No, I didn’t fly to Ireland over Labor Day. Instead we rode the West Orange Trail from Winter Garden to the county line in Killarney on another great, wide, paved rails to trails path.
My only complaint…not enough shade! Of course, it didn’t help that we started our ride at 3:00, the hottest part of the day. Despite the fact that the trail is relatively flat, I found the eleven mile round trip ride to be difficult. Not only did we get a late start, but we ate lunch before our ride, another mistake. A hot August day, in the sun, on a full stomach…not a good idea.
Instead of starting the ride when we arrived in Winter Garden, we took some time to check out the Farmer’s Market and snacked on a bag of caramel corn. Then ate lunch at The Attic since we hadn’t eaten since our early morning breakfast. Riding on an empty stomach seemed like a recipe to bonk. We’ll plan better next time.
A short distance from Winter Garden at the Tildenville Outpost is a Butterfly Garden with picnic tables and benches.
Moss covered oaks, a brick road on main street and unpaved roads through the community, as well as a fruit packing house mark the town of Oakland, a reminder of rural Orange County of yesteryear.
The Oakland Nature Preserve provides another place to stop along the trail for those interested in a one mile hike to Lake Apopka, something we’ll save for another day.
A bridge on the trail crosses the Florida Turnpike. I’ve used that overpass to mark my progress driving to Orlando for years so it was nice to look down on the traffic for a change.
The rocking chairs on the porch at the Bikes and Blades shop at the Killarney station made for a perfect break before our return trip. And for those who don’t enjoy loading and transporting their bikes, renting bikes in Killarney solves this problem.
An earlier start, lunch at the end of the ride, and choosing a cooler day…changes for our next trip on the West Orange Trail.