Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Port Orange Florida to Bushnell Escapes RV park

Port Orange Fla to Bushnell Fla-  We got off the beaten path today to find a campground that is in the network of the  Escapes RV club that we are in.  I never heard of either of these places until very recently, but we basically went from  the Daytona area, west southwest across the state .  The signs tell me we are only 58 miles from Tampa, which is on the Gulf coast, but we are positioned for an easy ride to Kissimmee/Orlando for our Tuesday reservations and Thanksgiving plans.
     I rode 98.5 miles in about 6 and a half hours. The day started out with a heavy cloud cover and a pretty serious wind out of the northeast that I figured i was going to battle at some point.  By the halfway point the sun was out, and the wind never bothered me at all.  It turned into a great ride on good roads and the scenery was a change from the coastal area we have been riding.  I saw some longhorn cattle and a train that had all Tropicana Orange cars instead of coal cars like i,m used to.  I went through one busy area in Eustis and Leesburg, but the 15 mile stretch of malls and car dealerships had a bike lane, even though it was a 6 lane road at times. Riding this stretch on a Sunday was a blessing, because I figure the whole trip would have been much more congested on a weekday. I saw very few 18 wheelers, and a lot of motorcycles, which dont take up nearly as much of my lane! There were times when I almost felt like I was riding in Ohio, with the slightly rolling hills and farm lands. I saw alot of cattle and horses, but I knew I wasnt in Ohio when I would go by the orange groves, the huge nurseries, and the palm tree farms.  Most of the homes were surrounded by four or five of the huge oak trees with these large canopies and Spanish moss, that probably never lets the sun ever hit their roof, which must be the secret to staying cool in the summer.
     My legs are strong i think, as ive been noticing the 100 milers are not taking near the toll that they used to on my legs, and with the nice roads and reduced traffic, I do alot of no handed riding, which takes the pressure off my wrists, and overall I feel pretty damn good.  I never feel like Im ready to stop when I get to my destination.  This weather is really nice, but its not so hot that its sucking the juice out of me either. I cant think of anything else i would rather be doing.  It would be nice to see the kids and the grandboy though.

First campsite with fruit trees!  Yes, Mike picked this....


Saturday, November 17, 2012

St. Augustine to Port Orange

St Augustine Beach to Port Orange - Nov16  Just another great day of riding on great roads (A1A).  Very overcast and "cool" weather was offset by a tailwind and very little traffic. I loved Flagler Beach, where the road was within 100 yds of the ocean for many miles. The ocean is still pretty angry and the northeast wind is pushing it up onto what is normally the beach.  The camp grounds also are right on the beach, and someday I would love to spend some time there.  The one downer, was a bicyclist who was down on the side of the road and must have been hit only a few minutes earlier.  I heard all the sirens and went by just as the ambulance was pulling up. I think it was a girl,  who was unclipped from an undamaged bike and covered by a blanket.  There were plenty of caregivers there, so I just kept on going, but it woke me up a little bit.  As I was getting close to Daytona, in Ormond  Beach, I came upon Pam and the incapacitated motor home. The heat shield under the chassis to protect the propane tank from exhaust heat had fallen off.  We had to go 10 miles out of the way, but we got it fixed.  I hopped back on the bike and rode through Daytona to Port Orange to our campground.
      Nov 17.  We hung out at Daytona Beach for a while.  The waves were all the way to the retaining walls, and there really wasnt a beach, but the weather was nice.  We also went back to the place that fixed the motor home because they shortchanged us about 30 bucks.  I also went to church at a place where I might have been the youngest person there, and it was a BIG church!  I am very aware, of being surrounded by an aging snowbird population, and I'm not so sure I like it all that much.

Mike forgot to mention that Daytona was flooding!  Water was all the way to the boardwalk.




Little visitor on the pier at Daytona Beach.
Nov. 13 Jacksonville to St Augustine Beach.  I rode 73 miles in a little over 5 hours. It was just a beautiful, scenic ride with great weather and the wind at my back. It was about 20 miles from N Jacksonville to a ferry thet crossed the St Johns River at Mayport, and I picked up A1A there. I probably should have checked out Mayport a little closer, but the rest of the ride made up for any scenery I might have missed.  Atlantic Beach, Neptune Beach and Jacksonville Beach were excellent looking vacation beaches, but the real scenery started as I hit Ponte Vedra Blvd. It went for miles and miles and redefined what I thought wealth was. Just about every property was a gated mansion. I alsorode past the entrance to Sawgrass golf course, which is famous in PGA golf circles.  The rest of  the trip was through a nature reserve area into, and through St Augustine.   A1A  is a great ride with very little traffic, absolutely no trucks, and a good shoulder. It is definitely the way to go.
     Nov 14-15. We spent  two days touring St Augustine, which we have been to before. It was nice, but expensive as hell. You had to pay to tour each venue.  I toured a museum, which I have NEVER really done before. I gotta be careful or I might start getting some culture.  We also checked out a building that used to be the Ponce de Leon Hotel, now a fancy college called Flagler, which in my mind I tried to confuse with Faber College of Animal House fame.  They were as far apart as they could be,  but I entertained myself trying to picture John Belushi starting a food fight in the dining hall that had millions of dollars of Tiffany stained glass in the windows, and a Sistine Chapel type ceiling painted with gold plated paint or something like that.  So much for my culture gathering!

Mike- Nov 8 thru 12- We spent four days in Jacksonville, and I got a little riding in on two of the days. Pam and I cruised around Amelia Island and Fernandina Beach. It seemed to be pretty elite, but nice and we put in about 27 miles.  Two days later I went out and had great weather to ride around N. Jacksonville, near the airport (JAX), the st Johns River and the Cruise liner port, and a nuclear power plant (I think).
  

Friday, November 16, 2012

St. Augustine

 

Pam -
We arrived at the St. Augustine KOA on November 13 and spent two days touring.  The weather was cold and rainy the first day, but we had a great time touring in the green and orange trolley and checking out the town.  That way we could see everything first and then decide what we would like to go back and tour or visit. We toured the town jail and the fort.

Mike in jail.....

Castillo de San Marcos (National Historical site)



Mike trying to stay out of the wind!






 Later we had dinner and sangria on the balcony of a quaint little resturant on historical St. George street.





Day 2 - We went back into town and toured the old Ponce de Leon hotel (now Flagler College) and the old Alcazar hotel (Lightner museum) - both buildings were built by old multi-millionaire Henry Flagler.  They were beautiful!

Old City gates in St. Augustine

You know who!!!!

 


 Lightner Museum - old Alcazar Hotel



Mike and his classy friend!  (It was Cleopatra)


Then we toured the old Ponce de Leon hotel which is now part of Flagler College (named after Henry Flagler who built the hotel).  I don't have many pictures because I was too busy just looking!


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Fountain in front of hotel.  Each frog is in a different pose and represent the 12 months.  The 4 turtles represent the 4 months.


 

 
When you walk into the lobby, this is what you see!  The ceiling is painted in gold leaf.




The old dining room of the hotel is now the college dining hall!


The lady's sitting room has a marble fireplace with this clock made out of the world's largest piece of white onyx.  Thomas Edison planned all the electric for the hotel including this clock.  He signed the clock by making the Roman numeral 4 like this IIII rather than IV!  That little stinker!  As you can see, this hotel was for the super rich, not the common man.  To make it easier for the rich to come to St. Augustine, Flagler built a rail road through Florida (all the way to Key West!)






Veteran's Day Parade

Pam - We went downtown on Monday, November 12 for their Veteran's Day parade.  All I can say is WOW!  They know how to stage a parade with lots of military units, equipment and LOTS of middle school and high school ROTC units.

Enjoy the parade.......

The starting point of the parade.




The Marines know how to show up for a parade!



And then the Army didn't want to be outdone......


This is one group we don't see up home in a parade!  Yes it is the Sons of the Confederacy!!!



Yup!  That's a submarine they are sitting with!



And this is what it's all about!  This old timer is a WWII veteran who sat thru the entire 2 hour parade.  I can't tell you how many people marching stopped and shook his hand and thanked him.  It made me miss my father....

After the parade, we went over to The Jacksonville Landing again and had lunch and drinks at a lovely Irish resturant.  We sat by the water for hours and watched the bridges go up and down (and drank beer) and boats go by.  There was a sign that said no wake zone, watch for manatees.  I watched, but never saw one!

 

Jacksonville

November 8-13  Pam - So we planned on two nights and ended up staying 5!  It was Veteran's Day weekend and there were things happening in town, so we decided to leave Tuesday morning (couldn't miss the Veteran's Day parade!).

We spent the first day on Amelia Island riding our bikes and we discovered a 3 day tournament of Petanque!  There were people from all over the country, Canada and Europe.  The game is sort but not exactly like bocce.....


If you can enlarge this, you can read the rules!!!

 


Saturday night at Jacksonville Landing for the Veteran Day concerts.

View from the balcony.

 

Jekyll Island

Pam - November 6 & 7
 We spent our first day on Jekyll Island with a drive around the island to check it out.  We visited the hotel where the rich visited back in the days of Rockafeller and his buddies.  Then we visited the turtle hospital where they treat and rehab turtles from all over the east coast.  It was really cool!

Hotel for the rich and famous!

In front of one of the "cottages" (bigger than my house!) - what can I say?  I just can't control Mike!



Two of the patients - both are recovering from injuries sustained from boat propellers.

Turtle bandage!

"Turtle nurse" with patient just out of surgery.


Hello from a loggerhead sea turtle!


Second day we went to Jekyll Island, we rode our bikes around the island.

We followed a lonely road to the shoreline and we found all of these dead trees on the beach.....




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 I just want to SEE an alligator that I shouldn't feed!!!!