December 12, 2016 – Everything but snow, 70 degrees
Miles Today: 62
Miles to Date: 20,338
States to Date: 48
Woke before dawn and gulped Adam’s instant coffee before heading out at first light to get to Apalachicola by two where I had a conversation scheduled. The weather had turned warm and still. The first few miles were so fine.
Then, as happens when schedule intrudes, everything changed: clouds rolled in; the wind shifted to every direction; rain came down. It reached worrisome proportions just as I reached the apex of the
DuPont Bridge pickled alongside morning traffic to Tyndall AFB. When I reached the bottom of the bridge there was nowhere to go. The bike path ended, the traffic was swift. I stood in the downpour for a few minutes to assess options. There was a parallel access road on the other side of the divided highway, within the base proper. At a hiccup in the traffic I dashed across and mounted Tom past the ‘Warning – No Access’ sign. I decided that if I got stopped for trespassing in the rain on government land I would throw myself on the mercy of our benevolent military. Fortunately, no such histrionics were required, though I’m sure there is video footage of a soaking wet guy with yellow saddlebags pedaling across high security property.
My service road turned into a sidewalk, then a cracked sidewalk, and then no sidewalk. By that time I had passed the main gates to Tyndall, so traffic was light. I trundled my bike back across US 98, which once again had the nice shoulder I value on Florida highways.
Oops, then I got a flat. A teeny tiny shard of metal. Very tricky to extract, but I did it.
By ten I was sailing again. The rain dissipated and I made good time. I skipped the six-mile extension that hugged the coast, stayed on US 98 and savored its fresh blacktop. I reached Apalachicola before 2 p.m.
I first came to Apalachicola about seven years ago, when our firm won a project to design a new critical access hospital in this small town. The new hospital is still only a concept and the CEO is a new man, but Mike Cooper granted me an hour to talk about rural healthcare and tomorrow.
By three the sun was bright, the air warm and I explored the Oyster Capital of the World, meandering through downtown and out to Papa Joe’s where I once enjoyed the best oysters ever on picnic tables overlooking sea grass and fishing boats. Oh, no! Closed!
Turns out Papa Joe’s only moved. The new place is not nearly so authentic, but the raw oysters are still the best in the world. I topped them off with a Po’ Boy, fries and a Yuengling because, well, after riding sixty miles, raw oysters are mighty tasty but not all that filling. The combo though, is a complete winner.
Raw oysters. Jealous! I will be sad when your trip is over. I have enjoyed following you.
Hate to break the news to Wellfleet Oyster fans – Apalachicola oysters are better. And, they’re only a buck a piece, not three dollars!
This summer in addition to Cape Cod League Baseball we will take you out oystering. One bucket of oysters more than pays for the license (only one needed per family and you are certainly that), and the last couple years of oysters have paid off the collection of guest boots in the garage.
A little off the road north of Saint Augustine is an interesting place – they serve steamed oysters by the bucket: http://aunt-kates.com/history/ It’s an hour (by car!) from Jacksonville and along the coast that probably got hit hard by Matthew…
I will be in St. Augustine before heading up to Jacksonville. I will check out Aunt Kate’s. You and Jan are such foodies – you know the best places to eat everywhere.