What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
After setting up a mail drop for St Augustine, I’ve had the unusual task of maintaining a fixed schedule over the last few days. With the post not due to arrive in St A until Friday, it’s been a few days of light spins. Nothing too eventful has happened to be honest, but it does mark the end of stage one of the journey.
Day 31 – Jesup to Nahunta, GA (28 miles)
Set off late after finishing the previous blog at 5.20pm! Bring on the night riding. It wasn’t a complicated day, just simple cycling on a quiet road with a nice shoulder to ride on. I was passing through Nahunta when Blanche, a local woman who owned the town’s hotel, offered camping space in the hotel grounds. Camping that’s allowed, as always, much more relaxing than being discreet. So it was with surprise at around 3am, getting woken by what sounded like the loudest foghorn ever made. In the morning, the cause became instantaneously obvious:
Day 32 – Nahunta, GA to Callahan, FL (48 miles)
An early start just to get away from that bloody noise. The 301S road totally quiet with huge straight sections that stretched right to the horizon. Plenty of this, and then eventually there was a river. St Mary’s River, which splits the state line. Florida, a new state, and the final state in stage one of the journey.
Pedalled on for a while to finish the day in Callahan, FL. After some very unenthusiastic, and unsuccessful, attempts to scout a spot to camp, I ended up in the most budget (for a reason) motel room. Anyone like bugs? You’da loved it.
Day 33 – Callahan, FL to Jacksonville, FL (22 miles)
Up and out of here, early start. Oh hang on, it’s pouring down. Tropical rain-style. I spent a while repacking the bike bags to make sure all the vitals were in drybags and safe from the rain, and saw a forecast that said there was to be heavy consistent rain all day. Spent the rest of the day getting soaked and attempting to avoid the heaviest of the downpours, with mixed success. Arrived in to Jacksonville in a heavy downpour as the light was disappearing – a very aesthetic nighttime skyline from the riverfront.
Day 34 – Jacksonville to St Augustine, FL (37 miles)
The simplest cycle ride possible. Essentially a straight road from Jacksonville right the way to St Augustine. Not overly visual or stunning roads or anything, but I found it very easy to get in to ‘the zone’ due to this being the last day of the first leg.
I pulled in to St Augustine and was very kindly offered a room at the Quality Inn – don’t worry there’ll be many more stealth camping stories soon enough!
Day 35 – St Augustine
Going to have a peruse of St Augustine today, so other than cycling around town there’s no miles today. So that’s it, the end of the first part of the journey. The first corner. It’s been an incredible experience already, and I’m excited to begin heading west, across the country tomorrow. Ready for a corny photo taken in the wind?
P.s. Just bumped into my first cycle tourers; Marcus and Yulanda from Switzerland who have been on the road for 5 months and head to Argentina on New Years Day for more touring, they’re loving it! More on that in another post. And also, a huge big up to my buddies Isaac and Sarah for sending a parcel rammed full of Campbell’s goodies, happy days – thanks guys!