Thrills and Hills in Central Florida

A hurricane is on the way, but a few couples gather in Someplace Special, Mt. Dora, Florida ahead of the Southern Tandem Rally to ride and socialize.

It’s an unofficial pre-tour and we are lucky to be invited. Laura and Earle share some of the best riding in central Florida, as well as their hospitality and knowledge of the area.

Our hosts, Laura and Earle

You can tell I am off-duty because I forget my camera on our first day of riding. It’s a shame because the 30 or more lakes do provide many (missed) photo opportunities.  The highlight of the 40 mile ride is Thrill Hill – a screaming downhill followed by a “leg screaming” uphill.  We lunch at the Mt. Dora brewery, and I DO have a picture for that!

A beautiful flight

Our second day on the bike is our hardest day of riding because we will visit with Sugarloaf Mountain (the highest elevation in central Florida – I’m almost embarrassed to tell you it’s 312 feet), and a climb up “the wall”.  Both of these climbs do feature grades of about 12%.

The climb is visible up ahead
We made it!

After lunch we take a walk to visit the starry night house.  The Van Gogh-esque paint job was the subject of a dispute between the city and the homeowner.  The homeowner won. Power to the people!

The homeowner came out to talk to us!
A mural on the fence, and the entire house are painted

What could possibly top that?  Ice cream!

That is a single scoop…life is good!

Speaking of food, this photo of my Bento Box at dinner is too pretty to leave out of the post.

An excellent dinner!

Meanwhile hurricane Michael has been approaching the Florida panhandle and messing with plans for the 40th Southern Tandem Rally (as well as screwing with millions of people in the region).  We spend our free time watching the Weather Channel and waiting.

Our final pre-tour ride is cloudy and windy, but for the third straight day we avoid any rain and totally enjoy being out on our tandem with 4 other couples.  We visit the seaplane city of Tavares, the seat of Lake County.

Wind from Hurricane Michael.
Official government buildings.

The scenery around the “little Pyrenees” is one of the best  parts of the ride.

Lots of lakes in this part of Florida.

Thanks to Laura and Earle for organizing this intimate, fun event. 

Next up, The Southern Tandem Rally in Venice, Florida.

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7 thoughts on “Thrills and Hills in Central Florida

  1. As usual, love reading and seeing your posts. We get to see pretty food, and, that house was amazingly cool. Have a wonderful time. We planned to be present for this rally until the Captain got a new shoulder this past August. :):)

  2. Our pleasure to share our corner of Florida. Enjoyed riding and visiting with everyone. Thanks for the great write up! 💕💕😋

  3. You have been biking in our favorite winter places, minus Sugarloaf! Legs are too old. See you all one day late in Venice due to the weather but looking forward to it.

  4. Wow! You guys have all the fun. Kevin worked in central Florida for three years building a cogen power plant in Umatilla, Lake County in 1992. He said he drove past where you were.

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