Day 89 (“Welcome Back” -The Open Road)

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When I woke up this morning I immediately realized that tonight would be the first night I would be leaving the comfort of a home to sleep in my tent for the first time in a week. That is far too long to not sleep suspended in the air. I want a hammock bed when I grow up. If I grow up. I think if you sleep in a hammock, you never really grew up. Trying to engage in intercourse would be tough on a hammock. Tough, but what a fun challenge it would be! There are far too many reality shows these days. They cripple a young person’s attention span. Their fruition came about during my adolescence, and now there are exponentially more reality shows on television than in 1999. Look at what they’ve done to me. I cant even complete a paragraph about hammocks without ranting about a non-sequitur. What does that say for kids today?

Ok so I said farewell to Dale and Joyce. I had a wonderful time with them. It was nice to finally converse with people who like to talk. Most of the time I’m talking stranger’s ears off, so our interactions were refreshing. I was sent away with a couple of sandwiches too. They didn’t last long.

Much of the day was spent combating some nasty headwinds. But the open, green landscapes were a pleasant distraction. Highlight of the day: Inland Florida is canvassed by orange groves and cow pastures. I eat both of those things, but one is much easier to catch.  So as I stood in an orange grove indulging in the citrusy splendors I realized two things:  1.) this is definitely trespassing and theft, but it’s one orange. I wonder if anyone has ever been taken to prison for stealing a single orange. 2.) My face feels tingly. Because I so hastily bit into the orange, I never took the time to peel off all the skin, so the unwashed outer orange was going into my mouth. My mouth and lips began to feel really tingly and slightly irritated. I wonder if that was a reaction to the pesticides. Oye, not good. “Pesticides are applied during five basic periods throughout the year. The post-bloom spray commences sometime between March 1 and April 15 and takes from two to seven weeks to complete.” That’s an excerpt from the University of Florida Crop/Pest Management website. Now it’s in my tummy!

So there is a huge lake in the middle of the state named Lake Okeechobee. That’s where I’m headed tomorrow. When I say the name of that lake aloud, it reminds me of Lake Okoboji in Iowa. It was literally an oasis in a desert of corn. I hope this lake serves to be the same refuge because right now I’m biking through a sea of monotonous pastures and dollar stores.

I’ll never get over these dual lives I’m living. Two nights ago, I was eating a dish of freshly prepared seafood on a dock, watching the sunset, as I engaged in a conversation about life in Italy. Tonight I’m sitting in the woods alone, dirty and silent as I wait for my ramen to finish cooking. I’m still trying to figure out which one of these scenarios is more fulfilling. I look around at all the shiny eyed wolf spiders protecting me from the mosquitos. The trees sway in the evening air as a cool breeze whips past my face. I know the answer. There is life all around me and I am communicating with it, just as I did two nights ago. However there is more connectivity out here. I feel more in tune with the life of the forest than I do the life of a restaurant setting. There is too much stimuli there. Here I am at peace with my thoughts. Nothing ever happens out here. Nothing but solace.

Stats:

Miles: 80.73

Time: 7:53:13

Calories: 2754

Total Ascent: 523 ft.

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