Monday, December 17, 2007

NW Florida

7 p.m. Sunday 16 Dec '07

Tallahassee is a hip town. The bike co-op is in Railroad Square, surrounded by art studios and there's an Internet coffee house nearby that's frequented by cyclists and alternative culture types. As I was riding down to check out the shelter, Helen called out from her car window "Are you Vernon?"

She recognized me from my Couch Surfer profile, which she and her husband looked at before turning down my request. But somehow that decision was reversed in short order. Helen is a massage therapist who teaches at the college and Mica is a photographer. They took me to a Chinese buffet and she did Pilates with me.

Leon County also has nice features. After spending some time on the Internet in the public library, I stumbled into a campground for tents only. It was completely free and attended full time by an older couple. Super clean restrooms had all the hot water you could want in the showers. I could have stayed ten consecutive days, up to thirty per year.

The next day was wet, especially in the afternoon. I holed up in another library until it closed, then found a camp site fairly soon. Right after I got my tent up, it rained buckets. I was dry and cozy, counting the seconds between the lightening and the thunder. Two in a row were less than two miles away, one to the south and one to the west. The rest were at least five and as I fell asleep they weren't bright enough to see with my eyes closed any more.

There was about five gallons of water trapped in the bike cover, but the tent was drier by morning than it was when I put it up, having stowed it wet the previous morning. The wind had come up and the rising sun dried everything off. I rode hard all day and now I'm halfway to Mobile, home of my next likely host.

A moment ago it looked like I was going to have free wi-fi, right here in my tent, but it was a passing thing. Might have something to do with the library that's nearby. I'll check with them in the morning, post this, contribute to Helium and check my e-mail before I put some more miles behind me.