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Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 in Close the Gaps, Featured Destinations, General |

Day Three: Going Rogue

Bikes on a boat.

Bikes on a boat.

In theory, when bicycle touring in hot climates, one would get an early start in order to minimize one’s time riding during the hottest hours of the day. It hasn’t exactly been working out that way. Day Two saw us leaving Titusville at 11:00 a.m. For Day Three we had the opportunity to use a water taxi to cross Ponce Inlet from downtown New Smyrna Beach (which saved us some uninspiring roads on the inland side).

Through the inlet.

Through the inlet.

Unfortunately the earliest we could get the water taxi was 9:30 a.m., so we wouldn’t get on the road until 10:00. On the other hand, being out on the water provided a nice, cool break, and the scenery was great as well. The crew was savvy at helping us get the tandems on the boat, and we could sit back and watch the world go by for a while without working at it.

Fred, driving with the top down.

Fred, driving with the top down.

At Ponce Inlet we met up with our friend Fred Ungewitter, who drives a velocar. One does not drive such a vehicle if one does not wish to garner a lot of attention (but then tandems are rather like that, too), and Fred certainly relishes that attention. Fred was our local guide as we traveled north through Daytona Beach and on to Ormond Beach.

On A1A

On A1A

A1A through Daytona Beach was not something I’d been looking forward to, but it turned out to be a great route, as Sunday morning traffic was light and we could ride side by side in the right lane and chat with Fred (while motorists snapped pictures from the left lane). While the oceanside towers did mostly block the view of the ocean, they at least threw us some shade, as Robert Seidler observed.

At Ormond Beach Fred peeled off to head home, and we went foraging for a lunch stop. We also detoured to Daytona Bicycle Center (a long time supporter of Florida Bicycle Association) so Laura Hallam could get some new shoes, as hers had been coming apart since Titusville.

At Daytona Bicycle Center

At Daytona Bicycle Center

Freshly equipped, we continued north, once again veering from Ted’s assigned route. But this time I knew exactly where we were heading and why: shade. Rather than follow the route along the barrier island and through Ormond-by-the-Sea (though the sun-blasted midday heat and with tummies full of Mexican food), I led us up the inland side to Old Dixie Highway, which provides one of the best canopy roads in Florida. This route is part of the very popular “Ormond Loop” that runs up to Flagler Beach and back. The combination of hammock canopy, swamp, salt marsh, and beach views is probably unsurpassed in Florida.

Old Dixie Highway along the Ormond Loop.

Old Dixie Highway along the Ormond Loop.

We passed through Tomoka State Park and Bulow Creek State Park, then turned left and dropped into a cooling swamp road, before winding through the marsh on High Bridge Road, and finishing up along the beach.

For the third day in a row we finished our day after 4:00 p.m.

At Island Cottage Villas.

At Island Cottage Villas.

Our hosts this night were Toni and Mark Terworgy, owners of Island Cottage Villas. This cozy inn facing the Atlantic specializes in “romantic getaways.” Too bad we were all way too tired for that sort of thing. The Terworgys treated us to a delicious dinner, and as the after-dessert conversation carried on, this author began to list to one side so much that his wife had to rescue him from falling from his chair (from fatigue; no alcohol involved). Blogging would have to wait for another day.

Go to Day Four

You can also follow our exploits on Facebook at First Florida Rail to Trail Tour.