With moonshine in my veins, I rose from bed to greet the day. Vito and I emerged from our respective sleeping quarters simultaneously. He offered to give me a ride in his T-Rex. The T-Rex is basically a motorcycle with a third wheel that has unbelievable pickup. What would have taken me about 30 minutes of bicycling; we did in 3 on his T-Rex. Riding upwards of 100 mph. was a nice change of pace from the usual 11. Because Vito was involved in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, and has trouble bending over to reach the handlebars, the T-Rex serves as an alternative mode of transportation for him with a similar experience to that of a motorcycle. I was laughed at for wearing my helmet, but in retrospect, I don’t really think it would have provided much protection at 100 mph.
I said my goodbyes to the Pastore family and made my way south towards Crystal River. I took a secluded bike path most of the way which provided some much needed silence and tranquility. Once I reached Crystal River, I gave Bobby a call and we rode over to his house. There he offered me a beer, Yuengling. My first Yuengling since August. These subtle reminders that I nearing home with each pedal provide me with a wondrous cocktail of relief and anxiety. The anxiety part was quickly put to rest once Bobby and I sat, stared at a fire, drank our beer, and ate roasted peanuts. You have to really go out of your way to find something stressful in a situation like that. I think that’s why Bobby seems so relaxed all the time. His home is nestled on the corner of quietude and placid. It also helps that he and his wife (Judy) are both Yoga instructors. Bobby invited over two friends, Bob and Barbara for dinner. So there I was, sitting between two power couples, discussing Kurosawa while chomping down on some homemade hush puppies and freshly caught fried fish. Bobby’s friend Gene, who I had originally conversed with on the ferry called us up to give me his well-wishing on the rest of my trip and I thanked him for allowing me to sleep in his home for the night.
After an abundant meal of chicken, fish, sweet potatoes, and okra, Bobby drove me over to Gene’s house. On the way Bobby told me a little bit about his career as a nuclear engineer. He explainer the role of thermodynamics in a power plant and I was able to comprehend about every third word he said. Chemistry was never my strong suite. Gene and Bobby are caring, modest, and well-spoken men. I couldn’t stress enough how thankful I was for having a roof over my head, especially considering the fact that it poured the entire night.
It was definitely unsettling having an entire house to myself, but I embraced the solitude. Well not really. I planned to spend the night writing and catching up with friends. First I planned to take a quick nap. I woke up at 7am the next day.
Total Ascent: 103 ft.