The summer in inland Florida feels hotter than summer in the coastal areas. There is always some wind in Miami where we live now. Inland, the heat can wrap around you like a miserable fur coat. The summer is also the rainy season. Water flows in the ditches along the roads. Acres of land that are dry in winter become pond-like. Which keeps the humidity nice and high.
So we make sure our water bottles are full, and we know where we can go to refill them along our rides. We know where the rural convenience stores are, places to get water and maybe even an ice cream bar snack on a longish ride.
We were in Highlands for just two days of riding, but it was worth the drive from Miami. We heard the booming call of alligators in the marshy woods. We saw sandhill crane everywhere. Osprey. Scrub jay. Vultures. Cattle. Llamas. Miniature goats. Burros. Horses, colts, ponies, and mules. Gopher tortoise. Deer. Even a golden mouse. Critters galore.
We stopped into Archbold Biological Station for water and chatted with some staff who proudly showed off the conference center's mass plantings of native Florida grasses and flowers. Then, not long after leaving Archbold, we ran into one of the standard summer inconveniences of the area. There had been a lot of rain in the past week. We were headed to Venus, but the road was covered in water in spots for a couple of miles. Not a problem for a pickup truck, but not something we wanted to play in on bicycles. We detoured around the water and continued our meandering ride.
Someone once asked me how rural bike riding differed from urban bike riding. The difference I said was simple. Urban riding has scads and scads of destinations, but few good routes. Rural riding has limited destinations, but there are good, scenic routes whichever way you head.
Both are fine by me.
|This ranch is now conservation land.|
|Rainy season problem along some secondary roads.|
|The old main road to Venus can be tricky for bicycles in the summer.|
|These signs on the rolling hills never fail to make me laugh.|