It was another cold night. I ended up sleeping in lots of layers including my down sweater, that I have been using for a pillow, my pile pullover pulled up on my legs like pants and two pairs of wool bike socks to keep my feet warm. Hey, don’t knock it, it worked. I got a good night’s sleep and my stomach was much better this morning. I was really thankful after the way I felt yesterday.
The rid today could not have been better for the last day. Once I got off highway 100, where the traffic was heavy and fast, it was an enjoyable cruise in to the finish line. I had lots of time since Sherry, Angelo and Paula were driving over from Lanark Village and my brother and Joyce from Deland. The road was smooth, flat, scenic and I had a tail wind. I rode along the St Johns River for a while. I stopped ‘to take some pictures and got to talk to a couple of guys bringing in their catch of blue crabs. It’s what they do for a living and they were telling me it was pretty early in the season and it was questionable whether it was economically prudent to even be going out. It was interesting talking to them, it’s always nice to learn.
St Johns River
Crabbers coming in to the dock
After I left the river I rode through farm land that was producing potatoes, and I mean lots of potatoes, miles and miles of potatoes, pretty much from the St Johns to St Augustine. About six miles west of St Augustine I saw this memorial for a cyclist that was killed by a hit and run motorist. It was a very humbling experience and made me realize more than ever how fortunate I was to ride this many miles without an incident.
As I rode into St Augustine my emotions were many; the joy of finishing the ride, the excitement of seeing family and friends, and the disappointment of the trip ending. I had decided to ride to Anastasia St Pk to finish so that I could actually end at the Atlantic. The ACA official end of the “Southern Tier” is at the intersection of King St and Avenida Menendez, right in the heart of the historic district.
On the way to the beach, where I was going to meet my greeting party, I stopped at the old lighthouse. The buildings were very elaborate compared to other lighthouses I have seen. It was really beautiful.
Then it was time for the trip to be over. As I entered the park the lady at the entrance gate didn’t charge me and told me that they (Sherry and the gang) were waiting for me. I felt like royalty. As I rode into the beach parking lot I was greeted with hugs and congratulations. Now we are really talking emotional.
Then we all went out on the beach for the final pictures of the trip.
Again, I want to thank everyone for your thoughts, prayers and well wishes for the trip. I hope that all of your positive energy comes back to you ten fold, and that everyone can have an adventure in their life that is as meaningful as bicycling across the “Southern Tier”.