Pensacola to Fort Walton (Riding Day 51)

Tomas and I left Pensacola and rode along the seashore.

 

beach-photo

 

As we did so we crossed paths with several other cyclists at various times.  Stopping to share stories and road conditions, it was nice to continue building these cycling community tribal ties.

group-on-the-beach

Soon after, the clouds opened up and we quickly grabbed shelter at a restaurant so as to stay safe, dry, and have electricity and wifi connections.

Evening update: Well, after six and one-half hours of taking shelter, Tomas, the less stubborn one, wisely decided he had had enough and arranged for a Uber driver to come fetch him and his bicycle.  After a few rejections from cabs and drivers, he located a kind driver with a Hummer who would drive him to a local motel.  Tomas prudently convinced me to join him once I realized that the ongoing thunderstorms now included tornado warnings and while I have a good hammock/tent, four solid walls with a roof over a dry room sounded a bit better.  While I have been through worse, once again the trip proved meaningful.  Due to space limitations, we took separate rides and mine was touching and meaningful as well.  The vet driver had been stationed previously at Fort Bragg and was a Purple Heart recipient.  Within seconds we were able to share common experiences and bond over issues and concerns.  He kept me out of danger’s way from the storm and I was blessed to share some advice and ideas on healing.  Special moments indeed occur when they are least expected.

So mileage wise it was not a great day for covering ground but from a great send off from Jeb, who is an amazing Warm Showers host, to a beautiful ride by the sand dunes, to sharing with other cyclists, to safely hanging with Tomas, to meeting kind people who continue to serve others, and ending being safe during dangerous weather…I’d called it a winning day.

It does call to my mind the true meaning of being a samurai-One who serves.

Today I was with several samurai…Jeb who serves in his church, his community, and the touring cycling community passing through Pensacola; Tomas who serves charitable causes in Ireland; Fellow cyclists who serve and support travelers; Erin, a worker for Rotary International who has been remotely supporting Tomas’ logistics all the way from San Diego, and an injured vet (I neglected to get permission to share his name so while I know it, I prefer not to post it) who continues to serve as a local fireman when he is not helping others in need.

 

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