The Last Leg – Day 6
Well, Day 6 will be a short and welcomed ride, I am sure. It will take just 3-hours through the back roads of Georgia to arrive in Jacksonville.
At this point I am not certain where I will stop first.
My Choices include a Vespa Dealership located on Atlantic Boulevard in Jacksonville, Riverdale Inn located on Riverside Avenue or at my friend’s work place to meet for lunch. I guess that planning this far ahead can only result in options and not firm choices. I know that I will need a quick check-up at the Vespa dealer and with the lord’s little favours, that is all that will be required. So most likely, I will stop for lunch unless I am really tired and require a nap.
This would be the “almost End” to my journey alone. Hopefully, my wife will fly into Jacksonville and ride with me to Orlando to visit Mickey Mouse. The trip from Jacksonville to Orlando with no interstates uses Route No. 19 that goes right through Ocala National Forest. After reading about this place, we may even spend a day or two there (see the description at the bottom of the page).
Once we arrive in Orlando, we will head to Disney and spend 4-5 days at a Disney Resort. My Wife would then fly home and I will begin my journey home.
Ocala National Forest
Located in North Central Florida between Palatka, Ormond Beach, Ocala, and Altoona, the Ocala National Forest spans four counties and 383,000 acres. It is the southernmost and oldest National Forest east of the Mississippi River in the continental United States, and protects the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest.
The Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Highway, offers exploration of the forest by road. It protects the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub and many rare and endangered species that make their homes in this unique habitat, including the Florida scrub-jay and the Florida sand skink.
Recreation opportunities abound, from swimming in crystal-clear springs to walking nearly 100 miles on the Florida Trail. The Ocala National Forest is notable for its extensive off-road trail system catering to both ATV enthusiasts and Jeeps, as well as being a traditional destination for deer hunters from around Central Florida. Lesser known outdoor activities include fishing on dozens of backcountry lakes, scuba diving at Alexander Springs, and guided horseback riding on lengthy loop trails.
The Ocala National Forest has three visitor centers to help you orient yourself and plan your trip: the Ocklawaha Visitor Center, just east of Silver Springs along SR 40; the Salt Springs Visitor Center, south of Palatka along SR 19; and the Pittman Visitor Center, in Altoona at the southern edge of the Forest along SR 19. Hours vary, so please call ahead.
For a wealth of information about the Ocala National Forest, including its history, camping opportunities, scientific and archaeological research, and maps to get you where you want to go, please proceed to the Ocala National Forest website.