Finished up around 4pm safely back at the shack where Sven quickly displayed a bit of the playfulness that he lost most of the way. Steven was progressively having more problems with both knees becoming inflamed so he called it a day out in Quincy where he would eventually catch the ole Gadsen Express which is a one dollar commuter bus to Tallahassee that has a 2 bike capacity on it's front rack.
Here is the route we took from Pine Log onto the campsite of night 3 which was actually in the Choctawhatchee Water Management area Holmes Creek Unit.
From Chipley to Sneads we managed to only be on US 90 for a blip, it was a glorious experience on day four riding what must have been over 30 miles of unpaved but mostly well compacted dirt/sand roads. Entering Marianna we passed the campus of the infamous Dozier School for Boys where Florida sent some of it's youth offenders to be reformed and some very disturbing things were done you can read about more here if you like.
I've read about this dark chapter of Florida history extensively and didn't realize we would pass it's grounds until arriving there it hit me way harder than the experience of visiting FSP at Raiford. Some of the children housed at Dozier School were guilty of nothing more than truancy or petty theft, many of the buildings remain but eventually the site will be rebuilt now that most of the exhumations have been completed.
From Marianna we picked up the Old Spanish Trail which we rode all the way to Sneads, much of this was unpaved and was a great opportunity to let Sven out of confinement and do what dogs love doing; run! There was a small section that was required getting off the bike but overall it was amazing virtually no traffic lot's of greenery and great weather.
Upon arriving at Sneads we shot north to the Three Rivers State park along the way we passed some kids out riding their Christmas bikes in for the fist time very special moment. 3 rivers was closed due to the recent hurricane but with no one to stop us we rode in and found the forest there nearly leveled. Only person there was in a trailer apparently camped out to help with the repairs and debris removal. After we set up a park ranger came by and told us she wouldn't be kicking us out because "It's Christmas" but that tomorrow we needed to head out.
Here is the rest of our ride from Grand Ridge just west of Sneads back home, dont know how to make it work with google maps because they only allow you to reroute so many times and move the suggested route.
The original plan was overly ambitious considering it was my first trip with Sven and Steven's as well but feel happy about the adjustments we made things really worked out great. Got to revisit some familiar places, ride new areas and share my passion for bike touring with two good friends. There are dozens of pictures and videos to share but my phone data is low that will have to wait so I'll just try and leave one or two of my favorites for now.
Svėn sitting on some stumps back home where he sleeps most of the day in comfort next trip might be to the 10,000 islands and a visit to Bloody Ed Watson's old shell mound cane plantation south of Chokolosee.
Some photos from the last few months, order with trailer is new record $630 with 60 or 70 bottles of water/bags of chips and 6 or 7 30 piece platters good for $120 tip half of which went to the coworkers. Other big order was $350 and included 3 or 4 gallons of tea 2 went in the boot 2 in the pannier only a $5 tip on that one.
Some bike tourists who visited recently, couple were Swiss riding from Bay area CA to San Diego then east to Tallahassee, they planned on riding from here to NYC.
A photo of my neighbors "Glamp David" that's the legend himself with the stylish shades he lent me them for a day to do deliveries which was fun.
There is a group of refugees from Congo and some other central African countries who visit the Bicycle house little kid ghost riding a bike is one of them.
Scot has the goofy scowl and panniers with micro dogs, whining boy is the brown dog who has bitten at least 3 people and gets into many adventures and escapades foraging for smelly things to eat.
Guy riding backwards is Chris from texas a real character who describes bikes he approves of as "beast". I've seen him surf the top tube of a bmx bike down some fairly long moderately steep hills in traffic he is currently tramping across america on a Schwinn prelude with all his belongings in a completely stuffed backpack.
Mr 360 all dressed up he is semi retired from riding bikes but brought in his walker for us to lube the wheels.
Luis is the short guy standing behind the mountain bike which was a bike tourists from Germany, Luis volunteers like 30 hours a week at Bike House and is all around great.
Took a trip to Gainesville on my bike polo bike with Svėn a week or two ago, had a blast won some playing PLO 5-5 at the Orange Lake Jai Lai, then chopped a $65 rebuy MTT that had 3 tables gave up $50 to the other fellow who had me out chipped 2-1 for a $650 prize.
Going to ride to a polo thing in Orlando next week then loop back through Tampa, rear wheel has a flip flop hub so I just change the rear cog from 18 teeth to 16 teeth for more speed the chain ring in front is 34 teeth.
Was in for the 2100 in the plo game it started 5 handed went down to 3 for a while at one point was down over 1000 but scooped a 4 way all in when I banged the nut straight on turn with heaps going in preflop and on flop. J896 diamonds& clubs.
Did a lot of riding surrounding Gainesville really enjoyed Cross Creek where the woman who wrote "The Yearling" lived, Micanopy was a step back in time, the junk pile on 441 just south of Paynes Prairie was run by a very old shriveled woman in a motor scooter who has at least 2 helpers moving stuff about.
Stayed at the Waters Edge RV park one night which is run and owned by guy named Rich who hails from the Brigantine Island near Atlantic City. Said he used to be a professional poker player specializing in Stud hi and in fact played with and knew Phil "Jerome" Ivey. Very well run park just on the southern edge of Lake Orange, second session I camped in the woods along the Jai Lai fronton. Did some camping on the Hawthorne trail just east of Gainesville in the sweetwater preserve section quite nice.
The horse industry in Marion County is intense, found out they have equine polo near the Villages in Bellview after my big trip probably going to relocate to that area and see what I can learn about horses and the "Sport of Kings".
Starting another 2 day ride to Gainesville for some pickup bike polo on Tuesday night then down to Orlando for a polo tournament on Saturday stopping in at the Lake Orange jai lai for the Weds plo game which I've heard is well attended and action heavy.
Most likely will stop off near Twin Rivers State Park around the 70 mile mark but there are some options near Brandford. Last trip I used State Route 98 to reach Cross City that route is very flat, this time around I'll do take US 90 a much more dynamic route with regards to elevation change.
Bought a GoPro recently and have been compiling a little footage when I can, my old laptop isn't powerful enough to process the footage so the only video available now is this run to the Capitol I did on one of my last Jimmy John's shifts. The return trip was pretty fun as it's all downhill once my new laptop arrives I'll upload that.
Last edited by HankTheBank; 04-15-2019 at 12:22 AM.
Just arrived in Monticello very pretty ride steepest grades were fine just had to get out of the saddle.
This ghost bike belonged to a very well liked gentleman who had some podium finishes in his age group doing road races some lady ran him over not sure if they were able to determine where in the roadway the collision occurred as the shoulder is a solid 3 feet most of the way to Lake City on US 90.
Svėn struggling as usual but we are taking frequent breaks and he has had a portion of venison jerky. Passed two touring bicycles one regular one recumbent they had started in San Diego and were going to fly out of Jacksonville on Friday.
Cool cloudless, little breezy but otherwise perfect conditions should make Twin Rivers park well before sunset.
Taking a short break at the Madison PD recommended Norris Cafe which sits directly across from the Madison County Courthouse a lovely building that somewhat unexpectedly has a large cyndrilical tank (water?) Next to it.
Greenville was nice it is after all the hometown of Ray Charles who has quite the lively sculpture commemorating his existence and connection however brief to Greenville which at one point had a more vibrant economy when the railroads passenger line would stop at the town depot now it's all freight on the CSX track.
I've been getting some nice little clips with the camera but it sure does tear through batteries only own 2 but considering how small they are might increase that. My 128gig and 32gig cards are lacking as well when I find an electronics store I'll have to see about getting an external harddrive to store the footage I'm gathering and get at least 2 more 128gigabyte cards.
Svėn consumed 3 little beef sticks during the Greenvile gas station stop and seems to have enjoyed a rest stop at an abandoned Church which couldn't have been out of service for much more than a couple years judging by the interior.
I've been trying to accommodate him on these adventures knowing he'd probably be perfectly content sleeping the day away on my estate minding the chickens, occasionally entertaining MoMo the landlords dog and going on jaunts for things to eat around the property.
I've gone away for a few days up to a week or two since getting him and the people sitting him at the house seemed to think he was in the dumps missing me hard to tell whether taking him on this long trip and future ones is fair to him. Maybe he will get used to it and adjust his periodic whimpering accordingly but I really do like having him with me as he is something of a good luck charm and keeps me out of trouble. Feels like people pass more cautiously when he's on board, if I left him with David and the guy who's subleasing my cabin he'd be fine certainly would miss me some imagine eventually it would be just fine without me. The benefit I get from having him offsets the reduced mileage but on the upcoming trip there will be deserts to cross and although he is a desert dog it will be hard.
Last trip to Gainesville he wouldn't touch his normal dry food instead only accepting jerky, slim, Jim's and Vienna sausages. He sure does spark lots of little conversations and interest probably diminishes the dim prospect of someone stealing my bike which the trailer has always done in my mind.
On to the twin rivers park where I'll probably camp leaving me around 90 miles to cover tomorrow in order to make the 8pm polo gathering in Gainesville.
And they closed the Kwiky mart just west of Greenville which is a shame, always wondered if they named it before or after the Simpsons came into existence as it was run by folks from the Asian subcontinent leaning towards after...
Sent from my SM-J337V using Tapatalk
Last edited by HankTheBank; 04-15-2019 at 04:14 PM.
Had to pull an audible after reaching Twin Rivers without any food for myself since the sausage, egg and cheese at the Norris Cafe in Madison. Kept riding towards Live Oak and got bailed out by a gas station right near the Suwanee River State Park where we're camped out in a nice broad leaf tree thicket in between two sand forest service roads. The camping at Twin Rivers was closer to the I-10, US 90 and railroad plus it could have been a saga dealing with the sandy park roads not to mention the camping fee.
Got leapfroged by the two cycle tourists in the quaint town of Lee a few miles back and then caught back up with them at the gas station they kept going towards Live Oak to parts unknown maybe a hotel there in town seeing there was another 2 hours of daylight to work with.
Lee has a giant peanut processing plant and distribution site right off US 90 and lots of signs proclaiming their motto of "Little But Strong". On the east side of Lee I crossed the railroad tracks to the south for the purpose of allowing Svėn a little leg stretching and ran into a little girl and boy who were out riding bikes in the neighborhood. The little boys beach cruiser was missing quite a few spokes in the rear wheel but considering he only weighed 70lbs or so he should be fine.
Got on the road today around 9 am covered slightly more than was in the plan so if we can get back on the road by 7-8am arriving on time for polo will be attainable.
Svėn found his appetite for a small Cesar brand of wet dog food David gave me, not sure if it has any connection to the famous dog whisperer of TV fame.
Refueling at Fort White, polo got moved up to 7pm so it's been fun trying to pick up the pace and make it on time. There was a trail that ran from O'Brien to Branford , then the whole 13 miles from Branford to Fort White which was great for Svėn who didnt run the entirety but seems more relaxed a few yards away from the traffic and mostly shaded.
Read this book Shadowlands a fictionalized account of Bloody Ed Watsons life which I really enjoyed, Watson moved from S.C to fort White initially before moving on to the Indian Territories and ultimately Chatham Bend south of Chokoloskee so it would be nice to spend more time here to poke around but I came to play bike polo.
Getting lots of good video, will sacrifice the scenic route to High Springs by staying on 27 then all 441 into Gainesville.
The ride from Fort White to Gainesville was just over 30 miles with the highlight being High Springs which had a large number of well preserved historical buildings and an economy that centers around visitors to Ichetucknee Springs/River which is a prime tube floating spot
After High Springs it was all 441 south into Gainesville the majority of which I did at pretty close to maximum effort in order to arrive by 7 and not miss any polo games which I managed to do.
Polo was fun didnt take any video or good photos will save that for Orlando. After unhitching my trailer I misplaced one of the two pins that secure the trailer to the axle bolt nut hitch attachments which would mean I'd have to improvise with something like a spoke or other piece of stainless steel wire lucked out and found a nearly perfect standin that required minimal bending to work. Later that night I found the missing pin hooked in the fleece fabric of Svėns blanket so now I have a spare.
Rode down towards the Lake Orange poker room currently stopped in the lovely little town of Micanopy which I'm told was at one point bigger than Gainesville and Tallahassee at about 800 residents. Picked up a copy of William Bartrams "Travels" and some postcards.
On the way to 441 on SW 34th st a dodge Durango pulled in front of me blocking my path, I foolishly rode up to his driver side window to see what was up and he told me with the millions of dollars spent on bike trails I have no business being on the road. He said he'd like it if I was run over and killed along with my mutt. Guess being delayed to his destination by less than 30 seconds was so upsetting he spent close to a minute ranting to a stranger about it. This type of interaction is very rare most people are decent, his bad attitude has rented a little space in my head and writing it down here maybe will do a little to let that go.
Pulled over to walk Sven a few miles south of town at a seemingly shuttered YMCA camp that a log cabin built in the 1930's and later moved to its current location.
Still good weather although theres a chance of severe weather on Friday.
Bought in for 1000 to the feeder table of 5-5PLO scored a quick double by making a $55 loose call preflop on a straddled pot out of the SB with 77Qd8d check raised all in for 800 on a flop of j95 dd nailed the 7 of diamond on river the player who covered me had AA and another over pair to the board with the naked A of diamonds in his hand.
3 people at this table declined a seat to the main game which has well over 10k on it 7k or so belonging to the player to my new neighbor who has been doing shots drinking beer and playing ignition 10_25 cent hold'em on his cell phone. He left 20 mins ago to drive for Wendy's after mentioning he had too much to drink I offered to drive his car but he declined hope he doesn't have an issue.
On the fence about just calling it a day up around 1200 taking Svėn for a little walk in our stealth camp site near the poker room.
The chip leader hasn't done anything out of line since I've been there, and the rest of table seems competent no obvious fishies perhaps this is why my original table mates declined to move. I'll stick around for a while longer and see if my neighbor's trip to the Wendy's has any positive affect on his looseness.
A fun friendly bunch though most seem to play with each other frequently, despite being small and kind of dingy it is a well run poker room.
Wound up with a nice win last night at one point was up over 2k but got sticky with a turned canoe vs flopped top boat held by a very tight solid player who got 3 streets of value from me. Guess part of it was folding quite a few winners puts me slightly off kilter but $1600 is a good result considered how much gambling was going on.
Two players had gold teeth, there was lots chunky gold chains, a pinky ring, diamond studded earrings, fancy watches and well north of 20k on the table. My favorite player was a burly jovial elderly gentleman with hearing aids named Monte who mostly played very TAG and would celebrate a little when he when he won and was the only other player who ran it once.
At one point he called a players allin with a holding far from the nuts lost and instantly reloaded for 3k from his knot of 100 dollar Bill's. Monte wound up harpooning what was left of the whale and quit with an 8 k stack.
Took off south along the NW Gainesville Road which passed through the tiny towns of Reddick, Lowell, Martin, and Zuber. Lots of spectacular ranch properties along the rolling hills, passed the Ocala Stockade which takes Hogs, goats, and cattle. Upon reaching the edge of Ocala I stopped by Big Mommas kitchen and got a $5 special which was great value and good service from Big Momma herself.
Linked up with the 301/441 in Ocala and took that all the way to the resplendent Oxford Downs complete with a fairly large Tiki bar out back. Playing some 1-2 might hop in the evening $60 MTT unless this table seems like a better option.
This place closes at 1 or 2 am so I might play a while and ride part of the 65 miles into Orlando tonight if no stealth camping pops up around here.
Svėn has been doing much better Found he really likes these meat meal replacement bars called Epic Bars which is a much healthier option than slim Jim's and jerky.
Set up a little leash off my seat post so he can run along me for spots where off leash isn't an option.
Guy is talking about blockers and just groused about getting no action with "top top" so I have a good target to go after with some rags should the opportunity present itself.
Jumped in the $55 tournament with my $100+ winnings from the 1-2 and lasted until just after the first break, someone needs to alert Allen Kessler about the shamefully fast structure of this event despite being listed as a turbo I believe they have gone too far. Pulled off a nice 7-2 off suit bluff against my neighbor so all was not lost.
Played the 1-2 afterwards had fun donking around ran it up to 600 or 700 and back down again a few times before cashing out at closing time for a 100 profit.
Headed out towards a wooded patch nearby to camp and struggled mightily schlepping my bike and trailer through a large raspberry bramble patch looking for a set of trees to run my hammock off, wound up stuck multiple times in the overgrowth and ultimately settled for some puny Trees of heaven that left me more on the ground than suspended in air but after unlimited beers my motivation to find a proper site was nil.
Should have been more wary of the fresh tractor tracks I went over on the way to my campsite because they were from the racetracks manure disposal crew, I was literally sleeping on horse manure which other than the flies swarming after sunup wasn't too bad as it provided some cushion.
Back at the Oxford Downs and sat down at a brand new 2_5 NL table and whose at the table other than my main man Monte from the Jai Lai poker room. Monte was telling me about his gambling past and how he has played some Muėnster big private PLO games in Miami.
The villain who flopped a boat and got value from me is also here and a chatty impish fellow named John who is the table Captain for sure, most people seem to have bought in 1000 and are all regulars should be a fun diversion until I can will my way into the allegedly private 5-5 Big O game that begins at 1pm.
If I cant make that happen there is an Equine Polo match at the polo grounds 4 miles away at 3pm should probably go to that instead of wasting away at the poker table.
A gentleman named Rusty who recently won a tournament at Hard Rock stopped by and greeted everyone like it was "Cheers!" He offered $100 to anyone for their seat and after some thought I countered with 125 which he accepted. There were four 1_2's going so I'd imagine one of them is worth playing based on the little I'd seen of that 2_5 although it was a nice group no obvious spewers or fellow morning beer drinkers.
There is some nasty weather coming through and the poker room might be the best place to ride it out, really hoping they let me play this Big O game even though Monte derides it as a nits game and he is shut out. I told Monte it's not a Nits game if your a fish, your getting 5 freaking cards and its split pot!
This 1_2 table has a severe demeanor and I'm probably the youngest by at least 20 years, they wouldn't let me carry my stack from 2_5 over but I tried. Breaking in the 4 dollar open UTG for giggles, it's best if you do it by announcing raise in a dramatic tone after pause and cut out each white chip side by side one at a time.
My table is full of OMC types and uber nitty but that's ok they are nice and putting up with my antics in stride. Have to admit I've always fetishised the proposition of taking an OMC and over the course of several hours setting him on full blown tilt with loose erratic play similar to some gay folk I've met who love trying to turn out straight guys. It might be expensive at first but the satisfaction of changing a very stodgy table dynamic is probably one of the most satisfying things to do in live poker.
One of the dealers legal name is Hercules because he was born weighing 3lbs and his parents wanted to give him a strong name, there are 6 horses grazing on the infield of the track both tiki bar girls are gorgeous love this poker room.
Left the Oxford Downs yesterday around 5 PM yesterday after the storm abated, my session was not a profitable one due largely to a spectacular 3 barrel bluff fail for vs an older gents flopped top 2 who snap called my $300 river shove after 75 flop 160 turn.
One guy was tilted enough to call me a ****ing ******, couldn't get into the Big O game but it was full so wasn't getting shut out at least.
Rode to the Rodeway Inn in lovely Leesburg Fl 14 miles south of the downs which took me through one of the largest retirement communities in America The Villages. Some pretty baller homes nice golf cart multi use trails and overall good infrastructure/roads in Lake County overall maybe due to the nice tax base.
The Hotel stay was very needed after our stealth camping debacle the night before, rolled out right around 7 am and crushed the mileage to Orlando arriving before the scheduled 1pm start time and as of 3:40 PM we still haven't played a game but that's polo probably will get started within the hour.
Here is a the route I took, deviated slightly once I got into Orlando, overall a great ride with the highlight being the Lake Apopka Trail which lasted a good 15 miles and at one point was blocked by two 12ft plus gators. They ran off as I cautiously approached on my bike, saw lots of wildlife Raptors, wading birds, turtles. At one point Lake Apopka was considered a dead lake from all the contamination and didnt support much life but it has recovered well it seems.
The wind was whipping off the lake for parts of the ride mostly in my favor, crossed a section that was closed and being worked on the guys running the bulldozers and earth moving equipment let me pass without objections.
Got to the end and found a locked gate with barbed wire fencing so had to unpack and remove the trailer passing everything through the narrow gap as I was halfway through a park service guy rolled up asking If I had seen the trail closed signs.
Thankfully he didnt make me back track even helping with the remaining items, from there it was a fast paced race through the suburbs even leapfrogged a pack of 3 road bike riders.
There are a variety of bike people here not just polo players, a guy doing some seriously impressive freestyle bmx tricks including 180's over the tennis net. Some other fixed gear riders showing off and this guy who rode from Cairo to Capetown with 2 other guys in a ride sponsored by Cinelli.