Monday, March 14, 2022

Spring Break 2022 Bike Tour Day 2 - Palatka to Gainesville

 It was a super easy 50 mile ride today. The roads were mostly flat, and there was a light tailwind. It took us a little over 5 hours with a stop for lunch.

It was freezing outside, literally 32 degrees, when we woke up, but we dawdled around the hotel until 10:30. By then the temperature was up to 40. Which is no big deal for us, we have been riding all winter in the 40s. We were prepared.

"There is no such thing as bad biking weather, only inappropriate biking attire."

The first 30 miles, to Hawthorne, was on State Route 20, a divided highway. This was a mixed bag. There was about 5 miles where we had to ride on a fairly narrow shoulder with rough pavement and a 65 mph speed limit. This was really bad, although traffic was light. It was Sunday morning.

But 20 is being turned into a beautiful new bigger divided highway with huge smooth shoulders and a bike lane. Where that transformation had occurred, it was really great. Most of the way was construction though, where you get to squeeze past plastic barrels with two way traffic.

But we had a few miles of the all time BEST CASE SCENARIO, where we rode on a brand new, just-finished highway that was not open to traffic yet. Win win win. 

Lunch was at PJ's Cafe, which was the only choice other than fast food. It was very run of the mill. Definitely not great. 

After Hawthorne, it was bike trail all the way to Gainesville.

And it was a really great bike trail, through forest and swamp the whole way. Gorgeous for nearly 20 miles. No potato farms.

My bike was claimed by a frog during one of our breaks though.

Our lodging for the evening was the Sweetwater Branch Inn, a bed and breakfast. The inn is actually a compound with a couple big Victorian houses, and many scattered cottages. 

And a pool and a hot tub.

Debra chose this place. And she didn't even stay here overnight, she left for Tallahassee right after dinner, so she could get right to work at her AirBnb there first thing tomorrow morning.

"Why did you get this fancy place if you are going to Tallahassee?"
"You will have plenty of opportunity to stay at the Motel 6 when I am not here."

We did have a nice afternoon soaking in the hot tub.

The sign in our cottage says this was originally the Union Academy, a school run by the Freedman's Bureau after the Civil War. The sign says many of the freed slaves who formed the community around the school moved here from the vicinity of Camden, South Carolina. It occurs to me they could have been enslaved by Civil War diarist Mary Boykin Chesnut.

We walked to downtown for dinner, at the Mojo Hogtown BBQ. The food here was pretty good, when it happened to be what we ordered and was actually hot. 

I can't believe how every restaurant we've visited here has been a disappointment. 

Here is the Strava page for today's ride.


1 comment:

Nick said...

Hope your ride today is smooth sailing