Author Topic: Gators in FL  (Read 5104 times)

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Offline Spokey

Gators in FL
« on: March 02, 2010, 09:28:37 am »
My brother and I are planning a ride this summer from central NJ to Key West. 

The original idea was to take a ride and have a margarita afterward. 

This has developed in to seeing the final shuttle launch on 9/16 and getting to Key West to have a couple margaritas to celebrate my coming retirement.  Or my birthday.  Or perhaps anything else I can think of.

We will be riding through the Delmarva Pen., then over to Williamsburg, and then joining up the AC route in that area. 

I am somewhat concerned about gators.  I have heard that they can scoot along for short distances at 30 mph. 

Is there reason to be concerned?  If we see one on the side of the road, should we turn around and run?  I certainly don't plan on stopping.  I suppose if it were as bad as my imagination is currently blowing it up to be, I'd hear more attacks or perhaps there wouldn't be any humans left in Florida.

Words of wisdom from Florida residents would be appreciated.

Offline tonythomson

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2010, 11:38:51 am »
Hi although from UK I have a house in central Florida and regularly have gators in the lakes around here - they tend to come very close to the edge where the fishermen are - snatching their catch.  Really makes them fed up. None have every come up onto the steps or banks to chase people and this is a residential area.  I have also cycled a lot round here passing gators.  Down in the south of Florida I cycled in one of the parks and there were literally dozens of gators feet away on the bank and side of the road - no problems.  You aren't their natural food so as long as you leave them alone I'm sure you will not have any problems. 

Once nearly stepped on a croc, which I had not seen, in India trying to photo another one across the river - now he was big but just slid off into the river away from me.  Made sure I was more careful next time.

You'll have a great time I love cycling in Florida.  But I'm sure someone has a horrible tale to tell.
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com

Offline Bikearound

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2010, 12:53:30 pm »
Hi, I live in Florida and my advise is don't put yourself in the environment where gators feed and you'll be fine. Gators feed along the banks of ponds and waterways (salt or fresh) and primarily in the evenings. The method they use is to submerge themselves along the shore and wait for prey to walk along the bank where they can snatch them and drag them back into the water. If you see a gator on land he/she is generally not feeding and just in transit to the next water hole. If you sit quietly and wait they will just move along because they know that they are vulnerable when on land. Just keep your distance and do not provoke them by throwing things or trying to hit it with sticks etc and you both will live a long and happy life.

Offline Spokey

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2010, 01:15:04 pm »
what do you think about camping?  My idiot brother wants to do this.  I'm thinking that is OK as long as we do it above the Mason-Dixon line and seek indoors below it.  I figure that is safe as the MD line actually hits southern NJ  :D.

Offline indyfabz

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2010, 01:45:01 pm »
Watch out for the Jersey Devil.  Much scarier than any gator.   :D

Offline Spokey

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2010, 03:08:40 pm »
Nah, the pineys are the ones up here to watch out for.

'Course all this is cake compared to where you are.  Never tried to bike it, but driving the Schuylkill is the most deadly thing in this area I know of. ;D

Offline Bikearound

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2010, 03:44:37 pm »
Camping in campgrounds is not an issue, they are as safe as anywhere to camp. Gators are the last thing you should worry about on your trip. You stand a better chance of hitting the lottery than being eaten by a gator. Like I said, stay away from the edge of the water in the evening unless your on a dock or pier.

Offline fiddler4060

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2010, 05:29:57 pm »
I bike regularly in the Everglades both in the lower part of the park down to Flamingo as well as Shark Valley. I also bike the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail and all over Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. I've seen literally hundreds of gators and never ever seen one that had any interest in me what-so-ever. In Shark Valley you literally have to swerve around sunning gators on the trail to avoid hitting them... especially in the dry season when that part of the park is crowded with gators. I've camped in Flamingo and along the Peace River in Central Florida and seen gators by the dozens... never any interest. Basically, they just like to sit out in the sun, warming their bodies. If you get too close they slip into the water. At night once, on the Peace River I shone my flashlight across the water and saw a few sets of eyes shining back at me from gators floating in the water. Kinda creepy since my tent was about 15 feet off the bank of the river. But I lived to tell you about it and no footprints around my campsite the next morning. Once had an armadillo that kept me up all night though... but that's another story. Use a little common sense... don't dangle your feet into the water over a low bridge or fallen tree, don't throw meat into the water, don't swim when you know there are gators in there, etc... and you will be fine. They are actually amazing animals to look at.

Offline daikaregi

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2010, 07:46:20 am »
Hi Spoky

I am just coming from the Keys. I am on a cross country tour, started in Philly last year in May and went in a circle around north america . Philly, Lake Michigan Connector, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans and then down the Gulf of Mexico Coast to Key West. (Took the ferry from Fort Myers to Key West and started there to go up the East Coast - Atlantic Trail ACA back to Philly)
I am now in Daytona and hope the weather will warm up while I am climbing up to the north.
On arriving in Florida I had the same worries like you. Saw the first gator in Central Florida beneath a bridge in brackish water, not moving.  From that day on I had many gator sightings, but never felt endangered. there are also many signs on the road, warning from bears, panthers and gators crossing the road. The only bear I have seen was a dead one on the road shoulder, never saw a panther.
The Keys are simply beautiful and I wouldnt want to miss the experience. I stayed on campgrounds throughout the passage of the keys because Motels are very expensive. The campgrounds are very safe, most are fenced in and well kept. No danger there. The ride across the many bridges were for the most parts a pleasure. they are just building a bicycle trail from Key West to Homestead, some parts are still under construction.
There is one thing I would like to warn you about. I didnt use the aca route from Key Largo to Homestead on the 997 because it seemed a big detour for me. On asking at the visitor center in Key Largo I got the information, that riding on the Highway one would be fine, but half of the 1 is under road construction and a very dangerous ride. so better stick to the aca route.
wishing you a safe and enjoyable tour

www.on-bike.net
have a look inside here too  http://www.conchrepubliccyclist.com/

Offline Spokey

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2010, 11:49:51 am »
Thanks.

A of people say the same thing so I guess I shouldn't worry about it.  I'm still a little nervous but that will probably be ok.

I don't know how fast you're going but assuming your coming up to here (I'm about an hour from NY on a good day), you're probably about a month away. 

We currently have highs in the 45F range.  A month from now, the range will be 34-57F (1-14C). 

I'm a few years older than you.  Back in 2000 or 2001 I remember biking a couple days from here in early Oct and temps got down to 26F overnight.  It was cold but bearable.  Last year, I was coming out of work with my heavy winter coat on, got into the car and noticed the current temp was the same 26F.  I was freezing.  In a few short years, I've moved from enjoying the winter to hating it.  And the reverse for the summer.  We were out in 115F a couple years back on the TA in Hell's Canyon and it wasn't so bad. 

Now I know why old folks move south :D

Offline daikaregi

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2010, 04:18:07 pm »
 ;D
ya are so right. but I think the difference is that ya get used to colder temps when you are out there for a while. nothing to do with old age :D
I will take my time, have to be in philly by the end of april - visa runs out in may. should be ok. and there are those nice, little, warm motels on the way.

have a good one, and remember not to go on the h1 between key largo and homestead.

Regina and Kruemel

Offline Tourista829

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2010, 11:42:37 pm »
I live in Florida, I have cycled all over the state and still am alive with all my limbs intact. As of last count, no one, that I am aware of, who has ridden, the ACO Atlantic Coast route has been attack by an alligator. It is even ok to camp out. Stay away from canals. You will have to stay in motels around Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. If you are nervous, stay in one in Key Largo, Islamorada and Marathon.

Offline Spokey

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2010, 02:04:18 pm »
Thanks.  I am getting more comfortable with this.  Funny out west I never think about bears, mountain lions.  And I did read one I think last year where some sort of cat killed a biker out in CA.  I guess it all depends on how your synapses fire.  I've probably come closer to termination locally from some deer running in to my car (had to get a whole new convertible top once after a deer rolled around on it) which has happened four times to me.

Offline daikaregi

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2010, 05:36:41 pm »
Well, funny that you tell. I didnt dare to ask for the gators in florida because I already made a conundrum because of the black bears in NJ Delaware Water Gap, had an encounter there and felt pretty exposed since I have my little dog with me.
Met a Swedish Woman on the Pacific Coast in September last year, she had an encounter  with a cougar, but the beast ran away, she was lucky.
Thats the risk, beside car accidents, when you are on the road, but its worth taking it.
At the moment I have some nasty encounters with motorcyclists, lots, millions, its bike week in Daytona. Ill survive, hopefully ;D
The thing is, before you go on tour, your imagination is running wild, that happens to me all the time. But when you are finally on the road, it finds its perspective.
Dont worry, just go and have fun!!!!

Offline tonythomson

Re: Gators in FL
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2010, 07:11:22 am »
" The thing is, before you go on tour, your imagination is running wild, that happens to me all the time. But when you are finally on the road, it finds its perspective."

Dk I think that feeling like this is normal, or it is for me, and part of the trip is facing up my fears which are generally unfounded and I always have a great time.
Good luck
Tony
Just starting to record my trips  www.tonystravels.com