Madison County Four Freedoms Trail

Absolutely one of the most beautiful trails in Florida is the Madison County Four Freedoms Trail. This morning I was coaxed out of Madison toward Pinetta by a gentle breeze from the south. This made even the few climbs seem to be downhill all the way to the Withlacoochee River. 

Shortly after the trail crosses County Road 145, the beautiful scenery that had become the norm is replaced by several near magical tunnels of shade that seem to spin you even further into the past. 

The next thing you know you have arrived in Pinetta. The trail allows for a wandering passage through town before ducking back into the shade for a brief climb and another crossover to the other side of the road. Then begins the descent to the river which is very gradual, about 100' in 2 miles. 

So, you take a good look at Georgia and head back to Madison. But, rest assured, you'll still be reaching for the camera the whole way.

I think this was my first Sunday visit, because this was the first time I discovered O'Neal's Country Buffet who isn't open for lunch on Saturdays. Wow! This is a must do finish for the trail ride. Great food!

Wilson Springs

We got off to a late start but the breeze was still on hand to ensure comfort. Riding west on the O'Leno to Ichetucknee Trail the surface was nicely maintained once we were outside the neglected city limits of Fort White.
Sliding in and out of shade along the way, we noticed the wildflowers preparing to change from April to May as phlox give way to brown eyed susans. At the trail's west end we entered 3 Rivers Estates and rode south to the quiet little community of Wilson Springs for a look at the Santa Fe River. Then, on our way back to the trail, we were treated to the sight of an Indigo Bunting who was kind enough to sit still long enough for Deanne and I both to see him.
Even though the return trip was upwind, the shade was still ample and hurry was not part of the game plan. A very pleasant outing indeed.

General James A Van Fleet State Trail

I met up, once again, with the infamous Central Florida CRABS in Mabel this morning for a most pleasant sortie into the Green Swamp. A gentle, southerly breeze and lots of shade made the cool of the morning last longer than expected. And yet, the ground must have been warmed up good because we saw as many as two dozen gopher tortoises, a black snake, and a rat snake along the way. In addition to observing a half dozen wood storks, this turkey crossed our path early into the beautiful ride.

West Orange & South Lake Trails

My best Wednesday in months clicked by in the form of 47 leisurely miles pedaling from Winter Garden out to Clermont and back to Clarcona. Started off the morning noticing a basking serpent (possibly an eastern indigo), saw a most unusual model of a pirate ship (the owner actually put it in Lake Mineola), then a very large raccoon crossed my path around the noon hour. This trail is very well maintained, traffic was much lighter than the weekends, and there was a significant breeze out of the east, making the entire ride quite comfortable.

Indian River Drive

Enjoyed a lovely ride with the CRABS in Cocoa this morning. We followed up with lunch at Ryan's Village Pizza & Pub. Here's a link to Bob's video:

First day

Retired at last. Out on my first day's ride.

Joining the CRABS on the Withlacoochee State Trail tomorrow morning to ride north.
Check the Ride Schedule link ->