April 22, 2016
Gainesville, FL to Palatka, FL
Day: 57.4 miles; Total: 3,094.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,073′
Map Link: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/8634281
Breakfast options for an early start in Gainesville were a McDonalds or Fast Eddy’s so of course we joined the crowd of locals at the walk up/drive up window for FE’s breakfast sandwiches ( mayo optional and tater tots were the vegetable option). Fueled up, we headed down a country road lined with small homes and went towards the start of the Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail.
This beautiful paved biking and hiking trail runs for about 16 miles alongside a state preserve, and we rode under trees hanging with moss, past water features filled with frogs and birds, and no motor vehicles!! It was great riding. On the trail, we met two very interesting cyclists, Paul and Bill, who are teachers for an organization that supports folks with Parkinson’s. They both have the disease and are working to assist others in ways to do beneficial training and exercising. Their website is Parkinson’snetwork.org, so check it out if you’re interested.
When the trail ended, we were then going north, (?) back on a highway for a bit, then a very rural road with broken surfacing, and after several small towns, we rode onto another bike trail. This was the Palatka-Lake Butler State Trail, and again a lovely place to ride on, actually getting to chat together as we rode along. It crossed over more field-like terrain and was nicely flat. When it ended, we rode the final 10 miles back on the highway with some shoulders for us. Logging trucks roared by and traffic was busy as we entered Palatka, and just as we saw the St John’s River where our motel was, the threatened rain began, but we were only in it for a few blocks.
We got in early, for us, and had time for a quick lunch and then laundry( so exciting!). Hard to believe tomorrow is the last biking day!