While the ride to Minneola the day before was the end of the loop, the true end of part 1 awaited me in Orlando. Since I had departed from Tampa in May, Alix, the friend who had inspired me to do this trip, had got married to Inseul and moved to Orlando. Therefore, I had to get to Orlando, a 40-50 mile ride depending on how direct I went.
A relaxing morning talking with Kathy & Seth was followed by us all getting ready to ride. While they both have individual bikes they prefer to ride their tandem. I’ve only tried one once before, back in Korea with Alix, and while enjoyable there was a certain level of frustration from the lack of independence. For me, people who can ride tandem definitely deserve respect and especially considering how far they’ve ridden on it.
I loaded my bike up and headed off for one last ride. Seth had ridden out with C & I last time and this time there were three of us again as Kathy joined us. As we were heading in the same direction, we took the same roads and it brought back a number of memories. We went down a hill near the house which, with the May heat, had proved too much for C and caused her to sit under a tree, passed a church in Winter Garden that she had asked me to take a picture of and a couple of hills I remember flying down amazed at the acceleration on a fully loaded bike that I had not yet adjusted to.
Stopping at the end of the trail, we met some cyclists and started talking about cycle touring as their parents will go cross country in a few months. I mentioned that I’d started in Tampa and they seemed kinda impressed, but nothing like as much as people who know the whole journey. Having said that, I’m just fine with that. I’m pretty open with the people I meet, and if they follow up “Where did you start?” with “How long have you been on the road?” or other such questions then I’m more than willing to tell them, but it’s not something I’m going to go out and I guess brag about it. Seth on the other hand was really excited to tell them about my journey. It was fun to watch him talk about it as he’s been reading my blog since the start and knows near enough everything about the trip.
After the break in the park, we doubled back a little and got to where our paths split ways. I would head east towards Orlando and Alix, they would continue back west along the way we had come. We said our goodbyes and I mentioned how I’ll have to find a way back at the end of my next loop. The length of that loop is unknown as is the amount of time it will take, but Florida is one of my favourite states and I could definitely see myself visiting again.
After parting ways, the way to Alix’s was more about looking at my GPS for small roads due to a lack of trails as I weaved my way across Orlando. I stopped at Orange Cycles and got my pump out to take inside before realising the reason I hadn’t seen anyone was that they were closed on a Sunday. I passed the rather pretty residential area over by Lake Baldwin and then got onto the large road that took me to Alix & Inseul’s place.
Knocking on the door, I was met by their adorable Shih Tzu Poodle called Bean and after he had licked me down I entered the place I’ll be calling home for the next few weeks. I’m not sure on the logistics of it all yet, but the next thing on my calendar is Alix & Inseul’s 2nd wedding which is over in Hawaii on February 24th. They had a wedding in May, but that was in Korea and so this one will be easier for Alix’s family and friends to go to. Before then, if things work out, I’d like to see if it’s possible to get over to the Bahamas and down to the Keys but who knows, not I.