Day 25: Monday 8th October : The long ride back…

With 560 miles to ride to get back to Aaron and Mira’s place, we had an early start, waking at 5am and on the road before dawn. 100 miles or so later we pulled off the highway to get breakfast at a Cracker Barrel before rejoining the highway and Interstate route south east. We stopped every 100 miles or so for fuel and to relieve the boredom of highway riding, then stopped at Valdosta to get lunch at El Toreo, a Mexican restaurant Aaron used to frequent when he had an MRI centre close by. I was still full from last night’s dinner and breakfast, so could only manage half my salad. Then it was back onto I-75 heading south into Florida in increasing heat and humidity, with the occasional heavy rain shower thrown in for good measure.

With about 125miles to go we said goodbye to Dean, who was separating from us to go and stay at a friend’s house. It’s always hard saying goodbye to people who started the trip as complete strangers and through it became good friends, but I’m sure this won’t be the last time we meet or ride together. Now it was just the 3 of us on 2 bikes heading down the familiar last stretch and in to St Petersburg and to Aaron and Mira’s spectacular home. After 11.5 hours we pulled up on their driveway, having covered a total trip distance just shy of 6,500 miles. Once changed I checked in for my flights tomorrow and then we popped out to grab a snack at Zoe’s Kitchen, a Greek “fast food” place that served an excellent Chicken Salad. The only problem was “snack” here doesn’t mean small portions, and this salad seemed to be self-replicating at a rate faster than I could eat it, so that even after 10 minutes of frantic munching it appeared as big as when it was served. It’s not often I leave food, but on this occasion I think if I’d carried on eating, I’d still be there and it would still be the same huge bowl of salad it was originally!

Back at the house I went to bed, exhausted, despite it only being 9:30pm. It has been a great adventure, but now it’s over and tomorrow I head home.

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