The Sweetheart Trail in downtown Daytona
May 10, 2018
The bike-tour gods were smiling on us today — or, as a woman we talked with in a riverfront park in Daytona put it, little angels were following us. Neither of us is much into angels but we appreciated the woman’s sentiment and her hopes that we stay safe.
We had a wonderful ride, Edgewater to St. Augustine. The East Coast Greenway here forms the eastern side of the developing St. John’s River to Sea Loop. It’s gorgeous, highly recommended. In the early morning we pedaled along the river out of Edgewater to a fun greenway along the riverfront in Daytona. After we crossed the Intracoastal Waterway for the 547th time or so (immersion therapy for my bridge phobia, I think it’s starting to kick in) and cooled off with a mid-morning snack stop at Starbucks, we had a gorgeous road along the river from Ormond north, complete with precious shade from trees and hedges. Then we crossed over to the ocean side and enjoyed the views of beautiful beach while riding on a nice greenway path on the other side of the road. At Flagler Beach — hopping with surfers and parasailing and beach goers— we stopped for cold drinks and to honor our two Kona Roves for hitting 500 miles on this trip.
In Palm Shores, at what looks like the tip of a skinny spit of land we’d been riding most of the afternoon, we stopped in at Trailhead Bikes, a shop that sits right on the Greenway, and then rode through a magical stretch of winding greenway with jungly, tropical vegetation on both sides — delightful.
The last 20 or so miles took us past Fort Matanzas, the site of a bloody massacre between the Spanish and French, and on into St. Augustine, a charming city with its own fort, Castillo de San Marcos, and plenty of Spanish-influence architecture. We are staying at an AirBnb in a beautiful neighborhood of older homes, some shambly and some quite handsome, just up from the fort. We got to take a nice evening walk into town for dinner and back through the fort.
I don’t know the formula that made today so nice. No headwinds makes a big difference, certainly —at worst we had easterly winds and sometimes even a tailwind. The scenery was varied, the roads and greenways often quiet. Partly I may just be settling into the cycling on our seventh straight day of riding. Or maybe it was angels. In any case, this is the kind of day I pictured when I dreamed about this trip: sailing along on two wheels all day, sharing interesting stories and conversation with Dee, taking in beautiful shorelines, smelling boxwood blooms and cut grass and sea air. I had no cares or concerns beyond keeping myself hydrated and fed (and relatively cool by squirting water on my long sleeve shirt) and checking the map on my phone every so often to keep us on course.
Every day won’t be like this, we know that. Rain, hills, highways and more are ahead of us. Which is all the more reason to savor the good days.
Front steps of our AirBnb in St. Augustine — thanks Pam!
Post dinner, walking at The Castillo.