We checked for frost — didn’t see any — then looked for ice – didnt see any of that either, so before we loaded suitcases onto the baggage truck, we reopened luggage and rummaged for more clothes. Socks became gloves, neckwear became hats, multiple layers of thin tees kept the core warm with proper thinking, and anyone with a winter jacket – was looked on with envy. Welcome to Florida! Continue reading East Coast Greenway cyclists arrive in Titusville, Florida→
We departed St. Augustine on a leisurely pace, taking in the rich history of this city dubbed the oldest city in America. Taking extra care on the cobblestones, we weaved into a park square with cannons dating back to the 1500’s, and Christmas trees installed that morning, creating one more photo opportunity.
We departed the hotel at 7:15am sharp, and rode a brisk 6 miles to the quaint historic town of St. Mary’s, Georgia. We saw more egrets, pelicans, places designated as bird sanctuaries and not one coffee shop open for business. Patience is a practice, and there is always Fernandina Beach. Continue reading 79 miles and let’s just round up to 80→
The heat and humidity are back. After two days of rides that felt as if we had made a detour to New England, today’s temperatures allowed us return to shorts and tee shirts.
We departed Jeckyl Island in one large group, and many of us spent the next six miles mesmerized by the marshland views and a tall majestic bridge in the backdrop get closer with hopes that it was not on our route. Collective wishful thinking worked, and we turned away from that man made mountain to head south. Continue reading Cyclists ride the East Coast Greenway to St. Mary’s Georgia→
Good news made an appearance to our day starting at mile 0, when the predicted rains took a detour from our 54 mile route to Darien, Georgia. The temperatures were in the 40s and no one much minded because after 30 minutes in heavy traffic on a 4 lane highway, we veered off on rural roads with barely a vehicle — a fine Georgia gem!
Nearly a month after riding bicycles — through bouts of thigh-high ponding water, pouring rains, skinny shoulders, rumble-tumble-strips, the occasional trail, sand domes and fire ants, steamy temperatures, crossing busy highways, pelotons and caravans, dead armadillos, live alligators, bearded goats standing-on-sheds, getting lost, getting found, southern hospitality, hot towels and fresh cookies, high-octane metabolisms, daily ice cream, police escort thru the ‘Alley, hot showers in Savannah, and navigating conversations, potholes and vehicles — the memories are nearly as fun as the adventure. Below are the cyclists, who thrive for the ride. See you next year, ECG WAY mates!
The complimentary breakfast at our Beaufort hotel buzzed with cyclists half-woke, half-dressed wearing a pungent o-dear that was reminiscent of yesterday’ ride, walking straight toward the make-it-yourself waffle iron, the trays of english muffins and miniatures dollops of peanut butter where peanuts were the last of a 12-ingredient list that began with the words ‘corn syrup’. Today’s breakfast was our best by far — it included jellies that were close-enough to be considered fruit, and we slathered sugar-slime onto miniature brown and yellow muffins with more unrecognizable ingredients. Someone cut in line, a fellow biker with mismatched socks, and we waited patiently while he grabbed a second slice of wonder bread mumbling “bless his heart”, because after all it was Day 6 of hard riding. Everyone was growing weary, and that’s how one rolls in the south.
We departed downtown Charleston, with our morning ritual perfected. Drag luggage and bicycle to hotel lobby and park at the first open space making sure the other hotel guests had no access to the exits. Load water-logged (from sweat / humidity) luggage onto the U-Haul truck. Consume a Kind bar for breakfast. The same Kind of bar that will be consumed over the next 7 hours, and wonder if that is really a Kind way to treat your body. Check your bicycle lights, GPS navigation software, pump the tires and spin the wheels listening to the new whirring sounds that weren’t there before. Seek out the ECG bike mechanic and decide he’s too busy helping others. Decide to troubleshoot yourself. Or at least with select members of your riding team, those without advanced bicycle mechanic skills.
The morning ritual begins. Rummage through your bag looking for dry shoes and dry clothes. Wonder why all your clothes are wet, and realize the wet ones fused with the dry collection. Do the sniff test. Everything smells gamey. Open the hotel door to check the outside temperature, and watch the humid steamy air roll in. You feel your body temperature rise, and you instinctively wipe the steam off your forehead. Close the door, fast. Staying dry is out. It’s all about the nose. Choose the least gamey outfit and hope your bike-mates won’t draft too close.
After a long conversation with an Ocean Isle Beach native working the meat department at the town grocery, he assured me that not only are alligators good eating and taste like chicken, but they get ’em fresh from Georgia, which from my calculation was two states away.
Me: Will they chase us on bicycles?
The Butcher: Yes, ma’am.
Me: You, mean, while we’re riding our bikes, they’ll come out and chase us?
The Butcher: No ma’am. Only when you stop.