Country roads are like girls, the best ones got curves - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

April 8, 2022

Country roads are like girls, the best ones got curves

Starke bike day

Today dawned clear and sunny, although it was a bit chilly in the 50's. But at least it wasn't as humid. 

We decided to do just a short ride today and explore the area around Starke which is a smaller community in the middle of nowhere that's located west of Jacksonville and north of Gainesville. Don put together a loop out into the country and by 10:30, we ventured out to see what we could find. 

The first thing we noticed was that it was flat! A lot different from riding in Tally with all of its hills. 

We crossed over the busy 4-lane highway that ran in front of the campground and onto a country lane. It was peaceful riding past many dilapidated mobile homes, although a few had tried to make a more attractive property. But I wasn't sure that purple, royal blue and fuchsia paint was the way to go!

However, the quiet was soon filled with the roar of engines as 2 vehicles drag racing, went screaming past us one direction, turned around and came by again! Good grief! At least they didn't hit us, but I'm not sure our road was the best place for this activity. 

The car and truck disappeared, leaving the peace we desired. We enjoyed the area, despite it looking like a low income neighborhood tucked among the woods. 

Things were going well until I saw a sign that said 'pavement ends'. Uh, Don, did you know about this?! Boy, it's always an adventure on our rides!

A few feet further, the pavement did stop and the road turned to rutted sand. We tried to ride on it for a way, but our narrower tires just couldn't navigate the soft surface. Don said he had tried to look at all of the roads in this area on Google View and this one had appeared to be paved. Well, there wasn't much we could do except turn around and try to find another road. 

We did end up going down a few side streets before finally locating one that Don recognized from his research. He said that would take us over to Highway 100 which showed a shoulder.

This connector road was a bit busier than the other one we had ridden, but not too bad. I was just relaxing and looking around us at the homes and a couple of businesses when all of a sudden there was a loud rumbling bark next to my elbow. YOW!!!!

I jumped nearly out of my seat as I looked over to see a very large dog galloping next to us. It had a big head and looked kind of like a mastiff. We managed to keep on pedaling and luckily it swerved away from us without challenging us further. Whew! 

My heart was racing at this point and it took a little while before I calmed down. It had been a sneak attack as neither of us had noticed the dog earlier. 

All of the dogs we'd seen earlier had been behind fences or chained up and I really hadn't given any thought to dog attacks when we left. I did pack pepper spray but it was back in the truck. 

If we're going to be doing more road vs trail riding, then I'm going to need to bring it with us just in case. Usually yelling 'go home' etc does the trick, but over the years, we have had a few dogs that we've had to spray. 

Hearts back to normal, we turned onto 100 which had a lot more traffic. At least it had a shoulder. Fortunately we only had to be on it a short way before we turned off onto a quieter country road. 

This neighborhood was a bit more prosperous looking with nicer homes and a few farms/ranches. Between the properties were thick piney woods and a large tree farm. I kept wondering when we would run into logging trucks on the road as we've seen them parked along the way.

Eventually this road ended and brought us back to 100 where we turned to head home. It hadn't been a long ride, but we also had a gusty headwind at times, so the shorter distance was fine.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing on the patio. I read a book and watched Don work on the bikes and trailer, trying to remove some of the rust that had been building up. I tell you that in the South, based on what we've seen, if the moss and vines don't take over, the rust will!

Oops - this doesn't look too good! We did give it a try for a few feet, but kept bogging down in the soft wet sand. There wasn't much we could do except turn around.
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Scott AndersonMakes a nice photo though, so there’s that.
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1 month ago
Interesting mail box on this road.
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I liked this reuse of an old saw blade.
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Handy garden decor - no need to go back into your house if you suddenly have the urge to go!
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Lots and lots of space at our site at the KOA.
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Today's ride: 16 miles (26 km)
Total: 235 miles (378 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Scott AndersonSo glad your dog encounter didn’t end badly. Scary!
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1 month ago