This is Thursday May 1st, mayday 2008 we have left the Orlando area after spending a few days there celebrating Sandy's birthday, and we headed back out to hwy 1 going north. Came across a settlement here called Freemanville Settlement. Soon after the civil war the settlement that would become Freemanville established by Dr. John Milton Hawks and Abolitionist and Union Army Surgeon along with other union army officers and the Florida Land and Lumber Co. In 1866 roughly 500 former slaves had fought for the union during the war and their families initially settled here. An additional 1000 freed slaves would arrive via steamboats during the following months. Of the 3000 blacks made Florida their home, roughly half settled near the Halifax River, thus making this area the most populas in Volusia County at that time. In 1867 Dr. Hawk's named the settlement Port Orange. Due to harsh farming conditions and poor supplies the settlement the Florida Land and Lumber Co. and the integrated schools abandoned in 1869. Many of the settlers returned to their home state and headed for areas with citrus groves looking for work, however, only a few of those original freed slaves stayed. Over time the settlement became known as Freemanville Moriah Baptist Church as the last remaining structure from the pioneering African American community in Port Orange known simply as Freemanville. We passed through Daytona today which has the Daytona 500 Nascar Race, one of the best races of the year on the nascar circuit, my cousin John Forton goes there every year and he is the one to get information about the Daytona 500. This next year he is planning to take his young son with him for his first adventure of Nascar racing.
This is Friday, May 2nd we spent the night outside of Daytona at a Love's truck stop, we took from hwy 1 to hwy 40 east to hwy A1A north which was a beautiful ride by the beaches, the road was a little narrow, not too much of a shoulder if any, but a great ride along the coast area and listening to the sounds of the waves and traffic wasn't too bad. The road A1A takes us inland a little ways and came across an historical site. It says Mala Compra Plantation Historic Site. Joseph Martin Hernandez 1788 to 1857 purchased and worked Mala Compra Plantation, originally a spanish land grant from 1816 to 1836. The name Mala Compra means bad purchase in Spanish. It served as the center of the largest plantation system in Northeast Florida until burned by the Seminoles in 1836 starting a second Seminole war 1835 to 1842. He served as brigadier general through the second Seminole war and part of wars of Indian removal. Hernandez did not revitalize the plantation after the war. Mala Compra was one of many coastal plantations in the southeast that grew long stable cotton. The physical remains of the main house, well, and kitchen provide evidence of a coastal plantation. The building remains provide rare structural evidence of a coastal plantation layout of residential construction in Florida in early 19th century. Along hwy A1A at the Matanzas Inlet there is a nice little fishing in the area, it may take a four wheel drive unit to get out there but a lot of people fish and relax there. Also at this site is an historical marker. Massacre of the French. Matanzas Inlet in 1565 some 300 French castaways under Jean Ribault were massacred her by Spaniards. Crushing their attempt to occupy Florida. The French ships sailed from Fort Caroline to attack St. Augustine, were driven ashore by a storm. At this inlet most of the survivors were put to the knife by Don Pedro Menendez hence it was named Matanzas meaning slaughters. Well we reach St. Augustine midday, set up our location here and went into town and ended up going to the Fountain of Youth and also the downtown section. Going to the Fountain of Youth cost about $7.50 for an adult and was well worth the cost to explore the area; also had a drink from the fountain itself, and a short time after that went to lunch and had a couple of beers to wash the water away, so I don't think I will get any benefit from the fountain.
This is Saturday, May 3rd, leaving St. Augustine area back to hwy 1 on our way to Jacksonville, Fl. Just as I am getting into Jacksonville there is a motorcycle ride of several hundred riders, with police escort, took awhile for all of them to pass me. As they were passing me a heavy weight lady in a car yells at me to get a real bike(She should get a bike herself and exercise) I guess I am not American, you have to be fat to be one. Does that mean that maybe I am not American even though I served as a veteran and don't have a motorcycle, sorta wonder about Jacksonville. Went through the heart of Jacksonville across the only bridge that is not a freeway, that was a trip. There really no bike lanes and narrow traffic, fortunately it was a Saturday and not too much traffic, and being downtown on a Saturday I was sum what deserted. Getting to the other side hwy 1 has branched off going inland so to stay more to the coast I am taking hwy 17 going north.
This is Sunday, May 4th we spent the night at a Walmart in North Jacksonville. Traveling along hwy 17 it is a peaceful morning, not too much in the way of traffic. Quite green with trees and a lot of birds noise. They are keeping me occupied today. We made it out of Florida today in the state of Georgia. There is a sign stating that this highway 17 is a bicycle route from Florida to the Carolinas, it is called 95 north bicycle route, doesn't look much different than the other roads and also a bridge going across that has signs stating beware of bicycles, so we will be cruising through the state of Georgia.
This is Monday, May 5th spent the night just out of Brunswick, Ga. followed hwy 303 which took me around Brunswick and now back to 17 north. A historical marker, Needwood Baptist Church and Needwood School. It was organized in 1866 on near by Broadfield Plantation, as Broadfield Baptist Church of the Zion Baptist Association. This structure was built in 1870's and redesigned in 1885 when the church moved its congregation. This formation history are representative of religious development in the context of plantation rice culture. The one room structure provided elementary education for this community in 1907 till desegregation in the 1960's. Both structures are an example of early African American Bernacular architecture. Still traveling on hwy 17 north and came to General's Island. This island was the property of General Lachlan McIntosh by a grant in 1758 and was the principle home of his family up to and during the early years of the revolution. The island was in rice cultivation for many years. In 1808 a canal called Generals Cup was dug through the island to connect the Darien river with the middle branch of Altamaha for the convenience of the ajoining planters. This cut located a short distance east and it was used later to ferry between Darien and the southern plantations on the Delta. In Darien, Georgia is Fort King George. The site of Fort King George, the first fort on Georgia soil built by the English erected by the colony of South Carolina in 1721, twelve years before the Georgia colony was founded. This fort served as a barrier against the Spanish in Florida, French interior and their Indian allies about a decade. Soldiers who died are buried nearby in a graveyard lost for 200 years. Some of the graves are marked now, others are on the side of a 16th century Spanish Mission. Traveling along hwy 17 came across an old court house at Sapelo Bridge. This bridge on the old Savannah to Darien road 200 yds east of this spot was a seat of McIntosh county from 1793 through 1818. Here the court house another public building stood. Here to were the armory and muster ground for the McIntosh county calvary troops, and here the stage coaches stop to refresh passengers and change horses. Traveling along again we come across the McIntosh family cemetery. The plaque says, McIntosh family of McIntosh county. The service of this family to America since the first of the clan was the leader Captain John McIntosh Mohr came from the highlands of Scotland to Georgia in 1736 forms a brilliant record. Traveling on we have the Button Gwinnett. In this St. John's parish now Liberty County lived Button Guinnett signor of the Declaration of Independence. Member of the Continental Congress, and Speaker of the Assembly. He also was a member of the convention that met in Savannah in October 1776 in which he played a prominent part in drafting the first constitution for the state of Georgia. Born in Gloucestershire, England in 1735 son of a church of England Victor, Button Gwinnett came to Georgia in 1765 and acquired a store in Savannah. He shortly purchased St. Catherine's Island in this parish. He moved to the island and engaged in farming and cattle raising. His business was transacted in Sunbury then a thriving port. On May 16th 1777 Mr. Gwinnett who was mortally wounded in a duel fought on the outskirts of Savannah with General Lachlan McIntosh dying on May 19th. Mr. Gwinnett grave is supposedly in Savannah but the exact location is unknown and unmarked. Also in Midway, Georgia is the Midway Museum established by South Carolina Calvinists of English and Scottish extraction in 1752. The small settlement the Midway became the cradle of local missionary spirit in Georgia. Also one of the three signers of the Declaration of Dependence.
This is Tuesday, May 6th, we spent the night in a truck stop in Richmond Hill, Georgia still continuing on 17 north I came across a little creek area and there is an alligator just floating along so we are still in alligator land. On hwy 17 we came across King's Bridge. December 1864 after a 300 mile march which had left a wide belt of destruction from Atlanta to the sea. General Sherman's army of about 60,000 men were nearing Savannah. During the first week of his campaign his four widely spread columns had found adequate supplies on the rich farms and plantations of central and eastern Georgia. But in Chatham County he found little bit of rice in which to sustain his men and animals. They needed all classes of supplies as well as guns in which to conduct a siege. Although a supply ship under Admiral Dahlgren was waiting in nearby anchorages the ships could not pass Fort McAllister 10 miles downstream at Genesis Point and all attempts to reduce it by naval bombardment had failed. On the 13th Hazen's division 15th crossed the river here moved via crossroads Richmond Hill and Bryan Neck road to Fort McAllister and overwhelmed it by assault from the rear. The great guns of Fort McAllister silenced the heavy laden supply, ships began to move upstream. Well we have arrived in South Carolina from the state of Georgia on the bike route that took me around Savannah Georgia on a very busy truck route with not much shoulder. We took hwy 307 north to bypass Savannah which brought us to 17 north which is a four lane with no shoulder, a lot of trucks I turned on 170 east towards Beaufort and most of that is a two lane road with trucks and no shoulder. I have come to a point where I am actually walking my bike, it is just not a place for bicycles. After walking a couple of miles and at that point it is a newer road with a little side to it so I was able to start riding again. It even had a sign for drivers to share the road with the bicycles.
This is Wednesday, May 7th, we spent the night at Walmart in Beaufort South Carolina. Traveled hwy 21 which was four lane no shoulder and then hwy 17 part of it was two lanes then four lanes and once in awhile a shoulder. Most if it was not. We have made it just outside of Charleston, S.C. to spend the night. People have been very friendly and courteous on the highway, the highways themselves are not set up for a bicycle.
This is Thursday, May 8th, we spent the night just south of Charleston, continuing on hwy 17 north did not make any stops through there because road was pretty narrow. Came across an historic marker, it states, Federate Lines, the earth works nearby or remains of the AK 61 fortification was built to defend Mt. Pleasant. They extended east 2.5 miles from Butlers Creek at Boonhill Plantation to Fort Palmetto on Hamlin Sound. Supporting these lines was Gary Battery and those that Hob Caw Point, Hog Island. Hibben street, and Venning, Kinloch as landings. Federal troop occupied the town February 1865. Going along hwy 17 you see several stands where women are making baskets. Different designs and shapes. They are called sweetgrass baskets. Baskets made of sweetgrass and pine needles sewn with strips of palmetto leaves and have them displayed along the road for sale near Mt. Pleasant since the 1930's. The art of making these baskets have been passed down in certain families since the 1700's. Originally used by plantations and rice production. This represents one of the oldest West African art forms in America. These baskets are very beautiful and very well priced.
This is Friday, May 9th, spent the night at a Walmart in Georgetown, S.C. continuing on hwy 17 north it is raining but we have made it to Myrtle Beach, nice beach, shops, and a lot of pancake houses. Also this is bikers week here in Myrtle Beach and they are getting set up for that and several bikers arriving.
This is Sunday, May 11th, Mothers Day. Happy Mothers Day to Sandy and all the other moms. We spent yesterday at Myrtle Beach and drove 30 miles south to Pawleys Island to visit with Sandy's brother, Steve, his wife Donna, there daughter Mellisa, and her two little ones. We took off this morning after having a nice pancake breakfast and heading up hwy 17, it is a wet day. Have reached the stateline here and there is a marker saying South Carolina. Formed in 1712 part of Carolina which was chartered in 1663. It was first settled by the English in 1670 one of the 13 original states. Another historical marker which states First Post Road. The road from New England to Charleston over which mail was first carried regularly in North Carolina 1736 through 1739 passed through this area. We are now leaving South Carolina and into North Carolina.
This is Monday, May 12th, we spent the night in North Carolina at an RV Park, continuing on hwy 17 it is sunny, a little bit of wind. Made our way to Wilmington, N.C. home of the U.S. Carolina at the location where you can visit the ship. Spent the night at Walmart in Wilmington.
This is Tuesday, May 13th, still traveling hwy 17, got a little wind towards me so going a little slower, clear sky, doing well, just a little on the cool side.
This is Wednesday, May 14th, we spent the night in Jacksonville, N.C. at a Walmart again, but this town is also the home of a U.S. Marine base. We got off hwy 17 to hwy 24, we go by the base, and along the fence are several signs to welcome home the troops from the families here in town. All these welcome home signs opens up the heart for the men and women who have served in our forces overseas and wish them all a safe return to home to be with their families and love ones. We do support the troops, we thank the soldiers that give their lives for ourselves, and we thank all the families that have given so much for our safety here in this country. I don't necessarily believe in the reasons for the war but I do support and believe in our troops. It is heart warming to see these signs here because when I came back from Vietnam it was not one of the happy receptions you just sorta blended in as much as you can and forget about what has happened in the past here. As we are cruising hwy 24 came across Swannsboro. Nice little community, they have a historic area here which is well worth going through. Older buildings have been kept, shops, and restaurants, where some are over looking the waterway here. Fort Swannsboro, named for Samuel Swann, incorporated in 1783 which included area from New River to Bogue inlet. Established in 1786. Also the Tronetheus, first steamboat made in North Carolina built in 1818 by Otway Burns privateer in war of 1812. Shipyard located 350 ft. southwest of here, also Huggins Island Fort, confederate 6 gun fort guarding the entrance to Bogue inlet and burned by union troops August 19, 1862.
This is Thursday, May 15th, spent the night in Moorehead City on hwy 24 which turns into hwy 70 into the city Beaufort, N.C. Here is an historic district, some shops, fishing charters, and restaurants. A couple of historical markers, Spanish Attack, Spanish force landed and Captain Beaufort 1747 driven away a few days later by local troops. The next one is Salt Works established by order of the Provincial Congress April 24, 1776 for the revolutionary war use. They were located 1/2 mile east of this location. And the third is Whale Fishery, A Shackleford Banks 6 miles southeast by boat was located a whale fishery in the 18th and 19th centuries. Traveling along hwy 70 came across a tour group of cyclist from New Bern, N.C. rode out to the outer banks and doing a circle back to New Bern. It is great to see people enjoying the outdoors. We have traveled hwy 70 and now on hwy 12 that will take us to Cedar Island and to the ferry. We made it to the end of 12 where the ferry is at Driftwood Campground in Cedar Island, we will spend the night here and tomorrow morning we will take the ferry.
This is Friday, May 16th, on the 2-1/2 hr ferry ride to Ocracoke were we will continue on hwy 12 and end up taking another ferry for 40 minutes up to Hatteras. In following hwy 12 came across the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Tallest brick lighthouse in the nation at 280 ft constructed in 1869 through 70 to mark Diamond Shoals to replace 1802 structure. Traveling hwy 12 just north of Cape Hatteras have water on both sides. On the ocean side you have people who live here enjoying their water sports with the kite surf boarding and then on the other side of the road you have people on their surf boards will the sail surfing.
This is Saturday, May 17th, still on the outer banks on hwy 12, spent the night in Avon, N.C. Continuing north Pass the Bodie Lighthouse, also here an historical marker Fort Ferdinando, Roanoke 1585 to 1590 based operations at inlet near here. Long closed, it was named for a Pilot Simon Fernandes. Still traveling on hwy 12 north came across Wilbur and Orville Wright's Memorial. The first flight December 17, 1903, there is a state park and spent a little of the afternoon here. Entrance fee of 4.00 but is good for 5 days. Good place to stop and see where the beginning of aviation was.
This is Sunday, May 18th, continuing on hwy 12 north which turns into hwy 158 and left the outer banks of North Carolina, we are in a campground here just outside of Elizabeth City, a very nice park in the woods, quiet and peaceful. Weather has been good a little on the windy side suppose to have rain tonight, but good tomorrow. Tomorrow we will be continuing north in North Carolina leaving the state.
This is Tuesday, May 20th, we made it into Virginia. We spent the night in a city park campground in Chesapeake. We are the only ones in the campground which is mainly on a weekend usage, so it was rather quiet last night. Preceding on hwy 168 going through Chesapeake there is an historical marker. Battle of Great Bridge, in this vicinity 1775 was the southern end of a causeway. The bridges that which the swamp and stream were crossed. Here William Woodford's Virginia rifleman defended the passage. When Lord Dunmore's, British regulars attempted to cross the swamp on December 9, 1775, they were cut to pieces by the fire of the riflemen. Preceding on hwy 168 to 190 to Independence going north toward the Chesapeake Bay bridge and tunnel area. On Independence hwy came across an historical marker, The Testing of Grace Sherwood, the witch craft case of Grace Sherwood is one of the best known in Virginia. She was accused of bewitching a neighbors crop in 1698. Allegations grew over time until Princess Anne county government and her accusers decided she would be tested by ducking. This water was considered pure which would not permit a witch to sink. Sherwood accusers on 10 July 1706 tied her hands to her feet and dropped her in the western branch of the Lynnhaven River, which is now known as Witch Duck Point. Sherwood floated a sign of guilt, she was imprisoned and later released. Sherwood lived the rest of her life quietly and died by 1740. After preceding through town, Sandy picked me up and took me across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Some 18 miles long of bridge and tunnels and brought me to the other side, were I am continuing on hwy 13. The farming and the large homes is beautiful around here. Wheat fields, acres and acres, and large white homes, and brick homes. Very refreshing after a morning rain, you can smell the cleanness in the air.
This is Wednesday, May 21st, We are on hwy 13, spent the night in Cheriton, Va. This morning preceding on hwy 13 north, came across an historical marker, Salem Methodist Church, 1836 to 1918 scene of the initial violence resulting from the schism between northern and southern Methodist in 1846. A northern circuit preacher was dragged from the pulpit by members of the congregation. The building burned in 1870 and was replaced. Salem was the mother church of congregation at Cheriton and Oyster and five eastern shore methodist ministers. Traveling on hwy 13 come into the Accomac County, historical marker, The eastern shore was first known as the kingdom of Accomac for an Indian tribe. Accomac was one of the original shires formed in 1634. The name was changed to Northampton in 1643. In 1663 the present Accomac county was made from Northampton.
This is Thursday, May 22nd, continuing on hwy 13 we crossed Virginia line into Maryland proceeded to hwy 113 traveled that until we took hwy 50 for out destination to Ocean City, Md. for the evening. Weather is decent, got a wind a little on the side and to the back.
This is Friday, May 23rd we made it to Ocean City, Maryland, took a drive over to the boardwalk, nice beach area with things to do for kids, restaurants and entertainment area. Spent part of the afternoon there. This morning we left and took hwy 50 north went through Maryland into Delaware where we took hwy 9 north which went along the coast. Had some bikers out today, of course they all passed me by, the roads are fantastic with wide shoulders. Bikers and joggers have their own path on the shoulders. Proceeded north and ended up in Lewes, Delaware in a state campgound to stay the night to catch the ferry to take us to New Jersey the next morning.
This is Saturday, May 24th, this is my son Steven's birthday, happy birthday Steven, we took the ferry this morning across the waterway for an 80 minute ride to Cape May, N.J. Came across a bike trail for about 3 miles, it is a nice area with the green bushes and trees and gets me off the highway for awhile. We are continuing north on hwy 9 and notice in New Jersey here there are quite a few yard sales, don't know if it's because of the holiday or is New Jersey the yard sale capital of the world. Traveling north had to detour around a bridge being repaired on hwy 9 but we made it to our destination Abescon, N.J. which is a half dozen miles outside of Atlantic City which we are going to do a side trip and have a buffet tomorrow.
This is Monday, May 26th Memorial Day, I wish to thank all the men and women who have kept us safe and free which gave me the ability to ride around our wonderful country carrying the flag. Happy Memorial Day to everyone.
Today is Tuesday, May 27th, we left Abescon on hwy 9 after spending a little time into the Atlantic City area walking along the boardwalk. We left this morning had to take a detour on hwy 561, 563, then 542 to get around the hwy 9 which goes into the Interstate for a couple of miles. I am back on hwy 9 and the town of Tuckerton, and guess what I came across, another historical marker, Settled in 1699 by quakers Edward and Mordecia Andrews. A friends meeting was established in 1702. Tuckerton was an important port of entry an 18th century sea port. Formally known as Clam town and Fish town the town was named for Ebenezer Tucker, statesman, revolutionary war patriot, and the first custom collector commissioned in 1791.
This is Wednesday, May 28th, spent the night in Bayville, N.J. this morning departed and heading north on hwy 9, we have made it to the community of Freehold, N.J. which we will spend the night in a campground on our way to the Jersey City, New York area.
This is Thursday, May 29th, we spent the night at a county park just off a couple of miles of hwy 9, in a wooded area, very quiet, a lot of trees. This morning came back to hwy 9 and proceeded north and connected with hwy 1. Can not go on the turnpike so had to take hwy 27, 21, up to 510 which connected me back with hwy 1 & 9 across the bridge where I went through Newark and then went across the bridge to Jersey City where we are at the Liberty Harbor Rv Park right at the ferry entrance.
This is May 31st Saturday, we spent Friday doing a tour of New York City, Ellis Island, and Liberty Island. Left this morning from the Liberty Rv Park at the ferry dock preceded north through Jersey City up to cross the George Washington Bridge and following hwy 1. Going through the Bronx of N.Y. came to an historical marker just out of the area here. September 23, 1661. Nearby on a large flat rock next to Mamaroneck River, John Richpell, purchased Mamaroneck from the Siwanoy Indian chief Wappaquewam. Continuing on hwy 1 come to Old Rye Fort 1675, on this sight stood the stone residence of Peter Disbrow, designated by the Rye colonists as a (Rye Fort) when it was offered for protection from Indian attack during King Phillips, war of 1675. Still following hwy 1 have passed the Jersey area and the New York area and now in the state of Connecticut. Going through Greenwich town and finding out that Connecticut has some hills.