My 136 Mile 68th Birthday Ride from Albany, GA to St. Mark’s, FL

Wilson Farm Greeting

I started my ride before sunrise int he dark. Riding in the dark is the way I like to start a long all-day ride. For me experiencing the changing of light and temperature is part of the enjoyment of riding a bicycle on a long all-day ride. All of my senses get to experience being outdoors. By the time daylight showed up I was just turning on my first country road heading south.

I was inspired by the hand made greeting on the Wilson Farm fence. I felt a warm feeling and even though the world is going through a pandemic, folks are still keeping all of our spirits up with inspiration via signs and greetings on their property.

Albany to Thomasville

The distance from my house located in West Albany to Thomasville via this eastern route is 111 KM (69). I prefer this route tat takes me though Sale city as opposed to the route that goes down the Historic Dixie HWY 3 is that there are few dogs and the pavement is much smoother.

I did encounter two dogs on GA 202 somewhere between GA 188 and GA 111. They were the type of dogs that just wanted to run along the road, but not in the road, and bark. Loose dogs when I am on my bike always startle my all the same, and this encounter was right before an incline, so my adrenalin was really pumping as I applied pedal power to escape the hounds.

I have not been to the Thomasville Whataburger is a long time. I got there just before the lunch rush. I decided to install the mobile application on my phone so I could order without standing in the drive-through with my bike. I put on my mask to pick up my order from the staff who were outside under a tent to deliver the orders.

Thomasville to St. Mark’s

Water Stop South Thomasville 119 KM (73 M)

On the southern edge of Thomasville, I stopped a church to get some water. I had six water bottles on this ride. Two on my bike frame, two in my bike bag and two in my jersey. I wanted to make sure I did not run out of water especially when I got south of Tallahassee. As it turned out I made it OK and this was the only time that I filled up two empty bottles with water. I made it to St. Mark’s with two full bottles. I would rather have too much water than not enough.

Metcalf, GA

Historic Metcalfe
Historic Metcalfe

At 132 KM (82 M), Metcalfe, GA is the last town on this route before you cross into Florida. It is a small historic town that today is primarily a lumber mill for the local logging operations for the area plantations.

Miccosukee Canopy Parkway

Starting at 147 KM (91 M) is where I starting riding on a road where the scenery is beautiful, but the small rolling hills bother me. At this point in the day the sun is warming up the air and despite the shade on this road, the breeze is in short supply. Up until now, the wind has been blowing from the NE or E so I enjoyed a cool breeze all morning. Once I got into this canopy of oak trees the breeze was all but blocked.

The little rolling hills started to take their toll on me psychologically. I can handle long hills better than little hills that are close together. I could not seem to get a rhythm with these hills and I was getting frustrated at the speed that I was going. I decided to be content with my slower speed and I just relaxed and enjoyed the scenery

I decided to take a short break and give myself a breather. I stopped at a church to eat a Payday candy bar and drink a BulletProof coffee. The size of the oak tree that was behind the church is amazing. I took a picture with my bike leaning on the trunk so that the size of how big the tree is could be measured. The canopy of the tree stretched for 30 to 50 feet from the trunk of the tree in all directions.

St. Mark’s Trail

Once I get south of Tallahassee on the US HWY 319 I know I am home free. When I get past the last hill on US 319 and head to the Rail Trail I know that I am on the final leg of my ride. The St. Mark’s trail is completely flat for 16 miles. By this time in the day, I can relax and just enjoy the ride.

I put on my mask because there were a few folks on the trail and there was no way to keep social distance when passing. The trail parking lot and all bathrooms were closed, but they’re still were lots of folks using the trail.

I was glad to meet Sylvia in St. Mark’s. She had completed her shopping at Whole Foods and we arrived at the end of my ride within a few minutes of each other. She bought me some birthday fudge. We ordered dinner at Vertigo Burgers and then after eating we headed home.

The Route

Lonnie Wormley

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