Friday, May 1, 2015

Day 8 5-19-15 Chipley FL to Panama City Beach FL

Last day, long way. This last day is the third longest ride of the eight days - 51.4 miles. The nice part is the elevation. I start the ride at 139 feet and end at 9 feet - 130 feet downhill - well almost. Between mile 10.2 and 11.5 I'll hit three almost simultaneous grades of 3.4%, 3.7% and 4% which puts me at a whopping elevation of 271 feet. Then I get to dive-bomb down to 90 feet - that's a drop of 181 feet in 1.3 miles at a -1% to -5% grade. I'm guessing I will set the day's - if not the trip's - top speed between miles 13.2 and 14.5 today - if I don't have a headwind.  At mile 15.3, I will pass by the grand entrance to Sunny Hills Florida. This was a planned community that  was opened in 1972 by the now infamous Deltona Corporation. It was planned for 60,000 residents on 24,301 residential lots. Today, over forty years later, only 900 people live there. Why? - There is nothing in Washington County. It's not a wet county ( I can attest to that), there are no car dealerships, not many medical facilities, etc. Everybody has to go 35 miles to Panama City for services, shopping and entertainment. It stands as a monument to poor land management and lousy stewardship that spans over four decades.
80's Trip arrival
The reason my bike is alone in this picture is because, on the early 80's trip,  I arrived alone in Panama City Beach. Earlier in the day, on a long straight stretch of road similar to the one in the picture, two events occurred that caused Bill and I to split up. First off, a carload of Auburn students headed to PCB passed us and threw several beer cans (full cans) out the window at us. Secondly, I realized that my wallet had bounced out of an open zipper pocket on my bike bag. As I returned north to search for my wallet, an incensed Bill "chased" after the beer can chuckers. Unbelievably, five miles north, I found my wallet laying on the side of the road. Also unbelievably, Bill found the Auburn students checking into a motel on the strip in PCB. Turns out they were Auburn football players -  BIG guys. Now I didn't see it, but Bill tells the story this way. The car was sitting in the motel parking lot with the passenger door open. Two guys were in the back seat drinking beer. The other two were in the motel office. Bill got off his bike, surprised the two in the back seat and asked "Hey (expletive deleted)... remember me? He then reached in and sucker punched the biggest one. As Bill was mounting his bike to make a hasty exit, the two drunk hulks started piling out of the car to give chase. Problem was, according to Bill, he had stopped his bike suddenly when he spotted their car- he was now in the wrong gear - the "hard to start from a dead stop" gear. So now, as he was slowly cranking up to get speed to get away,  the Auburn boys were getting closer and closer. Finally, Bill's rpm's increased as well as his speed and got him out of their reach. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing that he waved bye to them with his longest finger.

2015 Trip arrival
For some strange reason the mapping program has me ending up at a place on the beach called Pineapple Willies. Since Panama City Beach is not in a dry county - in fact, CNN recently labeled it a "a town so decadent at Spring Break that it makes the Ft Lauderdale of the 60's and 70's look tame" - I will probably imbibe with Willie when I arrive alive.

The last picture is of some people I encountered on the beach back in the 80's just after I arrived. They were all real drunk on Budweiser and Jack Daniels. I believe that they all went to the University of Alabama. Regardless, they were friendly enough and offered me some of their Jack.

Alabama Fans from the eighties trip

Day 8 Elevation and Grades

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