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    Day 1.146 – Happiness

    Fort Walton Beach -> Mexico Beach
    Distance (km) : 150
    Time on bike : 7h 27m
    Brutto time: 06.25 – 20.00
    Avg : 20.0
    Max.speed: 48.9
    Total (km) : 48.367
    Altitude: 1 m
    Difficulty: 3½ of 5

    Early morning camp in Fort Walton Beach.

    It’s to be a beautiful, beautiful day along Florida’s Gulf Coast. This is definitely a wealthier corner of the country and everywhere I see neck-turning huge cars that make me wish. I see lots of fitness people. It happened several times today that I went “oh-la-la” when – from a distance – I’d see some fit girl doing her quotidian things. Then up close I’d notice the wrinkled orange peel skin that testified a birth certificate from before WWII, and I’d go “may-not-so-oh-la-la, Nicolai”.

    Near Destin, Florida.

    In Destin I decide it’s time for some topless cycling. Weather is p-e-r-f-e-c-t and every one wears almost nothing around here anyway. A lady doing her (daily, I’d assume, judged by her extreme fitness) run stops when she passes me, and asks if I want her to put some sun screen on my back. Would you believe it! As I told her: This is real road side service to me. Forget about the Tour de France and all the cars handing out water bottles and snacks. This is what we want, fit women rubbing sun screen on your back. I guess that was yet another “first of” for me. More of that, please.

    East of Destin, Florida.

    Another long concrete bridge to cross...

    Cycling from Destin to Panama City Beach along the Emerald Coast Parkway is like one long, beautifully manicured stretch of recreational space, a bit like a theme park (in a good way), and it’s really pretty. Love it here. Very impressive. Very rich. Sometimes a bit too Alvin’s Islandish (Americans will know what I’m taling about here).

    The angry (nesting) birds fucking shit on me!!!

    Going to the beach!

    You can buy this day here – and become a part of the WT Hall of Fame 🙂

    Food vendors, Destin, Florida.

    Florida's Gulf of Mexico beaches...

    Thought of the Day: The only thing I could possibly wish for at the moment is more iPod battery time…(And I’m not kidding)

    Glitzy and tacky Panama City, Florida.

    Panama City, Florida.

    It's not all glitter and gold down here!

    Sunset cycling through the Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida.

    Going east!

    On an empty lot I put up my tent after my late arrival at Mexico Beach. I hadn’t been allowed to stop for the night the previous 30 km through the Tyndall Air Force Base, as – some army guy with general attitudes told me – the army guys would just kick me out of there. In other words, I wasn’t allowed to do anything on the air force base, and since my bike still doesn’t know how to go back the same way it came, I had no choice but to keep pedalling through the dusk, through the lonely pine tree forests.

    Dusk at Mexico Beach - Florida.

    I grab a cold beer, my can of Van Camp’s “Pork and beans”, some bread and go down to the beach where – sitting on a bench with silence and freedom all around me – I let the night suck out the last daylight and see all the stars come out. The breeze from the Gulf of Mexico is mild like we never have it in Denmark. It’s one of these moments that you – a long-distance cyclist or otherwise – would die for.

    So, if you want to know what happiness is, just grab your bike, ride through the world for some 48.000 km, eat your beans from the can, have a pilsner, and then lean backwards with your eyes glued to the starry sky, looking at all or nothing, Band of Horses in your ears (music choice is yours), letting peace hit you from top down. That, my dear WT-reader, is happiness…

    (Well, it’s my version of happiness, and I’m pretty sure there’s gotta be some sort of shortcut somewhere for you…)

    On this day..

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    One Response to “Day 1.146 – Happiness”

    1. Maarten Says:

      aaaaaahh,
      Nicolai, you hit the spot, mate!
      Just had one of those think back to good old time memories, still so fresh in mind! Will look at the sky tonight and count seven stars ‘together’……

      Greetings from Holland

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