A Florida Winter Evening Ride
I have come to truly enjoy my short evening rides. It is an opportunity to block everything out and just enjoy the moment. Tonight I went for a scenic ride up an abandoned railroad track in the forest. The mind begins to wonder. What did that same route look like when it was first built? This one was the lifeline to many communities, it also served the logging and mining industries . Now all the purpose it serves is as a get away for a lone biker trying to relieve some stress and enjoy a ride.
I next took the trails less traveled. (There is a poem about that I think.) No one was out this evening, leaving the back roads desolate for my own enjoyment. The wind was gusting, raising up swirling dust devils on the trail. I would blow through them hoping the other side was clear. As the sun began to set the forest took on a different character. The crisp air turned into a little more bite as I slipped down the trails at speed. The colors changed, bringing out a deeper hue of red and orange. The pine needles took on a dark brown tint. The evergreens began to drop into a darker shade of black.
It is about this time of day that I truly enjoy the show that nature puts on. It is this moment that the wildlife seem to appreciate as well. I slowed my speed down and started watching as the deer began to flash from tree to tree staying just ahead of me. Nature seems to come alive at this magic hour. As I am beginning to most appreciate the ride I realize that it is time to head home and meet other obligations. I turn the bike around and head home with the sun at my back lighting the rural road in front of me with that deep orange cast, my long shadow just ahead of me.
I have been meaning to get a picture of an abandoned mine check station and had just enough time to cross that off the list. Tagging it, I headed home wishing I had more time. As I entered my driveway I was greeted with one more sight from nature, about 15 turkeys were blocking my path. I stopped as I watched them one by one hop onto the horse pasture fence and strut away. I tried to get pictures of that as well, but came down with an ill timed case of the hiccups. Every photo either came out blurry or so off center that the turkeys weren’t in the shot. Oh well, maybe next time.
Abandoned rail bed runs through the old mines
Forest Trail 15 in Citrus Tract
Check station from an abandoned mine closed in the ’70s for Florida Rock Industries