Day 12

IMG_1340I couldn’t sleep, so I got up and started riding early. That means I’m tired and can’t really think of what to write. People in these parts must really like my pink bike because I got a lot of hoots, honks and big arm waves. I didn’t even have balloons on my basket¬†today! Although I rode through a lot of areas with more saggy, rusted houses, we once again landed on our feet at a nice little bed and breakfast called the Blue Heron Inn. It is newly rebuilt and just reopened. IMG_1397I think we are the very first people to occupy the room we’re staying in, and we have the whole place to ourselves as the only guests tonight. We helped the owners, Bill and Jan, break in¬†the new outdoor bar that they built from recycled materials from the old building (which unfortunately burned down last year). We don’t drink so we just ate our salads at the bar.

Some of the views from today…

STATS:
From: Jekyll Island, GA to Darien, GA
Today’s Miles: 40
Total Trip Miles: 465

Day 11

The morning started gently, luxuriously  sleeping in till 7 followed by a lovely breakfast at the Horse Stamp Inn. We pet Belle and fed her apples before I peddled away toward Jekyll Island, our next destination.

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On the way a couple of ladies drove up along side me as I peddled ¬†Hwy 17 giggling, they asked if I knew whether Brunswick was north or south. I actually knew the answer – it was north. Then, they asked if I could give them directions, uhoh…..now what? I told them I was from Florida and didn’t actually know the way, they giggled more and said “Oh, we’re from Northern Ireland!!”. Then it struck me! I could look it up on my cell phone map app. They continued driving slowly along side me watching for cars, giggling and the whole time apologizing for bothering me – they weren’t, I thought it was fun.

Rumble strips are not made for riding bikes on!! They force a person to ride out in the roadway or rattle themselves apart trying to negotiate the ‘strips’ – yikes! Im happy to report though that I made it safely through the rumble-strip-obstacle-course leading out to Jekyll Island.

Once on the island there were wide and smoothly paved bike trails. In fact the trails were so nice that Susi even felt inspired to ride a ways with me. Thanks for suggesting we visit here Jim Snyder, it’s beautiful!

STATS:
From: Waverly, GA to Jekyll Island, GA
Today’s Miles: 40
Total Trip Miles: 425

Day 10

IMG_1228Balancing on a skinny strip of asphalt at the edge of the road, and praying the cars speeding by at 60 miles per hour wouldn’t ¬†hit me, is how my morning started. Too busy trying to stay alive to get any photos that’s for sure… White-knuckle riding!¬†Crossing the boarder into to Georgia was a bit anti-climactic. There was only a small street sign saying “We’re glad Georgia’s on your mind”. Don’t know what I was expecting for sure but something more than that I guess.

IMG_1237I’m out in the boonies now! Rusted, sagging houses with moss and mold growing everywhere, wrecked cars and trash in the yard, and of course a shiny new Mercedes parked in the car port…..wait….what? That ain’t right. Huh.

It’s so sad to see all the neglect and downright abandonment of what looks to have been thriving businesses and nice homes.¬†Then, right in the middle of it all is the Horse Stamp Inn, where we’re staying for the night.¬†A wonderful Georgian manor with beautifully landscaped and maintained grounds. There’s even a friendly horse in the paddock. The folks running the place are so friendly and nice (Michelle says “hello”). They even toured us through every room so we could select the best one (we actually thought all the rooms were perfect). We were told we’d be having some h’ordures in the evening that actually turned out to be a full dinner. We even had Max, the super-lapdog to keep us entertained. I hope we don’t wake up in the morning to find out¬†our oasis is a mirage and that we’re actually at the Motel 6!

Horse Stamp Inn

Views from today…

STATS:

From: Yulee, FL to Waverly, GA
Today’s Miles: 41
Total Trip Miles: 385

Day 9

IMG_1211I accidentally¬†added about 10 miles to my trek today. First, I got totally distracted watching the sunrise between the houses that lined the beach. I was riding¬†along trying to glimpse the sun between each house and suddenly found myself WAY off track.¬†Next I rode¬†down a beautiful bike trail that ended up being¬†closed! It would have been nice if the closed sign was on both ends of the trail instead of just down at the very end where I found myself¬†totally boxed in. I had no choice but¬†to turn around and go back….dang!

IMG_1210Oopsies……bike fall down and go boom.

On a happier note, as I was riding merrily along on a small twisting road near the Mayport Navel Station, the road suddenly ended at the waters edge but there was a ferry waiting for me! As soon as I arrived and rode my bike aboard, they closed up the gate and we embarked on a 5 minute mini-cruse across the St. Johns River. Good thing I had the $1 fee handy.

IMG_1213You’d think this frog would have found a better place to lounge around. He made quite an impression in the concrete road, however.

And last but not least… Huge spiders had strung their webs all over the place along a big section of the bike trail.¬†¬†There’s nothing like riding along and having a gigantic spider web wrap around your forehead and stick to your hair (and everything else it touches). Yuck!! After that I made sure I¬†ducked and weaved around those.

STATS:
From: Jacksonville Beach, FL to Yulee, FL
Today’s Miles: 47
Total Trip Miles: 344

Day 8

I thought that since¬†today is Sunday, I’d have the road all to myself this morning… But no! The fishermen came¬†zooming past me in their big trucks hauling even bigger boats, all trying to be the first on the water to get the best spots. Then came the bicyclists one after the other, hundreds of them, some in big groups and others peddling alone. I just about wore out my “hello” trying to greet them all.

MailboxesOut here on some of the lonelier stretches of road people, get pretty creative with their mailboxes. Maybe¬†it’s sort of a way to direct people who are coming to visit,¬†like “when you come around the corner, look for the pink lizard mailbox on the right”. Or maybe they just want¬†to express themselves.

IMG_1139I stopped off for breakfast at this cute little cafe and I must have ordered enough for two, because when the girl brought out my order she set one plate in front of me and the second¬†one on the other side of the table. I guess she thought because there were two breakfasts there should be two people. Nope… just me! ūüôā

IMG_1208The ride went along really fast today and was over before I knew it! The scenery wasn’t overly exciting, so¬†I didn’t find much in the way of interesting things for picture-taking. Oh well. It was also laundry day, which was very exciting (no… not really). Tomorrow I’ll be¬†heading out into the boonies a bit.

Here are the views from today, we added some different music to try to make it a little more exciting. Haha!

STATS:
From: St. Augustine, FL to Jacksonville Beach, FL
Today’s Miles: 34
Total Trip Miles: 297

Day 7

I am happy to report that my bikes and my butt are holding up really well. No problems with either so far. As I started out this morning, the trail was misty and there were tons of frogs everywhere (yay!), but these slimy worm things kept flinging up off my bike tires and sticking to my legs (yuck!).

IMG_1033When I saw this sign asking “Where’s Julie?”, my first thought was that she’s probably with Waldo. Wherever that is. But the highlight of today was Barb (my co-worker from DPR) coming to join me for part of my ride! She fell right into our group and started things off with a bang by immediately getting a flat tire on her bike. ¬†Then¬†we got her all set up on my spare bike on which she promptly attempted a stunt maneuver over the sidewalk edge resulting in a dramatic crash and a skinned up knee.¬†¬†IMG_1068Geez… comes and tries to steal the show right off the get-go! Haha!¬†Fortunately she didn’t do too much damage to herself and was able to ride with me for 10 miles right into our destination of St. Augustine.

IMG_1102We walked all around the very cute and old downtown area, and did important things like eat pizza and ice cream. We wanted to get a coffee at this cute shop but by the time we got there we were way too full. Dang!

Views from today…

STATS:
From: Flagler Beach, FL to St. Augustine, FL
Today’s Miles: 40
Total Trip Miles: 263

Day 6

IMG_1018As I was approaching the gate down to the beach this morning, I was handed this pamphlet… Apparently he¬†must have thought I looked like I was out of control, or something! Other than that, I had a super fun time riding my bike on the beach. IMG_0979All the other bicycles and riders were just like me, so I blended right in. Most¬†“serious” riders descriminate against me and don’t usually acknowledge my presence or return my friendly greetings, but everyone on the beach waved and said “hello”.

IMG_1011There were slim pickings for hotels in Flagler Beach where we’re stopping for the night, but we did happen upon the Beach House Beanery… a fun little cafe and coffee shop where everyone was super friendly. They wanted to know all about my trip and offered to take pictures of us while we were there. We ended up hanging out for about 2 hours, just chatting and enjoying some of the goodies they had on offer. Tomorrow we are off to St. Augustine!

STATS:
From: New Smyrna Beach, FL to Flagler Beach, FL
Today’s Miles: 38
Total Trip Miles: 223

Day 5

IMG_1159Upon leaving the lovely hotel where we stayed last night, my SAG driver missed a step and flew into¬†a¬†stunt roll down to the bottom of the stairs this morning! Hah, too bad I wasn’t there to see it! Good thing she only banged up her ankle a little bit.

Even though it was much cooler today without so much humidity, it was still bright and sunny. ¬†I even had to up my dosage of sunscreen because I’m really starting to cook in that farmer’s tan. I rode through bait-shop-liquor-store country for most of today, sort of like riding through the wine country….only different. IMG_0837I tried searching Yelp for a coffee & tea shop, all that came up was ‘Lou’s BBQ Shack’. Well, when I got there it was really Lou’s BBQ Shack AND Bait Shop….hmmm…I didn’t go in. ¬†And, apparently the nicest places to eat are at gas stations in this part of the state – at least that’s what it looked like to me.

IMG_0832At one point I got all¬†excited because I got to go really fast down a hill coming off the overpass… that was until I got to the bottom where there was a giant hump in the asphalt. When I hit that hump at hyper speed,¬†all my gear went¬†flying off including my bag, lock and the new cup I just got 2 days ago. New SmyrnaMy cup exploded when it hit the road (again!). I didn’t know I’d need a budget for continual cup replacement. Dang.
Not much of a variety in the views today, the majority of it was just riding along Hwy 1 with cars and big trucks zooming past. Once I got to New Smyrna Beach the views started to improve and I was able to ride along side the waterfront again.

STATS:
From: Titusville, FL to New Smyrna Beach, FL
Today’s Miles: 38
Total Trip Miles: 185