Day 49(Monday, June 6):Live Oak to Starke, FL–65 miles
June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
All paths are the same: they lead nowhere. However, a path without a heart is never enjoyable. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy-it does not make a warrior work at liking it; it makes for a joyful journey; as long as a man follows it, he is one with it.
-Carlos Castaneda (1931)
Source: The Teachings of Don Juan
There is thunder and lightening outside, but we are settled safely into the Starke Best Western, a sure bet. The Red Roof Inn was closer to the route, but the reviews on Trip Advisor were a deterrent. Next door to us is Powells Dairy Freeze Drive In, established in 1972. After ordering lunch from the service window, as we have no car to park, I ask Crystal, the teenage waitress, what Starke is known for. Her reply, nothing; it’s just here.
Now on to the ride. Routes 90 and 100 far exceeded our expectations: they were both smooth with wide shoulders and minimal traffic. This was great as last night Joe wanted routes changed if I could not guarantee a shoulder; I tried to explain that even much of the ACA route does not have shoulders and that the shoulders vary from county to county–all of this is out of my control. We, after all, are forging our own unknown route. The one sure shoulder, the interstate, does not allow bicycles. He does not seem to understand despite traveling almost 3,000 miles. Oh, well….
The railroad shadows our path for a few miles; seeing it, I know we once again have made a good choice of routes.
We stop in Lake City at the 35 mile mark for fluids; Alka, the owner of the Sunoco Gas Station, refuses to let us pay for our drinks. It is her gift to us. Thus Alka, our Angel of the Day, merits photo status.
I am waiting for the advertised flat, boring Florida to arrive; today was a bit flatter, but there were still plenty of scenic rolling hills to keep those horses happy. I remain surprised at how beautiful the countryside is: conifer forests sparsely interspersed with a small town here and there.
There was only one canine encounter today, a big, black bearlike creature. The black beast came after Joe first; the display was striking enough to cause the semi behind Joe to put its brakes on! I’m up next; the cur lies in wait; I momentarily consider crossing to the other side of the highway. Is my luck finally up? He is huge, but I see a faint tail wag. Is there hope? Yes! He is as tall as my bike, but only makes a half hearted attempt at the big chase. We have been very fortunate on the dog front during this trip. Only one more day of dogs, dirt and drivers!
Now a bit about Starke, our destination for Day 49….
As Crystal forecast, I did not find much; it has a population of 5,500,a nearby prison and Blanding National Guard Armory.
I do have one last tidbit for the film tour….
According to Wikipedia, Starke has also been the site for the following film and TV events:”G.I. Jane, which starred Demi Moore and was filmed east of Starke on the Camp Blanding Joint Training Center; Joel Schumacher’s film Tigerland, starring Colin Farrell; Basic starring Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta; and What’s Love Got to Do with It.
In addition, the Fox Broadcasting Company reality TV show “Boot Camp” was filmed near Starke, as were portions of the BBC mini-series The State Within.”
A forgotten item from yesterday: we crossed the Historic Suwannee River. Again some information per Wikipedia “This river is the subject of the Stephen Foster song “Old Folks at Home”, in which he calls it the Swanee River. Foster had named the Pedee River of South Carolina in his first lyrics. It was called Swanee River because Foster had misspelled the name. Foster never saw the river he made world famous. George Gershwin’s song, made popular by Al Jolson, is also spelled “Swanee”, and boasts that “the folks up North will see me no more when I get to that Swanee shore”. Our history lesson seems never to end.
Tomorrow both the journey and the blog end in St. Augustine, the oldest city in the USA. Tonight we will pack our panniers and prepare to set out in darkness on an unknown path one last time….
One may go a long way after one is tired.