Page 18 - March 2018 Senior Scene Magazine
P. 18

Senior Scene® | March Issue
Old Florida.
by Randy Reagor
What does that phrase mean? Not sure I can give you
a de nitive answer, but for me it means Marineland, Weeki Wachee, Silver Springs, Stuckey’s, roadside motels, fruit stands and Six Gun Territory (remember that place? It was in Ocala for about 20 years and closed in 1984).
However, after spending the weekend in Inverness, I now have a new memory of what that means, and the best
place to experience Old Florida is from the Withlacoochee State Trail. At 46 miles, like hundreds of other paved trails throughout the U. S., it is the conversion of a disused rail- way track into a multi-use path for walking, running, cycling and sometimes horse riding.
Think you’re too old to enjoy it? You’re not. The  rst  ve people I saw on the asphalt were 65+, and since I’m turning 60 this year—along with Madonna, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Adam Baldwin (I didn’t see any of them on the trail)—I felt at home. In fact, the place to be on a Saturday morning in downtown Inverness is the state trail, because me and my 30-ish companions, Stephanie and her husband Kelo, had to slow down considerably because of the throng of bright- ly clad boomers on the path. We were not only surprised
by the number of cyclists but by what they riding—many
of them were using recumbent bikes, which place you in a laid-back reclining position with the pedals in front of you.
On the Withlacoochee it apparently doesn’t matter how you hit the trail as long as you do, because in a span of three hours I saw a horse-drawn carriage, a bike pulled by a pit bull, two electric bikes, and numerous walkers and runners. Like bird watching? Without stopping, we saw
an Anhinga, Cormorants, Turkey Buzzards, and Sand Hill cranes (speaking of birds, on the 15-mile stretch of Hwy 44 from I-75 I saw more of these cranes than I’ve seen in my lifetime). Cycling is also a great way to get close to deer because if you coast they can’t hear you coming. Since our hotel was only 1 1⁄2 miles to the entrance of Fort Cooper State Park I ventured there early Saturday morning and got within 10 feet of a yearling, which I’m not sure was more surprised by me or the fact that it’s  ve companions had split.
Segments of the trail travel through heavily-forested
OLD FLORIDA continued on page 40
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