After maybe six days, we are finally off highway 98 and heading inland. Looking back on the trip, we spent much more time on highways that I had expected: 61, 65, 98, and currently 27. If I recall correctly, I think there was a 51 in there as well during the first week. We may be able to divert to the Adventure Cycling route for part of the remaining 65 miles, unless we decide that finishing up is more important than a more scenic route.
We left this morning at first light but there were lots of trucks on the road in spite of the early hour. It seems that they were going to and from a sand or rock mine because once we got past a particular point the truck traffic dropped off considerably.
What differentiated today from other days was the fact that we never got any breakfast. Even 25 miles into the ride, I felt like I could easily go back to bed if there were one readily available. Nonetheless, we managed a pretty good pace, doing almost 71 miles in four and a half hours (average speed 15.7). Mostly Ray and I shared the lead, but Fred stepped up and pulled several times, once for about five miles. I was just told that Mike tried to take the lead once but someone with a beard (he's not naming names) undermined his place. The bearded guy pointed out that he had not completed his 10 mile stint at the front, so he just resumed where he left off after catching up with the other three, who never wait for him to be ready after convenience store stops (so there!). At any rate, no matter how many times you stop at convenience stores, it does not make up for a missed breakfast. The other guys don't agree with me on this point, but that's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
We were all kinda concerned about tonight's lodging in Mayo at "Cindy's Motel", but we were delighted to find that it is a major step up from last night at the fish camp in St. Marks. In addition, there is a cafe right in front of the motel, and a Dollar General store just across the street. The cafe opens at 5 AM, so we'll even be able to have a sit-down breakfast before leaving tomorrow morning. We are in bike touring heaven! Ray, Fred, and I did, however, get trapped at the Dollar store for about an hour because a nasty thunderstorm moved in while we were inside. The locals are delighted to have the rain, however, and we are delighted for them. We passed the time with pints of Ben & Jerry's.
Today Ray passed 2,000 miles on the road, and Fred and I passed 1,000.