Friday, November 21, 2014

Day 80, 81 & 82: So close we can taste it!

Day 80: Wednesday 11/19/14 - This morning we met across 301 from the Texaco where we left off on Monday. It was still chilly, but the sun was shining which made things a little better. The Bradford County Sheriffs came out to escort us for the first little bit. They had a Smart car!!
We left from the Texaco about 11:45 and pedaled about 10 miles over to Keystone Heights where we met the end of the Putnam County "rails to trails" bike trail. Several local cyclists met us there!! Thanks to Kraig McClane for getting the word out and organizing folks to come. Because we were on the trail CJ's GREAT Granny was able to ride with him as well as his two little brothers Corban (6) and Caleb (turned 5 today!). Riding with their GRANNY was a very cool memory maker that these boys will hopefully never forget!
Once we got off the trail we had about 10 more miles to ride into Palatka to the First Assembly parking lot where we were planning to stay the night. We were greeted by the pastor and the local Christian radio hosts!
Wednesday night we were able to go speak to the youth at Southside Baptist Church (Thanks again to Kraig McClane! This is where he goes to church). They also were kind enough to feed us supper! It was great to spend some time together with them. 

Day 81: Thursday 11/20/14 - This morning CJ was scheduled to do an interview on Hope FM the local Christian radio station in Palatka. The morning host, Robin, was awesome and they even made us breakfast! She did a LONG interview and even invited local kids who were on their way to school to stop by and meet CJ. Some kids who had been following stopped by!!
After the radio interview, CJ had been invited to speak in chapel at River Christian Academy at First Assembly. He went over there and they actually had him RIDE his bike into chapel! He did his entire presentation and even got to take some questions from the kids! The group was great! Thanks so much to Pastor Ted and his wife for allowing us to park in your lot and for giving CJ the opportunity to speak!
Around 11:30 Mr. Ray, who rode with us on Wednesday showed us and escorted CJ, via bike, down to the local bike shop and then on to the clock tower at the river front in Palatka. There we were greeted by the Mayor and media as well as a great group of locals!
After a while of talking and answering questions Mr. Ray and another local Tom rode out with us toward Crescent Beach Baptist Church.
Mr Ray rode with us to the county line and Tom continued the entire way. We found out later that day that this was actually the longest ride that Tom had ever done! He rode strong and finished out the entire 25 miles with no problems! Way to go TOM!!
It was exciting to start passing mileage signs for St. Augustine! This was really getting real! When we finished for the day, we were technically already IN St. Augustine, with an extra day to spare, before the big "Finish Celebration" that is happening on Saturday!
When we pulled into the parking lot at Crescent Beach Baptist Church we were greeted by Pastor David and Mrs. Linda. We talked to them for a while before packing everything and everyone back into the bus and heading up to Sprockets Bike Shop in St. Augustine. Caleb's tire was flat and he's riding a 18x1 inch tire so it's not so easy to change. We talked to Brandon there at the shop and he was glad to fix it!
After we dropped off Caleb's little bike we went to meet Granny, Ken, and Nana (Kelly) for Nana's birthday dinner!! After dinner we went back to the church parking lot for a quiet night of sleep!

Day 82: Friday 11/21/14 - Because the big "Finish Celebration" is tomorrow we had to just sit and wait today! So we didn't ride at all but instead went to try to see some of the sights in St. Augustine. Kenadi's mom, Lisa, and her husband, Mike, plus Kenadi's Nana and Papa came into town this morning. We were all glad that they were able to come. It's awesome when divorced parents can get along like rational people!! We are SO thankful to have a good relationship with Lisa and Mike and that they have been supportive in every possible way of this ride! Craig has actually been riding Mike's bike for the majority of this trip! Since they were in town and haven't seen Kenadi in a few months, they of course took her for a well deserved day away from the boys!
The rest of us met Granny and Ken at the fort in St. Augustine to explore. Of course the boys LOVED it! They were so excited to go to the oldest fort in America!
Tonight we are back in the parking lot of Crescent Beach Baptist so that we will be ready to ride those last 8.8 miles in the morning! We are all looking forward to an awesome day tomorrow!!

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