Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day One; G'ville to St. Augustine - 86.9 miles, average speed 12.6 mph

Left later than intended (745), but within my planned window. Stopped at work, which was on the way out of town and said goodbyes. I've dealt with all the internal issues related to leaving my job to someone else. I prepared as much as possible and have to trust that things will work out. The nature of this Adventure is such that I cannot dwell on what might happen anywhere except on the road.

Before leaving G'ville, I stopped at Winn-Dixie and bought the sunscreen I had forgotten yesterday. Later, I'd be glad of the decision. I also picked up a handful of Larabars because I had packed my supply deeper than I wished to dig. Added a tin on wintergreen Altoids for their diversionary quality.

From G'ville to Palatka was typical Florida except for a few tedious hills. The final several miles really sucked, though; hot, featureless, straight and a headwind. It's been my observation about headwinds in Florida. No matter which way one rides, eventually there'll be a headwind. Pallatka turned out to be 50 miles distant and while that had been my maximum distance previously, I did not intend to stop before reaching St. Augustine, another 35 miles.

I ate two Larabars, drank a lot of water, even stopped at a convenience store for more water and some Gatorade, but over the final miles before reaching Palatka I could only think about double cheese burgers Well, I never intended to make this a fine food adventure. I bought two. Loved 'em. And had refills of Coke and suffered not a moment of remorse. I did have an extended moment of anxiety when two men in my age range left and headed to their cars. They wore jeans. Neither had an ass. Will this happen to me? Is there a treatment or is it terminal?

Soon after leaving McDonalds I encountered one of Florida's "mountains."
This one climbs over the St. Johns River. 5 mph up. 30 mph down.

I opted to diverge from Adventure Cycling's route which would have me zigging and zagging my way to The Ancient City. Having driven 207 I knew it has an adequate paved shoulder. Using it would reduce the distance by 5 to 7 miles. It was a tough 35 miles. Headwind. Heat. Tired. And a diversion.

The bike path to nowhere.
 About 10 miles from St. Augustine a bike path appeared along the 207 right-of-way. I doffed my helmet and took it. When it crossed to the other side of 207 an continued to follow the right-of-way I stayed on it. When I reached a point where it seemed to vanish at the horizon was concerned. A single road crossed it after 3 miles. When I met an oncoming walker and asked about getting to my destination he told me the trail was a dead a few miles ahead. I needed to backtrack only a few hundred years and eventually reached the Pirate Haus.

I admit to being damn tired, but managed too get bike and gear to the top of the stairs of The Pirate Haus. After sitting numbly for awhile I showered, got some expensive pizza and a lot of Pepsi and am now ready to call it a night. Tomorrow will be a significantly shorter ride likely in the 55 mile range. It will also be the first tent night. Today convinced me I can do this thing.


  1. Great job on your first day. Proud of you. Glad you are happy with your decision to undertake this trip. Be safe.

  2. Hey Ed, With a little help I am able to talk to you! You made it and your butt has not gone flat yet - that was the best comment since HRM and crew call me flat butt and laugh at me all of the time. Your turn soon. Good to see that the first day did not kill you and that you must be on your way to the next stop. Talk soon - I can get you on my NEW phone. XO K