11/9/17 – Apalachicola, to Sopchoppy, FL

Today was a short day that took forever.  Once again, I got a late start, due to the “B” word. I went back for one more look at the Vietnam Memorial sculpture, and a chain gang was at work on the landscaping of the park.  Their prison guard headed over to guard my bike, I’m thinking to prevent one of them from jumping on it and escaping.  

Riding by the bike shop, again, I stopped to enjoy more of the bike art before riding through the little downtown area and heading for the Apalachicola Bay Bridge.  

The sky was overcast and a little hazy, but there were still amazing views of the islands next to the 4.1 mile long bridge and further out in the Gulf. 

In the last mile of the bridge, I noticed a cell phone lying face down on the shoulder and circled back to pick it up. When I reached Eastpoint, the town at the end of the bridge, I stopped to figure out how to get a hold of the owner of the phone—a Samsung Galaxy, which is a brand I am completely unfamiliar with.  I was able to pull up favorites, in the list of contacts, and dialed one of them.  Mystery solved.  The uncle of the owner of the phone answered my call and told me his nephew works on a fishing boat and stops by his uncle’s store every day on his way home from work.  

He gave me directions to his store, and called ahead to tell his employees to give me a sandwich, drink and some chips when I came in with the phone.  Darn it.  I had just filled my water bottles and wasn’t hungry, but it was a really nice gesture.  

Back on the route, it was cold and there was a little bit of a headwind as I rode 33 miles along a coastline that cut thru a few little fishing and tourist towns. I had wasted so much time during the morning, I didn’t really have time to stop for lunch. 

In the afternoon, the wind picked up even more, it got even colder and then it sprinkled rain for a little over an hour.  I passed up a stop at a World War II Museum, because I was worried about the weather getting worse.  I did stop to snap a few photos along the way, though.  

This is the third bear sign I’ve seen. Does it mean bear crossing? Or danger—bears?
No explanation on what beaches all these boats.
Oysters are big business in these parts. These are oyster shells.
This does not sound like a fun place to visit.

The road turned inland for the last 10 miles, and when I came to this sign, I have to tell you that I had a dilemma. Our campground was in Sopchoppy, but I could really go for a Panacea, right now. Aargh. I went the direction of Sopchoppy. 

I arrived camp to the news that we have lost another rider from our group.  Joe, the oldest guy on the tour and one of the 2 strongest cyclists, has decided to leave the group and finish the last 265 miles on his own. All of us are aware of some aggravating factors that could have influenced him. We will miss his kindness, jovial attitude, sense of humor, appreciation for all sunrises and sunsets, and great stories and photos.  

And then there were 9. 

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