Southeast - FLORIDA Spring Trek - Help With Route
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This spring I intend to trek from Milton Fl to near Lisbon Fl, and return. Averaging 45-60 miles a day, camping and occasional motel. I need help from anyone with local knowledge. Outbound route would be Milton> Perry> Dunnellon> Leesburg> Lisbon. Return would go through Ocala National Forest and join the AdventureCyclingAssn Southern-Tier Route near Citra. Outbound to Perry, I would connect to either Hwy 20 or Hwy 98 near FtWalton. Perry to Dunnellon would be via Steinhatchee and Manatee Springs State Park.
So far, I think that only low to moderate traffic is probable; however Dunnellon to Lisbon is likely problematic. (My actual destination is east of Leesburg, south of Lisbon.) Should I proceed from Dunnellon to Inverness, go east on Hwy 44 thru Leesburg(city) to Destination. Or alternatively, Dunnellon> Hwy 484> Hwy 42> Hwy 452> Lisbon> Destination?
Return route will be Lisbon> Hwy 452> east on Hwy 42 to Altoona> Hwy 19, Ocala National Forest> Citra> ACAST to Milton. I would appreciate any advice/thoughts, particurarly regarding interesting stops, camp sites, traffic, etc.
01-21-10, 04:53 PM
Here's a link with Milton as a start: http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/srchkey/MILTON/country/254/region/131
01-21-10, 04:55 PM
Are you from Fl?
01-22-10, 10:22 PM
Just south of Dunnellon is the Withlacoochee Trail. As you're leaving Dunnellon, you'll go over a railway bridge. If you make a right across from the Front Porch restaurant, there is a back way to get to the trail so you don't have to ride down 41, which has no shoulder. Just make sure you map it out ahead of time as it can get confusing. Ride the trail all the way down to Inverness. There is a ramp from the trail to a bike lane on 44. I don't remember how far the bike lane goes down 44, but out towards Wildwood there is a lot of 18 wheeled traffic to watch out for around hwy 75. I haven't been out past Wildwood in over a year, so I can't say how bike friendly 44 is after that point. I seem to remember a 4 lane divided road for a while and then it may turn into a 2 lane. 44 is a high speed road, so it could be a little scary, at least for those of us who never ride on the roads!
Also, from Cross City to Chiefland, you can ride the Nature Coast Trail. From Chiefland to Dunnellon you'll be on hwy 19, which doesn't have a great shoulder. Luckily traffic is pretty light most of the time. I have seen other long distance riders out there, they had flags up and neon clothing to be as visible as possible.
Hwy 98 into Perry is two lane with no shoulder. Same for the Beach Road between Perry and Keaton Beach>Steinhatchee. I'd be scared to death of some of the yahoos out there! I lived in Perry for a number of years. While the people were very friendly to this Yankee, I don't know how they would treat a cyclist. They do like to bomb down those back roads at a pretty good clip!
If you need any local help, let me know as I live a mile off the Withlacoochee Trail in Citrus Springs. Good luck and be safe!
Hey thanks Boatdesigner, that's great info. Any thoughts on the alternate route; Dunnellon> Hwy 484> Hwy 42> Hwy 452> Lisbon> Destination? And would approaching Dunnellon from Chiefland via Bronson > Hwy 337/336 be better?
01-23-10, 11:49 PM
Hwy 484 is a very narrow, no shoulder, two lane road with a 55 mph speed limit. It gets quite a bit of traffic as it is one of the main roads between Citrus County and Ocala (what passes for the big city around here!). Personally, I wouldn't dream of riding it on a bike. Sometimes it is scary enough in a car, what with people trying to pass the inevitable slow poke who can't seem to drive the speed limit.
I don't know how the roads are between Chiefland and Bronson as I haven't driven it in years. I believe 27 is a major road and may be four lanes in places, Google street view shows it has a few feet of bike lane on the side. I have never taken 337, but from the Google (I even got a street view!) map it looks like it might be very similar to 336. 336 is a two lane road with no shoulder and a 50 mph speed limit. It goes through the forest though and doesn't have a lot of traffic. As it is very flat and mostly straight, the sight lines are pretty good and you should be visible to traffic.
Once you get onto Rte. 40 at the end of 336, it is a pretty scary road to ride on as it has a high speed limit, a fair amount of traffic and no shoulders. Once you get into Dunnellon, the speed limit drops and it isn't too bad. You can also take side streets to avoid the main roads.
337/336 would probably be a bit safer than 19/336. Both are pretty desolate, but 337/336 would probably be a bit more scenic.
Thanks to you Boatdesigner, I've got good local knowledge of what to expect from Perry to Leesburg. You've been a great help!
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