A1A, beachfront avenue!

By aaron.axvig, Wed, 09/18/2013 - 23:00

I headed south on Florida State Road A1A ,and if I knew any other words to the Vanilla Ice tune it would have been nice but I was stuck just thinking, "A1A, beachfront avenue!" all day. The lyrics are no lie though--the road pretty much follows the beach for a decent amount of what I have driven so far.

First I stopped about 25 miles south of St. Augustine because the waves looked really big, I couldn't see the beach itself from the road, and there were walkways down to the beach about every 1/3 mile. So I pulled into the sandy area next to the road by one of the walkways (opposite side of my southbound lane) and immediately saw a sign, "No driving on dunes and vegetation." Looking down, I saw some tire tracks where I was, but it seemed like maybe I shouldn't park there. I looked back up just in time to see a cop pull up in my mirror with his lights on. "What the heck are you doing on this side of the road?" he asked. "I just pulled off and now I see the sign and I'm guessing it means don't park on this side at all?" I said. It was true and he took off. If they would make the signs face a direction other than straight south I would have been able to see that before I stopped. Or maybe my pseudo U-turn wasn't exactly legal. Anyways, it was a good bit of excitement. I parked across the road and walked to the beach. The waves weren't as big as they had seemed from the road (15 feet higher).

Then I got to Daytona Beach. Walter had been quite insistent that I drive on the beach though I was leery of how well that would work. Some reading I did indicated that the sand was pretty well packed so I was going to try it. Unfortunately all the ramps to the beach were closed when I arrived because the tide was up. At this point a decent rain storm was developing so I decided to stay dry and had lunch. After lunch the ramps were open so down I went. I rode 5 miles to the north. Keeping control wasn't really a problem, so yes the sand is quite firm. It was pretty early on a weekday so not many people were out but I bet that is quite the deal on a summer weekend.

From there I headed south on the real road again. I zipped down to Kennedy Space Center but got there around 3:00 and realized that I wouldn't have enough time to really enjoy it. So with that thought, and in addition the words of a few people who keep urging me to take my time and enjoy the area as this trip is a very unique opportunity for me, I decided I would camp nearby and then for most of tomorrow I can fiddle around KSC.

I got a campsite 100 yards from the water and out my tent door I can see the Vehicle Assembly Building at KSC and a couple other things. I think that is pretty awesome! It is about 10 miles away. Since it was pretty early when I set up camp, I had time to go for a swim in the pool. Then I walked down to the water and talked for about an hour to a fisherman. He told me how the local economy was crippled after the Challenger disaster ("former NASA engineers were looking for jobs at the 7-11") which I did not know, how I had missed a 3:00 AM missile launch the previous morning from the nearby AFB, and how his dad died of a heart attack in the Apollo 11 capsule (tall tale alarms were going off on that one, but maybe). Anyways, he was fishing with a rod and reel and caught a small catfish while I was watching, but he also taught me how to use a casting net to catch the surface fish. I think they were called mullets, and they are vegetarian I guess and jump out of the water a lot.