Monday, April 11, 2016

Bikes & Books

San Antonio, FL has been our base camp for the past week. It's where Marathon, the company that converted our bus into a recreational vehicle, has a facility. Tim had a list of things he wanted them to investigate. While the mechanics worked their magic, we went biking and later I found time to read.

We bicycled near the Withlacoochee River through Withlacoochee State Forest on the Withlacoochee State Park Trail.  Are you seeing the pattern here?  Without a doubt, the place names in this neck of the woods show a lack of originality, but the scenery is lovely. 

Withlacoochee means "Crooked River" which aptly describes the Withacoochee River as it meanders 70 miles from the Green Swamp in Polk County to the Gulf of Mexico at Yankeetown, FL. 

The 46-mile Withlacoochee State Park Trail parallels the river, but because it is a rails-to-trails transformation, its asphalt pathway runs straight as an arrow, making it a favorite with hikers and bikers. 

The trail cuts through the Withlacoochee State Forest.  Lots of trees and vegetation border the trail so the river is hidden from view, but that was fine with us. We appreciated the shade. 

We took the southern half of the trail in stages over the course of the week.  Tuesday we rode 10 miles from the village of Trilby to the trailhead at Croom Rital Road.     

Thursday and again on Friday, we tackled the next portion of the trail. Beginning at the Croom Rital Road trailhead we pedaled our bikes to Floral City, FL, a distance of 12 miles.  

This segment which passes through forest and then farmland was our favorite.  Along the way, we saw birds, turtles, deer and--yikes!--a snake.

After biking, there was still plenty of time for reading.  Biographies are a favorite of mine; I like to see how others live their lives.  Last Monday, I finished reading Truman by David McCullough.  The quote, "The buck stops here!," was almost all I knew about Harry Truman before I began this biography; that, and the fact that he narrowly won the Presidency in a victory over Thomas Dewey.  However, I gained a new respect for "Give 'em hell, Harry," who when thrown into the office upon the death of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, decisively dealt with the use of the atomic bomb, the rise of the Soviet Union, the Berlin Airlift, economic upheaval following World War II and the involvement of U.S. troops in the United Nations conflict with Korea.  That's a daunting list of problems for a mere haberdasher from Missouri to solve, but he did his best, leading the United States to become a global power.

There was also time to read the following novels:
Big Little Lies by Liane Morality, describes the intersecting lives of three women.  I can't attempt a better synopsis of the story than the one given by the web site Goodreads.

Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs uses the Biblical story of Naomi and Ruth in a new setting to tell the story of a mother and her daughter-in-law during the Scottish uprising of Bonnie Prince Charlie.  This book ought to be read in tandem with its sequel Mine Is the Night.  Luckily for me, that was also available from the public library.
"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go! ~ Dr Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Good advice, Dr. Seuss!


  1. Looks like some great bike trails. I think I read Truman and gained new respect for what he endured as the VP and being left in the dark until FDR died shortly after his 4th term started. Truman had a LOT of catching up to do and it sounded like he put his head down and just did it. Worked long and hard to get up to speed and had some huge decisions to make in 1945...

    1. Exactly! Truman wasn't FDR's choice of a Vice President; he didn't even see FDR during the first 92 days he was in office. Then FDR dies in April 1945 leaving Truman holding the bag. It's astounding that Truman handled it all with such fortitude! He was a great man whose popularity with the people waivered in the face of the tough decisions he had to make. He deserves more respect! Cindy

  2. We've also done most of that trail! Great fun - and we almost saw a rattlesnake (it left the trail just before we got there according to some other people on the trail).

    I saw on your schedule that you are planning on being in Minnesota in July. If you are interested in hitting the Minneapolis area, we would love to show you around. We will be camped here the month of June and the first part of July:

    It's a nice campground with a lake, a lot of biking, and access to Minneapolis which has even more great biking and events.

    1. If we can, we'd love to take you up on this, Doug! We'll be at a Habitat build in Mankato beginning July 10th, but perhaps we could meet you a few days before that. It all depends on how soon we'll be able to wrap up wheat harvest on the family farm. This would be fun!

    2. It would be great to get a chance to meet up in Minnesota this summer. Let's keep in touch and hopefully it will work out. Before July 10 is perfect, because we will be moving up to Alexandria MN on July 11, which is quite a distance from Mankato.

  3. I've read several of Liane Moriarty's books. (I hate to admit it, but I'm pretty much a fiction reader.) Looks like you are exercising both body AND mind!