Tarrying in Tallahassee

11/12/16. Waving goodbye to Susan and Kevin, on Saturday morning we headed back down the hill to the post office where we given good news and bad news.

The good news was that the package had been located in the manager’s office. The bad news was that the door was locked, only he and his secretary have a key and neither would be at work until Monday morning! Hmmm.

We decided to spend the weekend in Tallahassee as it would fit in with church and Christine’s pill day so we checked into a motel. (We had messed Susan and Kevin around once already and their son had just arrived back from college in Chicago so we didn’t want to disturb them again.)

Consulting the Lonely Planet Guide we learned that the Museum of Florida History and the Capitol Museum were the main attractions and, even better, they were both free! The Capitol Museum is located in the former centre of state government (Tallahassee is the state capital) and was fascinating. Not surprisingly it is focussed on the development of the local government since Florida was acquired from Spain in the 1820s. A major theme running through the exhibits was the development of race relations because (obviously) Florida is part of the South (it was the third state to secede from the Union in 1860). This was really brought home to us when we read that until the 1970s the political system excluded African Americans from participating in the goverment. Of course, Britain’s record on race relations at that time was nothing to be proud of but we were shocked at the extent of institutional discrimination that obviously prevailed here in the very recent past.

The History Museum was also extremely interesting and well worth a visit.

Christine’s experience in church was again very disappointing with nobody making any effort to talk to her and when she mentioned this to the minister as she left his reply was that it was something they needed to work on.

Winter’s Here

9/12/16. The weather forecast for the end of the week had been saying that a cold spell was heading towards most of the US including Florida where it was expected temperatures would fall to below 40°F (about 5°C). And it was not wrong!

When we set off on Thursday morning from the Suwannee River campsite we were well wrapped up – even Stephen had three layers on the top and was half considering getting his winter top out. As Thursday was supposed to mark the start of the cold snap we were glad that, for the next two nights at least, we were going to be inside. While in Gainesville we managed to get our act together enough to arrange stays with Warmshowers hosts (albeit at the second attempt when Christine’s tummy bug delayed our departure by a day).

And both nights’ hosts epitomised what Warmshowers is all about. Zef & OOna (in Monticello) and Susan & Kevin (in Tallahassee) could not have been more welcoming. Once we are back home, we both look forward to having to stay touring cyclists who are passing our way. This may not be repaying the kindness to those individuals who have welcomed us into their homes but it will feel as though we have done a little to reciprocate – and of course we would love to have any of those who have hosted us whether they are on bikes or not.

The route for much of the two days was through rolling countryside with the hills seeming to get longer and steeper towards the end of both days. Or was that the legs getting more tired? Either way, it was noticeably more “up and down” than anything we had encountered so far in Florida. Kevin provided the explanation when he told Stephen that Tallahassee is right at the very end of the Appalachian Mountains which run down much of the east coast.

Arriving in Tallahassee we made first for a post office where we hoped to pick up two maps that we had ordered. However when we turned up at the one where we thought they were going to be we were directed to the main office 2½ miles away.

With Christine wilting we made our way over the couple of hills on the way only to be told that, according to “the system” the package had been “delivered to our agent” earlier in the day! Recognising that this did not make sense the lady undertook to get a proper search made early on Saturday and said we should come back in the morning.

Let’s see how we get on!

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