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Black Hills Badlands Medley—Day Eleven

584 miles

I hadn’t set the alarm and just woke up naturally. I made a couple cups of coffee in the room while I got that shower and picked out the least dirty clothes to wear. There was no clean underwear, but I still had one last clean T-shirt. I recycled the least objectionable underpants and slipped them on. Of course, I wore the same jeans, as all I had for a top clothes layer on the bottom was one pair of shorts, worn multiple days, and one pair of jeans, also worn multiple days. Still, it was good to get a shower and wash my hair and be able to brush my teeth again. I felt much better.

By that morning, The Weather Channel had changed their forecast and had the hurricane skirting the east coast of central Florida, instead of coming ashore, as they had predicted the night before. The heavy winds and rain should stay east. I’d make one more overnight stop, then tomorrow I’d take US 98 along the Nature Coast of Florida and should have any hurricane-driven winds at my back, judging from the counter-clockwise spin of the storm and the location of its center. I should be OK.

I decided to skip breakfast that day and, instead, eat at lunchtime or in the afternoon, so it would stay with me into the evening. So, I would skip dinner as well, other than one big can of beer

I put off lunch until I had cleared Louisiana and was riding on an empty stomach, so was anxious for a meal by afternoon. By about 2:30, I still had not found any diners and was getting very hungry. A sign said, “Catfish House,” just thirty minutes away. I was salivating when I pulled in after thinking of fried catfish for the thirty-minute ride. I ordered a huge platter of catfish, hushpuppies, and fries, with an enormous bowl of coleslaw on the side. It was a lot to eat, but I enjoyed every bite. If you are only going to eat one meal a day, I reasoned, make it a good one. David’s Catfish House was the answer to my cravings, and later I saw another one, so guessed it must be some kind of local chain or just a restaurant with another location, but either way, I highly recommend the place.

The route I chose was good and trended east then east-southeast, eventually with a turn increasingly to the southeast, and would connect me to Interstate 10 at DeFuniak Springs, in the Florida panhandle.

By the time I had finally made my turn to Defuniak Springs, it had become obvious I would not get much further, or east of Tallahassee as I had hoped. I also could not remember any camping in the area east and south of Tallahassee either. The phone’s Google Maps had been worthless for much of the last part of trip, and I could not plan on using it to find campgrounds. Ever since getting well into the West, it had not been able to send or receive data, even when I had a good signal. I could sometimes call or text, which often only was sent hours later than when I had composed them, but getting any info from the Internet, which the Google Maps app needed, was fruitless.

I called my wife at my turn toward DeFuniak and asked her to call our Uncle Frank, who lived off one of the Tallahassee exits, and to ask if I could stay at his place. I would not get as far as I had hoped, making for an easier next day, but staying with him was free, and although I’d be riding in the dark to get there, it would be on I-10, where I could make some time, which was good, as Frank’s place was still a hundred miles away when I got on the interstate.

I finally arrived in the dark, and Uncle Frank was waiting up for me. It was so good to get off the bike and rest and not have to unload everything. The next day would be the final stretch and home.

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