I woke up swinging in my hammock in Ponce de Leon. I broke camp and jumped on the 90. Just outside of town, I stopped at Sally’s restaurant for breakfast.
It was a local place, with townies hanging out and joking with one another. Like a real hole in the wall breakfast joint type place. It felt good to be there.
Defuniak Springs was 10 miles west. Crestview was 29 miles further, and I figured I could make it in one day. I promised myself to walk all week, but I discovered a new pace: speed walking.
Back on the road, I met Tracy. He is from England but lives here in the states. He is cycling all the way up into Canada.
Tracy has cycled all around the world. He met his wife cycling in Southeast Asia. Tracy was leaving Malaysia, and his wife was headed towards Vietnam. Tracy decided to go too Vietnam too. They cycle all around the world together and currently live in Ohio.
Tracy jumped over my side of the road and paced me. He gave me some tips for the road. We talked about our experiences, and the traveling way of life. “We’re doing what the fore-fathers did, heading west.”
After chatting with Tracy for a while we parted ways. My pace had slowed.
I breifly met another cyclist heading to LA.
I passed into Walton County and stopped at a covvenience store along the 90 for a break. It was a wierd place, they sold chicks!
I put in the miles and decided to call it a half day and stay in Defuniak. It was a good thing I did. Severe weather hit Defuniak Springs, as well as most of Florida. I left the library and crept up the 90 towards St. Margaret of Scotland’s, two miles outisde town. The sidewalk became a wind tunnel, I almost got blown over a few times!
Just then Toby pulled up. He offered me a ride and helped put the cart in the back of his pickup. I would have had a long way to go if he didn’t help me out.
At St. Margaret’s I had Toby pull up to the front awning as I tossed my wet belongings out the bed one by one. I thanked him and he departed. I tried to snap a photo but the storm was too fierce!
I assessed the damage. The buggy got pretty soaked in the back of the truck. We had to put it in upside down so it would fit. It was worth the ride. I repacked everything and tucked the buggy in the dry corner beneath the awning. Holy Thursday Mass was at 8pm.
I decided to explore the grounds. The place seemed quiet and unoccupied. I turned the corner and found a Door of Mercy!
I spent a brief moment inside before realizing I was soaking wet. I headed to the back of the property where I met Fr. Rick. He opened up a building on the grounds for me to stay in overnight!
I changed into some dry clothes and plugged my phone in to charge. I laid out everything that was wet on tables and chairs to dry over night.
An hour or so later Janice came by and knocked on the door to the building I was staying in. She offered me dinner and went into town to pick me up a burger and fries! She was so nice, I thanked her.
Another person was heading home on bicycle. He got caught in the storm and sought shelter at St. Margaret’s. We talked briefly in the chapel before Mass. Didn’t catch his name.
It was really nice being at St. Margaret of Scotland’s for Holy Thursday. I felt so thankful for all the help I had received. I met Deacon Dave and we chatted briefly about the journey so far. I spent a few minutes in prayer after Mass and retired for rest. I fell asleep in my sleeping bag on a series of chairs inside the classroom building.