Day 1: Jacksonville to St Augustine
1) Amtrak train 91, the Silver Star, from DC to Jacksonville was 2.5 hours late -- arriving at 9.05a. But it was PERFECT as I didn’t realize how late the sun came up in Florida (7:22 AM). 6.37a woulda been a bit much.
2) A late departure means missing some of the scenery leaving DC due to darkness. It’s always fun when the Amtrak is in the middle of the highway as it is in Richmond and then the small town stations are worth peeking out the window for. Underrated is the view of the Raleigh skyline. I didn’t know Raleigh had a skyline.
3) My friend Michael, who lives in Jax and paced me down to St. Augustine two years ago, met me at the station. We had breakfast, and he kindly drove me to A1A. It greatly simplified my day.
4) 2018 was not a good bike year for me. I actually think the last time I rode a bike is the one I rented in Chicago for my girlfriend’s marathon (I don’t run). That was October.
5) It’s a straight shot down A1A from Ponte Vedra Beach to St Augustine. The major highlights, beyond the coastline, are the two bridge crossings in and out of St Augustine. Other than that, you just pedaling and breathing. Beachfront property dots the road with the occasional gas station for supplies.
7) On the way to the hotel, I got stuck on the drawbridge. There was a cyclist there who told me he recently retired and has done 12000 miles a year since 2015. He was 72. And his bike wasn’t near as nice as mine. I was impressed.
8) I came across a lighthouse . . . but in tourist country, you gotta pay to get close. GTFOH! Nah man...pay for a lighthouse? Pass.
9) The beach at St Augustine is pretty amazing. No clearwater, that’s on the west side of the state, but long interrupted, un-commercialized beachfront is pretty nice. I grabbed some seafood from the Sunset Grille and then watched the tour down under.
Bonus: The music? Today is the 45th anniversary of Joni Mitchell’s Court and Spark. So I started there. Then switched to rap as I get ready for my college class at George Mason. Mostly Young Dolph (cuz his name reminds me of Eric Dolphy) and Young Scooter. I’m sure Joni would be Ok with the company.