Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Made it to Washington D.C.

The train station in Jacksonville. Getting ready to box up the BOB.

Dani made some origami out of Taco Bell wrappers while we waited for the train.

Paul gives us some navigation pointers as we leave Union Station

Leaving Union Station

There is the capitol. DC has so many landmarks it is easy to navigate. Just look for that round topped building on the hill, then look for that tall pointy tower that looks like a huge stack of white bricks (Washington Monument).

Dani in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Out of order picture. This is how we hauled the BOB boxes to the train station. The BOB trailer turns any bike into an SUV.

Greg on the hill. Look at me congress people! I know how to ride a bike and I vote. Shazam!

Here is the tall pointy thing I was talking about.

After a 16 hour train ride, we arrived in Washington this morning at around 7:30. We hardly slept at all last night. The Silver Meteor train was very warm, and after being outside at about 40 degrees for so long, it was almost impossible to sleep at the 80 degrees they were keeping the train at. Also, the ride on this route was much rougher, the train bucked and shimmied and wallowed, jerking us awake every time we fell asleep. It seems like the Empire Builder is a much smoother train. Maybe it is just because the tracks out here on the East Coast get beat up much more from all of the freight? Who knows.

Anyway, one sleepless night won't kills us. We are glad to be here. Paul and Diane, Dani's parents, met us at Union Station just in time for us to get all of our baggage. They helped us get our bikes back together and provided some needed food and coffee. Dani and I were determined to ride our bikes from Union station back to Paul and Diane's house in Arlington, so after giving us some very useful biking maps and showing us the way out of the train station, we said goodbye until tonight and rode off into Washington.

Believe it or not, riding in Washington was really fun, and very easy. Everything is set up well for walkers, and this translates into big sidewalks with nice crossings at every intersection. We rode past the capitol building and then paralleled the mall until the Lincoln Memorial. At that point we crossed the Arlington Memorial bridge and found a convoluted intersection to get on the Mt. Vernon trail. Once we were on the trail, we followed it to the Custis trail and that brought us right down into Arlington. We only had to ride about a mile on roads for the whole trip. Who would have guessed that the capitol is so nice for riding?

I am going to link a few videos from the past week that we did not have time upload until now. The biking portion of our trip is officially over, but we will continue blogging from time to time as we figure out some statistics and review all of the material we have from the whole trip.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Last day on the Bikes

Crossing a bridge into downtown Jacksonville

Breakfast at IHOP, writing postcards

The lighthouse in St. Augustine on Anastasia Island

Our last camp site

St. Augustine to Jacksonville
Day 123
53 miles

Total Miles at End of Trip 5,038

Today was our last day of riding. The actual riding was uneventful. We rode along highway 1 which was very straight with no hills at all. It was pretty boring from a scenery or riding standpoint, but we made it to Jacksonville.

When we made it into Jacksonville, we thought we must be close to our hotel, but we were wrong. Jacksonville suffers from the common large American city plague of sprawl. This place is huge and it took us forever to get to the other side of the city. We even found ourselves in a ghetto. A lady in a car asked us what we were doing riding through the area. It was on our bike map, so we didn't know any better. Despite all of that, we made it to our hotel just fine and unloaded all of our gear and relaxed. Our last day of riding brought us to 5,038 miles. Considering I had guessed at the beginning that our trip would total 5,000 miles, I was pretty happy with my guess.

We are going to be packing our gear up for the train tomorrow. The train leaves for DC at 5:30 pm and we are scheduled to arrive in DC at around 8:00 am. We bought bread, brie, and wine for our train trip. It will be a nice little celebration and a chance for reflection.

In the mean time, stay tuned to the blog as we will continue to post some interesting stats, reflections, and other info in the coming days. Thank you all out there in blog world for sticking with us!


Saturday, March 6, 2010

A Photo Journal of Our Day in St. Augustine

Bird in our campground

Flagler college in St. Augustine

British soldier talks to bike cop

Yeah just look at this

Hangin' with the hogs during Daytona bike week

Yeah we can park all fancy along the street too.

Nice buildings in St. Augustine

You think you have an Iron Butt? Try no suspension and a hard leather saddle, not to mention we power ours.

The British stormed the city while we were there, but we survived

Doesn't this look like it could be Europe?

The marina is right in town

Ponce de Leon

St. Augustine tourist day
Day 122
14 miles

Today we decided to take a break from writing as much and just use photos to tell the story of our day in St. Augustine.

Friday, March 5, 2010

We've made it to St. Augustine!

Hello Friends!
We just wanted to let everyone know we have safely made it to St.Augustine Florida as of yesterday afternoon! It also happened to be my (Dani) 23rd birthday. What a celebration! We even have some great photos of us with our bike in the Atlantic Ocean. We will post a more thorough blog of the last several days this evening but as for now we want to take the opportunity of lovely weather to explore the oldest city in America instead of crouching over our netbook for several hours. Please check back for our formal and complete blog entry tonight or tomorrow.

Dani and Greg

Its up! see below

First day in the city. Castillo de San Marcos

Get ready for it! Here is the before picture...

And After! Greg's first haircut since September

Our bikes in downtown St. Augustine

Photo of our last map section for the whole trip

Castillo de San Marcos, here you can see the mote surrounding the fort

Brown Pelican

Greg: "Show me your happy face!"

Coquina walls

City of St. Augustine Coat of Arms

Window looking out from the soldiers' quarters

An undecipherable scratching on the walls of the soldiers' quarters

close up of coquina shell-stone construction

the walls were literally made of shells

Inside the Castillo de San Marcos courtyard

A ranger and Spanish soldier exchange words

A view across the courtyard

The dungeon!

The original city gate to St. Augustine

St. Augustine Florida, Rest and Enjoy


Day 121

12 miles

We took our time waking up this morning and ate snacks while we packed our camp. It was a strange feeling not to have an objective to ride to today. Our only goal is to go into St. Augustine and look around. We also may look for a barber for Greg. It is over three miles from our campground to St. Augustine, so we decided to get some lunch while on Anastasia Island. We stopped at the Gypsy Cab Company restaurant and had a nice meal of baked ziti bolognese and black bean and sweet potato burrito. It was a classy little place with a unique style and good vibes. Afterwords we made our way back into St. Augustine to see the city during the day. Our first stop was at the visitor information center across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos.

We decided that after picking up some wireless to work on blogs we would spend the rest of the day visiting Castillo de San Marcos, an old Spanish fort built to protect the city of St. Augustine when it was just a small colonial village. Construction of the fort was completed in 1695 and has been a stronghold for many different countries, notably Spain and England. The British took control in 1763 in exchange with Spain for La Habana, Cuba. The fort is built of coquina, a hard shell conglomerate rock. This fort is a hallow square with a bastion on each of the four corners. The shape of this fort allows for every angle around to fort to be fired upon by multiple cannons. Greg and I were lucky enough to see a cannon firing demonstration. We were amazed to learn that some of these cannons had a range of three miles! Amazingly, this fort was never once breached in its 315 years. Confederate soldiers even used this fort during the Civil War.

We had a great time touring the site and watched as the shadows grew long over this ancient fort. It was not hard to imagine this city in its infancy during colonialism. I am at a loss as to why we learn about the pilgrims and Jamestown as our country's oldest settlement, when St. Augustine predates these settlements by about 50 years, and is thus the oldest European-colonized city in America.

After our visit to the fort we rode to a barbershop to get Greg's haircut. This is a pretty monumental occasion and Greg has not had a haircut since September and his beard has grown quite large. We ended up at “Seems like Old Time” Barbershop and a nice barber did the honors of trimming up my handsome gentleman. We were impressed by how much hair had accumulated on the floor under Greg. He thought it felt pretty good to get the trim and I think he looks very nice with the new cut.

We rode our bikes back to Anastasia Island looking for a grocery store. We ended up eating dinner on the Island at a little place called Pizza Garden and Pastabilities. We had a delicious deep-dish veggie pizza for dinner. We then rode back in the dark to our campground and slept well after such a fun and interesting day.