Palatka to St Augustine 60.9 km

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Our last day, yeeey!

Palatka from the bridge

Palatka from the bridge

Today we carried on following the old railway cycling path.

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In Hastings, we stopped for some food at a Ceasar’s pizza, it was very hot. It was strange to have a whole pizza for breakfast.

The old railway route again

The old railway route again

At some point, we had to choose between following the old railway route or our GPS route so we followed our GPS.

Pink flamingos

Pink flamingos

Our last stretch to the beach was closed (gate) so we went back and found the beach.

The turtle

The turtle

We had pictures taken by a very friendly guy who offered us to stay at his house but we explained that we couldn’t, as we had already booked our hotel and we had some work to do on-line.

St Augustine, the last town

St Augustine, the last town

Then we had some beers at a pub nearby to celebrate the completion. We are actually only 50 km away from doing a total of 5,000 km! We did 4,950 km!

A beer to celebrate it

A beer to celebrate it

We found a big turtle on the road as we were going to the hotel. They are everywhere.

Here we are

Here we are

We’ve done 4,950 total km over 8 US states in 88 cycling days and 31 rest days and burned 203,000 calories! And we gained 3 kg!

Saint Augustine 0.00 km

Wednesday 13 July 2016

We paid a quick visit to St Augustine. It looks like a really historic town worth visiting again with more time.

Not sure what this building is (?)

Flagler College

Flying our bikes to Europe would cost us more than 100 euros each. So we considered selling them here on Craiglist. It would make us save the airline fee, plus the money we would get from the sale. I sold mine in Jacksonville for 80 dollars and Steve sold his for 40 dollars. We could have sold them for much more but they’ve done so many kilometres already, we don’t want to deceive anyone.

Saint Augustine town centre

Saint Augustine town centre

Our next trip will probably be to Vietnam. This time we want to follow the Ho Chi Minh highway from Hanoi to Saigon. This road goes through the mountains. We went from Hanoi to Saigon 2 years ago, but we followed the coast. This time we’ll do it through the mountains, with less people, less cars, longer distances, but we’ll take more rest days.

Not sure what this building is (?)

Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine

Not sure what this building is (?)

The Government House

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Gainesville to Palatka 81.5 km

Monday 11 July 2016

Avui hem agafat la “ruta escènica” amb menys cotxes (però un xic més llarga), que és per on passa la Southern Tier (la ruta que teòricament seguim).

Very common spiderweb

Una teranyina, n’hi ha moltes

Més tard, hem descobert per què la ST passa per aquí: hi ha un antic ferrocarril, ara carril bici esfaltat, que va perfecte. Tan de bo l’haguéssim descobert més aviat!

Sex shop in the middle of nowhere

Sex shopenmig del no-res

Ens hem aturat en una cruïlla, enmig del no-res, amb tan sols un sex shop i una gasolinera.

Melrose

Melrose

La gent de la gasolinera s’han impressionat amb el nostre viatge. Normalment, la gent ens ignora, però avui eren molt simpàtics i ens han fet donacions, ens han demanat targetes del nostre viatge, e-mails, etc. I també ens han donat begudes de franc.

Lunch in Melrose

Dinar a Melrose

Steve's lunch

El dinar de l’Steve

Ens hem aturat en un restaurant “fatxenda” a Melrose per dinar.

Lunchtime

Hora de dinar

Després de Melrose, ens hem separat sense voler, però ens hem tornat a trobar al carril bici del “ferrocarril”.

The 2 trikes

Els 2 tricicles

Hem trobat dos nois que anaven en tricicle en sentit contrari. El cel era blau fosc (s’acosta pluja) però no ha plogut mentre hem pedalat. El carril bici era envoltat d’arbres, per tant molt refrescant i no feia la calor criminal de costum.

The old railway path

La ruta de l’antic ferrocarril

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Lake City to Gainesville 83.5 km

Saturday 9 July 2016

Today was Saturday, so we did a long ride, although it was very hot so we struggled.

Diverted traffic

Diverted traffic

We wanted to see a “horse retirement sanctuary” but it was closed as they only open 2 hours a week and we got there 1 hour later. Apparently they give you carrots as your entry ticket, which you feed to them.

We checked our GPS and it was 43º in the shade

We checked our GPS and it was 43ºC in the shade

We stopped at a petrol station for some breakfast. There was a lot of traffic on the road today and they told us it was because there was an accident on the main highway so the traffic was diverted to this one.

Forest

Forest

We stopped again in Alachua for lunch at a typical diner. It was very colourful.

Lunch in Alachua

Lunch in Alachua

We stopped (again!) at another petrol station 20 miles later. It was VERY hot. No chance of rain today.

These trees seem to be everywhere here

These trees seem to be everywhere here

After stopping on a paved path next to a golf club, I tried to see if the golf club had a bar but it didn’t look open so we pushed on. Steve was pooped and lied on the paved path for almost 20 minutes.

Finally some shade!

Finally some shade!

When we were approaching Gainesville, we found a Mexican restaurant. Surprisingly, they had beer (normally fast food chains don’t have alcohol), so I had a Coronita and some guacamole with nachos.

Resting

Resting

 

A well deserved beer

A well deserved beer

Gainesville 0.00 km

Sunday 10 July 2016

We took a day off (again!) in Gainesville. We recorded the receptionist’s conversation, but it was useless, because my card was charged and it took me more than 2 months to recover my money after millions of calls. This is actually illegal and I could sue them for it.

Beer place

Beer place

We went to a local beer place where they had no food but said they were happy for us to get some food from another place and eat it there (weird).

We didn’t really see anything of Gainesville, we’re too busy lately, no time to “travel”. It is a pity because we go to all these places and cannot spend quality time in them. We still see quite a lot, but not as much as we would like.

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Madison to Lake City 75.4 km

Friday 8 July 2016

We left Madison. During the first 10 minutes, the road was full of grasshoppers! They were on the road, everywhere, there were lots of them! I tried to avoid them but it was almost impossible.

Stop to breathe

Stop to breathe

We are already missing home a lot, these are our last cycling days and we are very anxious to get to the end and fly home, it’s too hot here.

There are lots of trees like this here

There are lots of trees like this here

We stopped in Live Oak for some food at Dixie Grill & Steer Room. We left the bikes outside.

Live Oak

Live Oak

There was a very fat woman. Some people are very fat in America.

She needs to cycle more

She needs to cycle more

I had a kale salad which was not bad, and they took my unfinished beer away (??).

Kale salad

Kale salad

We passed by a Native American church and a mosque (our first mosque in America). The mosque had a sign which said the place had CCTV surveillance.

Native American church

Native American church

In Lake City, we stayed outside the city, at Jasmine Garden Inn. It was not too bad, then walked (miles!) to find some food and ended up eating at Applebee’s. The food was very good but quite expensive.

Our first mosque

Our first mosque

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Monticello to Madison 61.4 km

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Today was an average day riding through secondary roads, pinewoods, swamps, etc.

Swamps

Swamps

We stopped at Kwiky Food Mart for breakfast in the middle of nowhere, where I took a picture of two weird moths.

An adult Regal moth

An adult Regal moth

Apparently the green moth is endangered due to pesticides.

A Luna moth

A Luna moth

We went through Greenville, which has a lake, and stopped at a very traditional typical diner for lunch.

Greenville's lake

Greenville’s lake

The waitress had a Southern accent; they only had soft drinks and gave us unlimited free refills.

The typical diner

The typical diner

Madison is a very cute and typical Floridan town.

Madison's town centre

Madison’s town centre

Then we headed south to the highway where our hotel (Days Inn) is, next to a Denny’s. Another “motorway junction” with just hotels, a restaurant and a shop.

Southern house in Madison

Southern house in Madison

Again, the hotel charged me twice here but they refunded it some weeks later.

Madison 0.00 km

Thursday 7 July 2016

We took a day off in Madison to finish some work and do some washing.

American food

American food

We had lunch and dinner at Denny’s, where Steve got his military discount. He asked about the veterans’ discount and they were happy to apply it, although he is not American.

At Denny'

At Denny’s

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Tallahassee North to Central 12.4 km

Monday 4 July 2016

Today we did a short ride to the city centre to take a little rest from yesterday’s exhausting ride. We had breakfast at El Jalisco, a Mexican restaurant which was not bad.

Mexican burger

Mexican burger

On the way, we visited a few things, like the Capitol and Florida’s State University. The Capitol had pictures of the Orlando shooting victims, which happened recently.

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At El Jalisco’s

Florida State University was founded in 1851. You can see how Tallahassee is a university city as it has lots of young people. It is not a big city but it has lots of large public buildings.

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The Capitol had a memorial to each Orlando victim

We were planning to go to St Marks tomorrow. St Marks is on the coast, it has a lighthouse and an old railway track, which has been paved and is now a cycling path. But the only accommodation (motel & camping place) we could find has no Wifi, so goodbye…

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Tallahassee City Centre

Tallahassee is very hilly, just like the whole of Florida.

Florida State University

Florida State University

We booked an Airbnb near the university. It was in a residential area, apparently with lots of university students. The Airbnb was some sort of ‘frat house’ and quite untidy. They rent their rooms on Airbnb when they need to go away for some reason (holidays, visiting family, etc.). People were very friendly but the place needed some hard cleaning :)

The untidy Airbnb

The untidy Airbnb

For dinner, I walked a million miles to get some take away sushi.

Tallahassee to Monticello 47.0 km

Tuesday 5 July 2016

We left late, as there was no one home. We stopped at a place for beer, Steve got angry because he didn’t want to stop, just buy some water.

This morning's Airbnb

This morning’s Airbnb

Our water never came, for a change. The beers were OK but we did not leave tip because we were angry. Lots of angriness to begin the day. The ride was okay but hot. It rained a little bit at some point.

On the road to Monticello

On the road to Monticello

We arrived in Monticello where there were just 2 petrol stations, a McDonalds (the real town centre was further north), and an abandoned restaurant. The sort of place where you stay in your room til the next day.

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Marianna to Tallahassee 110.7 km

Sunday 3 July 2016

Although it was Sunday, we did a very long ride today, so we got there very tired and didn’t have much time to rest. Steve wasn’t very happy about it because he had a big job to finish.

Fire!

Fire!

We left very early (6.30 am) and found a guy at the motel who was hiking (if I remember well) and was impressed with our trailer and trip. We chatted with him for 10 minutes and gave him a card with the address of our blog and trip details.

Appalachicola river

Appalachicola river

I saw some smoke by the road, there was a little fire, I wasn’t sure if I should call the police but I finally didn’t. It looked like someone had burnt some grass but there was still a small flame. In this heat, it could quickly turn into a fire.

Norway?

Norway?

We crossed the Apalachicola river with the “broken bridge” and had some breakfast in Chattahoochee, at Hardee’s (fast food chain), where we had some burgers.

Lunch

Lunch

We went through a village called “Norway”. We wondered if we had gone too far, ha ha.

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We stopped in Gretna for some water, it was FULL of mosquitoes. We had lunch at a restaurant, but the food was not very good and they only had Kool Aid to drink. It was ackward althought the place was beautiful.

Gretna old school

Gretna old school

Then I was much faster than Steve and we lost each other. I waited for him but he was not coming so I got to the hotel first. 20 minutes before arriving at the hotel, it started raining HEAVILY. This is very common in Florida. At first I thought “just a few drops, I’m almost there” but then the rain got very intense and I had to stop under a tree to waterproof everything. The receptionist gave me a towel (this is how wet I was!), so he did when Steve arrived 20 minutes later.

Rain coming

Rain coming

There was a 24-hour Walmart near the hotel where I bought some food. The hotel (Microtel) was very good and the price too. It is the first time we used this chain.

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Youngstown to Marianna 54.4 km

Saturday 2 July 2016

Today was a longer day (54 km), on a Saturday (so no work).

Wrong text

Wrong text

Apparently, Marianna is well known for some caves but we were too tired to go visit them.

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Lots of places like this

On the way, we found a cross with the wrong text (”I am the light”), a pro-Trump ammo shop and several “lady bars”.

McCormick Lake

McCormick Lake

There was nowhere to stop along the way except for Roxie’s shop, which she will be opening next month and we were her first customers. She was very excited to sell us some water and was impressed with our trip. Steve was far behind me and I waited for him (with some mosquitoes) in front of Roxie’s shop. He was slow because of the extreme heat.

Roxie's shop

Roxie’s shop

Once in Marianna, we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant next to our motel.

Mexican dinner

Mexican dinner

Today’s motel was very good, well-priced and had the Southern Tier logo. We’re back on the route!

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Panama City to Youngstown 37.8 km

Friday 1 July 2016

This morning we placed all the options we had on the table and decided (last minute!) to go to Youngstown as our cheapest possible option (80 euros!) at a reasonable distance (38km).

The Italian restaurant

The Italian restaurant

The motel owner would not let us pay less for the same room (unlike yesterday, when he just said “tell me how much the other hotel is and I’ll let you pay the same price here”), so we didn’t have many more options as it was Friday and prices go over the roof.

Kool Aid

Kool Aid

We had lunch at our favourite Italian restaurant across the road.

Highway to the cheaper north

Highway to the cheaper north

The road was straight all the way to Youngstown, with 2 stops at petrol stations.

Short ride today

Short ride today

I had some “cool aid” for the first time after seeing it on Family Guy. It was probably very unhealthy (it looked like it) but refreshing. The first ingredient was probably sugar and the second one probably colouring.

Youngstown motel

Youngstown motel

The Youngstown motel was “not good” for the price we paid but we’ve been in worse places. We found “one bed bug” (only one!) and we were afraid we would carry them forever but it seemed to have just been that one we found (weird).

Our posh room for 80 euros

Our posh room for 80 euros

Youngstown is full of old people. It is so sarcastic.

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Sandestin to Panama City 67.6 km

Wednesday 29 June 2016

Again, not many cheap options so the cheapest we could find today was a room in Panama City (67km) at 83 euros! Even cheaper places with cockroaches and bedbugs were fully booked!

With Sandestin's Airbnb friendly hosts

With Sandestin’s Airbnb friendly hosts

We followed the coast all the time and stopped for some brunch at a wine bar in Rosemary Beach.

Ride along the coast

Ride along the coast

The road was full of cars and there was a traffic jam after brunch, so we were passing all the stopped cars (yeeey!). Sometimes bicycles are faster than cars.

Lots of lagoons

Lots of lagoons

We passed through Santa Monica beach and Laguna Beach. All these names are Spanish.

Grape and nuts salad

Grape and nuts salad

We also saw the “Laguna Beach Christian Retreat”, not sure what that was, some holiday resort for Christians?

Traffic jam

Traffic jam

Stopped for “some ice cream”, which ended up being a huge one.

Emerald coast beach

Emerald coast beach

Steve was angry because he had jobs to finish and we were not fast enough. He gets angry when I stop to take a picture of anything.

Ice cream stop

Ice cream stop

We went through an upside-down building and a ship on the ground (??). Strange things here in Florida. The area had lots of tall blocks near the beach.

Strange buildings

Strange buildings

Tonight’s hotel is not bad (Rodeway Inn). For the price we paid, the deal was not bad.

Panama City 0.00 km

Thursday 30 June 2016

We had to stay in Panama City as we both had a lot of work. On the second day, we went to the reception and told them we had found a cheaper room on Hotwire. Then the owner said he could offer us the same room at the same price we found on Hotwire. So we obviously took the deal and did not loose time packing and unpacking things.

Rain, rain, rain...

Rain, rain, rain…

We were trying to decide whether we should keep following the coast or head inland for cheaper options and how to catch up with the lost days (by taking a day off, LOL).

There is a good, family-run Italian restaurant in front of the hotel. The staff is friendly and the food is good.

It rained almost the whole day. The weather is like this in Florida. One minute it’s incredibly sunny and the next one it rains.

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