Saturday, June 2, 2012

Circling Lake Okeechoobee

It's summer. For us, summer means we don't leave home (and the lake) under any circumstances. That includes natural disasters like hurricanes since our area is where coastal people can evacuate to during storms. A former director of the National Hurricane Center retired to our town because he wanted to stay in Florida, and we are one of Florida's safer locations. So summer isn't bike touring time for us.

We still enjoy cycling locally, of course. But the fly in the ointment, for me, is hearing about other people out there touring. The solution to "the summer problem" is to plan the bike tours and bike trips we will take in the late fall, winter, and early spring.

I'm in the middle of setting up our Lake Okeechobee trip. This is a favorite of ours and one we've done a number of times. Lake Okeechobee is circled by the L.O.S.T. (the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail) The ride is beautifully described online (the best is in the blog Palm Beach Bike Tours) so I won't go nuts talking about most of the details. It is short (under 120 miles). Some like to do it as a one day ride. I prefer  dragging it out into a couple of days and enjoying the scenery. What scenery? Alligators! OK, this shouldn't be such a big deal for me. After all, I live on a lake with alligators. But I admit to loving them immensely. And the L.O.S.T. puts you on a bike looking at alligators. Now if you are somewhat afraid of alligators, the L.O.S.T. is the way to go. The trail is on a raised dike, so the gators are easy to see, but they are also safely far enough away that even the most timid person will feel comfortable with the gators.

Out on the L.O.S.T. a couple of years ago.
We can bike to the L.O.S.T. from home in one day. Some times we do that, and other times we haul the bikes over to the trail on the back of our car. It just depends how many days we want to spend on the trip.

Oh, yes. You can see by the picture that our gear does not include panniers. That is an Ortlieb wheeled suitcases on the back of my bike. It clips right onto the rear rack using a clip system provided by Ortlieb with the suitcase. We still have the tent/sleeping bag gear, but our preference these days is to stay in motels. This is Florida, after all, a tourist state with a gazillion motels. (Granted, some of them are fleabags...but, for me, an air conditioned fleabag motel trumps a tent and hordes of Florida mosquitoes.)