WINTER in FLORIDA
A 45 minute train ride took us to Winter Haven, where the proprietor of
the Lake Ida Beach Resort met us and transported our luggage while we
biked the approximately 3.9 miles. The train station is just south of
downtown Winter Haven; and our destination was about 2 miles north of
downtown on the opposite side of the small Lake Ida from a bike path
that runs from downtown to the town of Lake Alfred a total of 3.5
miles. To get around the lake from the bike path to our lodging, we
went through a cemetery.
Haven Amtrak station. I had accidentally left a small front pack
behind. When I finally realized where I had left it and biked back, I
was able to retrieve it from the friendly agent
Ida Beach Resort isn't really a resort, rather old time tourist cabins
along a small lake. There really isn't any beach either. In fact none
of the lakes all over central Florida seem to have beaches. Too many
alligators, I guess. Nevertheless, we enjoyed our stay very much.
outside of No. 11 after a long days ride. After we would get back from
our day's ride, I often continued on the trail to its northern terminus
in Lake Alfred, and once continued on a back road all the way to Haines
City and back, a total of 19 miles.
Lake Ida. The bike path between downtown Winter Haven and Lake Alfred is across the lake.
Another view of Lake Ida.
Swimming pool at Lake Ida Beach Resort.
grounds at the resort were not all that well kept (I presume they were
a work in progress). But we did enjoy fresh grapefruit from the trees
enjoyed biking around the city of Winter Haven with its 45 lakes, 24 of
which are connected by canals referred to as the Chain of Lakes. We
also made side trips to Auburndale, Bartow, and Lakeland.
Downtown Winter Haven. The bike trail north to Lake Alfred begins a block from here.
Lake Shipp just southwest of downtown Winter Haven
Seratoma Park just south of Lake Shipp.
loaded our folding bikes on a bus heading towards Lakeland and got off
in Auburndale, where we rode the 7 mile long Teco Auburndale Trail that
begins on the outskirts of Auburndale and goes north as far as Polk
Resting on the Auburndale Trail
At Polk City the Auburndale Trail ends and the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail begins.
Rest area at Polk City where the two trails meet.
Polk City you can continue north on the Van Fleet Trail for another 32.
But since we wanted to bike back to Winter Haven from Auburndale, we
decided to turn around. Altogether we biked 25 miles that day.
Auburndale is a nice town and it's too bad the train doesn't stop here any more.
were we looking around downtown Auburndale, the southbound Silver
Meteor came through with a sleeping car deadheading on the rear.
The next day we took the same bus, but went all the way to Lakeland.
Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland viewed from the north.
View of Lake Mirror looking north toward the Amtrak station (between the two columns)
Lakeland Amtrak station
Lake Morton just south of downtown Lakeland.
Resting on the bike path that circles Lake Hollingsworth
Lake Parker Park on the northeast side of Lakeland.
also took a bus from the transit center in downtown Lakeland to Bartow.
Here we picked up the Fort Fraser Trail north to its end near Lakeland.
We then backtracked to Bartow and took a side road back to Winter
Haven, a total of 29 miles.
Ready to go with our bikes packed in "airline legal" suitcases.
All went well on the return trip until we tried to board the California Zephyr in Chicago on our way back to Galesburg.First Previous Next Last
Since Galesburg does not have baggage service (it has since been reinstated),
we could only check our suitcases with the bikes inside as far as
Chicago. When we boarded the coach, someone had used a Red Cap to load
3 large Tupperware tubs that took up the entire downstairs luggage
rack; and there was no room for our suitcases. As I was about to put
them in the large open space just inside the downstairs coach section,
the coach attendant barked at us. The conductor, seeing the bottleneck
at the entry way, threatened to throw us off the train, claiming the
suitcases were too large. Although, the total inches amounted to less
than the upper limit for carry on luggage, one of the dimensions was 2
inches larger the limit. How the conductor knew this without a yard
stick, I don't know; but fortunately he left to attend to more pressing
duties. So I just left the suitcases in the aisle and went upstairs and
took a seat.
A little later the coach attendant got on the intercom and
announced that the person with the large bags in the downstairs aisle
had to do something with them. When I got back downstairs, there was a
pile of luggage and other stuff in the space I had wanted to use
earlier; and attendant was nowhere in sight. So I just piled the
suitcases on top of the stuff; and we were good to go.
Now Amtrak regulars will tell you that the carry on luggage
limits are not enforced UNLESS you cause some kind of a problem. In
this case, the Tuppeware tubs were not a problem until we tried to
board. Then we became the problem.