Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Carrabelle to Mexico Beach - Jan 31

60.75 miles in 5:10. The plan was to go to Panama City today, which is about 25 miles further than I went. Why you ask? The damn wind, I answer! We have experienced this wild weather since we turned west, and the residual wind, out of the northwest, was only supposed to be 10-20 mph. I was headed in a northwesterly direction, and not only was the wind cold, but it spent most of the day closer to 20 than 10 mph. They say it got up to 60 today, and the sun was nice, but I dressed in layers, planning to peel them off one at a time. I peeled nothing off all day! I rode with long pants for the first time, a neck gator and full head cover, and toe warmers that fit over my biking shoes. By the end of the 60 mile battle, I was frozen and my legs were beaten. Pam knew the wind was rockin, so she really made the call to stop early. Thank you, wife, navigator and logistics technician! Temps are predicted to go into the 30's tonight-the coldest night of their winter, according to local TV. I knew we would eventually hit the colder air and the westerly headwind, but I went from an 80 degree day to a 50 degree day. It's time to draw on my Yankee roots, and get through the next couple of days, so we get to New Orleans on time to meet Bird and Giselle, and bonton roule at Mardi Gras.
The trip was actually quite beautiful, and we would like to be able to spend more time here some day. The view from our campsite was gorgeous this morning, the first time in 36 hours there, that the sun was out, with no mist or fog. We could see Dog Island for the first time, a bird sanctuary and uninhabited island, which was just a 25 minute paddle in a kayak, off shore. Barrier islands were visible any where I rode along the coast, including St George's Island, which is supposed to be one of the "can't miss" places, that we missed. From Carrabelle to Apalachicola , which was about 30 miles, US98 hugs the coastline, and the Gulf was at 'winter low tide'. The water was way out, which is what happens with a northwest wind in the winter, according to the locals.
Docks at Eastpoint

Docks at Eastpoint

We checked out this trail head yesterday.

Shoreline exposed by winter low tide

 The fishing towns of Eastpoint and Apalachicola, were bustling with oyster and shrimp boats and docks all along US98, and there didn't seem to be any tourism or resort activity at all-all fishing-no play in these towns. After Apalachicola, there was a stretch of about 20 miles of pine forests and heavy logging activity, off the coast a bit, but the wind was no less forgiving. The last quarter of the trip was in the towns of Port St Joe, St Joe's Beach, and finally Mexico Beach. The neat thing about Mexico Beach, is that they allow no chain stores or fast food stores in the town. It's very 60's, according to the locals. We met a guy there who collects seashells and makes things out of them. Not for profit, but for fun! He gave Pam a humming bird, a ring, and a turtle made out of seashells. We bought two really neat pelicans, made out of shells for 4 bucks.
How cool are these guys?!

One last thing I did want to mention, was the excellent riding conditions along US98. It was a rolling ride, which was surprising, being right along the coast. According to my Garmin GPS, I had nearly 1000 feet of elevation change today. I haven't been close to that very many days on this entire trip. Shoulders and surface have been great, and traffic has been very bike friendly and sparse. I give it my highest recommendation for bicycle touring! I agree, US 98 is an awesome road - it's a great road to drive with the shoreline in view and the towns are so cool.
The day ended with a beautiful sunset over the Gulf, and some of Pam's homemade chili. My feet are almost warm again.
Something Mike forgot to mention is that we are now officially in the central time zone!  I was here for hours and didn't realize it until I turned on the 5 o'clock news and it wasn't on yet because it was 4!  Seriously!  The time zone changed about 1 mile to the east of our campground - we are so close to the line that Mike's phone and the iPad are changed to CST and my phone is still on EST!  Go figure.

Also, tonight the temperature is going down so low that there is a freeze warning tonight and Friday night - all I can say is that I WANT TO GO BACK TO SOUTHERN FLORIDA!!!  The Everglades and the Keys are looking really good tonight.

Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico.

After the sun set on the Gulf of Mexico

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