Wednesday, March 2, 2016

With no particular place to go...

March 1-2016
Gas-up on SR-31
It was such a beautiful day, I just couldn’t waste a good ride day. So with no particular place in mind I plotted out a crude course on Google Map, printed it out and packed up some frozen bottled water (I always keep at least three half bottles of water in the freezer for just these occasions <grin>) and we headed out this morning. 

Lately, the problem I have found, at least in the area I am in, is that there is just not a whole lot of roads to choose a starting point from. To even get to a half decent stretch of “moto-delight” (a word I just made up - at least I think I made it up <grin>) you usually have to drive for miles on a straight, flat and tediously long road to even get to the good stuff. 

Compliments of Google - SR-31
Like today’s route will take us along SR-31, a 36.4 mile (58.7 km) stretch of nothingness that eventually drops you into the little town of Arcadia. Arcadia is in DeSoto County and is famous for its historic downtown antique district.  It also boasts the All-Florida Championship Rodeo that is held in March, and an Annual Watermelon Festival in May. 

Not that I have ever seen much of this town except glimpses as I whizzed through it on our travels. 

Anyway we did manage to bypass some of SR-31 by turning onto CR-763. It is also a very straight somewhat mundane road that cuts through farmland, at least there was a lot less traffic. Although it too eventually dumped us back out onto 31 again.  

I will apologize for the lack of “real” pictures in this post, I blame it on my BF.  Not that I don’t like riding with my BF, but most times he just rides and never thinks to stop anywhere of interest, or I guess I should say, interest to me. <grin> So I have been reduced to (with the help of Google Maps) grabbing images from the net. 
Note to self: I think I need a helmet cam!

Limestone Grocery & Country Club
We turned up CR-661 which is for the most part yet another straight road, however it runs along the railway tracks and criss-crosses back and forth over them heading towards Limestone.  This little community is within Hardee County and the main feature here as near as I could tell was the Limestone Grocery & Country Club. Apparently according to my research (after the fact) it is also a ‘biker bar’. Talk about your one-stop-shop. [BTW: I would of stopped]

CR-633 (by Google)
Just past the happening Country Club (Contrary to the unflattering photo from Google above - there were a couple of bikers there when we passed) we turned up CR- 663 which continued along the railway tracks. Finally it crossed back over the railway in a hair pin of a turn. <wheeee>


At this point a little further up the road we pulled over and decided to check my map and that is where we decided that we would deviate from my original route. 

My original route looked something like this (kind of looks like a dinosaur or a duck - maybe it is a prehistoric duck! LOL)
You can view the original route here

We ended up cutting off the ‘dino-duck’ part

We were now in the town of Ona, famous for Soloman’s Castle. We were there back in 2014 - you can check out my post here if you are interested.

We then headed along 64 towards Zolfo Springs.  This quaint little town was founded in 1904 and encompasses 1.5 square miles featuring the Peace River and Pioneer Lake. This is certainly a true part of ‘Old Florida’ which focuses on the Florida Crackers of yesteryear and holds an annual ‘Pioneer Park Days’ every spring.  

There is also the Cracker Trail Museum  [FYI: Cracker refers to a Florida Cowboy, which back in the day used whips instead of a lasso to herd cattle -hence the name when the whip is cracked]

We then headed down 66 which is part of the famous Florida Cracker Trail. 
thanks again Google 
[FYI: The Florida Cracker Trail runs from just east of Bradenton, and ends in Fort Pierce, a total distance of approximately 120 miles. In years past, this route was used for both cattle and horses] 

Surprise, this stretch was all ranch land and do I dare say again, fairly straight and flat. (I sense a theme on this ride) I suppose I could say it was scenic but when you are travelling at speeds of 60 /mph (96.5 km) it was kind of hard to enjoy it. I did pass this one (would of been) picture perfect cluster of trees all in bloom with orange coloured blossoms. It kind of reminded me of orange hairy monster - yeah I have a warped mind...

We then left the historic trail of 66 at 27 and headed towards Lake Placid in Highlands County. This community has 27 freshwater lakes and has over 40 historical Murals around town.
(None of which I got to see -maybe next time)

Lake Clay - across from parking lot
We pulled into a Publix mall parking lot to take a rest after the long ride from Ona (yeah, it wasn’t a very interesting place stop for me either). As I stretched my legs I did catch a glimpse of a rather large tower that looked out of place, and made a mental note to check into it when I got home. Also across the highway from the parking lot I managed to snap a picture of Lake Clay when there was a break in the traffic.

'The Happiness Tower -by google
I found a bit of an interesting story about that tower I had seen. It is called ‘The Happiness Tower’ and rises 270 feet above ground, although it doesn’t look so ‘happy’ any more. It opened in 1960 as ‘The Tower View’ a restaurant where visitors were encouraged to ride to the top of the tower to phone home -billing it as 'Florida's highest payphone".

 It was in the late 1960's when the name changed to 'The Happiness Tower' also know at the same time as ‘The Peace Tower’ trying to lure or just confuse people to visit as it waned in popularity as a tourist attraction. In 1982 the tower closed until 1986 when it reopened and continued to struggle sometime into the 2000s when it was permanently closed.

Finally we were able to turn off the highway [27] to travel down some ‘moto-delight’ - a picturesque and curvy part of Lake Placid

Unfortunately we missed the turn at Cloverleaf Rd that would take us around “Lake June in Winter” then onto Lake June Road to CR-17.

As it turned out we did go up Lake June Rd in the wrong direction which took us back out to 27. We turned around and went back down Lake June Road again, (which I didn’t mind  -it was a fun and curvy road. <smile>) where we finally found 17 and wove our way around Lake Placid. 

We were only on FL-70 for a brief time before continuing onto Old State Route 8 [17]. This is where we actually found some hills in Flatsville, I mean Florida <smile> 

Okay, at least for 'mole hills' it gave this stretch a redeeming quality, as we road it like a mini roller coaster. 

Thanks to Florida by Bicycle - visit her site :)

A strange occurrence along here was that there are posted warning signs at every single hill that proclaims ‘Hill blocks view’ and insists that you slow down to 35 mph /56 km (hehehe) 

After that bit of excitement we headed towards Venus on CR-731. A somewhat forgotten hamlet within Highlands County that has a spattering of worn down homes and a few forgotten farms. 

Rest stop in Venus
We made a stop along the road and as we stretched out the kinks a hush puppy dog from across the road came over to greet us. (Maybe the mayor of Venus, but he never said) he looked like quite the old timer in a gnarled old dog kind of way. A friendly fellow and as we left he hobbled after me down the road for a bit, I think he wanted to hitch a ride. Who could blame him. <smile>

We turned down  Detjen's Dairy Rd to stay away from FL-27 for just a bit longer. But as with most roads around here they either end completely or force you back onto a highway. <sigh> We then headed towards LaBelle down FL-29. At least we made one last scenic ride when we got off of 29 and made our way on our favorite N. River Road [ 78] with a final rest stop at ‘our park’ the Bob Mason Park before heading for home.

Bob Mason Park
So ended our 209 mile (337 km) journey, always a thrill when on two wheels even when you have no where in particular to go.

Follow our route on our tour of With no particular place to go

Cruising through life and enjoying the ride...


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Marsha, and thanks again for the use of the picture. I read some of your blog too, really good :)