We finally got a reasonably early start on Monday morning. We rolled out from the Island Cottage Villas around 7:30 a.m. and set off to find breakfast. As we pulled up to A1A from a side street, we saw a few people hanging out on one of the beach boardwalks across the highway. Almost immediately one of them came running at us, arms waving, and within a couple seconds I realized it was an old friend from Orlando, Barb Hury. She and her husband Tom had been leaders of the Florida Freewheelers bicycle club, but left Orlando 14 years ago to live on the beach. As tandem riders themselves, they always wave down other tandem teams, and only realized it was us as they came towards us. It turned out they lived within shouting distance of our prior night’s lodging.
After a quick visit checking out their most enviable beach house, Barb rode with us (while Tom went out to take advantage of the high surf from Bertha) and led us to the Beach House Beanery for breakfast. We got caught up a bit and talked bike stuff.
The day’s ride was almost entirely on A1A, with nice views of the beach in the Flagler Beach area and at Fort Matanzas. Through Palm Coast the road heads inland, and much of it has a sidepath. We took advantage of the sections that dove into the woods and gave us some shade and improved scenery, but otherwise kept to the road, which usually had a good paved shoulder.
Our pace this day was a few miles per hour faster than the previous days. Strengthened legs or favorable breeze? Perhaps a bit of both.
The goal was to get to St. Augustine by lunch time and we more or less achieved that, rolling over the Bridge of Lions (with its conspicuous and appreciated shared lane markings) just after noon, and just beating a building thunderstorm. After a brief TV interview we headed to the St. Francis Inn, where we met with the city’s vice-mayor, Nancy Sikes-Kline and Richard Goldman from the St. Augustine visitors and convention bureau. They understand the benefits of bringing more bicyclists to their area and are working hard to make it a welcoming destination.
We get a much appreciated layover day here to do some sight-seeing and give our legs some recovery time.
You can also follow our exploits on Facebook at First Florida Rail to Trail Tour.