friendly,and half dirt,  half bad pavement.
The 88 store
Before long I was passing the 88 Store.  No need to stop.  I was full of food and water and there was more water at Farles Lake.  So on I went.  It got dark.  It got cold.  I remember being on the side of the road, putting on my lights in the pitch dark, and looking up to marvel at how beautiful the stars looked.  I pushed on to the Forest road that we call the dragons tail.  It was up and down, sandy in spots.  At some point on a downhill, I hit what appeared to be a hole in the ground that was covered by a fine smooth layer of sand.  So I literally hit it, bounced out of it, barely keeping control of GauJaTaKa.   It happened again further down the road, but this time I had to stick my leg out and kick stand the beast to stay up right.  After having it happen twice, I knew what to look for.  I manged to stay upright the rest of the route around Farles Lake, I skipped the pump, it was cold and I figured I was 22 miles from Paisley so no need to stop.  It was best I kept moving.

And I did.

Down Paisley road I went.  Cars were going by.  It was a busy traffic dirt road in the middle of the night.  Traveling alone, you cant help sometimes but to get a little paranoid.  A little Anxious.

It was almost 11.  I was time trialing to town.  I wanted to make a store for some hot food.  From Far away I could see a car was sitting sideways across the road.  I had no Idea why, but my knife was at the ready.  Speed is always my first line of defense and If I ever decide to escape , I assure you,  I will.

I passed the car without incident.  It was odd to see a middle aged man dressed like GI Joe that late at night, but hell its the Ocala National Forest, not that weird.  Further down the road, I could see what looked like 4 floating glowing X's.

I use my lights at night for self defense.  Most of the time I run them on low.  I want them to last since they are the rechargeable kind.  I put my lights on SUPER BRIGHT.  And passed by 4 teenagers, 2 girls 2 guys, dressed like GI Joe, holding maps and compasses.  Some sort of  R.O.T.C. training exercise I supposed and quickened my tempo.  I had literally 10 minutes before everything would shut down in town.

I went as fast as I could, and made it before 11pm, but everything was closed.  I stopped briefly at the Pirate Pub, but the noise and the energy in the air, didn't jive with my energy, and I pushed on.   It was cold, I really wanted to be warm.

I went to the post office and hung out in the lobby for a minute thinking about my options.  I decided to ride down to Clear Water Lake Campground and cook dinner and eat in the bathroom.  From there I would make my next choice.

The bathroom was Warm and I cooked my food and then decided that I would just go up a ways out of the area and camp among the Oaks.  And that's what I did.  Set up fast, got in my tent, and played with my droid for a bit, before falling dead asleep.