Saturday February 20th
I woke up early that morning. The sprinklers going off and my sleeping bag and tarp were soaked. I found a dry spot, waiting for the sprinklers to shut off. I tried my best to dry off my sleeping bag and tarp. I managed to to find another quiet place in the next lot to get a few more hours Of sleep in. I started walking south. I was trying to get to Our Lady Star of the Sea church for morning mass.
After a few miles I noticed I noticed someone walking behind me. Her name is Erin and we started talking. She was on her way to work. She walks every single day sometimes she gets ride from her boyfriend. She asked where I was headed and I told her I was headed to the Cathedral Basilica in Saint Augustine. We also talked about California and the Cathedral Our Lady of Angels. She said it’s beautiful and was there for the blessing of the animals there. We started talking about Jacksonville and how Erin arrived in Jacksonville with nothing but was able to build a life for herself. Erin mentioned Pope Francis’s visit to the border and we talked about that for a little bit. We talked about my trip to Jacksonville Beach and how I met some friends Scott, Susie and Zack. Erin told me that she knows all of them and that she volunteers at a place called the Mission house. I was pretty amazed as I was going to go to the mission house the night before for dinner and perhaps a place to sleep. It was such a strange coincidence. I kind of regretted not having visited the mission house. After a few miles Erin took a turn to her work and I doubled back to Our Lady Star of the Sea.
It was a beautiful church and I took pictures of the grounds. After mass a man came up to me and asked me if I was on the street. I told him I was on pilgrimage
He invited me to pray the rosary with the parishioners in the chapel. After prayer Doug and I talked about what I was doing. He asked if I needed money I told him I was all set. Doug mentioned the St. Francis soup kitchen that he would be volunteering at that day and asked me if I would like to go. I kindly passed on the offer. I was trying to get to Saint Augustine by Sunday. We exchanged information. He wished me luck and told me he would be praying for me. I sat on the church grounds underneath beautiful trees and ate breakfast of oranges spinach and carrots. After breakfast I did some light stretching and jump back on A1A south.
I met a cyclist named Jack from Maine. He is 76. Jack was on his way home to pick up a mountain bike for a cyclist who broke down on route 1. Said cyclist was in his 90s, had two flat tires, and had rode all the way up from Key West! Crazy! Jack and I drew inspiration from him and
talked about pilgrimages and El Camino. I started putting in miles.
I broke for lunch in a Pine Grove and dried out my sleeping bag and tarp in the sun. I kept trekking.
The road became pretty desolate. The sun beat down on the pavement. The whole stretch was mostly residential, lots of mansions.
I began to burn. I did not have any sun screen on me. I did what I had to do and rigged a t-shirt over my face. It looked like I was wearing a burka! Lots of stares from people driving by, I laughed a lot.
I asked construction workers from Honduras for sunscreen they did not have any. I Arrived at North Beach in the Guana River Wildlife Management Area. After asking a few people, someone gave a bottle of sunscreen! I also met a woman named Carol and let her use my cell phone to call her husband Ken. They offered me a ride to buy some sunscreen but I had enough to get me to St. Augustine. It was really nice chatting with them.
I arrived at middle beach by sundown. It had been a long day. I ate dinner: “vegan pizza” (pizza crust and raw almond butter that Cheryl gave me), it was really good. Once everyone left the parking lot I set up my sleeping bag and tarp in the bushes. I listened to the waves of the ocean and the occasional car drive-by.
It was a rough night, two mosquitoes flew in each of my ears even with a bug net on. I kept falling sleep and then waking up again to buzzing. It was really crazy and frustrating. They wouldn’t come out. I still managed around 5 hours of sleep or so.
Our family will be praying for you. Read your first entry tonight. Our son remembers you talking to us at the end of Mass at St. Joes before your departure.
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