Thursday, October 9, 2008

On the Road to FLC2C - Day 2

After spending the night in Gulfport MS, I got on the road early this morning to continue my ride east to Florida and the Florida Coast2Coast event, which will start in Brandon FL. I had the MS Gulf Coast National Seashore visitor center programmed into my GPS, but when I got to the exit I realized it was too early and it probably wouldn't be open yet. Bad planning on my part. But the timing would be good to stop at the one in Gulf Breeze FL.

They have I-110 re-construction nearly complete in the Pensacola area, and I had the road nearly to myself as I headed south toward the bridge that would take me across the bay to Gulf Breeze and the Naval Live Oak Plantation. Once there, I inquired about the status of Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa beach. The park ranger thought that Pickens might be open again to vehicular traffic sometime early next year. This is good news, as I really enjoyed going out there a few years ago. I continued along US-98 toward the Avalon bridge, where I realized the one thing I'd forgotten to do: order a Sun Pass!! I meant to do this weeks ago, knowing I'd be traveling some toll roads and toll bridges this trip. Darn it!!

Once back on I-10, it was a long, straight ride to just east of Tallahassee, where I'd get onto US 19 to head south toward the Tampa area. This is the same route I take to go to Cedar Key each year, and I'm looking forward to this year's Cedar Key weekend in December. My stop for the second night would be the Holiday Inn Express in Chiefland, FL.

I really needed to get a run in and, to my delight, I found a small neighborhood on MS Streets & Trips, so changed into running clothes and headed out of the hotel. A small road ran parallel to the highway and I cut through a side street to pick it up. What's this? I see the pavement end and turn into nice packed sand surface. Wow! The entire little neighborhood was built on these same packed sand roads and it was perfect running surface, especially since I'm still recovering from last year's foot injury. I had tucked my room key and a $20 bill together in the little envelope the hotel key came in, so when I finished my run, I stopped at a BBQ place that was on my route and ordered BBQ to go, took it back to my room, and had a great feast!

Tomorrow: some NPT stamping and AMA Grand Tour point collecting before arriving at the FLC2C hotel in Brandon.

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