BIKE FLORIDA 2005:
THE "RED HILLS TO THE SEA" TOUR
FEATURING WORM GRUNTIN' AND OYSTER SHUCKIN'
MARCH 19th THROUGH 25th
This year's Bike Florida will be a seven day bicycle camping tour
of the Florida Panhandle. The ride will be a loop, beginning and
ending in Monticello, Florida. The route will incorporate the rolling,
red hills and canopied roads of North Florida and wide open vistas
of the Gulf of Mexico.
Over-night camping stays include Monticello, Quincy, Blountstown,
Apalachicola and Sopchoppy with a layover day mid-week in Apalachicola,
on the Gulf of Mexico.
Daily mileage is between 50 and 75 miles, with a layover day midweek
(0-45 miles) and a century (100 mile) option on one day. Total mileage
for the week is between 315 and 385 miles. Complimentary rest stops
are approximately every 15-20 miles.
Admission fees for state parks and national forests
listed below are included with your registration fee. We will be
asking for a donation for some evening activities to offset their
costs. Please note that these activities and the schedule are subject
DAY 1: SATURDAY, MARCH 19th
REGISTRATION & Loop Rides
[12 to 35 MILES]
Upon your arrival and registration, hop on your bicycle and enjoy
the sites in and around Monticello. There will be a 12 and 35 mile
ride offered. Or, partake of the Guided Walking Tours of the Historical
District, cafes, shopping and the Monticello Opera House that await
you downtown. Our first overnight stay will be at the Old Jefferson
County High School. The Monticello Chamber of Commerce will be hosting
activities for us downtown on Saturday evening, including music
and a beer tent. They can be contacted at http://www.monticellojeffersonfl.com/
Letchworth Mounds State Park - This 80-acre park includes
one of the tallest and most architecturally complex pre-Columbian
earthen mounds in Florida. The term "pre-Columbian" refers
to the period before the onset of European exploration and colonization
following in the wake of Columbus' voyages. Letchworth Mounds Archaeological
State Park is located in Jefferson County, approximately 6 miles
west of Monticello.
The Monticello Courthouse sits in the middle
of the "town circle"
DAY 2: SUNDAY, MARCH 20th
Monticello to Quincy
This is our first travel day and we'll be riding the rolling hills
of the rural, North Florida countryside. As we roll along we'll
pass through Havana, a small, quaint Florida town. Check out its
cafes, boutiques, art galleries, antique shops and small town charm.
Our destination, Quincy, boasts many Victorian homes, the Gadsden
Arts Centers, Historic Courthouse Square and many antique stores.
You can also do a Walking/Cycling Tour of the Historic District
Gadsden Arts Center - Check out their permanent collection
and traveling show. The Arts Center which is located in the heart
of a 36-block historic district as designated on the National Register
On Sunday evening we'll enjoy a special Bike Florida presentation
of Pump Boys and Dinettes at the historic Quincy
Music Theatre. Shows will be offered at 4:00pm and 7:00pm.
For additional idea on places to stay, eat and things to do contact
the Quincy Chamber of Commerce at http://www.gadsdencc.com
Red "Hills" on the way from Monticello
DAY 3: MONDAY, MARCH 21st
Quincy to Blountstown
On Monday we'll head from Quincy to Blountstown. We'll have a rest
stop at Torreya State Park on the way.
Torreya State Park: The high bluffs overlooking the Apalachicola
River make Torreya State Park one of Florida's most scenic. Rising
more than 150 feet above the river, the bluffs have been shaped
and divided by deep ravines that have been eroded by streams throughout
the centuries and the topography and plant life is similar to North
Georgia or Tennessee.
Torreya State Park - View of the River
While at Torreya State Park, take the time to visit the Gregory
House, a reconstructed plantation home dating back to the early
1800's. In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 'took on
the daunting task of dismantling the 3,000 square foot plantation
home and transporting across Florida's largest river, the Apalachicola
River. You must see it to appreciate this incredible accomplisment.'
Back of the Gregory House, Gift Shop on Left
After settling into your motel or campsite at the High School in
Blountstown, check out the:
Panhandle Pioneer Settlement - "The Settlement was founded
in July of 1989 as a way to bring together the material history
of life between 1820 and the end of World War II. Its mission is
to acquire, document, research and restore buildings and other tools
that were used in work and daily life, simulate an agricultural
community and serve the public as a living history museum. Watch
the Blacksmith and sample homemade biscuits baked in a wood stove
while you learn how a pioneer kitchen operates". http://www.panhandlepioneersettlement.org/pps/
We'll have free admission to the settlement and a shuttle will
run hourly between the main camp site and the settlement. Or, it's
only a 1.5 mile bike ride on you own. http://www.calhounco.org/pps/
Monday evening we'll return to The Frink School Gymnasium (Built
with volunteer labor and donated materials in 1942) at Pioneer Village
for live music by a very good local string band and refreshments
from 6:30 to 9:00pm.
Legion Hall #272 - Or, those wishing to partake of a brew and Karaoke
may do so at the local Legion Hall. The karaoke will be hosted by
Bubba, from 6:30 to 10:00pm.
Shuttles will run between the campsite, Pioneer village and the
Legion Hall from 6:30 to 10:00 pm.
Frink School Gymnasium at Panhandle Pioneer Settlment
DAY 4: TUESDAY, MARCH 22nd
Blountstown to Apalachicola
We'll traverse the Apalachicola National Forest on our ride
to Apalachicola. It's the largest in Florida comprising over 565,000
acres. Part of the ride will also take place on one of Florida's
designated "Scenic Highways". There will be lots of time
for quiet contemplation on this leg of the route as we head for
the Gulf of Mexico.
Bike Florida will provide a "FREE" lunch in Sumatra,
which is about ½ way between Blountstown and Apalachicola.
Ice cream social w/dinner and bingo in the evening at The Armory
(our indoor camping site). The Armory is located a short walk/ride
(.5 mile) from our Battery Park tent camping site.
DAY 5: WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23rd
Apalachicola will be the site of our layover day. You can either
hang out in town enjoying the shops, eateries and a walking/cycling
tour of the historic houses or do up to a 45 mile loop ride on you
bike. Combine all this with some of the finest seafood in the country
and you've got a great day!
Those choosing to ride will be going out to St. George Island State
Park and back. There will be both a 24 and 40-mile option.
St. George Island State Park:
This nine mile long barrier island is one of three barrier Islands
that separate Apalachicola Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. Enjoy miles
of undeveloped beaches, pristine shorelines, majestic dunes, bay
forests, sandy coves and salt marches. http://floridastateparks.org/stgeorgeisland/default.asp
Apalachicola Historic District:
Many fine homes and buildings dating from the 1830's. A scenic walk
of the town acquaints visitors with sites such as the cotton warehouse,
a sponge exchange and Victorian homes nestled among the magnolias.
Dixie Theater: Built in 1912 if became the entertainment
center of the county. Recently renovated, the theater is once again
hosting live theater.
Beer and Oyster Roast - Our evening entertainment will consist
of a beer and oyster roast at the Old Armory. We'll also have a
raw oyster eating contest and live music. The Armory (our indoor
camping site) is located a short walk/ride (.5 mile) from our camp
Blue Heron at St. George Island State Park
DAY 6: THURSDAY, MARCH 24th
Apalachicola to Sopchoppy
We'll have a wonderful day of riding along the beautiful gulf coast
today as almost 40 of the 50 miles will hug the shoreline of the
Gulf of Mexico.
Eastpoint: the first town we'll pass through will be East
Point, a small fishing community, known for its oysters. Tongers
(the traditional name for oysterman) still harvest the oysters in
the way they have for over a century. Working from small wooden
boats (20-25 foot long) in shallow water, they use tongs that look
like two rakes attached (in a scissor like fashion) to scoop the
oysters to the surface and dump them into the boat. On shore, the
seafood houses sort the oysters and package them for sale. The bay
is carefully monitored to ensure the health and productivity of
the oyster beds.
Carrabelle: Carrabelle is another small fishing community
where we'll have a rest stop on the beach. http://www.carrabellechamber.org
FSU Marine Science Center, we'll have the final rest stop
of the day here and those interested in touring the lab will have
a chance to visit areas of the lab and research center. http://www.marinelab.fsu.edu/
We'll have an optional stop at Ochlocknee State Park .
Ochlockonee State Park - The Ochlocknee River offers perfect
examples of the scenic natural characteristics found along north
Florida's Gulf coast. It offers a diverse habitat Pine flat woods
and oak thickets with lots of wildflowers for wildlife (deer, bobcats,
gray foxes and extensive bird life including red-cockaded woodpeckers).
Sopchoppy- is our last overnight location and the home of
the world Famous "Worm Grunting Festival.
The festival takes place in April of each year.
You'll be able to watch a video of last year's festival and meet
the 2004 "Worm Grunting King", try your hand at grunting
and view film footage of Charles Kuralt covering worm grunting and
Sopchoppy in the 1970's. http://www.riprense.com/Kuralt.htm.
If that isn't enough information on worm grunting, check out:
Zydeco music and dancing - In the evening we'll dance under the
stars as we listen to some great music provided by Zydeco Zoo, a
zydeco/blues band featuring "Fiery, accordion-driven dance
Worm Grunter at the Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival
DAY 7: FRIDAY, MARCH 25th
Sopchoppy to Monticello
Our last day takes us from Sopochoppy back to Monticello. Our first
official rest stop will be at the Wakulla Station Trail Head of
the Tallahassee-St. Marks Historic Railroad State Trail, which runs
for Tallahassee to the port town of St. Mark, a distance of 16 miles.
You will have the option to stop at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs
State Park on your way to Monticello.
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park - One of the world's
largest and deepest fresh water springs highlights the almost 6,000-acre
Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. The bowl of the spring covers
approximately three acres. Fish and fossilized mastodon bones can
be seen in the spring depths. The water temperature remains a relatively
constant 70 degrees year-round. A record peak flow from the spring
on April 11, 1973 was measured at 14,325 gallons per second - equal
to 1.2 billion gallons per day! Visit the historic Ball Mansion
which was built by Railroad magnate ED Ball in 1899 as a winter
hunting facility and a place for his family and friends to congregate.
Now known as the Wakulla Springs Lodge, it is operated by FSU as
a restaurant, hotel and conference center. http://www.floridastateparks.org/wakullasprings/
Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State Park:
We'll also have a stop at Natural Bridge Battlefield Historic State
Park. During the final weeks of the Civil War, the Battle of Natural
Bridge preserved Tallahassee as the only Confederate capitol east
of the Mississippi River never to fall into Union hands. Considered
quite an accomplishment by historians, the five-day battle concluded
when a motley militia of old men and young boys defeated seasoned
Union troops. http://www.floridastateparks.org/naturalbridge/
And another optional stop at Wacissa Springs-
Wacissa Springs - Consist of at least 12 known springs scattered
along the upper 1.5 mi of the Wacissa River. Land to the east and
west of the river is flat and swampy and surface elevations are
little more than 3 ft above river level. The area immediately adjoining
the river and springs is densely forested with cypress, oak, some
pine, and generally moderate undergrowth.
Congratulations. Shower up and join us for a lunch on Bike Florida!!
Please note that these activities and the schedule are subject to