Exploring the preserve - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

February 12, 2022

Exploring the preserve

Gainesville bike ride #2

The day dawned a little more cloudy than the previous days (there's rain coming tonight) so the sunrise was quiet as nice. But I still took a little sunrise walk and think I found some different mushrooms. 

It was much warmer out and was already in the 60's by 10 so we were able to get out earlier on our ride. Today we opted to take the trail to the west this time. Our neighbors told us it got hillier and curvy as you got near Gainesville. 

And boy howdy, they were right on the money! At first the trail was flat until we entered an area that was signed "hammocks and hills area". Hmmm - neither of us knew what hammocks were except for the ones you sleep on. 

We could see curves ahead of us, and then some ups and downs. Some of the climbs were significant. Don said later that we climbed over 300 ft total for the day. 

But it was so fun and different from the flat boring section we rode the other day! The trail moved away from the road so it was very quiet. Although there were quite a few people out today since it was Saturday. 

At one trailhead, several big groups of kids created quite a few road blocks for Don to negotiate around. Especially when they ignored our "on the left" warnings. We had to resort to yelling at them to move!

We took one side trail that went out to an overlook on a lake. The water was quite far away from us so you couldn't see any birds.

As we got closer to town, the land was drier with quite a few live oak trees and pines. In one spot they had done a recent controlled burn to clear the brush away and created more natural prairie.

We rode most of the way into central Gainesville before turning around. There were too many road crossings now so it wasn't as fun to ride the trail even though it continued further. 

By now the sun had come out and it very warm out. Enough that I was finally able to take my jacket off. 

Don said he was up for more miles so we continued east on the trail until it intersected Highway 234  which went to west. We turned onto that road hoping to get to the entrance to the state park where there was a visitor center we wanted to see. Unfortunately we didn't really know how far that actually was - guess we should have done better research before we left!

Anyway, the road had no shoulder with very rough pavement. Traffic was light which was good as Don tried to ride in the middle of the road where it was a bit smoother, then moved over as cars passed. 

Our neighbors here had adamantly said they would NEVER ride the roads in Florida (they live in this state) as they were very unsafe for cyclists. But we had our lights on and no problems at all. Everyone moved around us and we both used our mirrors to check what was coming up behind us.

This was a different area as we moved away from the swamps to more open prairie with several cattle/horse ranches. We even found the historic Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1854,  along the way where we stopped to walk among the monuments. 

What an interesting stop! An informational sign told us that this cemetery was on land donated by Perry who had a plantation in nearby Rochelle. 

A Democrat, he was elected Florida's 4th governor in 1857 and was buried here. Before the Civil War, Governor Perry foresaw that Florida might secede from the Union. He supported that and urged the reestablishment of the state's militia. After his term as governor he served as a colonel of the 7th Florida Infantry Regiment. The city of Perry, Florida is named in his honor.

There was a black couple putting valentine decorations on some graves and we wondered if they knew the history of Perry and this cemetery since he was a Confederate.

One of the larger monuments in the cemetery was a statue of a Confederate soldier that was dedicated to those that had fought in the war. So many of those statues have been torn down lately across the country, including some in Denver as they are deemed by some to no longer be politically correct. So sad that people can't just realize it's part of history, no matter how painful it might be. 

Anyway, we enjoyed the break and continued back on the road to the trail which we took back home. It had been a good ride but now we had to get ready to leave here tomorrow on our trek to the south.

We spent the rest of the day packing up some things and readying the trailer for travel. It started raining later in the evening which was predicted to continue into tomorrow. 

When we went north on the Gainesville/Hawthorne trail, we took a side spur to an overlook of this lake on the Payne's Prairie Preserve.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Neat mailbox seen on the road we took today.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We stopped to walk around the historic Oak Ridge Cemetery where we found many old graves including this one for the son of Madison Starke Perry - the 4th governor of Florida. Junior was a Confederate soldier. Supposedly Confederate markers have a pointed top while Union ones are rounded, although we've never confirmed that.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A nice statue of a Confederate soldier. This was protected by an iron fence and security cameras - so sad that that's the state of this country now.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The grave for Madison Starke Perry - the 4th governor of Florida. The marker at the bottom indicates he was a Confederate soldier and fought for the Confederate States of America.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Nice canopy of live oaks today! But you can see the crappy condition of the road.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The owner of Kate's Fish Camp ran a business of their home making organic soaps, shampoo, lotion and other similar items, including this interesting Swamp Juice - a non-Deet bug spray. She gave us a sample pack of 4 soaps when we checked in and I liked them so much that I ordered more. We know that we'll be encountering lots of mosquitoes and other biting insects this year, and that some of them aren't detered by Deet (which we also carry) so hope the "Juice" works well!
Heart 0 Comment 0
A Palmetto?
Heart 0 Comment 0
If you stand still for too long out here, something will likely grow on you from Spanish moss to Kudzu!
Heart 0 Comment 0
The campground at Kate's Fish Camp is definitely scenic but the sites are very tight and haphazardly situated among the trees.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 742 miles (1,194 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0