St Augustine to Port Orange

Day 2: Florida Coast-to-Coast Bike Tour

Start: Agustin Inn [29 Cuna Street, St Augustine FL 32084]

Finish: Nova Family Campground [1190 Herbert St, Port Orange FL 32129]

Strava track: https://www.strava.com/activities/6800466498

RideWithGPS route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/38681626

Two Harleys had been given prime parking inside the gated courtyard of the Agustin Inn. So nobody complained when we unlocked and packed our bikes on the porch, under a roof. Leaving St Augustine we paused along the waterfront promenade, watching dozens of sailboats swinging on their mooring balls. It was going to be another windy day, sadly not to our advantage.

A bridge took us over to Anastasia Island, where we detoured to see the St Augustine Lighthouse. Beyond that, the beach roads became rather monotonous. Seeing a sign for Fort Matanzas, a national park and monument, we stopped for a break. A sign said a boat tour was about to leave, so we asked about tickets and were told only one was available. Dejected to have missed that opportunity, we then realized Peter’s watch hadn’t reset to daylight savings time, and we would’ve had to wait an hour anyway.

Fighting the headwinds through miles and miles of nothingness, interrupted by only a few private RV resorts, we ached for a stop and some food. The road through the Beverly Beach area had a wide side path, and as we cruised along hoping for signs of civilization, we were halted by the enthusiastic greeting of a gray haired, bearded Harley dude. He wanted to know all about our analog bike tour, and claimed to be a member of the Adventure Cycling Association. He seemed fascinated by how little gear we carried, and how it was mounted on our bikes. He ran to grab a water bottle out of his saddlebags, and we had a moment of solidarity over our similar drink containers. I asked permission to take his picture, and he smiled for the camera. He encouraged us that not much further we would find restaurants, and we were relieved to stop at the Turtle Shack Cafe and eat tacos on the shady porch.

We rode through Daytona and saw masses of motorcycles gathered at some of the restaurants and bars. The whole day had been a bit like being part of Rolling Thunder, really. But far more concerning were the relentless headwinds, and rain that escalated to a full-on downpour about 15 miles before reaching our destination, forcing us to seek shelter in a gazebo and dig out our rain gear.

The final stretch on Big Tree Rd, S Nova Rd, and Herbert St kinda totally sucked. Separated bike paths had disappeared, and we rode through puddles in the dark. We took refuge from another downpour in a strip mall Mexican restaurant called Agave. Neither of us was particularly hungry, but treating ourselves to homemade mole and margaritas seemed like the right idea to calm our nerves.

I must have looked miserable as I tried to sit at our booth without dripping all over the place. A friendly voice from the table next to ours said, it’s okay, hang your wet jacket on the stool over here so you can dry off and warm up. She introduced herself as Linda, a local middle school teacher. Dining and drinking alone, she was soon sharing stories of middle school drama that made our complaints petty in comparison. Teenagers are awful, but she was clearly the winner in her classroom! By the end of our meal, her welcoming personality and great conversation had distressed and cheered us all up.

Our tent site at Nova Family Campground had vacant spots on both sides and was a short walk to the showers, so we were comfortable and slept well.

~ by GinaCico on March 20, 2022.

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