Took a few much needed days off and headed for the East coast of Florida, to Merritt Island and camped at Manatee Hammock Campground on the Indian River. We heard there were painted buntings at the visitors center and lots of good nature walks through some of the wet lands. Leroy and Diane Jacobsen also went, as Diane is the one who told us about the buntings. We were not disappointed let me tell you. We saw painted buntings right off. Such beautiful birds with blue, purple, red, and green feathers. Because of their colors they are being trapped and sold as cage birds so they are endangered now. In another area we got to see Florida scrub jays which also are endangered. At the Viero wet lands we walked around the ponds and saw all kinds of water fowl, ducks, coots, herons, egrets, spoonbills, ibis, grebes, mergansers, hawks and of course in any Fl. wet land, gators. The best was watching a Great Blue heron catch and eat a fish about a foot long, and also watching a gator sneaking up on a bunch of coots although the coots were keeping their eyes on that gator. Took a short kayak paddle on the Indian River from the campground and saw manatee and dolphin. Had a wonderful time seeing all the wildlife and evenings just sitting around the camp fire talking about the days fun with good friends. What a great way to spend Christmas.
Today started out chillier than was expected as we headed out to kayak the Oklawaha River, Northeast of Ocala near Silver Springs. From Ray Wayside Park if you go right you'll end up at the head spring of Silver River, go left as we did you go with the current down river to Gores Landing or further if you want. We shuttled cars to Gores Landing which provided us with a 10 mile easy paddle. Nice color since there were not any hard freezes yet and the river was full of water birds and song birds provided a sound track for the trip.A stop at The Blue Gator for dinner topped off a perfect day. This is the kind of day off we need, something different with good friends, Diane, Mary Ann, Deborah, Lee Ann, Charlie, and our new friend Bill. Looking forward to a camping trip over Christmas to Manatee Hammock near the East coast and Merit Island in search of the elusive Painted Bunting.
We hope you will join us on Dec. 2 5:30-8:00 pm for the start of Floral City's Heritage Day's celebration. The town will be all lit up. The store's will all be OPEN. We will be serving libations and the Lions Club will have their famous fish fry! Saturday will have various events going on around town. Floral City is the place to be this weekend. Join in the fun.
Heard from some friends that there were Rosette Spoonbills on Bennette's Creek off the Northern part of the Withlacoochee river in Yankee Town near where it feeds into the Gulf of Mexico. On Monday our day off from the shop we drove up there with kayaks in the van to go check this out. The last time I was in Yankee Town I stayed at the Isak Walton Lodge which had burnt to the ground and is now rebuilt and opening soon. The one thing I remembered about this area were the no-see-ems or flying teeth. They were there to greet us this time too. After getting directions to Bennettes creek we got on the water and right off the bat we saw a dolphin, then paddled off looking for the 1st left after the last house which we took, and a right at the "no wake " sign which we also took. We paddled all the way to the Gulf and not a Spoonbill to be seen. Planned it right by the current and the tide so we wouldn't have to paddle against either out or back. Saw 2 more houses nearer the Gulf and figured we turned too soon, maybe that wasn't the last house we previously saw, so back we went to where we thought would be the correct turn. Saw lots of birds, little blue herons, great blue herons, ibis, egrets but no spoonbills. The lady at the campground said we didn't want to find bird creek because it was easy to get lost, well, we found it by accident. Paddled all the way to the gulf again this time by a different route then back toward where we started out where I found a guy at the first last house and asked him where Bennette's Creek was. He pionted back the way we just came and said," see the woods about 500 yards up, just look for the floating logs, that's the creek". Back we went and finally, Spoonbills, wood storks, black crowned night herons, oh and on the way bald eagle. What an adventure sore shoulders and all. Can't wait to go back and go all the way up Bennette's creek to the gulf.
This past weekend we did the ride for Ataxia and took some Catrikes for some of the riders to use to do the ride. Very inspiring to see some of these people with this disease who had to be lifted from a wheel chair and lowered to the trike to do the ride. Did I mention there were hills and wind. David Henry who wasn't in a wheel chair did 25 miles on the Expedition, (without the ride kick in the pic). Natalie Denny who had to be lifted from her chair and placed in the trike did 16 miles in the hills from Clermont to Killarney Station and back, total 16 miles. This is the ride we did and I give here kudos for here effort on those hills. We saw several people walking up some of the hills which she could not do since she can't stand or walk. I'll think about those people with this disease the next time I have a little physical pain or discomfort. Pictured is Kyle Bryant whom also has to be lifted from a chair, with Mark from Catrike, David trying the ride kick power trailer, Natalie climbing a hill, and her family who rode with her. I tried to put this on facebook but I couldn't get it to post.
We hope you will join us on Friday 11/11/11 6-8pm for the Luminary Art Walk. Hosted by the Florida Artists Gallery, Pink House Art Studio, Forgotten Treasures and Gifts and the Floral City Heritage Council. You will take a candlelight stroll through Floral City and view great art and meet the artists. Doesn't that sound fun? And to top it off you can stop by our shop and have a glass of wine! What a great way to spend and evening. Please mark your calendar for this great event.
This past weekend there were two events that look to be a success. One was the first annual Floral City "Bikes and BBQ" where many BBQ contestants sold out. The other was the annual Withlacoochee trail bike ride and there were lots of people on the trail and many visiting the shop, which we just had painted last week and had a sidewalk put in from the trail. Here are some before and after on the paint. The art was done by my best bud Terry Klaaren and was done in 2 days. There's more to come.
We went to Vegas and are back and the most exciting thing I can think of is it was raining and cooler in Vegas than here. The day we went to the outdoor demo it was raining and down right cold as we could see from the vendors as they were shivering. Thanks to the bus driver who had panchos to sell, he could have gotten more money than a buck each for them. New stuff in the shop which we found at the show will be arriving soon. One is a light that is an MP-3 player and speaker and a loud warning siren along with an LED flasher and light. Another is a bike and parts washer using microbes to eat oil and grease like used in the gulf oil spill. Also the "Ride Kick" electric trailer to hitch behind any bike will be coming too for those who need a little help. Next is the Nuvinci internal hub, no index , no gears, but like turning up the volume on a radio. And, not to be out done, some super drill bits that were impressive in their demonstration like Ginsu knives, and hope they perform as stated. Home again and waiting for the heat to break.
I mentioned a dog I thought reminded me of Falcor the luck dragon in the movie "Never Ending story" His pic is in this post, not the best seeing how he wasn't cooperating with the photographer. The ride from the GA. state line and the Chief Lidiga trail was uneventful with a little rain thrown in from on coming Lee. We did 16 miles in Alabama on the Lidiga mostly slightly down on the way from East to Piedmont and West of course back to GA slightly up on the way back. The trail in Bama is only 10' wide and is asphalt, and goes through woods and rural land. No nice twists or turns or challenging climbs or thrilling down hills. You can hum the theme to Deliverance here if you want. If you're going to do the Ladiga I'd suggest drive to Anniston and ride East toward GA. and have the down on the way back. So that's all folks as we are home here in Fl and fly out to Las Vegas for Interbike on Monday. I'll blog anything I think would be interesting in Vegas at the bike show, but probably not too many bents there. I'm sure the hotel, Harrah's will have wifi.
First lets get the dog out of the way. The owner of this campground has a mutt that looks as close to Falcor the Luck Dragon in the movie from years ago, The Never Ending Story. I'll try to get a picture of him before we leave.
Now the rest of the story! Today another 40 miles from Rockmart to the Hiram Trailhead/ Homer Leggett Park and back. Points of interest were the 700' long @ 100' high Pumpkinvine Creek trestle, and a 700' long tunnel under Brushy Mt. Also for general info the name Rockmart is named for the slate quarry and dubbed "The rock market to the world". The ride today had little inclines kind of like "dead mans hill" before Floral City on the Withlacoochee, except much looooonger and a nice pedal on the way down. Much easier than what we learned is called "Trash mountain" that we rode up and down yesterday, because it is located beside the land fill. Should be called Stinky Mt.
Tomorrow we'll drive to Cedartown and ride into Alabama and the Chief Ladiga Trail, before it rains I hope. Lee should bring some much needed rain to this part of GA hopefully.
Today I rode a trail that I've been wanting to ride since I've heard about it but resisted because it is near traffic nightmare Atlanta. So on our way home and to avoid Labor Day traffic, can you tell I don't tolerate traffic well, we decided to stop at a campground called The Rock, in Rockmart (sounds like a place you'd buy rocks) which is almost right on the trail. Looks like a good place to hole up for tropical storm Lee too. The campground is a 70 acre parcel with lots of open space but also has a antique farm implement museum, a stage for music events and spaces for flea markets, car shows and the like. Very quiet I might add, no trains out the back door like Bass Lake and Mikes driveway. Enough of the CG, how about the trail. It's concrete, 12' wide lots of shade and mostly flat, with the emphasis on MOSTLY. The section we did today from Rockmart to Cedartown had about 3 miles of some killer hills that were in the 96 degree sun. Nice thing about hills is they go up, UHHH, but they go down, FUN. If you know me I don't mind hills much especially on a trike where I can granny grind slowly up or power up which ever I feel the notion to do. And the downs with some tight turns were a absolute blast. Sad to see the small towns in a state of mostly empty disrepair but sprawl rears it's ugly head anywhere you go anymore. We did stop at the hardware store in Rockmart, and what a great selection they had, and I bought something. Also stopped at a cafe in Cedartown for lunch, and a small odds and ends and health food store along the trail for a much needed Gator Ade and a nice chat with the x Marine proprietor. Tomorrow we'll go the opposite way which isn't supposed to be hilly.
We left Olathe KS, at 10:00 this morning and are parked in a CG in Whittington IL for an over night stay then on to Atlanta for the race and baseball game. Just kidding! We're going to ride the Silver Comet and Chief Ladega trail, and stay throughout the holiday at the Rock Campground, in Forsyth Ga. They have a big stage for music but unfortunately not this weekend. At least we won't be on the road on a busy holiday with a race, ball game and gay pride demonstration. Maybe post some pics of the trail and lets hope it's not too hot. Was 102 in St. Louis today.
Rode the Indian Creek from KS to MO and back then Tomahawk Creek to it's end and back to Indian Creek. These trails are especially fun on a trike with all the sharp curves and little ups and downs, like I've said before, like a roller coaster. On the ups the hook grabs the car and chug a chug up to the top then a hurtling down the other side, around a curve and up and over another hill on momentum alone Only difference is you have to pedal up the hill, no hook.
Wednesday we drag up and leave for the start homeward bound. Depends on the weather where we'll stop on the way. Till then, ta, ta.
Well we finally said a sad goodbye to Ohio and now are sitting in Mike Cooper's driveway in Olathe KS. Cindy's hometown. Nice twisty roller coaster like trails here with the Mill Creek Streamway and the Indian Creek, and others we haven't explored yet. On the way we stopped to do the Rocheport section of the Katy Trail in Missouri. This is an area we must return to in order to give it a thorough going over. Lots of nice cliffs to climb around on and caves to explore and a campground close to one of the top 10 places to live, Columbia MO. With the river right there we may want to bring our kayaks too.There is a 350 year old Burr oak just off the trail which was neat to see, and many barn swallow nests and some petroglyphs high up on the cliff side.
Bill H. I happen to have 2, 1554 Fat Tire ales in the fridge as I type this. For lunch I had a couple of Blvd. brewery pale ales. So many beers so little time and money.
Last I Blogged we were going to hear a band called WHEELS at the Emporium wine tasting, a band that has been opening for other more know bands in the area. As we first drove by the establishment, we saw mobs of mostly young people mixed with all other ages and people we see in town all the time. We went and had a glass of wine at another place before venturing into the throngs at the Emporium. When we got there we were pleasantly surprised by how good these kids were. They are between 14 and 16 years old and play mandolin, guitar, stand up bass, harmonica and harmonize like old souls. I had to buy a CD. If you've ever heard Avett Brothers, these young musicians have been influenced by them, in fact they give Avett bros kudos on the CD I bought. I can see them going places if they can work around school and girls. Always sad to leave the Yellow Springs area especially after a fun night and such good music, but Saturday we drove in to the farmers market and the "ART ON THE LAWN" event before we had to hit the road for KS. Stopped and rode the Rocheport section of the KATY trail which I'll get into once I get the pics off the camera. Now parked and hooked up in Cindy's brother's driveway in Olathe KS. and will be riding the Indian Creek trail from Olathe KS. to over the Missouri state line, a nice twisty trail with a few nice hills and sharp turns thrown in just perfect for trikes.
Finally the heat and humidity has broken and perfect riding weather is upon us. Larry Varney came up with a review bike to ride with us today, a short wheel base folder from a custom builder in PA. called the "butterfly". Supposed to fit into an airline size regulation suitcase. See the pics and a review in bentrider. Not a big long ride today but 38 miles in 79 degree temps was sublime.
Been listening to a local NPR station out of Yellow Springs, WYSO. Lots of folky stuff and live music during the day and now at 9:30 PM a good eclectic mix of rock and live local tunes you won't hear on commercial FM. Much like the old MNF out of Tampa.
Tomorrow who knows what we'll do. Probably do some back roads after our 2nd coffee in the Emporium.
Lets play a little catch up shall we! Got the van stabilizer bar bushings replaced and the hitch welded and secured, ready to tow again. Too hot in KS so we decided to stay another week, now it's Mon. Aug. 8, which would have been my dad's birthday if he were still alive. The day we took the van to be repaired we also took laundry to the laundry mat. So I dropped Cindy off with the clothes and drove to drop off the van, then rode a bike back to the laundry mat. On the trip from the laundry to pick up the van I lost or it was stolen my Topeak rack bag from the back of the bike. In the bag was all the emergency gear, pump, tubes,and the like along with a GPS, MP-3 player with a brand new set of BOSE ear buds, a hat, lock, a credit card and copy of my drivers license, and other things, about 300. worth of stuff. Easy come easy go I guess. Some one got them a treasure trove. Yes I've canceled the card. All those times I've found things on the trail including credit cards and wallets and did everything possible to find the rightful owners. You think a little Karma would be deserved.
Last week Maryann came to visit and ride and we had fun in town and hiking in Glen Helen and sitting around the fire BSing. Cindy and I rode to Morrow where we saw Jim Murphy and his friend Mary from Fairfield Cyclery. We also rode to Dayton yesterday and today rode on the Great Miami River trail which was nice and shady. We stopped in Tip City for a good home cooked lunch at a place on the national historic registry called Sam and Etel's Restaurant. If your ever in Tip city you gotta try it. Don't know whats on the agenda tomorrow but Wednesday Larry Varney is supposed to pay us a visit and do some riding with us. He bailed on the ROAM velomobile ride after Misoula MT. He likes to stop and take pictures and sample local flavor as we do so the mad dash across the country wasn't to his liking. You can read all about it on bentrideronline.com. It's supposed to cool down with a high a perfect 79 on Wed. We'll leave for KS on Sat. afternoon after Friday night in Yellow Springs where we'll sample some wines and listen to some good tunes by Wheels a young and very talented band from the Springs at our favorite hang out The Emporium.
There were hills, up and down, some steep, some long, but a refreshing difference from flat FL. The sun was hot but thankfully the humidity was down a bit so the ride was enjoyable through Greene Co. to 4 of the 5 covered bridges. Built from 1883 to 1887 using Howe or Smith trusses, and are what distinguishes one covered bridge from another. Just a fun day on our trikes in a new area. We did see a road sign that reminded us our good friends George and Sue Straley. Looks like we'll be spending a few more days here on order to get some work done on our van. Upon checking the hitch before leaving PA. I noticed the whole thing was loose and one 3/4 inch nut was missing. Also noticed a crack in the box frame where the hitch was bolted on one side. I removed the hitch and saw that the frame seems to be expanding from the weight of the hitch and trailer. So Monday I'm taking it to be jacked back into place and welded, and also to have a noise in the front end looked at. No problems hanging out around Yellow Springs in my book, if you gotta be stuck someplace.
Felt like home coming back to Bass Lake CG and after a rainy night, Monday turned out beautifully for a nice 40 mile ride to Yellow Springs then on to Xenia and back along the Little Miami River Scenic River Trail. Lots if flora along the way with bee balm, mullein, poke salad, jewel weed, purple cone flowers, black eyed susan,and salvia in bloom. The creeks and river were flowing like there has been ample rain and everything is a lush thick green. Lots of shade along the trail to keep us cool, well maybe not cool but not sooooo hot. A refreshing jump in the lake back at the camp ground was a welcome relief after the sunny climb on Old Mill Rd. over I- 70 on the way back. Planning on doing a covered bridge tour tomorrow, hope it's not too hot.
After enduring several hotter than normal for summer in PA we headed West to Ohio and now hooked up at our favorite spot #8 at Bass Lake, in Springfield. Just a 6 mile bike ride to the Little Miami Trail and 4 more miles to Yellow Springs. Been cloudy all day and now a bit of drizzle so we will wait till tomorrow to venture from camp. They've had ample rain here it looks like because the lake level is up and everything is green. Battery low so gotta go plug in. Check out Larry Varney's review of the Catbike Musashi on bentrideronline.com.
Now sitting in my sisters driveway in Canonsburg PA. after a retirement party for a friend of hers last night. To catch up, we have ridden the Creeper both ways, Damascus to Abingdon, Damascus to White Top. Most people take a shuttle the 17 1/2 miles up but we earned our down hill and rode up to White Top. I gotta say it was much more enjoyable with a suspended trike, and for those that say bents don't climb I'm here to tell you I had no trouble passing mt bikes on the way up. But up isn't why a person does White Top. Down is a fast blast with getting all 3 wheels off the ground on small water bars and drifting around some of the turns in the gravel, kinda felt like a kid on a BMX. The trail starts out with kudzu in the lower level which gives way to Rododendron in splendid bloom as you ascend, and follows the creek with several small water falls. Yesterday we rode a little of the Montour Trail, much smoother than the Creeper also much dustier. As always riding un paved trails makes you really appreciate the paved ones even given suspension. Big family get together today then who knows what tomorrow will bring.
Crazy Herb died and his campground with him sorry to say so we are camped in Damascus VA at Creek Side RV Park in the over flow space which is the owners driveway. No worries, full hook ups, bath and shower and right in town. Rode a little of the Virginia Creeper today on the ICE Adventure with full suspension. Gotta say this is the way to go on a trail such as the creeper that is not only unpaved but a double track in some places. The suspension takes enough of the edge off the bumps and makes for a much more enjoyable ride than no suspension. Rode the flatter side today Damascus toward Abbingdon. Tomorrow will do the climb up White Top mtn. and drop back down and give the ICE a real test. Last time I did this trail was on a Catrike Black Cat, the predecessor of the 700. Expedition with Big Apple tires would be a much better choice if going that route. So tomorrow if the 50% rain chance holds off I'll be bombing down White top on the Adventure FS and Cindy on a Sprint FS .
Not much to say, except drove all day , tried to eat ourselves to death along the way. Francis Bidler didn't happen, too hot and humid and all that crap an' the place to hook up, got us all shook up at the end of bumpy dirt road. So here we are in a KOA, a swim, little wine, sleep and another day, on the road to Crazy Herbs Fireworks and RV Park , to ride our trikes on Creeper till dark. Enough of that. Found a big red ant nest in the front storage area of the camper while prepping for the trip and sprayed them good. Then tonight a whole bunch came out of the toilet when flushed, so with copious amounts of water and some more spray I either hopefully drowned them or poisoned them, more likely chased them to another location. At least we won't have ants in our pants after using the toilet tonight.
Left Fl. at 10:20 this morning with a van full of bikes and scooters and headed North through intermittent rain arriving 6 hours later with a stop for lunch in Waldo. Now hooked up at McIntosh lake in Townsend GA. typing this exciting blog on a McIntosh laptop. We decided to name our GPS Waldo since we gave it the male voice. Our last GPS was Bianca Biotch since it always seemed like she was yelling at us with," recalculating, recalculating". Tomorrow we'll deliver a bike in Savanah then head to Francis Bidler Audubon Park and a camp ground near by.
Things are looking up in the sunshine state as soon, we'll be able to buy alcohol on Sundays in Citrus County, and if you already have a concealed carry permit you can now display your gun "accidentally" without getting arrested. I honestly didn't know the latter was a problem. As for alcohol on Sunday, that means you'll be more easily able to tolerate those long sermons you're subject to at church sometimes, and you can now stay home on Saturday night and get smashed without the worry of a DUI while driving to the store to get booze for the Sunday fishing trip. Ahh; just another day in paradise!
There is going to be a moonlight ride on Sunday June 12, at 7:00 PM, leaving from the bike shop in Floral City and going to "River Ratz Cafe' in Nobleton just 7 1/2 miles down the trail under an almost full moon. Out and back @15 miles total. Lights flashers and helmets please.
The weather is heating up early this year so we try to get out early in the morning for our rides on our days off, but we still get hot and sweaty. Summer afternoon rains should be starting and greening up anything left in a brown winter state. The pair of blue birds has taken up residence in the little bird house in the back yard and are feeding hatchlings at this time. I hope it doesn't get too warm for the baby birds with this early heat wave. We've been leaving meal worms for the parents to help feed the little ones and once in a while we'll see mom or dad carry out a poop sack form the nest. This is a good sign the babies are alive and not baked blue bird. Maybe if we're lucky we'll get to see the youngsters fledge as we did last year.
This morning on my way up the trail to work I got a message on my phone that my uncle, Albert Marks died after several strokes. If I'm not mistaken he was an architect. He was also the husband of Mary Foster my mother's sister who preceded him in death, and the father of 7 children, all who are productive members of society and the cousins I hung with throughout childhood most ,since they lived within easy walking distance on Ardsley Ave. in Pittsburgh. I kind of thought of him as Uncle Al the kiddies pal since he was the great organizer of games and fun things to do at the family reunions. He loved model railroading, and beer can collecting and gave me a great number of his collection which included from Iron City Beer, Old Frothingslosh, the pale stale ale with the foam on the bottom. On the can there was a picture of a zaftig woman named Fatima Yuckhburg. I'll toast a beer to you uncle Al. Thanks for the fond childhood memories. Regis
Spring has sprung here in sunny Florida, well actually about 2 weeks ago with the blooming of the Red Bud and Chickasaw Plum trees and now the fragrant Wisteria and orange blossoms to make for a pleasurable olfactory ride on the Withlacooche rail. Peacocks and turkey are out fanning their tail feathers to attract a mate, and the bluebirds are hastily nest building in the many boxes along the trail. March is a busy time on the trail and in the shop with so many people enjoying the near perfect weather and getting out and riding their bikes. March 5 and 6 was the weekend of the annual Catrike Rally with the ride and factory tour on Saturday and our ride on our trail on Sunday with lunch at Frankie's Grill. The weather forecast called for rain on Sunday so we only had about 40 people show up for the ride, which turned out to be spectacular with no rain at all. I hope everyone had a good time. The Monday after the ride we took Larry Varney on a kayaking adventure to the Weeki Wachee river and up Mud Spring. Hope he got some nice photos while he could still hold up his arms. Bike ride to Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters tomorrow then back to the grind for me. Happy Trails to one and all till the next installment.
The annual Catrike Rally is scheduled for Saturday March 5 & Sunday March 6. On the 5th you can Tour the Catrike factory and meet the Crew who put together these wonderful machines! You'll have lots of fun riding the beautiful West Orange Trail. On Sunday come on over and Join us on the Withlacoochee Trail. For the early birds we will have coffee and a few treats starting at 9am. We hope to get the riders together by 11am to ride into Inverness to Frankie's Grill. This is the weekend that Floral City will be having their annual Strawberry Fest. We will give directions to anyone wanting to ride over and check it out. Don't miss out on the FUN!