Ride: Orlando to Ocala (BBQ)

Destination: Backwoods Smokehouse, 888 County Rd. 310, Interlachen FL
Ride type: Lunch/Dinner, Loop
Total miles: 236 miles roundtrip
Travel time: 6 hours roundtrip

Overview of the Ride
If you haven’t been through the Emeralda Conservation area, you’ve missed out on some great Florida scenery. Emeralda Island road has some surprising sites, like a red pick up with antlers, and some of the better curves on this ride. Be careful on this road: there are some hairpin turns around objects like barns. The street signs are pretty well placed, and if you end up on a road other than Emeralda Island Rd., it will either dead end or lead you back out to a main artery.
The Emeralda Conservation Area is known throughout the state for the variety of birds that thrive in the marsh. The conservation area has been around since the early 1990’s and includes some great viewing areas.

Most of the ride up and back is through and around the Ocala National Forest. While you’ll get some very straight road, there are some interesting towns, many harkening back to the days when roadside attractions were the norm and everyone cooled off on the porch with some ice cream.

Lunch at Backwoods Smokehouse was great. The restaurant fills up pretty quickly with locals and bikers. On the day we went, a group of twelve showed up on their Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas, and a Ridley. Our table of four all had sliced pork, coleslaw and pinto beans, but once I’d smelled the ribs I had second thoughts about my order. Next trip for sure. The meal was great, the company exceptional (Mike & Jill), and the ride was only half over! Make sure you look into the free candy box near the register before you leave. There’s nothing better than a little jolt before you hit the road.

On the way back, we made a brief stop at Nicole’s Produce on CR 314A just after crossing CR 40 for some peaches, sweet corn and vine-ripe tomatoes. If produce isn’t your thing, check out the Lake Weir Fat Daddy’s ride. You’ll find plenty of great food and beverages at this local hot spot.

Get a Map
Get Directions Get the Review, Map & Directions as a PDF