Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Bicycling from north Jacksonville to St Augustine, Fla. (Dec. 5)

69.73 miles in 5:26...(588.33)....We spent Dec 4 in N. Jacksonville, resting legs, and washing the RV and the jeep. It pretty much took all day to do, then we spent an hour at the little tiki bar, at the flea market area that is owned by the campground . The bar was just opening up, under new ownership. Two years ago when we were here, the place was closing down. They now had gators in the catfish pond, so we talked to the owner about them, and he comped us one of our drinks. We didn't drink much at all, but that didn't stop me from trying on the alligator costume head that was there for a weekend Toys for Tots event. (See picture!)

Hanging at the gator pond!  Who is this masked man??!!

..I took my time getting out the door, because of a pretty heavy fog. I figured that it would take about two hours to get east, over onto Fla A1A, and hopefully it would be burned off by then. What happened in actuality, is that the fog never burned off. I rode in pea soup fog all day. It burned off, or should I say it disappeared, sometime after dark, when we were walking around St. Augustine.
The ride started well, with a tail wind, and a great shoulder on US17, as I headed towards Jacksonville. Before I got near the downtown area, I made a left and headed east on Fla 105, which took me through an industrial area, a residential area, and  a recreational area, all along the St. John's River, which is just a huge river that flows north to south, parallel to the east coast. I took the Mayport Ferry across the St Johns, to pick up Fla A1A. It wasn't worth taking any pictures because the fog was heavy. The pictures that I took actually turned out better than I thought they would, and don't really do justice to the thickness of the fog, thank goodness. 
A1A is a beautiful ride, even on a foggy day. It started with the beautiful fishing town of Mayport Village, which was settled in 1565. Really. It's old. Then it was through Atlantic Beach, and Jacksonville Beach, which are nice beach towns, but there was no one there today because of the fog. My GPS took me off A1A through those towns, on roads that were closer to the shore, right along the ocean, but I couldn't see the water anyhow. Did I mention that it was foggy? After the beach towns, there was a shopping area with all the big national stores, then N. Ponte Vedra, with its beautiful homes, and no commercial development at all. Most of the homes were gated, and up on a dune, with lush, dense, landscaping blocking the view of the road, and their own private beaches for a back yard. The Sawgrass golf club complex was in that area, very elite also.  Then a wildlife refuge stretched for 5-6 miles, which reminded me of the Outer Banks, with tons of palmettos growing with the scrub brush. The  Tolomato River, which is the Intercoastal waterway, forms a very narrow strip, no wider than .5 mile, with A1A running down the middle, just like highway 12 does in North Carolina. All the while, I had a tailwind, and an absolutely fantastic bike lane, for just about the entire trip. When I got through the wildlife area, S. Ponte Vedra, was next with the nice individual residences, only without the tall dunes of N. Ponte Vedra. Those homes gave way to residential plans and condos, until I crossed the Tolomato River, and began my entrance into the St Augustine area. I rode right through the middle of all the historical area, with a ton of traffic, because no one was on the beach. Across another bridge, south about five miles, and I was at the St Augustine KOA, another place we stayed at last time through. I got a shower, and we were out the door, into St Augustine for the First Friday event. The town was packed, bands playing all through the historical shopping area, and Christmas lights everywhere. The trolleys were plentiful, packed, and playing Christmas carols and screaming choreographed Christmas wishes to everyone they saw. The atmosphere was very festive, and I can't imagine a better time to be in St Augustine. And the fog was gone by the end of the night, and the temps were warmer than they had been all day.

Budweiser brewery in north Jacksonville, also saw a Bacardi distillery

Passed the Jacksonville Zoo on FL 105

Marathon oil tanker in the industrial area on the St. Johns River

Jacksonville cruise ship port on the St. Johns River

Blount Island Seaport

Bike played wack-a-mole with these bumps in the shoulder!

Florida marks every road death with these markers.  They are everywhere!

My bike route all the way to the Keys!

Waiting for the ferry across the St. Johns River

The pelicans were waiting for me!

The ferry was held up by river traffic

A very old fishing village!  

The Mayport lighthouse wasn't on in the fog!

Christmas in Atlantic Beach

Christmas decorations were on surfboards in Atlantic Beach

Downtown Atlantic Beach

Decorated palm trees in Atlantic Beach

This doesn't look like a dead end for me!

The Florida state flag

I wonder if this beach flag means "fog"!!??

Welcome to Jacksonville Beach

USS West Virginia sunk in the mud at the attack of Pearl Harbor

Jacksonville Beach has multi colored brick roads...

.....and a brick board walk

Christmas decorations at Jacksonville Beach

Getting into tropical plants!

Sawgrass is a famous PGA golf course

This heron caught and was having this snake for lunch!

Ponte Verda mansions were gated and up on a dune!

Guana Tolomato Mantanzas Wildlife Reserve

A camo boat in the wildlife refuge!

These weird bugs were all along the road in the reserve.  This was one of the few live ones

Somebody better tell Joey at our OBX North Beach!

St Augustine's most famous landmark

Ghost bike on A1A

Walking around St. Augustine on First Friday!  Bands playing all over!

Snow Florida style!!

Rhett Butler was hanging out at Scarlett O'Hara's when we were having dinner!

My own Rhett Butler!

The Falling Bones were playing - they were all over 60, but still rocking on!!!

The park in St Augustine all ready for Christmas!

Poinsettia bed

All of the live oaks were strung with white lights

Looking towards the Flagler College

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