Sunday, July 13, 2014

Ride to the Overstreet Landing on the SR400 and TU250

The rainy season is upon us, as is the hot season.  We are in a period of weather where we have beautiful sunshine until mid afternoon, then the build-ups start and we have a nice rain to help cool things off.  The evenings are just great as the air cools and the towering cumulus fade away.

What the heat and the thunderstorms mean to bikers is that it is best to get a ride in early and have the bikes tucked away by mid afternoon.  We don't always follow this guide and do get wet now and again.

Today though, we had a fantastic ride and stayed dry.  It felt like a thumper kind of day and destination, so I kicked the SR to life while Kim tickled the start button on the TU.

This ride begins by taking the Canoe Creek road south from St. Cloud Florida.  The ride down Canoe Creek is a nice bike ride in itself, but today, we turned east on Joe Overstreet Road and thumped our way toward Lake Kissimmee.

A photo stop along Joe Overstreet Road
The bird life is fantastic along this stretch of road and we snapped a picture a dead tree that was full of cattle egrets and one lone ibis.

An Ibis among the Egrets
Turkey Vultures are a light bird that soar effortlessly on the slightest rising air, but we had gotten out early and we found the vultures sitting in the sun waiting for the first thermals to kick off.

Turkey Vultures waiting for the day's first thermals
Joe Overstreet road is about 5 and 1/2 miles long.  It meanders through cattle ranches and pasture land.  It looks like the road may have been partially paved at one time, but it is now mostly gravel and sand.  I have had the Vulcan down this section of road, but the TU and SR are perfectly suited for this type riding.

The morning air was ripe with smells.  The swamp land has a very distinct smell this time of year.  It is a combination of the new green growth that smells so nice and the smell of green growth that has been under water for a little too long.  Today, we had the added smell of cattle.  A nice mix that is so easily missed when we ride in a car or blast through in a hurry.

You can see the water standing in the pastures.

Pasture land

Just looking at these two pictures, you can almost smell the green grass and cattle.  The cattle seemed especially inquisitive today.  They stopped grazing and watched us as we eased by and seemed to pose for us when we stopped.

Heavy traffic on Joe Overstreet Road
Some how I managed to forget to take any pictures of the Overstreet Landing.  The Landing is a small county park that sits on the edge of Lake Kissimmee.  It has a boat ramp and an area to park your truck and trailer.  There is also a small fish camp located there that has the normal fishing supplies.  The fish camp is home to Kissimmee Swamp Tours.  The wildlife is so abundant in this area that the airboat ride should be a real treat.  We chatted with the friendly folks at the Kissimmee Swamp Tours and enjoyed the air conditioned air in the fish camp.

Confident that we had done our of share of meddling for the day, we stepped back out to the lake's edge.  We stood on a dock watching the agile flight of dragon flies as they fed on hatching midges.  We were so intent watching this ballet of life and death that we nearly missed the low flying bald eagle as he skimmed over our heads as he hunted the shoreline for a morning snack.

We fired up the bikes and squeegeed our way back down the gravel and wet sand road.  Once back to the Canoe Creek road, we poked north toward St. Cloud once again.

We stopped to fill the bikes with gas just before we reached home.  The SR managed to break 71 MPG while the miserly TU topped 93.

The Mileage Champ

We had the bikes washed and put away before the day got too hot.  The rains came a few hours afterward.  It turned out to be a nearly perfect day to spend on the bikes and to share with my best friend and riding buddy.