James A. Van Fleet State Trail

11/10/2011 12:00:00 by Administrator

Mabel, FL
Polk City, FL
60 miles

James A. Van Fleet State Trail
SeeMore rode the James A. Van Fleet State Trail. This former railroad runs 29 miles through some of Florida's Green Swamp and can be summed up using just two words - flat and straight.

No need to change gears, no need to use the brakes, no need to use your handle bars to steer. This is a straight, flat and nicely paved rails to trail.

We started out in Mabel Florida at the northern terminal (121st street), and rode south to Polk City. Supposedly, among the wildlife, you will be able to see alligators in the water beside the trail and various snakes sunning themselves on the path. Fortnately we did not see this variety of wildlife as I did not mention this to the Rear Admiral! We did see many squirrels, gopher tortoises, and vultures but nothing else. The multitude of trees and plants kept our interest though. It is wonderful to see flowering trees and schrubs in November.

There are flush toilets and drinking water at the both ends of the trail and one ten miles north of Polk City.

We rode an extra 2 miles because the Rear Admiral had difficulty (first time) using the Urbanspoon app for our iPhone, locating our lunch. For lunch we had our first Hungry Howies. They are a franchise of pizza places, located from Michigan to Florida. We ordered the steak, mushroom and cheese "sub". When I went back to ask the gentlemen to not toast the bread, he looked at me like I had two heads. The "sub" was really a calzone (minus the pizza sauce). The jury is still out on Hungry Howies.

Would be do this trail again? It's a great trail, best served in smaller portions. I would not recommend the 60 mile round trip. If your looking for a quick 20 to 30 mie trip there is enough diversity on the trail but after 40 miles we started to think we were in the twilight zone.