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Soma Saga

Day 15 was a tough one. First Google tried to route me through an Air Force base and I had to backtrack a couple of miles. Then a puncture. The sealant held but I had to pump it up on the side of a busy highway. And then the headwinds just wore me down. 
I finally had to turn off Google and just stay on 98 until 399 over to Navarre Beach. I almost stayed on 98, because of the bridge I would have to cross over and back from the beach, and because I knew the headwinds would be worse at the beach. But I didn’t come all this way just to ride on busy highways. 
The bridge over was terrible. I could have ridden with the traffic but chose the pedestrian path. It got super narrow. My loaded bike would barely fit. I had to walk, but it wasn’t that far. 
Navarre Beach was pretty nice. Not as crazy as the beaches the last two days. It had a nice bike path as well. 
Next the road got smooth, a 6’ wide bike lane appeared, and the speed limit went down to 25, as I entered the Gulf Islands National Seashore. For 10 miles there were no buildings, no parking on the road, just protected dunes. There were about 4 public access parking areas with access to very pristine beaches. And surf! Almost rideable surf. 
Then came Pensacola Beach which was actually pretty nice. Upscale but no high rises and plenty of modest homes. It went on way too long as by now I was really pooped. I was managing 6-8mph into the wind and I still had 20 miles to go. 
Then came the return bridge, which had a decent bike lane, then back on 98 and the big event of the day. The bridge across Pensacola Bay is 3 miles long! But it had a wonderful two lane wide separated bike/pedestrian path. I could relax and enjoy the ride. 
Finally a nice ride through the neighborhoods of Pensacola to my WS host. 
Tomorrow Alabama!