Thursday, December 31, 2009

St. Johns Tour: Final Day, Deltona to New Smyrna

The original plan for the last day (12/29) was to work our way southeast to Titusville, then head north back to New Smyrna. That would have been close to 80 miles.

We woke to a sparkling clear day, but with temperatures in the 30’s and a forecast of north winds. I was pretty beat, and everyone agreed that a late start and a shorter route was a good idea. We therefore took the Maytown road east to the coast, 30 miles, had some lunch, then rode directly into the head-wind back to Harris’ house in New Smyrna.

It was cold, and I was tired, so whenever I could not hide in someone’s draft, I went at a slow, easy pace. At times Harris and Steve charged ahead; at other times they stayed pretty close. For the most part Fred rode with me. The ride turned out to be a shade over 46 miles, taking 3 hours and 25 minutes.

All in all, the trip was fun in spite of periods of challenging weather. We ate well and enjoyed each other’s company, had no bike or mechanical issues of consequence, and no injuries. In retrospect, it went a bit too smoothly for any really good stories, but sometimes that’s ok, too. I consider it a success in that I got Steve to come along, and he pronounced it fun and something he would consider doing again, given the right route.

Here are some more photos:


Above: Top of the bridge leaving Palatka, with Fred and Steve in the foreground, and me, breathing heavily, in the back. Harris is behind the camera.


Above: Me, Fred, and Steve at the turn north into the wind on the last day. I am thinking at this point, “OK, Harris, where the hell is the warm restaurant you promised me?” Turns out it was just a mile or so up the road, complete with life-saving mugs of hot chocolate.

This will be the last picture of my touring bike prior to sending it off to be retrofit with S&S couplers and repainted. Once I get it back I will be able to pack it into an airline-compatible suitcase for easy transport to and from remote tour locations, just the way we do with our tandem. Over several years that should end up saving money and adding considerable convenience.

[Once I get the photos from Fred and Steve, I’ll post the best of them here.]

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