Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mar 27 (Day 86) - Tailwinds

The tailwind that I expected yesterday never materialized. Today was a different story. The weather folks were spot on when they forecasted strong east winds that would eventually swing around to blow from the south. These 15-20 MPH winds moved me along at my fastest clip of the year. I was able to cover 59 miles to Panama City in about 3:15 (with no stops!), or an average of just over 18 MPH. I reached my planned destination so quickly that I immediately began searching for someone further down the road with whom I could stay tonight. Winds like this are very rare, and I wanted to squeeze every mile from them that I was able. I ended up finishing in Sea Grove Beach, 90 miles from where I started in Apalachicola. I easily could have pumped out another 40-50 miles, but I would have outridden the lodging I have arranged for the next few days. I am just about certain these will be the 90 easiest miles I will ride this year. There is a strong possibility that I will be staying here tomorrow as well as the weather forecast for tomorrow is dreadful: thunder and lightning all day. There will also be more thunderstorms Saturday morning, so I am going to lose at least 1.5 days to this nonsense.

90 more miles today!

I wrote a few days ago that I was hoping to keep my miles down during this stretch. So far this has not happened; I have been averaging 65 miles a day for the last 10 days. Part of this is that potential lodging places are far apart in these sparsely populated areas, and part of it is that I am getting stronger and riding faster. I just completed consecutive 90-mile days and I feel great. If there is a really good birding spot (St. Mark's, e.g.), then I can fill up the day birding and photographing. However, if there isn't anything particularly exciting to see, I may as well keep moving since I do not know when I am going to be forced into days off. 

I am hoping to hit a few decent migration fallouts before I get to Texas. Every migrating species I can find now is one that I won't have to search for while I am in Texas. There might be some decent movement after all these storms, so I want to try to position myself to find some new birds once the weather clears. 

As a side note, I was informed by my hosts for the night that I crossed into the central time zone today. I seem to have completely lost track of where I am on the east-west axis of the country. I am much further west than I realized. I guess this is good news since I'm headed west anyway!


  1. Happy to see that you made good time today.

  2. I might have to rely on these winds again today - even with heavy rain!

  3. Hi Dorian, if the weather holds, you might want to stop by Fort Pickens, part of Gulf Islands National Seashore (it's at the far left side of today's map). It can be a great spot for Neotrops. (I am presuming you've contacted Bob & Lucy Duncan).

    1. I am staying with Bob and Lucy tonight. I am sitting on their couch right now! I am going to hit Fort Pickens in the afternoon, stay tuned.