Day 3: July 29, 2014
Connector Complete

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There was a good looking courthouse to photograph just down the road in Hawkinsville, Georgia.

And another one in Abbeville. I took my picture from beside a tall Confederate monument in a park across the street. A plaque in the park describes the capture of Jefferson Davis and, in the courthouse lawn, a marker erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy commemorates the capture. South of town, a sign identifies US-129, once the Dixie Highway, as the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.

At the instant I started turning onto a road carrying the name Old Dixie Highway, the gates were dropping on the railroad crossing just yards away. I barely had time to stop and stick my arm waaaay out of the car to take a selfie as the train rumbled by. Beyond the track, I drove several miles of the DH on into Folkston, Georgia.

There was more signed Dixie Highway a dozen miles south near Hilliard, Georgia.

When the Southern Connector reached the East Mainline in Jacksonville, I headed directly towards a Saint Augustine motel I'd stayed in once before. I know that much of my route was along the DH but I made no attempt to follow it. I've done that in the past and will be doing it again in the morning.

I guess I haven't exactly spelled it out but I'm driving the Miata on this trip. My plans are to start early each day and drive top down until noon or so. In the past I've driven top down all day in Florida in August but the wisdom/wimpyness of old age has me tempering that a bit. Yesterday the top went up a little north of Atlanta so I could have the AC blasting as I went through the city. Today, the top stayed down until I'd finished the Connector then went up at a stop light in Jacksonville. Once, in the privacy of my garage, I raised the manual top on my 1998 Corvette from inside the cockpit to prove it could be done. I faithfully kept the resolution I made that day to never attempt that in public. With the Miata, I really can reach back and pull the top up without leaving my seat which I understand that was one of the original design goals. It's simplicity like that that makes the car so endearing.

I was able to check into the Anastasia Inn around 2:30. After copying pictures from the camera and relaxing just a bit, I headed out for some minor sightseeing. That means you can see my room (which could even be the same one I had in 2008) hours rather than minutes before I trashed it.

The first picture is of the Bridge of Lions taken from near the Castillo De San Marcos and the other pictures are of the Castillo itself. I've been inside before and did not go into the old fort today.

I did walk across the street and up a block or so to the Old Spanish Trail Zero Milestone. The stone, which has been moved twice since its 1928 dedication, is partially visible from the street but entering the little park is the way to actually see it. The park also contains the Fuente de los Caños de San Francisco. This masks forming the fountain were presented to Saint Augustine by its sister city, Aviles, Spain, in 2005.

I had originally planned on stopping here in the morning when I actually start my drive on the Old Spanish Trail but, now that I've already photographed it, maybe I'll just drive by and wave.

On the way back to the car, I found a Bar with No Name and a nice view of Castillo De San Marcos. Two dollar well drinks were the special of the day and a bargain rum and grapefruit refreshed me enough to reach the parking lot.

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