Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 28: Making up for a tornado

Pensacola Florida
Low Temperature: 39 aprox
Wind: 17 MPH NW

It was after 11pm, Sunday night. Frank had been riding since early in the day trying to make up time the tornado warning stole yesterday. Riding in high winds he made his way to Highway 90 paralleling I-10 and fought the winds until 1pm when as Frank said “the wind stopped, it was totally calm”. Frank took this as a good sign and rode as hard as he could as long as he could. Equipped with a new headlight he stayed on task until 11 pm. His bike was now skipping between gears because the derailleur was so far out of adjustment which made for frustrating riding. Frank stopped to regroup and shake the cold off at a convenience store.

Maybe it was the 17 mph breeze from earlier in the day that blew Donald across Frank’s path. The young marine saw Frank’s Wounded Warrior Project t-shirt after the blue and gold windbreaker came off. “Are you riding tonight?” Donald asked seemingly concerned and disbelieving that anyone would be riding in the cold at this late hour.
“I think I might be walking it from here” Frank half joked and the two began to talk.

Donald was not going to take no for an answer. The question was – “you are not going to keep riding tonight are you?” Desperate to keep pace and persuaded by the young Marine’s generosity, Frank rode with him for about an hour. They talked about Frank’s journey and why he was out there riding and where he was going. Somewhere outside of Quincy, Floriday the young Marine and Frank exchanged thank yous and goodbyes. It was an hour by car, or about 60 miles or about a single days ride that Donald took Frank. This encounter was not on the biking schedule, but like so many other unplanned events along this journey, there certainly was a reason, even if it remains a mystery right now.

At about midnight, Frank began to ride again, fighting the gears which were constantly skipping up and down up and down. He slowly made another 10 miles and stopped around 1 am at Motel 6 outside of Tallahassee. There are only 3 days left before Frank is scheduled to arrive in Jacksonville. Frank needs to find a bike shop today to adjust his gears.

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