Coastin’ to the coast

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Fellow rider and blogger Reg Prentice likened this transcontinental bicycle ride to a ski jump: The hardest, scariest part is at the start, followed by a landing and then a long coast to the bottom of the slope.

Monument to Ray Charles in Greenville, Fla., his hometown

The hardest days for most of us were shortly after leaving San Diego on Sept. 20 as we crossed mountains and deserts in heat over 100 degrees. After Emory Pass in New Mexico — the literal high point of the journey at 8,228 feet — the Davis Mountains in West Texas and the Texas Hill Country, we began a long, more leisurely journey toward the Atlantic Ocean. Now, in northern Florida, barely more than 100 miles to our final destination, St. Augustine, we’re just coastin’ to the coast.
Two more days — Friday and Saturday — and we should arrive at the Atlantic Ocean to dip our front wheels into the surf at Anastasia State Park just east of St. Augustine.
Thursday’s ride of 47.78 miles from a campground near Ichetucknee Springs State Park to Gainesville, the home of the University of Florida, included a major milestone. We’ve now traveled more than 3,000 miles — 3,032.58 by my daily tally.

Around a campfire near Ichetucknee Springs State Park: Kami, Reg, Dave and Jenny

I, for one, am ready for the journey to be over. On Thursday night, we’re in a Days Inn in Gainesville. We have one more night of pitching tents and cooking and dining by the light of our headlamps on Friday at a campsite at East Palatka and then a short ride of only about 38 miles into St. Augustine on Saturday.
Our journey’s-end dinner is scheduled for Saturday night. Then, on Sunday and Monday, people from all over the world who have shared the pleasures and pains of crossing a continent by bicycle all head their separate ways. My post-trip route will take me by rental car home to Fort Worth and then almost immediately to San Antonio for Thanksgiving.



Filed under Americana, Cycling across America, Journeys

4 responses to “Coastin’ to the coast

  1. Ben

    You’re almost there Dad!! Awesome! Talk to you soon. Love, Ben

  2. ToddBS

    I know you’re ready for it to be over, but I think a lot of us are going to miss reading the updates. I’ve almost come to regard this as some kind of ongoing story… hopefully some day I can continue it myself. Good luck over the next two days.

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