To the Coast

Posted by on 3, Apr 2019 in 2019 - Orlando Northwards, Tilly the Tandem, USA

To the Coast

Last year when we toured the US we cycled for ages before we saw a cycle tourer, a vege restaurant or a decent cycle path. This year we’d gone less than a kilometer and we’d notched up all three! Orlando really accommodates cyclists, even if there are hardly any about! The city itself has an actual high street with shops in it, It’s also got a lovely lake with a path all the way around, fountains and gorgeous gardens, skyscrapers (at least by our standards), independent restaurants and plenty of ice cream! We thoroughly enjoyed our test cycles here and thought it was a great base to start a tour. Our plan for this year is to cycle up the coast a bit, then cross the state to the Gulf to see ‘The Secret Cousins’ – my mums cousin whom we knew nothing about for years! We will then hightail it back to the Atlantic in a van, skipping out all the states we cycled in last year and weren’t too keen on and then cycle The Outer Banks chain of islands south of Washington DC to the home of Donny the Turnip himself. If we’ve managed to get there injury free and have the time then we will press on to Canada via the C&O canal path and the Great Allergheny Rail trail. We’re probably getting ahead of ourselves there so let’s see how fit we stay and if we get fed up with the dreadful coffee and food that is 95% sugar! Our first days proper cycle was entirely on a wonderful rails to trails path, a great way to start the trip and what better way than to end the day at Jack and Joan’s our Warmshowers hosts for the night who cooked us a lovely vege meal and then took us out for ice cream and in the morning pancakes! A real all American start to the calorie crunching required to sustain cycling day after day. We had an absolutely fab time with these guys – very very welcoming and extremely kind and generous, to say nothing of the lovely bed and of course, warm shower. Jack even rode out with us to show us the trail after our morning stop at IHOP. After leaving Jack we headed to Deland – the home of the Stetson – and another town with a high Street bustling with tourists. The town itself was very nice though the traffic that crawled noisely up the high street rather spoilt the image. We sat at a street cafe having lunch wondering how long, if ever, it would be before they would pedestrianise the centre. Although the number of European size cars seems to be increasing there’s still the alpha male pick ups, jacked up high off the ground with exhausts that make more noise than a jet engine and fumes belching out like a steam engine. You can almost here the environment crying as they move. So pressing on after leaving Deland (“The Nicest Main Street in America”) we set off for the Atlantic Coast, our next port of call, which meant we had to cycle on a busy main road for about 20km. After our mornings lovely cycle on dirt roads through farms and fields it was a rude awakening to the traffic culture to hit the main road. But, as we’ve found throughout Florida both this year and last, the American drivers are extremely courteous and patient giving us tonnes of room and sometimes almost forcing oncoming traffic to stop or pull over to get past us! The weather has been good, cool for the time of year, but we’d be calling it a heatwave back home. It’s hottest after lunch here and we then end up stopping every 20 minutes or so to cool down in the shade with a drink. We alway find somewhere safe to pull off to so we don’t obstruct traffic, but on this busy road the traffic had its own plans for obstruction with cars pulling over and even turning round to check we were OK. We had to start cycling again as we were worried it’d cause an accident in the end! Very nice drivers though.

Ormond Beach was our first stop on the coast and as this is Spring Break here all the campsites are full and we’ve had to resort to hotels on the seafront instead! We stopped at a pleasant hotel and had a good view of the beach with cars driving up and down it, and occasionally getting stuck in the sand. This is the top end of Daytonna Beach and for some reason the sand at the top of the beach is rock hard and as its famous for racing, people want to drive on the sand. It was actually quite fun to watch the cars being pulled out of the sand by the monster trucks on our way to a Thai restaurant for supper!

One Comment

  1. This is really refreshing to hear and counters the objectionable behaviour of POTUS and his moronic comments, entertaining they are but still. Is the T word as bad as the B word? I think the fact that you’re white middle aged Brits helps but obviously motorists don’t necessarily know that when being so courteous. Contradictions indeed but looking closer to home there are so many here too.

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