Ride the USA-Day 15: Kennedy Space Center

Monday, June 8—Jupiter, FL to St Augustine, FL

Yesterday, somewhere along the Everglades, I rode to the southernmost point in my route plan. It felt good to finally turn just short of Miami, head north, and have the sun on my back. I believe the intense sun on my face this past week, along with higher humidity, have made the ride much more tiring. This morning I felt refreshed. As I cruised off of I95 and onto highway 713 at North Fort Pierce, I looked ahead at what appeared to be a dust storm. I barely noticed Bob Dylan’s A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall playing on my stereo as I tried to figure out what was ahead of me. Then a drop of rain hit me, and then another, and then the sky emptied. What had looked like a dust storm was the reflection of the sun on small droplets of water pounding off the hot pavement. The rain didn’t last long, and I just stuck my head to the left outside the protection of my windshield and the breeze dried off my sunglasses.

Melbourne Beach

Melbourne Beach

Dwan Boudreau of Tillman's Barbershop, Cocoa Beach

Dwan Boudreau of Tillman’s Barbershop, Cocoa Beach

Shuttle Atlantis

Shuttle Atlantis

Phil, MJ, and Lee

Phil, MJ, and Lee

Jay

Jay

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

Riding north on highway 60 I noticed an LA Fitness shop. It seemed out of place until I noticed that the beautiful people were out and about in Vero Beach. For a moment I thought I was in LA.

I was hoping to get a view of the Atlantic Ocean as I turned north onto highway A1A. Dense trees fenced me in between both the ocean and inland waterway sides of the road. All I could see were the gates to one exclusive condominium complex after another. They just kept coming for miles.

The bridge overpassing Sebastian Inlet finally revealed an expansive waterway to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. It is a beautiful area, especially for water enthusiasts. Farther north at Melbourne the condominium complexes were replaced by individual homes, still blocking anything but a sliver of a view of the ocean.

Riding through Cocoa Beach I passed one barbershop, then another, and then it occurred to me that I hadn’t had a haircut in over two weeks. I saw a sign for Supercuts, and pulled into the shopping center thinking it a safe place in unknown territory to get a haircut. I rode around twice and couldn’t spot the Supercuts store. But I did find Tillman’s Barbershop and went in for a quick #2/#3.5 cut. Dwan Boudreaux, originally from south of New Orleans, cut my hair. We talked about my ride, shared some stories about Louisiana, and she told me a bit about Cocoa Beach and the surfing that takes place here.

My main stop for the day was Kennedy Space Center. It was fascinating…an attraction I highly recommend. You can take a bus tour of the complex, including the launch pads at Cape Canaveral. There is a lot more activity going on at the Cape than you might think. NASA is working on a new space initiative that will propel man into space on a two-year journey to Mars. SpaceX and Boeing are leasing space at the Cape for commercial operations independent of and in coordination with NASA.

I met Phil, Lee, and MJ there. They are from Australia, and this is there second time visiting the States. The first time they bought Harley-Davidson Fat Boys and rode from Florida to New England, and then cut the country diagonally along Route 66 to southern California. Phil even has a Route 66 tattoo on his left front shoulder. This trip they purchased larger bikes similar to mine, and are riding all over the US. I found it interesting that they don’t pack rain gear.

I also met Jay from San Francisco at the Space Center. We shared some thoughts about the Giants, and many concerns about what’s been happening with the 49ers during the off-season.

I made a quick run around the outside of Daytona International Speedway, as it was only a couple of miles off of I95. It is a much bigger place than I’d imagined, and is undergoing major renovations. Just riding around it made me want to come back for the Daytona 500 some day.

Route:             1N, 706W, I95N, 713N, 1N, 60E, A1AN, 528W, 3N, 405E, I95N, 600, i95N
Miles Today:         264
Time Today:         10:00
Total Trip Miles:   4,875
Weather:              Partly cloudy mid 80’s to low 90s
Lunch:                  Kennedy Space Center
Lodging:               B/W St. Augustine I-95
Dinner:                  Ruby Tuesday

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