Day 49: Palatka, Florida, to St. Augustine, Florida

Last Coca-Cola of the trip. Maybe ever. (Thanks to Barbara for a bunch of these photos!)

Well, that’s it. At a little before noon today, we walked our bikes onto the beach at Anastasia State Park, doused each other in celebratory Coca-Cola, and just like that, our 49-day bike ride became something we did, and not something we’re doing. Maybe tomorrow I will realize it’s over, but I haven’t quite processed it yet.

Tony put together a very special playlist for our short ride into St. Augustine today, including:

  • The A-Team Theme
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Hold On – Wilson Phillips
  • We Built This City – Starship
  • Kickstart My Heart – Motley Crue
  • Blackened – Metallica
  • Angelf&#% – The Misfits
  • King Of The Road – Roger Miller

We flew down Highway 207 all the way here, and were welcomed by a screaming woman wearing a Big City Mountaineers T-shirt about a block before we were to ride over the Bridge of Lions. Barbara Bain and her daughter Alli had driven down from Jacksonville to greet us and escort us to the beach. We biked a short few miles on A1A and rolled onto sand, took some photos, and turned around and rode to A1A Cycle Works to drop off our bikes for shipment.

Now I’m off my bike. Which means I lived through the bike ride of my life.

Then I ate a 32-ounce jar of mayonnaise to fulfill a fundraising obligation. Graphic 25-minute video forthcoming.

And, as it would turn out, the man who founded Big City Mountaineers, Jim Kern, happens to live in St. Augustine. And he wanted to take us out for dinner. Jim had the idea to take an inner-city teen from Miami on a backpacking trip 21 years ago, and that’s blossomed into an office full of people in Denver (and a few folks in San Leandro, CA, Chicago and Portland) helping about 200 kids this summer. Tony had already taken off for Jacksonville so he could make his early flight tomorrow, but Nick and I had a great time with Jim. The best way to get to the restaurant was via the Intracoastal Waterway, and when you’ve been traveling at 12 mph for a month and a half, a boat ride is a total blast.

We continue to have donations coming in, and will be over $19,000 as soon as we tally the last few donations. And Tony ponies up his matching donation for my heroic mayonnaise eating.

I don’t know what happens from here, but I know tomorrow, I’m sleeping in. And not putting chamois butter on my ass. And not stuffing myself at breakfast. And not putting on a pair of bike shorts. I’ll probably go to a coffee shop in St. Augustine, sit down with a pen and paper, and try to figure out what I really did these past two months.

That's the kind of enthusiasm we're looking for! Where was this guy when we were in west Texas?

Barbara Bain: Doing heroic things for at-risk urban teens since summer 2009.

Our team on King Street in downtown St. Augustine.

Jim showing us a good time in St. Augustine.


-Brendan

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39 responses to “Day 49: Palatka, Florida, to St. Augustine, Florida

  1. Yayayayaya!!! I’m so proud of you! What amazing thing you have accomplished. I am sure it is something that will resonate throughout the rest of your life. I’m so excited you’ll be home soon. Well done. Now instead of missing you I will miss your blog.

  2. I notice “I want to ride my bicycle” by Queen is conspicuously absent from your playlist. Way to go! I never told you before (or maybe I did; I’m old and forget shit), but you have always inspired me and played no small part in helping me be a healthier person and more than likely added quite a few years to my life. Keep inspiring, my friend.

  3. Bonnie Collins

    Way to Go MEN!!!! Now I am waiting for the book to follow from this adventure!!!

  4. You guys are incredible! I’ve followed your blog every day and am so impressed by all that you’ve accomplished. Way to go!!

  5. Hey B – nice work. I’m smiling for you.

  6. What an accomplishment. Now you can let it sink in. With your awesome blogging you have allowed us the privilege of riding along with you vicariously–I can’t believe you’re “already” done! Way to go…now, THE BOOK!

  7. Yo Brendan, way to go!! You guys rock! Hope to see you soon. Rest up and have a safe trip home.

  8. Aaron & Krista

    How lucky are you?? You will have one of the greatest life stories ever. Someday, sitting in a coffee shop as an old man, you can look out the window as people walk by and just smile………just knowing something they don’t. Know what it’s like, what it takes, and how the ride was. No one can take that away from you. Sure look forward to seeing upon your return.

  9. Congrats!!!!!!!!

  10. Now, when you’re sitting around in casual conversations, you can drop the phrase “Well, while I was biking across America” and tell your amazing stories. Well done!

  11. what an amazing feat, and surely it’s not the last! congratulations. let it sink in!

  12. Easy money, eh Brendan?

  13. Congratulations Brendan and Tony!

  14. I just checked, and sure enough, that jersey had white panels when you started, and it looks decidedly grey now… disgusting.

    Very proud of you both, congratulations. Thanks for the reminder of what our country looks like on the ground.

  15. Well done guys!

    Leo, we look forward to your return to Denver.

  16. I can’t believe it’s over! What will I look forward to each night now? SPRING? blah!

  17. Well done! Loved reading every word and thank you for sharing such an awesome adventure will all of us.

  18. Congratulations to you both on a safe adventure and an all-around incredible achievement!! Awesome, and inspiring.

    Brendan… enough with these, how you say, bikes. Wanna go climbing?

    “Life is sweet, Live in the now, Why ration passion?” – Mike Libecki

  19. Congratulations guys! I enjoyed our 2 days in Texas and have really enjoyed the blog posts. Absolutely let it sink in…

  20. Where was East Bound and Down for that last stretch? Brendan your daily logs have been fantastic (except now I will have to find something new to read while on the throne) there’s nothing like enjoying the world on two wheels Congratulations to you both!!!

  21. Congratulations Brendan and Tony. You guys are awesome! How’s the mayo, um, passing if you know what I mean?

    I can’t wait until you get back to Denver so’s we can plan a summer of stupid, dangerous shit.

  22. Congratulations. Thanks for letting us experience this epic journey across America with you (but without all the sore muscles, heel pains, and funky tan lines.) Y’all rock.

  23. Congratulations to you guys coming all the way from sunny Scotland on the other side of the Atlantic! Really enjoyed following your trip these last few weeks. Great adventure, brilliant pictures and lots of funny stories very well told. You’ve really made me want to do something similar! Thanks guys and well done!

  24. Congratulations. Both of you have brought so much enjoyment as I have followed your trip. Thank You for the ride

  25. Huge congratulations to you both and to your monster calves!!! You did it and you raised a ton of cash for a wonderful cause. Awesome!

  26. CONGRATS!

    THAT RIDE WAS TRULY FOR AMERICA!!!!

  27. Brendan & Tony–Congrats on reaching your goal–well done!! Thanks for taking the time to go 40 mile out of your way to see us–especially when the finish line was within site. We really enjoyed the visit & I enjoyed the chance to ride with you.
    See you next year for RAGBRAI!!

  28. Way to go, Brendan!! I would love to hear some of your stories about the bike ride and the people you met along the way. We should be seeing you at the Max’s baptism, but maybe I’ll hear some stories through Chad and Meg, too.
    Great job, both of you!1

  29. Congrats to both of you! The amount of money you raised is unbelievable and for a wonderful cause. Now that the blog is done, I think there are alot of us that want to read the book! I really enjoyed following your trip.

  30. Congrats Brendan and Tony! I must admit I’m glad you’re done though!

  31. Great job guys! It’s not everyday you can more than triple your original goal! $6,200.00 to over $19,000.oo is remarkable! Brendan, you and Tony have not only ridden a bunch of miles but have succeeded in providing a great number of opportunities for a huge number of kids. I’m sure that it feels good to be finished and you are both looking forward to getting back to normal.
    Congratulations to both of you , enjoy the memories and tell your stories often.

  32. Well if eating a jar of mayo ain’t the period at the end of a sentence, I don’t know what is.

  33. Done…Done…wow! What an adventure you have taken us on. This was amazing-both the ride and your final $$ total! Waiting for the book and the movie or maybe TV series. Congrats and safe travel home Brendan and Tony πŸ™‚

  34. Congratulations Brendan and Tony! Have a safe trip home and thanks for sharing the trip.
    Aunt Sheila

  35. Tony, Brendan, oustanding performance. I have truly enjoyed living vicariously through you two and your blogs. Wonderful, big hearts you two.

  36. Awesome job guys!!

  37. M. John & Gay Fayhee

    Congrats, gents! Bueno effort!
    Now: Enough playing around β€” GET BACK TO WORK!!!

  38. Congratulations Brendan and Tony!!

    Enjoyed every post. Can’t wait till your northern tier blog starts. Any idea when that will be? πŸ™‚

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