Day 110 – Old Town, FL > Perry, FL
I had a good time staying with Patrick Kane in Old Town last night. He already had a tent set-up on the property which I gladly used. He also has a portable squirrel cage fan which created a nice breeze blowing over me during the night. He sent me off this morning with my belly full of eggs and his own spicy season sausage. Yum yum.
Back on the road it occurred to mew that I’m now riding primarily West as the sun was at my back all day. I’m so used to having my shadow friend on the left, but now he is leading the ride. NOTE – keep sun block on any part of my lower back that is exposed. I’ve been accused of bearing crack more often then is socially acceptable so the sunblock note is important.
As I get into the Florida Panhandle I’m seeing lots of pine and the many trucks that haul it I think to be made into paper and turpentine, but I would need to do more research to be sure. There is a lot of interesting history with the turpentine history and how it dovetails with leased convict labor (mostly if not entirely black citizens). Check out this article from 1993 in the Orlando Sentinel for some background.
I’ve learned that most gas station will give you free ice from their soda fountain if you ask. I now try and stop at one every two hours or so to get more ice and more water. For those keeping track I’ve also been drinking much less beer on the road. I think the relentless heat is finally getting to me 🙂 Today I stopped in a Sunoco in Tennille for what I thought would be a quick stop to get ice, but started talking to the attendant Maggie and was really blown away by her cheer so state for lunch. She was born and raised in the small tourist town of Steinhatchee just down 51 a few miles to the South. We touched on the racism and drug use in the area, but also her desire to make her life elsewhere.
I feel like I could spend many, many months riding around the panhandle visiting small towns and talking to people about the history and future prospects of the place. I found it interesting that when I got to Perry I saw a storefront drug, DNA testing business across the street from a technical college. I wonder how much it represents the twin pull of a promising future and the decision to abuse drugs?