Night 33- Jacksonville, Florida
We hopped on route 17 in Jacksonville, NC and followed it on and off till Jacksonville, FL.
So we rolled out of the woods pretty early. Russell had gotten a few cuts on his leg so after a quick brush and washing out some wounds, we waited for the sun to come up before heading out for breakfast, but first a stop at CVS.
We carry plenty of first aid supplies. The goal here was to get the right bandage for riding in the heat. Today was going to get warm and we had just over 60 miles ahead of us. So making up a wrap that won’t come loose and get caught in the bikes workings was key. Those same workings already had a taste of blood, surely it would want more if given the chance.
So it was breakfast time. McDonald’s just knows what they are doing with location and deals. I know, crazy healthy, right? Calories are fuel to us and not a curse word.
We made our move on the day and took off for for the first goal of the day. I think it was just 6 miles down the road and over a smaller blue metal bridge, but there we found ourselves in our last state on this stretch of the journey.
We goofed around the welcome sign for a time since we were denied it in Georgia. Today we would find our way into and through Jacksonville as we had a host in Jacksonville Beach area.
The greater area reminds me of a certain area of NJ. Where there are no gaps between townships, but clear changes in poverty lines. In the north part of the city, we were greeted with needles on the street, cars willing to tell us we are going to get hit, and one particular lady of the night (2pm) who really wanted to display her fondness of knots. Don’t be fooled, Scouts of America, these knots are not utility based.
Passing into the center of the city, Google started losing its cool. There was an outdoor mall we wanted to visit that was now a grass field. There was a bridge we needed to cross, but Google told us to use the wrong ramp. We found our way and stumbled across some gems.
One gem was a tree. A tree of life. A “Peace-tree-tee”. A 250 year old oak (a species of oak i didn’t recognize) had been planted and was cared for by locals. Now this monster tree remains after its original planters and care takers have long since passed. Us being fond of both the use, growth, and care of trees, found this guy to be pretty impressive.
We moved pretty quickly for REI. The sky was getting pretty cloudy but rain wasn’t scheduled until 11. Silly Florida, you can’t fool me. I know how your rain works. Anyway, we spent about 20 miles weaving on and off bike paths, through new apartment complexes and older suburbs, the odd corporate office, and a bit of construction.
We made it to our stop and quickly befriended the greeter. Now, REI greeters are just any other employees here and most of their employees have their own adventure stories. This guy only greeted this particular day and time slot, which was cool because he was also a cyclotourist. He was happy to guard the bikes and kept us company once we got out. It was the same routine of unpack, unpackage, and repack well enough to get us to our host. More detailed packing would take place then. He grabbed us a nice picture and off we popped.
Another 12 miles to ride and a raindrop hit my arm. We expected a sprinkle, so we put on our lights, hid the soaking materials, and setup incase it started getting bad.
There was no wind and the rain made us take full advantage of the proper bike lane. Trying to time out the traffic lights, we were flying. 17-18 mph. Passing other cyclists who weren’t up to hop in on out little Peloton. After one last bridge and 3 more blocks, we arrived. Our host just 5 minutes behind us, we hung out and watched the cats in the window, waiting for our entrance.
Today we head a bit more south to Saint Augustine. Tomorrow we head to a bit west of Jacksonville. After that? A new chapter to this wild ride.
The Southern Tier.
It’s time from some breccy. Coffee maybe. It’s chilly now, but will be a hot one. Have a great day everyone.
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