Day 53: The day after

A great farewell dinner at Sunset Grill on St. Augustine Beach. Last night. Mahi. We all went back to the pool at the host hotel for a party. It was great everybody meeting riders family members that had shown up for the BIG day. Lots of “TRUE” stories and info swapping. It seemed by 8:00 o’clock I was winding down. My body still on ride time. I cannot comment enough on how hard Bubba, his staff and my fellow riders helped make yesterday such a special day for me and Mariella. I have another whole new cycling family and resource to tap into after this trip. I am so ever grateful to everyone involved for that. Mariella took me back to the Bayfront Marin B and B on Avenida Menendez and I slept until 5:50 am, 6:15 am.

image

and 8:15 am. I am thinking there will be some readjustment blues to negotiate. The bnb is great and had yoga outside looking at the water. A lazy day of tourism was planned. We walked the historic streets of St. Augustine and took in the open shops.

image

Tuesday seems to be the least crowded day of the week. A look in the free museum in the Government House had a great exhibit of dugout canoes.

image

image

Paddle on.

image

We had great coffee at Kookaburra and went to lunch at Crave. Great salad with grilled shrimp. Crave was in a commercial fishing and private marina away from the historic main drag.

image

The day was beautiful. The day became windy and for once in two months it did not matter. A walk back through Lincolnville section and a reservation made at Preserved for tonight. A nap followed. It had been suggested that the blog go on. I believe this will be the last post as all great things must come to an end. It is with whole hearted gratitude and appreciation that I again thank everyone who followed my journey and supported me. My not so secret admirers. I have not been home in two months and will be there tomorrow. I am looking forward to that event. As always may you be happy, peaceful and safe. All my love. Tres dog

 

Day 52: Palatka to St. Augustine, Florida – 44 miles

We had a nice round circle last night of our reflections of the trip and I was given a plaque with C2C 2016 with a picture of myself on the ride. The picture appeared to be from Arizona.

image

It was emotional and brought some closure to what had been done. The group was special because of the unselfishness, graciousness and true concern for one another that made this so special. EVERYONE was such a class act. Mariella was there and shared that with me. I was so grateful for these people and this experience. We rolled out of Palatka over the St. John’s River on what was a new bike path from Palatka to St. Augustine.

image

It was great. We were in early for lunch and walked Old Town. Kilwin’s fudge.  We had lunch at A1A ale house.

image

We went over the Bridge of Lions and on to the sign of St. Augustine.

image

We went to the host hotel and dipped our wheels into the Atlantic.

image

We were treated to a toast, medal and a swim.

image

image We have a farewell dinner tonight at the Sunset Grill and I will document that tomorrow. This ride is done and I made it. Thanks to everyone. Peace

Day 51: High Springs to Palatka, Florida – 85 miles

The penultimate day started early and beautifully. My regular  3 riding companions were ready and off we went. A quick flat at mile 4, not mine. The culprit a staple. I could not make that up and away we went again. I had had forgotten how pretty this area was and how rider friendly. The roads were great especially the canopied roads between High Springs and Gainesville.We rode into our first SAG in west G-Ville and went through town on a Sunday morning. It was a good time to go through. We hopped on the downtown connector for the Gainesville-Hawthorne Trail. It was great. Gainesville is probably the most bicycle friendly city in Florida and has been for sometime. The trail was great and we had a SAG stop at the terminus.

image

We elected to eat in Interlachen 14 miles down he road. I know you may not believe this but the headwind kicked up again after leaving the trail. A windy ride into the armory in Palatka. Mariella scooped me up and off we went. A couple of big dinners tonight and tomorrow and we will be done. One more day. My continued appreciation for all this support and love. Stayed tuned for the finale. Peace.

Day 50: High Springs, Florida – REST DAY

A sleepy morning at the Rustic Inn with breakfast and coffee from home. My brother, Henry and his granddaughter, Mekayla, had planned a morning visit with lunch in High Springs. We had found out it was Pioneer Days in town. Henry was right on time and we walked High Springs. It was bustling with vendor booths and live bluegrass music. The visit was great and my niece has become quite a gymnast.

image

She made sure she demonstrated and quite rightfully so. A great lunch at Great Outdoors. My other brother called while we were waiting for lunch. It was a great visit. A nap, some organization, a nice early dinner at camp with Mariella and the crew and early to bed tonight for the penultimate day of 85 miles into Palatka before the finale on Monday.

The support and love has become incredible. I am so ever grateful. Peace.

Day 49: Live Oak to High Springs, Florida – 48 miles

The group was treated last night to an early childhood friend of Ray Charles and the previous mayor of Greenville, Florida, Mrs. Pritchard. She told us about when she was small and played with “RC”. She was almost 87 and had a remarkable life as an elementary educator as well. She was tremendous and a local treasure that the city of Greenville did not seem to appreciate anymore. She was brilliant and I found here a treasure. We rolled out of a busy Live Oak on s little different route than previously planned adding about 5 miles. It was another chamber of commerce ride. The route was gorgeous. We had first SAG at 23 miles and sagged again at 39 miles next to the Ichnutucknee Springs State Park. Lots of tubes going on. We then had our bud, Mr. Headwind, started to greet us again. We spent a little time on the Ichnutucknee Springs bike trail.

image

This lead us to our camp in O’Leno State Park. A CCC park that is nice.

image

The wife will join me for dinner and we are to go “jukin” tonight in High Springs at the Great Outdoors Trading Post and restaurant for music after dinner. Good thing I had a nap and a layover rest day tomorrow.

Day 48: Tallahassee to Live Oak, Florida – 77 miles

A nice roll out of east Tallahassee. A beautiful section of US 90 with great trees. We had our first SAG stop in the quaint town of Monticello at Tupelo’s Bakery. There was the county court house.

image

The Monticello Opera House.

image

We left there and went to SAG IN Greenville Park and the Ray Charles statue.

image

We left there to have lunch in Madison at O’Neal’s Country buffet. Another courthouse.

image

We left there for another SAG in Lee, Florida. Lee, little but proud. The Suwannee River.

image

We had our constant friend the headwind after lunch into the Suwannee County Agriculture Fair grounds. The littlest free wheeler is en route. Peace.

Day 47: Marianna to Tallahassee, Florida – 75 miles

We were treated to a surprise after last night’s dinner. A 2016 C2C rider had a local friend who played tenor sax and played about 20-25 minutes of nice jazz with a finale of Harlem Nocturne. We left and back out on US 90. We went over the Apalachicola River just above below the dam.

image

We went through Grand Ridge, Sneads and into Chatacoochee to the around the corner bakery for apple pie. We rode onto Quincy for another SAG and onto Midway and Tallahassee. A subway lunch and into the expanse of greater Tallahassee. A circumlocution of route in the city to keep us off the big and busy roads.

image

A motel tonight and the littlest freewheeler tomorrow.