Thursday, September 10, 2015

On The Road to Apalachicola

We got up hours before dawn. We drank our coffee out on the balcony, then took everything down to the car, put the bikes on the bike rack and our suitcases in the car, and drove to Apalachicola, 9 hours away. We saw sunrise in the rearview mirror as we rolled through Central Florida.

Apalachicola is a small town on the eastern end of the Florida Panhandle. It sits at the mouth of the Apalachicola River on Apalachicola Bay. If you are an oyster lover, you know that this is the area where 90% of Florida oysters are harvested. The town itself dates back to the beginnings of the 1800s. Its historic district is picturesque. Fun trivia fact: Back in 1849, Apalachicola physician, Dr. John Gorrie, invented a cold-air refrigeration process and patented an ice machine. We can thank Dr. Gorrie for the air conditioning which made possible modern Florida life as we know it.

It is one of the loveliest coastal areas in Florida. Piney woods, sugar white sand, and light development by Florida standards. The scenic coastal highway (highway 98) has a paved shoulder suitable for cycling beginning in Carrabelle, a small town about 25 miles north of Apalachicola. From Apalachicola you can bike to St. George Island and Cape San Blas. Our original plan was to do a series of loop rides between Apalachicola and the Alabama line, in essence doing the equivalent of a ride from Apalachicola to Gulf Shores and back. While planning our routes, we discovered we had four rides, each around 60 to 65 miles in length, just in the Apalachicola area. So we became selective in which other areas of the Panhandle we would explore on this trip. Since the bigger towns hold no special appeal for us, we decided to sample several quieter sections of the Panhandle. Small towns and pretty beaches. It has been a few years since we last rode our bikes up here, so it will be interesting to see what has changed.

We have rain coming through the area. We'll probably be getting wet some in the next day or two. Tonight, though, we are dry and cozy in a pleasant hotel room. (Not out in a tent or camper like so many other trips we've made to the area.)

Life is good.