Memory Lane?

Flag snapping
Flag snapping
Today is Thursday, June 16, 2016. I got a quick, solo ride in today. The ride was just about 23 miles and a few hours before going to work, so it was a great way to wake up and prepare for the day. This was my last ride before we fly off to Seattle to begin our cross-country journey, so there was time for some reflection along the way.

During our training rides we developed a “standard route” that takes us from Mount Dora into Tavares, past the Woodlea Road Sports Complex (aka, baseball fields), through some orange groves and past a cool, little waterfront bar called The Lake Harris Hideaway (good burgers and music, lots of full-throated, vroom-vroom Harleys, laughter and people having good times). Once past the Hideaway, we climb a short steep hill, ride down the other side and do a little loop to another road at the bottom of the hill. That’s our “turnaround point”. This route is called, “The Little Pyrenees”. Today, was a joy.
The ride to Tavares takes me along Lake Dora. In the early morning, the shadows are long, making the grass look so green, cool and inviting; the birds are singing their wake-up songs; the osprey are already hunting, grasping and flipping their prey into a more aerodynamic position – whistling and whirling, winging to their nest and hungry chicks.


Mike's shadow along for the ride
Mike’s shadow along for the ride

It’s easy to start out on this route because it’s mostly flat, letting me take my time to stretch out, slowly building my speed and cadence to get into a comfortable “cruising” speed. The hills will come later and I will be ready for them.

There are certain waypoints along the way. The cool looking house just under a mile in with the two pit bulls that have an invisible electronic fence system that keeps the dogs in the yard. The stop sign at Bay Street, almost exactly two miles from our house. Main Street in Tavares, about 4.5 miles from our house. The Woodlea Road Sports Complex about 7.25 miles away, and others points as well. They all have a place in our now familiar ride. Our familiar ride is about to end for an everyday of an unfamiliar route and unknown challenges, but with a wonderful partner pedaling along the TransAmerica Trail with me. Today though, I revel in the familiar.

The first time we rode by the pit bulls, they knew about the invisible fence, but we sure didn’t, so there was some real anxiety as we watched the two pit bulls turn into white streaks of muscular legs and snarling fang hurtling towards us, then abruptly stopping to avoid the electric shock. Whew! After a few rides, they lost interest in us, or were happily inside, out of the humidity.

Ahh, the humidity! It’s ever-present this time of year in Florida and even though it’s only 75 degrees, the humidity reminds me to keep on toward my goal, before the heat fully partners with it to make the riding more difficult. Surely, if humans had started out in Florida, saunas would have never been invented, right?

I reach the Bay Street stop sign. I know I won’t pay much attention to the distance now, but will be very focused on the return leg, as this signals the trip for today is ending. I always get that “heading for the barn” urge to finish; to unclip from the bike and the heat and the humidity; head for the air conditioning and a cleansing shower. The stop sign is my signal to go, go, go!

Rolling past Main Street and the County Courthouse in Tavares. I take the back roads over the cool and inviting Dora Canal and on to the Woodlea Road Sports Complex. We often see Travon there. He works for the City of Tavares and we have a chat. I didn’t see him today, but thought of him and his 9-year old son, wondering if they were exercising together (just one of our quick conversations). Travon always has a great attitude regardless of the project he’s working on.

On past the orange groves. The road has recently been repaved. Our bikes run so quickly and the tires hum a little happy tune, “zzzoooommmm!!”  – Lucia and I joke that ALL the roads on the TransAmerica Trail will be just like this … NOT!

Now I am into the hills. The climbing is like putting money in the bank. It’s slow work and the interest rate is very low, but then you reach the top and you can descend, withdrawing every bit of the deposits just made. Yippeee!  I glance quickly at the speedo to catch my top speed and wonder how far I can make it up the next hill with the momentum I’ve gained with the help of gravity.
In a few moments I will be riding through Lucia’s favorite stretch of this ride.
Nature's A/C
Nature’s A/C


It’s a short stretch where the tree canopy completely covers the road, there are swampy wetlands on either side of the road and it is cool, cool, cool with nature’s own air-conditioning.

Next, I ride past the Hideaway. In the mornings it’s all closed up. The parking lot that eagerly awaits the arrival of two and three-wheeled motorcycles is barren. The country music is still in bed, getting its twang geared up for another round of heartache and heartbreak. My greatest challenge for this ride is just ahead, and it’s a hill.

It’s about 0.4 miles of a nearly 10% grade. Today, I’m riding light, without the fully loaded panniers, so I climb it with relative ease. Yes, not a big distance, but still, this hill requires concentrated effort and makes me glad I’m balanced on three wheels. When I reach the summit, I exhale and exult just a little. The top of every hill gives me positive energy, this one more than most because of the steepness and because I am close to the “bingo” turn around. A downhill, a short uphill, a long slide downhill, a short, but steep 0.3 mile climb up North Eichelberger Road to this summit, then reverse my route home.

After successfully reversing the route and arriving home, I know that I am physically ready for this trip, I know that we are physically ready for this trip, or at least as physically ready as we can be.

Adventure – One pedal stroke at a time!
Keep on rolling!

16 thoughts on “Memory Lane?

  1. Safe journey on your travels. I live in Ocala and have been following your posts. Biking/triking across the US had always been on the Bucket List for me, but unfortunately, I waited to long and am now too old to safely attempt it.

    I’ll be looking forward to reading about your upcoming adventures. Best of luck.

  2. Mike and Lucia,
    I am really enjoying reading about this adventure and all that has gone into the prep for it! Thanks so much for having it available to us as I know I am visualizing being there with you both due to the superb writing that makes me feel like I am right there along side.

    1. Thanks for reading, George. Today, was a beautiful day, our first long mile day of the trip and our first in Washington State. More to come.

  3. Mike and Lucia, Have a great trip. Your fellow Florida CRABS will be following you.
    Phil “thebentmix”

  4. Hey, Mike. We were talking about you today. Are you underway and how’s it going so far? Wish you the best.
    Barbara and Bob Lovelace

    1. Thanks for thinking about us! We (aka Mike) have been so tired and so away from WiFi locations that there hasn’t been time for posts on the blog. Instead, Lucia has been posting info every few days on Facebook. Check us out there – Two Traveling Trikes.

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