Ridin' the rails - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

February 10, 2022

Ridin' the rails

Gainesville bike ride #1

Today dawned with yet another cold, clear morning. Sheesh - I sound like a broken record! But I guess it is winter here.

After breakfast, I decided to walk over the lake behind the campground to watch the sunrise. It was so eerie looking across the mist shrouded water through drooping Spanish moss. Since there wasn't a trail per se, I had to watch my step around the puddles of water, mud and downed trees. 

But the mushrooms! Ooh boy, I haven't seen such a variety of interesting fungi since being on the Oregon coast. I need to buy an ID book. 

I was also on the lookout for gators as they are supposed to be around here according to the campground owner. But other than Anhingas and a Great Blue Heron that didn't appreciate me being nearby at all, I didn't spot any other critters. But I'm not sure I'd care to run into an alligator, even if the owner said they move slowly at this time year because it's cold. 

The sun warmed things up quickly and by 11, we got Garfield out for a ride on the Gainesville -Hawthorne trail. Today we rode east to the end of the trail in Hawthorne. 

At first we were next to  a busy highway, but the road soon moved away from us and it got quieter. It was a pleasant ride as we rode through one edge of the Payne's Prairie Preserve.  Sometimes there was water next to us and in other areas there were small homes. 

We saw cardinals flitting through the trees - much too fast to take a picture and perched in the top of one tall pine, some type of hawk. It was too high up to see what type it was. 

There were a few other cyclists out on the trail - a couple on e-bikes along with some road riders. This is flat ride, although going to Hawthorne I felt like we were climbing a bit. On the return trip this was confirmed when we had a slight downhill. Enough that we could coast at times.

We were both happy that we had no pedal or other mechanical issues today so maybe Don's repair took care of my bottom bracket problem.  You never know about those kinds of things.

By mid-afternoon, we arrived back at our campsite where we spent the rest of day relaxing and  talking with our neighbors who also were here to bike the trail. In our experience, we enjoy riding rail trails but only in moderation since they are usually straight and flat which can get pretty boring. 

We've got one more day here to ride, and we may venture north on the trail or maybe out on some of the country roads, despite our neighbors saying they would never ride roads in Florida as they weren't safe. As we've toured in all of the states in the US and some in Canada, which for the most part has been on roads, some good and some bad, we don't feel any one state is worse than another. You just have to be visible to drivers and always be aware of traffic around you. Then be ready to bail off the road if necessary. 

The evening was pretty quiet here in swamp land. This place is growing on me! But I still don't care for the bathroom/shower facility. 

Sunrise in the swamp
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There are all kinds of lichen and moss growing on the trees. This is some foliose lichen.
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Today's ride was along the Gainesville/Hawthorne rail trail.
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On some sections of the the trail we rode through thick stands of pines and live oaks, while in others we by these spooky looking cyprus dripping with Spanish moss.
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Wanna go to a dance?
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Just sunnin' in the swamp.
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Ahhhh - that sun feels SO good!
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Today's ride: 21 miles (34 km)
Total: 763 miles (1,228 km)

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Scott AndersonYou two went in the wrong direction! Portland’s high today was 67.
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3 months ago
marilyn swettHmmm - but today is supposed to be 76 here in Gainesville! And even warmer as we go south to the Keys.
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3 months ago