Day 23, 5 December, Rain, Rain Go Away

Let’s just agree that today is Metaphor Monday.  When we woke this morning the ground was wet and the forecast rain was expanding further east like a fog filling the lowlands.  As we stepped out of the hotel the air was as thick and heavy as the fruitcake Louise bought in Texas.  Our fun today could have been measured with a short string on a long football field.  Actually, not quite so bad, but still not our best day.  The weather forecast was as dependable as a politicians promise, since it had changed from dry, to rainy and even worse.  It was interesting looking at a local online forecast that included a “mosquito activity index”.  Yesterday as I pointed out some of the pests that inhabit this part of the world I failed to mention two of our favorites: mosquitoes, the spreaders of lots of nasty diseases, such as West Nile Virus and Zika, and the very pesky gnats that buzzed around our faces until we got to drier areas.  The overnight forecast for our area includes rain, thundershowers, and tornadoes…yikes!

After all that, we still managed 102.4 miles today over some diverse terrain, high humidity with 82 degrees and a vexing flat on my back tire.  As I worked on the tire it turned out to be a niggling little piece of wire that likely came from a shredded steel belted tire.  With some luck and a short ride we’ll touch down on the coast in St Augustine and surpass the 2,000 mile mark.  It sorta  seems like a hollow conclusion to the trip when we have to go backwards to complete up to 1,000 miles of trail we bypassed.

We enjoyed a phone call from Louise’s mom today in which we exchanged a few words and heard that she is taking nourishment and gaining some alertness.  Her caregiver and guardian angel assures us she’s doing as well as can be expected.  Brother Ben will visit in a day or two, so we’ll gain a second perspective on her status.  In any event, we’re converging on a decision to shorten our trip and drive back through Tucson to spend a couple days  with mom and help in any way we can.

Here’s a couple shots to capture some noteworthy points of the day.  At the start of the day you can see standing water on the ground.  Within an hour of starting my ride my bike was coated in water and sand from the road.  Louise notice the presence of peanut farming at the LPF site, which began to demonstrate a more prosperous part of the state.  You have to look closely at the bridge over the Suwannee River that was made famous in the song by Hugh Laurie and composed by Steven Foster about the Swanee River.  Couldn’t get that damn tune out of my head all day.  Louise gave us a nice pose at Ichetucknee Springs Park and then a couple riding shots and some cypress trees along our route.  There’s a fun little group of voting signs we saw alongside the road and I want to comment some on that tomorrow.  Finally, I spotted two armored residents of Florida on my ride today–a live armadillo and a gopher tortoise grazing alongside the road, not far from its sandy den.  Louise was so jealous of my critter sightings.