Nov. 26, Pensacola, Florida

I spent a day (11/24) on Dauphin Island working and doing some planning for the rest of the ride. The sun was out most of the day, and I had to move my tent into the shade to minimize its UV exposure. I also took advantage of the sun to get my sleeping bad thoroughly dried out. The humidity is so high, that things tend to get damp, and heat is the only way to overcome that. Unfortunately, I forgot about the bag and it sat exposed to the night sky for about 2 hours after sunset. That’s all it took–the outside of the bag was completely soaked. Rats! I ended up laying it out on chairs, under the house, hoping that it would get at least partially dried during the night–it did, but that meant sleeping without any cover on me which just feels “wrong” somehow. It was a pretty bad night’s sleep.
The three of us took off at precisely 7 AM (11/25) and headed for the ferry terminal. The first departure from the island was at 8 AM. I had arrived on the island 2 days earlier during the local rush hour. But at 7 AM, the place was dead. I’m not sure if I met a single car during the 20 min ride to the Ferry terminal. By 8, a couple of other cars arrived and we departed the island.
Escape from Dauphin Island!

Escape from Dauphin Island!

I like ferry rides; there’s something about the wind and the waves that makes me feel alive. But it was pretty cold!
A drilling platform?

A drilling platform?

The boat ride was about 30 minutes, and afterwards I said goodbye to the couple from France. There is this unspoken rule that you don’t encroach on another tourist’s experience, unless you are invited to do so. These two people have been cycling together for a very long time and I wish them the best.
I was cycling for real by 8:30 AM. The shoulders were wide, the terrain was essentially flat and the wind was not a factor–all in all, a very easy day of cycling. The only challenges were the occasional bridge, and LOTS of cars.
View from a bridge

View from a bridge

Most of the ride was along coast. I stopped for lunch near the beach, but did not go down to the water. (What can I say? I hate sand. It gets in the bike chain.)
A beach on the gulf side.

A beach on the gulf side.

My plan was to camp the night of 11/25 at the Big Lagoon State Park. But, I got there by 1:00 PM. I keep forgetting that, in the absence of headwinds and hills, I can make very good time, and I was riding a steady 13 mph. I felt good and was not ready to pack it in so early. I checked my Warm Showers app and found several “hosts” in the city of Pensacola, about 20 miles down the road, and along my route. The “First United Methodist Church” was listed as being available, and I contacted the person in charge. Yes! They would have me, and it was directly on the route that I was taking. I arrived at the church at 3:30 PM.
The oldest Methodist Church in Florida.

The oldest Methodist Church in Florida.

 

I actually slept in the student center which–until about 20 years ago–was a mortuary. Kind of creepy, actually. But–located in the former embalming room was a freezer full of ice-cream, and I was hungry! The man running this program is named “Jeb.” He took me and another cyclist (a young man from Sweden) out for breakfast this morning. (Thanks, Jeb!)
The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning.

The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning.

I saw on the news that Fidel Castro died yesterday. I am not sure if this will affect travel to Cuba, but it does raise the issue. One of Trump’s campaign promises was to close the embassy in Cuba, which is likely to have a larger effect.
Until next time…
Scott
Scott

3 Responses to “Nov. 26, Pensacola, Florida

  • Mortuary ice cream. Was it haunted?

  • Kathy Clucas
    11 months ago

    I’m so glad we can FaceTime now and then! I know Mom and Dad sure liked seeing your face and hearing your voice last night. I love you, Scott!

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