We are planning to go via Winter Haven Florida on the way there, the total should be just around 650 miles. Return trip we plan on taking the ferry from Key West to Fort Myers beach which should shorten the ride by about 250 miles. I'm hoping we can do 80+ miles per day but my riding partner has a gimpy knee so we shall see.
Thanks Lapka, here is our proposed route for today although it's unlikely we can cover the full 104 miles to Cross City reaching Perry should be a given if we can hit the road by 8:30 AM neither of us are too keen on night riding this early on in the trip.
Made it the 110 miles to Cross City Fl where we will link up with a bike trail which runs along without cars for 40 miles which we will probably take on tonight and make the first day the longest so we can potentiality reach Key West in time for NYE.
Start of the day in front of Eli's place 8:30 Am
St Marks trail just south of Tallahassee
Sink near the Aucilla River
Coming into Perry Fl a giant paper mill, wish I had gotten off the bike to get closer there were some impressive stacks of wood.
Lots of very old motels, just south of town there was one that must have been derelict for decades.
Eli getting passed by a semi
It seems there's a lot of hunting going on for deer and hogs, we saw a pack of 5 feral hogs running along the road at one point. Lots of trucks driving around with steel kennels built in the beds containing hunting dogs. Quite a few dog breeders, one of whom seems to have lost one right in front of his property that instead of burying he left to mummify.
Spectacular roadkill some may find disturbing.
About to leave the McDonalds here in picturesque Cross City and try to ride out this last 30-40 miles before retiring to do it again tomorrow.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-26-2016 at 09:49 PM.
Made it to Dunnellon Fl (first place phosphate was discovered in fl) from our campsite on the bank of the Suwannee river near Fanning Springs. Found a really great spot off the rail trail underneath the trestle that spans the river there. We have about 40 miles of no car riding ahead of us on the Withlacootche trail which will probably be all we ride today.
Some shots from the ride to Dunnlennon, met our first fellow cycle tourist Frank who built a welcoming shrine/altar near his camp. Also came across a jack knifed gypsum truck which resulted in no major injuries.
Franks camp ornament shrine.
Scenic creek near a locomotive display
Eli rode off to the trail after a sumptuous feast here at the Dunnlennon Front Porch inn and pie shop gotta go try to catch up and finish off the last 50 mi
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-27-2016 at 05:41 PM.
Looking to go for another 100 mile day tomorrow if possible.
Ride from Dunnellon
Ride to Van Fleet
The rides along the old railroad have been fun but challenging at times because there can be sections of 2 lane highway with 3-4ft shoulders and vehicles topping off at well over the 55 or 60 mph limit.
Currently camped out in a pine forest right by the trailhead lots of stars out and insects chirping, should be 40 miles of car free riding tomorrow Am before we enter Winter Haven.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-28-2016 at 01:22 AM.
Getting a slightly earlier start today, slept poorly on account of my very thin fleece sleeping bag and not enough additional layers. It was a nice campsite though, mainly because it was free and 20 yards from our route.
Just noticed the picture of Frank's bike didn't post properly so here it is front loaded for easy endos
When inspecting his bike i noticed his rear light was on mind you it's middle of the day so i mentioned it to him in case it was on accidentally. Frank replied the light wasn't so people could physically see him but that it emmited some type of spiritual light that was somehow useful to his travels. He also offered us a used sleeping bag and some small cigars which we declined.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-28-2016 at 09:23 AM.
Wow. This is super cool man! Thanks for sharing! I just got a road bike and want to plan on doing similar! Keep us updated. Also, are there any difficulties/negative aspects that you have found that go along with doing something like this?
Thanks for that Frosty, regarding difficulties/negative aspects of bicycle touring the biggest id say are learning to mitigate physical and psychological discomfort through planning and execution something I largely have done by trial and error. It's a bunch of logistical situations to work out in order to transport you and stuff in the most pleasant manner possible, like now it's been logistical hard to shower so it's been postponed which makes me uncomfortable as I navigate the world coated in grime.
Sometimes the traffic can be terrifying or weird weather events but apart from that I'd say it's mostly a lot of fun riding roads, paths and highways where I've probably never been. I'd always recommend starting with something like an overnight or two night trip to start and build off that.
We finally arrived in Winter Haven about an hour ago and it was a long slog, the Van Fleet had more gopher tortoise in one place than anywhere I've been.
Caught this one sleeping in the sun
Then he woke up, second shot you can see his lair behind him.
More from the Van Fleet and trail leading into Winter Haven, the one with Eli on a bench there's a small box with bike tools and supplies for the cyclists to use in a pinch which was nice to see as there were quite a few. Also many acres of beatiful cattle and horse pasture.
Neither one of has managed 3 consecutive 100 mile touring days but we're gonna go for it and push on to parts unknown.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-28-2016 at 04:35 PM.
Finished the day south of Sebring Fl, Eli takes care of most of the navigation and does a great job but leaving Winter Haven he got is lost in the giant parking lot compound of Leggoland.
The ride out of Winter Haven was great through a giant golf course flanked by orange groves which are a pretty common sight on this part of Fl.
The terrain was a little more varied in this region which makes for more exciting bicycle riding when you have actual hills and turns not multi mile straight shots. We made Sebring well after 8 Pm then pushed a few more miles south. While in Sebring we accidentally stumbled upon a very nice historically preserved downtown in full Christmas mode which was nice.
On the final stretch a tractor trailer cut me off at low speed when I had right of way near a gas station we were both entering so he kindly gave us about 25 tangerines from the back of his truck which contained several tons of them.
Sitting here in the Bell Glade MacDonalds after a solid day of fun riding that started in orange grove country which gave way to cattle then sugar cane. We started a few miles south of Sebring here is rough idea of the route one of these days I'll get an actual GPS to record the routes and mileage properly. We deviated from the main roads a bunch where there were alternates that didn't add too much mileage and it was very much worth it some of the prettiest farm country out there. https://goo.gl/maps/fNfZ3QAdTe42
Here is our camp from last night near lake Apthorpe.
Lake Placid Fl , a fine little town with quite the Mexican/Central American community.
Oranges getting harvested
Getting chased by farm dogs is one of my favorite experiences on bike tours, these two were a little old and didn't chase me very long but still fun.
Should have taken more photos of the cattle ranches they are just so peaceful and pleasant to be around.
One of the downsides of fencing is animals get trapped.
Caught up to a pair of these behemoths at the gas station near Moore Haven.
Fish Eating Creek
Some shots of the sugar cane fields near Moore Haven Clewiston and lake Okeechobee
This bike trail normally runs several miles in the area but was closed in several sections for repairs.
Some guy's awesome fishing gear buggy with live well.
This is sugar cane country the ride to West Palm along Highway 98 will be one long slog through others.
We were so sick of riding 27 we jumped on Old Highway 27 which is a remnant of its former self
Pissed of the bald eagle momma who built this massive nest by riding by.
The final section leading to Bell Glade , very cool a lot to see. Sod farms, banana tree acreage, aloe Vera fields, a very impressive Mexican owned farm that sells queso Blanca, tamales and some type of huevos.
Rest time is over, I've ridden this entire section before on a tour years ago which included a stop in Immokolee for some of the most degen 2/4 limit "action" holdem ever seen. Might stop by Immokolee on the return trip if Magic City doesn't send me busto. Eli has family in the area so instead of continuing the sprint to Key West for NYE we will stay with his uncle in Coral Gables and do a short day the next to visit his aunt in Key Largo.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 12-29-2016 at 08:24 PM.
Called it quits before reaching the coast and camped near Loxahatchee Fl, we will zig zag our way to Delray Beach before heading south to stay with Eli's uncle in Coral Gables which is probably going to be at least a 90 mile day.
Finished the days ride out just north of Kendall area of Miami where we are being put up by Eli's uncle and wife who treated us to a fantastic dinner and kindly let us use the shower which was long overdue.
We hit the coast at Delray Beach and rode A-1a south as much as possible for the rest of the day with a short stint on US1 after Ft Lauderdale. After all those miles on rural highways it was great to be back in a setting where I can keep pace with traffic largely and pass cars here and there. tomorrow it's off to Eli's aunts place in Key Largo with a possible stop at the poker room near homestead.
Mansion under construction with security detail in Hillsboro.
The man who rode his skateboard from Orlando to Ft Lauderdale and carries a .38 revolver in his knapsack.
This kind officer gave me permission to photograph him, doesn't he look great?
Drawbridges all over South Florida, the gentleman waiting by the gate tipped us off about the "surf road" which is pedestrian and bike only and parallels A-1A in Hollywood North beach
The ride down from Delray Beach to Miami Beach is amazing, wind at our back lots of traffic which slows the cars down just enough to make cycling faster and safer. We exited Miami Beach via the Venetian islands which are quite incredibly lavish and fun to cycle through.
Riding by tall buildings makes the day go by so fast...
Rode a trail underneath the monorail for a few miles on the way out to Kendall which was very chill and appreciated after 7 hours of being in traffic. Excited about a 50 Miles day tomorrow because my body is getting quite sore from all these centuries.
After a while the surf road turned into a brick pedestrian path with lots of vendors and people riding bikes and even giant hot wheels type tricycles that were being rented out so we exited before riding its full length.
Another mega tower being built in Fort Lauderdale central beach, the amount of development down here is staggering today should take us back to some more remote areas especially if we make a junket out to the Miccosukee Casino because there is a trail & roadway that run due south we can pick up there that runs alongside the Everglades wildlife area.
Sleeping on a fouton without 40-50 degree temps was magical, actually had R.E.M. Sleep and feel ready to attack the course.
New Years celebrations whooped my ass, maybe tomorrow I'll find some of the better pictures from the ride to Key Largo, just south of Homestead we rode with two Canadians on a Florida tour for a few miles.
The Dixie Highway south of Miami had more "rough sleepers", tweakers and flakka survivors than any place I've been along with that comes a lot of broken glass on the trail good thing my Schwable Marathon plus tires are damn near impervious to sharps.
Old Dixie Highway/us1 had a proper bike lane all the way down to card Sound road
This modified expedition edition shopping cart warmed my heart as a guy who doesn't know how to travel light, the bike path is very useful for those looking to establish new camps. While riding it we passed a guy taking a **** and wiping his ass near a canal 2 ft off the trail his squat was very poor but we saw some quality ones in thickets and tree stands for several Miles
This guys cart was so epic, the gallons of water tell me he is really well prepared and knows how to survive in the streets.
The Canadians from Toronto were very nice, we road with them to Alabama Jacks and just beyond on Key Largo, they are also riding to Key West then ferrying to Ft Myers where they will travel east back to their car in fort Pierce
Card Sound road
got a boating expedition lined up for today no cycling farther than the nearest saloon or gas station.