Eleven days, 550 miles to go

Wheel full 70px I stayed my first night in Florida in a Jacksonville city park campground along the coast.

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Wheel full 70px I also took my last ferry ride of the trip, all of about 10 minutes long over the St. Johns River.

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Wheel full 70px The ferry is part of the East Coast Greenway route.

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Wheel full 70px I am of the opinion after 10 weeks of riding that the ECG is more hype than anything else, and is not really a serious effort to link up points along the Atlantic Coast for bicycle travelers.  So many rants, though, and so little time.

Wheel full 70px I started this morning just above the “n” in Jacksonville on the map below.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll ride through St. Augustine and hit the 50 mile/80 kilometer point north of Palm Coast, but haven’t ID’d a place to spend the night yet.  The beaches here are all gorgeous, and it’s another beautiful day for a ride.

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Twelve Hundred Miles to Go

Wheel full 70px I figured up the remaining mileage tonight from atop my picnic table sleeping platform at the Ocracoke National Park Service campground.  I’m 500 miles/800 kilometers south of New York City and about 2,400 miles/3,850 km from my start point in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  Mathematically, that means two-thirds of the trip’s mileage is behind me.

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Wheel full 70px I’ve been riding for 61 days- just short of nine weeks- and have thus averaged just under 40 miles/65 km a day.  I plan to arrive in Key West on November 10th, so that leaves 23 days to go.  I’ll need to average a little over 50 miles every remaining day in order to make it.  That’s probably a little less daunting than it looks, though, as pretty much all the trip’s elevation gain- something over 90,000 feet/27,450 meters- is in my rear view mirror.  The tallest hills left on this trip are various coastal bridges. The rest of the ride will average somewhere around 10 feet/three meters above sea level.

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Wheel full 70px After tomorrow’s 20 or so mile/32 km ride from Ocracoke village to Cedar Island, only one short ferry crossing will remain- over the Cape Fear River just south of Wilmington, North Carolina. These ferry rides have been welcome breaks along the way, and I count each of them among the high points of the places I’ve traveled.  They’ve added a whole further connection to the Atlantic Coast for me, and I can not envision this trip without having made them.

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Wheel full 70px Three states remain to be crossed after I leave North Carolina in a couple of days: South Caroline, Georgia and the length of Florida including heading far out into the Gulf of Mexico on the Ocean Highway across the Florida Keys.  Even though the time left- just over three weeks- seems relatively short in light of the months I’ve been on the road already, it is clearly no afterthought or mere winding up.  It remains an epic ride all in itself, and I’m looking forward to accomplishing it.

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On My Ride I’m Goin’ to Carolina

Wheel full 70px After I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel today I was riding in Virginia Beach, where I drilled at Fort Story for several years in the 80s as a member of the Army Reserve.

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Wheel full 70px Heading south from there, I crossed into the 11th out of the 14 states I will be in on my trip.

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Wheel full 70px Tomorrow I will head back over the Currituck Sound, which I crossed today with one other vehicle from Knotts Island on the ferry.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll be on the Outer Banks on my way to Ocracoke, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world.  I hope to have a rest day there.

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Postcards from the Shore

Wheel full 70px Yesterday’s ride presented a lot of contrasts.  There was a quick ride through the last of New Jersey as I hurried to the Cape May-Lewes Ferry first thing in the morning.

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Wheel full 70px Big ocean vistas out on Delaware Bay.

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Wheel full 70px A stretch of rural countryside at the Delaware end of the ferry crossing.

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Wheel full 70px Then came the resort communities of the Delaware and Maryland shores.

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Wheel full 70px These were interspersed with peaceful natural stretches where development seemed very far away.

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Wheel full 70px There was even a big modern bridge that looked like it was opened yesterday. The bridge was probably, at about 70 feet/21 meters above the water, the highest point in elevation by far that I climbed yesterday.

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Wheel full 70px All in all a very nice day for a ride.  I’m starting today from Ocean City, Maryland.  If I was riding on Interstate 95, I’d be south of Washington, D.C.

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…and a little bicycle shall lead them.

Wheel full 70px Digby, Nova Scotia was the last town I rode through before getting on the ferry to New Brunswick last night.  Over this long weekend it was celebrating  something called “Wharf Rat Days,”  which is apparently like a Canadian Sturgis.  There had to be over 10,000 motorcycles in town as I rode through – I’ll do a post on that later with some pictures I took.

Wheel full 70px In any event, the Surly was the first “vehicle” let on the ferry.   I walked into the bowels of the lowest deck and was directed all the way to the front where I wound up locking it to a stanchion in front of half of a spare propeller.

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Wheel full 70px The ferry was cavernous.  I don’t know how many cars, trucks and buses they can put on the thing, but my scientific estimate is “a lot.”

Wheel full 70px So after a few minutes, what should come in behind me but about 100 bikes leaving Wharf Rat Days.

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Wheel full 70px They lined the entire side of the ferry by the time they were all in. And, when we got to the other end in St. John, I led them off up the ramp and out into the city.

Wheel full 70px Pretty cool, eh?