I see the light - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

March 30, 2022

I see the light

Tallahassee bike day

There were more clouds this  morning and windy, but it was still nice enough for a ride. On tap today was a trip out to St. Mark's lighthouse which is NOT in the town of St.Mark's. 

We still didn't manage to get our rears in gear and on the bike until after 11. But that was due to squeezing in a quick load of laundry, unloading the stuff in the bed of the truck and taking our awnings down as it was supposed to get really windy this afternoon. But then, we do seem to move rather slowly in the mornings these days!

Since this would be a longer ride, we drove again to the parking spot on the St. Mark's trail that we had used on our other rides and started from there. 

We headed south again on the trail until we reached Highway 98 where we turned east. There was a decent shoulder on the road and traffic was light as we passed by a few homes scattered among large pine tree farms. While this appears to be a big logging area, we still haven't seen any trucks on the roads. 

Things were going fine until all of a sudden Don started yelling and had pulled his foot out of his pedal! This caused the bike to weave out into the lane (luckily there wasn't any traffic at this point). 

Flinging my feet out of my pedals, we managed to stop the bike before it fell over and I got off to see what was going on. Don hopping around on one foot, trying to get his sandal off and saying that a bee just stung him. 

I held the bike while he removed the shoe. We don't know how the bee or wasp got under the strap of the sandal, but it wasn't there when he was checking. Nor could he find any stinger remaining in the skin.

After more hopping around and rubbing his foot, Don put the sandal back on the bike and said he was ok to continue our ride. I did offer to find the insect sting relief cream in the first aid kit we carry in our trunk bag,  but he stated he was fine for now. 

Back on the road, we continued a couple more miles until we reached Lighthouse Rd. and turned south toward the Gulf. 

This road had no shoulder but didn't have much traffic and it would have been a pleasant ride except that the pavement had a lot of ripples in it. Between the now headwind and the rougher road, Don said his knees were hurting because of the extra pushing he had to do to maintain a smooth stroke. Maybe he was exerting more effort as my knees were fine, but then I also wear knee supports when riding. 

Anyway, he also stated that if this continued, he might need to turn around as it was still another 10 miles to reach the lighthouse. That would be disappointing but I understood.

We continued down the road and low and behold, the pavement smoothed out! Even though there still was a headwind, Don said this was much better so we kept going. 

A short time later, we entered the St. Mark's Wildlife Refuge. A sign by the gate stated there was a fee to ride through the refuge, but since there was no one in the toll booth we just kept going. We never did see any rangers or anyone in authority but there was a visitor's center that was closed today.

It was quiet riding through the woods and cypress swamps with some occasional vehicles. As we got closer to the coast, the trees thinned out and the land became marshy around large ponds. 

But it was disappointing that despite all of the water, we spotted very few birds. Only a sprinkling of egrets, kingfishers and blackbirds. Don thought that maybe the wind was keeping them away? But the conditions weren't deterring the fishermen as they were everywhere, casting their lines from the banks of the ponds. 

The road twisted and turned around the ponds so sometimes we had a headwind while at other times it was a side wind but it was definitely getting stronger. But since there was only a few more miles to go, we were committed at this point to get to this darn lighthouse. 

Finally Don called out that he could see the structure ahead of us. Yea! That was good news as my legs were starting to feel the effort from the pedaling. 

Finally the road ended at the lighthouse, and we were able to park the bike and get off to take a look around. The lighthouse was closed for tours but has an interesting history. 

The structure consists of the keeper's home attached to the 88 ft. tower. Legend says that the blocks used in the base were taken from the old Fort San Marcos de Apalachee. 

The first lighthouse was completed in 1831 but that location is now underwater. The tower was rebuilt in a different spot, however erosion again threatened the structure and it was moved further inland to its present location.

The lighthouse has survived multiple hurricanes during the 1840's and  1850's. In 1865, Confederate troops were stationed near the lighthouse and the light was removed in order to prevent it from aiding Union ships patrolling Apalachee Bay. 

When a fleet of ships began shelling the area, retreating Confederates tried to  blow up the tower to eliminate it being used as a lookout for the Union forces. They only succeeded in leaving an 8 ft. hole which has since been repaired. 

After the war, the tower was heightened and a new Fresnel lens installed while the keeper's house was updated. In 2000, the Fresnel was replaced by a modern solar powered light. In 2014, this old lens was removed and moved to the refuge visitor's center where it's now on display (too bad this center was closed!). Further restoration of the tower and house has been done.

Other than taking a few pictures and eating a snack, we didn't stay long at the lighthouse as we had a ways to go to get back to the truck. The wind had gotten much stronger by now but was fortunately mostly at our backs. When the road straightened out in the trees, we had a nice tailwind so it didn't take long to reach Highway 98 and then the St Mark's trail. 

Of course the day's excitement wasn't quite finished yet. When we were on the trail, I spotted a picture opportunity and asked Don to stop. He complied, I took my photo and as I returned to the bike, I saw that he was again hopping around on one foot with his sandal off. What the?! 

It seemed that when he pulled off the trail, he had stepped into an ant pile!! Good grief! The poor guy had bites all over his toes on the same foot as the bee sting. He finally got all the nasty insects out of his shoe and said he was okay to continue on. Fortunately other than some lingering itching, he didn't have any other reaction. 

It was nearly 4 by the time we got home which left just enough time to cleaned up and get ready to go out for dinner. Tonight we're trying another seafood restaurant - The Wharf - which was more of a casual place. I tried their broiled mahi while Don had blackened grouper. This time I asked that they avoid using any oil on the fish which was a good call. 

Both of our meals were good and it was nice that we had an option to order a full sized entree vs a smaller basket. Those were cheaper and had fewer sides which fit my appetite better. We both really liked their smoked gouda cheese grits! I'm not a fan of grits, but I would order these again. 

Luckily my dinner set well on my stomach and I didn't have any adverse reactions. Maybe broiling is the way to go in the future, but at least I feel I can continue my seafood exploration.

Back in camp, Don worked on finishing up the securing of our site in preparation for the rain and storms coming tomorrow. Lets hope that they won't be too severe!

I had a challenge getting this shot of an iris in the marsh as the winds were really blowing it around.
Heart 1 Comment 0
The St. Mark's Lighthouse and attached keeper's home.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Too bad the lighthouse was closed today.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Looks like a Fresnel lens in the top of the tower. I thought it had been replaced by a solar operated light?
Heart 0 Comment 0
We finally reached the Gulf again but I wouldn't care to be out on the water today with the gusty winds.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Okay - everybody got a spot?
Heart 1 Comment 0
Hurry up - there's a car coming, not to mention a bike!
Heart 1 Comment 0
Near the scene of Don's ant pile, I found this neat bike-lined driveway.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 34 miles (55 km)
Total: 285 miles (459 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 1
Scott AndersonNice ride, and an interesting story. Two foot attacks on the same day!
Reply to this comment
1 month ago