Day Eight: The End, and Beginnings
Let’s wrap this thing up. Breakfast at the DeLand Country Inn; packed up and rolling at 8:00 a.m. We want to make the 10:00 a.m. SunRail train to downtown Orlando and need to cover 17 miles.
Ted led us out and we were also joined by Michael Woods, an attorney with Cobb Cole, another major supporter of this tour. The little rollers in DeLand prolonged the warm-up for our legs, but we were heading out of town and into less densely settled areas before we knew it. Today’s route featured another stretch of the growing trail system; another scenic section of Volusia’s Spring to Spring Trail, from Lake Beresford Park to the entrance of Blue Spring State Park.
After posing for one more photo for Ted at the Blue Spring entrance we headed off on our own to DeBary. While most of the route was on quiet back roads, we had a 2.5 mile stretch on US 17/92. This road features a narrow undesignated space along the right edge of the roadway that many people unfortunately mistake for a bike lane. We controlled the right lane instead and braced for some harassment, but it never happened; not a single honk. Fortunately we were past morning rush hour when we hit that stretch.
We got to the SunRail station with about 10 minutes to spare, but there was long line for the ticket machines. Evidently the 10:00 a.m. train is a popular one for midday joyriders, many of whom were headed for Winter Park or downtown Orlando for lunch and some shopping. While Carol and I, as residents, had SunRail passes, out-of-towners Laura and Robert were only purchasing tickets on an as-needed basis. We weren’t able to get tickets in time, and the train left without us. The 2.5 hour wait for the next train gave us an opportunity to write some thank you notes for the many people who made this trip a joy and a success.
SunRail was designed for commuters, so our loaded touring tandems (one with a trailer) were not exactly considered in their car design. But the staff was accommodating and helpful. We and our monster bikes were joined by a number of elderly women with walkers and a couple of wheelchair users, but we all made it work and everyone had a good time. A half hour down the tracks and we were in downtown Orlando for the last couple miles to home.
While this ends the account of the tour, it’s not the last post on this trip and the Loop. This weekend I’ll share musings from my fellow cyclists, explore some other route and itinerary possibilities, and give some advice for those who might wish to follow in our tire tracks.