I left Lake Wales this morning actually a bit early. I rolled out of the driveway on Old Faithful about 1:40am. We've had our first cool spell, so believing you cannot dress too warmly, I left in thermal underwear, heavy leather lined jeans, thick socks in my leather (waterproof treated) boots, and on top was shirt, fleece jacket with a shell I had from my sailing days, and my mesh jacket with thermal liner zipped in, and of course my full face modular helmet. Let me restate this: "You cannot dress too warmly" necause the alternative is freezing, and in spite of my preparations that is what I did. Rolling through the Ocala National Forest in the wee hours of the morning was chilling. The temps were not so bad (I heard a radio about sunup saying the temp was 51) but the Florida moisture combineswith even moderately chilly temperatures to make a frigid combination. By the time I got north of the forest, I was shaking and shivering and had to sit in Huddle House for a half hour eating and drinking hot coffee to get to where I could feel anything again. I left with the sun still no tquite up over the horizon and rode on, resuming the shivering especially when the coldest part of the day came,which was right after sunrise. The joy of autumn weather didn't abate until well into Georgia.
I finally got to where I could remove layers, and about in mid-Georgia I was down to my regular riding clothes, although even then, in spite of the warm sunshine, you could feel a hint of chill in the air.
Georgia is most most wonderfully smelly place I have ever ridden.In the spring I have ridden through while it smelled like some kind of sandalwood incense, and in the summer the smell of pine was everyhere. This time it was the smell of balsam, earthy and clean smelling. For a short part of the ride smoke was the mainfeature and hung likefog on the road. I was detoured around US 301 in north Florida because of a forest fire, but this time smoke was not as iwidespread as on my last trip through in June.
The odomoeter had 18,322 when I left. When I got to Maggie Valley it read 19,002, making the trip some eighten hours and 680 miles--the longest one day ride I have yet undertaken. Which brings me to this next tidbit. If you ride this far your butt is going to hurt--and I mean HURT with capital letters. On this ride I found the secret to being able to carry on. I cut a piece of dense foam, like those kneeling pads people use for gardening and house chores are made of. I cut a piece out of a scrap I had. I stuck this from time to time in various positions under my saddle pad; the secret being to position it each time so the pressure points are moved to another place. If successful, you will have a butt that is horribly sore everywhere, but the change in location of suffering will allow you enough respite to allow you to keep on riding further.
I am in my tent now after a quick run to Legends, a local sports bar, for a bite. It feels like it will fall into the upper forties tonight so it looks like my riding clothes will have to do double duty as pajamas Ya'll have a nice night . Sorry about the lack of pictures; I was way behind my schedule, partly due to an over optimistic estimate of the distance my Google Maps and partly because of my restaurant stop to warm up, and I had no time to stop if I was to get here before dark.
"Ride Your Own Ride."