main page


Small Business


business -
media -
cycling -



Day 4 - Panama City Beach - Crawfordville - 128 mi / 206 km
Panama City Beach Crawfordville

5:30AM - Sunrise and a nice view of the Gulf with no sensation of wind of the balcony. That's because the hotel is a wind break:

Panama City Beach Sunrise

The wind is there when I hit the highway.  The local Ripley's Believe It or Not!:

Ripleys Beleive it or not

Soon I'm up on the causeway to Panama City.

Panama City

Today is going to be the longest day, so a good start was key (again, as usual, but today more so). However, Panama City was a mess of traffic lights, so it is hard to get up to the target 15 MPH.

Plus, for the first time during my trip across America I have rednecks yelling at me to "Get off the F***ing Road".  It's 6 AM, and one guy in particular roaring by in his F150 pickup has some serious anger management issues.

Times like this, even if Florida has "Share the Roads" signs everywhere, I decide I'd rather be safe than right - I opt to take some side roads parallel to my original route.

My route now takes me south for a bit and the wind is behind me, so I enjoy rolling along above my target speed with modest effort.

The highway bends and I'm now entering a section of the highway that passes through the Tyndall Air Force Base.  The main entrance has a sign "Home to Air Dominance" which I find entertaining, so I take a picture of it.  There's also a sign leading out of the base that is tracking the number of days since a member of the USAF was arrested for DUI. I think it was 68 days. I take a picture of that as well. And I ride off.

I'm about to take a picture of two F15's jet fighters growling at low altitude across the highway when a military police car screeches to a stop in front of me. I jam on my brakes, hop off my bike and feel my right calf explode - I've just pulled a muscle - I know what a muscle cramp feels like and what I was experiencing was not that at all at all.

I confirm with the two officers that, yes, I am the cyclist with the bright yellow jersey who took pictures of the front gate.  I'm ordered to empty my camera of all pictures relating to the Base because taking pictures of a military installation is illegal and considered a criminal offense.  I do this, and let them scan through my pics until they are satisfied.  Then they want my passport, driver's license, and social insurance number, and the older of the two labouriously fills out a long form while the younger guy peppers me with questions

Meanwhile, through all these pleasantries my calf is throbbing. After a half an hour of explaining my cross-America trip, my average mileage per day, daily expenses and my strong affection for all things American, they let me go, with a warning not to take pictures and to not to leave the paved surface until I leave the base territory

So much for taking a whiz off the side of the road. 

I can hear the two cops laughing as they pull away with their blue lights flashing.

Meanwhile, there are probably a thousand citizen vehicles that passed us during my mild interrogation. I'm not able to show you a picture of the front gate, but here's a little bit of what's up on the Internet, Google Maps for example:

Tyndall AFB

and then there's the official Tyndell Air Force Base Web Site that has HUNDREDS of pictures that you can legitimately email to your friends - here's some:


An F-22








A F-22 being refueled in mid-air: F-22 Refueling









A vintage F-86








There's also a number of Panoramio shots that civilians have taken while on tour of the base.

I think it was taking the picture of the number of days since someone was arrested for drunk driving that got everyone a bit defensive....

Anyways, I've been delayed by Panama City rush hour traffic and bored military police, and now I've got a gimpy leg, it's mid-day and I still have 100 miles to go.

I carefully stretch while I pedal at reduced speed,and I'm finally able to get through a full pedal rotation without my calf yelling at me. On I go. I reach Mexico Beach and I change time zones:

Mexico Beach time zone

Long stretches of highway:

I get another flat - this time it's not just the tube - the actual tire has a gash. I end up taking the wheel apart twice. More time lost.

A spectacular causeway near Apalachicola (say that a couple of times):


It extends out into the horizon:

Then back onto (reasonably) solid ground near Carabelle Beach:

carabelle beach

My shadow is growing longer:

It no longer feels like I have a basketball inside my calf, it's now a more tolerable softball-size sensation.

I stop for water and a granola bar - it's incredibly quiet - no cars, the only sounds are birds chirping and my panting.

Some great names for towns:

My last causeway over a bay as I turn inland:

The sunset to the west:

and Goodbye to the Gulf:

Somewhere beyond Panacea. I'm dressed in my rainjacket because it's yellow and has reflector stripes, plus neon green strips on my ankles and two flashing red lights on my head and back, plus a white light pointed at the white stripe in front of me that defines the breakdown lane. It's incredibly dark, an infinite black. 

When the white line breaks for a driveway, I'm lost - I don't know whether I'm heading into the highway or heading towards a ditch. Plus I have no idea whether I've got 2, 5, or 10 miles still to go, or how fast I'm going. There's nothing to do but bear down and focus.  The occasional traffic gives me a wide berth.

I make it to the Best Western Wakulla Inn:

And the inside courtyard:

I'm limping, but it looks like I can keep cycling because of the smaller range of motion I use when pedalling..

Dinner is order-in Domino's Pizza - they have a special "double your order" deal regardless of what you order.  The food arrives with a full size pizza and some panzerotti-type thing with a two liter bottle of Coke, enough for four people. I eat and drink everything

Copyright 2005-2010 bernie schmidt all rights reserved

bernie schmidt affiliated websites and SEO Clients A premier business networking organization with group purchasing power.

blue i music composing, songwriting, production and publishing

RentToOwn-Hamilton. Real Estate Investors helping Hamilton renters to own homes.

HomeBuyers Hamilton. Real Estate Investors buying homes in Hamilton including For Sale by Owner

RentToOwn-Toronto. Real Estate Investors helping Toronto renters to own homes.

HomeBuyers Toronto. Real Estate Investors buying homes in Toronto including For Sale by Owner A luxurious Costa Rica vacation rental with an ocean view in South Costa Rica near Ojochal, Uvita and Dominical. Enjoy swimming, fishing, fine dining, eco tours, whale watching. Fully equipped three bedroom home with Internet, maid service. Web Site search engine optimization services for Toronto Small Business. Site analysis, business internet marketing, consultation and link-building

On Target Marketing Research for market development and customer surveys Is it time for a career transition into a more fulfilling job, career or profession? Escucha la nueva música latina de Zuviri