Starkey Wilderness Park

The Central Florida Recumbent Riders are holding their Gulf Coast Invasion this weekend so I'm going to join in. I found a real nice little spot for the RV in New Port Richey and after driving down and setting up camp, I visited the Starkey Wilderness Park and enjoyed an afternoon ride through the park. The trail connects with the Suncoast State Trail with lots of beautiful piney flatwoods between. Well worth the $2 parking fee. The "Invasion" starts tomorrow in Dunedin. Hope to see you there!

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

Joe McCormick, Wayne Bettis, and I were east bound on the trail this morning when we met Artie Brenan and Jim Haywood going west. They agreed to reverse direction and we rode together to the east end and back. Lots of lively conversation and story telling was shared as we were sailing through some severely perfect weather. Got in about 37 miles and invited all to join us tomorrow.

Four Freedoms Trail

Drove up to Madison today to have a look at the Four Freedoms Trail which I had not visited since last year. I found it virtually uninhabited, covered with forest litter, with many more root eruptions breaking through the asphalt. Navigable but in serious need of some maintenance. A couple of very large and tall pines were precariously propped across the pathway and could easily be leftovers from Hermine or Matthew. Also, it looks like Pinetta is getting a Dollar General.

The good news is most of the iconic scenery (those tremendous live oaks) remains intact and the highway pavement from Branford to Mayo to Madison (US 27 & FL 53) is recently resurfaced. So, the smoothest part of the ride was the drive. 26 miles round trip with gentle climbing.

Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail

Gary and Pete joined me today as we rolled down the 6th Street Connector and through Depot Park on our way upwind to Hawthorne. Forty-one miles for the day wrapped up a very nice week of riding. Thanks, guys!

Nature Coast State Trail

Gary Kirkland and I rode out to Hart Springs yesterday and took in the view from the riverside boardwalk. Then we made our way down to the 19 98 Grill for lunch before returning to Trenton, against a surprising head wind.

Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail

Pete Ensing and I met up this morning at Gatorland Toyota and snuck (sidewalked) our way down to the 6th Street Connector and rode out to Hawthorne this morning. Unbeatable weather prevailed, enhancing a beautiful ride even further. A deer and a coral snake chose the opportunity to cross our path and entertain us on our way. 

Forty-one miles slipped by in no time, as we solved many of the world's problems.

Silver Comet Trail

We decided on riding east this morning, pedaled through Powder Springs to Smyrna, and stopped in to visit Silver Comet Depot Bicycles. Another perfect weather day made it impossible to resist adding on a few extra miles to the west when we got back to Hiram. I tracked a total of 160 miles for the three days, but some of us did better. 

Absolutely unable to tell who enjoyed it the most. Thanks, Russ, Wayne, George, and Irwin for making this such a memorable trip for all of us!

Chief Ladiga Trail

Wayne, Russ, Irwin, George, and I covered the Chief Ladiga Trail starting from Piedmont, AL. We rode south to Anniston and then east to the Georgia state line. Beautiful scenery, a well maintained trail, perfect weather and lots of friendly people. 

Silver Comet Trail

Five of us rode trikes through glorious scenery and perfect weather from in Georgia today. Our first day could not have been prettier. Only a couple of us had seen parts of this trail before and none had started from this place. We rode from Hiram to Rockmart through some gorgeous forested hills and several tunnels and across very tall bridges. Jaw dropping scenery everywhere you looked amplified by the seasonal decoration of fall leaf color.

We had heard the usual noises about the hills, long climbs, bugs, distance between facilities, and such, we found ourselves to be anything BUT inconvenienced. Mostly I heard comments like, "Wow! Downhill both ways!!" The fact of the matter is piloting a trike through this dream was big fun!

We had lamented hearing that Frankie's had closed, but found the Slate Market Grill open for business in its place in Rockmart.

Anyway fifty miles went by easy with that much visual distraction.

Nature Coast State Trail

Six of us lit out on serious trikes this morning from the Chiefland trailhead at a fairly modest pace. Crunching our way through a light dusting of autumnal leaf fall we were already in Fanning Springs before I noticed a developing loss in tire pressure, found and removed a tiny steel splinter, and added air. More was needed before we made it to Trenton where I finally broke down and patched the tube. My friends' patience with my equipment malfunction was enhanced by the pastry wares of the Suwannee Rose Cafe and the opportunity to visit with the likes of fellow trike enthusiast George Edwards.

Re-inflated, I was doubly pleased that a tailwind escorted us now to the Suwannee River bridge where two hiking Florida natives from Tallahassee and Live Oak were kind enough to man our cellphone shutters and record this photo of Colleen, Charlie, Mary, George, myself, and Russ. We had discussed and aspired to ride all 62.5 miles, but unanimously settled for our 42 mile total. Good friends and great weather! What's not to like?

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

Fearing the worst in terms of storm damage, I had put off visiting this trail since hurricane Mathew blew through. Today, I was delighted to find the trail clear from one end to the other. What an awesome job the maintenance folks did! In 20.5 miles, I encountered no less than 28 trees that had been laying across the trail, but were now cut up and moved aside. There was no damage to the asphalt and there is still plenty of shade, so come on back out and enjoy.

Thanks very much to the crews who handled this so promptly!

Nature Coast State Trail

Hurricane Matthew had departed our area less than twelve hours ago when I set my trike back down on a freshly swept trail surface. The good folks at Florida Greenways & Trails were out there ahead of my arrival and had things looking like there had been no storm. Several small groups of serious riders shared a "G'morning!" as we passed each other and I counted three snakes and as many gopher tortoises. Just after turning back in Cross City, I encountered this happy little box turtle warming himself on the pavement. It was nice to have the winds calm enough to ride again, since it had been an entire week.

Nature Coast State Trail

In the surprising cool of this morning, Gary and I soaked it up from the solar safety of as much shade as we could find. A cloudless sky made it easy to see where the shade stopped so the routing was on auto pilot as we crossed the Suwannee River and turned around in another three miles, then swung south through Fanning Springs to the end of that tunnel of shade.

By then the timing was right for a diversion to refuel so we slipped over to the 19 98 Grille for lunch in more shade. The return to Trenton was running short on shade but we still managed almost 35 comfortable miles for the day. Thanks, Gary!

Nature Coast State Trail

After running errands this morning, I enjoyed a very peaceful spin from Fanning Springs down to Chiefland. On my way back, I was joined by my new friend Jerry and we exchanged tales all the way to the Suwannee River. It was just what I needed to push my monthly total over the 500 miles mark. Thanks, Jerry!

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

was proud to be able ride along on Gary P. Kirkland 's first trip on this trail coincidentally on his first day of retirement. We covered it (43 miles) from FL-100 to Roberts Lane and back in just over three hours, then refueled at Johnny's Bar-BQ.

West Orange & South Lake Trails

Started at Winter Garden Station and rode from Clarcona Horseman's Park to Groveland and back for 57 miles. Lots of smiling faces in the sun today!

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail/Crystal Lake Loop

Another perfect day on the trail, so we strayed ever so slightly from the usual itinerary just to shake it up a bit. Adding about 6 miles to our trip, we encircled Crystal Lake and found our way back on track following the shores of Lake Bedford. 
The white puffies dotted a very clear, blue sky while a light breeze kept us dry and not over heated. Nice new scenery and 40 miles. 

Nature Coast State Trail/Hart Springs

Had so much fun that we did it again Wednesday, but extended our reach a little further north. We visited the public boat ramp on the Suwannee River at Hart Springs, then Hart Springs itself, and wrapped up our tour by inspecting the beautiful camping facilities operated by Gilchrist County. 

On our way back, we dined at The Lighthouse in Fanning Springs and took a spin through Fanning Springs State Park. A very fine day, indeed! 36 miles

Nature Coast State Trail

Pete and I left the Trenton trailhead this morning with no particular plan in place and failed to traverse Wilcox without negotiating a right turn. We found ourselves on a delightful bimble (in this case, "A Peaceful Retreat On The Suwannee River") up to Otter Springs.

Couldn't have worked out better as we practically had the place to ourselves!

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

Pete and I met up in a Keystone Heights this morning for a ride on the Palatka Lake Butler State Trail and we're not disappointed. The advent of a fairly strong northeasterly wind kept us much cooler than we'd have been without it and even helped out a bit on the return trip.

It started out with a couple of red-headed wood peckers and a good sized hawk resting above the trail on the morning's breeze, but soon after seeing a black racer on the trail we were treated to a surprising sighting of a coral snake sunning itself on the asphalt. This seemed real special, because we had just seen one the day before on the Nature Coast State Trail. We rode along talking about how we'd not ever seen a coral snake on trail rides before yesterday and in less than 10 miles encountered another one right in front of us.

Beautiful Florida sky with a heat defeating breeze and colorful wildlife sightings. Tough to beat! 41 easy-does-it miles.

Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail

Pete Ensing and I rode down the North Main and 6th Street spur to Depot Avenue, toured the new Depot Park and then pressed on to Hawthorne for a barbecued lunch at Diane's Old Time. What a beautiful job they have done on the park! We were both captivated by the stunning transformation.

The heat did try its best to be oppressive but we had "geared up" for it and persevered. Something about not hurrying seems to be the charm. So launching from Publix on North Main Street makes it a 41 mile round trip.

Withlacoochee State Trail

Saturday morning, I made a predawn drive to Inverness to meet up with the Westies and the CRABS which added 24 miles to my intentions. Great seeing both groups, but I did have a plan to do the south half of the trail (46 miles). The day was so beautiful that I got a little carried away and did all of the above, so as I drug in from the south end at least an hour behind lunch, Russ Rivard and George Ayers had gone above and beyond and hung around in the shade until I made it AND joined me as I refueled. Thanks, Guys!
This tree is across the trail from Regis' original shop location, right where I test rode my first recumbent trike!

Withlacoochee State Trail

I made a spontaneous choice to head south pre-dawn today and found myself in Inverness at the Rexall Drug store enjoying their 88¢ breakfast special. Mark just happened to be at the Caboose, midway through his morning ride, when I got over there, so we rode north to finish his trip, then I sailed down to Floral City on my own and took in Fort Cooper State Park on my way back. That takes care of the northern half of the trail, so I'll have to ride the southern half next time.

Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail

There were a few folks pedaling on the trail this morning and several working. There seems to be a lot of progress on the Gainesville end leading up to their official opening of Depot Park this coming Monday. Here is a shot of the deck replacement underway on the prairie overlook.

Nature Coast State Trail

Even on the hottest days, there is just enough shade here and there to make this trailside arugula really hit the spot. Squeezed 41 miles in before the forecast pop ups closed in.

Nature Coast State Trail

Mark, Jerry, and Pete joined me for a ride out to the Suwannee and a bit of a linger down the shady trail segment below Fanning Springs this morning. We played our cards just right and finished up before it got too hot. Counted at least a dozen rabbits on the Trenton segment and found the sturgeon are already jumping this season.

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

Absolutely perfect easterly breeze and a sprinkling of white puffies on my west to east and back test ride for a newly installed replacement rear derailleur.
Twin Lakes Sports Complex has a new coat of paint on the restrooms and the trail, as usual, was clear and clean and thick with happy birds.

Nature Coast State Trail

Using Fanning Springs State Park as a "park n ride" base camp, I rode down to Chiefland and stopped for lunch with shady parking at the 19 98 Grille. Had a little trouble with the rear derailleur so went back to the park to make some adjustments. Then set out for Cross City and had a strong tailwind behind me on the last leg closing the ride with 51 miles.

Storm Damage

Took a spin on the Suwannee River Greenway at Branford this afternoon and encountered quite a bit of evidence lingering from last week's thunderstorms. Detoured via River Bend Road on the return trip and enjoyed my usual fox squirrel sighting.

Music Everywhere!

Mark Scarborough played in The Jades and I was in Styrophoam Soule and we are proud to be able to enjoy reading about those times being remembered in Marty's book. Then we pedaled 30 miles and shared a great lunch! Rock on, Y'all!

Nature Coast - Eight is Great

This seemingly mild mannered collection of retirees managed to assemble a formidable squadron of recumbent stealth as we pushed a tight formation of 24 wheels upwind on our return from Cross City. Another very fine day outdoors was framed between two nurturing visits to Chiefland's own Gathering Table. Colleen, Tommy, George, Russ, Charlie, Wayne, Bruce, & Artie at the ready.

Palm Coast - Out On A Limb

Kicking off Joe's 2016 Florida Spring visit, Gary, Russ, Dave, and I enjoyed a special breakfast at the Blue Heron Breakfast Bistro in Flagler Beach this morning before driving to the Lehigh Trail trailhead on Colbert Lane.

We rode the trail to the west and made our way north to Pine Lake Parkway, then swept the north perimeter of Palm Coast (dodging some construction) and settled on lunch at Mezzaluna in the European Village. After lunch we darted through the "Rabbit Hole" for a brief A-1-A segment, came back across the Intracoastal Waterway and followed the Palm Coast Linear Parkway down to Waterfront Park for our last break before closing the loop downwind along Colbert Lane back to the trailhead.

Severely clear skies and a consistent breeze let us see lots of birds today. Several Wood Storks watched me close in on Bunnell and the lot of us were pedaling through a small confusion of Yellow-rumped Warblers as we started the Lehigh Trail. Gary pointed out a Loggerhead Shrike very close to our passing beneath I-95. As we continued north of Palm Coast Parkway, there were many Robins and several Meadowlarks flew near the fence row, behind which a pair of Sandhill Cranes stood. Further out yet, we could make out Turkeys with tail feathers spread.

A fine day to spread one's wings was indeed enjoyed by all.

Archer Braid Trail

All Aboard the Braid! Deanne and I drove down to Archer this morning and joined Jerry and Mark for our tried and true Braid Bistro Breakfast ride in to Haile Plantation, where we have yet to be disappointed with the food, service, or delightful cafe dining experience. Big fun after the ride as Deanne test rode Jerry's power assist trike and sported the predictably indelible grin! Thanks for having us down, Jerry!

Nature Coast State Trail

David Greenbaum and I enjoyed a splendid ride from Chiefland to Cross City and back after fueling up at The Gathering Table this morning. We reminisced ourselves right out of noticing the 49 miles going by. Thanks, David!