Day One starts in Midway and sets out along U.S. 90.
The Old Spanish Trail or Blue Star Memorial Highway or State 10 -- this road has more aliases than Jason Bourne -- undulates on its way past Hurricane Creek as a four-lane divided highway into Quincy. This is our first of eight county seats and eight courthouses.
We are still in town when the first rain shower begins and we escape the drops by steering into a car wash bay. From there the ride takes us into Gretna along a two-lane oak, crepe myrtle, pine and pecan-lined highway. A wide shoulder of new asphalt gives us smooth sailing through Mount Pleasant. A dump truck and a tractor trailer full to overflowing with green tomatoes rumbles past.
A roadside stand offers to "Cure migraines. Cure AIDS. Cure cancer. Medical honey."
With cloud cover to keep the day cool we speed down a mile-long descent.
Then. The inevitable.
Pedal by pedal we ascend, our spinning in sync and my breathing ever more labored until we achieve the summit of a mile-long climb. It is a slow slog past confinement buildings of three state agencies. We are simultaneously a quarter mile from Georgia, a half mile from the Central Time Zone, and three quarters of a mile from Alabama.
We stop for lunch in this confluence.
A steep drop takes us onto the bridge over the Apalachicola River, just downstream from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Jim Woodruff Dam impounding Lake Seminole. Just like that we lose an hour of time and enter CDT, affectionately known as Slow Time hereabouts.
Now I grow more concerned with the looming thunderheads, sheets of distantly visible rain and the flash of ominous lightning. Thankfully the terrain remains flat as we pedal swiftly through the bottoms of the swollen Apalachicola on raised roadway until returning to ground and more prisons.
On we ride into Sneads where, after a pee and a Gatorade, I stake us to a spot beneath an abandoned building's long, covered façade.
There we stay, protected from the deluge. And stay for more than two hours. At last, I give up, call in Lyssa to stop for us. I load the tandem atop the Subaru and we drive, dry, the 19 miles into Marianna and our shelter for the night.