We got up this morning, threw our suitcases in the car, popped the bikes onto the bike rack, and hit the road. Since moving to Miami, this is our first road trip out of South Florida. The destination: Inverness, Florida, and the Withlacoochee State Trail. Inverness is a 4 1/2 hour car trip from Miami. Around 300 miles but a world away. It's a sleepy little town of about 7200 souls, the county seat of Citrus County. Long needle pines and oaks dripping with Spanish moss are everywhere. We went to the local Publix grocery store after checking into the motel. The store music was country western and pop circa 1970. Time passes very slowly in Inverness, if at all.
We're going to a ride on the trail tomorrow. It's an annual fundraiser run by the Friends of the Withlacoochee State Trail. The trail, all 46 paved miles of it, is the longest in the state. It's a rails-to-trails affair. It cuts through three counties (Hernando, Citrus, and Pasco) and is about as nice a trail to ride as you can find. Tomorrow there's no mass start. You ride to the start, pick up your registration packet, grab a bite to eat, then start down the trail. While a gazillion riders register, most are families and casual riders who will stay within 15 miles north and south of the start. Once you get past that, the riders you're with are more serious cyclists looking to do a long, fast ride on the trail. The trail surface is well-maintained, and, unlike big city trails, there aren't that many road crossings to slow you down. The rest stops are well-stocked and manned by nice crews.
|The Withlacoochee State Trail|
We are staying at the Central Motel. It's inexpensive and right on the trail, just 2 miles south of the ride's starting point. The rooms are bright and clean and pleasant. A pleasant private balcony lets us sit outside, enjoy the oaks outside our window, and watch people bike past the motel on the trail. Our bikes are by the door, prepped and checked, ready to go tomorrow before dawn.
I've done my chores and jobs for the day. Tomorrow we'll see how many miles we can ride. There is rain in the forecast, but we're hoping to be lucky. My plans for this evening are to consume another banana moon pie, sip more tangerine soda, and enjoy a dinner of Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Time to be lazy. Probably the best choice considering the other entertainment options available in the area.
I'm missing Miami already.