If you happened to read Part III of our motorcycling blog series on our 4th of July week Florida vacation then you may already have a little insight on how our tandem ride this past Saturday in St. Augustine, Florida came to pass. If not, here’s the Reader’s Digest Version followed by some extracts from Part III regarding our St. Augustine visit:
We rode our Harley-Davidson Road King from Atlanta to a resort in Orlando and relaxed for two days and nights, then to Key West where we spent four days and nights enjoying ourselves before visiting tandem cycling friends in St. Augustine on the 3rd & 4th of July, heading home to Atlanta on the 5th. All told, we rode the motorcycle 1,848 miles over the 9 days, but were able to sneak in a 40-mile tandem ride on the 4th of July.
We have several friends who we’ve met through tandem cycling that live in and around St. Augustine, including two – Al & Heidi – who recently retired to St. Augustine. Over the past several months we’ve talked about paying them a visit as part of our own retirement research as they and others who lived there really enjoyed what the area had to offer. As we were getting ready for our Key West trip we sent them a note and mentioned we’d be using St. Augustine as our final stop for a day or two on our way home from Key West and they graciously invited us to stay at their home and/or join them for a tandem ride during our time in St. Augustine. Because the visit coincided with the 3rd & 4th of July, another couple we know from tandem cycling – Rick & Debbie – learned of our visit and extended an invitation to join them for an Independence Day celebration at the World of Golf Village. They’d be holding an indoor cook-out with family and friends – including Al & Heidi — before taking a short walk to watch the annual fireworks extravaganza at Golf Hall of Fame. We provided tentative confirmations to everyone and told them we’d firm up our plans once we arrived in Key West and knew what our return-to-home travel schedule would be.
For a variety of reasons, we decided to book ourselves into the Marriott Renaissance Inn at World Golf Village and take a rain check on staying with Al & Heidi. This would put in close proximity to Friday’s event with Rick & Debbie, just a short 25-minute drive from Al & Heidi’s home and give us a place where we could rest and recover Saturday afternoon and evening before hopping on Blue for the final 400-mile leg of our 1,800-mile motorcycling odyssey.
We were definitely up for visiting, but were on the fence about the tandem ride in that it might be a bit of a challenge for us since St. Augustine was a rest & recuperate stop between the 500-mile motorcycle ride from Key West and the 400-mile motorcycle ride to Atlanta in Florida’s early summer heat. Well, and there was of course the issue of finding a tandem to ride.
As it turns out, regular readers may recall we sold our beloved ’98 Erickson tandem to our friends from Florida, Al & Heidi in November 2013. At that time they lived and worked in Tallahassee but had acquired a townhouse in St. Augustine and wanted to have a tandem at each place so they didn’t have to haul one back-and-forth between the locations. They had since retired, consolidated all of their belongings at a new single family home in St. Augustine and, fortunately for us, had both tandems at their new home. So, if the tandem ride opportunity came to pass, we’d have a chance to be reunited with our Erickson tandem during our visit.
Note: Al & Heidi no longer need the 2nd tandem in St. Augustine and as tempting as it is to buy her back, I’m mindful that we sold her because we only rode her once between 2009 and 2013. However, if anyone is interested, send us a note and we’ll pass your Email info along to Al & Heidi who may be putting the Erickson on the market.
The 500-mile ride from Key West to St. Augustine was about a 9-hour trip from start to finish and we rolled into the World Golf Village Renaissance at 4:14pm. We were cleaned up and headed over to Rick & Debbie’s condo at 6:00pm where we also found Al & Heidi and several other tandem cycling friends: Randy & Claudia, Reg & Michelle, Don & Carol. Randy was kind enough to grab some photos from our corner of the condo…
Left to Right: Claudia, Al & our host Rick
Rick & Debbie also had their kids and grandkids on hand along with quite a few other friends from St. Augustine. We had a great time visiting with our friends and meeting many of their other guests before taking a short walk to the golf course to watch the 15-minute long fireworks display. It truly was a spectacular display and we were grateful Rick & Debbie invited to join in the festivities.
We were probably a bit nuts for doing so, but we went ahead and made plans to join the aforementioned tandem cycling friends at Al & Heidi’s home around 7:30am for an 8:00am tandem ride. The ride would be about 40 miles (give or take) followed by lunch at the Sunset Grille. This meant that we’d need to set our alarm for 6:00am so I we would have time to get up, find breakfast, make the 25-minute ride over to Al & Heidi’s where I’d need to spend about 15 minutes getting the Erickson adjusted to fit us and then change into cycling attire to be ready for the 8:00am ride start. I think our friends gave us a less than 50/50 shot of actually getting up given the 8-hour motorcycle ride we’d just made the day before, but by golly we made it!
We had a great ride and it was truly much-needed. Other than a 25-mile ride I made alone about two weeks ago, the last time Debbie and I rode a tandem it wasn’t a tandem: it was the triplet at the Georgia Tandem Rally. Right after the rally Debbie’s dad began to lose his fight with a long-term illness and that pretty much consumed every spare minute Debbie had, and then services fully consumed both of our non-working hours. So, with that behind us, it was nice to be back on a tandem together and it was really nice to spin our legs for a few hours in between long hours on the motorcycle.
After the ride we all grabbed quick showers at Heidi and Al’s then carpooled about 2 miles to the Sunset Grille on US Route 1 on Anastasia Beach. We took over the 2nd floor deck and had a very nice lunch. After lunch it was back to Al & Heidi’s where the plan was to relax and socialize until around 5:30pm and then head for dinner at 6:00pm.
Well, I must say, after getting back from lunch our long day in the sun on Friday plus Saturday morning’s tandem ride was finally catching up with us. So, around 2:30pm we unfortunately had to call an audible and head back to our hotel for some much-needed rest. We really wanted to try to hang in there as cocktails and dinner would be great fun with that group.
However, saying our goodbyes early was definitely the right call: once we got back to the hotel we both feel fast asleep around 3:30pm and didn’t wake up until 6:30pm, so we clearly needed the rest. We walked next door to the Murray Brother’s Caddyshack restaurant for dinner and were back at the hotel by 8:30, just in time to open the curtains and watch dozens of fireworks shows up and down the coast from our 9th floor window for the next hour or so. It was a spectacular way to end to a busy couple of days with another 7-hour motorcycle ride waiting for us in the morning.