The good news is I had a fantastic tailwind for about 50 miles. The bad news is it rained like a bitch for over two hours.
After laying waste to the breakfast bar, I rode US Route A1A to the coast. It has about six lanes. And a bike lane that comes and goes. Skies were overcast and the winds were against me.
The bridge over the Amelia River have a fantastic view. I’d have taken a picture but I was more interested in not being road kill.
Amelia Island is a lovely coastal resort. The roads are flat too. The road South connected to Big and Little Talbot Islands. Winds were now pushing me which was great fun until I caught up with the rain. Small warm raindrops were actually refreshing for a while.
I needed to take a ferry across the St John River. I thought I missed it. When I turned around it was as if I was riding into a fire hose. After asking directions from a marina employee, I turned back around. I found the ferry. The ferry was right there about to leave but the gate was locked. Then a ferry employee spotted me, found a key, and unlocked the gate. Unreal.
The ride took about ten minutes. The rains stopped but the tailwind continued. I decided to keep riding until I ran out of gas. The route took me through a succession of beach towns. There was debris along the road, probably from hurricane Irma.
Once clear of these towns the road runs down the coast. A dune running along the road screened me from the ocean. I could hear it raging though.
Once the dune ran out I could see the heavy surf. Just outside St. Augustine I caught up to another storm, a bit more violent than the morning’s storm.
By the time I got to St. Augustine, I was soaked and I could hear rumbles of thunder. Time to get off the road. The hostel in town was booked full so I checked into the first hotel I saw, an ancient Howard Johnson’s. I thought it ran out of business years ago.
I was going to contact my friend Wendy’s cousin for lodging but I would have had to ride another 2 1/2 hours in the storm to get there.
The room was nice but my bags and tent were soaked. I have been using Ortlieb roll top panniers for over ten years. I bought a new pair just for this ride. They are supposed to be waterproof but one of them leaks. I am writing this shirtless. My shirts are hanging up all around the hotel room.
For the sixth day in a row I broke 70 miles. The tailwind made it the easiest 71.5 miles I’ve ever ridden.
1413.5 miles so far. 506 miles to Key West. It should take about a week. Then I somehow double back to get a train or a plane North.
Tomorrow I want to check out the old castle here in town. Then I point my bike south.