Ride the USA-Days 13-14: The Everglades

Saturday, June 6—Leesburg, FL to Venice, FL

2015-06-06 13.34.14After a good night sleep and a great spinach omelet by Chef Rick, I headed south towards Venice, FL. It was another beautiful morning but with dark skies to the west…the direction in which I was headed initially. I was planning to leave around 1:00, but the threat of rain encouraged me to leave much earlier.

There’s something about new tires on any vehicle, but especially a motorcycle. It takes about 50 miles to break them in. After that, the feel of the road just doesn’t get any better.

God was looking out for me, again, as I split the middle of two large rain systems and arrived in Venice safely and completely dry.

Prepared Cobb Salad al la Publix Supermarket, Gatorade, M&Ms.

Cobb Salad al la Publix, Gatorade, M&Ms. 🙂

I took some time to relax, make some changes to my ride plan, and catch up on writing. dinner was the equivalent of room service in a Best Western, thanks to the local Publix supermarket.

Route:                   33N, 48W, W Noble Ave W, I75S, 580S, I275S, I75S
Miles Today:        162
Time Today:         3:20
Total Trip Miles:   4,306
Weather:               Cloudy with rain to north and south, high 80s to low 90s.
Lunch:                   PayDay (standard riding snack)
Lodging:                B/W+ Ambassador Suites
Dinner:                  Publix, Venice

Sunday, June 7— Venice, FL to Jupiter, FL

2015-06-07 09.58.47

The Gulf from Lowdermilk Park

Lowdermilk Park Pond

Lowdermilk Park Pond

panther crossing

Denise

Denise

It’s really hard to believe that with all the stormy weather in the areas in which I’ve been riding I have remained relatively dry. I left early this morning in an effort to stay ahead of building storms, and enjoyed a fantastic ride south to the Naples area, east through the everglades, and finally north to Jupiter. I stayed on the interstate early, and then ventured off to north Naples and into Lowdermilk Park. It’s a beautiful setting providing a final view of the gulf from west Florida.

I took the older, slower highway 41 through the everglades rather the interstate to take in the local flavor. It’s a much better ride, with access to the Everglades National Park. I stopped by the Shark Valley Visitor Center at the north central are of the park, but just missed the tram that takes visitors to the tower viewing area. My ride plan for the day just didn’t allow time to wait for the next tram, or hike to the tower.

However, I did get a glimpse of yet another wildlife crossing sign. This one really got my attention!

I stopped in West Palm Beach to visit with a former colleague, Denise. We worked together at Basic American Foods from 1992 to 1997. It was great to share some old “war stories” and what each of us knew about some of the people with whom we had worked closely. Denise and her husband Tom have two teenagers, and seem to be doing very well. They are contemplating a move north to a better environment for high school. It is always good to catch up with a good friend.

West Palm Beach is a compact yet beautiful area. To the north, Riviera Beach is a bit tired and in need of redevelopment. My hotel, while quite adequate, is in a strange area lacking convenient access to restaurants, so I simply snacked tonight while watching a great NBA Finals game between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers…in spite of the fact that the wrong team won!

I hope you all had a relaxing weekend! Let’s make this next week a great one!

Route:                    I75S, Alico Rd W, Lee Rd S, Sanibel Blvd S, 41S “Tamiami Trail”, Banyan Blvd W, N Gulf Shore Blvd S, 5th St E, 41S, 821N, I595E, I95N, 704E, 1N

Miles Today:         306
Time Today:         9:15
Total Trip Miles:   4,611
Weather:               Partly cloudy low 80s to low 90s.
Lunch:                   E.R. Bradley’s
Lodging:                B/W Intercostal Inn
Dinner:                  Snacks

4 thoughts on “Ride the USA-Days 13-14: The Everglades

  1. Hey….happened upon this old (pun intended) friend…if you come back this way give me a shout. Lunch…Siobhan

  2. Hi Gordon,
    What a great ride this has turned into and what a great blog. My wife, Judy, has started reading it as well. If you hadn’t spent so much time being a CEO, you might have had a career as a writer. We were delighted to see that you included Venice, Florida on your itinerary. We have a winter home there and would have enjoyed seeing you had we not returned to Toronto the end of April. Like the goatee! Where is the grey coming from?
    All the best as you continue your ride,
    Don and Judy MacRae

  3. It was fun seeing a photo of Denise. So happy you were able to stop and see her. When we were in the Everglades (after a cruise) we went to a Panther Rescue Center and saw some of these marvelous creatures. It fascinated me to see them — exactly like the Pumas or Mountain Lions where we live EXCEPT they have webbed feet. Amazing!

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