Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Monday, December 8, 2014

Bicycling from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach (Dec. 6)

58.11 miles in 4:19...(646.44 total miles)...Once again, I got a cool, foggy start, as I headed through St Augustine Beach. A1A splits here for a few miles. You can go on the beach road, or on the busier main drag. I chose the beach road, but couldn't really see the ocean, even though I was looking at it. After getting through the beach you, tourist area, A1A combined its two paths, and quite a few miles were spent in a non commercial, residential zone, that went by very easily, because of the tailwind, and A1A's continued wide, smooth shoulder. At about 11:30, I noticed the fog trying to burn off, and it was gone by noon, just in time for one of my favorite areas on the Florida east coast. In Beverly Beach, and Flagler Beach, A1A hugs the Atlantic Ocean, and the scenery becomes like its out of a movie. I like seeing the ocean when I ride, rather than scrub trees or landscaped private property and dunes. This area also contains several campgrounds where we could park the RV within throwing distance of the water. The land rises quickly from sea level to about 20-25 ft, so there is very little over wash like you have on the North Carolina barrier islands. I remember telling Pam two years ago that this would be a great place to stay if we ever came back this way, but of course I forgot about it. As I came into Flagler Beach, people were lining the street for their Christmas parade, which I must have just beaten. I took a minute to cruise the staging area, and saw the bands, the floats, and mostly the classic cars that would make up the parade. Then, I proceeded to ride right down the parade route and take a couple of pictures of the crowd. The sun was bright, and the warmth was beginning to take a hold, which made it all seem better than it would have been had the fog hung around.
Traffic, commercial development, and less remarkable scenery, took hold again as I passed through Ormond Beach, getting closer to Daytona. Rather than go straight on A1A, through downtown Daytona, I allowed my GPS to guide me west, across the Halifax River, which is the Intercoastal Waterway, and through Holly Hill, on some more local roads to get me to our campground, which was a few miles inland from the Daytona International Speedway. I followed the Halifax River for 8-10 miles, with Daytona to the east, before I cut inland. I was hoping that I would trip upon a new discovery on this route, and that I did. I cut right through the middle of Bethune Cookman University, a traditional all black college that I knew of because of their sports teams and band. Then came two other colleges that I hadn't heard of, one being Daytona State University, which looked pretty big. My last five miles passed the Daytona Speedway, and mall after mall, as I rode on International Speedway Blvd, which is a 6-8 lane road with plenty of action. I passed under I-95, and the road was settling back into a four lane, when I came to the RV park, The International RV park, which was huge, and crowded, even though not full. This is the first place we've stayed at where the snowbirds come to roost for the winter. One of the benefits to wintering here, is that you are only a few miles from the Daytona 500 in February. When everyone else is getting price gouged for accommodations, you are there already. 
I got to the RV, showered, and was ready to go back into town, where Pam had researched and found the Daytona Lighted Boat Parade, on the Halifax River. There was a park that we stumbled upon, with concessions and a great view along the west side of the river, but the parade was a dud. Very few boats (20 maybe) going by at a distance where you couldn't really see them, made it less glamorous than it sounds. We then crossed the river to the Daytona Boardwalk and listened to a Beach Boys cover band and ate at Sloppy Joes, right near the main stage. This is where it is crazy during spring break, with MTV, drunken co-eds, massive crowds, and headliner bands. Not tonight though. There were surprisingly small crowds for a Saturday night, and the fireworks display that we watched, matched the crowds.

Ducks by the pond at our campground - St Augustine KOA

There we are!!!
More fog by the beaches

Finish line of the Diva half marathon being run on Sunday in St Augustine

Driftwood carving along A1A




A1A is right on the ocean near Beverly Beach


People lining up in Flagler Beach for the Christmas parade!


A turtle visiting Mike near the road!

Motorized para sailing near Flagler Beach

A great shoulder all along A1A!

Santa pelican

The Halifax River (Intercoastal waterway), with Daytona Beach in the distance

Didn't know where Bethune Cookman was located until we camped a few miles from it!

Never heard of this college, but it looked big

First sighting of the Daytona Speedway



This speedway is way bigger than Charlotte!

This golden eagle was perched in a tree near our motorhome!  Pam also saw 2 bald eagles flying over the motorhome while she was setting up!




The bridge had to be raised for the boat parade because some of the boats were too tall to go under!




Bridge that takes us over to Daytona Beach - if you look carefully, you can see the boat parade passing under the bridge



And it was a full moon, too!!!

And we had Santa!

Beach Boys cover band was playing here. 

Where we had supper

What's a boardwalk with out a Ferris wheel??!!

Sunday, December 7 was a rest day. We wanted it to be a beach day, but the north winds blew, and the fog and clouds dominated the sky. I got my Christmas shopping done for Pam, which is no easy task, then we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and watched the Steeler game, before strolling around the campground in our sweatshirts before calling it a night.

We may be on the road, but will never forget that December 7 is Pearl Harbor Day!

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