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Day 46: Loxley, AL to Crestview, FL

81 miles - Florida State Line; Meeting Shawn Brown in Pensacola; Good Mileage in Panhandle - March 26, 2017

Alabama Road At my motel in Loxley, I was nervous as usual. Fear of flats. Fear of something going wrong. Fear of this. Fear of that. Fear never stopped me, at least.

I hopped on my bike and headed south. At Robertsdale, Highway 90 turned east to make a beeline for western Florida. My first photo was taken near Elsenaor. As you can see, there was no shoulder -- the same ol' design seen throughout much of Mississippi.

Perdido River I made a 10-minute rest at a gasmart in Seminole, AL, and then a couple of miles down the road, I crossed a waterway.

Perdido River

The Perdido River might seen like any creek, but this one is special as it serves as the border between Alabama and Florida.

My video of the Perdido River ...

Florida State Line

Florida State Line

I made it to Florida! Wooooo hooooo! I was in the final state. :)

There was undoubtedly a feeling like "I had arrived" and it would be easy, joyful riding to the end, but the reality was I still had 470 miles to reach the New Smyrna Beach / Titusville coastal area.

Florida Bicycle Lane

Highway 90 Florida

On the east banks of the Perdido River, the shoulder widened. In fact, there was a dedicated bicycle lane much of the way for 100+ miles. If there wasn't an actual bike lane, then usually there was a reasonably-sized shoulder. (My guess is Florida's road engineering rules require that bicycles be taken into account.) I can vouch Highway 90 across Florida is a bicycle-friendly route worth your consideration in the Southeast USA. Compared to what you'll get on the average road in Mississippi, Alabama, or Georgia, you'll be pleased here.

Any example of the bicycle lane ...

Shawn Brown and Steve Garufi

Pensacola, Florida

It was only about ten miles to Pensacola, where I biked on the north side on E 9 Mile Road (the alt 90 route). It was there that I met Shawn Brown (@shawnbrown) who had been tracking my progress on Twitter. He visited me at a Subway.

I have tweeted with Shawn on and off eight years, and it was neat to finally meet him. Shawn offered to give me a tour of Pensacola and take me to the beach to go paddleboarding, surfing, and/or windsurfing, as he owns a kayak and paddleboarding rental business. (Learn more about what he does: www.outdoorgulfcoast.com.) Should I have accepted his offer? Really, today was feeling like a day where I was destined to go a long distance. I was in the mood to go, go, go! If I had met Shawn on previous days when I had tough headwinds and wasn't going anywhere fast, I probably would have accepted.

See, this is the dilemma of many cross-country cyclists. There is an internal drive to pack on the miles and tear it up. And yet, there's also a voice that I should probably slow down and take advantage of every opportunity that came my way. It was a tension that I'd never resolve on this journey.

I did decline Shawn's offer, but I was clear that I'd let him know whenever I'd be back in Pensacola. :)

Body of Water I biked through a causeway in Pace. Nice body of water out there.

Tom Thumb Store In the afternoon, the temperatures raised to the mid-to-upper 80s -- a bit hot for my tastes.

I took cover at a convenience store in Milton. By the way, are you aware these "Tom Thumb" stores are named "Loaf 'N Jog" in Colorado? I found that amusing.

I even made a "not too shabby" at a Loaf 'N Jug six months earlier in Raton, New Mexico. See how the logo and storefront is the same?

Okaloosa County, Florida Beyond Milton, Highway 90 led me through rural forest. It seemed isolated, but my map showed Interstate 10 was just a few miles adjacent to this road.

Here's a "not too shabby" at a county line ...

Crestview, Florida

Crestview, Florida

Crestview, Florida

I biked through Holt and soon arrived in Crestview. 81 miles. Not bad. I was in striking distance of Walton County, where Michelle lives. She planned to meet me on the route to have lunch.

A "not too shabby" of my motel ...

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