Country ramble - Garfield and Tango Travel the Long and Winding Road - CycleBlaze

February 15, 2022

Country ramble

Moore Haven bike ride #1

We had clouds and lots of wind when we woke up today, but still decided to do a ride in the afternoon after it had warmed up a bit. The morning was spent updating many days of the journal since I had gotten way behind. At least we have fast internet here so it was easy to upload all the pictures. 

Once that chore was completed, we drove to Clewiston to shop at the Walmart. It took 30 minutes to drive there, but it's the only grocery around this area. 

By the time we had stowed the groceries and ate some lunch, it was nearly 1 pm. Time to do a ride!

Since we had such a late start, Don found a shorter route we could do closer to the campground. We started out riding on Highway 27 for about a mile before turning onto a side road that went out into ranch country. The wind was really gusting out of the east by now but was still warm out, even with the clouds. 

I had thought we would be riding past sugar cane fields but instead found ourselves going through an area that reminded me of the hill country in Texas, if you took out the palms and Spanish moss. There were lots of cattle grazing in pastures that were dotted with oak trees. We spotted sand hill cranes, hawks, wood storks and smaller birds. 

It was pleasant riding and there were enough trees that they blocked much of the wind. There was alsp hardly any traffic and the road was smooth, so I was sad when it ended after about 7 miles when it intersected with Highway 78.

There was more traffic here but we fortunately had a shoulder. As we were now going west and more out in the open, the wind was stronger but it was at our backs so we picked up a bit of speed. 

This section of the ride had more cattle ranches, a landfill and 2 sand quarries. There were lots of small trucks going back and forth to the last 3 operations. 

We continued down the road for a few miles, stopping briefly at the Ortona cemetery where a historic marker caught our eye. It talked about the hurricane of 1928 that devastated this area with a 15-20 ft. high storm surge from Lake Okeechobee.  

Known as the Lake Okeechobee or San Felipe Segundo hurricane, the category 5 storm was the most deadly hurricane to ever strike the state of Florida. It came ashore in West Palm Beach and traveled west to the lake. Over 2500 people lost their lives.

This cemetery contains the unmarked graves of several hundred victims of the storm, many of which were migrant farm workers. Those killed in the 1926 hurricane that also hit this area are buried here as well. 

A little further down the road we reached the Ortona Indian Mounds Park. We pulled into the park, hoping to see something interesting like a mound or even an informational sign but other than a locked bathroom, there was hardly anything here. That was disappointing. 

I researched this park later and discovered that it was an important archeological site that was located on the remains of a village of the Ortona Indians. If we had walked the boardwalk, we would have come to some mounds - maybe 5 ft. tall.

Before this site was studied, many of the mounds were used as road fill and more were erased when the cemetery next door was created on top of the burial grounds.

As this was our end point, we turned around and headed back home following the same route. Now the strong wind was in our faces and although it was flat as a pancake here, we felt like we were climbing a hill. We were both relieved when we reached the side road and could get into the trees again. 

That took us back to the next highway and it wasn't long before we were back in the campground. Time for a glass of wine to toast our day! It's supposed to be a lot warmer and sunnier tomorrow, so we plan to find another ride to do. 

Hey - coconuts! I think this is a dwarf Malayan Coconut tree. Don cut one off the tree and managed to break it open. After he added some stevia sweetner to the milk, that tasted ok, but the meat itself wasn't very good.
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Wood storks are common in this area.
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This Phaelonopsis orchid is pretty but is not a wild flower. These "moth orchids" are found naturally in parts of SE Asian and Phillipines. The owner of this ranch likely "planted" it in this tree near their gate. It's an easy orchid to grow in your home and I've had several over the years.
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Sand Hill cranes are another common bird in this part of Florida. We couldn't seem to see them while in Arizona, but here they are here!
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Today's ride: 22 miles (35 km)
Total: 717 miles (1,154 km)

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