I cycled away from Rose Hill sadly the next morning. I had half been hoping to wake up to another downpour and give myself a nice excuse to stay for an extra night but the sun was shining and the sky was blue so leave I had to. I was heading that day for Tallahassee which for me, for some reason, immediately conjured images of cowboys, metal spurs and saloons with sawdust floors and mugs of beer sliding the full length of the bar. In reality, Tallahassee is a big, unattractive city with far to many hills for it’s own good. I didn’t take to it and felt a bit uncomfortable a few times actually so kept my pedalling speed up in a bid to reach my accommodation that night as quickly as possible. I was staying in a really interesting place called The Bicycle House. Set up and run by ex pro racer Scot along with his team of volunteers, The Bicycle House is a non profit organisation that provides all sorts of services for the local community from helping people to build their own bikes to cleaning up the glass and gutter debris from the streets. It’s well worth checking their website out: http://bicyclehouse.org/bicycle_house/Home.html. I was so pleased I dropped by as I think the philosophy of the project is a great one and the work that they are doing for the local community is superb. As a bonus Scot and Nick provided great conversation and a few glasses of wine after dinner as well as a killer breakfast and my first try of the popular “grits” (google it!) to send me on my way. As I cycled off to the west they were heading out to a local school to do some bike maintenance making me feel like a bit of a selfish cyclist really!!
My disappointment with the lack of cowboys in Tallahassee should have taught me that in this day and age, place names by no means accurately reflect the towns they mark however I can’t pretend that I wasn’t a bit saddened when my stop that night, Chatahoochee, wasn’t full of roaming buffalo and Indians on spotted horses. Nope, again, it was far too hilly and not all that attractive. There was however one exciting thing of note…
Despite being on this trip now for a couple of weeks you may all have noticed that I am still in Florida, the pan handle of which is apparently endless! However, on my way out of Tallahassee I was pretty excited to notice that on my map the campsite I was heading to was located just, just, just, in Georgia! State 2 here I come, it may only be for one night, but Georgia, you’re my gal!!
New State excitement aside, by late afternoon I was pretty tired after quite a long ride that day and I was getting a bit worried that I would not make the campsite I’d earmarked before it got dark. Luckily I just arrived with half an hour to spare until sunset and checked in with a friendly chap at the site office. Unfortunately, as it was my first time at the camp I had to be registered on their system and this meant typing my details into the computer. Now I know I haven’t exactly been on the ball with keeping this blog up to date but I’m pretty sure that I could have typed in “Tori Bush, West Sussex, England”, made it to my site, put up my tent and had my dinner in the time it took the old chap on reception to establish that West Sussex, not being a US State could not be accepted in the “US State” entry box. After much faffing around and with the sun getting ever closer to the sky line we settled for “Tori Bush, Washington, USA” and I hastily biked to my pitch and set up camp!
Pitched next to me were the lovely Billy from Publix and Jen from the Bread aisle and their friendly dog Bella. For my fellow Brits, Publix is a big grocery store chain here in the States and my new neighbours were so named for meeting in the bread aisle in Publix – apparently they are still “Billy from Publix” and “Jen from the bread aisle” in each other phones – how sweet is that! American life really is just like the movies! I’ve never met anyone in the supermarket – expect perhaps the old “bag lady” from Worthing (Worthingers you know who I mean!) who always seemed to be walking past Morrisons with her trolly yelling at people… whatever happened to her I wonder? Anyway, I digress… Aside from their cute hollywood meeting, I discovered Billy and Jen had more “American cool” to offer. Jen had recently hiked the 500 mile Camino trail through Spain carrying all her gear and Billy, an ex cowboy and bull rider is now a hunter who hunts, get this, WITH A BOW AND ARROW!!!!! How damn cool is that! I was delighted to be invited over to share their campfire, stories and some homemade venison burgers and had a lovely evening chatting, laughing and eating. Of course, Jen and Billy know if they even need to find me… I’ll be in Washington!
Monticello to Chatahoochee: 26th – 27th Jan 2015
Total so far: 553km