(picture: trees full of Spanish Moss, Amelia Island, Florida)
Date: 17 May 2011
Woke up in: Yulee, Florida
Fell asleep in: St Augustine, Florida
Miles ridden today: 70
Total miles ridden: 1,400
Weather: Warm and windy
Exactly a month ago today Will and I set off on our bicycles from Bridgewater, NJ. One thousand, four hundred miles later we ended our trip this evening in St Augustine, the oldest city in the US.
Our final day didn’t get off to a great start, thanks, no doubt, to some idiotic thinking – or lack of – by Nassau County’s road department. For some reason they have dug up all eight miles worth of the shoulder on the very busy, very fast moving A1A road between Yulee and Amelia Island. We nearly got taken out a couple of times by logging trucks moving at 55 mph. Our worst – by far – experience of the entire trip. Nassau County, you are putting cyclists lives in danger. Hang your heads in shame and then get it fixed – and soon. Don’t you know this road is on a major trans-country cycling route?
Rant over – and the rest of the day had some of the best scenery we’ve had in the last two weeks. And some good cycle lanes to boot… Amelia Island was green and lush and full of discreet looking hotels that we could never afford to stay in. Big Talbot Island State Park was gorgeous – all reeds dancing in the wind and beautiful, empty beaches. We rolled up at exactly the right time for the half-hourly ferry across St Johns River, and from there it was just five windy miles on to lunch at Neptune Beach.
The ride along the coast from there to St Augustine was 35 miles or so of cycling past huge, expensive looking oceanfront properties (where you could get the occasional glimpses of the sea) and the gorgeous Guana River State Park, home to a conservation programme for our feathered friends.
Ten miles out from St Augustine we stopped at a gas station by the state park and laughed ourselves silly, along with the men who worked there, as we watched a guy get fined by the local sheriff for driving onto the beach. Although I suspect the reason he actually got fined was because he was rude to the gas station attendant who had tried to help dig him out. Who of course knows the local sheriff ‘real well’. Justice was most definitely done.
One more big bridge later (there have been so many on this trip) and we arrived in pretty, historic St Augustine at last. Where else to stay on the final night of our big cycling trip but a pirate themed hostel in the USA’s oldest city? Mine’ll be a margarita. And keep em’ coming…
Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated to the homelessness and international aid charities we’ve been fundraising for on this ride – you’ve helped us raise well over £1,000.
If you would like to donate, it isn’t too late. Visit the Justgiving.com website and type in Silka. Thank you!!!