Lake City, Florida

Elevation gained: 693ft/Mileage today: 86/Total mileage: 86

Exactly, 6.7 miles into my ride, I broke my first pledge – not to eat fast food. I had breakfast at Chick-fil-A (“Since 1946, always closed on Sunday”). This chain is about to open franchises in California and when it does it will be “game over” for the current popularity of “In-N-Out”. You heard it here first.

My waitress, Lori, noticed my riding attire and said: “ Ya’ll getting some exercise? I’m doin’ that for my diabetes. And, ya know what? It turns out exercise is good for all kinds of other things like your heart, your lungs and losin’ weight.”

Wow. Who new? I think we all need to get the word out on this.

The ride into Jacksonville was wet and cold. At one point, I camped out under an overpass to get dry. Once the storm decreased to a mere downpour, I rode over the Hart Bridge and into downtown. The Hart Bridge portion of the ride gets a 9 rating on the Major Dickason scale*. The usable portion of the shoulder was less than 12 inches and the cars in such close proximity flooded me with dirty spray. To add to the excitement, there are several places on the bridge where sections are joined with metal plates looking frighteningly like the gaping maw of some Mavic eating machine.

Once in Jacksonville, I rode to City Bikes to see if they had rain covers for panniers. I knew it was a long shot seeing as this is “The Sunshine State”, but it also gave me a chance to get dry. It’s a great shop and the employees are helpful – including with directions.

After departing Jacksonville, I rode the length of the Baldwin Trail. It’s a bicycle roadway built on the bed of an old railroad line. This was the only scenic part of the ride today. No cars and (given the weather) no other people for 15 miles.

The remainder of the day was spent on Hwy 90. This roadway is straight and lined with slash pines, but otherwise unremarkable. About the only thing that is positive is that it is almost perfectly flat.

As I rode, the weather changed from cold, grey and rainy to just cold and grey with fun 20-30 mph gusting headwinds. At the 60 mile point, I was nearing Osceola National Forest where I had planned to camp. But, nowhere today was I able to find a gas canister for my stove. So, if I were going to camp, dinner would consist of my remaining water, a single Mounds candy bar and less than favorable weather. My only other choice was to continue to ride to Lake City and hope that they had a hotel. With the sun setting and my fatigue rising, I decided to eliminate the uncertainty and as I pedaled, I placed a call to W.C.C. (Wife Command Central). My lovely bride did a quick Internet search and reported that Lake City had a number of hotels – and the decision was made. All I had to do was punch out the remaining 25 miles before it grew too dark.

A number of years ago, the great British explorer, Wilfred Thesiger was asked his thoughts about an explorer who was at that time traversing Africa’s Congo basin. Thesiger commented that while the activity was interesting, it couldn’t be called an “adventure” because the explorer had a satellite phone and could raise help whenever needed.

With all deference to Mr. Thesiger (who was an amazing individual), after today’s ride, I’m quite satisfied trading adventure for a hot shower and a cold beer.

(*The Major Dickinson scale represents the number of consecutive cups of this blend of extremely strong Pete’s coffee that would be required to raise one’s pulse to the same level as that resulting from the activity in question.)


Filed under Biking U.S.

18 responses to “Lake City, Florida

  1. Sharon Smith

    I’m so happy you made a “chick-fil-a” tag, that’s going to really streamline following your trip.

  2. Rapazzini - the one that bikes

    wow, not sure how it’s humanly possible to go from your intensely stressful 24/7 job to riding all day long in heaven only know what conditions, every day, for months. Awesome task you have set yourself; you have my utmost admiration.

    As the Polish Super Hero says, “Peace out.”

  3. Greg

    I think I’ve been telling you this (for years), but eat real food (fruit, grains) on your big ride days. And If you can’t find any real food on your journey through the South because of their ban on it, then find some FRS – it’s good for endurance.

  4. Pingback: 3,200 miles bike ride « Kempton – ideas Revolutionary

  5. Judy

    I’m glad you have your command center.

  6. Your Conscious

    No gas and a mounds bar? Everyone knows paydays have more nutrients Nice planning eagle scout?

    Mike’s big adventure day one PHR (parents heart rate) 98bpm

  7. Uke

    Jeez, did Bruce Gordon throw in that haircut with the bike? (And i thought black was supposed to be “slimming”?) Looking good, Studley, and no shame in a warm shower and a bed after 86 in the saddle.

  8. Rick

    Hey, the bike looks great though I’ve owned Toyotas that looked lighter.

    And no packs of wild dogs yet. Hmph. I thought Lake City was wild dog central.

  9. ingrid v

    I admire you for following your dream! Keep on pedaling!

  10. Julia Szucs

    Go Mike Go! Such a cool thing you are doing. Now remember, eat plenty of grits, watch out for alligators and don’t bike in thunderstorms.

    We are watching you!

  11. Polish Super Hero

    Get your lazy ass out on the rode by 5:30am. I don’t want to see another sub-100 mile day for at least two weeks. You’re a Dillon for Christ’s sake!

    Ok- you are the man. 86 miles on a tank-like-bike, that is impressive. We are gearing up for Death Valley and you will definitely be missed. Some how the idea of riding one day and then drinking beer and tequila all night and NOT RIDING the next days sounds like FUN.

    Be Safe, Ride Hard!

  12. Doug Dillon

    Rock on my brother!
    I am hanging on each day, looking forward to your tales of travel through the greatest backyard that we all have and few ever explore.
    “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.”
    Don Williams, Jr. (American Novelist and Poet, b.1968.
    Proud of you,now get your fat $^&*** on the bike and as I think they said in Costa Rica(I had water in my ears) “Pedal, Pedal, pedal!”
    The Dillon family from the 95008 send you love and flat roads on your journey!.

  13. Erika

    Hey cuz! Rob told me you were biking across the country, you nut! 🙂 In all seriousness this is awesome, looking forward to reading about your adventures, and crossing my fingers that those wild dogs don’t find you. 😉

    Be safe!

  14. Berk

    Thanks for the chit chat at Logan’s. You reminded me to call some college buddies and redefine our Grail Quest. God speed; I’ll check in on you here. Fill in the blanks where Steinbeck left off.

  15. Julie Grijalva

    Mike, We had Brian M. and his family over for dinner the other night and he passed your blog on to me. I’m really enjoying following your ride. Just a quick note on Chick-fil-A from a girl who grew up on it in Atlanta…during one of my pregnancies, I had an intense craving for it (even thought it’s been over 20 years since I’ve lived in the South). Instead of making my poor husband fly across the country to pick up some Chick-fil-A nuggets, I searched the internet and found that there is one lonely Chick-fil-Å in Fairfield. Not a great drive from Pleasanton, but much cheaper than flying to Atlanta. 🙂 Happy biking and be safe! Julie

  16. Michael Fox

    We have a Chick-fil-A here in san diego and I must say that In-N-Out is far superior.

  17. JuanDD

    May i suggest you to publish your weight too every couple of days? Will be very interesting to see how you become “shaped” by this trip.

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