This trip was made during a port visit to Mayport, FL on March 15, 2004.

Mayport, FL Port Visit, Day 1 (long)

As some of you may know, I got underway from Norfolk last Monday (3/8) for another at-sea trip, this time on the USS Ramage (DDG-61). After tooling around for a week, we pulled into Mayport, FL on Monday morning (3/15) for a few days of "liberty" (as we call it). As soon as they let us off the ship, my tech/co-worker and I were off to get our car reservation, and within 30 minutes we were on the road for a "county collecting" trip along the FL/GA border.

- From Naval Station Mayport: left out via FL 101 (which connects the main gate to FL A1A), then to FL A1A and down to FL 10. The traffic lights along FL A1A are still a pain in the arse. Still find the SPUI-with-flyover at FL A1A/FL 10 to be a neat solution.

- While crossing the Intracoastal Waterway on FL 10/Atlantic Blvd, noticed that the new bridge over the Waterway to the north, connecting to Wonderwood (on the Mayport side) looked to be mostly complete.  Will take a closer look tomorrow.

- Took FL 10 west to FL 9A to loop around Jacksonville to the north.  The ramp from FL 10 to SB FL 9A is still closed. On FL 9A, still a lot of construction at the FL 9A/FL 113/Merrill Rd junction, though the ramps to/from Merrill Rd are still open.

- Opted to continue on I-295 at the I-95/295/FL 9A first time on I-295 here. Noticed that, like FL 9A, I-295 is only 4 lanes (2 each direction) here. Exited I-295 at FL 115 (Exit 32).

- Just north of I-295, FL 115 drops from 4 lanes divided to 2 lanes undivided, and shortly after the speed limit increases to 60 MPH. The higher speed limit only lasts until the Thomas Creek bridge and the Duval/Nassau County line, though. In Nassau County, the speed limit drops to 45 MPH.

- FL 115 appears to end at US 1/23 on the edge of Callahan. At this point, we opted for US 1/23 north, and the highway also picks up US 301 within Callahan as we continued north. US 1/23/301 has a couple of 65 MPH segments between the towns (Callahan, Hilliard, Boulogne) in Nassau County.

- Fairly old bridges crossing the St. Mary's River into Georgia.  Shortly thereafter, we passed through Folkston, where GA 40 ends at US 1/23/301. Also noticed that GA 23/121 seems to bypass most of Folkston to the west...we didn't pick it up until north of town, and for a brief (2 miles or so) segment, there is a signed 7-way multiplex: US 1/23/301 and GA 4/15/23/121...all going the same direction.

- East of Homeland, US 301 splits off at what is a fairly wide partial-directional interchange (with SB 1/23 to NB 301 made via U-turn). Seems to be 3rd-generation, with the routes originally going through Homeland, then built to bypass Homeland, and finally what is now the NB lanes of US 1/23 and the SB lanes of US 301 added later.

- US 1/23 quickly goes back to 65 MPH, and near Racepond, GA 15/121 split off. We kept on US 1/23, taking a slight detour on an old dirt road to catch Brantley County, which for a stretch parallels US 1/23 just a few hundred feet away.

- Once in Waycross, US 1/23 junctions with US 82, and then follows US 82 west. Waycross is an interesting city not only for the roadgeek, but for the railgeek as well. The city seems to be built around a major (and still well-used) rail junction. We noticed no less than 4 separate CSX trains while going through town, not to mention another one we passed on US 1/23 south of town.

- US 82 seems to be the "primary route" through's the principal route on the US 1/23/82 multiplex, and unlike US 84 it does not have any at-grade rail crossings, having three overpasses over railroads instead.

- Under normal conditions, Waycross has a 4-way US multiplex: 1/23/82/84. However, the one-block connector between US 84 and US 82, which US 84 uses to connect to US 1/23/82, is closed for reconstruction (and is all ripped apart presently). As a result, US 84 is detoured on city streets (and presumably part of its original route) all the way to the west edge of town, where it picks up its current routing out of Waycross. We were able to use city streets to bypass around to downtown.

- West of BUS US 1, along the south edge of downtown, US 84 is a 2-lane city street that follows one of the railroads and goes under a US 82 overpass (hence the need for the above-mentioned connector).  This stretch even has an at-grade rail crossing marked with crossbuck only (right next to a crossing with signals and gates)...though the two trains we saw passing that crossing were going slow...seems to be a bit of a "railroad bottleneck" in Waycross. East of BUS US 1, US 84 is a 5-lane undivided highway at least across the Satilla River and into Pierce County (which we followed to "collect" the county, then return).

- Noticed that along US 84 east of downtown, plus on BUS US 1 near downtown, there are occasional rail underpasses, which helps so that the heavy rail traffic does not completely interrupt vehicular traffic in the area.

- Weeded back through downtown, and headed out US 84 to the west, which is predominantly a 2-lane route. However, US 84 is being widened from the west edge of Homerville westward to DuPont (where maps indicate the 4-lane currently ends). Did not see this whole construction zone, as we bailed out at GA 37.

- Lots of turning east of Lakeland. GA 37 is the through route at the GA 37/US 129 junction, then immediately west, those routes stop for the "US 221 through route". Heading into Lakeland, there's a 6-way multiplex: US 129/221 and GA 11/31/37/122. US 129 and US 221 have a wrong-way multiplex here, as do their "parent GA routes": GA 11 and GA 31.

- Continuing west, in Ray City, GA 37 is the "through route", and US 129 turns. We stayed on GA 37 until Adel, where we dropped south on GA 76, collected Brooks County, then west on GA 122 and northwest on GA 133.

- GA 133 has a brief 2-lane divided section at GA 333, then further on it has a 4-lane undivided section for about 5 miles east of Moultrie.

- At the (southern) US 319/GA 133/GA 37 junction, GA 133 turns north with US 319, while GA 37 turns onto the roadway and into Moultrie proper. For a few blocks in downtown Moultrie, both GA 37 and BUS US 319/GA 33 are on one-way streets. West of town, GA 37 has a brief duplex with GA 111. We turned onto GA 111 towards Meigs.

- Followed GA 111 all the way to Cairo. At the junction with US 19, an ALT GA 3 begins, and then follows what is presumably US 19's old alignment south of Meigs. At Cairo, we opted for US 84 west towards Bainbridge.

- On the east end of Bainbridge, WB US 84 must "turn onto itself" to follow the Bainbridge bypass. Though there's this turning movement, there's no indication that the bypass was to continue north/east of existing US 84. The bypass itself is freeway-grade (though not quite Interstate-grade) with a 55 MPH speed limit. US 27 joins the bypass, with the southeastern US 27/84 junction having US 84 as the through route, and US 27 as the through route at the northwestern junction.  The interchange with GA 97/GA 309 is a split diamond.

- Continued on US 84 west, which eventually picks up a 65 MPH speed limit in western Decatur County, though it slows down to go through Donalsonville, where we exited. Took GA 39 north briefly to collect Miller County, then took "backroads" (including some dirt/gravel roads) to collect Early County (and an Early County line sign) before eventually dropping down to GA 91 to head west into Florida.

- GA 91 becomes FL 2 after crossing the Chattahoochee River on a somewhat narrow bridge. About a mile in, found that FL 271 no longer exists, and is instead signed as CR 164 instead. Took this south, where we also passed CR 271 (former FL 271).

- Followed CR 164 to the hamlet of Buena Vista, where CR 69A took over. CR 164 south of the hamlet was "road closed"...presumably permanently for whatever reason. Took CR 69A west, then it turned south at CR 165A, and we eventually got to FL 69 at "Two Egg".

- Took FL 69 south, which for the most part is your typical 2-lane 55 MPH FL rural roadway. The junction with US 90 is unsignalized with US 90 traffic having right-of-way. US 90 is also 4 lanes in the immediate area and has some traffic, so crossing it was a bit hairy.  Further south, FL 69 has a brief 4-lane section at the I-10 interchange, before continuing further south to Blountstown.

- FL 69 appears to end at FL 71 in Blountstown, a few blocks north of the FL 20/71 intersection. After pondering this, we headed east on FL 20. While normally a 2-lane roadway, FL 20 becomes a 4-lane divided while crossing the Apalachicola River and its floodplain, with the WB lanes having the original steel-truss-overhead bridge crossing of the river. FL 20 goes back to 2 lanes in Bristol, just east of FL 12's end.

- Continued on FL 20 east towards Tallahassee. The road opens up to 60 MPH through most of Liberty County, but drops back to 55 MPH near the FL 267 duplex (and crossing of the Ochlockonee River near an old dam), and stays at 55 MPH until near Tallahassee. Just east of FL 263/Capitol Circle, FL 20 turns off and the roadway becomes FL 366.

- FL 366 is hard to follow within Tallahassee. There are a couple of turns involved to bypass around Florida State's (apparently new) stadium, and signage isn't exactly the greatest. After following quite a few turns, we eventually made it onto US 27/Apalachee Pkwy.

- US 27 east of downtown Tallahassee really does seem to be a parkway, at least for the first couple miles. The boulevard is tree-lined in the median, there are a couple of partial interchanges, and service roads exist for the most part. Not sure about east of FL 265, where we turned north and then took US 90 east to I-10.

- US 90 becomes 2 lanes east of US 319, and stays this way until almost to I-10 (at Exit 209). At this point, we opted for the fast way home, since it was after dark. Took I-10 (and occasionally got rained on) all the way into Jacksonville. Noticed a VMS that warned of lane closures on I-75. In Jacksonville, took I-95 north (rebuilding the I-10/95 junction will prove to be interesting), then east on US 1 and subsequently ALT US 1 (a 4-lane freeway segment north of downtown Jacksonville, with a nasty 35 MPH 90-degree curve.

- The freeway east of the ALLTEL stadium (which we took) and crossing the St. Johns River is signed as FL 115. Took this east to connect to FL 10 near Regency Square Mall. The FL 115 freeway is mostly slip ramps to/from a pair of service roads. In at least one location, these service roads have 2-way traffic, though it was dark and so full observation wasn't possible.

- Took FL 10 to A1A to 101 and back to the ship.

Don't have a good mileage count, but all in all bagged 3 counties in Florida and 15 in Georgia (bringing my total to 1476).

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