A bonus day of bicycling around Titusville, Florida

6082B308-4B96-4C4B-85F9-3DB419D57E15The East Coast Greenway’s 2018 edition of its Week-A-Year Tour is over after 369 or so miles across 6 days. But some of us weren’t quite ready to get off the bike, and so we joined Titusville residents for a 10-mile fun ride on its trail and its Chain of Lakes Park.

Props to the 7-year-old in the group. Not only did she ride the whole way, but when her handlebar grip went flying off, causing her to lose her balance and tumble onto the grass, she bounced up with “don’t worry, I’m fine” to her mother. That’s the attitude!

We northeners remained fascinated with alligators, stopping twice for photo ops. What a big one! It hung around for a while before tiring of our gawking, lifting itself up and waddling into the water.

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Day 6: 63 miles from Daytona Beach to Titusville, Florida

52236651-B8D4-49EF-857C-1C8A6946E21BWhat a day!

This is the last full day of the 2018 edition of the East Coast Greenway’s annual Week-A-Year fundraising ride, and we spent much of it pedaling on quiet roads or trails— including 34 straight miles on the East Central Rail Trail, part of the Coast-to-Coast Connector that will stretch from Titusville on the Atlantic side of Florida to Tampa-St. Pete on the Gulf of Mexico side. (It’s 80% complete.)

It’s a lovely trail, with one section opened only a few months ago and just a little bit left to go until all 50+ miles are built. How nice to be able to ride side by side, chatting away without needing to look out for motorists. And if we needed anything, why, there was Vergie’s stand selling everything from snacks to bottles of Gatorade to spare inner tubes, all on the honor system.

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Day 5: 64 miles from St. Augustine to Daytona Beach, Florida

99DDB2B3-C02E-4EE9-8F0B-84E05B0A7346The sound of day 5 of the East Coast Greenway’s Week-A-Year Tour: the boom from the SpaceX rocket launched this afternoon at Cape Canaveral that we heard (and felt the rumble) 60 miles away in Daytona.

Second sound of the day: the roar of the ocean, heard from the hotel room balcony. (If only it was warm enough to feel like we should be playing on the beach.)

Yes, we are in the spring break capital of America. And we are hearing that Daytona Beach wants to change its image, attract more people like .. us.  That would be adults on bikes.

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Day 4: 70 miles from St. Mary’s, Georgia, to St. Augustine, Florida

13FDD88B-70A6-4744-BEC3-19D2A7591CFEWe were blown down the coast of Florida today, propelled by a strong tailwind that had us hitting close to 25 mph on flat road while pedaling seemingly effortlessly. That’s a casual pace for the Tour de France, but a speed we mortals can’t sustain. Wow! (And so glad we weren’t trying to go north.)

Florida is quite the contrast to Georgia. Lots more money. Lots. The East Coast Greenway route took us down the coast, so start with normal beach towns. Then ramp it up and up and up some more as you hit Ponte Vedra Beach. We took the residential road one block in from the beach that ran for miles, and the estimates for the value of these mansions kept rising — a million or two dollars at a time. All ginormous. As for their beauty, well, it’s a matter of taste. One rider called it F-you money. As for me, I wondered how many of them take advantage of taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance. Not that they would see it as a handout, of course. And who does the work maintaining their yards and cleaning their homes?

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Day 3: 72 miles from Jekyll Island to St. Mary’s, Georgia

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Today’s highlights: the Georgia Coast Trail in Woodbine, the “submarine” outside a military base and tagging along with Brent for his talk about the East Coast Greenway to about three dozen people at a meeting of a military officers association in St. Mary’s. Only a few of them may want to get on their bikes, but they certainly could appreciate the dollars from filling around 30 rooms at a locally owned, non-chain motel.

Once again, worries about the weather were unfounded. No rain. We finally got the sun and heat we were expecting (while there’s snow in the forecast at home — glad to be missing that!)

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Day 2: 54 miles from Hinesville to Darien, Georgia, plus 14 miles around Jekyll Island

4467D632-D9F9-421E-8E22-20F22DD78B28The word of the day is lollygagging.

Lollygagging while writing the day’s blog entry, of course. But also lollygagging a bit during the 54 miles we rode during the morning.

Lollygagging, as the Brit learned this morning, is a southern way of saying dawdling. Can I explain that five ways to Sunday?

Today’s biking exceeded expectations. The rain we were expecting to wake up to never materialized. The stretch of Highway 17 turned out to be pretty harmless. And we had a vehicle keeping traffic off our backs while we backtracked a bit from our hotel in Hinesville to get back on the East Coast Greenway

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Day 1: 46 miles from Savannah to Hinesville, Georgia

868732AE-71FF-4999-8DF7-D0E28B806485Take a look at how we’re all dressed in this year’s group photo, taken mid-morning in Savannah: long sleeves all around, and even some tights. So much for the warm southern weather we’d been expecting!

And given that it’s Veterans Day, we took time to call out the four vets in our group:

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