Thursday January 19, 2017, 65 miles (105 km) – Total so far: 929 miles (1,495 km)
Neptune Beach to a stealth camp just west of Hastings, Florida.
Today’s ride was what I expected yesterday’s to be. The route took me down close to the ocean along quite streets filled with people out enjoying the day. I saw people walking, running and even cycling. I met Steve and Marilyn who had done the Southern Tier and were planing a Route 66 tour soon. They gave me lots of good advice for my ride especially when I hit the desert. Thanks guys.
The houses along the Atlantic side of Florida are quite amazing. I remember riding south of here a couple of years ago and we had an app that would tell you the value of each one. Jaw dropping fun. These houses were the same. The yards were perfect and the gates and security systems impressive. Makes it really hard to pee without being on video. Haha.
Soon though, I was riding in the GTM reserve and there was nothing but me and nature. I had the barrier dune to my left and the inner dune waterway to my right. Now this was much better.
Soon, I arrived at a parking spot which thank goodness had a port-a-John. The historic marker said 30′ 8 “. This is where historians believe that Juan Ponce de Léon’s navigator took the only reading and Ponce claimed the land for Spain in April, 1513. I walked the boardwalk over the dune to fine nearly deserted, white sand beaches and the ocean.
I had lunch close to St. Augustine overlooking the ocean. There were pelicans diving for fish sending plumes of water up like whale spouts. Sea gulls squawking, terns doing amazing feats of flight. Then I saw the acrobatic flips and and twists of the silver bodied dauphins. They were in a large pod, feeding or many just having a good time. Lunch with a show.
Soon afterwards, I rode into St. Augustine and began my Southern Tier adventure. Head west young man. The route takes you through the historic part of town which is quite nice. I couldn’t stay as I had already dallied to long but I did capture some photos. Definitely a place to return to.
It didn’t take long to leave the busy coastal A1A and fine the lonely country roads again. I was ready to leave the traffic behind and enjoyed riding past fields and fields of potatoes. Yes, Florida Spuds. Who knew?
My plan was to get as far as I could today and stealth camp. I rode along the St. John’s river watching the sun go dawn. A couple of bald eagles flew with me for a while. Just before total darkness though, I spotted a likely place beside a cabbage field. This is were I set up camp much to the delight of thousands of mosquitoes. Thank goodness for a mosquitoes net.
All in all, a pretty fine day.