Across Continents

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Sunshine State

January 25th, 2012

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Florida had a neatness that’d been mostly lacking in the poorer Southern States of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Home, I’d been told, of Seaside, setting for the flawless world of Jim Carey’s The Truman Show. I’d taken few photos since leaving Texas, simply because there wasn’t much to catch my eye. Or the camera would have drawn unwelcome attention. Wrong part of town.

I’d spent my first night in Florida down in the naval town of Pensacola. Staying with Ray and Donna. Eclectic contents gave their home character. Collectors rather than hoarders, with something of an underlying nautical theme. Small model sail boats in the bathroom.

They’d warned me I’d soon hit hills. Well known simply because they were the only ones in the entire State. Just my luck. But, in practice, they’d not been too bad at all. Kept me warm, for Sunshine State it might be, cold it certainly was. Following Highway 90 north east towards Milton had been tedious, small shoulder and frequently inconsiderate traffic. I’d noticed the town of Bagdad a short distance to the south, on the banks of the Blackwater river. Wondering if this was merely coincidence – the latter being a private military company with a tarnished reputation in Iraq.

The afternoon was warmer, winter gloves returned to the panniers, with quieter roads for much of the way to Crestview and a stop for the night. And the discovery my can of WD40 had discharged much of its contents into one of my bags. Deep joy.

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Outbound from Pensacola

January 25th, 2012

Ken heads out of Pensacola, off to the only hills in the entire State of Florida. Apparently.

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Sketchy departure

January 24th, 2012

Simple plan. Of sorts. Across Alabama Bay then pick up Highway 90 back to the coast at Pensacola. And into Florida. Save for the exit from Mobile, and the final section, I’d no map. Reliant instead on a rough sketch I’d made of the route in my pocket book. Penned an outline, annotated with a few major intersections and one town – Loxley – to serve as headmarks.

Except I’d overlooked the need for a bit of a detour through north Mobile to reach the causeway across the bay. Bicycles prohibited from using the more direct tunnel route. Obliged instead to ride through Alabama State Docks. Numerous rail tracks. Scrap yards. A wrong turn. Tedious.

Beyond the bay progress had picked up. Long straight stretch of highway, rolling far into the distance. Then Loxley. Lunch stop and chance to assess progress. I’d forty or so miles to go, and just over three hours of daylight left.

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