Todays mileage: 67
Final mileage: 3,657
End point: Jacksonville Beach, FL
So the last day, and with it a slightly renewed energy knowing that I will not for the forseeable future have to get up everyday and peddle ridiculous mileages. I actually lost the key to my lock in the cabin, but being the wise person I am and not being bothered to search, I pulled out the secret spare key hidden in my panniers.
So I had two choices today, the direct route through Jacksonville or the southern route via Green Cove Springs. The southern route was actually 5 miles longer and that was the route I chose. Now I actually quite like cycling through cities as I have gone through the downtowns of Seattle, Boise, Wichita, Tulsa, Little Rock to name but a few... and I'm not really afraid of traffic (I still remember John G and I having to escort Dinah through the LR traffic who was terrified). The issue with cities is that unless you know them really well they are very stop / start as you have lots of lights and then checks to figure out if you are on the right road - essentially you never get into you rythmn. In addition I heard that Jacksonville had some rough neighbourhoods.
The southern route took me passed an army base, and the road was littered with used bullet casings, a more interesting obsticle to avoid. The route took me to a bridge to cross the St.John's river, which was the main issue in getting to Jacksonville Beach. The bridge although better than an interstate crossing of doom was narrow and I tried to get over it as quick as possible.
So a few bizarre observations today. Firstly all around Ponte Vedra Beach there were roads which went nowhere, and I mean double figures - see the picture above. Roads which went it to lakes, into forests, into mounds of earth - they had crossings, lights, and then big signs saying 'Road Closed'. Secondly signs everywhere saying don't drink the irrigation ditch water - really? Who is drinking the irrigation ditch water, is this a major problem? I also had the welcome suprise of a round-about (traffic circle) on my way in.
So I will cut to the finale on the beach - I want dinner and I want to party! Pam and Christie had some how managed to convince a load of strangers to line up for me on the beach with a congratulations arch sign at the end of them. They were chanting and clapping :) Only problem is I can't ride in sand so I had to pick the bike up and carry it through. Lots of photos taken, but one unfortunate incident, pam and I went running into the sea together and I took her down for fun not realizing she was holding a camera - So vince I am sorry - but I am opitmistic it will return to life once dried out and if not it does look a bit 2003 (it has a 256mb memory card in it!!!!!), and I'm sure we can support an upgrade. It was great to Finish and see pam!
I now want to go and party so I am going to cut this short. But one last question for me: is this the end of the blog? Well yes very very nearly, it has been epic writing this every night and fun at times, other times it has been brutal fighting through the tiredness. So I am planning to do 4 more entries:
1. Top 10 Highs and Lows
2. Top Recommendations for anyone else thinking of riding
3. Some Wedding Photos
4. The Credits - thankyous blah blah
I'll also do some sorting and rearranging to make everything look pretty!
Thanks to everyone who has helped me!!