- to track online our current location, see instructions on the Ride the Nation Route plan page)
- also, follow us on Twitter, search “ridethenation”
- check out our Monday blog on www.bmxmania.com for exclusive details you won’t find here.
We set up the GPS with the address for the campground we had pre-chosen. I was shocked to see 68 miles to destination since I had run directions on Google Biking maps months ago and recorded it as approximately 50 miles. I went to Google bike maps on my blackberry phone and ran the same directions and it showed 48 miles. I conferred with Frankenbutt and we agreed to use the Google directions instead. As we panned through the list of turns and looked at the map, we had only one concern: one of the roads didn’t have a name. We decided to clock mileage from the time we turned onto the prior road until the # of miles it indicated as the turn for the “road with no name”.
Although there was no bike lane at the start of the ride, it was pleasant and very little traffic. We clocked it out and arrived at the “road with no name” and it was a dirt road … with a locked gate across it. We examined the situation and since it didn’t have a “no trespassing” sign and since the area we would be travelling through was public lands, and the alternative was back tracking 6 miles making it a 70 mile day, we decided that we would proceed.
We finally emerged onto Route 31 and followed it south for another 10 miles before we came upon a convenience store. The store was poorly stocked and way over priced BUT it had fountain sodas, which translates to ice and water for the water bottles. I told the Beast to pick a drink of her choice from the cooler and then asked the clerk if we could fill the bottles. He agreed, seeing that we were buying a few other items. Even as I filled the bottles, I drank a whole bottle’s worth of the ice water because I was so hot. Frankenbutt walked Coco and gave her ice water, too. She drank it and then laid in the shade while we got our bikes ready for the ride. Unfortunately, that convenience store did not have much to choose from in the way of lunch so we decided to ride on.
In just ½ mile, there was a combination gas station, convenience store, luncheonette and we pulled in to get lunch. We bought sandwiches and I told the Beast and Frankenbutt to eat inside at the air conditioned tables and that I would hang outside with Coco. (Frankenbutt often takes that role and I thought he, and his butt, could use a little rest).
After 10 miles on 78, we weaved our way through a small town and got onto route 80 east towards LaBelle, Fl, where our intended campground was. There was a decent shoulder most of the ride and although there was a hot, mile head wind when we first started on that route, we soon found a really nice tailwind and sailed along at 16 miles per hour! After 10 miles on 80 east, we weaved our way through the town of LaBelle and made one pit stop at a convenience store to pick up a ½ gallon of milk, which we needed to make our dinner.
We rode another block and a half from there and checked in at LaBelle Woods resort and the manager generously gave us a bag of ice to put around our milk, keeping it cold until we needed it. It was about 5pm and the three of us decided to put dinner off until after a swim in the resort’s pool. Wow! That was super refreshing and relaxing after a tough day! We had tied Coco’s leash around a lounge chair at the pool side and she laid down as we swam until she heard the Beast shriek, after her dad tossed her in the air. Coco bounded for the pool, dragging the lounge chair behind her. (For those of you who know Coco, you know she has a lot of strength; we often say she’s training for the Iditarod.) Frankenbutt managed to intercept her before she got to the pool. I decided to sit with Coco in a lounge chair and dry out while the Beast and Frankenbutt played “Marco Polo” in the pool.
About 6pm, Frankenbutt left to put up the tent and start dinner. The Beast and I followed a short time later, realizing that Frankenbutt rode his bike back with Coco’s trailer attached. We have never ridden our bikes with Coco on a leash outside her trailer but the Beast and I thought it could work. It did and Coco pulled so hard on her leash, I didn’t even have to pedal. It was fine until we reached our campsite and as we rode up on the grass, Coco crossed in front of my bike and I squeezed the brakes a little too hard. I bounded over the top of my bike and landed hard with the handlebars digging into my thighs. OUCH! Even my thunder thighs couldn’t take the full weight of me against the bike.
Frankenbutt came running and helped me up and then straightened out my bike and the basket. I was a bit embarrassed but decided that I should just get a shower and make sure I didn’t have any wounds that needed attention. I didn’t; just some quickly purpling bruises. The shower felt great and soon the Beast had one, too. We returned in our sleep clothes and ate Broccoli and Cheddar Pasta by Knorr’s, 3 packs @ $1.00 each plus a ½ gallon of milk, equals about $5 for a nice hot meal.
After dinner, I requested everyone’s dirty clothes and gathered all the dirty dishes and we all headed for the shower house/laundry room, right across the way from our campsite. Frankenbutt tossed out his dirty clothes once he got to the shower and I threw everything into the washing machine. Only $1.00 to wash, that’s cheap! Then, I washed all of our dishes with Dawn dishwashing liquid and set them to dry on the shelf near the sink. The Beast and Frankenbutt each found interesting magazines to read from the library shelf in the lounge area, near the laundry and I put two chairs together so I could type my blog with my feet up. Much deserved relaxation after a hot and bumpy long bike ride today.
Tomorrow, we plan to ride about 30 or so miles to a campground, where I receive a Passport America membership discount of ½ off. I’ve tried to call them a few times, but always get voice mail. Cross your fingers that it’s open and a site is available.
Hi, to Bud and Tippi, a couple of friends from the Suncoast Trail who are now following our EPIC bike ride. Bud, I’m sure your 85 year old mind is sharped than some of those 20 year olds who have passed both you and us on the Suncoast Trail. We truly hope to see you in Ohio this summer! Hi, also to announcer Kelley, who’s following our blog and our google latitude location! Thanks again to Amanda Carr and all the great people at Charlotte BMX for a night of free camping and all the hospitality, even when you were closing due to weather.