Free Wheeling Florida?


On Friday I cycled from Kingsland, GA to Lake City, Fla (97 miles) . I encountered several short but intense storms that required me to pull off the road because my vision, and I’m sure my visibility on the road, was being impaired. There was no chance of staying dry so I pulled out my tarp and covered my bags and bike as I sat out the rain under some trees. Saturday was a bit shorter (70 miles) as I rode from Lake City to Perry. Though I was 50+ miles away from Tallahassee, the chain motels in town had jacked up their prices due to the FSU game. This annoys me so much as it was obvious that people weren’t exactly flocking to Perry for lodging.

From July-December 2007 I’ll be biking across the U.S. This experience will be the basis for book that follows José Martí’s 1891 call in “Our America” for a distinctively American culture, one that embraces rather than denies, the dynamic and organic relationship between place, language, and experience that shapes the American continent. In the blog I’ll document the exchanges I have with people about the Latinoization of the U.S. as well as my own life experiences and thoughts.

I stayed at a smaller motel across the street from another independent one that declared it was “American Owned.”

Since seeing the Ingles store in N. Carolina advertise this so blatantly, I’ve noticed it more and more, particularly with motels. I can’t help but feel that underlying it is a race-based appeal to the sentiments of travelers (Hey, stay here and be a patriot–not in one of those places managed or owned by them other (non-white) folks.) Given a choice, this has the opposite affect on me. In fact, tonight I’m in a motel in Apalachicola called Rancho Inn that has the same LED message scrolling on its sign. While there’s no immediate competition in the vicinity, I think, as with Ingles, it doesn’t want it name to prejudice would-be customers; yet, I guess they still want to appeal to those who like the Spanish “quaintness” of the name. I came here because all the other places are about twice a