Van Fleet State Trail

Since I couldn't make it to the Catrike Rally this weekend, I decided to join the Polk Spoke Folk for a pre-rally ride on Friday. Leaving pre-dawn put me in Mabel, FL just after 8 AM where I met Tom Fort and Richard Hart as the three of us agreed to take on the trail together.

We had a rather consistent breeze in our face the entire trip south which continued to promise welcome assistance for the return trip. A staggeringly pleasant morning was ours to enjoy outdoors, away from traffic. Birds, snakes, maple trees and gopher tortoises seemed to agree on the fact that Spring was just around the corner.

The Green Pond Road Trailhead parking lot was packed beyond capacity and, to my surprise, the Ranger informed Tom and I that we were trikes 48 and 49, leading me to assume there were well over 50 recumbents on the trail Friday! That's twice the turnout the actual Catrike Rally had on its first annual event, and this was only a "pre-rally" gathering!

After visiting briefly with a few folks there, we continued on to the Polk City Trailhead where the rest of the trikes had gathered. Here was one of those opportunities to admire all things trike, to see what others had chosen to add, modify, or create to enhance or adorn their vehicles.

Finally, the group mustered the energy to begin the trek back to the north, to the picnic site at Green Pond Road, departing in various sized, small groups and continuing conversations. One conversation piece stood on its own as a four-wheeled, recumbent "car" which clearly had the stability contest won, hands down.

After lunch, Tom and I finished the last 19 miles back to Mabel handily, sharing thoughts, and that wonderfully helpful tailwind.

I've put my photos up in the Gallery. Please enjoy.

58 miles & smiles

Keystone Heights to Gold Head Branch

Deanne and I took a drive over to Keystone Heights this morning to have a look at the "new spur" we had been hearing had just opened. It was said to connect Gold Head Branch State Park to the recently finished section of rail trail that runs through Keystone Heights along State Road 100.

We began our exploratory ride from the intersection of State Roads 21 and 100 and went west (well northwest) and found the trail's end at about one mile. About face and proceed east and the other end is about six miles away. On the way, we passed Twin Lakes Park where we found unlocked, well maintained restrooms just a few feet off the trail. The terrain was not completely flat, but the inclines were long, subtle grades that didn't detract from enjoying the rural scenery. There were lots of friendly folks out on this fine Sunday morning, some walking, several cycling, and even one other recumbent was sighted. When we returned to the intersection, we had racked up almost 12 miles.

Now, the spur didn't exactly stick out but we did manage to find it lurking just over the top of the second hill north of the traffic light. To get there, just follow the sidewalk on the east side of SR 21. As the trail proceeds north it is mostly straight and maintains a consistent distance (10-12') from the highway. All of the crossings were very nicely finished with warning cross pads and copious signage and you could still smell the asphalt curing on the spur and see where sod had been installed. Very smooth riding, indeed!

I've added this one to the Feet First Trails Guide and put the photos up in the Gallery. Please enjoy.

24 miles & smiles

Nature Coast Trail

After multiple hard freeze nights and days too cold for casual riding, today gave us a refreshing glimpse of Spring. The extremely low humidity sharpened the colors of everything and let the sun shine in and warm it all up very nicely. Gary Kirkland joined Deanne and I in Trenton and we began developing our plan to mail a letter at the Post Office. Asking for directions started us off toward Fanning Springs where more interviews confirmed that we'd need to alter course and make for Old Town before the noon hour was upon us. So we crossed the peaceful Suwannee River and were soon attempting to do the same to US 19. Success! And the Post Office was open. Mission accomplished.

None of us felt particularly compelled to run long so we started our return trek to Trenton. By then, we were beginning to meet other cyclists who had noticed that the weather was clearly on the mend. Quite a beautiful day, though I discovered later, it is already time to get back into the habit of deploying sunscreen.

We gave Laverne's Country Kitchen a try, you can smell and see it from the trailhead in Trenton. Mighty tender chicken and a special rub that goes on most everything except the tea. Laverne says they'll be open for breakfast on Saturday's by 7:00 am which promises to be a handy tidbit.

I've put the photos up in the Gallery. Please enjoy.

24 miles & smiles