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.
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.
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.