Day 52: Brooksville to The Villages

Yesterday morning, I bid farewell to Tom shortly after writing my blog post and started riding a little after 7 AM. I rode about 6 miles to Florida Cracker Kitchen for breakfast. I had a fajita skillet, which was so big that I barely finished it. It gave the energy that I needed for riding the next 50 miles to The Villages.

A fajita skillet

After breakfast, I got on the Good Neighbor Trail not too far from the restaurant. It was a nice and shady trail for the most part. Google Maps didn’t know that the Good Neighbor Trail joined the Withlacoochee Trail but it did, so I stayed on the trail the entire time.

Good Neighbor Trail

Withlacoochee Trail

I had to make a decision after riding about 4 miles north on the Withlacoochee. I could get off the trail and cycle a more direct way to The Villages or stay on the trail and ride it to Inverness. The second route would be longer by about 8 miles, or 45 minutes. I decided to get off the trail since it’ll be 93 degrees in the afternoon and I want to get to my destination as soon as possible.

I kind of regretted my decision after getting on a road that had a lot of trucks and slim shoulders. Every time I saw a big truck behind me I would pull over to let the it pass me. This happened many times that I wasn’t gaining too much distance. I ended up just riding on the road anyway.

Road with no shoulders

There was a McDonald’s on the side of the road so I stopped there to get a vanilla milkshake. It was close to lunch time, but I wasn’t hungry due to the fajita skillet I had earlier. After this break, I rode all the way to The Villages after cycling with more trucks.

The Villages is a large retirement community with its own zip codes. When I came in I rode on golf cart trails and saw many people getting around on golf carts. Later I learned from my Warmshowers host Keith that there are 56 golf courses in The Villages, 100 recreational centers, a performance center, and many social clubs that the 140,000 residents can join. The Villages felt like heaven for senior citizens. Indeed, there’s a documentary about The Villages called “Some Kind of Heaven.”

Getting into The Villages

I arrived at Keith’s place at 1 PM. Keith wasn’t home, but left the front door unlocked for me. After getting in, I took a shower, did laundry, and hung out. Keith came back around 4 PM.

Keith is retired and had worked in education as a financial officer. His wife passed away due to cancer before he moved to The Villages. He has lived here for two years now and really enjoyed it so far.

Keith made burgers and salads for dinner before leaving again to go to a trivia event at a singles social club. I went to bed around 7 PM since I was so tired after riding a total of 54.7 miles.


This morning I got up at 5 AM and will ride to Ocala.