May 1, 2010- Kate Turns 31!

Kate Murr

Turns out Florida isn’t flat. The foothills of Appalachia start in Tallahassee, where bike lanes are scarce as whole wheat bread in a southern diner. We slowly made our way out of town, having bid farewell to our exceptional hosts, Ashleigh and Dustin, in their neighborhood full of “Max trees” that Brady said looked like they were straight from his favorite book, where the wild things are>Where the Wild Things Are.

Because we had a flat tire, and because our optimism was waning in the face of pulling our 100-pound loads up the first hills of our trip, we stopped for coffee. Then we stopped for gyros. Then we stopped for something else and something else.

Eventually, we made it to Quincy, where Quincyfest was underway. We met the gentleman in charge of biking for the Florida Department of Transportation and exchanged information. We waited in the hot sun for the kids to get painted by volunteers outside Quincy’s exceptional Gadsden Arts Center, and enjoyed the exhibits, air conditioning, and cool water fountains inside the historic building. Other children in line to be painted were curious about our bikes and clothes and asked us about our trip. They were amazed we were sleeping outside, and though they were nonplussed when we said we were headed to Oregon, it was really impressive to them that we were biking, that afternoon, all the way to Chatahoochee, which is apparently way far away.

Sporting fresh ink, we pedaled onward toward Chatahoochee, pausing briefly for Jane’s five star tantrum over a ripped sticker page.

Finally, we enjoyed a birthday feast at Jerry’s Restaurant, the only eatery in town, which was hosting its monthly gospel sing. The restaurant was homey, if, like Stuart’s Mema, you’re a fan of (lighted) Thomas Kinkade art and heart-shaped grapevine wreath decor. The cups were pretty filthy (but promptly replaced by an attentive waiter) and the Fried Calories were excellent. Plus, if an Elvis impersonator wasn’t going to sing me Happy Birthday (see the note for Brady’s birthday), at least I took tremendous pleasure in the local scene, which could have been one from my own home town. At one point, the gentleman who was singing about holding the hand of the Lord extended a trembling hand skyward and just missed whacking off some fingers in the supped up ceiling fan. I didn’t wish him any ill will, mind you, just I thought it was a funny scene, and I’m glad no one got hurt. The music was a treat. The day was a treat.

A kind Jerry’s patron gave us a recommendation for free camping, and we descended our last hill of the day to camp in frog and star song and to drink a bottle of BP’s finest draught.

(Photos to follow)

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