Author Topic: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.  (Read 1326 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Westinghouse

Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« on: November 14, 2022, 04:30:07 pm »
There are three main east west or west east roads across North Florida. They are highway 90, highway 20 and highway 98. I just now finished doing highway 20. Highway 90 is the one designated for adventure recycling association. It is the one farthest north in the state. It can be quite hilly. It has its advantages. There are cafes and restaurants and food stores. There are designated campgrounds, hotels and motels and b&bs. You can visit areas and sites of local historical interest. South of 90 is highway 20 I just cycled it. It has a nice wide shoulder most all of the way except that some of it is chewed up for the laying in of asphalt which forces you out into the main roadway. It is much less hilly than 90. Motels are few and far between for a very long distance. Most all of the stores had nothing but junk food. Their is no designated campground anywhere for a very long distance. Occasionally a store sold bananas, maybe an apple, or slices of hot pizza. Aside from that it was all junk food. South of 20 South of highway 20 is highway 98. I'm sure that is 99% flat. It follows the contour of the coastline and is there for 55 or 60 miles farther from point a to point b then if you were to take highway 90 or highway 20.. if you do not mind cycling the hills and if you value your health, 90 is your road.. if you want to stealth camp all the time, and you don't mind surviving on junk food for a few days, 20 is your road. If you don't mind doing 50 or 60 extra miles to get from point a to point b, 98 is your road. 98 goes through several small towns with places where you can eat what is actually real food. I'm just getting back into Florida from West the West. I chose 20 because it is much easier going than 90, and much shorter than 98. I had taken it before and I had forgotten about the availability of almost nothing except junk food.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2022, 06:33:06 pm »
Nice write up.  I concur with what you wrote, especially the barrenness of FL-20 but will add a few points about US 98.
To me, the US-98 corridor is pretty good overall.  There are numerous county and/or city roads which take you off of 98 and its traffic.  Of course, due to being on or near the coast, 98 has a LOT more services available and, to me, is greatly more scenic that US-90.  As long as the services are not closed due to a hurricane wiping everything out for 50 miles or more  ;) .  Plus the stretch between Navarre Beach and Pensacola is just sublime, one of my favorite.  Not much traffic and literally 150' from the white sandy beach at times.  However, I have ridden this stretch 3 times and every time had strong winds from the east.  I don't know if this is common or what but it should be noted. 

IF you are headed toward/from the south, say Key West I don't know how much extra miles are needed.  It may be the pretty close.

To me, the big negative of US98 is the 11-mile stretch on US-98 between Navarre and the west side of Mary Ester which has ungodly traffic volumes of 40k+ a day.  Granted there is a 2-3' shoulder with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction so it is doable.  Just fairly stressful.  All of the 4 riders I rode this stretch with said they would do it again as they really wanted to ride along the coast instead of 90. 

Also, there is the (hopefully temporary) closure of the bridge over the Pearl River near White Kitchen, LA, that got destroyed in a hurricane recently.  That closure really adds some miles to detour around it if you want to go to New Orleans and continue along the Gold Coast to South Padre Island, TX. 

Again, thanks for the write up.  I bet some people will not do it FL-20 if they read your post. 

Tailwinds, John

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2022, 08:24:28 pm »
I used highway 90 going east from New Orleans. A fairly long stretch of 90 is closed off to motor vehicle traffic. I first came to a bridge and there was a sign for a detour to I-10. The barricades were easy enough to get around with a bicycle. Farther down there was another bridge with barricades. I went around those barricades. On 90 the bridge at purlington over the Pearl River was open for traffic, but closed to traffic not far West of Burlington. I used 98 following the contour of the coastline in Florida twice and that was years ago. I remember a sea breeze coming in off the Gulf from the south as I was going west. It was a strong crosswind and frustrating. However, when it comes to small towns and side roads, cafes and restaurants and stores, 98 is much to be preferred over 20. I'm laid up in a motel in Perry Florida right now eating real food and trying to heal from this major junk food pork out I sustained on highway 20.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2022, 09:06:19 pm »
Is "Burlington" a typo and should be Pearlington?  Are you saying you rode from the junction of US-90 & US-190 east on US-90 to Bay St. Louis without having to go north on a long detour around the closed bridge?  This is the bridge that ACA is rerouting around if so.  Do you happen to have pictures of the damaged bridge? 

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2022, 11:24:17 pm »
I took 90 out of New Orleans all the way to the cut off for dauphin Island. I got the ferry across Mobile Bay. I cycle from fort Morgan to Pensacola and then follow the road south to get on to another road going east. I took that through Destin until I went North against the head wind and then East to get 20 on highway 20. From there I took 20 to just south of Tallahassee and 267, and 98 into Perry. I did not see any big detour anywhere except on 90. I did not take any pictures of the damaged bridge. Maybe it was a hurricane that damaged it. There was a deep scrape on one side of the bridge with pieces of what look like was torn off a truck or cars. There were two concrete barricades laid across the bridge. They were wide enough apart that I could walk the bike between them. On the other side it looked like a big pile of dirt or asphalt. I walked to the bike over it. There was another bridge farther east. It was blockaded the same way. I got around it pretty much the same way. Yes it was a typo. It was purlington. This is voice to text and I just do not want to go back and correct. Yes I went across Bay St Louis, to pass Christian. I followed the Google bike route for much of the coastal road mainly because there was a stiff wind coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. The Google route puts you further inland on railroad avenue and other streets where you are blocked from the wind or the wind is blocked away from you.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2022, 03:43:42 pm »
I took 90 out of New Orleans all the way to the cut off for dauphin Island. ..... I did not see any big detour anywhere except on 90. I did not take any pictures of the damaged bridge. Maybe it was a hurricane that damaged it. There was a deep scrape on one side of the bridge with pieces of what look like was torn off a truck or cars. There were two concrete barricades laid across the bridge. They were wide enough apart that I could walk the bike between them. On the other side it looked like a big pile of dirt or asphalt. I walked to the bike over it. There was another bridge farther east. It was blockaded the same way. I got around it pretty much the same way. Yes it was a typo. It was purlington.


Interesting.  So, I guess the moral of the story is that yes, the bridge is officially closed but an adventurous cyclist could possibly cross the closed bridge.  I totally get that ACA can not condone or recommend this in anyway.

I hope the rest of your tour is great!

Offline aggie

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2022, 09:53:02 am »
I rode Hwy 98 a few years back going west to east.  I picked it up in Pensacola and rode it to Perry on my way to St. Augustine.  I really enjoyed the ride.  The only section I disliked was between Navarre and Destin.  It didn’t have much of a shoulder in the towns and they were doing construction so parts had no shoulder.  Really heavy traffic.  Other than in the cities the was usually a wide shoulder and very little traffic.  I did take hwy 319 through Sopchoppy.  Almost no traffic.  There is a nice bike trail from Wakulla to the St. Marks historic railroad state trail that will take you into Tallahassee.  Would definitely ride it again.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2022, 11:26:11 am »
I rode Hwy 98 a few years back going west to east.  I picked it up in Pensacola and rode it to Perry on my way to St. Augustine.  I really enjoyed the ride.  The only section I disliked was between Navarre and Destin.  It didn’t have much of a shoulder in the towns and they were doing construction so parts had no shoulder.  Really heavy traffic.  Other than in the cities the was usually a wide shoulder and very little traffic.  I did take hwy 319 through Sopchoppy.  Almost no traffic.  There is a nice bike trail from Wakulla to the St. Marks historic railroad state trail that will take you into Tallahassee.  Would definitely ride it again.
        yes Navarre and Destin where any semblance of a bicycle path disappeared and debris troon sidewalks began. It was slow going in that area. 

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2022, 11:36:22 am »
IIRC, there are no sidewalks between Navarre and Mary Ester (town between Navarre and Destin).  In Mary Ester, I rode back roads and that was fine. Again, by riding off US-98, the ride is a lot better. 

Here is what I rode: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/41446033 

As mentioned earlier, the only stretch that was not overly enjoyable was between Navarre and Mary Ester as there is a TON of traffic.Other than that, it was fine or acceptable.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2022, 11:39:21 am by John Nettles »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2022, 06:25:46 pm »
IIRC, there are no sidewalks between Navarre and Mary Ester (town between Navarre and Destin).  In Mary Ester, I rode back roads and that was fine. Again, by riding off US-98, the ride is a lot better. 

Here is what I rode: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/41446033 

As mentioned earlier, the only stretch that was not overly enjoyable was between Navarre and Mary Ester as there is a TON of traffic.Other than that, it was fine or acceptable.
        east of Destin I took the first road North the causeway road across the water to get on 20 at that point. I have had some really consistent following wins on this trip wind on this trip. I have already come 93 mi today and that is largely because of a powerful following wind. I don't really remember Navarre and destined that well. There were some towns where it was Old Town style with narrow roads, no bike lane, and rough sidewalks strewn with debris. There was a so-called Greenway bike path running parallel along highway 27. It was as much a hindrance as a help and the side light on the road was a much better way to go. The so-called bike path Greenway had many potholes, cracks, crevices, large bumps were Roots grew up under the path and pushed upwards. Parts of it had limbs and cones and berries and branches and logs from The deadfall from the trees around it. They just built it and then neglected it.

Offline John Nettles

  • World Traveler
  • *****
  • Posts: 1736
  • I ride for smiles, not miles.
Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2022, 07:01:06 pm »
They just built it and then neglected it.

That happens so much.  I wish governments would factor in maintenance costs when deciding whether to build something or not.  While I am glad they built some bike infrastructure, if it is not maintained, then riders won't use it and then locals will go "See, the !@#$ bikers don't use their path! Why should we build more paths?"

That said, I do enjoy that a lot (relatively) of Florida's roads have a bike lane.  Much more than compared to many states.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Highway 20 on East-West axis across North Florida.
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2022, 09:10:51 pm »
They just built it and then neglected it.

That happens so much.  I wish governments would factor in maintenance costs when deciding whether to build something or not.  While I am glad they built some bike infrastructure, if it is not maintained, then riders won't use it and then locals will go "See, the !@#$ bikers don't use their path! Why should we build more paths?"

That said, I do enjoy that a lot (relatively) of Florida's roads have a bike lane.  Much more than compared to many states.
.            People who have been exclusively motorists and others see the roadways and experience them in ways very different from long distance cyclists. For one matter, what motorists can run over and completely Miss and totally not even notice, can be a constant hindrance to cyclists. A bump they do not feel can go right up through your wrists and arms and into your shoulders. That's only one thing and they are completely unaware of anything like that. I have often said to myself, if the people in vehicles motor vehicles experienced slams constantly to their wheels in the same proportion that a cyclist experiences, they would be screaming all the way to Tallahassee and screaming all the way to Washington. Sometimes, when the cyclists will not use the path, it is because it is a minefield and an obstacle course. People who have been exclusively motorists are not aware of that.