The ride from Gulf Shores into Florida and down to Panama City was uneventful yet consisting of mile after mile of ocean views and a salty breeze. One of the things that I have noticed is how much more difficult it is to find just any old spot to throw in my tent. I started looking for a place after Panama City however, the first 20 miles is Tyndall Air Force Base. The ride was particularly tense give my recent near run in with deer; both side of the rode are thick pine forest. My pulse quickened as I approached the picnic area marked on the map, only to be met by a sign banning camping and overnight parking. The same with each of the three sites I tried starting at Mexico Beach and ending at St. Joe. Finally, I found a section of land with a Palm Grove on it and unlit. I through in my tent and dived right in at about 11pm. I woke at about 1am and had a drive to keep going. Breaking camp I was heading to Perry for the night. During the ride I encountered a large section of construction with the large, orange, round barricades with powered reflectors on top. I felt as though they were a cycloptic honor guard, standing silently at attention yet excitedly encouraging me along – ALL HAIL THE RIDER!!
I ended up setting up in a bridge side park just North of Apalachicola. I was able to get good sleep from about 3am till 6am. That is when I woke up to notice the bottom of my tent had the same fluid dynamics as a water bed. Looking outside I realized my tent was now a boat in a river. The deluge had fallen so quickly on the parched ground that my park was experiencing a minor flash flood. of about six inches of water. Recognizing a situation rapidly heading down hill, I made preparations to abandon my unessential tent items and seek alternate cover. The next town was just across the bridge and I was able to get cover for me and the bike at the first gas station. Three people were hanging out, stalling to go to work, and found my plight humorous. Actually, this whole thing, while damping me physically did nothing but lift my spirits, I kinda thrive on this stuff. Taking advantage of a lull in the tropical system, I retrieved my gear, wrung it out and stowed where ever possible. Riding cold and wet, I finally reached Perry where I was able to get a good breakfast at the cafe, change into dry clothes and dry the others at the local laundry mat. Tonight, I don’t know yet, but that is the way it goes when you hold the plan.