August 9, Thursday (St. Augustine to Daytona Beach):
Another day without rain and roads mainly with shoulders and even bike lanes. I attribute the later to not having to ride on Hwy. 17 any more. Thank goodness. Instead I continued primarily on US Hwy. 1. While not nearly as pretty as our own Hwy. 1, it is more bike friendly in that most of it has a bike lane.
Things went pretty well. 51.2 miles and 413 feet of climb at 17 mph. That the ride was flat is further shown by the fact that my fastest time was only 26.2 mpg. So I obviously wasn’t gaining speed while going downhill.
I got into Daytona Beach without any rain but I was as wet as if someone had held a hose on me. That’s what heat and humidity will do to you. And that happens every day within 15 minutes of the start of my rides.
Shortly after getting to where we were staying, but before being able to get in, it started to rain. Well, I guess you would call it rain. But it seemed only barely related to the rain we get at home. It was more like someone emptying numerous buckets of water, followed by huge flashes of light followed by huge crashes of thunder. At first the crashing sound was a number of seconds after the lightning but soon the noise immediately followed the lightning and with it being so close the thunder sounded like an explosion. Actually, a series of explosions. Patty got a great video of it but I’m not sure I will be able to post it here though I will try.
August 10, Friday (Daytona Beach R&R):
Daytona Beach is definitely a resort destination with its beaches, tourist gift shops and numerous restaurants. On the other hand Patty is not a beach person – too much sand – and tourist gift shops don’t hold a lot of attraction. Food is always needed, however.
Patty did wade into the ocean, up to her ankles, and found that although it was initially cool it got comfortable very quickly. Very different from the ocean she lives near in Bel Air.
A visit to Starbucks in the morning was interesting. Patty got out of the truck first and a couple of feet from the Suburban she said it was starting to rain. There were just a few drops so I started to tease her about it barely sprinkling. Before I could finish my sentence, the skies opened up. I have never seen such a sudden deluge of rain. We both got wet before we got inside. Then when we got inside we were cold from being wet in the air conditioning. Thankfully they had a covered outside space where she could drink her latte. In about 15 minutes the rain stopped and the weather wasn’t bad. Welcome to Florida.
August 11, Saturday (Daytona Beach to Titusville):
More miles today. More heat today. A bit more headwind today. More incessant traffic but at least most of the route had shoulders or even a bike lane.
On one stretch I encountered a turtle – tortoise? – of about a 12 inch diameter that was on the edge of the highway and the line separating the shoulder. As I went by I noticed that a portion of its shell looked broken and there appeared to be blood. I couldn’t just keep riding so I stopped, turned around and rode back. I don’t know, but I think it was hit by a car and was at least dazed. I picked it up and moved it past the shoulder onto some green that led into bushes. When I set it down it stuck its head and legs out and started walking, very slowly, into the bushes. I don’t know if it will survive but at least it was out of the highway and soon disappeared from sight. I didn’t look up to see if shells can heal but there wasn’t anything else I could do. I have a couple of photos but for some reason they aren’t downloading so I will post them another time.
The day ended with 55 miles, 551 feet of climb and a 17.4 mph average with a max speed of 27.7.
August 12, Sunday (Titusville to Vero Beach):
For no good reason I decided on a “personal day.” Call it mental fatigue.
August 13, Monday (Vero Beach to Jupiter, or actually Juno Beach):
Highway 1 is the primary route now. Most of it has shoulders but all of it has traffic and although sometimes the shoulders disappear, the traffic never does. To avoid the 50 mph cars I rode a stretch on a bike path that went along the highway. It was slower but it gave a good break from hearing cars whiz by. I suppose that was a large part of the reason for yesterday’s break.
The last part of the ride was on A1A which seems to be a road that sometimes parallels Hwy. 1 but is closer to the ocean. Which meant that that part of the ride had ocean views. The ocean was a lot bluer than when we were in Daytona Beach.
The ride was a couple of miles per hour slower because of a fairly constant head wind. It wasn’t gale strength but it was pretty constant and it took its toll.
63 miles, 918 feet and an average of 15.6 mph, attributed to the wind and numerous traffic stops.
August 14, Tuesday (Juno Beach to Ft. Lauderdale):
Country roads are definitely a thing of the past. The cars are constant – as is 90 to 95 degree heat and humirity – but at least that dreaded Hwy. 17 is also just an unpleasant memory. Most of Hwy. 1 actually has some place to ride even if that means me claiming the entire right lane. That isn’t the most comfortable way to ride but it beats sharing the right lane with cars when there is no extra room to the side of the lane.
I had the first rain during a ride for a number of days. It hit while I was on a residential street. Because I didn’t have my shoe covers on I turned onto a side street and pulled under a small overhang on one of the houses’s garage. I wanted to wait for the truck to get the covers so I wouldn’t end up with drenched shoes but the rain stopped while I was waiting.
I picked up the ride again. I felt pretty good when I had unbroken stretches but that didn’t happen often because of stop signs and uneven roads.
We went through Boca Raton which was very impressive. Huge beach front homes on large lots, many surrounded by high fences and gates and most of them were beautiful. When the single family homes ended high rises took their place and they were also obviously occupied by monied tenants. And I forgot to mention that the homes on the other side of the street were also on water, a large channel that was the home to a number of good sized boats.
The ride was 36 miles at 16.7 mph with 397 feet of climb.
The day featured the second change of drivers. I like to say that although I am still going, they got tired out. In fact, however, Ale had to go home to her 12 year old daughter and Patty had to return to her family. Johnny has now joined me. Although I had known both Alejandra and Patty before the ride, I had never so much as spoken to Johnny. I took him based on Patty’s recommendation and after meeting him I am pleased with the decision.
I have to thank Patty for her help. She left her family for 2 weeks to support this ride and her help is greatly appreciated. She helped Laura’s Ride Atlantic Coast and she helped me both by her driving and all of the things that her “job” entailed and by bringing care and concern along with her cheerful presence.
I wanted to post this tonight – August 15 – but the wifi here isn’t working. Hopefully it will be better in Key Largo. So I will say good night and hope you can see this tomorrow.
Tomorrow has come, the WiFi is better and I am posting.