From Longwood, FL (where I woke up on Thursday, Sept 27) to the SFWDA Dixie Run in Sparta, TN (where I needed, and wanted to be by Friday, Sept 28) was a bit of a jaunt, especially with a stop over for a short meeting in Daytona Beach. It was definitely time to stretch the Tenere's legs for a little over 700 miles. Turning north from Daytona, I didn't let much kudzu grow under my tires (http://library.sc.edu/blogs/newspaper/2012/08/10/kudzu-the-vine-that-ate...) and can tell you that it wasn't for lack of watering it for sure. About half this stretch of the ride turned out to be through the drenching type of rains that come through this time of year. I know they are supposed to be scattered showers, and I seemed to find everyplace they scattered too. Good thing for good rain gear and that God made it so we don't melt in water.
Florida has strange wind patterns, first coming from the east and then from the west. The air smells and feels like the ocean to me, even inland--well--as inland as you can be in Florida. The sky is in a constant state of flux. It is really pretty cool. Not so cool when you can see that you are about to intersect with one of those scattered showers (more like scattered dumps), but really can be pretty dramatic.
I won't share with you the little things that pass through your mind near the cities and their respective higher traffic count. I will try to refrain, except to question whether "drafting" on the freeways is common? Freeway riding in cities on a bike is not for the timid. But, I will share that on the longer stretches I spent a lot of time recalling what folks have been sharing with me--while diligently paying attention to the road of course. I have had a lot of good input on this trip and heard a lot of concern in their voices. I realize that it isn't directly recreational, but really it is relative to note that everywhere I go people are generally wondering where the economic recovery is actually taking place. And, directly related to recreation, everywhere I have gone people have indicated a marked trend toward closure of public lands and account it to an easy way out for agencies when it comes to managing public lands access. Those I have met with are certainly concerned, if not frustrated by that.
I have also seen a clear pattern of appreciation for this assessment effort. People genuinely want to engage with BRC in finding solutions to our challenges and creating greater unity in the recreation community. They are tired of polarity, both the ongoing political polarity and polarity within the recreation community we represent. Everyone agrees we need to find ways to get past that and I have heard a lot of good ideas and suggestions for considering how we might adjust to better serve the grassroots. I am sure there are more to come as this ride continues.