What a tough day! Tim and I left before 8:30 AM and did not make it to Vero Beach until after 5:30 PM. We rode 78 miles into a 19 mph wind for most of the day. It was definitely one of our most difficult rides. Well, anyway, here are the photos I took on the ride today.
When I was a kid walking to school in the morning with Mark, whenever it was really windy, I would wish for a glass half dome to come down over Drexel Hill and block out all of the wind. That’s what I was wishing for today. It would have made today’s ride much easier.
Tomorrow’s ride is about 55 miles, and the winds are predicted to be 17 mph, in our faces again. So we’re going to try to leave early, since the winds pick up in velocity as the day progresses.
Tim and I got an early start this morning, leaving at around 8:15 a.m., and riding through the southern end of Ormond Beach into Daytona Beach. Shortly into Daytona Beach, we left A1A and went over a bridge and onto U.S. 1 South. We stayed on U.S. 1 for most of the ride today. Believe it or not, there were some grades we had to climb. I wouldn’t call them hills per se, but the entire ride was not flat, the way it was our first two days. Here are some of the photos I took today.
Tomorrow we bike to Vero Beach, which will be almost an 80 mile ride. Tim thinks we’re going to have a head wind – I really hope not!
On Friday morning 2/28/2020, Tim and I started riding from Jacksonville to St. Augustine, FL It was on the cool side when we left, about 37 degrees F, but I was prepared and dresses appropriately. I had assembled my bike the afternoon before in the room at the Hampton Inn. I got everything right, but somehow I criss-crossed the cables for the gears and was not actually able to shift any gears at all. But fortunately it was flat and we at least didn’t have any wind in our faces, so it was OK. We made it to our hotel around 2:15 p.m. It was the Casa Monica Hotel in St. Augustine, FL, and it was built in 1887. But it was really really nice. Here is a photo of what it looked like from the parking lot.
From inside the hotel, especially from the pool, the hotel reminded me of the French Foreign Legion fort in the 1939 movie Beau Geste. All that was missing was the French flag. Here is a photo in the stairwell of the hotel. I really like this picture because the moon is not full – in movies and TV shows and most pictures, the moon is always full, so I really liked this picture.
After getting to the hotel, Tim and I drove to Island Bike Shop at St. Augustine Beach, where in about 2 minutes, the bike mechanic diagnosed and fixed my gear problem.
The ride today was, as a result, much easier. The entire ride was on A1A South, so there was no chance of getting lost. We only stopped twice, and the first time was at Fort Matanzas, an old Spanish fort that was constructed in 1740. We didn’t take the short ferry ride to the fort – so we just took some photos from the National Park we entered right off of A1A. Here is a view of the fort.
The next time we stopped was at Flagler Beach, where the colors of the beach and the Atlantic Ocean were very striking. Here are two photos I took at Flagler Beach, where Tim and I sat at a picnic bench and ate the excellent sandwiches that Nancy made for us. Today they were turkey and cheese, much better than the peanut butter and jelly we ate on the ride yesterday, since it was the first day of Lent.
We made it to our hotel in Ormond Beach at 1:15 p.m. and had to wait until 2 p.m to check in. So Tim and I sat at the hotel pool reading while Nancy and Beth made a run to a local Wallmart. Once they were back, we showered, went to the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Brendan the Navigator Church in Ormond Beach, and then went to dinner at the Black Sheep Pub, also in Ormond Beach. Then it was back to our hotel for a refresher course in blogging from Beth.
We had 75 miles of riding today and we wanted to make the 4:30 PM mass near our hotel in Windsor Locks, so we were on the road by about 7:30 a.m. I think today’s ride was not the hardest, but very close to it. We had about 3700 feet of ascending and close to that in descending, and after a while, that can get old. We passed one Civil War statue today, as we have almost every day, but today we stopped for a photo. We passed close to a dozen small towns, and about half of them had small cemeteries. The other memorable part of today’s ride was all of the motorcycles. I would guess Tim and I were passed by close to 3 dozen motorcycles during our ride.
We made it to our hotel by 3 pm exactly, after which we showered and then headed to Beth’s room for our daily end of the ride beers and snacks.
Having Nancy along was really nice, and the daily lunches she packed for Tim and me were fantastic!
Tim and I got a fairly early start and passed through Lowell first. The really nice aspect of the ride today was that we were on three different bike trails, all of which were beautiful and well maintained. I used my phone and Google bike maps for directions, which worked great. I’m not sure we will ever just rely on the Adventure Cycling Association maps again, since Google maps have been working so well. We only rode about 47 miles today, and made it to our hotel by 1 pm, another nice aspect of today’s ride. I managed to take a few photos today and here they are. I think these photos were taken on the first bike trail.
As usual, Tim, Beth and I head to the pool and the hot tub after checking into the hotel. Tonight we again are dinner at our hotel, which is where I took this photo.
Tomorrow we head to Windsor Locks for our last ride of this leg. It’s a 77 mile ride and will probably take us a good 8 hours.
Tim and I biked much of the day in the rain, but at least it wasn’t overly hilly. At one point, though, it was raining so hard that it was difficult to see. Fortunately we were on a bike path at that point. Because of all the rain today, neither Tim nor I took any pictures during the ride.
We left our hotel by 8:30 a.m., stopped in Freeport for Tim to get his bike fixed, and then continued on to Kennebunkport, passing through Portland along the way. We used Google maps today, instead of the ACA maps, which really paid off! We made it to Kennebunkport shortly after 3 pm, at which point I took a quick shower, and then walked to the First Families Museum in Kennebunkport. After a few drinks at the bar, we took naps, and then went to dinner at a restaurant called the Boathouse.
Then after dinner, we returned to the bar at our hotel (The Kennebunkport Inn) for some nightcaps. Here is a photo from the bar.
Tomorrow we have a 7.5 hour ride to Tyngsborough, MA. Wish us luck!
Starting at our hotel near the Louvre, we first visited Sainte-Chapelle built between 1242 and 1248 by Loius IX to house the relics of the passion of Christ, including the Crown of Thorns. From there we walked to the Cathedral de Notre Dame, impressive for its size. The most interesting thing we did was Crypte Archeologique, which told the history of the city of Paris by means of the archeological excavations near the site of the Cathedral and its environs. After a lunch at Saint Jacques cafe, Tim found his France pin for his bike saddle bag, and then we walked to Jardin des Tuileries, the gardens behind the Louvre museum. We had coffee there along with chocolate tarts, and Beth went back to the hotel. Earlier she had fallen, not too long after we had started out, and she wanted to get cleaned up and relax a bit. Tim, Mark and I made the deceptively long walk to the Arc de Triomphe, after which we returned to the hotel. In all we walked 10 miles today, and it feels like it!
The upper chamber of Sainte-Chappelle.
Standing outside the Cathedral de Notre Dame.
The stained glass windows of Saint Severin, which we visited right after lunch. They are notable for their differences with traditional stained glass windows.
Tim, Mark and I standing on Pont Neuf with the Eiffel Tower in the far background. I am glad we didn’t try to walk there!
Tim and I standing inside the Arc de Triomphe.
The right side of the Arc de Triomphe facing toward the Champes des Lices.
A final photo of the Arc de Triomphe before making the long walk back to our hotel.
This was our busiest day yet, with bike riding, site seeing, and traveling. We rode in Orleans and along the Loire for about 90 minutes in the early morning, returned the bikes, walked back to our hotel and had a second breakfast, checked out and then drove to Chartes for a visit to the really impressive Cathedral there. Afterward we drove to Versailles to visit the gardens and the grounds, and then drove to Charles de Gaulle airport to return the rental car. After that, we took a taxi to our hotel in Paris, checked in, and then went to dinner. And now I will share the pictures of the day.
Stopping for a photo at a church on the Loire outside of Orleans.
Mark standing by our rental bikes as we returned them back in Orleans.
The front face of Cathedral de Chartres, built in its current image in 1194 A.D.
Stained glass windows at Cathedral de Chartres. All of the stained glass were removed in both world wars to protect them from bombing damage.
The altar with more stained glass windows at Cathedral de Chartres.
View of the vaulted ceilings in the Cathedral de Chartres. The organist played ecclesiastical music for most of our visit.
After a very pleasant and tasty lunch in an outdoor cafe right outside of the Cathedral de Chartres, we made the hour long drive to Versailles.
Standing outside the gilded gate at the entrance to Versailles.
View of the reflecting pool in the rear of Versailles.
Tomorrow we plan to do normal tourist activities in the Louvre section of Paris, which is where we are staying.
Today’s ride was not overly strenuous – it was a mix of two lane roads with cars, farm roads with almost no traffic of any kind, and bike paths. We left our hotel shortly after 8 AM so that we could get to Chateau de Chambord shortly after 9 AM, which was when it opened, and we accomplished that. Here are some photos of Chateau de Chambord, another creation of Francoise I, which he had constructed from 1529 to 1549, and mainly used to hunt on the grounds and to impress his visitors, including the Holy Roman emperor.
On the way into Chateau de Chambord.
One of the ceramic stoves used to heat the Chateau.
King Louis XIV, one of the Chateau’s occupants.
A view of the gardens from the rear of the Chateau.
The church at Chateau de Chambord, which I entered while mass was in progress for the feast of the Assumption. I only stayed for the gospel. Does that count?
After a lunch of coffee and a tomato and cheese baggett (which was excellent), we left to ride to Orleans. On the way, we stopped at Clery- Saint Andre, where there is a Basilica de Notre Dame de Clery, which is where the tomb of Louis XII is located, along with the heart of Charles VIII. Here are some photos of the Basilica.
Some of the beers we drank after getting to our hotel in Orleans.
After a shower and a nap, we walked into the restaurant district of Orleans and had wine, more beer, and a nice dinner.
At dinner in Orleans.
We walked back to our hotel along a running trail, marked with this symbol.
Two photos of de Vinci’s last residence, now the site of a museum about him.
It was a little difficult getting out of Tours due to some construction on the bridge that Google Maps wanted us to use to cross over the Loire. But once we got past that, it was pretty smooth sailing on a mix of asphalt farm roads and two lane highways. We made it to Amboise around 11:30 a.m., where we toured the Leonardo de Vinci museum, the last place that he lived and worked in before he died. Here are some photos of the museum.
His workshop and laboratory were the most interesting part of the museum.
A copy of one of de Vinci’s masterpieces.
After touring the museum we went back down to Amboise and met up with Beth, and had lunch right outside the Chateau de Amboise. Here are some photos we took at lunch.
This lunch was excellent!
Beth and me at lunch. Please don’t tag Beth if you put this photo on Facebook – thanks!
Beth then visited the Chateau de Amboise while Mark, Tim and I biked about two more hours to Blois.
Mark and Tim on the road to Blois with the Loire River in the background.
Mark walking along the Loire River on the way to dinner from our hotel.
The outside of the Cathedral de Saint Louis in Blois, which we visited after dinner in Blois.
The interior of the Cathedral de Saint Louis in Blois.
Tomorrow we ride to Orleans after first stopping for a visit at Chateau de Chambord.