Saturday, March 16, 2013

Cypress Lake and Lake Kissimmee

I had a little time this afternoon so took a ride on some of the back roads around our home in central Florida.  Many parts of Florida are still pretty wild and uninhabited and this includes much of central Florida.  In recent times, the area has become well know for its' tourist attractions but much of old Florida still lives and thrives.  It is a beautiful part of the state where many make their living on ranches and hunting and fishing the many lakes and swamps of the area.

I traveled a gravel road through stands of trees and open pastures on my ride to Cypress Lake.

Stand of trees on the ride to Cypress Lake
There is something peaceful about riding a pleasant bike down a gravel road.  The muffled thump of the engine and the soft sound of wheels rolling over the gravel and fine sand can make the ride almost magical.  I stopped often to watch the hawks and eagles soar and at one point stood and watched 12 deer as they grazed.  They kept a watchful eye on me, but continued to feed.  Thinking I could get a picture of them, I shut down the engine and tried to dismount from the bike as slowly and quietly as possible.  While they were not alarmed while I was seated on the bike, they wandered away as soon as I got off the bike.  Too bad as they would have made a great picture.

These fellows didn't mind having their picture taken.

The cattle were happy to pose for me though.  They were inquisitive and inched closer to get a better look at the bike, or maybe the guy riding it.

I have had friends tell me they had ridden through the middle of nowhere, but I actually stopped there and have a picture to prove it!

The Middle of Nowhere
After leaving the middle of Nowhere I stopped by a stand of trees dripping with Spanish moss.  I had just fired the bike back up to head further along my journey when another bike slowly made its' way past me.  The rider only went about one hundred yards beyond me when he turned around and came back for a little chat and a better look at my bike.  As he pulled up and shut down his bike he asked how old my bike was and how much work the restoration was.  He was surprised to learn the bike is only a few years old.  (It is a Suzuki TU250X)  As you can see the bike does have an older look about it.  It is a smallish single cylinder with the look of bikes we used to call standards.  It has a natural riding position that makes it ideal for back road riding, whether the roads are paved, gravel, sand, or cow pasture.

I'll write a rider report on the bike at sometime in the future.  I have to admit it is one of my favorite bikes.

As you can see from the pictures the sun was getting low, but I had time to ride down to Lake Kissimmee before it got too dark and I needed to head home.  The sun was just a few minutes away from setting when I snapped a shot of the lake.  One nice thing about the back roads is you feel you have them to yourself, yet when you do bump into other folks, they always seem friendly and unhurried.  This is one of the best reasons to travel the roads less traveled.

Lake Kissimmee
 As I headed home from Lake Kissimmee, the air was cooling and the light began to turn everything that beautiful golden color that fades so fast, yet is the highlight of the day.  The evening air carried the wonderful scents of the pastures and trees.  The temperature of the air varied as I road from pasture land to wooded areas.  At first the pasture lands being the warmest, but as the sun slowly sank below the horizon, the pastures cooled and the wooded areas held their warmth.

After stopping to take these last two pictures I turned toward home and made no more stops.  There is something very nice about riding at night, the sights, the smells, and temperature changes that just keep getting stronger, but as pleasant as it is to ride at night the dangers do go up a bit.  The worry of animals and other objects on the road can make the ride less fun than it would otherwise be.  Tonight, I made it home just as the first stars began to blink and twinkle into view.  It was the perfect end to a perfect ride.

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