On Wednesday April 8th, we headed for our last stop in Florida – St. Augustine(SA) We left Port Orange (Daytona) around mid morning heading to the local Walmart to stock up on supplies as our fridge and freezer was looking a little baron. After that stop it was a short 1 hour (60 miles) drive up the coast to SA.
We arrived and had set up camp and had lunch by around 2 pm. Kathy was feeling a bit tired from the hot days we had the prior week and today proved to be just as hot, so she had a rest. I always seem to be a little more energetic to explore the new area and find out what I can so I looked at some local tourist maps and embarked on my bike for a tour. SA was 4.5 miles into the town limits so I decided to head in that direction to see what the route was like that we would likely take the next day. I reached the city and decided to continue over to the tourist center to pick up some additional information to help us plan the next day. I was into town and back in about 1 ½ hrs – hot and sweaty! Mission accomplished. Now I knew the lay of the land.
St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. with its founding 450 years ago in 1565. SA is a very quaint, compact and walkable city. On Thursday we set the A/C in the RV for Jazz and headed off on our bikes at around 9 am getting into the town for the crowds started assembling. The day before I had witnessed heavy congestion on the narrow streets with people and traffic congestion. We arrived in around 9:30 and locked up the bikes for the day.
We wondered the streets for a few hours reading plaque after plaque at all the historic buildings and sites. During SA’s 450 years it has been controlled by 4 countries. The Spanish from 1565 when Don Pedro Menendez founded it to 1765. The British controlled it from 1765-1784. The Spanish regained control in 1784 to 1821, when the US took over control until present day.
We walked out of town a little to the famed “fountain of youth” that has been traced back to Juan Ponce de Leon who landed in this vicinity in 1513. We didn’t go into this archaeological finding as the entrance was $15 each and another $7 or 8 for a “sip” of the magical water. Back to town we went. After a few hot hours walking the streets of SA, it was time for some lunch and hydration at the Mill Top Inn under some large shady trees and a nice breeze coming off the Matanzas Bay. After lunch we toured some of the narrower streets that are only for pedestrians checking out a few shops but knowing we couldn’t really carry too much on the bikes, we didn’t buy anything.
After a few more history lessons we decided we had seen everything we wanted and headed back to camp arriving back around 3 pm. Luckily the park we were in was nicely shaded so we could chill out for a the balance of the day outside. We enjoyed a small pork roast from the BBQ that night as we prepared to break camp on Friday morning for Savannah GA., where we would meet up with Kathy’s brother Wayne (and Lynn) who we had seen back in Ft. Myers in March.
Off to the “Peach state”………