Day 6: Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Elevation gained: 719/Miles: 63/Total Miles: 399

I made the right call by heading toward the beach. The ride was, for the most part, flat and Hwy 98 even had a bike lane! It was sunny, but with cold blustery winds. It’s felt strange to be riding along the Gulf Coast and wearing multiple layers to stay warm. Much of the ride I spent down in the handlebars trying to minimize wind resistance. As I rode, I would see flashes of yellow out of the periphery of my view – flocks of yellow rumped warblers that would scatter like leaves as I rode past.

For lunch, I stopped at a BBQ shack near Destin and enjoyed a pulled-pork sandwich, coleslaw and what else? Sweet tea! I’m considering filling an IV drip with this magical elixir and hanging off my handlebars. While I was eating, I chatted with a guy who worked in a bike shop. It turned out to be fortuitous, because when I stopped there to get some leg warmers and spare spokes, they discovered I had a piece of metal in the front tire. If you’re going to have a flat, a bike shop is the best place for it. Robin, the owner was more than helpful. He fixed the tire and adjusted my brakes for free.

I continued my ride with the Gulf of Mexico on my left. It was a bit jarring to see all the hotels, high-end shopping and restaurants after the small towns of the last few days. It was if I had gone from 1970 to 2010 in the space of 40 miles.

Stopping at Henderson State Park, I considered camping. It has some nice protected sites that are within walking distance to the beach. However, the temperature and wind would have made for a miserable night. So, I kept pedaling until I came to Fort Walton Beach where I found a reasonably priced family oriented hotel that I expect was a favorite of Ward and June Cleaver in the early 1960s. There’s even a dilapidated shuffleboard court outside my room.

11 Comments

Filed under Biking U.S.

11 responses to “Day 6: Fort Walton Beach, Florida

  1. I just stumbled onto your new blog (courtesy Jonathan’s new blog), having been a fan of your old one – just after returning home from a very quick bicycle ride of my own. Your ride across America is very inspiring, and I look forward to continuing to read it day by day…

  2. rohit sharma

    Go Mike ! Reenu and I are following ‘the ride’ and (vicariously) enjoying it …

  3. lili dillon

    Mike we took you and Kevin to Fort Walton beach to Sea World before we moved to Brunswick Ga. They did’n have all the tall buildings then. Glad you had a good ride. Hugs Lili

  4. Fred YU

    You are nearing the famous Florabama Bar in Perdido Beach. Home of the mullet toss. Are you stopping there?

  5. Michael Fox

    Mike, I’m glad to see that you are enjoying your journey. I realize that a probable reason for this journey is because you no longer worry about Declan driving your car while you are gone. I will continue to folow your journey and wish you the best of luck.

  6. Polish Super Hero

    Mike,
    Keep the wheel side down and keep rolling…we are off to Death Valley tomorrow and it looks like, wind and rain, for the ride. clearly you will be with us in spirit!
    PSH

  7. shannon

    i can see you sipping the sweet tea & getting in a game of shuffleboard before you head out….

    if my mapping is correct you are headed to mobile soon.

  8. Mike Nugent

    Mike, I’m inspired by your vision but wouldn’t have been brave (?) enough to do your trek alone. When you are in the picture, as above, are you using a time lapse shutter or asking folks to take your pic? Good luck!

  9. Ray

    Nice post Mike. You are inspirational! Many people sure will follow your foot steps.

    Wonder how you took the picture?

    Ray

  10. Navisdad

    “…I considered camping”.

    Whoa, Mike, that sounds kinda rash!

    We thought you were a professional camper!

    Wish we were there…
    S&J

  11. your timing is perfect – what could be better than to deliver some scrap metal at the appropriate hospital site. AND, I’m glad you’re treating yourself to some 50’s color in The Cleavers’ neighborhood. Thanks for posting. Carolyn

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