Titusville, FL to Sebastians Inlet State Park, FL
So last night I stayed with my Couchsurfing host, John, and man oh man was it awesome. John lives on top floor of a building looking right out over the water and uses his spare bedroom as a gateway to meet new and interesting people. As soon as I walk in the door he shows me my room, which was amazing, and offers me a beer. I like this guy’s style. We get to talking and hit it off immediately, he’s an extremely intelligent conversationalist and just loves learning new things (currently he’s dabbling in learning Sanskrit). A few hours fly by and John asks if I’m hungry. Ummm, yes. I’m always hungry. He whips up a couple vegetarian pizzas and they were f%$ing delicious! After dinner he had to leave to go meet up with some friends but let me have the run of the place to chill out and relax. After yesterdays torturous ride I promptly fell asleep.
I woke up this morning at 6 because, as I said yesterday, there was an exciting event happening this morning. SpaceX was launching a Falcon 9 rocket straight up into outer space and the Kennedy Space Center launch site just so happened to be directly across the water from John’s condo. AAAGGGHHHH!!! NERD RAGE!!! John cooked us up a delicious breakfast of eggs and hummus and we stood out on the balcony to watch the show. The countdown got to 60 seconds. 30. 15. 10. Aaannnd then the launch was scrubbed due to a sensor failure. It was such a bummer but I guess space is hard so I sort of understand. It was about 730 at this point and time to hit the road so I thanked John for his extremely generous hospitality and set off.
The day was already turning out to be a bit of a letdown after the scrubbed launch and the weather was not making it any better. It started to rain as soon as I headed out and, of course, the wind was not doing me any favors. In fact, it was blowing harder than yesterday if that’s even possible. Grrrrr. But, with my belly full of John’s delicious breakfast, I soldiered on. I just kept telling myself that I’d take a break at the 10 mile mark. Then when 10 miles rolled around I convinced myself that I could make it to 15 before I rested. Then 20. Then 25. I’ve found that on these difficult days that I can make it bearable by breaking the ride down into manageable 5 mile chunks. I probably would have continued on this way for a lot longer but I spotted a fellow touring cyclist going the opposite direction. I whipped around to go say hi and I didn’t even fall over this time! His name is Steffen, he’s from Germany and he’s heading to Charleston from Miami where he’ll turn and head west till he gets to Washington and then hopping an Amtrak to New York city. All in 7 weeks. His english wasn’t so great but after living overseas for 2 years I’ve gotten pretty adept at understanding broken english in all of it’s many forms. He gave me his cycling contact card (I should have thought of that), we took each others photo and I set off.
After that little break talking to Steffen my legs were telling me that they needed a much more substantial one or else they were going to go on strike. So I hit up the next gas station I saw and got myself something cold to drink, a muffin and, of course, a huge pickle. I met these funky little, cartoonishly funny looking birds while I was there that kept trying to steal my muffins. While I was protecting my precious calories I heard low, rumbling stampede like sound coming out of the north. And then it happened. Like a scene ripped straight out of Ozzy Osbourne’s twisted mind, thousands (I mean it. THOUSANDS) of leather wearing, pony tail having, badass looking, freedom slinging bikers come roaring passed me. And they just keep on coming. I see one of them pulling a trailer that says “Vietnam Veterans Traveling Memorial Wall”. Well being the adventurous little devil that I am, I decide to get out there and ride with them! I’m a fucking veteran too, dammit! It was sooo freaking cool. They had slowed down a bit once we got into town and one of the guys passing me, a grizzly looking biker if I’d ever seen one, looks over at me and shouts,”GET A HARLEY, BROTHER!” Well a few minutes after that the line had slowed down considerably and I passed him and yelled, “GET A BICYCLE, BROTHER!”. I thought he was going to fall off his bike he was laughing so hard. I rode with them for about 4 miles before I had to break off and continue straight but man was that an awesome experience.
I was feeling great after my short ride with my souped up two wheeled brethren and felt like I could take on the world. That lasted all of a half an hour before the wind started taking it’s toll on me. I’d crossed a bridge and was traveling along this little strip of an island off the coast and there was nothing to block the incessant sea breeze. I spotted a tortoise ahead of me and thought that I’d finally caught a break, maybe if I save this little guy then the One True Turtle, may His feet never be cold, would give me a blessing and help me the last few miles. Well, the tortoise wasn’t in the road and didn’t really need saving so I just let him be and pressed on sans blessing. It took me another hour and a half but I finally rolled into my campsite. Sore, sweaty and oh so happy. I checked in, walked across the street to the beach and dove headfirst into the surf where I laid for the next half hour cooling off my weary muscles. Nothing can top the cool ocean after a long day. Nothing.
Well that’s all for now, friends. Stay tuned for the next edition of James and his Bike!