For someone who doesn’t like to drive, I find myself doing quite a bit of it lately.
Ever since my 92-year old mother went into assisted living I’ve been motoring between Gainesville and Melbourne just about every two weeks or so.
That’s about a 190-mile drive one way the way I go (back roads through Palatka and Bunnel to Ormond Beach and then straight south on I-95.) And I seldom make the trip without my road bike strapped to the back of the Subaru.
On any given trip I try to work in two bike rides. And I’ve found some interesting places to cycle along the way and back. I particularly recommend Edgewater and Palatka as great jumping off points.
This past Saturday I was in no particular hurry (the Gators having a bye week) to get home. So I meandered up I-95, stopped for lunch in Palatka and then pulled into oak-dappled Florahome late in the afternoon. It’s my favorite trail head on the Palatka/Lake Butler Trail.
That trail stretches for nearly 50-miles, and it’s a lovely ride no matter which way you go. But I’ll let you in on a little secret.
The most drop-dead gorgeous part of the trail is a relatively short stretch, oh maybe a mile or two, between Grandin and Putnam Hall.
It is where the sun performs a laser show on blue water. Setting the surface all a glitter like so many diamonds.
Where there is so much distracting water and wetlands on both sides that riding past them all without lingering here and there to gape for a while is neigh on to impossible.
And, listen, never doubt that Florida is a sponge. We have tried our best to ditch and drain it in the name of progress. But water will always have its way in the end.
And thank goodness for that.
This is Ron’s Florida. Enjoy the ride while you can.