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.


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