Paul au parc de VR Sunshine Travel : une balade à vélo qui vire à l’aventure !

La semaine dernière, alors que nous séjournions au Sunshine Travel RV Resort de Vero Beach, sur la côte est de la Floride, à mi-chemin entre le nord et le sud, l’idée nous vint d’une balade à vélo. Soit dit en passant, ce camping constitue jusqu’à maintenant notre plus belle découverte de l’hiver. Il représente l’illustration parfaite du camping rural type que je décrivais récemment sur mon autre blogue. D’ailleurs, nous ne sommes pas les seuls à avoir craqué pour ce camping, puisque les circuits caravanes vers la Floride organisés par la FQCC s’y arrêtent régulièrement pour quelques jours. Mais je reviens à la balade à vélo dont je souhaite vous parler.

Deux jours plus tôt, alors que nous roulions sur le large trottoir adjacent au camping et longeant la route CR-512, un petit panneau indicateur portant les mots Rail Trail avait attiré l’attention de Michelle. De mon côté, trop occupé à pédaler, j’avais rapidement associé ces mots à Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, un organisme ayant pour mission d’utiliser l’emprise d’anciennes voies ferrées, aujourd’hui désaffectées, pour en faire de magnifiques pistes cyclables.

Une brève recherche sur Internet me mena à un article de 2012 publié dans le VeroNews, le journal du comté d’Indian River. On y rapportait l’inauguration d’un segment de piste cyclable faisant partie de la Trans-Florida Railroad Trail qui reliait la Sebastian River Middle School à Fellsmere, une petite municipalité située à l’ouest de Sebastian et de Vero Beach.

L’article parlait toutefois d’un segment d’une longueur de deux miles, ce qui était bien peu. Cette nouvelle, qui datait de plus de quatre ans, décrivait aussi les projets à venir pour cette piste cyclable. Misant sur les années écoulées depuis cette annonce, il me sembla légitime d’imaginer que, depuis, la piste se serait allongée pour la peine. Malheureusement, l’avenir allait me ramener les pieds sur terre.

Ce jeudi-là donc, en roulant sur le trottoir, on se rendit jusqu’à la voie maritime qui s’étire sur presque toute la côte est de la Floride, l’Intracoastal, comme on la nomme ici. Sur le chemin du retour, alors que nous avions déjà parcouru un peu plus d’une vingtaine de kilomètres, Michelle suggéra d’allonger notre balade en faisant un crochet sur la fameuse piste annoncée. D’ailleurs, en arrivant près de l’école, on pouvait l’apercevoir du trottoir de la CR-512.

Même si, dans l’article lu la veille, la Middle School était présentée comme le point de départ, une fois sur la piste, nous fûmes à même de constater que celle-ci allait tout autant dans la direction est que dans la direction ouest. Pas de souci, la journée était belle, la brise légère et le soleil en feu.

L’ouest nous ramenant en direction du camping, la direction est s’imposa comme cap à privilégier pour débuter. De petits ponts de bois enjambant les milieux humides, un fond de petites pierres concassées et agglutinées, une végétation abondante, il était on ne peut plus agréable de s’y promener. Un plaisir de très courte durée puisque, moins d’un kilomètre plus loin, la piste s’interrompait à l’entrée d’une « Gated Community ». À l’entrée, une barrière bloquait les automobiles dont le conducteur ne possédait pas le code d’accès, mais aucun obstacle similaire sur le trottoir, ce qui nous incita à découvrir ce que cachaient ces rues emmurées.

Une vingtaine de minutes plus tard, nous reprenions la piste en direction inverse en souhaitant cette fois-ci qu’elle soit plus longue, beaucoup plus longue. Après être passés devant l’école pour une deuxième fois, nous roulions cap à l’ouest.

Moins de deux kilomètres plus loin, les choses commencèrent à se dégrader. Petit à petit, la piste devenait plus étroite et le fond de gravier laissait passer herbe et arbustes. Au début, la longueur de l’herbe témoignait qu’on l’avait tondue, mais au fur et à mesure que nous avancions, la piste rétrécissait à vue d’œil et le sol devenait de plus en plus raboteux, à un point tel qu’il nous fallut descendre du vélo et marcher à côté.

Que faire ? Rebrousser chemin ou continuer ? Un coup d’œil sur le trajet enregistré par l’application Sport Tracker de notre téléphone indiqua que nous avions traversé la plus grande partie de la jungle et que nous allions croiser une route à quelques centaines mètres devant nous.

Plus nous avancions, plus le fond sablonneux de la piste — si piste il y avait encore — devenait incertain. Racines et arbustes aux branches acérées couraient sur le sol. Il me fallait constamment porter attention où je mettais les pieds, d’autant plus que ce jour-là, j’avais gardé mes sandales plutôt que de chausser mes espadrilles. Ne voulant rien empirer, je jugeai plus prudent de ne pas créer davantage d’insécurité chez Michelle en lui disant de faire attention à d’éventuels serpents. Heureusement, nous étions en milieu d’après-midi car, si la brunante nous avait surpris, je ne sais trop quels monstres affamés auraient pu à tout moment surgir des buissons.

Comme l’avait prévu notre téléphone, la route croisa notre trajet au bon endroit. Les jambes égratignées, fatigués d’avoir poussé nos vélos dans ce qui nous était apparu une jungle, il nous fit grand plaisir d’enfourcher à nouveau nos montures pour, moins de dix minutes plus tard, retrouver notre autocaravane.

126 Comments on “Paul au parc de VR Sunshine Travel : une balade à vélo qui vire à l’aventure !”

  1. Si jamais vous retournez à Vero Beach, il y a une super piste cyclable, la Historic Jungle Trail. Nous l’avons prise à partir du sud de la trail en nous stationnant au Turtle Trail Beach Access de l’Indian River County sur la US1 tout près de l’intersection de la Old Winter Beach Road. C’est une route de sable et de coquina tapé. Construite en 1920, la Jungle Trail était la voie de cheminement pour les agrumes cultivés le long de l’Indian River. Cette route est maintenant inscrite au registre du patrimoine américain.

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