Nature Coast Trail

Getting real close to being too hot to ride, we complained, as we tried to decide just how far to ride this morning. We met up in Trenton and mustered our intentions just enough to get rolling and feel the cool breeze of evaporation settle over us. Later it seemed that we might have actually been pedaling into a slight headwind, as it assisted us on our return trip.

We rode out across the Suwannee River before meeting other riders going the opposite direction. The surprising thing was that the majority of them were also recumbent riders.

Once we ran out of the shade things really began to warm up and stopping did not seem to help much. Having other plans for later in the day, our group reached a split decision, Mark, Don, and Mei turned back and Sandra and I continued on to Cross City. We encoutered a couple on horseback coming into Cross City alongside the trail as we turned around and made for our rest stop at the Dairy Queen. The Brownie Batter Blizzard had to be consumed outside because the air conditioning in the DQ was simply too big a contrast to our exercise environment.

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

40 miles and smiles

Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail

Almost as much fun as riding a trail is sharing one with someone who's not yet seen it. Don and Mei joined us in Baldwin for their first trip on this particular trail and Deanne and I enjoyed showing them around. First, we took in the two miles to the west end and then turned about to head toward Jacksonville.

The first day in quite some time with a reduced chance of rain seemed to really bring folks out. There were riders of all types cruising along in both directions, about the busiest I remember ever seeing it. At one point Mei and I chased up to a pace line that had just passed us and hung on to the back for a mile or so, surprising the head first riders somewhat.

Apparently due to all the rain we have been having, there is some fairly serious erosion of the trail surface edges in a few places, but evidence suggests maintenance crews have the situation well under control. Otherwise the overall condition of the trail was excellent, as usual.

We took in a visit to the park about midway where the Harvey House and all the carefully planted oak trees are, including a roll along the boardwalk through the piney woods. This is all back behind the trailside restroom facilities. There was the hint of an isolated shower looming as we turned around at the Jacksonville trailhead and some sprinkles followed us downwind back to Baldwin.

No trip to Baldwin is complete without a stop at Everybody's Restaurant, so we stopped in to find it was "Chicken Day!" The special on Saturdays is their terrific fried chicken. And it " served with not one, not two, but three sides of your choosing for only $7.10!", we overheard the ever-engaging waitress announce to a neighboring table.

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

32 miles and smiles

Lake Beresford Park

While visiting our friends in New Smyrna Beach for Independence Day, they invited us to join them for a ride to Blue Spring State Park. That seemed like the perfect thing to do in the summer heat, take a dip in a cool spring. Tucked away, almost secretively, near Deland we went to Lake Beresford Park.

There is a 1.8 mile, paved trail encircling the park which connects via a tunnel under the railroad, to another paved trail leading down to Blue Spring, about 3.4 miles. So, granted this makes a short trail ride, but does it ever make up for that in beauty?! This is a fantastically natural trail, neat and clean, and well just plain pretty! With the lake nearby, there is no surprise in seeing and hearing many birds, but one of our riders actually got to see a piney woods rooter (young wild pig) rustling through the underbrush.

The trail offers lots of shade, curves, short climbs up and down easy hills, and great Florida wooded scenery with the optional swimming stop at the south end for a mid-ride cool off. Somewhat off the beaten path (always gets my vote), this little gem is worth the trouble to visit and is accompanied by copious free parking and perfectly maintained restroom facilities.

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

10 miles but many more smiles