Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Day 2: Palatka to Gainsville - A Long Day

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
Roger
Ace
Jo
Interesting little shop along the way
On the road again 
Cypress Trees

Tomorrow we will ride to Ichetucknee Canoe and Cabins in Ft. White, Florida.


12 comments:

  1. Are you on a published route or one that you had worked out? Kind of nice to know what's coming up next!

    Are the two recumbents going to be on the whole trip? It'll be interesting to see how they do in the mountains...

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    1. Hi Richard, Here's a link to Roger's journal that has our over all map and itenarary. I don't know how to put it on this blog.
      https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=gs&page_id=412665&v=5K

      I'll try to post a hyperlink later or the actual docs, I'm not sure how to do that in a comment form. We are heading to Tallahassee then will turn north through Alabama and Mississippi.

      The recumbents are going the whole way. They've done trans-ams before. Ace has knee troubles and that slows him some and he may need to ride in the car some, but otherwise both he and Jo are strong riders. Mountains/hills are the toughest for them and Jo is a faster climber than me, I have no doubt, barring injury that they will make it. The bents are fast on the flats and downhills. :)

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  2. When in doubt, trust Garmin and satellite technology over someone's calculation of the circumference of their wheel. Sounds like a great trip so far!

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    1. No Kevin, I don't want to hear that!! We like Jo's computer. It records the most mileage. :)

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  3. I think this journey is a remarkable undertaking and I wish you well. You are seeing a part of Florida that rarely leaks into the tourist literature, live oaks, rolling countryside, farms, horse ranches and astonishing poverty. And alligators.

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    1. Thanks Conchscooter,
      There are some lovely roads here. I love the live oaks and the spanish moss. The wildflowers are gorgeous right now. We rolled into Gainsville through a poor section of town and exited past large, gated estates. A sad contrast.

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  4. Good that you're finding paths away from highways.....damn cagers.

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    1. Hi Dom
      We've been fortunate, the cagers have been very civil thus far. Slowing and passing with care. I'm sure we will cross paths with a few idiots before the tour is through.

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  5. Very cool that you found an extra bike path, but boo on rush our traffic.

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    1. Thanks Brandy, yeah, the paths are nice when we find them. Very peaceful usually.

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  6. Scenery and action (alligators...) must be awesome at cycling speed. More to see, and discover. Looking forward to the next installation.

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    1. Thanks Sonja, so true. The speed is time consuming, but we see so much more. And it's easy to stop anywhere.

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