Home Motorcycle Florida Motorcycle Ride on Scenic State Road 13 | Favorite Ride

Florida Motorcycle Ride on Scenic State Road 13 | Favorite Ride

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Florida Motorcycle Ride on Scenic State Road 13 | Favorite Ride

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Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13
Florida SR 13 runs alongside the St. Johns River, which flows lazily from south to north for greater than 300 miles and enters the Atlantic Ocean close to Jacksonville. For this experience, my relaxed tempo matched that of the river.

I ought to warn you: This Florida bike experience doesn’t embody difficult hairpin curves or drastic modifications in elevation. The Sunshine State has a well-earned fame for flat, straight roads, however there are little nuggets right here and there that supply using leisure of a special type.

Jacksonville is the second largest metropolis by space within the contiguous U.S., so it’s unfold out in clusters of inhabitants density. To get away from the hustle and bustle, I headed to a neighborhood favourite for motorcyclists, State Highway 13, which runs for practically 50 miles alongside the east financial institution of the north-flowing St. Johns River from Jacksonville south to Spuds, a rural group that grows precisely what its identify would recommend.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13

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On the day of my experience, I hit the lottery by way of visitors. I had the time off for Presidents’ Day. Faculties had been out, much less lucky souls had been working, and my household was visiting the zoo, so I had a cool, sunny day all to myself.

After filling my physique’s tank with high-octane espresso, I fired up my air-cooled Ducati Scrambler 1100, and its Italian rumble introduced a smile to my face. I began off midmorning in no specific rush, having fun with the Duc’s torquey Twin whereas my fellow vacationers sat locked of their metal cages.

Associated: Ducati Scrambler 1100 First Ride Review

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 Riverdale Park
Riverdale Park, the place I took a chance to benefit from the view and fantasize about setting sail on an deserted sailboat.

See all of Rider‘s Florida touring stories here.

As I approached Greenbriar Highway, my ideas went to the historical past of this unremarkable stretch. Artist Amy Stump, who’s a local to the realm, as soon as informed me concerning the street’s historical past and its nickname, Ghost Mild Highway, which was summed up in Invoice Delaney’s Jaxlore column in The Jaxson:

“[T]he ghost is a younger motorcyclist from the realm whose father had warned him about rushing on the dust street. One fateful day, the younger man’s brother strung a rope throughout Greenbriar. This prank merely would have unseated the cocky rider had he heeded his father’s admonition, however, sadly, he gunned the engine and misplaced his head. Thereafter, his ghost shined his headlamp down Greenbriar in a nightly vigil, both trying to find his misplaced head or warning others towards being so reckless.”

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13
Timber draped in Spanish moss are a typical sight on this a part of Florida.

Like The Legend of Sleepy Hole, the story is apocryphal, however why let the reality get in the best way of story?

Greenbriar Highway ends at SR 13 close to Switzerland (which is nothing just like the nation), and I headed south towards the city of Orangedale, passing beneath a big cover of oak timber casting shadows over the street. The 17-mile stretch of SR 13 between Julington Creek and Wades Creek is designated because the William Bartram Scenic and Historic Freeway, named after the naturalist and botanist who documented vegetation, animals, and native peoples within the space in the course of the late 1700s.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 Bartram Scenic and Historic Highway
A part of SR 13 honors 18th-century botanist and naturalist William Bartram.

As I rolled alongside the well-kept two-lane street, I caught peeks of the St. Johns River by the timber, and some curves and roundabouts offered a chance to lean the Ducati over. There are small parks aplenty for scenic stops, many with benches to soak up the river views and get a style of “Outdated Florida.” 

As I approached Orangedale, I used to be enveloped by the smokey odor wafting from Woodpeckers Yard BBQ, a neighborhood favourite. Amy Stump’s mural of angel wings encircling regional landmarks greeted me as I positioned an order for brisket and datil corn. Fortunately, I bought there earlier than the brisket offered out, a gutting expertise for many who arrive late within the day. I took my platter throughout the road to the Shands Pier and ate whereas watching boats gliding on the glint of the St. Johns.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 Amy Stump Woodpeckers Backyard BBQ
A mural by Amy Stump at Woodpeckers Yard BBQ, which is throughout from Shands Pier on SR 13.

Persevering with south on SR 13, I took a quick detour on State Highway 16 and crossed the Shands Bridge, passing fishermen, meals vans, and farm distributors. After using by boatyards filled with masts jutting into the sky, I ended at The Navy Museum of North Florida, situated on the former website of Naval Air Station Lee Subject. With its bunker-like essential constructing, heavy equipment, and even a few army bikes from previous theaters of conflict, it serves as a vivid reminder of the realm’s deep army historical past.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 St. Johns River Shands Pier
View of the St. Johns River at Shands Pier. Between Palatka and Jacksonville, the river ranges from 1 to three miles extensive.

Again on SR 13, I ended at Trout Creek Memorial Park and Marina, highlights of which embody the Main Gen. William W. Loring Monument and swamp-boat leases for sightseeing or fishing. Whereas having fun with an inspiring view of the creek, I imagined William Bartram recording observations and gathering samples in the identical location tons of of years in the past.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 Military Museum of North Florida
The Navy Museum of North Florida is on the west facet of the river in Inexperienced Cove Springs.

Simply down the street, I ended at Buddy Boy’s Nation Retailer, the very best fuel station on this path to refill or benefit from the camaraderie of fellow riders. With its Adirondack chairs, normal retailer provisions, and engaging nation barbecue, it’s a must-stop in the event you’re within the space.

See all of Rider‘s Southeast U.S. touring stories here.

On the street once more, the great thing about my experience actually unfolded with curvy roads winding by tree canopies with peekaboo views of the river, piers, boat docks, and parks. Between the well-to-do city of Picolata (as soon as the house of a Spanish fort) and Tocoi, SR 13 opened up, giving the Ducati an opportunity to stretch its legs.

As soon as previous Tocoi, I like to recommend stopping at Riverdale Park. With picnic tables, benches, and a well-kept public restroom, it’s a pleasant place to chill out and mirror. Because the glassy calm waters of the St. Johns lapped gently towards the shore, I closed my eyes and soaked within the atmosphere.

Florida Motorcycle Ride State Road 13 Trout Creek Memorial Park and Marina
A style of Florida’s primitive magnificence at Trout Creek Memorial Park and Marina.

SR 13 ends on the junction with State Highway 207 close to Spuds. I had a call to make: head east towards the coast to cities like St. Augustine, Palm Coast, and Daytona Seashore, or cross the river and experience up the west financial institution of the St. Johns. Desperate to get dwelling in time to take pleasure in dinner with my household and hearken to the adventures my 6-year-old and his pals had on the zoo, I returned dwelling the best way I got here, having fun with the open street and the surroundings in the other way. The great thing about this route is that it’s pleasing by itself, or it may be mixed with different scenic roads close by. One factor’s for certain: It was the change of tempo I used to be in search of.

See all of Rider‘s touring stories here.

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