Day 1: God bless you, child

Greetings from Saint Augustine, Florida!! This is my first posting with my phone, so forgive any strange typos you might see, as it likes to auto-correct words sometimes without me noticing. unofficially, my trip began today, as I rode the 60 miles from the Jacksonville airport to the oldest city in America. But the real riding starts tomorrow when I will head west for the first time. However, I wasn't sure today was going to happen at all. Yesterday's flights were somewhat of an adventure, from Extreme turbulence on the first flight to Atlanta to a series of mishaps on the connecting flight out of Atlanta.

First, ole mother nature threw a category 5 thunder storm at us, which is the level right below a tornado in case you didn't know. That delays us 2 hours because they shut the whole airport down. Then when we were finally cleared to fly, we waited in a line of 55 planes for take off, with each take off requiring about a minute and a half. Then, and these are the kickers, once we've been sitting on the runway for an hour and a half, finally second in line to take off, flight control decides that now, instead of WAY earlier is a good time to wonder if we have enough gas to fly around the storm. Luckily, that got us the green light, but not before they lost our entire flight plan, delaying us another ten minutes.

Luckily, I wasn't in any real hurry, though I have to admit sitting on a plane on the ground for almost three and a half hours isn't all that fun. National Geographic and Outlaw country on satellite radio probably saved my sanity. The two gentlemen in my row also moved to other seats so I could lay down (Do I smell already?!). Anywho, finally made it to find my bike box was practically ripped to shreds. I was beginning to wonder if the universe was trying to tell me something, like a big, emphatic "go home!" but luckily I found no damaged or lost items. They did a good job holding it together. I slept in a hotel room and worked on my bike until 2 am. But that's boring. Onward! To the fun stuff!

I left Jacksonville around 9:30 this morning and moseyed my way 18 miles across town to the south side and stopped at Open Road Bicycles to borrow some tools and tighten up a few things. Thanks, guys!! There I encountered an African American mail man who said to me in passing, "you must be ridin' cross-country!" I replied, "I am!" and he said, "God bless you, child! God bless you!" favorite moment of the trip so far, for sure. On a similar note, I find a lot of people are very interested in what I'm doing Nd go out of their way to talk to me in great length about it. There's just something about riding around with a lot of junk attached to your bike that gets people yacking and it is awesome!
After 60 miles of traffic and big gusts of wind I finally arrived at my starting point. This city is real cool, let me tell you. The historic downtown section is full of cobbled streets and very, very old spanish-style buildings. Historical marker plaques are practically every where. Saint Augustine is also home to the oldest masonry fort in America, Castillo de San Marcos. It is made entirely of shellstone quarried from an area across the bay. It is a national monument and is run by the park service, so exploring it is a little too, well, national park service for my tastes but it is still really awesome and I highly recommend it. Plus, admission is only six bones and they fire the cannons on the weekends.
The ride here was rather uneventful and somewhat boring since most of it was commercially developed in one way or another. Bad news bears, too, cause I thought my pale German self could emerge from the high Rockies and ride through the subtropics for a day with no sunscreen on. Oops. Picture to follow. But enough of this babbling, let's get on with the stats!

Distance covered: 56.5 miles
Average speed: 12.7 mph
Max speed: 23.3 mph
Ride time: 4:24:34
Temperature: 73
Wildlife: 1 turtle crossing the road and 3 raccoons, dead from attempting to cross the road
Sore bottom: you betcha
Chafing: not yet
Joints working properly: they are behaving...for now
Beer at the end of the day: corona, the best I have ever tasted!

Time for some snapshots. If it works.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so excited to be keeping up with you on this blog. I hope you'll keep posting :)
    As for that post card invite - I'd love one (and I'm happy to return the favor with a care package)!
    875 J St, Apt 3
    Arcata, CA 95521

    Be safe!