Summer is here and that means afternoon thunderstorms most days. Today the forecast was for a 60% chance of rain. After sniffing the air early this morning we thought we'd have until about 2 PM to ride and get back home before the rains began.
We made a plan to ride to the Port for an early lunch. Kim and I would ride the Vulcan and the TU250X and good riding buddy Gary and his daughter Margie would ride the Concours and meet up with us enroute.
We were on the road by 0930 and already the clouds were beginning to build. We turned east on Hwy 192 just east of St. Cloud and road a few miles out of town to Nova Rd. Nova is one of those little travelled back roads that cuts through ranch land and swamp as it meanders generally east and north. Nova is about 35 miles from 192 to Hwy 520 where it ends.
We poked along at about 50 MPH and enjoyed the sight of hundreds of cattle egrets along the freshly mowed roadside. There were more egrets along that stretch of road than we'd ever seen at one time. They were rummaging through the cut grass looking for bugs and lizards. The smell of freshly cut grass from a bike is one of the all-time great smells and we breathed it in deeply.
Once at the end of Nova Rd. we turned south east on Hwy 520. After crossing the St. Johns River, we pulled into the Lone Cabbage fish camp to wait hook up with Gary and Marge.
|It is possible that herons can't read|
|Airboat at the Lone Cabbage|
Fish camps are pretty much what the name implies. They are places to put airboats and other shallow draft boats into lake, river, or swamp. Most fish camps catered only to fishermen and hunters in years past, but now they often entice tourist and locals by having a restaurant and sometimes airboat excursions into the swamps. The Lone Cabbage has been around for many years and has great old Florida food. You can try gator, frog legs, turtle, catfish and much more. Today our plan was just to catch up with our friends and head to the port for a quick lunch and try to beat the storms home.
There is a sea breeze that drifts in from the ocean and tends to help the development of thunderstorms inland while keeping the coast clear and sunny. We hit the road east bound and turned our backs to the thickening clouds to the west and rode into sunshine. As we worked our way northeast, the air cooled and took on the salty smell of the ocean. We pulled into the port in time for an early lunch and welcome drink of iced tea.
Port Canaveral has docks for a few cruise lines, but more importantly to us, is it is also home to local fishing vessels. There are a number of restaurants at the port and they all have fresh fish brought on shore at the nearby docks. Like many places in this part of Florida, there is open air dining. Today we enjoyed our lunches while watching sea turtles and porpoises playing just a few yards from our table.
Following our lunch we felt the urge to head for home as the sky was getting dark inland to the west and rain could be seen falling from some of the better developed clouds. Gary and Margie headed northwest toward home and visible rain, while Kim and I rode southwest toward slightly better looking skies.
We threaded our way through the growing showers with little trouble and managed to stay reasonably dry. There was thunder to our south, west, and north as we rolled our bikes into the garage right at 2 PM.
What a nice way to spend a day, good friends, a fun motorcycle ride, and a chance to explore a little bit of central Florida.