November 26 - St. Augustine, Florida

We are in the hostel in St. Augustine. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America. We had a very easy ride of only 60 miles with a stiff tailwind on utterly flat roads. It only got up to about 60 degrees today, and it was in the 40s when we set out. I had to dig out my gloves and a layer of fleece.

We went around the north fringes of Jacksonville, to get to the beach, and then went down the shore for the rest of the day. The morning took us through an industrial area where we shared the road with a lot of dump trucks and garbage trucks. There is a big nuke plant that dominates the horizon for miles.

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After the nuke plant you ride along tidal marshes along the St. James river. There are shrimp boats. They sell the shrimp by the dock for food or bait.

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We took a ferry over the river. We had to wait while giant ocean-going container ships went up and down the river.

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At last, we got to the beach and headed south. Tour2004-10 004 (197K)

As you get farther out from Jacksonville, the beach houses start as nice bungalows and gradually get bigger until you are riding by giant gated mansions. Then all the houses stop and for about 20 miles there is an undeveloped state park. After the state park, there are condos and rental cottages until you get to St. Augustine, which is a very nice city.

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St. Augustine is the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America. It was a Spanish colony founded in 1565. The oldest structue is the Castillo de San Marcos, which is a big fort guarding the harbor. It was started in 1672, because the Spanish were worried about being invaded by the British colonies to the north.

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As we always do when we can because we are cheap, we are staying at the hostel. The Pirate Haus Inn and Hostel is right next to the historic district.

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The historic district is the "Spanish Colonial District". There are a number of buildings from the early 1700s, along with newer buildings made to look like they are that old.

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Almost all of these buildings are shops. Since today is the day after Thanksgiving, the Spanish Colonial District was overrun. Some of the shops have stuff you can't get at the mall, though, like coats of armor and swords.

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Here is a genuine really old building. It's the oldest schoolhouse in Florida, the sign says, but it doesn't say how old.

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We had two missions. One was to find a belt, so my only pants that are not bike pants would stop falling down. I've lost weight. Jim was getting annoyed by the butt crack. The other mission was to eat. We found a really nice Mexican restaraunt, and as a bonus, they have the margaritas the way they ought to be, in a jet spray machine. Just like at the long gone but not forgotten Mencken's Cultured Pearl Cafe in Baltimore.

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Here is the route for today. The elevation graph might look hilly, but if you look close you see the highest point for today was 40 feet.

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