Day 61

Day 60 continued . . . In my view of things, today was our last day of official riding. Just like the Tour de France, where the last day of the tour is a ’ceremonial’ ride into Paris, our last day tomorrow will be a ceremonial ride into St Augustine . . . so why not have a celebratory dinner tonight!!! We all went to Corky Bell’s Seafood at Gator Landing located in East Palatka. Had to cross the St John’s River!!!

We sat out on the deck, overlooking the St. John’s River, and had no more received our drinks when it started pouring. Grabbed them and ran inside . . .


. . . where soon our dinners were redirected to us. Beside fresh fish, Corky’s is known for their tasty cole slaw and crispy ‘hush puppies’’. Since my tilapia and shrimp dish included two sides, I chose them both.  YUMYYY!!!!


. . . still room for dessert. No ice cream, but they dressed it up with a little shipped cream.

then . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Last day of riding today . . . last official day of the trip!!!!!


We will all be glad to sleep in our own beds again after spending so many nights in motels, where you never know what you are going to find. From bedbugs to Holiday Inn pillows in a Quality Inn room!!!! Marriot soap is a favorite of Mom & Pop motels. They must buy it at auctions.


Fame can be fleeting. Wolfgang Puck used to be a big deal in the culinary world . . . but I think his stature may have slipped. He now uses his name to endorse the sugar, creamer, napkin, coffee stirring stick condiment packets that come with the in room coffee machine!!!!

I was ready to go by 8:00am. The others were thinking about touring the historic area of Palatka first, so I headed off towards St Augustine. I really wanted to ride alone today. No iPod . . . just me, the road, the sky  . . . and my thoughts. Thoughts of the two months we have been on the road, the best moments, the most challenging, my family, friends, those living and those who have passed on. And of course my life with Smoochie and how precious it is.


Oh . . . is it? (lost in translation?)


mmmmmmm . . . another house financing boondoggle bubble starting to swell ???


A flat, easy 45 mile ride today into St Augustine took us through large areas of agriculture . . . including hilled potato fields


ahhhhhhhhh . . . this guy might have cut his turn a little too wide . . . teenage driver????


Kudzu might be the vine that is taking over the south but a close second is the Spanish Moss. It seems to grow on everything that does not move. In two to three hundred years it should cover Florida!!!!


Now this guy has a BIGGGGGGGGGGG rack!!!!!  Barbed wire fence to keep out visitors!!


A great old store with lots of farming antiques . . .


located right next to the Florida Museum, that was . . . SHUT!!!!


mmmmmmm . . . we have seen these road directional markings, signaling bicycle route turns, the last few days. I wonder if the Woman’s Tour marks the route for their riders???


Soon the route turned of busy Hwy 207 onto Scenic Hwy 13. MUCH quieter, less traffic and good road surface.


. . . and lots of hidden glades


Like  I said, lots of ag fields . . . where


. . . spuds are king and evidently quite happy!!!! Come to think of it, I never met one that didn’t make me smile!!!!


Spud fields on the left . . .


. . . corn on the right . . . I felt like I was biking around Antigo, WI!!!!


passed this shooting range that was quiet today too . . .


. . . the targets must not be good enough for some, because right across the road this sign had been ‘decorated’. Nice grouping!!!!


. . . the countdown continues


Several funny named towns along the St John’s River route today including , Racy Point . . .


. . . where living is large . . .


haven’t seen one of these since TX!!!


. . . just north of Riverdale there was a 90 degree turn, to the east, and the final run out to St Augustine . . .


. . . as verified by my gps. Can’t miss that turn!!!!


. . . right after the turn, the gps screen changed and I saw the ‘end of the ride’ location at the Atlantic Ocean.


But to get there I had to ride through Molasses Junction . . . where living is, not Racy, but slowwwwwwwwwwww . . .


. . . and I would pass by one last ‘country store’, so similar to hundreds of others we have passed along our journey and many times stopped at. They usually have a little of everything, but usually no bicycle tubes!!!


I rolled over Interstate 95 and was shocked to see this Ghost Bike, telling the story of a young college student who was hit and killed on January 12, 2012 at 4:00pm by a hit and run driver.


The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office was called to the Molasses Junction area when a motorist who stopped to investigate debris in the road between Interstate 95 and County Road 13A found a man’s body in the ditch. Bryan was a student at the University of St. Augustine and a member of a local bicycle riding club.


Could the occidental have been caused by a dangerous, curvy road . . .  bad site lines, you be the judge.


What was worse, another mile down the road I came upon this . . .


. . . and soon after, this one . . .


. . . and right out of St Augustine City limits this one!!!! This 5 mile stretch of  Hwy 214 must be the most dangerous section of road in the US.


One mile out of town I called the others to find out there locations. The plan was to ride in together. We wouldn’t have a police escort, like the Woman’s Tour did this morning, but would feel just as important in accomplishing our ride. Soon we had all met outside Theo’s Greek Restaurant and headed in for the final mile . . . to the Atlantic Ocean.

Connie’s back hooves left the Pacific 60 days ago, and at noon today she soaked her sore front hooves in the Atlantic. My feet got sort of a ‘mud bath. Lots of barnacles!!!!

Why am I holding up ten fingers? Because with the turning of this last mile, we raised over $10,000 in donations for the Cure Alzheimer Fund!!!! Yippee, and thanks to you all for contributing!!!!!!


Our final group portrait . . . even had the year spelled out in flowers!!!!


Time to head to Howard Johnson’s, get cleaned up and eat lunch.


. . .TommyH was worried about the salt water damaging my wheels and used the last of his fresh water to rinse the front wheel. Once we got to HoJo’s, I gave the old girl a compete scrub down. She is now in the ‘back forty’, for a long rest . . .


I had one thing in mind . . . my last DQ malted milk. The one yesterday only whetted my appetite and since today is ‘Officially the Last Day’, time for one more (I wonder if the days driving home count as last days too???) Vi and Andrea did the honors. Vi, on the left is a new employee. She received help from Andrea in making her first malt. Tasted great . . . and less filling, than a large.


. . . along with a iron pan griddle club sandwich. What a finish to an end!!!! Warren Buffet would be proud of me. His company owns Dairy Queen. He often uses the purchase of it as an example of investing in what you know. He must have a ‘sweet tooth’, too!!!

Final thoughts . . . coming soon.