Author Topic: West Coast of Florida Connector  (Read 14798 times)

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Offline Tourista829

West Coast of Florida Connector
« on: February 24, 2009, 05:02:15 pm »
I am relatively new to the forum, I am researching a suitable route, but has anyone considered another connector route for the westcoast of Florida. What if you did an off shoot from near the end of the Southern Tier Route around Tallahassee and went south down the west coast of Florida. It could go through Inverness, Springhill, Odessa, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, St Petersberg, Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice, Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, and then connect back to the (St Augustine to Ft. Lauderdale connector) all the way east to Ft. Lauderdale. This would also be a good trip to Ft. Myers/Naples to take the Ferry over to Key West.  Since we have the best weather, in the winter, (this year the exception) it would be a great week tour, say Tampa to Ft. Lauderdale or Tallahassee to Keywest via the Ferry in Ft. Myers/Naples. (ie for part of the route 100 miles, Suncoast Highway to Route 54 west to Pinellas trail to St. Petersberg) Any thoughts from ACO or members? We could start a winter touring season and we could sure use the tourists. I can assure you our state has come along way since the "dive or die" days of the late 1970's.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2009, 06:14:20 pm »
North of the area of Tampa-St. Pete your options are extremely limited if you want to keep as near as possible to the west coast. Once you get into the Tampa area and go south your ways become more numerous. I have never cycled all that much on the west coast of Florida. You would have to look into it in more detail. Florida does have some dedicated bike paths.

I have always badmouthed highway 27-19-98 going up the middle of the state, and somewhat on the west north of Tampa. Perhaps 27 is not all that bad everywhere. Where I used 27 it was a road straight out of hell. On that tour I went north on barrier island roads, and then west through Vero Beach, FL to Yeehaw Junction, and got on 27 not far from there, perhaps in Florida City or thereabouts. In that area 27 had long lines of fast traffic, and all side lanes were completely strewn with gravel, rocks, and all kinds of junk making them almost totally useless for cycling. I used 27 as far as Ocala I think, or was it Live Oak? It was terrible. I would never use 27 again. Perhaps on other stretches it is not so bad.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2009, 02:38:27 am by Westinghouse »

Offline Tourista829

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2009, 11:41:25 pm »
I was fortunate to hear from Jim Sayer. He is really a great guy. He is consulting his staff and others to see if this is possible. I will research the north portion of the route. There are many areas I am not sure of. I know that one might be able to take the Sun Coast trail, Route 50 east for a short distance to Brooksville and north on route 41 to Floral City and pick up the Withacoochee State Trail to Dunnellon. I will have to check the next three counties going north that eventually intersect with the Southern Tier. I believe that route 41/27 north may not be bad in that part of Florida. It would be east of Tallahassee probably closer to Lake City. I agree with you parts of Rt 98 and 27 are not good in certain sections.
The southern route works from Odessa to St. Pete, but I am not sure how to get over the I-275 bridge. Going further east is not easy. Maybe the state would let cyclist ride across the bridge or like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, get a ride across. Going south along the coast and Rt 41 may eventually connect into the Florida Connector Route towards Port Charlotte. It will take alot of research. From my home near Wesley Chapel, I go Rt 581 south to Flatwoods Park east and take Morris Bridge Turnpike south to Rt 301 to Rt 41 to Ft Myers. I use a different route to Ft. Lauderdale, if coming from Tampa. Route 301 to Route 579 to Route 70 East to Rt 31 south to Rt 74 to Rt 29 to Rt 27 East and South to Rt 84 East. I will continue the research.   

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2009, 12:02:53 pm »
If you go down the west coast, you can go as far as Naples or thereabouts and get Tamiami Trail across the everglades. Be careful camping in the glades. There are large alligators, many of them, and they will kill you and eat you. Be careful getting near any canals or ponds or lakes. They slip up beneath the surface of the water, and come shooting up out of shallows like lightning. This is no BS. The panthers will not bother you, or so we are told. I haven't ever heard of a mauling. Get across the glades and there is a gambling casino run by Indians. At that point, it might be Krome Avenue but I cannot remermber, you might be better off going south to connect with US 1 to the Keys. East of Krome Avenue had a very bad reputation years ago as being a high crime area. I don't now about now, but why take the chance unless you are determined to go into Miami for some reason which you can do, and get Brickle(spelling?) Avenue to US 1 from there by crossing the Miami River and heading south.

Offline Tourista829

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2009, 12:48:50 pm »
I agree with you. You really have to know what you are doing if you camp out in the Glades. I know people who have paddled through it and still alive to talk about it. Gators can be difficult. Snakes are no fun either. We have our share of poisonous ones in Florida. Up by us Bobcats and Coyotes can be a pain. We also have lots of insects. When I go to Sunrise, I usually stop at a friends house in Bradenton, a short trip to Arcadia and then my last night in Clewiston. I find campsites, but you never know what you may wake up to. If I ride to Key West, I most likely will take the ferry from Ft. Myers area. It would take me two days to get there, three if I take my time. I like to visit a place Venice/Sarasota called Snooks Haven. It is off the beaten path, (1/2 mile west of I-75 exit 191) and it has a camp ground and really nice restaurant. It's on the Myakka River. It reminds me of Florida back in the 1940's or 1950's, well worth the trip. I didn't know about the Indian Casino. I remember I had a friend who love to go to the Indian/Reservation/Casino so he could purchase cigarrettes. (No Tax) Since I don't smoke or gamble...., but at least they might have a restaurant and a hotel. One can ever be too safe, now can one chop chop.     

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2009, 02:18:00 pm »
That was what I meant, the indian reservation casino. Maybe someone might think it was a casino run by people from India. There is a reservation or reservations in the glades. I thought it was actually a good ride across the everglades by Tamiami Trail. I have done it twice. What can I say? I liked it a lot. The thing is, one cannot be lackadaisical about the gators. We both know that. They are more dangerous than any third rail. Regardless of our own self concepts as human beings, they see us as a moving feast. They are carniverous reptiles whose main job is to take us apart, and store our remains in some burrow or other under an embankment where Mr. Gator can dine at his leisure. Just thought I would throw that in. I have not heard of any human stock being taken by them lately, but occasionally it does happen. Extrame caution might be the watchword for the unknowing cyclist wheeling acoss that part of Florida, and spending nights in a tent. They do come up on the road, and travel some distance across land. They are amphibious and they can run like the blazes for short distances. It is what has enabled them to survive for millions of years.

Offline Tourista829

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2009, 10:09:42 pm »
Where is Steve Ervin or Crocidile Dundee when you need them? The ones by us are more scared of humans than we are of them. However, I do have a healthy respect for anything wild. You know come to think of it, maybe Indian Indians are running the Casinos now, they are into almost everthing else. Westinghouse, where in Florida do you hail from? Are you near Tampa?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2009, 01:34:37 am »
I am one of the comparatively few in my age bracket who was born and raised in Florida. I am from the east coast. My hometown has a beach on the Atlantic. The town is about thirty miles east of the east side of Lake Okeechobee; Stuart. I have begun several of my long bicycle tours from there.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2009, 11:07:53 pm by Westinghouse »

Offline Tourista829

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2009, 09:38:05 am »
Stuart, I know it well. I use to live in Ft. Lauderdale. We want to do the last part of the Atlantic coast from St. Augustine to Key West. I figure to enjoy it we would need two weeks. We would take the Ferry back to Ft. Myers and ride home from there. The only other thing, hobby wise, that I like more than cycling is flying. When I lived up in the northeast, I use to fly my plane to different places and then take my folding bike and ride around and explore the areas. Last year I rode from my house in Wesley Chapel area to Lakeland. (Sun & Fun). Spent 6 hours there and rode home. 92 miles and just loved it. What bicycle do you use for touring? Sounds like you have done exptensive touring. If you would prefer to write off line my email address is robertschneck@earthlink.net.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2009, 11:26:46 pm »
I have had about 34,000 miles of roadway under my wheels through nineteen countries, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, and just a little in South Korea. I have two touring bicycles stored away. The one I have used on my latest long tours is a Raleigh. They call it a Technium. It looks something like a racing bike, but is heavier, stronger, and longer and has drop handlebars. The main triangle, well it is not exactly a triangle, is aluminum. The rear triangles and front fork are chromoly steel. It has mounting points for racks and fenders front and and rear. The gear shifting levers are of the older fashion mounted on the part of the handlebar stem-shaft that goes inside the top bracket.
It is quite responsive even under a load, and is rugged.

The fact is I have not ever used that ferry service to Key West or from KW to Fort Myers. I have hear of it.
« Last Edit: March 07, 2009, 08:54:17 am by Westinghouse »

Offline litespeed

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2009, 06:27:41 pm »
I live in Holiday and have gone up and down the west coast of Florida numerous times.

Leaving home I take suburban roads more or less following 54 out to the Starkey Trail and the Suncoast Parkway Trail and up to 50. I go east on 50 to Brooksville and north on 41 (shoulder) to Floral City where I get on the Withlacoochee Trail. I go to the end at Citrus Park. From Dunnellon I take rural 336 and 337 to Bronson on 27. Then west on 27 (plenty of shoulder) to Chiefland or Trenton where I pick up the Nature Coast Trail to Cross City. Then it's north on 19 (also fairly good shoulder)to 98 or 90 if headed west or state 33 in Georgia if headed on north.

This is a fairly good route with plenty of trails and facilities although 19 north of Cross City is mighty boring.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2011, 05:08:26 pm by litespeed »

Offline Westinghouse

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2009, 04:53:17 am »
My last lengthy tour out of the east coast of Florida ended in El Paso, Texas. I took A1A along the barrier islands, and got later onto US 1 to Bunnell, Fl. There on near there I took 100 to highway 90, and kept on 90 into Ala., Miss., and La. Then I used 190, alt. 190, and other roads to interstate 10.
It took exactly thirty days to get to El Paso with not every day actually cycling. I think I cycled about 23-24 days.

Offline litespeed

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2011, 12:04:54 pm »
I looked at your map and it appears you plan to ride US19 from 98 up to Chiefland. I haven't been over that stretch in many years but it had no shoulders the last time I tried it. As I said on my previous post I avoid 19 entirely until I get to Cross City.

SilasTarr

  • Guest
Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2011, 10:52:31 pm »
I looked at your map and it appears you plan to ride US19 from 98 up to Chiefland. I haven't been over that stretch in many years but it had no shoulders the last time I tried it. As I said on my previous post I avoid 19 entirely until I get to Cross City.

What route would you recommend as an alternative, then?  CR 337 north to Bronson, then US 27 west to Chiefland to get on the Nature Coast State Trail, perhaps?

Offline litespeed

Re: West Coast of Florida Connector
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2011, 07:30:08 pm »
Right. 336 and 337 from Dunnellon to Bronson. You can go to either Chiefland or Trenton to pick up the Nature Coast Trail although Chiefland has a RV park/campground right by the Trail.

Here is a shortcut to get from the end of the Withlacoochie Trail in Citrus Park to downtown Dunnellon: When you leave the trailhead go north along the paved road until it bends right. At the bend there is a dirt (actually soft sand) road on the left that goes along the RR tracks for 1/3 mile. Push your bike along this until you get to the paved road. Go right and continue a short way to the small industrial park. Go right through this and out onto 41. Go north over the RR underpass and into Dunnellon.