The Tropical Gulf Acres Ride is an oldie but a goody. Winter 2012 saw the roads in this remote area all redone. The new tarmac is smooth and fast and the absence of the automobile makes this ride premo. The topping on the cake is the facelift received by Burnt Store Road. This road was off limits for cycling for as long as I can remember, just too narrow and busy. Still a busy road but now it has a really nice shoulder to ride on. Taking Burnt Store road gets you off Rt 41 and adds a whole new appeal to the area, for me anyway.
So what’s the story? Why is Burnt Store Road called Burnt Store Road? 20 miles or so north of the Caloosahatchee River, near today’s Burnt Store Marina, was a trading post that was burnt down by the Seminole Indian Chief Billy Bowlegs and his crew. “At day break on July 24, 1839, Seminoles, led by Hospetarke, Billy Bowlegs, and Chakaika, attacked the Caloosahatchee River camp of Lt. Col. William S. Harney and the nearby trading post of James B. Dallam. In all they killed 13 soldiers and 3 civilians, including Dallam, and captured several, who, except for a Negro interpreter Sampson saved by Bowlegs’ intervention, were eventually tortured and killed.” There you have it. Everything you wanted to know courtesy of the internet links here. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.(Carl Sagan). One things for sure, the Indians got the shaft* and it’s time to “get on the bikes and ride“, (Freddy Mercury) and that’s 2 things.
Turn right out of Gilchrist park onto Retta Esplanade and head to a left onto Shreve St. and taking the 41 Bypass all the way to a left onto Rio Villa Dr. We will ride on 41 by necessity but there’s a shoulder so hang in there. Follow along taking the right onto Monico looping around to a left onto Madrid and a right back onto to 41. A short hop to a right onto Burnt Store Road. Passing the Charlotte Harbor Environmental Trailhead on the right, and Burnt Store Presbyterian Church on your left, find your way to a left onto Notre Dame Blvd. Notre Dame takes you back out to 41, take a right and a quick right onto Green Golf. This is where the roads have just been resurfaced, very nice. They must have done it for cycling because there is nothing else back here. Crank it up and run this all the way to a hard left onto Chula Vista Dr. At the corner of Chula Vista and Sulky Dr. take a left but slow down for the blind corner and the dogs coming out to greet you, no worrys , they just want to play and they’re slow. Follow along and take a right onto Path Ave. Path Ave will take you to Bissett Park. The park is one step above primitive meaning it has real bathrooms. Take a break here.
This map and cue sheet take the guess work out of finding your way through this area. I got turned around out here for the longest time. The new surface covered all our old markers so if you forgot to drop some bread crumbs take a left leaving the park and follow the cue sheet. Follow along back out to Green Gulf, turn right and then left onto 41. Look for a right onto Payne St and then a left onto Royal Rd, thus getting quickly off Rt 41. Royal Rd. takes you to a Right onto Taylor Rd. Taylor Road is less than ideal for riding , 55 MPH speed limit and all, but we’ll be getting off of right away by turning right onto Jones Loop Rd.
For the sake of making this a 30 mile round trip I laid the route out as you see on this map. Follow along and find your way back to Gilchrist Park. You could easily turn this into a Metric Century by adding some of the loops along the way that you may have ridden on already, Cleveland Loop, Washington Loop. Right across the road from the Green Gulf exit is Cecil B. Webb Wildlife Area. It’s about 2 miles down Tuckers Grade Road and a 10 mile loop through the area back to the entrance. Go to my web site and click on Ray’s Rides and find maps to all these areas. The connections to this route are really obvious.
Thank You for reading this and I hope you have a great ride today. I look forward to your comments.
* The Indians did get the casinos.