Lakeland / St. Petes / Okeechobee MX / Vero Beach : Jan 16-20 |
Dusk has arrived the same time I enter St. Augustine. Which is perfect because it will be easy to find a place to stay around here.
I pass through South St. Augustine and note a string of motels so that means I can expore the downtown before settling on a place to stay.
The historic downtown is right over this bridge.
On the other side is this impressive palm tree garden park, and nicely lit up.
Along the coast is that famous fort we've all heard about. Castillo de San Marcos. From the time the Spanish ruled Florida 400 years ago.
Here I am, with the fort in the background.
Across from the entrance to the Castillo de San Marcos fort is the riverside drive (A1A or Business US 1).
I take advantage of motorcycle parking to get a closer look at the fort.
At night, the city is lit up quite impressively I find, here we are looking into the historic downtown section.
And a park downtown has trees that are lit up like a Christmas tree. Quite romantic.
Another view that tells you just how impressive this park is.
I decide it's time to head back over the bridge to South S. Augustine to find a place to stay.
Traffic is backed up going over the bridge. Must be drawn to let some watercraft through. At least I'm not in any rush.
As far as hotels, I have lots of choices, so I settle on the Scottish Inn which looks clean and decent enough. Only $40 a night here, cheaper than Vero Beach last night where I paid $60.
Next, time for dinner. So far I've been dining on the cheap at crappy places like Subway so it's time to splurge and settle on a decent Seafood restaurant. I settle on the Blackfly Restaurant, which served a decent Mahi Mahi fish, and a sumptuous banana desert. I spent more there than I might well have on food up to this date on my motorcycle trip but it was well worth it. Gotta splurge once I figure.
The next morning, I'm greeted to a beautiful day and I get an early start.
Time to check out the sights in the historic downtown once again, so here's the view once you cross the bridge from the south.
Now here's an impressive castle like structure. I love how I can park my bike on the criss-cross white patterns on the street for a quick photo.
And the Lightner Museum. I'm not much for museums, so I'm quite content just to get a picture from outside.
Now here's a classic Spanish style archicture, typical of the city.
As I end up back where that castle is, I spot a chocolate brown garbage truck.
The thing I love about my bike, is that I can get back on it in a flash and follow such activities.
I follow the truck down a side street, and yup, looks like the sanitation workers are making quick work of things, keeping the city clean.
One of the side-streets is nicely cobblestoned, that goes well with the historic houses that line the street.
Back once again to look at the fort.
Then I spot one of the small parking enforcement vehicles the city has. That's pretty smart.
Wow, seen a lot already and it's not even 9:00am. Here I am, about to cross a causeway over the Tolomato River.
Now A1A becomes pretty empty once again, passing through mangrove swampland.
Wow, looks like you could really got lost in there, maybe find something that can eat you alive.
The mangroves stretch for miles, and eventually I reach civilization again, with large overlooming trees.
We're actually not far from the big city of Jacksonville here. Hard to believe. Turns out A1A is an excellent choice to go up the coast because you completely miss the city, which is to your west. It's US 1 that goes through it.
I pass by Atlantic Motosports in Atlantic Beach and a lightbulb goes on in my head. It's been a while since I last changed the oil filter so that would be a great place to do it. I just hope they have a filter for my MZ. Now my MZ has the Yamaha XTZ 600, or 660 Raptor engine, so by that token, the oil filter isn't too hard to find.
Well not only did this place have the right filter for me, Kirt the owner used to sell MZs! Now I've been to MZ Miami in 2011 but that was a planned event; this I just stumbled across! Kirt was impressed to see one, he gave me a private tour upstairs to show me some neat stuff but now I can't remember what.
Kirt went on explain those Yahama engines are basically bullet proof and made by a company in Italy. They made such a great engine, that Yamaha wanted to use it in some of their bikes. So, it turns out MZ wanted the same thing, and I always thought the engine in my bike was made in Japan. MZ did go through Yamaha to get the engines, but they were made in Italy. That makes my bike more European that I originally thought. MZs were made in Zschopau, Germany (Motorrad Zschopau).
I get my filter changed in short order, and a short ways down the road, I spot a sign for a ferry. I didn't expect to need to take a Ferry to stay on A1A but sure enough it's up ahead.
What's on the other side of the St. John's River? click here to find out.