After spending two months traveling at 15mph, car travel is almost surreal. Bestowed upon us was the power to actually pass other cars, to ignore hills, and to actually enjoy a slight breeze. Cycling forces an acute awareness of traffic, hills, wind, visibility, and debris on the shoulder of the road. As our trip has progressed, the acuity of that awareness has gradually slipped into a subconscious resignation of our powerlessness in the face of those elements. A car removes the need for that subconscious resignation, which leaves a strange void in our daily modus operandi. All philosophical waxing aside, exchanging the bicycle pedal for a gas pedal makes life happen at a faster and more convenient pace. However, I am sure that our dear reader doesn't need to be told that cars are convenient machines. This is just a long winded way of saying that I like driving.
We used the rental car to carry us to the movies, where we vegetated in front of the silver screen for nearly 6 hours. We saw Due Date and The Next Three Days, which were thoroughly entertaining even if they weren't Oscar winners. We emerged from the theater after dark, which would normally be a bad thing on a bike. Don't ride at night, kids. Unlike our bikes, our rental car had some blazing headlights, so night travel was no problem. We cruised to a campsite near Jacksonville Beach, where we were greeted by the sounds of dozens of (possibly drunk) neighbors trying to sing a campfire song.
The next day, the rental car took us to St. Augustine. We spent some time crawling around the oldest city in the U.S. St. Augustine is home to a fort made entirely of coquina shells and populated by men dressed in 17th century costumes, which was, for lack of a better word, pretty cool. The fort has stood in its present condition for more than 400 years, despite periods of inclement weather and mortar shells. After touring the fort, we returned to the campsite and made s'mores (a great recovery food).
In an antique shop in St. Augustine
Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine
Sentinel's tower. Again.
One of the cannons in the fort, from the 1750s.
That night, we accidentally left the marshmallows out. A raccoon discovered our marshmallows, ate a few, and slobbered all over the rest. The raccoon also carried Vanessa's bag into the woods, which was impressive because the bag weighed almost 10 pounds. The coon couldn't get inside the bag, though, so the rest of our food was free from the raccoon drool, but he left a few chomp marks.
Unfortunately, our time with the rental car came to an end. We shared our farewells, parted ways with the rental, and began pedaling once again.
In our next episode, your heroes discover headwind, and land at the Hilton on Daytona Beach! Stay tuned!