November 24 - Lake City, Florida

I remember over 20 years ago when I was in college, living at the frat. One day the cable company added a new channel. MTV. Nobody moved from the couch for a whole week. I thought this was the greatest thing, interesting new and different music. I thought the music business had figured it out and from then on it wouldn't be the same old crap on the radio, and from now on it would always be new stuff I'd never heard before.

Little did I realize that it was the new same old crap, and I'd be hearing it for the next 20 years.

Due to the very bad weather forecast, I lived the motto "If it's not raining, you should be pedaling". I ate breakfast six miles from the campground, and then pedaled 90 miles without stopping for food, to the cheap motel here in Lake City. I got in right when the rain started. There is a tornado watch. My reward for this was to be serenaded by Haircut 100 at dinner.

This was at J. R. Gator's Florida Food and Fun. I saw all the TVs tuned to sporting events and thought "beer". I was thinking it might be Looney's, where my friends and I go every Tuesday for Half Price Burger Night. Well, instead of Beth at Looney's, who is perfection in a waitress, who will never allow a glass to be empty for more than 30 seconds, I got some gal recently escaped from the briar patch whose only professional accomplishment is memorizing every variation of Bud, Coors, and Miller, which is all the kinds of beer they had. Woe. I ordered an Amber Bock, which is a fake microbrew that I think Anheuser Busch is to blame for. The bartender poured it and put it on the bar, and I forlornly watched it sit there for about five minutes. I eventually went and fetched it myself. The ribs I ordered were pretty sad too. We're talking food like Hooters and service like the Motor Vehicle Administration.

I am very worried about food tomorrow. I have to ride 80 miles to the Jacksonville airport through what looks like a giant swamp, and it will be Thanksgiving, and no place will be open. I stopped at the grocery after dinner. We will see if I can ride 80 miles on a box of S'mores Pop Tarts, and 5 giant size candy bars (2 Payday, 2 Snickers, and a Zero).

It was a nice ride today, despite the blustery conditions, and my expectation to be clobbered by a massive thunderstorm at any moment. I was in the valley of the Suwanee River for much of the day.

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There are a lot of ranches here. Here's a pasture with nice oak trees covered with Spanish moss.

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There were also a lot of tree farms, and a couple more prisons. There was a small town every 10 miles or so. Several of them were Award Winning Rural Communities, and announced it on roadside signs.

I finished my first book of the bike ride, which was a biography of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. My wife got it for me because of how much I had raved about his first book "The House of Morgan" about the Morgan Bank. Chernow does excellent financial histories.

Alexandar Hamilton was effectively George Washington's chief of staff during the Revolutionary War, and was the first Treasury Secretary when Washington was president. He wrote most of the Federalist Papers, which sold the Constitution to the states. He is responsible for creating the financial underpinnings of the federal government, including government bonds, the bond market, the stock market, the currency, the mint, the tax system, and the Coast Guard. He was very controversial, and was subjected to endless attacks by his political opponents. I am completely appalled that some Reagan nuts want to take Hamilton off the $10 bill and put Reagan on it.

One could argue Hamilton is responsible for the two party system of American politics. The Republican party was created by Jefferson and Madison to oppose Hamilton. The Federalist party was kind of defined by default as the people who weren't Republicans. The book goes into great length about how cutthroat politics was during the Washington and Adams administration. It was way worse than today. A lot of the book is devoted to trashing Thomas Jefferson, who was behind most of the attacks on Hamilton. The book attributes this to Jefferson's fear that a strong federal government would take his slaves away. It's interesting that the breakdown of Federalist and Republican states is exactly the same as today's blue and red states. It's like nothing changes.

So this was a very was very good book, but it was also a weighty tome. I was hardcover. It was huge and heavy. I am glad that I mailed it off in one of those award-winning rural communities.

Here is the route for today.

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