Four Freedoms Trail

Finding myself in the area on Earth Day, no less, I decided to visit Madison, FL and ride the Madison County Four Freedoms Trail. US 90 was blocked off with detours around downtown and every available parking space within four blocks of the Four Freedoms Park was filled. A sign read "Down Home Daze" and it was clearly a popular event!
I left town toward the north and found ample parking at the Hanson Trailhead. Riding north through Pinetta to the river was as pretty as ever and only a handful of other riders were celebrating. Then south to the outskirts of Madison and back was hilly and went very quickly.
Another splendid day in the rolling recliner!

Gainesville Hawthorne State Trail

Gary requested something short, sweet, slow, & shady so we agreed on an old familiar start from the dirt lot at Boulware Springs. The hammock was waiting for us and we were reminded of the relaxing we had apparently been enjoying. After the huffing and puffing calmed down and we had passed the Kate's Fish Camp, the Easter bunny was hanging out along the wayside. Plenty of bird songs approached from all sides. Very pleasant riding conditions including not too much other traffic. On our return trip from Hawthorne we spied a small clutch of newly hatched ducklings bumbling in the grass. Later we paused to remove a large limb that was dangling overhead, threatening to fall on the center of the trail. All in all, a made to order ride.

Palatka Lake Butler State Trail

Maybe it was the holiday or perhaps the easterly wind, but the trail seemed practically deserted this morning. We saw and heard many more birds than cyclists, as a black snake, a black cat, and a small parade of black grasshoppers shared the trail with us.
This was an excellent opportunity for John and Jeanne to test ride recumbent trikes for the first time and Larry and Sheila accommodated. Once we turned around at Roberts Lane the day seemed warmer and the pedaling easier, yet wildlife continued to dominate the scene.
A total of 29 miles brought us back to our motorcars and cemented our intention to head straight to Tom's Barbecue for refueling where the entire group was not disappointed.

Withlacoochee Bay Trail

Mark, Gary, Tommy and I switched back and forth, trying our hand at facing the off shore breeze, then the mysterious morning tailwind as we pedaled east to one end of the western segment and reversed to consume it all. After this photo shoot on the Gulf, we turned southward just long enough to mount our segment connector, Cornflower Drive, that would deliver us to the dam on Lake Rousseau bridging the gap to the eastern segment. My rear tire picked up a some sort of steel fastener and promptly gave up its contents, so there was ample time to birdwatch on the dam while I patched my tube.
Freshly rested, we then soared up onto the canal spoils to inspect the view from the east.
These trail segments hardly qualify as lengthy, but by the time you roll them all together (and toss in a couple of repeat miles before you dismount) you're up to a respectable 25 miles. Thanks, Guys!

Flagler Beach & Palm Coast

Deanne and I were fortunate enough to share an absolutely beautiful morning with our very dear, coastal dweller friends on Florida's east coast. Pedaling through the palmetto lined, shaded trails along the Intracoastal Waterway, we marveled at just how special this place is and how lucky we are to have it (and our friends) so near by. Saturday was a particularly satisfactory birthday for me. Thank you Sheila, Larry, Myhra, & Rick!
Oh yeah, and the wonderful folks at the Flagler Fish Company!