Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Day 19: Fernandina Beach to Flagler Beach

Route: Fernandina Beach, FL to Flagler Beach, FL
Mileage: 91 miles

We got up at 5:30 to get packed up and ready to head out to start the final run of our journey.  We had to both pack our things as well as get the house we rented in order (fold towels, run dishwasher, take out trash, etc).  But before we got totally cleaned up, we needed a hearty meal!  Can you guess? Eggs and bacon, and our leftover veggies.  We had to toss out whatever we hadn't eaten.  I couldn't part with my fruit, so I took my bananas and peaches with me on the road!

We were trying to leave by 6:30 because there was a ferry we had to catch 19 miles down the road that leaves every 30 minutes on the 15 and 45 of the hour.  We weren't going to leave by then, so I knew there was no point rushing, we would just catch the next one, so we left at 7am instead.

Goodbye house!

Our ride was pretty uneventful, it was hot--surprise.  We rode down A1A almost exclusively today.  We went through both Big and Little Talbot State Park.  A1A has a good bike lane, and it was still early, but we found a nice bike trail to ride on as well.

Note: Google did not tell us about this sweet bike path.  #thanksgoogle

After about an hour, I looked at our mileage and saw we would be pushing it to make our 8:15 ferry, so I gently told Keegan we should push just a little harder and sure enough we made it just in time. They waved us on the ferry before the cars.  This one was hardly as packed as previous ferries.  We also noticed that the ferry itself was part of the East Coast Greenway, so that was cool.  Crazy a bridge doesn't exist there, but we were happy no major detour necessary!

Once we got over to the other side of the St. John's River, we had our sights set on St. Augustine, where we were meeting other JA families for lunch.  But we knew we had a very important pit stop to make first--a sunscreen run, we had yet again run out.  So we stopped at Target and I ran in, got sunscreen, filled our water bottles and picked up some lemonades as well.

Chillin at Target

We then carried onto St. Augustine Beach.  The ride was certainly not country roads, but just straight A1A and beach houses, with some preserves around us.  We road down a very narrow strip of land that is pretty much just the A1A with the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve around it.  It was as we were riding here that we saw so many crazy spider webs.  Unlike anything either of us had seen.  It was Keegan's nightmare.  We were moving to fast to get a good photo, but it was just walls of giant spiders!

So hot, just trying to push on

Hooray for bike lanes!

Those blacks fuzzy spots are all spiders.  They build their web between the telephone wire and the bushes. 
We then passed through St. Augustine so we knew we were getting close.  I don't know the history of the area, but clearly there is some.  And ghosts.  There were lots of ghost tours advertised.

Before we got to St. Augustine

Some fortress

Bike lane--middle of the bridge!

We arrived at Mango Mango just as planned, at 12:30.  Both the Ross and Googin families came out to meet us, both of which are affected by JA.  We had a great time connecting with them and learning about all the activities everyone does and how their JA is affecting them.  They are all true champions and still doing the things they love, despite their disease!  The Ross family we will see down in Orlando again in a few days, but the Googins aren't able to make this year's conference, so we were so happy to be able to get to spend time with them over a super filling lunch!

I got beautiful pictures from Kylie...

And Charlotte!  Who draws a mean dolphin! 
After lunch we only had 26 miles, but we were already pretty tired.  And it really was so darn hot.  We slathered up the sunscreen and discovered my fruit still in the duffle, warming with the sun...I reluctantly threw it out :(

We headed out and made it about a block when I realized I wasn't wearing my gloves, so we circled back.  Turns out they got packed in a bag, crisis averted.  The wind started to pick up and it was getting harder to trudge forward.  So what should we add to the mix?  How about a thunderstorm.  We rode right into it.  Thunder, lightning and all.  It actually didn't pour so badly, just a light rain--which was a relief from the sun, but the wind made it hard.  We finally made it to Flagler Beach, our last stop before Orlando!

Pretty view looking back as we headed into the storm

Head first into the storm

We arrived!
Jen Bosscher and her family were kind enough to take us in, despite not knowing us and no one vouching for us!  We are glad she took the risk!  Her kids are fantastic and were so enthusiastic to show us the place and had a multitude of questions.  Skylar kindly let us use her bedroom for the evening, and left me a wonderful message on her chalkboard.

Keegan and I showered and threw laundry in.  We then all went out to a seafood restaurant the family likes.  Both Tristan and Skylar wanted to sit next to me, good thing I have two sides!  We had a great dinner and filled our bellies back up.  We even got our first piece of key lime pie of the trip!  Landon was also super well behaved and is such a sweet baby, he's also got some sweet dance moves!

We then came home and I am soooooo tired.  It's not even 10pm but I need to go to bed, stat!  My knee was fine at first this morning but quickly went south.  And towards the end of the day in the rain, my whole body stiffened up.  My elbows didn't want to bend as we pulled in.  I am so sad the ride is over tomorrow, but my body is happy to have a break.  I'm not going to get all sentimental now, because I'm too tired, but beware, it'll happen.

We also got some amazing fundraising help today which now only leaves us just over $2000 away from our goal!  We have one day left before we arrive!  We'd love to hit that mark tomorrow!  So if you're one of those people that likes a last minute thrill--like a squirrel waiting until a car passes to run across the street--now is your chance!  It's time to be that hero and help push us to our $14,000 goal!  And to those who have donated--thank you.  I see each of your names come in and it genuinely warms my heart and lights me up to see so many friends, from days past or recently acquainted, join together to make this fundraising happen.  We appreciate all of you!

So if you're able to donate and want to be part of this crazy journey, you can do so here:

Ok, I have to go to sleep before my body does even crazier things.  Our last century tomorrow, Google tells us exactly 100 miles!  Let's do this!!!!  It's the Final Countdown....

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