23 – Jacksonville to St. Augustine – 54.2 – 1318.4

Today was the second time I really wish I had a bicycle with more tire clearance so I could have left home with some fatter tires and enjoy the off road trails a bit. 

Guana Tolomato wildlife management area just north of St. Augustine is a network of trails and trees that road bikes with 25s just doesn’t allow for happy riding. Once again just as I did in Francis Marion National Forest, I ended up on some gravel and sand that made maneuvering difficult. You would swing the handlebars left and right to counterbalance and help pull the wheel out of the sand. It was another challenging ride and to top it off I was once again left without a reply to my messages for the host that I had coordinated weeks prior in Palm Coast. 

This put me in a great position however, because it forced me to stop in the charming St. Augustine, where I was able to crash with Syd and Zach and their kitten, Lion. They had also planned to host another cyclist, so this was going to be exciting for all of us to exchange stories of our trips. 

Stefan arrived a few hours after me, an we learned that it was his last day of the trip, having left from San Francisco three months prior. Hearing about the regions and landscaped he passed through, the people he met and the challenges he faced was truly inspiring. He traveled to the U.S. from Sweden in order to undertake this trip, having done similar rides in Europe throughout his life this was by far the largest ride he’s ever done.  

We chowed down on mac and cheese pizza, which was surprisingly delicious, went for a few drinks on a night out in the town, and returned and ordered another pizza, this time cheese and pineapple, and almost finished a 24″ pie between three people. 

St. Augustine and my hosts and fellow travelers were incredibly fun, so much so that I stayed a second night and was happy that my previous plans fell through and I was able to find this opportunity which worked out perfectly.