The Legacy Trail

I don't know when I've said "Good Morning" more often! Even though there was actually a heat advisory in effect for the area, Deanne and I were amazed at the number of people we encountered on this relatively new recreational resource in Sarasota. The Legacy Trail has been in place just over a year now but it seemed lots of folks know about it. It can be a little tricky to find for the unfamiliar because you really can't see it from the parking at listed trail heads, which are local parks. The trail experience itself is enhanced by that fact though since you aren't riding past parking lots and other infrastructure, instead you are riding through rural Florida and part of it is Oscar Scherer State Park.

It was here that the Friends of The Legacy Trail had set up a tent with T shirts, brochures, ice cold water, snacks and a very friendly presence. We learned that the bridge reconstruction, converting the railroad bridge into a trail bridge, is scheduled to be completed by November of 2011. There are two spans to be converted crossing Shakett Creek and Curry Creek on into Venice.

Our route included about a mile and a half ride from Potter Park along Central Sarasota Parkway, then north on the trail to a cul de sac head-on with old the old rails. From here we rode south to our surprise oasis sponsored by the Friends of The Legacy Trail, then on to the south end, currently at Shakett Creek. There was signage and information available about a road-based detour that would take us to the parts of the trail south of the missing spans, but that additional effort didn't fit well with the record temperature on hand. We decided to save that for our next visit, when there might be a new bridge in place.

Photos are in the Gallery and the map of the ride is on the Trails Guide.

21 miles and smiles

Nature Coast Trail - National Trails Day/Watermelon Festival

This was our lucky day! Even though the forecast called for a rain chance of 80% and it had sprinkled on the windshield as we arrived in Trenton, it never did actually break out and rain on us. In fact it even stayed comfortably cool throughout the ride.

The Office of Greenways and Trails had their celebration setup on the platform at the Trenton Trail Head with their welcome giveaways of cold drinks, fruit, snacks, pamphlets, bags, water bottles, and even helmets. This outstanding crew had, as usual, already made sure the trail was in perfect condition.

Dennis & Joanie made the trip down from Madison, Mac & Win came up from the Tampa area, Mark was on hand from Citrus Springs, Bill & Amber represented Archer, and joined up with us locals, Don & Mei, David, Deanne and me to make a dozen for the Feet First ride. We were followed by a group from the Yellow Bellied Sliders Bicycle Society from High Springs.

An easy paced, pleasant cruise west to Fanning Springs, where we visited the Fort Fanning Park provided our first stop. Then we decided that the weather radar was shining on us and that we had a chance to make it to Chiefland for their Watermelon Festival without running into rain.

The little town was brimming with visitors and watermelon. An antique steam engine was exploding in quite a loud display as we arrived. While we enjoying the watermelon, we looked on as children were having camel rides in the square. Walking by vendors booths there were many inquiries as to "how do you ride those things?" and lots of strange looks. Meanwhile, an auctioneer barked off a sale over the loudspeaker. This crowd seemed to be even larger than last year's (no weather problems here!)

Not surprisingly, the return trip seemed just a little longer than anticipation had rendered the first half, but with just a few sprinkles to report, we really lucked out on stealing this one from the rain. What had looked like it would be a cancellation turned into a very nice time. Why, we even had a flat tire which was overcome by a quick tube replacement, a few shared stories, and a nice break.

Photos are in the Gallery.

37 miles and (probably more) smiles