TRIP 2015

Update #04 - March 27th
Kingsland, Georgia
191.42 miles (306.27 KM) - Year Total

Mar 25 : Reddick, Florida to St Augustine, Florida : 92.16 miles (147.46 km)
Trip Total: 92.16 miles (147.46 km)

The sun came up around 8 am. I finished cleaning up the room, taking out the trash, and getting Alice packed up. It was around 8:20 am when I headed out. The sky was overcast, it was cool in the 60s, and it looked like it might rain. I got on Marion County 316 and headed east. Between US 441 and US 301, I had a couple run ins with dogs. There was this one mangy sheepdog who followed me for almost 3/4 of a mile (.6 km).

Once on US 301, there was a nice paved bike lane. Around 9:16 am, I took a short break at a gas station in Citra. I had ridden almost 10 miles (16 km). Between Citra and Hawthorne, I hit about a mile and a half (1 km) section of road repaving. There were taking out the old pavement and regrooving. I was able to get through the work zone because they hadn't ground down the shoulder/ bike lane.

The ride to Hawthorne went okay. I didn't stop for a break before I got on FL 20 heading East to Palatka. I was really surprised that I got in a little over 32 miles (51 km) before noon. Around 12:30 pm, I stopped at a McDonalds for lunch. Before going into the McDs, I took off my jacket. They did an error in the taking of my order. I ordered a small french fry but they charged me for a medium french fry. Because of the error, the store manager didn't charge me anything for the fries that I had and refunded the money that I was charged for the french fries. After 20 minutes, I got back on the road. Between Interlochen and Palatka, there was some rolling hills.

I got into downtown Palatka around 3:30 pm. I had some experience with a couple of the churches and I didn't want to go back to the cheap motel that was run by people from India where people are referred to. The motel was pretty bad. I got on US 17 for a little bit. I was able to ride all the way across the high bridge over the St Johns River to East Palatka. I stopped at a gas station/Hardees for something to drink. Outside of the gas station, I spent some time talking with a guy from Jamaica who was a truck driver for an amusement ride company. The fair grounds was close by and it was time for the county fair. Before I left, he slipped me a dollar in a handshake. This was my first green handshake for the trip. It was 3:30 pm and I had ridden 55 miles (88 km).

I got on FL 207 for about 10 miles (16 km). Between East Palatka and Hastings, I rode passed large truckfarm fields of broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce. Some of the vegetable had already been harvested. In Hastings, I headed East on FL 206 to Crescent Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. There was a bit of a tailwind to deal with. Just beyond I-95, I came across the large Crescent Beach Baptist Church but the service was almost done. There were no motels at the interstate interchange and I was still 3 miles (5 km) out of Crescent Beach and at least 13 miles (21 km) out of St Augustine. About a mile and a half (1 km) down the road, I crossed over US 1.

A mile and a half (1 km) more, I crossed over the drawbridge over the Intercoastal Waterway and I got into Crescent Beach and headed North on FL A1A. I had a coupon for a motel in Crescent Beach but even with the coupon the room would have been $50 before tax.

In St Augustine Beach, I rode passed the Catholic Church where I had camped out before. My goal was to get to a motel so I can take a much needed shower and be able to wash my hair with water that didn't smell and sleep in a bed. I rode passed the Anastasia Baptist Church. I didn't stop because the service was almost over and they had a pre-school at the church.

I got into St Augustine a little before dusk. I turned on my lights. The new headlights work pretty good. There was some heavy traffic in front of the St Augustine Amphitheater because of a special concert. There were police directing traffic. There were a couple of guys who had pedal powered rickshaws. I rode passed a motel that I had stopped at before because it was a roach motel. I had a coupon for a motel right before the Lion Bridge but the parking lot was full and it looked like there were no bottom floor motels. I rode back in the dark a couple of blocks to a motel that I had stopped at before. The owners who were from India gave me a deep discount on the room because I had ridden almost 100 miles (160 km) . I saved $10. The motel had only first floor rooms and I got a room three doors down from the office.

It was almost 8:20 pm, when I got into Alice into the room. The first thing that I did was to turn on the heat, get undressed, and take the well deserved shower. I can't believe that I almost passed the Century mark on my very first day of the Tour. I am very surprised that my legs and my bottom don't hurt. The new seat with the extra padding is working pretty good and so are the new foam padded handlebar grips. My wrists don't hurt.

Mar 26 : St Augustine, FL to Yulee, FL : 82.74 miles (132.38 km)
Trip Total: 174.90 miles (279.84 km)

I didn't get much sleep. The motor-fan in the air conditioner/heater unit wasn't balanced or something so there was a heavy resonant vibration. You could feel it through the bed, floor, and I saw wave rings in a glass of water that I had placed on the bedside table. I was hoping to use the unit as a sound barrier but I had to turn it off. I still felt the vibration from the unit next door. I maybe got three hours of sleep.

I got on the road around 8:30 am. I rode over to the Lion Bridge but I had to wait for the drawbridge to close. Through St Augustine, I took it slowly and took a lot of pictures. I was able to ride across the bridge back to the barrier islands. I stopped at a grocery store in Vilano Beach to get some groceries. The ride north along A1A went okay. For the first three miles (5 km) there was a lot of noise of jet engines from the airport on the mainland along US 1.

I stopped for a break at a gas station in South Ponte Vedra Beach. I talked to some day cyclists. A mile or two (2 to 4 km) down the road I got chased down by a couple of the guys saying that I took a helmet that one of them had left behind but I didn't have it. They had left before I did and one of them had forgotten his helmet, The helmet would have been in plain sight if I had it. There had been some other people on bikes at the gas station.

The rest of the ride into Jacksonville Beach went okay. I got only 23 miles (37 km) in by noon. I stopped at a McDs for a late lunch. I waited around for some rain to go past. I was surprised that the new seat wasn't wet. The ride through Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, and Atlantic Beach. Traffic really lightened when I turned North on A1A. I got to the Mayport Ferry across the St Johns River around 3:45 pm. I had about a 15 minute wait for the ferry. It was a $1 toll.

The ride along A1A to Ferandino Beach went okay. I could have ridden along a new paved bike route but it wasn't complete. The ride wouldn't have been rough because there were a lot of nuts and other stuff on the surface. There was a good bike route on the road anyway. I got to the Southern edge of Fernandino Beach around 6 pm. I had to stop at a gas station to get out of some rain. I should have waited a bit longer because I got caught out in a bad deluge. From where I got caught out in the rain to the downtown area, I had to go through a lot of sections of high water.

I got into the downtown area around 7 pm. I stopped at a Lutheran Church to see if there were any contact numbers but there wasn't any. I stopped at an Episcopal Church because I saw some people. It was an AA meeting. I couldn't find the police station.

I stopped at the First United Methodist Church in the downtown area because I saw some activity. There was some bluegrass music going on. I hoped that the minister(s) might be helpful but they weren't. I talked to this young guy who was the associate pastor. He talked with the lady head pastor. Instead of coming over to talk with me, she had the guy come back to me to tell me that I should go and check out this Assembly of God church but there was no guarantee that anybody would be around the church. Before I left, I chastised the associate pastor and told him that I hope that he would get a compassionate heart.

I got lost in the downtown area and it took a while finding A1A. I made my way over to the high bridge. There was a wide enough shoulder to ride it. Around 9 pm, I saw some activity at a church across the 4 lane highway about 4 miles (6 km) out of Fernandino Beach. The church sign said that it was the Living Waters World Outreach Center. There were some ladies ending up a prayer session in the sanctuary. One of the ladies was the pastor's wife. She called him up and I got to talk to him a little bit. He was another pass off minister. So sad, that I came across three pass-off ministers today. He wanted me to go back to Fernandino Beach five miles back (8 km) and check out the Assembly of God church.

There was a two mile (3 km) section of road construction but I was able to get through it okay safely. A couple of blocks away from US 17 the left dual headlight went off because the battery was drained. I headed north on US 17. Right near the entrance of a motel, the right dual headlight shut off. I was hoping to save the money that I had in my checking account for emergencies but I had to use most of it to get a room. I wasn't sure there were going to be any more storms through the night and from past experiences of riding along this section of US 17 I didn't think that I could find a place to camp out.

I'm probably only to be able to get into Woodbine, Georgia tomorrow because of some major storms around noon. Tomorrow is the 22nd anniversary of my ministry.

Mar 27 : Yulee, FL to Kingsland, GA : 16.52 miles (26.43 km)
Trip Total: 191.42 miles (306.27 km)

I went to bed around midnight. Even though the air conditioner/heater didn't stay on all the time, I was able to fall asleep. I woke up around 6:20 a.m. I took my time packing up because I wanted to make sure that the batteries for the headlights were charged up.

The sky was overcast when I headed out around 8:45 am. The ride north to the GA state line went okay. A couple of miles south of I-95, I rode passed this young guy going around on a bicycle. He was towing a really large wagon that had four wheels and a long handle. He had a pitbull dog with him. The dog got injured and it was in a two-wheel contraption like a wheelchair.

The rest of the ride to the GA state line went okay. I waited so I had the narrow bridge over the St Marys River. The ride into Kingsland went okay but the shoulder was really narrow even though US 17 was designated at Bike Route 95.

I got into Kingsland around 11 a.m. I was thinking about going on to Woodbine but I was worried about getting caught in some more thunderstorms. I decided to try and see if somebody was around one of the local churches because church offices usually are not open Friday afternoons. I found some activities at the First Baptist Church. I talked with the youth pastor. He has only been at the church a year from Birmingham, Alabama. I got a better reception here than what I got from the churches last night in Florida. The church has a Benevolance program. The program is usually only for county residents but the church offered to give me a voucher so I could get a room at a motel near the I-95 interchange east of the downtown area because there was the chance of thunderstorms.

My goal tomorrow is to get either close to or in Brunswich tomorrow. According to my projected route, I should only be in Fernandino Beach tomorrow afternoon so I am several days ahead of schedule. Today is the 22nd anniversary of the start of my ministry.

The next trip update should be posted sometime between April 03rd and April 10th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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