Today was a long day 60 plus miles to Gainsville. The bonus: much of the ride was some wonderful bike paths. We planned to start the day's ride around 9:00 am. We were concerned about predicted rain, but the whole day it was a no-show, except for a few drops.
We had some nice roads on our exit out of Palatka. Roads with decent bike lanes, and some short bike paths here and there. No complaints from me.
We knew that there would be a nice bike path later in our ride today, but we found a bonus path on the route before Florahome. It kept us off the highway for a good 12 miles and was very pleasant riding. We were often treated to a canopy of grand old oak trees draped with spanish moss. There were glimpses of neighboring homes nestled under the trees. It looks like there are intentions to extend this path in both directions.
We rejoined the road in Putnam Hall and rode on through Melrose and on to Hawthorne where we stopped for lunch at a Subway. After refueling we rode through Hawthorne to the trailhead of our next bike path that would take us all the way into Gainsville. This was yet another wonderful path filled with beautiful old trees, spanish moss, pretty wildflowers, and wetlands. I saw my first alligator on this path. Jo, Ace, and I were riding a ways behind Roger when we all heard a loud splash. Something fairly big had jumped into the water. In the distance we could see something, but no one could make out just what it was. Finally it moved closer to the surface and we could see his golden eye and scaly back sticking out of the water. He wasn't terribly large, but he was pretty cool for us. I tried to get a photo, but he they came out to fuzzy to see anything at all.
Up until Gainsville we had been having a perfectly wonderful ride. In Gainsville things were not so pleasant. This was a busy town and it was close to rush hour. The streets we needed were narrow with no shoulder, and filled with fast moving traffic. We spent much of the time riding on bumpy sidewalks. The plan for the night was to stay with a warm showers host, but upon arriving at the house we realized that it probably wouldn't work for us. It was student housing. The kids we met were very nice, but for us seniors it just wasn't our cup of tea. We decided to find accommodations at a motel. We continued a few more miles on Gainsville's awful roads until we ended up out at strip-mall hell along the interstate, where we found an America's Best motel for our evening stay.
64 miles - Others had 65/70. My garmin often gives lower numbers.
|Roger, Ace, and Jo on our found path|
|Interesting little shop along the way|
|On the road again|
Tomorrow we will ride to Ichetucknee Canoe and Cabins in Ft. White, Florida.