Day 54: Ocala to Gainesville

Yesterday morning, the sun was barely up when I bid farewell to Rahul. I had to put lights on my bike so that the cars can see me better in the morning. I rode a few miles out of Rahul’s house to Ocala Downtown Diner for breakfast.

The moment I walked into the diner I attracted attention. A group of older locals started asking me all kinds of questions about my tour. They were impressed that I came all the way from outside of Philadelphia.

I had a tri-omelette that had three different kinds of meat. When I asked for my check, the waitress said someone named Real already paid for me and left the restaurant. I didn’t know who he was. I couldn’t believe that on my last riding day someone paid for my meal. What a pleasant surprise! A very similar thing happened on my 2018 cycling across US ride. That time, on my last day of riding, a pair of strangers bought me a beer. How serendipitous!

My breakfast that was paid by a stranger.

I continued my ride in the morning since the temperature was cooler. It was also a bit foggy. I mainly cycled on the road, but sometimes Google Maps would tell me to turn to a dirt country road, thinking that might be better. I tried to stay on the main road even though it had more traffic.

Foggy morning

My biggest fear was my tires. Somehow, I feared another flat on my last day of riding. Knowing my luck, something like that could very well happen.

On the road

I had taken a longer way to Gainesville because I wanted to get on the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail and ride that into Gainesville. Once I got on that trail my fear of a flat tire subsided because the trail was nicely paved without debris. Around 11:30 AM, I arrived in downtown Gainesville.

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

For lunch, I had drunken noodles at the Thai Noodle and Sushi restaurant. Then I rode the Publix supermarket near the University of Florida to buy a wedding card for Ed and his future wife, Hannah. I also bought a bag of orange gummies since I craved sugar.

It was getting very hot in the afternoon so I got a cold cappuccino drink at Baskin-Robbins, then I rode my bike all the way to my Warmshowers host’s house in northwest Gainesville. I rode a total of about 57 miles for the day.

When I arrived there, some electricians were doing work at the house. Kai, the husband of my Warmshowers host, showed me around the house. I ended up spending most of the time on my computer while the electricians worked on the second floor.

Later, my Warmshowers host Juliane came back from work. She works as a math teacher at a middle school. I took a shower then had a pasta dinner with Juliane, Kai, and their daughter Yvonne.

Juliane, Yvonne, and Kai

Juliane and Kai came from Germany and lived in England before coming to the US. They seemed to like the US, but not the crazy flag-waving politics in Florida.

I helped clean the dishes after dinner and went to bed around 10 PM. I could hear the thunderstorm outside as I went to sleep.

This morning, I woke up around 5:15. I will ride to Ed’s house in the morning to be there for the wedding. It’ll be an exciting day for sure. Tomorrow is Sunday and all the bike shops in town will be closed so I’ll have to get a bike box on Monday and ship my bike at a UPS store. Tuesday, I’ll be taking the bus to Orlando and Wednesday I’ll catch a flight back to Philadelphia.


  1. Good start to your journey. (A 50 day start). Continue to stay safe and enjoy the next leg of you trip.

  2. Hiatt. Way to go. You made it. It’ll be weird to ride on a bus and then On a plane. Such large increases in speed from biking. You are back in the modern world. Cris


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