Wednesday, September 29, 2010
IT'S A HEARTBREAK TO LEAVE THIS HOTEL
On Monday 9/27, we woke early to pouring rain and lingered at the motel until 10am before starting out in a light drizzle. This segment of U.S. Highway 90 has smooth pavement and clean shoulders that carry us west. We saw stands of birch trees with appaloosa marked bark mixed with the typical Florida roadside vegetation. Tall stands of goldenrod and purple primrose-like blossoms added color to our journey. We encountered no angry dogs but did pass a pack of 5 chihuahuas that paid little attention to our passing through their territory. It is doubtful the 5 of them could have taken down a grasshopper. We arrived in DeFuniak Springs at 2pm and registered at Hotel DeFuniak. This hotel was built in 1920 as a Masonic Lodge and is a beautifully restored gem. It is a comfortable, bike-friendly, and elegant establishment that is also reasonably priced. The DeFuniak area was first occupied by Muscogee/Creek/Euchee Indians. In the 1880's a railroad surveying party rested near a round lake in the heart of a virgin forest. They were so overwhelmed by the beauty, it was decided there would be a town built at that location. The town was named in honor of Fred DeFuniak who had held many high positions in the Louisville & Nashville Railroad. One legend has it that Fredrick won the right to name the town in a card game. We walked the Lake Circle. The spring-fed lake is reportedly one of two in the world that is almost perfectly round, the other being in Zurich, Switzerland. It is nearly one mile in circumference, 60 feet deep, and at 250 feet, one of the highest points in Florida. In this town of 5200 there are over 200 homes on the National Historic Registry that conjure images of an elegant past. The town's history is also immersed with the Chautauqua by becoming its winter home in 1885. Chautauqua, originally founded in New York strived to provide a combined experience of religion, education, the arts, and recreation. According to our Adventure Cycling maps we have ridden 428 miles. However, they do not take into account the additional miles it takes to find a place to eat/sleep. So our actual miles in the saddle are 447. Norb has an acronym for that: ASAM (Actual Saddle Ass Miles) DeFuniak Springs is also cause for a minor celebration for these 2 riders as it is completion of the first of seven maps that chart our course across the country. Yeah! As a reminder to all - all donations to the Miracle Ride go directly to help kids as we finance our own travel expenses.