Chattahoochee to Pensacola

Great Blue Heron at Sunset

Just as the name suggest, we stayed in Florida’s outback for a couple of nights. We’ve left Jacksonville on Friday morning, just on the brink of an upcoming storm. As we learned later, it was a rather large one, therefore I’m glad to report that our timing was impeccable once again. We escaped west far enough to stay dry and we left Chattahoochee just before the storm caught up with us. We’ve packed the car last night and after folding the tent, we’ve left before breakfast. When we stopped at a nearby Micky Dees for a bowl of cereal at a curb, it started to rain.

I think there is really no need for us to complain about the weather at all. Yes, we got wet, real soaking in fact, but only once in Rocky Gap near Cumberland, MD. We also didn’t time properly our departure from Cheraw, SC and left the campground in rain and in a hurry. We’ve learned from these mistakes and now we’re packing the night before departure and keep observing the weather forecest changes to react appropriately. In fact, rain and sun dictate the direction and speed at which we’re moving. After all, our journey is a a true wander…

If I was to rank the places we’ve visited so far, I would have given Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Virginia most points for their interpretive programs, their facilities and very friendly, dedicated and knowledgable staff. Hunting Island ranks best for the weather and the overall vacation-like setting. Buckaloons in Pennsylvania still holds the 1st position for their bathroom standards. In fact, I have to say that in this category, the cleaningness and features are adequate to park’s latitude. North ranks much better than the South.

All the places we’ve visited so far had their own highlights and all of them had their problems. Too moist, too hot, too many raccoons, ants, skuns, armadillos, you name it. But all of them were really fascinating and I’m glad we had a chance to visit them all.

This morning, we’ve crossed a timezone line. We are leaving the East and will be travelling along the gulf coast. If there only was a ferry from Florida to Yucatan, it would have saved us a lot of time, and probably money. In fact, apparently there used to be one, back eight years ago. Unfortunatelly it failed to attract enough interest to stay in business for too long and left the owner with a USD $Million hole in his pocket. There might be another one launched as soon as early next year, but it’s not sure. We’ll take the long road and start learning Spanish along the way.

Risky business

Wet Road

The weather in the last few days has been hot and moist. We had several fast moving storms – mostly at nights – with an amazing display of lights and loud roars of thunders. The days are calm, but grey, damp and muggy. An occasional ray of sunshine is cherished, but usually doesn’t last long. The sky is almost constantly covered with dark, pregnant looking clouds, ready to spill out their guts any moment. Riding a motorcycle is now risky business.

Couple of days ago, I checked the weather forecast in the morning. The sky was overcast, but it wasn’t supposed to rain for at least another hour. It only takes thirty minutes for me to get to work, so I decided I’ll take the chance. There was a thunderstorm the night before, so the roads were wet. The vehicle in front of me was picking up all that moist, throwing it high in the air behind him. My face and goggles covered in no time with a thin mist. It wasn’t too bad though.

On the way out of East Avon, I started feeling pins and needles of raindrops in my face. When you’re in a car, it’s the kind of light rain that makes you use the windshield wipers only occassionaly. More of an annoyance than a distraction. That’s what wiper timers were invented for. On a motorcycle, you know that if it doesn’t stop soon, your clothes will be damp when you get to your destination. And usually such light rain doesn’t last very long. It stops quickly, or… turns into a heavy downpour.

I decided to work on my attitude and try to attract some positive energy, hoping the light rain will be over quickly. In physics, and as it seems in real life too, positives only attract negatives. The rain didn’t stop, instead it started to come down faster and in such volume, that in about fifteen seconds I was soaking wet. I pulled over to reconsider my situation. I was half way to work, all my clothes were wet, and my backpack was supposedly only “semi-waterproof”. What does it mean anyway?

I turned around and headed back home. Fortunately, there’s been no emergencies at work that day, only a friend commented that this must be one of the most original excuses to ditch work. Hey, if it’s so good, it’s worth buying a bike, isn’t it?!? I’ve got one Suzuki Intruder available…

Forecast for the next day was similar – undecided. Better safe then wet, I thought and called a friend of mine to arrange a car pool next morning. It didn’t rain that day… Did I learn my lesson? Well, today I rode my motorcycle to work again. It didn’t rain all the way, so only my socks were wet from all the moist on the roads. At lunch time I rode to a barber shop to get a last haircut before the trip. I got there dry, but while on the barber chair, I’ve noticed that it’s raining outside. I think I’ll be wet again…

I’m so glad it’s Friday!