Monday, January 02, 2006

The Ride Into Town


Above: A pasture freshly plowed in preparation for watermelon planting.

The ride into town is about 15 miles. It's still a small town and it's where we go for most necessities like groceries, feed, etc. If we need big box items or want to see a movie, well, that's 45 miles east of here in the home of the Florida Gators. Mostly, we shop in our little town.

At the stop sign on my street, I have two choices for going into town. If I turn right, I will get to a major "guvmint" highway after a few miles and I can zip into town. Sixty-five miles per hour through the pines. It's quick and efficient. I use it when time is of the essence...which is often.

My favorite way is the left (don't read anything political into that you rascals). Turning left at that stop sign sends me into a maze of country roads, some paved, some limerock, some sand. It's slow, not just because of the posted limits, but because there's always something worth a tap on the brakes, a turn around, or pulling over and getting out.

Taking the slow route has given me huge snakes basking on a quiet dirt road, fox squirrels nibbling on pine cones, a herd of emus wandering about, a colony of retired astronomers hiding $10,000+ telescopes in nondescript barns, and once, a real life cattle drive.

The cattle drive was the best. On a quiet paved road that cuts through a large ranch, cattle were being moved from one pasture to another. The cattle were being worked by hat waving cowboys on horses, cowboys on atvs, and cattle dogs nipping at strays. It was a work of art.

While stopped in the midst of it, quietly cursing myself for not bringing the camera, a cowboy on horseback rode up. " Sorry, won't take long." he apologized. He had no idea how much I was enjoying the synchronicity of cow, horse, human, and dog. It was over way too soon.
You just never know what will pop up next.

After I post this, I have to go into town for a few grocery items. This is my last day off for the holidays. Tomorrow the ratrace begins anew.

That's tomorrow. Today is definitely a left turn day... Posted by Picasa


roger said...

it may not say anything about your politics that you take the left turn, but it says volumes about your humanity and free attention that you take "the road less traveled." the big, fast hiway is a tunnel from here to there, no room or time for stops or even slowing down.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks bud. On the other side of things, I'm usually looking for that middle of the road path.
Your highway description is right on.

Laura said...

I've never seen a real live cattle drive. That would be kinda cool!

I Wouldn't mind importing a herd of cattle down to St Petersburg to drive all the tourists off the roads... (g)

(btw, thanks for the link to my site in the post below!)

Floridacracker said...

We would sharpen their horns first of course...
Your welcome for the link, it was a fine essay.

Zanne said...

A friend of mine actually rode one of those Florida cattle drives a couple of years ago. It was many days if I remember correctly and they slept under the stars. She said it was one of the premier experiences of her lifetime. She was riding her spirit horse, a paint with markings revered by the Indians.

Gosh, I love visiting your Florida. It gives me hope that it's not all Disney-fied.

Deb said...

I'll take the left turn too, anytime! Your pictures and descriptions are so vivid.

Of course, I agree, I'm always looking for the middle of the road, but my spouse informed me tonight, "all there is in the middle of the road is dead armadillos". F-that, we don't even have armadillos here.

Floridacracker said...

Sometimes I feel like the "AntiDisney"...actually, I just wish they had stayed in CA.

In the middle of the road, one has to be prepared to duck...not jump up in fright like 'dillos do.
Hey, if you need some armadillos up there we could box up a few million...possom on the halfshell.

Hick said...

RULE NUMBER ONE: Always take your camera with you wherever you go!

This was a nice post. We are sometimes stopped by sheep crossings on some of the smaller country roads where the govmint roadbuilders have cut through a ranchers field. Politics aside, I like your left turn...road less traveled and all.

Floridacracker said...

Every time I break rule number one I am punished by something breathtaking or rare.