It’s the final countdown
We’re going to Miami…
Seems so strange, after 159 days of pedaling, over 13,000 miles on the clock and one small incident of man handling Orlando Bloom yesterday, our last stop is just a hop skip and a jump away.
Well, a 180 mile pedal through the rain at least (damnations, why? evil weather. where is the sun?)
But first – Orlando Bloom…
For anyone who doesn’t know, Orlando Bloom is a keen fan of solar with some on his roof (someone once told me – I promise I haven’t actually been stalking his home - honest…)
Anyway, I hope he has solar on his roof as 1 - I like to believe that all things I like to believe 2 - he was in Lord of the Rings with Cate Blanchet who is the Patron of SolarAid (you can donate to this great charity here. right here. go on…) 3 - it gives me an excuse to google pictures of him for this blog.
Yesterday though, no picture googling was required as stopping at the tourist information, I got the shock of my life to find him there.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I thoroughly disgraced myself by cavorting for some time with a life sized cardboard cut out. So did Jamie…
The guy running the place claimed to have “seen worse” but sounded most unconvincing. (We tried to get him on one of the bikes. All to a running commentary: “But no Orlando. You just don’t fit. I know we could snuggle and get on but it’s just not practical for pedaling. What was that you say? You don’t mind how impractical it is… But Orlando. It could be dangerous. Danger means nothing to you if you can be with me. Oh my. Marriage you say? And children… This is all so sudden.”)
Before the police were called though, we were back on the road, right up until we stopped to mess around in yet another tourist information and I nearly got stuck in this ‘ever so slightly too small for my tiny bottom’ aeroplane.
Anyway, other than making fools of ourselves at a variety of locations throughout the state, all has been going fantastically.
The last post was from Panama City as we waited out a storm, eating obscene amounts of doughnuts and going to Hooters (it was the only thing open close enough not to get soaked – or so Jamie told me…)
It meant though that we had two 125 mile days to get through to reach Gainesville on schedule.
Fortunately the wind and the sun eventually smiled on us and we had an incredible ride around the Emerald Coast.
All the way to Alachua where we were picked up by the Gainesville Cycling Club who rode with us into town (thanks so much guys – it was a fantastic morning).
And after our first ever basketball match that night (a resounding victory for the Florida Gators) it was blind panic in order to get ready for our presentation as part of SolarCycle Week.
A while back the team at the University’s libraries had got in touch to discuss an event idea. The plan was to promote both cycling and solar power and as a part of this we would present on our trip.
And it was so much fun.
Finally pulling ourselves and some slides together we found ourselves in front of a wonderful audience nattering about our journey.
The whole thing was recorded so feel free to check it out here (though for some reason the camera appears to have given me a double chin and made me babble?).
It was a wonderful couple of days. We were totally spoiled by Christine (thank you so much) and everyone there and also had a chance to talk solar and find out what was going on in the area too.
Gainesville has the first solar feed-in tariff in the US. Brilliant.
Also, being back at uni, we were able to take part in one of America’s other ‘cultural’ pursuits: Beer Pong!
Filipe and James you are absolute nutters but thank you so much for taking us out. Also for being such keen supporters of cycling. Even if not in the more traditional sense…
Anyway, after saying a sad farewell and despite the torrential downpours we set off south once again.
Dave had braved the conditions to ride us out of town and we managed a whole 40 miles before I refused to get any wetter and stopped again for the storm to pass.
Everything was soaked.
6 hours in a thunderstorm certainly tests the ‘waterproof’ abilities of your kit..
Yesterday, it was therefore a big old day to get as far as possible (130 miles) before the rains came back which - they have done. Grrr.
Still – only a couple more days on the road before we hit the bright lights of South Beach, Miami.
On the Home Run…