Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Princess Place

My last full day in Florida. I had been hearing about Princess Place Preserve. It was just a couple miles north of where I am staying.

To get to the preserve, Exit 298 of I-95. South on US1 about a mile. Turn Left onto old Kings Highway. Take that for 1.5 miles. The road (dirt - sand) road is on you left.

Walk the grounds. Take a look at the old Lodge and Lodge Stable. In the stable, I found brochures about the preserve (including a map). In this area of the preserve you are in a large grove of live oak trees.

I did not take the time to walk some of the hiking trails. Took the time to drive the Loop Road. Along the Loop Road there's a open area. There is an eagle nesting area. I could not see the nest.

After the "tour" of the preserve, I gassed up the car for the return trip. Stopped in at the bike shop (PC Bike) to thank them for the shop rides. If you get into Palm Coast, stop in to see Jake, Kelly, James, and Diane - "your hike shop".

Tour of Palm Coast

I wanted to re-ride some of the trails we took on the Christmas Eve Ride. Monday, I parked the car at Waterfront Park. Headed North along the InterCoastal Waterway.

The photo here is of the Waterfront Trail.

The trail ends at the Palm Coast resort/marina. From there I rode North along Palm Harbor Parkway for a mile or so. Rode back down to the Linear Park trail. When that ended, I turned back, riding back to the Waterfront Trail. Back at the park, rode the spur trail over to Colbert Ln and back.

Was a beautiful day for a bike ride - Sunny and 69 degrees. Turned in 11 miles, which took me just over 1500 miles for the year.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from Mala Compra

Overcast morning, threatening a shower, but I had planned to ride some dirt today. Headed to the Hammocks for a ride on the Mala Compra Greenway Trails.

I parked across Rt A1A from the trailhead at Mala Compra Rd. checked the trail map at the kiosk and ended down the trail. Most of this trail is rated as a "blue" trail. there area also side trails rated as "black diamond" and one that I saw rated "double black diamond".

Most of the trail is a tight, curvy trail though the wood. Solid surface except fpr short sections of palm roots and soft sand. At lease you can recognize the sandy spots because its a white sand.

Obstacles are highlighted as a black diamond trail marked with a blue bypass. (see photo) At the 16th St trailhead is another kiosk. It had some trail brochures with trail map. Just the map I was looking for 9which I could not find anywhere on the internet!.

Was not sure if I would ride singletrack on the trail back, but after a rest and some G2, I was ready to ride on. This end of the trail area had some rougher trails - longer sections of black diamond, some quick climbs and descents, ridge-running. I bypassed those trail section!

On the way back, there were several area where a wide, walking path paralleled the singletrack. At 3.5 miles, I was getting tired, to switched to the walking path. Ended up with 3.8 miles, 1:08 riding time, and 22 photos.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Ride

An awesome bike ride this morning with the folks from PC Bike. About 10 of us headed out from the bike shop.

I am not sure exactly what all trails were on. Its the regular route the Saturday ride takes - for the 12 mile ride.

What I could see, we were along Palm Coast Parkway to the toll bridge. St. Jon Walkway, right onto Waterfront. Some beautiful scenery along the Intracoastal. Stopped for a group photo (above). From there over to the Graham Swamp Trail.

Had to take it easy on that trail as the surface is crushed coquina shells. Rides like crushed limestone. Thankfully, it was not soft or loose. At Old King's Highway, we stopped for a break.

Back down the Graham Swamp Trail, into the "B" section of town. From here, I got a bit confused. I saw a sight that were were on the Butterfly Trail(?).

Back on Palm Coast Parkway, stopped to take a photo of me at the panther. Ended at the bike shop for coffee and doughnuts.

Thanks for the great was to start the holiday weekend!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Palm Coast

OK, since I am basically at the Atlantice Coast of Florida, I should post a beach photo while I am here. Here's a shot of the beach at Washington Oaks State Park, Palm Coast, FL.

I did not get up and moving early enough to ride dirt today. It was in the 80s here today - had the A/C running in the house and car today. (That's right - running the air conditioning on December 23rd!) We did "touristy" things again.

Found the Mala Compra Trail head. That's where I want to do some dirt riding while here.

From there, it was off to view the gardens in Washington Oaks State Park. The park was some beautiful, gigantic live oak trees and a nice rose garden. Walked to the river (Intracoastal Waterway). Then across Scenic Coastal Route A1A. Additional photos are on my facebook page and eventually will be added to the web site.

Ended the "tour" with lunch at the Golden Lion on Flagler Beach.

PC Bike shop ride in the morning.

St Augustine

Tourist day yesterday. Was exhausted last night.

First stop was Ft. Matanzas National Monument. The fort is located 15 miles South of St. Augustine on the the Matanzas River (a part of the Intracoastal Waterway).

Construction of the fort was started in 1740, There were about 7 soldiers stationed at the fort. They served 30 day tours.

To visit the fort, park at the Visitor's Center along Route A1A. At the Visitor's Center. the National Park Service operates a shuttle ferry service across the Intracoastal Waterway to Ft. Matenzas. Being a very small (but important) fort, your tour will last 45 minutes, including the boat rides. There is no admission fees at the monument,

When we got to St. Augustine, it was lunch time. Parked in the garage at Old Town. Had lunch at the Mill Top Tavern. Good food, not "fast" food. The waitress told us it would take a bit before we get our food.

Next was Castilla de San Marcos - a fort at the inlet to St. Augustine. A bit longer self-guided tour. According to the National Park Service web sire, "A bastion of the largest empire ever created, the Castillo was built to protect and defend Spain’s claims in the New World."

Spent time to walk through the fort and on the roof. A great view of the inlet.

The last stop yesterday was the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. Sampled the water. We were there just in time to see that last demonstrations for the day. We watch the demonstration of firing a period gun

From the gun firing, we were just in time for the demonstration of firing of a breach-loaded cannon. By this time, we were tired. Looked at the peacocks (even 2 white peacocks), stopped in the gift shop and headed to the house.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lehigh Trail

The Lehigh Trail is in Flagler County, Florida. A Rails-2-Trails corridor. I rode the trail this morning because there was a local bike shop (PC Bike) ride. Turn-out was a little space - likely because of the holidays.

Three of us rode the trail end-s-end. My riding companions had ridden from other parts of the area for the ride. I had driven to the Graham Swamp trailhead and rode the 1/2 mile to the Lehigh Trail trailhead.

We stated at Colbert Road and rode the 7 miles to US 1. With just 3 of us riding, the pace was a little faster than "leisurely". Most of the ride was at 13-14 mph. Got my heart rate up and worked up a sweat.

Of course it was not hard to work up a sweat this morning. It was in the 70s when we were on the trail - on December 21st!

When we turned around to return, I told the guys to not wait for me - I likely would be stopping to take photos. Got a couple that could be considered for a future calendar.

After the ride, I stopped in at the bike shop. Picked up a new helment 9mine has been getting pretty bad) and a Trails Guide for the area.

Thanks for the ride, Sam & Patrick. Watch for more info on trails in the aea.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the Road Again

A little over a year ago, friends of mine moved from Wisconsin to Florida. They invited me to visit for the holidays. So, I am in the way South.

Yesterday was a LONG day of driving. Ended up traveling 780 miles!. Today I just did a little over 300 miles.

Was thinking of spending the night in Macon, GA. Stopped at the Rest Area Information section just North of Macon on I-75.The gals there were very helpful. Told me about Ocmulgee National Monument and gave me info on the river-walk - bicycle/pedestrian walk downtown. They also had a computer there, where i was able to reserve a room. Great job!

Since it was already middle of the afternoon, I decided to head to Ocmulgee National Monument. Today's photo was taken from the top of the Temple Mound. The steps are the way up/down to the top of the mound

I ended up at the Quality Inn - exit 169 of I-75. The motel has a full hot breakfast. When i checked in, I was advices that they were having a free B-B-Q in the evening - wings, dogs, burgers, and beer. Such a deal.

Was thinking of taking a bike ride, but was not enough time. Joined the BBQ - chatted with guys from Janesville, WI and Bay City, MI. Maybe will have/take the time to ride in the morning before I finish the drive.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Had to Get Out to Ride

Today was the day I am/was planning to head South for the Holiday. After breakfast, I rested and worked on packing.

About noon, I stuck my head out of the door (probably to take a load to the car0 and I decided I just HAD to ride this afternoon - even if it means delaying my trip. Hell, It was over a month since i was last on one of my bike! I quickly donned a cycling kit, grabbed the road bike, and headed for the Wabash Trace Trailhead Park.

Figured the Trace might be a little soft (warming up this afternoon). Headed towards Manawa on the pavement. Was about 42 as I started riding.

Stopped by the mountain bike trail area (river-side boat landing). Trail Leader was in the area 9saw his truck, not him). Took a couple of photos. Today's blog photo shows the sand/silt that was deposited during the flood this year.

My original destination was the Trails Center. With the month off the bike had taken its toll on me. When I got to Indian Creet Bridge, I decided just completing the loop around the lake and back to the car would be enough.

Sunny, light breeze, 48 degrees on the way back home.

Gave me just enough drive to get the bikes loaded on the car rack. Basically finished packing. Now sleep time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welcome Home

Welcome Home Iraq Vets! Finally, the war in Iraq is over. No big “Mission Accomplished” banner (thankfully). But at least a heart-felt thanks and “Welcome Home” from the President.

What a waste of resources. Over 4000 Us troops killed, over 30,000 wounded. Estimated over 800 BILLION dollars. And that does not count the cost to the Iraqi people. All for naught.

It is 40 years since I served in Viet Nam. The bitter/sweet memories are still with me.
In addition of memories there is anger, frustration, hopelessness, and envy. I had hoped that the country had learned its lesson of Viet Nam, but did not.

Lets look at my feelings...

Memories: Most of us block out or bad memories of the time in “Nam”. We talk about the good times, the friends (brothers) we met in country. The bad memories are relegated to a distance memory. When we returned to “The World” we were not allowed to remember. We were to just get on with our life. Those that could not cope were outcasts.

Anger: I am still angry the way we were treated when we came home. When I was discharged at Ft Dix, I had to make a bee line to the airport, and then home because I was in uniform. No side trips. I had a friend that was beaten up by his “friends” because he stopped by in a local watering hole wearing his uniform. We were greeted with shouts of “baby killer”.

Frustration: I am frustrated because it was all for naught. Over 58.000 US service women and me were killed – for what? Viet Nam fell to the communists, anyway. And there was not any great wave of communism threatening to region and the world. Like with Viet Nam, the politicians sold the country a bill of goods to justify the invasion of Iraq.

Hopelessness: How soon we forget the lessons of war. The war machine (“Military-Industrial Complex”) is alive a well. As long as politicians and corporations are allowed to make such exorbitant profits from war, our youth and society will continue to pay the price in dollars, limbs, and bodies. While the war in Iraq is over, and Afghanistan is (hopefully) winding down, the war hawks are rattling sabers about Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and other countries. Will it ever end?

Envy: This is the one that is roughest for me to face. I envy the Iraq and Afghanistan vets. They are getting a proper “Welcome Home”. A couple years after I was home from Viet Nam, I was at a party with a cousin in Denmark. I casually mentioned that I wad been in “Nam. They did not believe it, since I “seemed to be normal”. I had no missing limbs and did not seem to suffer a mental illness. That was also the attitude in the US – Nam vets were messed up in some way or the other.. So I suppressed it. Stopped talking about Viet Nam. Did not tell people that I had server there. There were no parades and celebrations when we came home.

So, to the Iraq vets – Welcome Home. Sorry that I cannot give you a rousing cheer. I am just still too bitter.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Special on Calendars

Wondering what gift to get the cyclist on your Christmas List? Looking for a unique calender? Or perhaps you would like to support that photography you see along the trail at races.

I still have Bicycle Trails calendars available for sale.

Cost of the calendar is $15. For US readers of this blog - I will ship your calendar(s) free (via USPS).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Made my annual trip to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. Spend a couple nights at my mom's place. Was good to see her. Doing well since the broken hip.

Thanksgiving day was the my cousin Sue's place. Packer game is on the TV. Packers won against the Detroit Lions - was not a pretty game. A win, non-the-less.

Lots of good food. I brought bags of Chex Mix and a crock pot of meatballs. We all ate too much.

Then it was off to Sheridan Lanes for the annual bowling tourney. Cousin Allyson had t-shirts made (see photo). The photo is of my Aunt Audrey's family, my Mom, and me.

Was a bit too much activity for my brain. Really tired and had a head ache when i got home to my mom's apartment. Home the next day.

Did not bring a bike with the trip. Too short trip and I have problems sleeping on my mom's sofa.