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Into the South – Greetings from Savannah, Georgia

 Copyright Tyson Brooks. On the road again…From Fort Lauderdale I pedaled almost 100 miles until I found myself on a lonely stretch of highway at sunset. A fire station seemed to be the only hope of a decent campsite so I stopped and asked if I could pitch my tent in the back. The firefighters were a hospitable bunch and invited me in for pizza and conversation.


I was awakened in the middle of the night by an insect biting my foot. As I was about to go back to sleep, another one bit me. Flashlight in hand, I investigated. It was a tiny red ant. I assumed it had entered through the small gap between the tent zippers. I turned to discover hundreds of fire ants marching in. The omnivorous little creatures were swarming in my tent a few inches from my head. I had the choice of staying in my tent and staving off an assault by fire ants, or going outside to face the sand flea brigade. I was forced to hunt the ants down and kill them as best I could. It was a long night. I had ants in my bags for days afterwards. They hid everywhere.

A few nights later, again lacking accommodation, I was befriended by a fellow Canadian who suggested that I sleep in the chapel behind his hotel. He and his foster father, who happened to be a pastor, invited me in for a home-cooked meal and a game of pool in the room behind the chapel. They played Santana over the church sound system. He was a very liberal pastor.

Copyright Tyson Brooks. Parking on the beach in Daytona.Daytona Beach is an interesting place. The beach is open to vehicle traffic and locals cruise it like they're practicing for a road rally. The sand is packed so hard that I was able to ride the beach for 19 miles with my road bike fully loaded with gear. Sunbathers proved to be a bit of a road hazard.

My favorite city in Florida is Fernandina Beach. The road I traveled was so close to the ocean that maintenance crews are forced to plow the sand off occasionally. I met a fellow who agreed to let me stay underneath his house.

Copyright Tyson Brooks. Tyson makes camp beneath the home of a Fernandina Beach local. His house was elevated on stilts to avoid flooding from the occasional hurricane. He was on his way to help his neighbor pour a cement slab. Of course I agreed to help out and ended up knee deep in cement in exchange for a very good Southern dinner and a bit of shelter from the ocean breeze.

Next stop was paradise in the Georgia swampland. I rented a tree house in a beautiful hostel. It is the only place where I have shared my shower with a real duck, not those little yellow plastic ones. I spent the day and night swimming in the lake, pool and hot tub. The company was good and the place resembled a cross between the Ewok Village in Star Wars and a nudist colony inhabited by hippies. The dome roof in the library apparently took six months to finger paint. The only drawback was the dozen or so large cockroach-like bugs that inhabited my tree house.

Sadly, I left too soon for Savannah. It is a beautiful town, though I found the people cold and unfriendly compared to those in the swamplands. Moss drips from the trees like an old man's beard and the city is laid out in a sensible grid pattern – Southern style.

Copyright Tyson Brooks. The sign on the shopping card reads, On the way into town I talked to a fellow on roller skates pushing a shopping cart. He hopes to make it to Key West and eventually back across to Vancouver. He claims to have been on the road for six years and hopes to make Guinness Book of World Records.

Tomorrow I leave for South Carolina. I head inland away from the coast due to reported bad road conditions and heavy traffic.

Next month, watch for Tyson "Adventure" Brooks’ update from the road as he cycles his bike into South Carolina.

When You Go:

For more information on Florida, visit their Web site at www.flausa.com or call them at 888-735-2872.

Visit the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau site at www.co.broward.fl.us/sunny, call them at 800-22-SUNNY (78669), or e-mail them at gflcvb@broward.org.

For information on Georgia, visit the Georgia Department of Industry, Trade & Tourism at their Web site: www.georgia.org/itt/tourism or give them a call at 800-847-4842.