Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30, 2010 – Day 25 Palatka, FL - Stickyfrog’s stompin’ grounds

The Clewiston Best Western turned out to be one of the best places I’ve stayed at on this trip at any price. I highly recommend them if you’re ever in the area. Breakfast their way is more than flakes & coffee, they put on a spread that should satisfy anyone’s appetite.

My run today began on highway 27-North as I headed towards my destination of Palatka to meet a friend. For awhile it looked like sunshine might be the order of the day but as I rode on I couldn’t help noticing the cloudy skies were starting to darken in places. Rain was surely on the menu.

At least the ride along Lake Okeechobee was sunny and scenic and traffic was sparse. There’s a lot to be said for riding routes a bit out of the way; the solitude allows you time for reflection which I value greatly. I also sing at the top of my lungs which the roadside cattle sometimes find disturbing.

Getting through Sebring was the only part that I didn’t care for, it’s a big town and the stop lights are set so it’s impossible to maintain a constant speed and make green lights. The net result is everyone takes off really fast and then they all have to brake hard at the next light. This cycle repeats itself over and over until finally you’re out of town and once again on the road. Whoever set their system up must have been a very nasty person with a sick sense of humor.

Besides riding through some challenging places like that I also managed to get myself onto one of Florida’s Turnpikes, the one that rolls past Disney World. At least the traffic was light and the pace was rapid so that part was OK.

I’m not actually sure how I got on the damn thing but it let me off at Eustis where I started on highway 19 heading north again.

One of the small towns, Umatilla, had some interesting older houses. I was particularly taken by one with an unusual roof design which was made of metal sheets that had a green patina. Or maybe a really bad paint job. The people were running a taxidermy business in a building behind it but it didn’t look very active. Could be the wrong time of year for it?
After that it was a pleasant run through the Jupiter Prairie Wilderness area. Traffic was nearly non-existent and I had plenty of time to stop for photos or just to gawk at the greenery along the way. I noticed there were a number of private clubs, most likely for hunting.

Rain showed up early on but I didn’t don the Frogg Toggs and it paid off, the drizzle stopped in just a few minutes and actually provided a refreshing relief to the humid heat. Then further on in the Salt Springs area it began again in earnest so I stopped and geared up. Just as I was finishing another rider pulled in to seek a bit of shelter under the trees. He’d just come from Palatka and said it wasn’t raining there but thought it might be wise to stay suited up for awhile. I agreed and did so which proved to be right, the rain continued right into town.
Hey, I can handle rain..I can see right through it...

I was supposed to meet my friend John aka “Stickyfrog” at a place called Corky Bells and it was easy to find, right along the highway. John showed up not long after I arrived and we had a couple of beers; then he had to finish a quick task he was working on at his office.
Beer Buddies...

I still had to check into a motel and at his suggestion the Quality Inn & Suites located right on the river was easy to find and I went with them. They gave me a room with a view in their annex and it’s decent enough so I settled in.

John and I met again later for dinner at Florida’s oldest burger joint; Angel’s Diner located just a couple of blocks from my motel. The waitress told us it’s been in business for 78 years, even longer than I’ve been around. Fancy that. The burgers were good and so were the freshly made onion rings, just what my girlish figure needs. I noticed several unusual items on the menu board, frog legs for instance is not something you see in my part of the country. Yummy…
So what'l you have? The frog legs?
Frog legs? Uh, nah...not tonight
We ate and then talked scooters and bikes for awhile, and then it was time for him to head to his home, another 20 miles away. John being a gentleman picked up the tab while I coughed and looked skyward, then we said our goodbyes.

Its great being able to meet some of the people you’ve only known through the Internet and this was one of those times. I hope to see John and his wife at our place some day; I told him dinner would be on me next time. Frog legs.

Tomorrow if I’m in luck, I’ll see about having Green Girl’s 6000 mile service done. John told me about Power Sports, a Kawasaki dealer located in St. Augustine so I’ll try there to see if I can get in.

No comments:

Post a Comment