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  1. #1
    MB1
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    Global Warming? No, Florida!

    It was freezing when we woke up but by the time we had our bikes put together and took a little spin we were in summer clothes. Had a great dinner watching the sunset from outside on the patio.

    Of course there was a little flight to Florida in between our waking up and that riding.

    Nice!
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  2. #2
    MB1
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    Lakes and Hills.

    For the last 3 years we had ridden Gator Week in Florida, actually an 8 day supported tour doing about 100 miles a day. We liked the distance but most of the route was not all that scenic and the places we stayed were not all that good. One part of the ride we always enjoyed was the rolling hills and lakes just west of Orlando in Central Florida.

    So this year we decided to base ourselves out of Clermont in Lake County and do a whole bunch of loop rides.

    Miss M did all the research and somehow managed to pick the highest hotel in Florida for our base. Now of course we are not talking any real elevation but every ride started with a couple miles of cruising downwards and finished with some out of the saddle. It cracked me up every time.

    We quickly figured out why it was named "Lake County". On the windy days there was nothing to block the howling winds-worse than hills actually.

    Sure was pretty though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  3. #3
    MB1
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    MUTs

    They were everywhere and we used them a lot-well a fair amount anyway. They were all rail-to-trail conversions and in great shape and good riding if a little boring.

    One odd thing about several of the trails were the mile markers. They went from about 750-850 but most of the trails were not longer than 30 miles or so. It turned out that the mile markers were left over from the railroad and they showed the milage to headquarters in Richmond Virginia-not that far from DC which got us thinking about riding from home to Florida. Someday.......

    We stayed about a mile from the nearest MUT. That one linked to a whole bunch of others including the West Orange Trail and made it really easy and painless to get out of town in the morning.

    Most of our rides ended up including at least a few miles on one MUT or another and we got a century in on the Withlacooche trail on one of the winder days.

    One afternoon while riding on the Van Fleet Trail (which is smack dab in the middle of nowhere and its claim to fame is that there is only one curve in the whole 29 miles) we had a panther cross right in front of us. I don't know who was more suprised us or him. Very cool anyway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  4. #4
    MB1
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    Weather

    When we arrived in Florida there was record heat for that time of year. High temps in the upper 80's for the first couple of days. I blame it on Global Warming!

    In the mornings there was a lot of fog and light rain in the afternoon. Climate Change for sure!

    January 1st the weather channel talking heads started going on with some glee about record low temps and a hard freeze. Not to mention the 30-40 mph winds. That couldn't be Global Warming.

    It was just Weather to us.

    We rode our bikes through it all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  5. #5
    MB1
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    The Bikes

    Rambouillet by Rivendell for me, Waterford RS22 fixte for Miss M.

    S&S for us both.

    Everything worked great.
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    Attached Images Attached Images      
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  6. #6
    MB1
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    Bright and Early

    To ride as much as we wanted we were out at sunrise every morning.

    Nice riding that time of day and often great skies-or nasty grey stuff.

    Whatever came along we enjoyed it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  7. #7
    MB1
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    Lots of Crazy Scenery in Florida

    You can imagine how hard it was for me to get Miss M to stop to take a pic of anything.

    I tried.

    There is actually a lot of ugly in Florida but there is also a lot of really pretty stuff too (unless skiing is your thing). We had a lot more pretty than ugly on this trip.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  8. #8
    MB1
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    As you can imagine, we ate some.

    There was a fairly good breakfast at the hotel so we hit that nice and early every day.

    A few snacks on the road but we really didn't eat much while riding.

    There was a A&W drive-in a mile from the hotel and I must confess we stopped there after the longer rides. Mmmmmmmmm good!

    Dinner; we were all about dinner.

    On our first trip to Florida 4 years ago we happened into a fantastic family run Mexican restaurant-we were hungry and it was good. The next couple of years we were looking forward to eating there again but didn't get the chance. Well we managed to get there twice this trip. It didn't disappoint.

    Pizza, BBQ, salads we ate copious quantities of them all. We avoided the national chains as much as we could and tried the local stuff. Didn't matter, we still lost weight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  9. #9
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    glad there is more the come.
    where in florida? i grew up there. i don't remember "hills"

  10. #10
    MB1
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    more to come
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  11. #11
    Slow but not so steady
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    I'll be coming back to this post towards the end of January when there is no day light and the average temp is 20 degrees. Keep up the posting. I can smell the warm air of Florida as I look at your photos.
    There is a fine line between a hobby and mental illness.

  12. #12
    MB1
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanjr
    glad there is more the come.
    where in florida? i grew up there. i don't remember "hills"
    Clermont in Lake County.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  13. #13
    hold my beer n watch this
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    MB1,

    I always look for your picture posts, they are superb. I am interested in your bike and outfit setups. You may have already posted along this line before but how about a write up about what works well for you and Miss M on all of these weekly high mileage rides you do?

  14. #14
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    Beautiful country. We used to go camping around my birthday (January 19), and planned a trip near Silver Springs one year thinking we would have nice balmy weather. It turned out to be record cold that weekend, with lows in the teens, and it killed all sorts of citrus and nursery crops. There were a lot of hot springs where we camped, and I was looking forward to swimming -- so I went ahead and went for a dip while the temperature was about 16 degrees outside. The water felt great, but it was painful when I got out.

  15. #15
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    MB1: Great ride report, I always look forward to your annual FL ride summary. Unfortunately for Miss M and you, early last week was the only real "Winter" we have had here in FL, but it was only really cool a couple of days. I do a Wednesday PM ride every week and last week it was about 45 degrees with a 20mph wind, which is really "bad weather" for us, and today it will be 80 and calm when we start. In FL, you just wait a day or so and the "winter" weather will have gone away.
    The area you chose this year is some of the nicest riding in the state. Clermont is a nice base area if you want to see all the "hills" we have to offer and I'm sure you found them all.
    There is a century ride from Clermont every year sponsored by the Florida Freewheelers called the Horrible Hundred and my friends and I go to it. After the ride we always have lunch at a Mexican restaurant on SR 50 in Clermont that I think is named "Jaliscos". You probably found it if you like Mexican food. Really good after a 100 miles of riding in early November.
    Hope you come back to visit again next year.

  16. #16
    Polka Power
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    Love the color on Miss M's bike.

    Nice pics....

  17. #17
    Lets Go Hokies!!!
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    Looks like you guys had a great trip...again! I'm so jealous of the great adventures you guys go on with your bikes.

    I think I'd have gone crazy on that MUT with only one bend. Reminds me of driving though parts of Oklahoma and Texas. No thanks!
    Its not over till you're underground


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  18. #18
    MB1
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    Ain't it the truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by HokieRider
    ...I think I'd have gone crazy on that MUT with only one bend. Reminds me of driving though parts of Oklahoma and Texas. No thanks!
    Riding on that thing was very mentally taxing (and I don't like taxes). 29 miles from one end to the other and it only had 2 crossings, drove us nuts. We will skip it if we can next time.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  19. #19
    Big is relative
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    I was stationed in Orlando for about 8 months in 1986 to attend nuke school. I wasn't riding back then so I all knew was the location of various strip clubs. I was back there in 93 to spend a week at the Mike Walden School just North of Orlando. I had never considered central Florida for cycling, but that week changed my mind. It never got warm the entire week, but the instructors (Joe Saling, Clair Young) made it worth it.
    Retired sailor

  20. #20
    Bacon!
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    Awesome post. Loved the pic of "Papa Burger". I've never been to that area of the country but would love to see and ride it.
    “To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint. And a varmint will never quit — ever. They’re like the Viet Cong — Varmint Cong. So you have to fall back on superior intelligence and superior firepower.”

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by MB1
    Clermont in Lake County.
    CLermont is beautiful. Almost bought a house there in the Montclair neiborhood. Incredible pictures!

  22. #22
    jd3
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    Inspiring report as usual. I can't wait to see the rest. I know it takes a while to edit and post a large ride report like this. I spent a week flying hot air balloons around the Lakeland area back in the early 80's. Pretty country. I enjoied it all except the last field I landed in (Brahma bulls).

  23. #23
    remodeling...me
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    Great pictures and write up, I really like the lone moss-hung tree (cypress?) growing out of the water.
    Glad you both had a nice time and ditto on the trail with 1 bend....yuck although the panther thing had to be interesting.
    Cheers,
    Z
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    Zeytin

    "Wow, Alex...way to pee in the guy's Wheaties..." ~Opus51569

  24. #24
    MB1
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    The end.

    Going on a trip like this we always have high hopes and low expectations. We hoped to get in 800+ miles in a week of riding but were prepared to accept a lot less.

    We hoped that we would like the area and have good weather but we were prepared to deal with the worst.

    We ended up eating great, riding plenty (740 miles or so) and enjoying the area-a lot. But we still have a lot of things there that we just didn't have time to get around to doing.

    We were sort of sad when the vacation was over and it was time to come home but we know we can always go back. It was nice to see my favorite DC monuments out the plane window just before landing.

    Turned out that I did lose some vacation last year by not taking it. Miss M has made the management decision that that ain't happening again so we are starting to think about another Florida trip next month.

    Could be fun....

    Maybe we will finally get in that 800 mile week.

    MB1
    Feeling ready to ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  25. #25
    Non non normal
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    Very nice report. I love the spanish moss.
    "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

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