Day 3: To Jekyll Island, GA - Atlantic Coast 2017 - CycleBlaze

April 18, 2017

Day 3: To Jekyll Island, GA

I blew my nose every 20 minutes overnight. I feel terrible but am well rested. Up at 7, on the road at 8:30.

First was backtracking 2 miles west to US 17. Now I recognize the old downtown that pre-dates the Navy base and all the development near I-95.

Downtown Kingsland, Georgia.
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I turned right onto US 17 north. After 2 miles I was back in the forest but there were frequent rural homes for the next several miles.

The terrain is nearly flat. Always less than 1% grade. But I took it very easy because I don't have much strength. Cruising on the flat with a tailwind at 11-12 mph.

I took a rest on the shady side of this former barbeque joint.
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US 17 only has a 2 foot paved shoulder, but is signed as Bicycle Route 95 through all of Georgia. Just before every bridge is a sign that says to watch for bicycles on the bridge. Sadly, I never saw any traveling cyclists and very few local cyclists.

In Georgia US 17 is signed as Bicycle Route 95. Here a passing lane causes the paved shoulder to disappear.
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Traffic was low to moderate. There were occasional small towns such as Woodbine, White Oak, and Waverly. The towns don't look very prosperous. Many abandoned buildings in the towns and in the surrounding rural areas.

1930's lookout tower at a fire station.
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I saw the first log trucks of the tour. I'm accustomed to seeing custom-built log trucks in Oregon where the logs hang on two huge brackets. One bracket is attached to a custom log truck. The other bracket follows on a trailer. A full load is 10-20 Douglas Fir logs. The timber is used to make lumber and engineered wood products.

Here the log trucks use a stock tractor truck and a long one-piece tractor trailer with multiple side rails. The pine logs are smaller and much more tapered. Maybe a hundred trees per load. Most of the timber is used to make paper products.

Can't tell what this used to be.
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US 17 has many signs warning motorists about bicycles on the road. I saw no other bicycles. Here the shoulder is narrow but usable.
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Satilla River is the first river I crossed that has public piers on the shore. Good place to rest for the brutal 3% grade 50 foot climb on the bridge.
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The river is tidal but I can't see the ocean from the top of the bridge.
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I got my first mosquito bites of the trip when stopping to look at the rail trail adjacent to US 17.

I stopped to look at the rail trail parallel to US 17 but didn't consider using it because it's buggier and slower than the highway.
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In Waverly US 17 turns east towards Brunswick. The tailwind becomes a crosswind. Things started to look more prosperous. Several nice waterfront subdivisions, fewer abandoned buildings.

Live oaks give excellent shade but make it hard to get a clear view of the houses.
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Bayou that connects to the ocean.
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I could see the Sidney Lanier bridge several miles before I got to it. But I won't cross the bridge until tomorrow. At the foot of the bridge I turned right onto the Jekyll Island causeway.

The shoulder is only rumble stripped where the highway is 4 lanes. At the bridge I turn right towards Jekyll Island.
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Now I'm go southeast, into the wind on an elevated causeway above tidal wetlands. High and exposed with absolutely nothing to buffer the wind.

Entrance to the Jekyll Island causeway. The area was once a private hunting reserve for the ultra-rich.
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It's only 8 miles from the turnoff to Jekyll Island, but that takes a while at 7 to 7.5 mph. Traffic was moderate, mostly luxury cars. Jekyll Island is a popular and upscale tourist destination.

The road crosses a tall bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway to Jekyll Island. Just before the bridge is a toll booth that collects a parking fee of $6 per car per day. No fee for cyclists.

On the bridge the road climbs at a 3% grade to about 70 feet above the water. Biggest hill so far.

Jekyll Island marina from the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway.
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After the bridge it's only another mile to cross the island to the ocean side where most of the motels are located.

I called yesterday to make a reservation at Days Inn. So I already knew it would cost $141 for a non-oceanfront room. That's the price of staying close to the beach. Most lodging on Jekyll Island is even more expensive.

I arrived at 3 PM and took a 2 hour nap. I was exhausted and it was too hot for me to want to be outside. I thought the humidity was high earlier but it's 100% all the time next to the beach. On an 86F afternoon that is NOT pleasant for me, accustomed to cooler and drier weather.

When I got up the sun was more gentle and I walked to the beach for a few minutes.

Oceanside swimming pools at Days Inn, Jekyll Island.
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Walkway across the dunes.
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Jekyll Island, Georgia. My first up-close view of the Atlantic Ocean since 1989.
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Then I pedaled a mile to have dinner at Dairy Queen. There are many good restaurant choices but I don't want to do that while I'm so sick. After dinner I went through the shopping arcade and finally discovered the dune walk. It's a wide concrete walkway that seems to go the length of the hotel district. I took the dune walk back to the hotel.

Plaza between the shopping arcade and the dune walk.
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If I was feeling better I would have explored the island more instead of taking a long nap. My original plan was to bike the 10 mile loop around the island but I probably won't do that. I do plan to see the historic district tomorrow.

The body aches are gone but I still have a terrible cough and extreme sinus drainage. I still feel weak. Fortunately I don't need much energy to pedal in this flat terrain.

Unfortunately, being sick makes it impossible for me to be comfortable in the heat and extreme humidity. I'm sweaty all the time, even indoors. Here public places are air conditioned to about 76F. At home my normal room temperature is 69F with lower humidity.

Today had a high of 86F (30C) with high humidity early in the day and extreme humidity near Jekyll Island. The forecast calls for more of the same, slightly above normal. No rain so far and no rain in the 7-day forecast.

Before the tour the weather at home was relentlessly cold and cloudy. I was quite pale when I flew to Jacksonville. Here it's less cloudy and the sun is more powerful. I'm using sunscreen but my face is still turning pink.

Distance: 47.0 mi. (75 km)
Climbing: 259 ft. (78 m)
Average Speed: 9.9 mph (16 km/h)

Today's ride: 47 miles (76 km)
Total: 77 miles (124 km)

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