Friday, May 08, 2009

Palatka to St. Augustine, Florida!!!!

We had a flat, fast forty mile ride to a fire station on the outskirts of St. Augustine. There we regrouped and waited for our police escort. While we waited we talked about the past two months.

Before we began someone asked me if I wanted everyone to sing 99 Bottles of Beer as we rode over the bridge to the beach. I said with everyone around AND a police escort I was sure I would be fine. They then asked me home many beers were left on the wall. I said just a few. Then spontaneously they all broke in to singing 99 Bottles of Beer starting with Number 5. It was a pretty funny scene with 21 women and their bicycles standing in front of a fire station singing at the top of their voices.

Next, the motorcycle officer, Jennifer, started her siren and lights, then two police cars did the same. Everyone cheered and we began rolling. It was such an emotional high. We rode two by two with Jan B., our oldest rider and her usual riding partner, Marni, leading the way. I rode with Nancy.

As we rode over the Inter coastal waterway bridge on A1A, I was so eager to see the ocean I did not even notice we were going over a bridge. Again thanks to Nancy for teaching me how to conquer my fears. As we got closer to our finish I really started tearing up. Riding into Anastasia State Park was such an emotional high. Friends and families were all gathered at the park cheering us to the finish of our long journey. I found Greg and we went together to dip my front wheel into the Atlantic Ocean. It seems ages since I dipped my back wheel in the Pacific Ocean.

I gave Greg my camera and he took lots of photos. Unfortunately, later I discovered he is mechanically challenged when it comes to my camera. He did not know how to move the telephoto button and a lot of the photos of me I am only a dot in the distance. I take all my photos with the camera set at high resolution so hopefully I can do something with them when I get home.

After we finished all the beach pictures we headed to a nearby pavilion for a picnic lunch. It was such an emotional roller coaster. I knew that my two closest friends from the trip, Lois S. and Nancy, were leaving after the picnic and not attending the final dinner that evening. I was also on a high from finishing the trip and getting to see Greg. Lois, Nancy and I said our "see you later's" because we did not want to say good-bye knowing we will ride again together someday.

After the picnic, Greg and I went to the motel so I could shower and change. Then we walked to a local wine bar and had a celebratory glass of wine. I was very happy I did not quit the trip and that I have some great memories for a life time.

We gather at the fire station for our escorted ride into St. Augustine.

Some of the group behind me as we line up.

The group in front of me.

Thumbs up and ready to roll

A very happy me at the beach.

The all important dipping of my front wheel in the Atlantic.

My bike and me! We did it together...only four flats!

Group photos

Thumbs up. I am the fourth one from the left.

We did it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

High Springs to Palatka, FL

Today's ride was pretty none eventful. Nancy and rode together but as the day progress we picked up other riders. By the time we finished we had Mary Jo, Donna, Peggy, Nancy, Janet B and Marni. It was a nice little group.

For the first 40 miles we rode through some beautiful back road areas. Then at mile 41 we got onto State Road 100 for the rest of the day. The road had a shoulder but there was a lot of debris on it. As the day went on it really warmed up but we had a headwind that actually helped cool us. Never thought I would appreciate a headwind.

Tonight was our last meal cooked by chief Linda. We had salmon, mashed potatoes and spinach salad. There was also fruit (sent by Marni's husband for their 36 anniversary), a cake brought by Peggy's cousin and chocolate macadamia nuts brought by Sherry's friend. Great.

On the way back to my room I spilled red wind on the white shirt I have used the whole trip. Yuck.

Robin, Liz and Susan

Elisabeth and Peggy

Donna and Mary Jo

Want to see a gator?

Welcome to Palatka

Bridge over the St. John River

Billboard showing a view of the bridge.

Captain Carol doing KP.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Perry to High Springs, FL

Nancy was sag today so I set out early on my own. I shortly caught up with Laurie, Connie and Jan C. The three of them tend to ride in a loose paceline so I joined in. We made great time and I enjoyed the 76 mile day.

When we got to Ichetucknee Springs we all took our shoes off and cooled our feet. When we got to the park the sign said no swimming due to high waters. It turns our we heard later that a ranger came by and told some of the later women it was OK to swim. Oh well, I enjoyed the cool water on my feet anyway.

After I checked into the motel I went to find Lois S and we rode into the town of High Springs. We found a wonderful place for a late lunch. For dinner I only ate salad because of the late lunch.

Entering Suwannee County

Suwannee River


Florida wildflowers

Wildflowers along bike trail.

More wildflowers

Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Springs

Ichetucknee Springs

Max, a fellow traveler . He left San Diego from Dog beach two days before we did.

Max gives a washer and dryer to people he meets along the way!

turtles resting as we went over a bridge.

More turtles!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Wakulla Springs to Perry, Fl

Today Nancy and I rode 51 miles. You know you are riding a flat boring route when the highlight of the day is when you have a flat! Having a flat for me is really tough because it is impossible to get my tire on and off my wheel. Thank goodness for Nancy and our Sag today, Ann.

When we got into Perry we stopped at a restaurant called Pouncey's. The sign outside advertised "Swamp Cabbage". Our waitress explained that Swamp cabbage is an old-time Florida cracker favorite vegetable obtained from the heart of the cabbage palm (S. palmetto), which is the official state tree of Florida. Following trimming, the swamp cabbage may be prepared in various ways. The most popular old cracker way is to cut into thin slices like cole slaw and cook with meat seasoning until done. After the swamp cabbage is cooked, the white color changes to a grayish brown. The unique flavor is best described as smoky and wild. I, of course, had to try some. Very much like the hearts of palm I am used to in texture but had a slight clove taste. I was ok, not great. I think you need to cultivate your taste for it.

I do love Hampton Inns. This one had cookies and strawberries dipped in chocolate for us at 5:00. They also had wine and beer.

The sign just before this spot said "Dip". If you look very closely you can see a slight change in the road surface.

Welcome to Perry.

A side order of swamp cabbage.

A grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.

Wakulla Springs Rest Day

Will post more soon about the Talent Show held the first night we were here and my rest day.