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Old 01-30-10, 03:53 PM   #1
donheff
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WIthlacootchee trail - which direction

My wife and I are leaving for Florida Monday morning with the bikes. We are going to stop Tuesday night at Inverness and ride the Withlacootche Trail on Wednesday. Inverness is in the middle of the trail. Does anyone know enough about the trail to recommend whether the north or south portion is the nicest? Any good spots to stop at either end for lunch?
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Old 01-30-10, 04:11 PM   #2
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I live near the trail and ride it a lot. Inverness is a little North of the center of the trail. If you go North you will pass throgh one very small town , Hernando, and then it is residential with a lot of open areas to the end. At the North end is nothing but restrooms and a parking lot. There are a few small restaurants in Hernando. There is a pizza place just North of CR 486 and on the right that is good.
Going South is my favorite way to ride. You will pass through the small town of Floral City, there is a good little restaurant on the left just before SR48. They serve a very good breakfast. Floral City also has a fruit stand that I like and a new bagel shop that I have heard good things about.
Farther South of Floral City is the very small town of Istachatta. There is a small old grocery store there that has a kitchen and small dining area. Farther South of Istachatta you will see a large nice park on the right. The next road past the park if you go left it is just a short distance to a nice little restaurant in Nobleton. They have good cheesburgers and other sandwiches.
Going South from Inverness you will mostly be going through wooded areas and farmland. About halfway to the end you will be in a large wildlife management area. The South end of the trail is like the North with only a parking lot.
Have fun.
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Old 01-30-10, 04:40 PM   #3
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My wife and I stayed near the middle and rode both ways over two days. I remember the south being more rural, with more wildlife.
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Old 01-30-10, 06:09 PM   #4
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If you're coming to the east coast, you need to check out the ride out Beach Road through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to Canaveral National Seashore. There's a space shuttle on the launch pad now, and you go about three mile north of the pad before getting to the beach. The refuge is a bit drab right now (unless you're into birding, and I understand it's a birder's paradise right now - birds don't float my boat), but with only five shuttle launches left, this might be your last chance to see one on the pad.
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Old 01-31-10, 07:55 AM   #5
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Thanks everybody. I will make sure to do the south portion of Withlacootchi (if not both). I am visiting the West Coast this time staying in Clearwater Beach for several days, Bradenton, Marco Island, Sarasota. We are checking out these area to see if we want to spend a longer period in one of them in the future. We plan to ride the trail in St Petes as well as the one between Sarasota and Venice.
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Old 01-31-10, 09:56 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Kerlenbach View Post
If you're coming to the east coast, you need to check out the ride out Beach Road through the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge to Canaveral National Seashore. There's a space shuttle on the launch pad now, and you go about three mile north of the pad before getting to the beach. The refuge is a bit drab right now (unless you're into birding, and I understand it's a birder's paradise right now - birds don't float my boat), but with only five shuttle launches left, this might be your last chance to see one on the pad.
Bob, you are right, the Cape Canaveral National Seashore has a deserved international reputation as a birder's mecca. I have been there and on a good day it is really superb. Of course, I am almost as interested in shuttle launches as you are interested in birds.

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Old 01-31-10, 10:29 AM   #7
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Since you are staying in Clearwater, you definitely want to do the Pinellas trail. It is mostly through urban areas, so not that interesting, but it is right there. And it does go right through several towns, downtown Dunedin is pretty nice.

We did the Withlacoochie and the Pinellas trail last month. Similar to your plans, we were scouting out places for extended winter stays that are bike friendly. Neither really met our criteria, Dunedin was the best.

The problem with the Withlacoochie is that there are very few hotels or facilities of any kind. Going north from Inverness is pretty boring.
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Old 01-31-10, 10:41 AM   #8
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Since you are staying in Clearwater, you definitely want to do the Pinellas trail. It is mostly through urban areas, so not that interesting, but it is right there. And it does go right through several towns, downtown Dunedin is pretty nice.

We did the Withlacoochie and the Pinellas trail last month. Similar to your plans, we were scouting out places for extended winter stays that are bike friendly. Neither really met our criteria, Dunedin was the best.
Yup, we have Pinellas on our itinerary. We were planning to look around Dunedin for a possible future long term rental. We like urban areas with lots of restaurants and good trails to get 30-40 mile rides in. We live on Capitol Hill in DC so we get lots of that here -- but it is a little chilly and snowy right about now
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Old 01-31-10, 11:29 AM   #9
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Yup, we have Pinellas on our itinerary. We were planning to look around Dunedin for a possible future long term rental. We like urban areas with lots of restaurants and good trails to get 30-40 mile rides in. We live on Capitol Hill in DC so we get lots of that here -- but it is a little chilly and snowy right about now
A couple years ago my granddaughter and I stayed in Dunedin and rode sections of the Pinellas. Our favorite ride was north out of Dunedin and out to Honeymoon Island. Don't let the signs at the entrance to the park scare you off
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Old 01-31-10, 11:47 AM   #10
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donhef, I have ridden the trails that you plan to visit many times. You have made some good choices here, All of the above info is spot on. As you ride the south end of the Withlacoochee look for the camel he will be on your left as you go south.
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Old 01-31-10, 01:02 PM   #11
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Donhuff, post pix so we can all enjoy.

Since we're sharing FLA warning signs, here's my favorite. I think it's from Shark Valley, Everglades.
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Old 02-07-10, 10:01 AM   #12
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Thanks for the info, we enjoyed riding the trail. We arrived Tuesday afternoon and did a quick 28 miles on the north end. on Wednesday we rode about 20 miles south and then returned, stopping for a nice lunch as recommended in Nobleton. A lot of horses, cows, and goats along the way and even a camel:


Here is a view of a typical section of the trail:


After Withlacoochi we moved on to Sand Key, just below Clearwater Beach. We have been riding along the beach and the Pinellas Trail. Yesterday we took a 45 mile ride to lunch in Tarpon Springs at the north terminus of the trail. Tarpon Springs is a quaint town with a an old Greek sponge diving village on the water:



Halfway back is another quaint town of Dunedin:


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File Type: jpg 0110w.jpg (100.1 KB, 11 views)
File Type: jpg 0120w.jpg (77.2 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 0107w.jpg (99.2 KB, 9 views)

Last edited by donheff; 02-07-10 at 10:03 AM. Reason: typos
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Old 02-08-10, 07:09 AM   #13
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Nice pix, great ride. Hope to ride it myself some day. My buddy and his cycling club ride it once or twice a year.

Glad you didn't have to take this one.

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