Saturday, March 30, 2013

Day 38 (Sat, 30 Mar)

The final day – a spectacular ride into St Augustine today!

I rode from Gainesville, FL to St Augustine, FL today.  A ride of 82 miles and about 900 ft of climbing.  There were some fun, small hills for the first 20 miles or so riding East out of Gainesville.  As with nearly every other ride I’ve had in FL, the highways were quite smooth and always had a riding lane – awesome way to do a ride.

The route: After riding through Gainesville I hopped on Hwy 20 and then on Hwy 207 into St Augustine, FL.  I then rode on a few streets through St Augustine and then a few miles on Hwy 1A down to St Augustine Beach, FL.

The weather: It has been getting a bit warmer every day for the past week.  The Temps started out in the 50s in the morning, quickly warmed up and were in the low 70s throughout most of the day.  Again – SUNNY – the correct way to end the ride given all of the wonderful sun and awesome weather I’ve benefited from during the trip.  Winds were nonexistent in the morning and then a slight 10 mph breeze from the south just as I was turning a bit NE riding the last 30 miles into St Augustine.

St Augustine is a really cool city.  It’s the oldest in the US, having been founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and is quite majestic (pictures below capture a bit of this).  I spent about 45 minutes riding around St Augustine, dodging around all of the other tourists there and then took the short 5 mile ride a bit south to St Augustine Beach to officially close out the day and the full trip ride.

On to the pictures!

University of Florida Gators football stadium in Gainesville, FL.

An older part of downtown Gainesville - a city of about 125k people, and one of the premiere universities in the state of Florida.

Video: Typical road and scenery about 20 miles east of Gainesville - nice pavement and riding lane!  I was a few other local cyclists heading west on this stretch of highway.

Unlike western Florida, there are many lakes on the eastern side of the state.

Beautiful road and scenery!!!

St John's River (one of only a couple rivers in the US that flows North) near Palatka, FL and bridge (to the left of the picture) that I was just about to cross, still heading East!

Top of the bridge.

Getting close!  This was just after I turned onto Hwy 207.

Bull's Chips - not sure what that is but I was hoping its not what I was thinking it was (or something like that!).  There were a lot of potato farms in this part of FL.

Video: typical road and scenery along Hwy 207.

I-95: the final North/South Interstate to cross on the journey.

 Really cool bulls - check out those horns!

An awesome sign, for an awesome town and great ending to the trip!

Harbor near St Augustine.  The city is actually on a bay and not directly on the Atlantic Ocean (just a few miles away though).

Pretty spectacular hotel right in the middle of the city.

Original Spanish fort on the bay in St Augustine - Castillo de San Marcos.

Next two pictures are a wall that seems to have been built in the early 1700s by the towns people to help protect them from the English.

Video: drawbridge going across the bay just out of St Augustine and south on 1A to St Augustine Beach.  Called the "Bridge of Lions."

I spent quite a bit of time in Louisiana and Florida looking for alligators in ponds, along the highway, etc.  I never did see one - so I took this picture just outside an Alligator Zoo near St Augustine Beach.

Video: Hwy 1A within about 1/2 mile from the Atlantic Ocean.

St Augustine Beach - 3 blocks from the finish line!!!

The Atlantic Ocean and St Augustine Beach - DONE!!!  Safe, sound (mainly), and happy!

My good friend Craig (who lives in Orlando) and I at our hotel at Flagler Beach (about 20 miles south from St Augustine Beach).


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