Monday, December 23, 2013

Rainbow Ride ... Marion County Road 316

If you are looking for some pretty horse farm country to ride through, you could do worse than turning off of US 27 just outside of Williston and heading East on Marion County Road 316.

Be sure you wait for MARION COUNTY ROAD 316 if you are coming from Williston.
Just before you get to Marion County Road 316,  LEVY  COUNTY ROAD 316 pops up.
It is not the road you want for this adventure.

This millet field was growing and glowing along a side road that pulled us off task after riding through dozens of horse farms.

See,  ... we knew where we wanted to wind up and had no set route save for the initial horsey zone.
After that it was, " Well, this road is tiny and points in the general direction of our quest. Let's go for it."

Now, this ... THIS is the place we wanted to find.
And yes, we could have got there a lot quicker by sticking to the main roads, but that wasn't the point on this beautiful Florida autumn day.

We were looking for a place where bream float in crystal clear jungle pools.
Okay, a pretty tame "jungle". but still ... they are bream and they ARE floating.

Rainbow Springs State Park was our target.
It had been awhile since the last visit and we just wanted to check it out.
This trip was really more about the lazy ride in a topless JEEP than the destination.
It is a pretty nice destination though.

Rainbow strikes me as one of a shrinking group of Florida springs that still have that "gin-clear" cliche blueness.

Too many of our springs have clear, but green algae tinted water due to excess nitrates seeping into our groundwater supply.

After the springs, we hit a little restaurant on the Withalacoochee River. We had heard good things about the catfish there.
The food was okay.
I'm pretty sure, based on the thickness and (too) soft texture, that their "catfish" were imported "Swai" catfish.
Not the same as a good ol' American channel cat.

It's also the fish that in the past 10 years has devastated the US catfish aquaculture industry.
(I'm not going to go on a rant here, just Google Swai, or go to the story on NPR.)

It was a good ride and a good day, but it's always nice to come home to a good dog ... or two.


Miz S said...

I would love to see one of those clear blue springs before it's too late. Can you swim in them or are there 'gators lurking?

Pablo said...

Greenery! Topless driving! It's 4 degrees (F) here in KC.

Marilyn Kircus said...

Beautiful pictures and a great point of view. The journey should always be your focus. Heck, I go on journeys that don't even have a destination, but always try to have great experiences on my journeys to destinations.

Island Rider said...

Miz S, that is a fabulous swimming hole at the headwaters. Once you leave the state park, the entire river is great for swimming. Of course the occasional alligator does hide in the bushes but they have plenty of fish to eat so don't mess with the humans. This is my favorite place in the world. Worth a trip to Florida to experience even if you have to drive through Orlando to get there!

Floridacracker said...

Miz S,
What Cathy said, with the fine print warning to never trust a gator or shark and you are swimming with one or the other ... or both the moment you dive in, in Florida.

Warm and rainy today, promise of delicious cold weather tomorrow.

The road almost not taken and all that ... :)

I checked out that house ... looked awesome, but a weee bit pricey.

Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

I live pretty close to 316. It's a great road to bike or drive... I occasionally do the stretch between 441 and Ft. McCoy.

Wally Jones said...

That's a nice ride! Visited Rainbow Springs in November and it was just beautiful.

Floating bream are my second-favorite kind, the first being the ones on my plate.