15/12/16. After the rain came the sunshine!
There was further rain yesterday evening but of course we were safely inside our tent draped room. (The sand and pine needles which had been stuck to the fabric by the rain did make a bit of a mess as things dried. We did try to tidy the worst of it up but did leave a job for a powerful vacuum cleaner when room service came.)
By this morning the clouds had disappeared and it was a gloriously sunny day. Looking at the forecasts (we think the Americans are even more obsessed with the weather than us Brits) there is some serious winter weather going on from coast to coast in the northern half of the country with Storm Decima bringing cold air and snow from the Arctic. Some places in the midWest (such as Bismarck, South Dakota which we had not heard of but gets regular mentions in the forecasts) are forecast to go down to -30°C (and even lower with the wind chill factor).
Here, there was a bit of a nip in the air first thing – at least compared to what we have become accustomed to – it was about 7°C with the wind coming from the north but it warmed up to the upper teens as we again cycled along the main US90.
It was a lovely ride with the sunshine, little traffic, and a reasonable shoulder. As on the previous couple of days, we passed through woodlands where a lot of the ground was covered in water. Our take was that this was not because of the rain in the last couple of days but, rather, the natural Florida swampy countryside and made us appreciate how difficult travel must have been for the early explorers.
In fact, it was so glorious that it was up there with some of the best days’ cycling ever and helped to erase some of Christine’s dog related memories!
We made good time, not least because we were getting some assistance from the northerly wind as we travelled sometimes west, sometimes south west, and reached DeFuniack Springs, our destination, not long after 2 o’clock having covered 64km.
Although it is more than 4 weeks since we arrived and we have covered nearly 1,300 km (excluding Stephen’s extra curricular rides on “days off”) we are still in Florida. We Brits focus on the peninsula with Miami, Orlando and Tampa but the Panhandle (the section along the Gulf Coast) is a big area and there is still another 150 km to Pensacola (on the western border with Alabama) by the most direct route.
In DeFuniack Springs we made our way to the post office which was where we had asked Tallahassee post office to forward the map package. Lo and behold, it was there to our slight surprise and great relief. This is not least because DeFuniack Springs is where our detailed map runs out (although we do have less detailed maps of each state plus the Garmin).
However, it is also slightly ironic that there is where we are going to take a detour from the designated Southern Tier route as we are heading to the coast – partly on a whim and partly because we have arranged a couple of Warmshowers hosts along the way!
(PS Interesting factoid re DeFuniack Springs: Lake DeFuniak is one of the two almost perfectly round circular spring-fed lakes in the world – per Wikipedia.)