Nine days, 450 miles to go

Wheel full 70px That’s where I was at this morning- a quarter of the way from the Georgia border to Key West.  The trip is ending way too fast.

Wheel full 70px I rolled through Daytona Beach yesterday.

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Wheel full 70px Last night my friend Scott drove up and met me in New Smyrna Beach, where I spent the night.

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Wheel full 70px We had a great dinner at a place called Blackbeard’s Inn.  I ate a huge prime rib, which was very tasty.  Scott and I spent a couple of hours filling in the gaps of our decade plus long friendship on the Internet.

Wheel full 70px Today the highlight was a sign.

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After I passed it I rode for what seemed like hours through scrub and swamp, until I came to a gate where I was politely told I couldn’t go any further- that the road across the facility was closed to the public.  So I rode over to the mainland and stopped in Titusville for the night.  I’ll enter the space center from the south side early tomorrow morning and take a look around.

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Wheel full 70px Tomorrow night’s destination is Melbourne, where I’ll get together with my nephew Jack.  It should be an interesting day.

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Ten days, 500 miles to go

Wheel full 70px After cycling through St. Augustine yesterday,

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I’ll bike through Daytona Beach today.  I’m starting the day in St. Augustine Beach and should get to New Smyrna Beach tonight.

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Wheel full 70px Unfortunately yesterday was the first day I saw actual damage to structures (as opposed to just piles of debris and ruined appliances and furnishings) resulting from the hurricane.

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Wheel full 70px It is pretty sobering to ride past several miles of this kind of storm devastation.  I know that it’s sad for the folks who have experienced it, but living anywhere on the southeastern Atlantic Coast involves a trade-off.  It’s close to paradise, but this is the inevitable downside.

Wheel full 70px Even at the beach, not every day can be a day at the beach.

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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 days, six hundred miles

Wheel full 70px I decided at about 2:00 p.m. yesterday that I needed a break, so I stopped for the day early and didn’t proceed on in to Florida as I’d originally planned.  That will now happen this morning about ten minutes into my ride.

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Wheel full 70px No real reason for the short day.  I was just tired of being in the sun and my butt (pardon me, ladies) was sore.  I have really been pushing things the last couple of weeks, and it was just time.  The tipping point came when I discovered that all of my bike route planning apps had routed me a mile off to the west of the direct road I had been riding on to a parallel road that within a short distance turned into fine white sand  that was completely unrideable on a bicycle because it was soft and about four inches/10 cm deep.  So I had to backtrack and was not very happy about that.

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Wheel full 70pxA plus resulting from my decision was the opportunity to eat at a historic southern diner: Steffens, in Kingsland, Georgia where I spent the night.  I had fried chicken livers for dinner and came back for breakfast this morning.  Highly recommended if you are ever down this way.

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Wheel full 70px I’ll camp at the Kathryn Abbey Hanna park east of Jacksonville, Florida tonight. A fifty mile/80 kilometer day. Piece of cake!

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And “pet friendly,” too!

Wheel full 70px One of the more challenging tasks I face each morning before taking off on the bike for the day is trying to find lodging that falls close to the number of miles I project I will travel that day.  I start by looking for campgrounds because they are generally the lowest cost alternative, and if I can’t find one then I start looking at motels. Sometimes I have to adjust the mileage to allow for a longer day in order to reach lodging in a place where choices are few and far between.

Wheel full 70px This morning my Allstays campground finder app showed a campground right on the route I will be traveling and perfectly located at 55 miles/90 km from where I am right now.  There was nothing else for miles going forward past it.  “Perfect!” I thought, and clicked on the “more info” tab.

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Wheel full 70px Somehow, even after the Purgatory Club in Provincetown, I don’t think so.  I’m proud of my newly slimmed down physique…but not that proud.

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Wheel full 70px Today’s ride will take me from Richmond Hill, South Carolina to some budget motel along I-95 near Brunswick, where I will spend the night wondering about the joys of camping in the buff.  Sounds like a good way to OD on DEET to me.  Just sayin’.

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Today’s Plans

Wheel full 70px I biked through Charleston, South Carolina yesterday.

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Wheel full 70px This is one more place that I have just had to suck it up, more or less close my eyes to all the interesting things there are to see, and just ride.  I actually have about half a rant post written about the lamentable incompatibility of long distance bicycle touring and sightseeing.  I’ll tone it down some and put it up before the end of the trip.

Wheel full 70px The bottom line- you tend to see the stuff that is next up down the road.  Like this.

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Wheel full 70px So I’m west of Charleston this morning headed for somewhere near Beaufort (common name in the Carolinas, apparently).

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Wheel full 70px Maybe I’ll spend the night on Parris Island.  In any event, tonight I’ll be about 30 miles/50 kilometers from the South Carolina/Georgia state line, and the next to last state on the trip.

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What?  No anchovies?