In the winter break of 2011, Lunchbox and I decided to mount the fixies and trek across Florida. We biked from Gainesville, FL to Micco, FL, a little over 250 miles. The original goal was to ride to Miami, but due to an unfortunate injury suffered by LB, we had to cut the trip short. No worries; that just gives us an excuse to try again another time ;) This trip was even crazier than the last. What didn't happen this time? We each flew off of our bikes at least once, camped in a tent, stayed in hotels, got lost as hell multiple times, relied on the kindness of strangers, received directions from a couple of lesbians in a big ass truck, wandered foolishly into some hunting grounds in a forest and encountered a guy with a rifle who luckily didn't mistake us for game, got a ride through a route that was impassable via bikes from a guy who probably originally thought that we were terrorist trying to contaminate the water supply for all of Cocoa, FL.... It was quite the trip.
Here's the route on Endomondo: Gainesville to Micco
Here are the pics:
Okay, the two pictures above: we were unfortunate enough to get lost here. As the story goes, Google maps (as it so often does) tried to lead us through a swamp. Granted we didn't know that's where we were headed, but we could still tell that the directions were sketchy. So we had no choice but to stop here and try and ask for directions. We spent a while debating whether we should go up (I mean, the signs aren't exactly welcoming). Once we finally decided to, we walked up as close as we dared and yelled. Some kids walking about a mile down headed towards us and just as they neared, they stopped near a home. I yelled, "helloooo, can we get some directions, please?" And then a voice from inside yelled back, "No!! Get inside!." That was that. We continued on the path which led us into the woods (and keep in mind that the terrain up until and into the woods was not ridable, so we were walking this). We continued for a while into the woods until we got to a fence. We finally decided to turn back. As we walked our bikes back, a figure appeared seemingly out of nowhere; a man dressed in camo hunting outfit with a rifle. Besides the kids that never helped us, this was the first person that we had seen in about an hour or more; we both stopped and thought we were dead for sure. I was like, "um, excuse me...where are we?" He said, "huntin' grounds" and kept on walking. We hurried out of there as fast as we fucking could. We made it back to the road (dark as hell by this point) and encountered some lesbians in a big truck. We told them where we had come from and one said, "Oh, you DO NOT want to go that way. That's leads to a swamp and there are bears that way. Yeah, you DO NOT want to go that way." She was speaking about the woods that we were just in. She was adamant to let us know that we didn't want to go that way even when I tried to tell her that's where we were. In any even, they gave us directions and sent us on our way.
A site for sore eyes after riding 75 miles the first day and getting lost in those fucking woods.
Directions for the first day.
Dam's Diner in Ocklawaha, FL. We met a woman here that gave us directions, because Google maps again tried to take us into some sketchy woods.
Across from the Diner
Spent about 7 miles or so on this road (SE 182 Ave Rd) adjacent to the Sunnyhill Restoration Area. While taking these pictures, a car stopped next to us and a woman warned us to be careful because there was a black bear about half a mile down from where we had come from.
As I fixed a flat tire, we saw the first cyclist we'd seen on the trip.
Burger King in Orlando, FL, day #3
At a park called Emery Hamilton in Orlando, FL. Beautiful park with a bunch of amenities which included a skate park and a bmx park.
The picture above: so our directions told us to take Wewahootee Rd to Cocoa Water Plant Rd to 520. There is so much wrong with this. First of all, the majority of the first two roads cannot be ridden on track bikes. Second and even more more important, a majority of Wewahootee Rd and all of Cocoa Water Plant Rd is restricted area which one cannot get past the gate without clearance. This was a major obstacle for us, and we spent about an hour on the phone trying to somehow get clearance to go through here. There was absolutely no other way to get to where we wanted without adding 20+ miles to the trip for the day, and it was already getting dark. Long story short, we convinced a sympathetic man that did have the clearance to give us a ride. Once he realized that we weren't trying to get TO the water plant, just trying to get THROUGH the water plant to get to Melbourne because that's what the dumb directions told us to do (and after asking us if we had any guns or weapons), he agreed. About 14 miles he took us. Bless his soul.
Pitch black wilderness. Imagine about 30 miles of this. We got stopped by the cops twice because there were gun shots (and of course there were barely even any cars out in this wilderness, so two guys on bikes looked suspect as hell). This picture sums up our last night of riding.
Roughin' it in Melbourne, Fl, day #4
On the first day of the trip, LB took a nasty spill in the middle of the pitch black road. We took a second, recuperated, and continued on without thinking anything of it. A day or 2 later, he felt as if he had sprained his ankle, though he didn't exactly hurt his ankle in that fall. Curious. I'll explain the rest in an upcoming picture.
This was monumental! We reached the spot where Faden hitchhiked from in the first trip (Bike from West Palm to Orlando). The gas station at US1 and Malabar Rd.
The final picture (outside of a Ruby Tuesdays in Sebastian, FL) Remember how I said LB felt as if his ankle was sprained? That morning I gave him an Ibuprofin, we wrapped it up, and we continued. He road for 25 miles before the pain become absolutely unbearable. There was no way that we could finish the trip. I'm not sure if you can tell from the picture, but it was undeniable that his left leg was swollen. We walked about a mile to a shopping plaza and made arrangements for transportation to a nearby motel. The next morning, our good friend, Zack, came and rescued us and took us home to Miami.
Though we didn't get to finish our trip, we still accomplished a great deal. We'll definitely get it the next time.