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Day 62: So Close I Can Smell It

Just a beautiful day for riding. Left with an expanded group out of Gainesville this morning with the arrival of Casey late last night. He and his wife Lynn drove all the way down from Raleigh, NC in one straight shot and got to Gainesville sometime after midnight but Casey was his bright and cheery self this morning for the ride. Great having him back for the last couple of days of riding! And great to see Lynn too… always adds positive moral to any group. Additionally, Rich’s good buddy Ivan rode with us today. Ivan is another firefighter so that makes three riding with us… I feel very safe on this ride!

Skies were sunny and winds were light and the temperature was cool and invigorating. All that equals just a really wonderful riding. On top of that, our route today put us on trails for probably over half of the mileage… and good trails at that! We rode just under 60 miles to Palatka with a lunch stop in the town of Melrose where we also met with some in-laws of Lynn Salvo’s. Great lunch and then a brisk pace into Palatka, 30 miles away.

We checked the group into a hotel in Palatka. Boy, we’re getting soft! So much for the camping! We’re only about 32 miles from the finish so Mikes wife Karen picked up Mike and I in Palatka and we are staying with our respective families for the evening in St. Augustine Beach. Then in the morning Karen will schlep us back out to Palatka where we’ll meet up with the riders for the final day!