Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Florida's Outback

The Circle-O Ranch (Click photo to enlarge.)

Spent a wonderful long weekend in south central Florida at the Circle-O, a citrus ranch owned by my next-door neighbors' family. The majority of the drive down (about 12 hours) and the first full day there, the rain came down in blinding sheets, which made driving difficult and tedious—though it didn't stop us from grabbing a handful of geocaches. Happily, the next couple of days turned out warm, sunny, and pleasant, though we had an almost unsettling, rip-roaring wind coming through for hours on end. The house is surrounded by several hundred acres of citrus groves and pure wilderness, a.k.a. "the Outback," where you can find wildlife in abundance, including gators, armadillos, deer, otters, snakes, a variety of birds, and spiders as big as Kansas (I happened upon one as soon as we arrived; they're kind of hard to miss). There's also plenty of moo cows wandering the range—including a big old dead one right at the entrance to the Outback, although admittedly, this one didn't so much wander as lie around assaulting the olfactories.

During the rainy spell, we stayed indoors and watched movies, such as Sherlock Holmes, Exorcist: Dominion, and Rob Zombie's Halloween II, but once the sun came out, we spent the majority of our time on four-wheel ATVs, exploring the Outback, avoiding armadillos, and staring down moo cows. In between trips (which included several exceedingly cool nighttime excursions), we drove into Fort Pierce for some caching and a fine lunch at the marina. Also got in a spot of fishing, guitar playing, and campfire-building, all of which provided some very welcome relaxation.

Of course, the relaxation is done, and it's back to the salt mines, a portion of which has included working on income taxes today.

I hates me some taxes.

Anyhoo, the Circle-O has quickly become one of my favorite places on Earth, and I hope to get the chance to go back. Mini tanks to my young neighbors, the Workmans, for providing me the opportunity for such a rocking, relaxing vacation.

The front yard (Click photo to enlarge.)

Riding through the Outback (Click photo to enlarge.)

The hidden cypress grove (Click photo to enlarge.)

Paul wanted to ride where the bull was standing. The bull was standing
exactly where he wanted to. We ended up going around.
(Click photo to enlarge.)

Sunset over the outback (Click photo to enlarge.)

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

Growing up on the GA/FL border and having family with lots of property down there, I got sick of the place and stayed away for years. Now, there's not much that Carole and I enjoy more than going on vacation in Florida. We spend most of our time going to the various first and second magnitude springs to snorkel the springs and kayak the spring runs. We're slowly knocking them off, generally two or three per trip.

That ranch looks like tons o' fun. One thing about Florida is that its' packed cheek by jowl with wildlife. In fact, per square foot I see more wildlife in Florida wild lands than I do anywhere else that I travel.