No Way So Hey – Day 19

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.

Some of the towns were very posh with gated communities and exclusive clubs. The rest were garden variety east coast beach towns.

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. 

The winds were stronger too. Many beachfront houses were under repair. Siding and shingles can flying off a few of them. 

 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. 

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