4/19/23 – Ormond Beach to St. Augustine

I ‘m getting bold and putting that pretty please donate link up here. Try clicking it. There is content behind it.

Miles: 43.9 Today / 541.43 Total
Elevation Gain: 197 ft. Today / 4473n ft. Total

It was a late start, this morning, due to all the quality discussion with Clinton. After posing for a photo with him and one of the Sphinxs in his front yard, I bid him farewell and peddled toward the Granada Bridge, which took me over the Intracoastal Waterway and Halifax River, connecting Ormond Beach with the long peninsula of land east of it. Riding along the Atlantic Ocean, the Halifax River, then later the Matanza Inlet—it was scenic beachfront for most of the day.

After crossing the bridge, when I turned northward, the reality of today’s weather hit me like a freight train. More headwinds! Are you kidding me? My Weather Channel app showed winds out of the east, but for my entire ride, they were coming from the north or northeast and I was going north. And I was under the gun. I had to be at a MS rider meeting at the St. Augustine Beach Hilton Garden Inn by 2:00 PM, which gave me exactly 4 hrs 15 minutes to make it there and meant no time for fiddling around, no time to stop and eat, and very little time for taking photos. But you know me—I work well under pressure. I had my eyes on my Garmin every couple of minutes, just making sure I wasn’t slacking off, or I’d be late for the meeting.

The ride along the coast was lovely, moving out of luxury resort areas, with nothing but high rise condos and gazillion dollar homes, to towns with normal people living in them and more simple homes scattered along the coast.

There was lots of beautiful ocean and inlet scenery, and a balance of the whimsical stuff I love to see, nature preserves and historic sights.

I came across a memorial for the massacre of 300 French people by barbaric Spanish soldiers who were trying to keep the French from occupying the inlet. The Matanzas Inlet is named after this event. The word Matanza supposedly means massacre.

Then a bit later, I ran into the Fort Matanzas National Monument, where you could take a ferry to Fort Matanzas on the other side of the inlet. I had time to check out the historic site, but the ferry? No way. I had to keep peddling to make it to the meeting. I was 15 minutes early—time enough to take a Covid test and sign some last minute forms.

The meeting lasted a couple of hours and consisted of the obligatory introductions; a safety briefing; tour of the rest stop van with its cubbies for drinks and food to be eaten throughout the day, where the van waits at designated rest stops; and brief tour of the trailer with cubbies for food and gear. We staked out cubbies for ourselves, and when the meeting was over, everyone got to work settling in.

We all had rooms at the Hilton. Being the only female rider, one of the leaders from the organization asked me if I would be willing to share a room, so none of the guys would have to sleep on the floor (there was one room with 3 guys in it.) I wasn’t hip on the idea of sharing a room with a complete man stranger and was given the option of saying no, so I did.

A little while later, while I was working on my bike adjacent to the trailer with all our gear in it, the guy who got floor duty came to the trailer to get his sleeping bag and pad. He’s a fella named Nick, who is a retired family practice physician. He now practices medicine on migrant people and donates his salary to Bike the US for MS, and he also volunteers as the Bike the US for MS physician. Pretty noble, don’t you think? probably shouldn’t have that guy sleeping on the floor. I offered him the other bed in the room, and he was grateful. And it all worked out well.

Tomorrow, we ride out together to get a group photo at a nearby pier, before we embark on our first day—71 miles of joy and togetherness.

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