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Old 03-18-12, 06:00 PM   #1
bobbyrandall
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New member, coming to Florida soon, needs some advice.

Hello ALL.....!

I will be stepping from a silver bird in Sanford next month (April, 2012), and will be pedaling haphazardly around Fl. for 17 days in an erratic circle that will take me back to my point of arrival. I have a sturdy iron beast here in London that I am planning on taking with me, the airline are going to charge me 100 usd for this pleasure, 50 each way, which seems reasonable (I have also been considering buying a cheap bicycle off craiglist as soon as I arrive and bolting my panniers, etc onto it, but not sure about this option). Anyhow, I plan to travel around and visit the Tampa area and go through Orlando, (I have been there before and am very fond of your state) I plan on staying at campsites as often as possible, I have checked them out and they seem cheap, I will bring my own tent. I am interested in all and any info you may have, obviously from you locals or anyone that can help....trails that avoid the main roads, money saving tips for campsites,etc, any recommended, etc. security tips, and also places to fish along the way where I stand a decent chance of not having any body parts detached by alligators. I will try and get some exercise in before next month to prepare me for this thrilling episode as I am a mature 52 years of age, and will be wearing Nike running shoes (even while asleep in the tent) as I have learnt from National Geographic the other morning that alligators can run surprisingly fast. (nearly choked on my Kellogs cornflakes..........) I can speak perfect Spanish too, (not that this will count for anything much if the alligator gets hold of me).I will be resting my weary bones in a Belgian army sleeping bag at night. Anybody around at that time or on the way and I will be happy to make you some tea on my Swedish army stove? OH...and did I mention that I am worried about being eaten alive by an Alligator mississippiensis?

Last edited by bobbyrandall; 03-18-12 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 03-18-12, 07:12 PM   #2
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Welcome. Whereabouts in FL will you be?
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Old 03-19-12, 04:24 AM   #3
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Welcome to BF and welcome to Fl. as DEK asked whereabouts will you be and what advice are you seeking
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Old 03-19-12, 10:37 AM   #4
bobbyrandall
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Hello and thanks....Will be going from the Sanford airport area of arrival in the general direction of Tampa, google is indicating the West Orange Trail, this is 126 miles. Now I realise most of you can do this without breaking into a sweat, but I plan to take it more leisurely......campsites on the way that you know, do they cater ok to someone with just a tent and bicycle..? places to fish, any stuff like that.......I am using a MTB, not a road bike, if that matters to anyone......If anyone knows the nearest camping place to Sanford International , and what time does it get dark now, (better still what time does it get dark in 4 weeks time!)
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Old 03-19-12, 09:02 PM   #5
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I have only seen 3 gators in the 8 years that I have been biking here in Florida. I am a bit north of where you will be though, so your results may vary. But having said that if you stick to paved trails and roads you probably wont even see a gator out in the wild.

I don't really know the area your going too.... But have fun!!

BTW... Its going to be HOT with LOTS of sun in 4 weeks time. Sun screen and bug repellent!!!

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Old 03-19-12, 09:20 PM   #6
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Make your way from the Sanford Air Port over to the Seminole Wekiva Trail. Take the SWT south about 10/11 miles to the trail head at SR 436. Take SR 436 west to Apopka and pick up the West Orange Trail. Take the WOT south to Winter Garden and Kilarney Station (about 20 miles). From there you can pick up the South Lake trail for about 9 miles west to Lake Mineola (some small hills here). From there you options are pretty limited. Roads will be heavily traveled on to Tampa. Can’t help you with camping but I am sure there are some places. If you can find some back roads west to the Withlacoochee Trail you can take it south almost to Dade City then over to the Sun Coast Trail south towards Tampa. Fishing should not be much of a problem at many of the lakes that you will pass.

The month of May is the peak of alligator mating season, resulting in large 'gators moving between water bodies in search of mates. Their movement makes them more visible, generating many false "nuisance" complaints.

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Old 03-20-12, 06:06 AM   #7
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Bobby,

I'm a bit south of where you are planning to ride, in Okeechobee, on the north end of a large lake with the same name. I'm a WARMSHOWERS host, and if you are not aware of it, you may want to do a check of the web site at http://www.warmshowers.org to look for hosts in the towns where you are planning to travel. Warmshowers host will provide the touring bicyclist a snug place to stop, shower and sleep and even the occasional meal for no charge, and indoors away from the alligator problems that plague our countryside! Unlike some of the others on this board, I see alligators every time I go out on my bike. I have NEVER BEEN BOTHERED BY ONE, but they are everywhere down here. If you see a puddle of water, you can bet there is a gator in it. (OK, now I'm just messing with you!!!)

If you get headed south, instead of West, drop me a line and we'll be happy to provide a warm dry place to stay and even split a beer or two with you. (Tractortom01@gmail.com)

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 03-20-12, 07:28 AM   #8
bobbyrandall
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Hello all, thanks for all the replies...the gator thing was a bit of a joke really, but now after your comments I will keep my eyes open!!........I am looking forward to it,.....Tom....the site is very very interesting, thanks for that........will check it out..........also just the tent/camping thing.....do RV parks normally accept someone coming in for a night that wants to set up a tent and pack up and pedal off in the morning? Thanks for the invite, I will pack some extra tea-bags and chocolate with your name on it (candy to you, good stuff too, not that Hershey stuff!) in case you get taken up on your offer.....just keep your fingers crossed I don't get too hungry cycling round before I get to you...

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Old 03-20-12, 12:12 PM   #9
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Bobby,

I have been contacted by two other touring cyclist this season, neither ever stopped with us. I ask for 48 hours of notice. One fellow was coming through when I was out of town for business, and the other came a day early and I was tied up with work related things until late that evening and missed him as well. I promise to try harder to be available if you get down to Okeechobee.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee
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