70,61km – 9H34′
The land of oranges is humid
Serge is bothered by the heat. He went to bed last night at 7:30 pm and at 10 pm he awakened in a pool of sweat. His body was boiling hot and he seemed to exude the heat which he had accumulated during the day. This is something Serge often experiences; a problem of body temperature regulation. He perspires little or not at all, urinates a great deal and at night he seems to be feverish. From 10 pm for an hour he applied an ice pack first on his diaphragm, then on the back of his neck, then on his head and finally on his legs, before falling asleep until 5:30 am, his normal waking time. In the USA it is easy to find ice because in the motels there is almost always a self service ice machine. In the morning I prepare a pack for our small ice box. In filling stations you can buy bags of ice because Americans are used to having ice in their drinks, in plastic XXXL containers. Ice is always served on flights by American companies and you have to specify without ice, otherwise you get it automatically. Serge drinks room temperature liquid at home so he always says “no ice please”. But at this precise moment, with or without ice, it is really hot and humid, which leads Serge to believe that it is hotter than normal, because he has more difficulty with damp heat than dry heat. This evening the Internet weather information indicates 85% humidity, as opposed to 58% expected tomorrow. So today the temperature was 34°C and with such high humidity it gave Serge trouble.
The terrain was tough on the legs, with a succession of hills and deceptively flat stretches. During the first three stages in Florida there was a positive ascent of between 60 and 70 meters, which is almost nothing. Today we neared 400 meters but with continuous up and down. Serge complained of adductor/groin pain. He first experienced this in 2001 and it plagues him from time to time. The wind was at his back all day.
We are literally bathing in oranges. I don’t know how many tons are produced and if the fruit is harvested all year long but the sight is impressive. No doubt the sight we will remember most in Florida is oranges. After Brazil, Florida is the biggest producer of orange juice and I have read that this year the harvest was better because the fruit is larger so there is less loss.
There is a multitude of small lakes in this area. Often the towns bear the name of the lake: Lake Placid yesterday and Lake Wales today. Many of the very small lakes are not even on the map. These are freshwater lakes and we have seen a lot of pumps used to irrigate the plantations. The noise is infernal in their quiet countryside.
The end of the stage takes place on Scenic Highway and there is a great deal of traffic after Lake Wales. As usual, Serge will eat nothing after the 55th km. Mamie, I can reassure you that today Serge wore his hat and ate well during the day. He must have heard you. And this evening there is an XXXL T-Bone steak on the menu, with French fries. As far as his appetite is concerned, all goes well.
Route for Saturday, March 12th: Etape 42