Pensacola to DeFuniak Springs 76 miles

10/23/18

We stated with a light breakfast of cereal, eggs, muffins and drinks provided by the Church, which was nice. The day started out rainy and cool so this breakfast helped us make it to our second breakfast. We stopped again for additional nourishment at a gas station café in Milton. This addition would help us make it through another morning.

When we started out after our second breakfast, we missed one of our turns to Rest Stop 1. Once we discovered it we were some 2 miles down the wrong road. We pulled out our maps and determined we could continue down the wrong road, highway 90, to Grand Ridge where the correct route and our adjusted route came together. This point was also our 2nd Rest Stop.

Today we saw the first of the effects of the Hurricane that came through this area some 2 weeks ago. We saw a lot of uprooted trees and some trees where the tops were twisted and broke off. We saw a few buildings that had blue traps on the roofs.

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We made it to the First United Methodist church of DeFuniak Springs. It was a smaller church but they were great. They provided us dinner which is always a joy. Just being able stop and relax goes a long way.

Pensacola Florida Last Rest Day

10/22/18

This is our last Rest Day and our first service project day. The project was scheduled for 12:30 p.m. so we were able to sleep in, which was a bonus.

Two of our trip leaders took off about 9:00 a.m. to drive the roads ahead to is if the hurricane damage may hamper our travels. We are hoping to be able to continue our ride as planned. Later today we will know.

I received a great surprise text message from my nephew Shaun Hill. His family and he are vacationing in Florida and are only about 1 hour away from the church in which we are staying. We decided to meet for dinner after my service project and after the kids afternoon naps. This is a special treat.

When we reach our service project destination we were briefed on the various tasks that need to be accomplished. We had 17 people working, which 15 of which were our from our team. It is always interesting how quickly people take on the projects assigned and the quality of work performed.

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The majority of the work involved landscaping which included removing stumps of dead hedges, trimming trees that overhung the house, trimming a lemon tree, and rake all the property. We had quite a pile of bags and limbs out by the road when finished.

There were a couple of specialized projects which involved cleaning and scrubbing the floor in the back screened in patio. Before that could be accomplished all the furniture and bar-b-que grill had to be removed and cleaned also. When all was cleaned and returned to their places it looked like a totally new patio.

Both of their cars were also cleaned inside and out.

At the end, Tom, the gentleman who has MS came out to thank us for all our work. He is confined to his electric wheel chair after being very active most of his life. He was a life time navy man. We had a chance to spend time with him and he was very interested in our trip.

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I personally like these projects and the time we get to spend with the people with MS. It reminds me how fortunate I am and I am so glad to give back.

Once back at the church I got ready to meet Shaun and his family. We had a great time at Panera Bread. The boys went for Mac and Cheese. The boys range in age from 4 to 7 months. This is the first time to meet the Griffin the 7 month old. The other two boys are Theo and Thatcher. Since I didn’t think about getting a picture, I stole one from Ashton’s face book account.

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Dauphin Island to Pensacola 62 ???? 50 miles

10/21/18

We were supposed to meet at the Ferry to watch the sun come up and then go have breakfast at the cafe.  The cafe was suppose to open early (7:00 a.m.) so we could have breakfast before getting on the ferry, for a 4 mile ride to Florida. The only one of these things happened. The sun came up and we were there to watch it.

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The ferry couldn’t run because the winds were to high. The wind blew all night and in the morning the winds were still in excess of 21 miles an hour. The cafe did not open early as we were told. So Plan B was put into operation.

All our bikes were loaded on the vans and we were driven for about 2 hours around to our new starting point. During the ride over, and just before reaching our starting point, we stopped at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast.

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We were dropped off at what should have been our first rest stop to begin our ride. The wind was basically a cross wind which was bad enough but a head wind would have been worse and the temperature was in the 60s. We were fortunate to be able to find a “Welcome to Florida” sign.

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During our ride Ed got a flat. It was not hard to find the leak since he easily spotted the 3” long nail sticking in his tire. This was our only trouble we had since we don’t classify high wind trouble, just an addition to the adventure.

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We arrived at our destination, Northbridge Church. One of the members of the church rode the Southern Tier last year. Not only are they giving us a place to sleep and relax, they are providing most of the meals since the church is about 6 miles for the city.

Tomorrow we get to do our first service project. Our route leaders will also be taking an exploratory drive on the next 4 days road to check the roads for hurricane damage. We hope to ride but it may not be safe. Time will tell.

Vancleave to Dauphin Island 73 miles

10/20/18

Today we enter Alabama.

We wanted to get an early start today since it was a long day. We had scouted out a place, B J’s Café, to have breakfast that was supposed to open at 4:00 a.m. according to the lady that served us at the Mexican food restaurant yesterday. Well, not only did it not open at 4:00 a.m. but it was not going to open at all since it was a weekend. Plan B, gas station. The breakfast sandwiches were okay, but sitting outside and eating is not the best environment, but none of these issues held up our start. What did hold us up was Heavy FOG. It was so bad that some of the people that came to the gas station told us they could barely see the length of their cars or see the stoplights above the roads. Riding a bike in this heavy fox even with lights on our bikes is a dangerous situation. So we sat, and we sat and finally a little after 8:00 a.m. we took off.

While waiting it discovered that Paul Overstreet grew up in this very city.

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Once the fog lifted we were on our way to a very enjoyable ride even though it was a longer ride. We also crossed another state line, Alabama here we come.

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Not much of a sign on the back country highway.

To get to Dauphin Island we had our longest climb of the day, the bridge into Dauphin Island.

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Tonight we escaped the camp and the others, because Ron’s sister, who as MS, has her personal car and she drove us to a great seafood place. One nice extra benefit.

We only had a partial day in the state of Alabama.

Poplarville to Vancleave 75 Miles

10/19/18

Good start with McDonalds, then out of town quickly. It was a great morning for riding, the weather was nice even thought we had to take down wet tents due to the heavy humidity. There weren’t any town or intersection that had any stores so we had to depend on our Rest Stop vans and the food we had staged in our cubbies. This is not a problem because Kye had sent me a lot of supplies that will last me the rest of the trip.

This day is a good one to talk about dogs. Last year on the TransAm ride, Kentucky took the prize for dogs chasing bike riders. For the Southern Tier, Mississippi takes this award. Today a large brown Irish Setter ran across the road in front of me an then just sat there while all three of us rode by… not a bark, not a sound. But at other times today we had several chihuahua bark and chase as fast as their little legs could carry them. Frank wondered if the chihuahua is the state dog of Mississippi since we had seen and heard a lot of them.

We arrived in Vancleave around 3:00 p.m so after setting up our tents for the night and getting our showers we went to the Mexican Food Restaurant that we passed as we entered the town. After our meal we went across the street to the laundry mat and down the street to the gas station store for our late afternoon snack. This was just one of the typical rides.

Franklinton to Poplarville 52 miles

10/18/18

We got back on schedule by starting the day at McDonalds.  I tried my luck with the Kiosk.  It was a big success.  I got something to eat but not exactly what I wanted.  I’ll probably go back to the counter in the future.

 Again the day start off on the cool side so once again I had on my rain jacket, not because to the chance of rain today.  Today we had sun all day and after the first rest stop the jacket was gone.  

 The route was once again rolling hills.  My riding buddy Ed was put on torque limitations.  His bottom bracket is getting worse so he was told he could not standup and peddle when going uphill.   This was just putting too much torque on his bottom bracket and it would stop him from riding.  I followed him for some time and reminded him to shift down to reduce the pressure.  I was hard on him since he likes to standup about every so often even when not climbing.

 Today we entered Mississippi. Not much changed in general but we were hit with a few areas where the roads were very rough and pot holed.

 

 We will only be in Mississippi for two days.

 Tonight were are staying in a metal building on the Pearl River County Fairgrounds.  It will keep us warmer and dry.   They also have 3 great showers.

 We were surprised by a lady alumni that  rode the Southern Tier last year.  She took us to a local Café and feed all of us.  What a great treat.  It was fun to hear some of her stories.

Jackson to Franklinton 80 miles

10/17/18

 We stopped at Subway for breakfast.  We were a little early since they did not open until 7:00 a.m.  I’m glad we don’t have to depend on Subway for breakfast very often.  It carried us to our first rest stop some 27 miles down the road.  

 The day started out cool so I put on my rain jacket as the others also had light jackets.  The roads were narrow and had rolling hills.  Traffic was not as heavy as yesterday but with the road being narrow we had to be careful.

 Our second rest stop was another 19 miles down the road.  We stopped in Easleyville which consisted of a gas station, grocery store and café all rolled into one.  This turned out to be a blessing since as we set down to eat the skies opened up and dumped heavy rain.  Some of the riders weren’t as lucky as we were and they got soaked.  

 

The rain continued for over an hour so we just sat there and waited.  Once it stopped we hit the road again with our jackets mainly to keep us dry from the truck spray.

 

Rest stop 3 was on the side of the road  in the middle of nowhere but a church parking lot.  We didn’t stay long because we had 17 miles to go.

 Once we reached Franklinton we setup in the Methodist church.  After a cool day of riding, the warm inside shower was a welcome relief.  The city restaurants were all shutdown for the Pearl River County Fair.  The only place to eat were fast food stores.  We ended up going to Taco Bell but it worked.

After a long ride like today we retired a little earlier than normal.