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I woke up knowing that my riding in Florida was nearly coming to an end. I had the option of either riding west, through the Ocala National Forest or getting a lift from Patrick. Having now ridden basically the whole of the Florida coast, I figured I’d ridden enough. My plan to head north was falling into place and I’d be getting a bit of a push to Atlanta with Patrick, from Fanning Springs, who has a daughter and friends living there that he wanted to see. He was spending the day helping a friend move house up in St Augustine and then would drive down to wherever I was to pick me up and take me back to his place.

That meant I could sleep in and then have a relaxed morning looking up at the Osprey, playing with Freddy the cat and talking to Nancy and her friend Elaine. It was a lovely way to start the day.

Riding away was a little like going back in time. It took me back on the route that C and I had ridden back in May. That was our 5th day, whereas this was my 184th day of riding and 296th since the trip began. Back then we rode 45 miles and were both pretty shot, C was having some serious bike fit issues causing her hands to go numb and we cooked two of our three meals on a stove. Time on the bike fixed the first one, the help of the Samuels and their local bike shop in New Smyrna reduced the second one and a lack of usage lead to me getting rid of the stove in Salt Lake.

C’s hand issues had meant we had to stick to US-1 to shorten the route, but there was no such need this time. I took the diversions the ACA suggested and rolled along the side of the Intracoastal briefly and before long found myself in New Smyrna where C & I had watched the final Endeavour launch.

I had been in touch with Patrick and we’d arranged to meet at a McDonald’s in Daytona by I-95. After chilling for a bit, he turned up. It was great to see him bouncing out of his truck with the energy I’d noticed last time. We’d been in touch since parting ways and spent the majority of the two hour drive back to his place talking.

Back in Fanning Springs, I found my new Click-Stand waiting for me. I’d been in touch with Tom, the owner of Click-Stand.com, and had arranged to get a new one shipped to me. I was really looking forward to getting a replacement for the one that had gotten misplaced. The Click-Stand is a phenomenal thing and I strongly recommend it to anyone who tours. Having something that weighs only 3 oz that you know can hold up a fully-laden bike is glorious and I’m so glad that I have it.

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