04/06/2012 16:00:00 by Administrator
Floyd Rd, Austell GA westward
then returning eastward
Silver Comet Trail
While visiting the Atlanta area, the Silver Comet Trail is a MUST ride for
any cyclist. The Silver Comet Trail is a converted Rails-to-trails ride.
We started at the Floyd Road parking lot about 4 miles from the start of
the trail in Syrma, Ga. The trail runs 61 miles, all the way to the
Alabama-Georgia State line. There it connects with the Chief Ladiga Trail.
This connection forms a trail which will go from Atlanta, GA, to Anniston,
AL, or a distance of about ninety (90) miles. This trail is in the Rails
to Trails hall of fame, and it belongs at the top, on our lists of
We spent the night in the Walmart parking lot, about a half mile from the
trail. According to our iPhone app, your allowed to stay overnight at this
Walmart. But we like to check. So I went inside and tracked down the
assistant manager and asked permission. He informed me that I need to ask
the security officer who rides in a white small pickup truck, keeping
things in order in the parking lot. After flagging her down, I asked if it
was ok to park overnight in the parking lot. She said I was to ask the
manager inside of Walmart. I kept my mouth shut, feeling that my diligence
was complete, and all had a restful night.
It was an overcast day, with temperatures only reaching the upper 60s.
The trail was in GREAT shape, and well used. We rode westward for 24
miles, with Sammie in tow, before making a U-turn and heading back easterly
to the parking lot. There are many little admiral facilities as you ride,
until you get past the Rambo parking area . . . then things get a little
remote. The Silver Comet is mostly tree lined, but there are so many
spring flowering shrubs and trees, birds, bridges, and parks to hold you
interest. We did not see very many wild animals, a couple of bunnies was
After our U-turn, and we think we were in the town of Dallas, we stopped
at Aubrey's restaurant. It is down a hill and across a major route. It
was, by far, one of the worst meals we have had cycling. Period.
Everything was either fried or taken directly out a tin can, and warmed up.
The soda dispenser didn't work correctly, the portions were small (thank
goodness for little favors). But the most interesting aspect of this
dining experience was that Aubrey's was very busy!
It is a sin not to be able to eat well on a long cycle ride, after all
food is why we ride! Again, come and enjoy the Silver Comet Trail?but find
a different place to eat!
01/04/2012 12:00:00 by Administrator
Manatee Springs State Park, FL
Fanning Springs, FL (and back)
Nature Coast State Trail
Brrrrrrr . . . .
People reading this blog in Toronto will be saying "Big Deal", but 16 degrees last night and only 45 degrees during this bike ride (in Florida) is cold!
We stayed at Manatee Springs State Park so we could let SeeMore loose on the Nature Coast State Trail which runs from Chiefland Florida to Cross City (westerly) and/or Trenton (easterly). It really is a great big "T", which runs for 31 miles.
No little drop in temperature was going to stop us! We started at our campsite and rode the 7 miles east on route 320 until the trail crossed the road, we then rode south until we reach the park (across rte 19). Sammie, the Rear Admiral, and I enjoyed our lunch while watching the town workers take town the holiday lights.
After lunch we rode north for 8 miles until the trail "T"ed at Fanning Springs. The trail is paved and flat. We meet very few people on the trail (only one cyclist), probably because it was mid-week and cold (Florida cold).
We are glad we rode this Rails-to-Trail but would not go out of our way to revisit.
Manatee Springs State Park is famous for the winter home of the endangered Florida Manatee. The swim up the Suwanee River, and enjoy the warm spring feed spring that feeds into the Suwanee. There is a very nice boardwalk which follows the spring and ends at the Suwanee River. While we were
there, we saw no Manatees. People said the spring was too shallow and the weather was too cool for them to be in the spring.
We did see hundreds of black headed vultures, which live here year round. They were in the trees that lined the spring, they were air, they were on the shores, basically, they were EVERYWHERE.
Maybe the Park should be renamed, Vulture Springs State Park?.but it just doesn't have the same ring to it!
11/17/2011 12:00:00 by Administrator
South Bay, FL
Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST)
The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST) is a 120-mile trail around " the Big Lake," as they call it (and it is big, about 730 square miles). The trail runs atop the Herbert Hoover Dike, which, along with a system of locks, is what keeps the Big Lake from spilling out across the vast flatlands of South Florida (which used to be flood plains or swamp before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers came and altered the landscape). Sections of the LOST are paved, and other are packed gavel. We gained this knowledge from their website. We wanted to start at the paved section in the town of Pahokee, then ride to Clewiston (and then return back to Pahokee) but there was major dike construction that closed the trail (going clockwise) until the Belle Glade Recreation Area.
The best thing about riding atop the 34-foot tall levee was the view. Lake Okeechobee lay below us, and in some areas there was water on the other side of the dike. Both bodies of water provide great habitat for birds and other animals. Sometimes the huge birds (various wading birds and vultures) swooped by, spreading their broad wings at eye level. The view opposite the lake was filled with lots of sugar cane fields and semi busy route 27. We had a number of truckers honking and waving at us today, which reminded us of our touring days! We saw no other hiker, cyclist, or walker on the trail today, which made us want to scratch our heads.
The worst thing about riding on the dike was that there was no place to hide, so all during today's ride we were at the mercy of the wind and the bright Florida sunshine, with nary a tree at our level to slow either down. Because the trail curved around the lake, there was no way to avoid headwinds at some point. When we turn back toward the car, the headwinds also turned with us.
Another goal today (besides enjoying SeeMore's company) was to find the Army Corps of Engineering campground in Clewiston, Fl. We did not find the campground (even though it appeared on our campground app), but we located the AC headquarters in Clewiston. Mary went in side and had a very nice talk with the lady inside. After the day's ride, we visited another Corps site in Stuart Fl.
The small part of the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail that we rode was a very pleasant ride. The trail was wide, paved, and uncluttered with excellent visibility.We would highly recommend this ride to anyone visiting South Florida. With access to a number of motels, campgrounds and restaurants around the lake, a cyclist could get LOST for days. We also recommend the South Bay county park for camping!
11/12/2011 12:00:00 by Administrator
West Orange Trail
Just the opposite of the flat and straight James A. Van Fleet State Trail,
the West Orange Trail winds through 22 miles of fields, forest canopies,
neighborhoods and towns The West Orange Trail is a VERY popular rail-trail
located just a few miles west of Orlando in Orange County,
Florida. The trail runs along the borders of Lake Apopka on the abandoned
right-of-way of the Orange Belt Railway and connects the communities of
Oakland, Winter Garden, Ocoee and Apopka.
SeeMore started at the west end of the trail in Oakland, at the Killarney
Station. Besides the parking lot there are restrooms and a place to rent
bicycles. There are also many other rest areas (Stations) along this trail. Since it
was a Saturday, the parking lot was completely full except for one last
spot which we were grateful. We have a feeling that this trail is popular any day
of the week.
This nicely paved trail is never straight, and crosses many roads which
the rider needs to be fully aware of. The paved trail allows you to travel down
the very middle of downtown Winter Garden, the former center of citrus
processing in the area, which is now a bedroom community for Orlando. From
Chapin Station at mile seven until Ingram Outpost at around mile 12 the trail has
a more rural feel, except for the bustling stretch that passes near the
Forest Lake Golf Course in Ocoee. Cyclist are protected from missed hit
golf balls by a 10 foot chain link fence with an 8 foot chain link fence
extension. This fence is very well placed (there most be a lot of golfers who can hit the ball like me)! When the trail reaches Apopka,
one of the less scenic parts of the trail, it becomes fully
urban for the first time since it left downtown Winter Garden. You get to
climb up and over "main street", then ride past the High School, into the
busy section of Apopka. We decided not to do the last mile of the trail
because the trail ran along a very busy and noisy street.
Lunch was at the Catfish Place in Apopka. We enjoyed the outside dinning
area, and the chocolate volcano dessert (remember it's the eating, not the
riding that is most important!). Afterwards, we rode back toward Oakland,
and Killarney Station.
We don't believe you could ever get bored riding this trail. The only
drawback(s) were the many road crossings, and the very end of the trail
06/30/2003 14:09:27 by Administrator
Hamlin State Park
From: Hamlin Beach State Park
Monday morning found us all back in the Brockport diner for a very filling breakfast. I was going to have the traditional New Hampshire Yankee breakfast (coffee and pie) but had a stack of raspberry pancakes. Outside the restaurant we met a group of 10 riders going from Vermont to Seattle Washington. They were staying in the church for the night, and had to make it to Niagara Falls for the night. They invited us to think about making the trip with them in two years. After exchanging eMail addresses, we got back on the Erie Canal Heritage Trail and our adventure. It was a PERFECT DAY, blue blue skies and temperatures in the mid 80s. The canal path was more active, which is what we like to see. We saw a lot more boating activity on the canal including sculling clubs and state boats actively dredging. We stopped to see 3 boats (yachts) go through lock 30. Prior to that we rode through Rochester New York. This is a bike friendly city, with multiple bikeways. The trail through Rochester was paved, but turned to stone dust after the city. The path between Macedon and Palmyra is getting a new coat of stone dust, which made it very challenging to ride. We had lunch at a small restaurant near the end of the trail and headed towards Lyons on route 31 (bicycle route 5) this part of bicycle route 5 is AWESOME, very little traffic and wide shoulders. We stopped for $1.00 ice cream cones (which our local ice cream stand would have charged us $3.50) and rocked in the rockers they provide on their porch. AGAIN we beat the sag wagon into camp. There was a good reason, Dustin and Dad found a college that made Dustin's top two list. While waiting for the "boys" we had naps under the weeping willow trees in the campground so we really didn't miss them too much. Rochester Institute of Technology has a BioTech program that they wanted to investigate further and go back the next day. So when we met after dinner that night, we agreed to meet at Fisher Bay campground in Bridgeport (on lake Oneida).As they planned on being in that area to camp the next evening