North Florida Tour 2008
SHALT COME TO
Camp Cherry Lake,
Madison FL (not Madison GA). Where is that? Just down
yonder a few miles; go down that road there a little ways,
and you’ll get there from here. Just a few miles southwest
The idea is
taking a few days off being FREE from our busy day-to-day
life. Once you get there, you’ll be spinning along on your
bicycle with friends, and going “no where”! Ole
This year is number 27 for the Annual North Florida Tour, and the Southern Bicycle League has been blessed to continue this weekend event without missing a year -- even when there was a hurricane in November, floods in Steinhatchee, Blue Springs getting washed away, no room at the Inn (Camp Weed), the attendance dropping after 9/11, or high prices at the gas pumps.
ago, a new location had to be found darn fast, and
After our activities of the day, we’ll be soaking up the sun’s rays by the lake, swimming, boating, fishing, or just “relaxing” on the deck. By the way, there is “bona fide water” in the lake! Most probably, folks will be talking about the past North Florida Tours, telling tall tales, and friends that they have met. Some of these new found friends have actually gotten married.
For our cycling routes, the roads in and around Madison, Greenville (stop at Creative Things by Marshall to see the yard knick-knacks, dinosaur and the metal-motor-lady – wow, what headlights!), Pinetta (small, but I’m sure they are proud), and Quitman (just across the GA/FL line) have been flat to rolling and, of course, low traffic – “Don’t forget to waive at the locals!”
As we roll on down the road on our bicycles, we see many of the sights and sounds of North Central Florida, as many still call ole’ Florida, but certainly a “diamond in the rough”. We take a quick glimpse of trees that are covered with moss, many historic homes with their white columns, horse and cattle farms, and clear natural springs (72 degrees year around – you might want to take a dip in Blue Springs). As we trek on down the road or drift down the Suwannee River in our boats or kayaks, we may come across an old Southern gentleman that still refers to the Civil War as the “War of Northern Aggression” or “War Between the States”!
Shephard’s suggestion on Friday after breakfast, our “1st” day, we
will be touring the town of
Usually, Friday Night is sort of a relaxing evening, but there will be fun times and activities. We are planning a contest of sorts with fantastic prizes to win! So, don’t plan on being somewhere else on that Friday night, just be there around . Have lights on your bike, the “I’m here, don’t hit me kind” is fine. I’ll bring a few matches for a down home fire by the lake, and somebody please bring a guitar for fiddlin’.
Saturday morning breakfast at camp, the cycling route is 60 to 100 miles.
A century map is included for those folks that want to do a century.
Lunch will be taken to
As usual, Jim Hoey, our kayak guide, will be there to take any of you down the river. We do have free canoes and kayaks at Camp, but if the camp director takes you to the drop off point and picks you up, there will be an extra nominal fee for her service. Last year, we went on a search and rescue to save folks from the explosive “carpet” of greenery on the Withlacoochee River.
night is our feast night and dance. As usual, Rick Cooley
will do his praise-worthy task of cooking the shrimp to get a big “thank you,
hand shake, or kiss from the Queen”. Night fall will bring
out a fine evening of dancing (provided by
Sunday morning, we plan on having a shorter ride after breakfast. So, don’t drive home too early. You have all day to get there from here!
several of us paddled
As day break approaches, the sun sneaks up just above the tree line. If you are up early to see the sunrise, you see hues of yellow, orange, to red on the lake; while once in a while, a fish or turtle will jump and cause the water to thrash about. The wind hits your face ever so slightly, and the rhythm of the lake streams past. This could be a darting moment in time, but as you stand there on that dock reflecting, you come to this thought that you have been FREE for three days.
This brings me to the end of this short description of the Annual North Florida Tour, and all of you folks that have attended have many big stories to tell. Ya’ll “Come on down you hear!” and bring a friend! Remember -- “A bad day on the river beats a good day at work!”
By -- I’ll Rescue You -- Margaret Bokros
Keep Your Wheels Turning and Your Paddles Wet!!!!!!