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  1. #1
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    Florida: Pensacola to Orlando

    I've used up all the country paved roads several times over in the County. Want to do my first tour. Thinking about Pensacola>Defuniak Springs>Blountstown>Perry>Williston>Ocala>Leesburg>Orlando. Anyone done this route, or similar?

  2. #2
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    dohoco,
    I do not know where you live but this is a route I rode three year ago.

    I took US 98 from Pensacola to Santa Rosa Beach which was a good ride with reasonable roads and traffic. Then I turned left onto US 331 to De Funiak Springs and joined US 90. 90 is a great road for cycling and I followed it into Tallahassee. Crossing Tallahassee is easy if you do it early on a Sunday morning. Follow US 27 out of Tallahassee to Chiefland, Bronson, Williston, and Ocala. That part of the route is good riding. From Ocala I followed 27 Leesburg and then went east to Mount Dora, Sanford and Mimms.

    The route from about Lady Lake to Mount Dora was not a good bicycle route. But then I was using AAA maps and had no local knowledge.

    I rated my miles on route 90 to be the best leg of the route across the US. Tallahassee to Ocala was a close second. The leg from Lady Lake to Sanford was the most frustrating and least friendly leg of my entire trip. I got run off of the road 3 or 4 times and ended up walking for several miles.

    If you don't have to go to Orlando I recommend you take route 40 east out of Ocala and end up on the east coast to end your ride.
    Good Luck
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by lighthorse
    dohoco,
    I do not know where you live but this is a route I rode three year ago.

    I took US 98 from Pensacola to Santa Rosa Beach which was a good ride with reasonable roads and traffic. Then I turned left onto US 331 to De Funiak Springs and joined US 90. 90 is a great road for cycling and I followed it into Tallahassee. Crossing Tallahassee is easy if you do it early on a Sunday morning. Follow US 27 out of Tallahassee to Chiefland, Bronson, Williston, and Ocala. That part of the route is good riding. From Ocala I followed 27 Leesburg and then went east to Mount Dora, Sanford and Mimms.

    The route from about Lady Lake to Mount Dora was not a good bicycle route. But then I was using AAA maps and had no local knowledge.

    I rated my miles on route 90 to be the best leg of the route across the US. Tallahassee to Ocala was a close second. The leg from Lady Lake to Sanford was the most frustrating and least friendly leg of my entire trip. I got run off of the road 3 or 4 times and ended up walking for several miles.

    If you don't have to go to Orlando I recommend you take route 40 east out of Ocala and end up on the east coast to end your ride.
    Good Luck
    Thanks for replying Lighthorse. My main concern was getting around Tallahassee, and going across the Northern part of Apalachicola National Forest still intrigues me, and stopping at Wakulla. Did you have good camping, or motel experience? I would end trip at Leesburg, but hopefully avoid your Lady Lake frustration, especially with their recent tornado damage. Maybe go down to Crystal River on Hwy 98 and go east on State Hwy 44.

  4. #4
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    I was strictly motel, no camping gear. In fact I had planned to take route 20 and then 267 to miss Tallahassee. After a long day slogging into a 20 knot headwind from Pensacola I could not locate any suitable lodging along the beach after Destin nor in Freeport so I just went to De Funiak Springs. If you are camping then you have other options. Your idea of staying on 98 to Crystal River looks like a good option. That is a good road to ride on.
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    Dohaco,
    I haven't done this tour but I'm familiar with many of the roads. Some things to consider: US 98 in Franklin County can get dicey since there is often no shoulder when riding eastbound (hurricane/tropical storm damage) and there can be a considerable amount of RV and log truck traffic. State Road 20 from Blountstown to 267 to US 98 to Perry will avoid this section but there are some long remote stretches though the Apalachicola Nat. Forest. Tallahassee is not that bad if you can stay off US 90. There are some tolerable through-routes that you might be able to use. Consider SR 20/Pensacola Street to the FSU campus and Park Avenue to Downtown and the Capitol and then east to US 319 then south to US 27. East of US 319, US 27 to Perry would be a good ride as an alternative to US 98 in Wakulla, Jefferson, and Taylor Counties which is very remote and has lots of RV/Log trucks, too. Finally, don't neglect to consider the rail-trails available along this route. The St. Marks Trail from Tallahassee to the coast, the Nature Coast Trail near Chiefland, and the Withlacoochee State Trail all have respectable mileage and could contribute to your experience. Info at http://www.dep.state.fl.us/gwt/guide/index.htm

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