View Sea2Jax in a larger map

Thursday 14 July 2011

Day 66 - Canoe's this in Panama?

Todays mileage: 83
Total mileage: 3,344
End point: Indian Pass, FL

American readers may be slightly confused by this title, British readers should not be. Around 10 years ago an Englishman went missing after going canoeing in the north sea. He was declared dead; 5 years later he walks into a police station claiming amnesia. The police were slightly suspicious, but the key evidence would come from a random member of the public who googled 'John Darwin' and found a photo of him with his wife in Panama City, Panama. They were buying a huse with the proceeds from his life insurance. The Daily Mirror then ran the headline which I have used for my blog title.

Today I got up at 7am and managed to leave within the hour after saying my goodbyes. The road leaving Grayson Beach had an awesome bike path and I have to say I haven't seen this many cyclists just out and about riding since Boise. The only problem with these bike paths is that most people are taking quite a gentle pace which means I have to go slow; avoiding them and runners. This part of the coast leading towards Panama City has a lot of cute seaside towns, they are a bit fake and cheesey on the architecture front, but a lot better than North Mobile. As I was closing in on Panama City I was flagged down by a cyclist called Julie who was joined by her husband Marty. She was asking my advice on mirrors and road positioning, and myself now being an expert helped as best I could. Marty had a great retro mountain bike straight out of the 1980s!

Now obviously in my first paragraph I was talking about Panama City, Panama, but Panama City, Florida in the US is famous for different reasons; it is the US equivalent of Magaluf (or as it is affectionately known 'shagaluf'). Panama City is the epicentre of the spring break party scene of college students who get up to inappropriate behaviour. I was glad to hear Pam was banned from going after high school, who knows what she would have turned out like if she had been allowed to go ;) The city had a lot of interesting shops and bars, surrounding by tall blocks of apartments. Lots of activities and silly stuff, a ridiculous crazy golf course on three floors, a ship on land next to an upside down building - you get the picture. Negotiating my way through the city took a bit of time due to the geography of the coast and various bridges which needed to be crossed.

I stopped at a gas station in the middle of the city, and then another car crash - 2 in 2 days after 64 days of safety. A truck pulling out had been t-boned by a truck which then had a nissan go into the back of it, full of college kids. Police, fire, ambulence all on the scene but no serious injuries from what I could see. The southern part of the city had the business district and then a little bit of ghetto before returning to normal. But before it got normal I spotted an interesting car by the side of the road - a batmobile! Not a bad effort, the mechanic said this was his prototype and that he wanted to put it into production for rich sports stars! He is going to have to do a bit more work before he can do that especially if he wants to sell them for $200,000.

I headed south of Panama City through Tyndalls Air Force base and with the exception of a few miles on the city i'd had bike paths or lanes the whole way. The air force base has some interesting research buildings, one of which developed drones, they had lots of drones in front of the building. I was going to take some photos but I didn't want to risk an extended vacation 30 miles west of Santiago de Cuba, although I hear its difficult to get a reservation these days. The airforce was surrounded by forest which gave way once I reached Mexico Beach. This beach is much less developed that where I had been and you could actually see the beach and the sea from the road. Leaving Mexico Beach I entered Gulf County and excitingly entered Eastern Time - wooo! Its been a long timing coming, central time seems to have gone on forever.

After having a quick bite to eat I bumped into a lovely couple called Carla and Patrick, they turned out to be epic cyclists, having toured the far east and New Zealand. They also want to do the transamerica. After a few minutes of chatting I decided to take up their offer of some dinner and a hot shower. Little did I know I would be staying in another great beach house right on the ocean. They actually work in El Paso but their aim is to retire here, I was lucky I caught them whilst they were in Florida. I managed to get another swim in the ocean and they fed me chirizo sausage (that surely has to be bad spelling) and beer and we have spent the evening exchange bike stories. Thankyou so much for your hospitality!

I am now as you may have noticed well over my 3,280 miles which was my initial benchmark. I have another 275 to go, so plan 3 epic days and then a half day into Jacksonville. I will be expecting all my sponsors to adjust my sponsoship upwards by 10% for these extra miles! Only kidding, but if you haven't sponsored me yet and you have been meaning to do it, it would be most appreciated as I am very close to the £3,000 mark.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you'll be heading North today. Why don't you get really wild and head West too?

    PS - Dave Dickson, Pest and I hit Panama City, FL for Spring Break in 2004. Photos available on request :)