Feb 2, Cathy’s birthday, as well as grand daughter Kitty’s and grand daughter Izzy’s. Wishes for the happiest of birthdays for them all. Number One grandkid, Kitty, is unbelievably 16 years old!
We left our “primitive campsite” a little after 9 a.m. I’m sure it was the most isolated camping spot in north Florida. Very chilly again, 46 degrees, but with a brilliant blue sky that promised a quick warm up to the day. We knew for sure we were going to have an uninterrupted night since we locked the entrance gate before calling it a day. The gate had 5 different padlocks on it, and we finally found the right one for the combination we had been given that allowed the RV’s access back to the highway. Jackie, Richard and I again headed west on the incredibly smooth and shaded railway/bike path.
Though we are only a day and a half ride away from St. Augustine, the rural countryside and towns are very quaint and picturesque.
The violent storms that frequent this part of the world are evident in the roofing history of the older buildings. Apparently no one storm rips all the roof tin off, and only what is damaged is replaced. The cow/calf picture is intended for our wonderful neighbors at home, all of the Bohr Family and the Whestine Family who continue to raise exceptionally good cows and calves. The pastures look totally bare to me, but the cows are in excellent condition. Most calving is done in the fall to beat the intense heat that will be the norm for the spring.
Our Adventure Cycling maps are almost universally accurate, except for the rare times when there have been changes made in the road (or bikepath) since the map was made up. That was the case this morning as the map had us following this excellent bikeway until it came to an end. Which we did. Only to find that the new “end” was 10 miles farther than the end had been when the map was made. (Many of these bike paths are like those at home, i.e. they are constructed on abandoned railroad rights of way. It is typical that these paths are completed one section at a time and whenever funds are available.) It was such an enjoyable ride, we hardly cared. We questioned a couple of friendly folks when the path did end and found out where we were and where we were supposed to be. We vectored ourselves back on course, and about 20 miles later, were back on the prescribed route.
There was a special blog post today on the occasion of passing thru Melrose, Florida. That was a real treat. Check out that post when you can. Another neat event while we were in Melrose: Whenever I see other bikers that look like they’re doing more than just riding around town, I’ll hail them and get their “story”. Today I flagged down a young couple with their bikes loaded down with panniers (“side bags”) and heavy loads. Come to find out, they’re from London (as in England) and are intending to complete the Southern Tier this spring as well! So cool! We chatted and exchanged contact information and I hope I see them again in the coming weeks and months.
Gainesville, Fl is a large town and the home of the University of Florida. It was obvious in our short stops that the rivalry between the Gators and the Seminoles is as fierce as it is between the Hawkeyes and Cyclones back home. Most hiways and thoroughfares have ample bike lanes built along the right shoulder of the road, but the high level and high speed of the traffic can be a little worrisome. We met up with the RV crew at the trail head and all headed to the home of a good friend of Richard and Jackie’s that they’ve known for 40 years. Jerry and Pat are a delightful couple and welcomed us graciously into their beautiful home. So, tonight, it’s real showers and a special Birthday dinner night out for Cathy with all of us attending.
We have been very fortunate in our choices for eateries, and this night was no exception. A congenial and fun-directed wait staff added to the joy of the evening. The restaurant provided the “Birthday Cheesecake” and joined in our lusty singing of “Happy Birthday” to our beaming birthday girl, Cathy.
Tomorrow will be the last day we get to enjoy the company of Carol, Richard and Jackie. When tomorrow’s sun arises, we will bid our sad “adieus” as they’ll head their RV back to Jacksonville and turn it in. Such great fun we’ve had! For those many friends of ours who have expressed an interest in riding along for a day or two or three, I think we can get a very good recommendation from Jackie Pie and Richard!
Thanks for coming along! Send Cathy a Happy Birthday wish on FB!