7.02: Waking up at dawn to the chirps of snowbirds and the growls of polar bears. The outside of of the tent is dripping. So is the tip of my nose.
7.41: After a couple of snoozes, I work my way out of my sleeping bag and start searching for my wife beneath her layers of scarf, sleeping bag, silk liner, buff and other extra blankets borrowed for the night from the friendly firemen of Mossy Head.
8.17: Time for a breakfast feast of peanut butter & banana sandwiches. Now we can seize the day! Put the pedal to the metal!
8.41: Oops, still have to brush our teeth, pack up the tent, find my left glove… Almost gone!
9.07: Off we go!
9.22 (ish…): Time for a snack after our first 20 km of the day!
… And the rest is history: Wrestling saber toothed penguins and Florida black bears, eating peanut butter sandwiches (again!), finding warmth in caves (68 degrees year round!) and cycling over the hills of Florida’s panhandle! Ummm… hills? Yes! Hills! We had almost forgotten what those were all about! And after the past week, we’ve come to the following simple equation:
Florida pannhandle = Belgium – waffles (at least in terms of weather and topography, it feels like home)
The country’s enjoying an Arctic Blast (that some mistakingly dub a Polar Vortex, because it sounds cooler). Although some might see reason to complain, we’d rather look at the many silver linings around this winter cloud. So here’s the Golden List of Why Cold is Cool:
- No more mosquitoes.
- Chocolate tastes better.
- Cheese will last longer.
- We feel less sticky in our tent.
- Snakes are hibernating.
- Sunscreen won’t trickle into our eyes.
- No need to shave (hair keeps you warm).
- No need for ice in our water bottles.
- People are even more hospitable.
- We can drink hot cocoa.
And saying we’re enduring the weather alone in our tent would not do justice to all the wonderful people and their generosity that brought warmth to our hearts and bodies almost every night over the past week. We are so thankful to the following people:
- The Ortega family for taking us in after we knocked on their door in Lee (Speaking of which, I have to mention my favorite town motto so far: “Lee, small but proud”)
- Kristin, our 1st couchsurfing host, who offered us a night at the hotel after her heater broke down
- The Ministries association of Bonifay who offered us a night at the Bonifay Inn
- Rev. Benny and his wife Kathy in Chattahoochee who took us in and baked us a blueberry cake the next morning
- Justin and Marina who let us in their community building in Tallahassee, where we had a warm night and an air hockey table to ourselves! (I won, by the way)
- Zef and Oona who took us in for a couple of nights in their little haven on the outskirts of Monticello where we watched the parade for Martin Luther King’s birthday!
- Tracy and her family, who offered us a campfire dinner and s’mores!
- Al and Sally, hosting us right now as the town prepares for snow and sleet for the next 48 hours!
Thank you all so much for making this a Blast!