Biking in the heat
Mar 28, 2012
|Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Whoa, actually had some rain the evening we arrived and into the next day. Thunder boomers too. So I took advantage of the sorta crummy day and did our %$&*#@(&& taxes.
But on Sunday and Monday we hauled out the bikes and drove to a trailhead for the Withlacochee (pronounced Wil-a-coo-chee) State Trail. It is an old RR grade. We headed north from Floral City. I got to wondering if I was revisiting my past. When I was 6 and 9 the family took a train from Duluth to Tampa to visit my Mom’s relatives. This line ran to Tampa but I don’t know if there were other ones also. But I could have heard a conductor calling “Next stop Floral City, Floral City next stop” in a booming Negro voice. Most of the conductors and all the porters were black on trains back then.
It was a nice trail to ride, flat as hell as is most of Florida. And with all the Live Oaks on the edges a lot of it was in the shade as it was a warm day. We passed several lakes along the way which sure made me want to stop and jump in. We biked 25-30 miles. Stopped at a fruit stand and had a strawberry milkshake made with fresh strawberries and a strawberry tort. Those big red berries are in season now. On Monday we hit another trailhead and went south to the southern end to a small burg named Trilby. There wasn’t much in Trilby. We bought some greasy fried chicken from a gas station and ate it along the trail hoping it wasn’t going to kill us. We’re still alive so must have been ok. This day was hotter and the 30 miles pooped us out.
So Tuesday we did what many knowledgeable tourists do in Florida, not a damn thing. Sat in the shade and read. It was hot, 90’s. Funny how some days just pass on by. Except I took a peak at my neighbors web cam on the computer (www.kanelake.net) which allows me to see what is going on at Kane Lake. Imagine my shock to see that the ice has already gone off the lake! Last year the ice went out around May 3rd or so, several days after we got home. So seeing that blue water lapping at the shore makes us want to get on back. But then I talked to lake neighbor Ron and he reminded me that anything can happen during the month of April so we shouldn’t be in too big of a rush to get back. Guess we’ll take his advice. But the ice went out on Saturday, March 24th, earliest anyone can remember.
Today we hopped in the truck and drove about 40 miles to Homosassa Springs State Wildlife Park. We didn’t really know what to expect, a guy just told B it is enjoyable. Well it used to be a private nature preserve of sorts. A guy had a number of exotic animals there plus gators, manatees, snakes and that sort of things. Some movies were shot there using the animals. When the state bought it they only wanted native animals so they gave away all the exotics. All, that is, except Lou the hippo. Nobody wanted poor Lou. So the governor made him an honorary Florida Citizen and he was allowed to stay.
Otherwise a boat takes you to the viewing area where you walk a mile boardwalk viewing the gators, turtles, ducks, birds, owls, eagles, red wolf, panther, black bears and manatees. It was a nice day to be out with all the other Florida tourists. There is an underwater viewing area so B could see a cute little manatee up close and personal.
Then we took a short drive to the old town of Homosassa. And by the way homosassa is an Indian word meaning “place of peppers.” Apparently wild peppers grow around those parts. We stopped to view the ruins of an old sugar mill. There are a lot of those around Florida. Back in the old days a lot of sugar cane was grown. Took a lot of slaves so it all ended after the Civil War, whoops I mean the War Between the States, the proper southern name.
Tomorrow we head north a little ways.