Friday, January 1, 2021

Enjoying a stretch of old State Road A1A in Florida

View of motorcycle on State Road A1A
State Road A1A is the Atlantic Coast road the length of Florida.

My wife and I recently stayed in a vacation rental cottage in Florida that was a historic building.

Historical as it was, it is younger than I am.

That's Florida for you. We have the oldest European founded city in the United States (St. Augustine), but everything else is from yesterday.

Believe it or not, this cottage is related to my reverence for my 1999 Royal Enfield Bullet motorcycle. My Bullet is, essentially, a circa 1955 motorcycle design. As such, it fits neatly into my nostalgia for my childhood. It is the sort of motorcycle I would have wanted then. And now I have it.

The cottage dates from 1951, the year after my birth. It had been built as a "fish camp." (Fish camp is American-speak for a place where a group of guys can get together with beer, but without dames, and without having to shave, or bathe.)

It went on to be a hamburger joint, a Sheriff's office, a hardware store and a trailer park. Today it is a completely renovated and comfortable vacation rental.

"I can't believe the floor is original!" my wife marveled about the varnished boards, as if they had been carved by prehistoric man. That put me in my place: I'm older than the woodwork!

Scenic highway sign on State Road A1A.
Keeping A1A scenic is important to local residents.

The real appeal of the cottage for me was its position in Flagler County, along the old coastal road, A1A. It is on a stretch of the beach-side highway that extends 23 miles without a traffic light.

In Florida, that is saying something.

This location is far enough from the bright lights of civilization that dead trees from the hurricane of 2016 still dominate the beachside. People ride horses on the beach.

View of dirt road along beach.
"Old A1A," now bypassed with pavement, shows what the original was like.

A stretch of "Old A1A" (now by-passed) is still just hard-packed sand on top of the dune line. It probably wonders what ever happened to all those Model T Fords it remembers.

One of the last coastal watch towers left over from World War II still looms over the beach, alert for enemy bombers that never came, and now never will. (U-boats did land Nazi saboteurs on Florida beaches in World War II, but not in view of this particular tower.)

View of World War II watch tower along road.
One of the last of 15,200 such towers that monitored U.S. coastlines.

The old road suits me and it suits my motorcycle. I had a feeling of being at home on it, even though I'd never been there before. 

That's what nostalgia is, I guess.

Tree lined stretch of road.
Drivers and motorcyclists are drawn to the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.

P.S. State Road A1A in Flagler County, Fla., is a gateway to the Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail. It's a scenic joy to ride or drive it if you're in the region to see Daytona Beach or St. Augustine. We loved it.

Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail map.
Ormond Scenic Loop and Trail.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for that vignette! Great pix also. Disturbing to realize we qualify for "antique" status! Keep up the good work - CW -


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