St. Augustine Pirate Haus

Submitted by Ben on Tue, 02/22/2005 - 19:21

I slept poorly because every few minutes raccoons launched a new assault on my trailer.  In the morning I found muddy footprints all over it, and a bunch of sand inside the blue bin where they had squeezed in a paw or two.

After I got packed up, I started calling around to try to find a better deal on a campsite, since I was determined not to spend $25 for another night at Anastasia State Park.  I was dismayed to find that all the private campgrounds near St. Augustine were actually more expensive!  One wanted $40 for a tent site!  The nearest affordable campground I found was in Jacksonville!

Before I gave up and rode to Jacksonville, though, I made one last call to the hostel in St. Augustine.  The manager said a bed for the night would cost me $18, but when he heard I was traveling by bike, he said, "In that case it's $15... and that includes breakfast!"

So I rode into town (past a number of $30 hotels! cheaper to get a room than a campsite...) with a light heart and the prospect of a dry bed at the end of what was forecast to be a very rainy day.  But the sun came out and made the air so muggy that I changed out of my bright yellow-orange shirt (thanks, Carl) into a white one to stay cool.

I climbed to the top of the historic St. Augustine Lighthouse and walked around the Castillo de San Marco National Monument.  St. Augustine is considered the oldest city in the US, meaning the oldest European settlement.  The Castillo withstood at least a dozen hostile attacks because it's made of coquina (seashell stone), and cannon balls just bounced off.  The lighthouse has a similar history: Anastasia Island was the only place on the coast where a lighthouse would remain standing, because the rest of the coast is all sand.

I was surprised to find that the hostel has a pirate theme (http://www.piratehaus.com).  I was able to dry all my gear on the rooftop deck before the forecast cold front finally moved in late in the afternoon, and I explored the nearby historic district, which is a lot like New Orleans' French Quarter, only Spanish, and many of the roads are closed to vehicular traffic.