Day 53: The Villages to Ocala

Yesterday morning, Keith woke up after I finished writing my blog post. He kindly made a mocha and heated a bagel, which I had for breakfast. It was very enjoyable talking to Keith throughout my stay. I bid farewell to Keith soon after breakfast and started my ride out of The Villages a little after 7 AM.

I rode north on the golf cart trails for a grand total of 13.5 miles before I got on the road and out of The Villages. I didn’t know The Villages was that big! I might move there when I’m at retirement age. The entire place just seemed idyllic.

The Villages

As I went north, there were not many trucks like the day before. I passed by some cow farms. Central Florida sort of reminded me of rural Virginia because of the farm land and the slight hills.

Cow farm

I contacted my Warmshowers host Rahul and told him I would be at his house around 10 AM. I was about 30 minutes away when I decided to stop at a Dunkin’ Donuts to get an iced caramel macchiato and a donut. I ended up being 20 minutes late to Rahul’s because I chatted with an older couple about my bike tour.

Rahul lives in a gated community, like some hosts I’ve already stayed with. Gated communities seemed to be very popular in Florida. I arrived after 32.5 miles of riding. Rahul showed me the guest house where I’ll be staying. His office is a room in the guest house. I took a shower while Rahul had a meeting with someone in his office. When the meeting was over, Rahul took me out for a drive around Ocala.

We went through downtown Ocala. It's a small downtown and has some shops. Then Rahul and I stopped by the post office. We then went to lunch at an Indian restaurant that’s also a grocery store. I wasn’t too hungry so we had Indian tea, samosas, and pakoras, which is the Indian version of tempura. We chatted the entire time about cycling, life, work, and China.

From our conversations, I learned that Rahul is a very interesting person, having studied computer science at Carnegie Mellon University and later got a PhD at Harvard. Rahul is now the founder and CEO of the Razdan Research Institute where he focuses on education, consulting, among other things.

The last stop on the tour was the World Equestrian Center. It was built by trucking executives for approximately a billion dollars. I feel like Florida is the place where if I build it someone will come, like this center and The Villages. At this equestrian center, many horses were bred and sold. There was a graduation event for the local community college so we had to drive in from a different entrance.

The highlight of the equestrian center was the big hotel. I bought ice cream cones for both of us, but the temperature outside was so hot that the ice cream melted and dripped on my pants. We had to quickly find napkins.

World Equestrian Center

When we got back to Rahul’s guest house it was about 3 PM. I bought a plane ticket to Philadelphia from Orlando for next Wednesday and a bus ticket from Gainesville to Orlando for next Tuesday. I decided to ask Jon, the Warmshowers host in Orlando, to see if I can stay with him again on Tuesday night.

After finishing the traveling logistics, I soaked in Rahul’s pool for a bit and talked to Merritt on the phone for about an hour. Rahul told me that he’ll order pizza for dinner. To pass away the time, I hung out in the guest room and watched some YouTube videos, including Rahul’s TedTalk that he presented in 2017.

Relaxing in the pool

I went with Rahul to get pizza. When we came back, Rahul’s wife Simone came and we all ate pizza and salad in Rahul’s office. Rahul and I ended up talking about business and how it would benefit me if I start to think about my blog as a business. We also chatted about 401K and Roth conversion since I’m not working and I’ll be in a low tax bracket, thus it would be ideal to take some tax deductions when converting from a regular investment account to a Roth account.

Simone and Rahul

All the business and tax talks made us tired. Rahul went back to the house around 9:30 PM and I went to bed about an hour later.

This morning, I woke up at 4:30. Today, I’ll be riding to Gainesville, my last destination of my bike tour. I’ll be staying with a Warmshowers host tonight. Tomorrow will be my friend Ed's wedding.


  1. Really looks like you’re enjoying yourself except for the occasional bike problem, but I think you are probably prepared for them.

    1. No more issues with the bike. Just reached Gainesville today!

  2. It sounds like your arrival will be perfectly timed for the wedding. Despite tire flats, broken spokes, and weather issues, you succeeded with your quest. Congratulations. CrIs


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