I actually live off of route 54 in Zephyrhills, Fl. The Green Swamp is literally up the road from me, and I have to say I'm sorry I didn't do this before. It really was a great place to ride, although today was different in that I was literally the only bike on the trail it seems. I took the southern route, starting on 54 and heading down to 98 and then the left onto Rockridge Road. Due to time restrictions I was only able to ride the beginning of Route 33. I did manage to work in some side roads however.
I didn't travel exactly the way the map above, I stayed on 98 south to Rockridge road. This is a nice, well maintained 2-lane highway and has some interesting land marks on it. Sadly traffic was two heavy for me to pull over and get some pictures of two of the more unique houses in the area (one which I call the circus house, the other the bat house). Hopefully another day. But I was able to get a picture of an old county line marker that dates back to the 1930. It's the only one that I know of in the area and was built during the Great Depression as a public works project.
Rockridge Road is a nice cut of concrete ribbon through suburbia, then suddenly and almost without warning it starts to cut through the swap. Frankly if I had not of been paying attention I would have missed the sign. After that sign the road surface becomes rough in places, downright nasty in a few spots and with a foot deep culvert on the side in some spots. Not knowing the roads well and on the look out for animals I took my time, which is not a bad thing because a few of the corners where covered in sand.
I didn't have to ride to far to have my heart nearly stop. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something, it was big and coming right at me! It was an eagle. It swooped down over my head and into the woods. It was so low that ducked and fully expected it to hit me but there was not even a talon scrape on my helmet and I laughed with joy for a minute or so. It was beautiful.
This should give you a rough idea of the road surface. Some of the scenery you will see is in the next two pics.
There are a lot of little twists and turns on this road. Sweepers and S-bends, and some can be rather sharp. I rode at a nice easy pace, I did not see one other bike on the road with me and could count the numbers of cars on one hand. If something caught my eye it was no issue going back for it or even stopping in the middle of the road for a pic.
For example, this old cow chute caught my eye and I literally turned around in the middle of the road to take a picture of it. Florida at one time lead the nation in beef cattle production and you can still see lots of beef cattle in the fields. This little guy however captured my heart.
Overall it was a great ride, I can't wait to do it again and am looking forward to seeing what lies beyond. I took my time, explored some ride roads and still managed to get back in time to go to dinner with my family. I have to admit, I've not enjoyed a ride this much in some time, and I only rode about a quarter of the entire trail!
I can't wait to try the rest.