Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Running in Jacksonville, Florida: a few miles along the St Johns River

The other week I flew all across the country just for a one-day customer briefing. It was so short that I can't pretend I've seen much of Jacksonville. I landed at 11:30 pm the night before the meeting and the Uber driver was proud to tell me Jacksonville is the largest city on the East Coast. What, bigger than New York or Boston?! Well, happens to be true from an acreage standpoint, so she was right of course, except that Wikipedia actually gives Jacksonville as the largest in the the whole contiguous United States, an event bigger claim then! With that, it's also the most populous city in Florida. You never know, that could make some good Jeopardy questions!

I got to my room by midnight and felt an urge to run a few miles as I was used to, pre-pandemic, to see a bit of the city. Needless to say, by night, in a city which didn't appear to have much late night life. I did check what was advertised regarding running and, sure enough, there is a Best places to run in Jacksonville page. When I started blogging 15 years ago, these pages weren't as common, hence my "Running in..." series documenting runs I had in many of the 64 countries I've visited so far. Between the pandemic and better marketing for local runs, or sites like MapMyRun, there is much more guidance available online nowadays for globetrotter runners.

Given the circumstances, I couldn't spend the night running anyway, nor driving to one of the places highlighted on that page so I picked the obvious first option: Downtown Riverwalk, along the large and wide St Johns River.

It was still warm but not as humid as it was going to be during the next day, and a nice breeze. The only night life I met was a dozen of homeless people spending the night on benches, along that riverwalk. A few cars on the bridges crossing the river and a freight train around 2 am. Oh, and these two "River Runners" buddies! :-)

I was staying on the Southbank but it didn't seem to be too many miles to run on that side of the river so crossed over the Main Street Bridge, not the nicest metal artwork, more looking like a cubic cage. This bridge gets you to the bottom of the originally shaped Wells Fargo tower, with such a heavy base.

I ran toward the West. At the imposing 95 Highway bridge, I was surprised to see a pedestrian ramp only to discover the sidewalk was closed for construction/repair. A bit of a bummer as I had to retrace my way back as the riverwalk was also ending under this bridge.

Between these two bridges is a third one, the Acosta Bridge, doubled with a railtrack bridge which opens up to let boats go through and close down to let train cross the river.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, you get even more with a Relive video embedding 10 pictures! Click on the picture below or this link.

With that short post to wrap-up the month of May, don't forget, tomorrow is June 1, that is Global Running Day, make a special note to enjoy a few miles! I used to organize special celebrations at my IBM site but not in the mood yet although I'll make a special effort to go work at the office, and run down there, in the heart of Coyote Valley. Hopefully next year will be the return to the new normal! Stay safe in the meantime, we aren't off the hook quite yet...

PS: more pictures from this short night safari in Jacksonville

The purple-lit Acosta Bridge

That imposing Well Fargo tower, ready for space launch!
Northbank Riverwalk, Westbound

That cage (Main Street Bridge)
Free outdoor gym!
Intriguing device to count bikers and runners (I have to admit I passed by a handful of time to find out how it worked, without getting the counter to move... And I wasn't even going fast! ;-) ). Note also the structure under the bridge which is a bike and pedestrian elevator ramp.
An art...ificial tree!
The YMCA and its luminous pool
Highway 95 bridge

Kayak launch
Acosta bridge
Note the opened rail bridge
And now closed to let a train cross the river
USS Orleck, resting in Jacksonville after a long fight along the coast of Vietnam

The last Maxwell House plant in the US, established in 1924 (98 years ago!!) and which survived several closure attempts (still employing 200 employees).  "Good to the last drop..."
Selling "Notions Etc." that caught my attention...
In bed at 3 am, up at 8 am for a bright day!

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