Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 56, April 30: Palatka to St. Augustine, FL

43 of 43 miles

Where to, today? St. Augustine, where the journey ends at the white sands of Anastasia State Park and the Atlantic Ocean.

We got our marching orders last evening, after our last meal expertly prepared by Chef Linda. We would gather at a fire station to meet up with our police escort for the final six miles into town. The sun was barely breaking the horizon when the first riders took off. The morning ride was through pastoral country roads and along the St. Johns River—very pretty. Tony and Jesse, our pup, met me at the fire station so we could do the camera transfer—so wonderful to see them!

Soon the police-escorted pelaton was on its way, sirens screaming and lights flashing, snaking through the historic downtown of St. Augustine as traffic stopped and pedestrians waved and cheered.

Family and friends gathered at the State Park to await our arrival.

Eight weeks after our departure from San Diego, arrive we did!

As in San Diego, we carried our bikes across the sand for the traditional tire-dipping—this time the front tire.

After a final picnic lunch at the beach pavilion with fellow riders, family, and friends, we loaded up my bike and gear and headed back to Sarasota.

And, so, it’s over. A year of training, two months of riding. Wind, lots and lots of wind. Sun and blue sky, virtually every day. And—NO RAIN! I cannot believe that I rode my bike for two months and didn’t get rained on once. My final mileage tally was 2,226 of 3,104 total miles. And only two flat tires, both in the first few days of riding. I need a few days of rest for my sore body parts, of which there are many, then I will hit the road again.

Thanks to all who rode with me and helped to "train me up" for this adventure. And a tremendous thank you to family and friends who followed my progress. It was wonderful for me to stay connected and your phone calls and emails provided such encouragement.