Monday, April 29, 2013

Atlantic Coast of Florida

From Greenville Florida, we road east to Madison.   Madison is a charming little town and the county seat of Madison County, the poorest county in Florida.  In the town park is the Four Freedoms Statue based on the four freedoms described by FDR,  freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.   Leaving Madison County, we crossed the Swannee  River and rode through the rural countryside, far removed from the bustling coastal towns and cities further south.  Along the way we passed many very nice homes and many which were in a pathetic state of disrepair.  The contrast was startling.  There were also many abandon old houses and cabins such as the two shown below. 

Four Freedoms Monument, Madison Florida
Swanee River
Rural Northern Florida 
Abandoned Cabin East of Tallahassee
Abandoned Cabin East of Tallahassee
Rural Farm East of Tallahassee
Central Plaza in Gainesville Honoring Bo Diddley
We spent one night in White Springs and one night in High Springs, which is a popular scuba diving area.  Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore either.  In Gainesville we stayed in the Hampton Inn in downtown across the street from the central park.  We were surprised at the number of people at the open air farmers market who appeared to be stuck in a 1960s time warp.  It was reminiscent of Berkley in the 60s. 

Spanish Moss on Trees East of Gainesville
From Gainesville we rode through a number of swampy areas with lots of cypress trees and Spanish Moss.  Our hotel in Palatka was on the St. Johns River and we enjoyed relaxing on a deck overlooking the river.  From Palatka we rode to St. Augustine, arriving on the hottest day yet on the trip with the temperature approaching 90F.  Having completed the cross-country portion of the trip, we took some pictures in front of the city hall and had a great lunch at a Greek restaurant.  That evening we explored the city on foot, had a celebratory dinner at the Columbia Restaurant, and walked along the outside walls of Castillo de San Marcos.  The next day we took a sightseeing tram around the city and toured Castillo de San Marcos, Flagler University, and Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church.  Henry Flagler was a founder of Standard Oil with John D.
Arriving in St. Augustine
Rockefeller.   He was instrumental in extending the railroad to St. Augustine and building a luxurious hotel, now the site of Flagler College. 

Castillo de San Marcos at Dusk
Flagler College

High Seas and Strong Winds at Jacksonville Beach
Sunday we headed north along the coast past massive mansions overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  We had planned to spend one night in Jacksonville Beach but rain and 30 mph winds force us to stay a second night.  Tuesday our destination was Callahan FL, about 25 inland from Fernandina Beach.  We rode north through the beach communities, took the ferry at Mayport across the St. Johns River and headed inland.  In Yulee at the intersection with I 95 we decided to spend the night at a Best Western, rather than continue to Callahan to another no name hotel with no non-smoking rooms.  From Yulee we rode through Callahan, took ACA’s Okefenokee alternate route, entered Georgia, rode past St. George, and into the Okefenokee Wild Life Refuge visitors center, where we saw our first alligator.  We spent the night in Folkston and had a short 30 mile ride to Nahunta on Thursday.

Ferry Across the St. John's River

After enjoying the wide shoulders on most of the Florida roads, entering Georgia, where there are minimal or no shoulders, even on the roads with heavy truck traffic, was a bit of a shock.  So far, so good.  

1 comment:

  1. Wow De Jevu, the same cities and the Columbia in Saint Augustine is a great treat. Did you have a Mojito? I am so happy you are having a fantastic adventure. I am so jealous. Wish I was with you two.