Saturday, July 3, 2010

Winter Garden and Ocoee

Happy Birthday to my mother in-law!

Earlier I thought it was the 4th of July too. Funny how you lose track of days on vacation.

I had a few hours after lunch to get a ride in before the festivities. I'd kind of figured out a route last night. It probably wouldn't be as scenic but hey, what are you gonna do?

The sky was looking a little furious but I was heading north (to the left) and I hoped I could dodge it.

"No storm or heavy weather..."

 No Storm or Heavy Weather...

On the upside, it was like 75 degrees. A far cry from the 100+ days we've been having all week.

The route was flatter than the one I'd ridden earlier in the week, but there was a lot less traffic. The scenery was about the same. Orange groves, pine trees, a million tiny lakes. The lakes are funny though, you can't really see them. In Georgia, the lakes are all fake. Dammed-up streams. Here, they're real. No dams, no steep drop-offs, just depressions that filled up with water. Dense brush grows all the way around. Unless there happens to be some place that somebody uses to access the lake from the road, you could ride right by it without noticing.

Orange groves, and a band of gnarly clouds.

 Orange Groves

It wasn't long before the weather caught up with me.


I rode into and out of 3 different, localized storms.

But, when I reached Winter Garden, it was calm. The downtown area was cool.

Brick streets...

 Winter Garden Brick Streets

Restored buildings...

 Winter Garden Downtown

Cool fountain...

 Winter Garden Fountain

There are both a tri shop and a bike shop, in the same strip. I guess road riding is popular around here.

I headed east to Ocoee. The downtown there wasn't as cool as Winter Garden, but just outside of the downtown area was one of the billion central florida lakes...

 Starke Lake

more brick streets...

 Ocoee Brick Streets

a cool old building...

 Ocoee Old Building

and a cool old church.

 Ocoee Old Church

There was a soft shell turtle on the sidewalk.

 Soft Shell Turtle

I'd seen one the same size a few days earlier at the alligator farm. It's funny, I've been in Florida for a week, but I haven't seen much actual wild wildlife. I saw a turkey like last monday, and some birds here and there, but that's it. No snakes, no deer, no critters even. Maybe it's too hot or something.

The route I took back was a lot snakier than the one I took out. I took one turn that didn't seem right. The street name was right, but it seemed like I was heading back north, or at least west. Turned out I was right. Google's got the name wrong or something.

After a quick correction, I was headed home again.

Another random lake...

 Random Lake

After that, it was an uneventful ride home. When I got in, I took a shower, sang happy birthday and ate cake and ice cream.

Happy Birthday Toni!

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