Last Monday I set off on my first ever solo tour, actually my first ever solo trip of any kind. Although this was a short adventure, setting off all on my own had a lot of significance for me. I had always traveled with a friend, my family or a lover. I wanted to connect with myself in a new way by traveling and pushing myself - with only myself around. So I took off on a modified Seven Hills to the Sea route.
I pushed southward towards Lanark Village the first day, leaving at noon and going a total of 50 miles. I stayed at my parent’s vacation house.
The second day was Lanark to Cape San Blas/ St. Joseph state park, by far the hardest day of riding with long bridges and lots of wind. It was about 60ish miles. I set up and barely got out to the beach in time to catch the sunset. By the time I crawled into the tent, I was exhausted, but sleep did not come easy. I had a rather pesky raccoon that was really interested in my peanut butter and at one point during the night, was under my vestibule also chasing me with my pants dropped to my waist. I also learned that I had accidentally grabbed Justin’s warm weather sleeping bag instead of my own. This would prove rather dangerous later.
It was hard to leave the beach the next day with blue skies and empty sand. I got a slow start before moving onto Dead Lakes. It was about 50 miles to the park and a lot of that was on some of the most boring roads I have ever ridden, straight and flat for miles and miles.
With the temperatures set to dip down into the teens, I was pretty worried about getting too cold. Luckily right when I got to the park, I met Bob the camp host and not only did he let me stay for free, he also let me sleep in a heated room. It was basically a concrete building wrapped in plastic but it had a heater and the room didn’t dip below freezing.
The next morning I woke up and read in my sleeping bag until I couldn't read anymore, trying to stay warm. It didn’t get above freezing until1pm. I had my solo coffee and oatmeal and started calling folks. I needed to make a decision about going home or staying out another night. After talking to the ranger at Torreya State Park (my next stop) I decided to go ahead and ride the 76 miles home and shorten my trip. The only protected space Torreya could give me was a $45 yurt, and that seemed a little expensive and silly when I can go camping there anytime for $5 when its not freezing and I have the right gear!
After battling crazy cold headwind for a few hours in the morning and realizing I hadn’t gone far fast, I called my mom. There was no way I was going to make it to town before dark. She picked me up a few miles outside of Tallahassee and we ended the day with huge bowls of Pho.
Obviously not everything went as planned, but I think the most amazing thing is that it was simply no big deal. I kept expecting to feel lonely or nervous or scared about being alone, but I never did. I hope to have many more of these solo trips in my future!
Tallahassee to Lanark - Highway 319 south towards Sopchoppy, joins Hwy 98 at the coast and ride West.
Lanark to the Cape- Hwy 98 most of the day until you hit county road 30 follow taht for 13 miles and you will see a left turn onto Cape San Blas rd, this dead ends into the park after 6 miles.
Cape to Dead Lakes- Ride back to Fl-30 but take a left when you get there. In about 7 miles you will rejoin with 98, ride into the town of St. Joe and take a right at Fl-71. Take 71 for 27 miles until you see a wooden sign for Dead Lakes park on your right.
Dead Lakes to Tallahassee- Take Fl-71 North until you hit Blountstown, where you will take a right onto Hwy 20. Heading East, that will take you right back into town.