Post by queenofslow on Oct 12, 2019 16:04:59 GMT -5
Great riding in Osceola. This is the driest I have seen it in many,many years. Perfect weather and the trails are rideable just about everywhere.
If you want to ride Osceola and are not familiar with it, download the MVUM map from the Osceola National Forest website. There is also an app for smart phones but do not ask me what and how to do with it. Mundy and I are the last troglodites of the information age: we stick to maps- and when there is no sun- to the compass.
The Osceola forest visitor center on 90 sells excellent plasticized maps- now $ 14. Fully worth it. They are only open on weekday, but if you call them and send a check they will mail it to you.
Osceola's trails have excellent signage, but not perfect. Much better than Ocala. A few trails have missing signs, or are unmarked on the map, but generally you can get everywhere trusting the map and the signs.
Suggestions for non-tagged bikes. From 90 toward Lake City, pass Olustee, turn right at Mt. Carrie FR 215 (in front of Columbia Correctional Institution). Go over the railroad tracks and park. Unload and ride. There are well marked trails both to the east and to the west. Just follow the signs. You will share the trails/roads with the occasional four wheeler, but they are the mild variety. Just be alert and you will be fine.
Suggestions for tagged bikes: we have found great riding in the NW quadrant. Park at West Tower. The visitor area is clean, has restrooms, potable water and.... TADAAA! even a re-charge station for electronic devices. Marvelous. Good trails east of West Tower, both in the north and south direction all the way to Gum Swamp.
Our old get-together place (Seventeen Mile Camp) is still there and accessible, but the area north of it has been heavily logged and has a few wet spots. Not as pretty and fun as it used to be.
CAREFUL on the trails. They have been wet for so long that they are full of debris and the grass is tall. I mean TALL. You have to stand to see where you are going. There are HUMONGOUS dry holes made by jeeps/trucks when they have gotten stuck and kept spinning. The ruts are mostly dry, but really deep. Keep a watchful eye and do not open up unless you have already ridden that trail once.
The Osceola gods have reclaimed their victim again: last time it was me slipping on mud and launching into the bushes. Today it was Mr. D who flew over the handlebars. No major damage, but a reminder that these trails look deceptively easy.
Lunch options are slim. In Olustee the old ex-service station is now owned by East Indian folks. I have not seen fried gizzards on the menu lately. Some fried stuff, but I was not sure which animal it came from. Watching the local good old boys in camo and chewing tobacco deal with the new management is entertaining.
The other option is the cabin/ex barbecue place across the street. Open under new management, some Syrian folks. Spotlessy clean, food ok but not exciting.
During the week the buffet place on 90 across from the airport is a good place to eat. I think they close after lunch. Plenty of parking. A little out of the way, but a good option if you are coming from West Tower all loaded up and ready to head home, but about to faint with hunger. You will fill up with homestyle stuff.
There is good cell phone coverage south of 10. It gets spotty/unreliable as you go north. Keep that in mind if you ride solo.
Do not miss the last few weeks before hunting season. General gun starts at the beginning of November, and ends in early January. It is really not a good idea for us to be in the woods during general gun season, especially on weekends. Archery season has already started. Not a bad idea to wear orange vests.
If there is no significant rain between now and Christmas the trails will be even better after hunting season, when the hunters' trucks will have flattened the trails and removed a lot of the debris.
Post by queenofslow on Oct 26, 2019 16:34:20 GMT -5
We have now explored every nook and cranny of Osceola. It has not been this dry for several years (I know, I am repeating myself) and most trails are rideable and will be even better after the hunters have flattened and cleared them. As of today, 95% accessible.
IF ( and it is a big IF) there is no major rain event between now and the end of the year it would not be difficult to put together a one-day, 100 miles dual sport ride in January or better- February.
We could set and mark the itinerary in two weekends. I would like to work again with the old friends: Murzic, Snyder, Chapple, Harker, Lancaster, Horton, Clay etc.etc. We could call the event "The Grey Bear Ride". It has been seven years since the last one (the very successful Black Bear Ride) and and our hair is not as black as it used to be.....
We should do it soon. Next time Osceola is going to be this dry, we will have to call it "The White Bear Ride"!
Post by johnnyb300 on Jan 29, 2020 10:35:13 GMT -5
Did a ride at Osceola N.F. with Craig S. yesterday, Jan. 28. Some real nice trails, but many of them were dead-ended by impassable water. It's not so much a wet season issue as it is many of the trails have been worn down in low sections, and seem to hold water forever. Fortunately, our hunter friends saw fit to make short bypasses with their 4 wheeled vehicles around some wet areas where there were not too many obstacles. A good day to ride nonetheless. Heck, a so-so day out riding is better than (almost ) anything else. Came across a grave site that I'm sure some of you have seen before. This guy lived through hell in the 1860's and still lived a long life after that. (No, not Craig, the other picture!)
Parked at the East Tower and rode that general area. Overall the roads and trails were dry with some passable mud until some trails dead-ended at deep water. Not sure how they'll be since that squall came thru there last Thursday night. A lot of logging was done around there, so some areas (250-AA Trail) are pretty torn up and aren't even trails. Joel and I are meeting up with Craig S. tomorrow (Feb.11) at the East Tower around 10:00 a.m. if you're interested.
Abnormally Dry --latest drought index. Planning rides (maybe)tomorrow, but definitely next few weeks, weekday/weekend (not that there are really weekends for awhile!). Parking at Cobb Camp Trailhead (not the camp). CALL ME IF TAGGED and interested--904-465-2013