December 16, 2016 – Sun, 70 degrees
Miles Today: 62
Miles to Date: 20,584
States to Date: 48
After eleven hours of sleep plus a pot of coffee plus a stack of pancakes with a side of bacon, I was ready to roll out of sweet Mayo into a day full of modest surprises.
Crossing the Suwannee River triggered my repertoire of Stephen Foster songs. But I did not expect that Suwanee County would also offer up fifteen miles of dedicated bike path parallel to US 27.
My route took me across I-75 three times. The first was the busy intersection with US 441outside of Alachua. I figured I was in for miles sprawl. Instead, my second crossing was a mere hiccup on NW 140th St, a lovely road lined with stately farms, elegant fences, and rolling pasture. Crossing number three on Millhopper Road was even less obtrusive. I rode through San Felasco Hammock State Preserve, miles of canopy road with another dedicated bike path.
Several people have cautioned me that Florida has the highest cyclist accident rate in the nation. But so far, I have found the state not only physically more beautiful than I expected, but cyclist friendly as well. Let’s hope that continues as I approach the busy Atlantic coast.
They’ve also warmed me that because Florida has no vehicle inspection requirements, shoulder debris causes a high number of flats. I got my third flat in four days just before I reached my hosts’ house. Not all surprises are good.