Saturday, October 3, 2015


We packed the car and the bikes and drove 4+ hours to Inverness, a town just northeast of Tampa. Small lakes are everywhere. Streets are lined with oaks draped in Spanish moss. Through the center of town, near the county courthouse, runs the Withlacoochee State Trail, Florida's oldest rail-to-trail, 46 miles of wide paved bike path.

We are here for a ride tomorrow which is sponsored by a Rails-to-Trails group. It is an annual ride we chanced upon years ago. We were fascinated by the interesting mix of people who attend. It is both a standard ride for people wanting to ride 62 or 100 miles and a big bicycle festival for casual riders of all ages. It routinely draws 800-900 people.

We wandered around town briefly, stopping at a local bike shop for some things and checking out a couple restaurants. We laughed at the town's demographics. Silver and gray hair predominate. The Villages, that vast retirement haven, is just 20 miles from here. The area is positively overrun by retirees. Most were just regular folks, but some were clearly living in a time gone by. We saw one guy who apparently hadn't changed his wardrobe or haircut since 1972!

We headed back to our motel. We doubted we were ready for the tingling excitement of Saturday night out on the town in Inverness.