Got back on the road today after spending 2 days in West Palm Beach with Kim and Jerry Hansen, former Sandpoint residents who now reside in Florida. Great time getting caught up with good friends. 80 mile ride today through South Central Florida. Currently in Clewiston Florida on the shores of Lake Okeechobee. Great sunsets and sunrises in West Palm Beach. South Central Florida is farm country...rode by miles and miles of Sugar Cane fields. The weather was great for the first 78 miles of the ride, albeit extremely hot and humid. The last two miles were a downpour which lasted for 1 and 1/2 hours with a lot of lightening and thunder. Fortunately, I only had to ride 2 miles in the rain and made it to where I'm staying before most of the lightening. Picture of a flooded field after the downpour.
Lake Okeechobee, also known as Florida's Inland Sea, is the largest freshwater lake in the state of Florida. It is the eighth largest natural freshwater lake among the 50 states of the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake (the largest being Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states. Lake Okeechobee covers 730 square miles, approximately half the size of the state of Rhode Island, and is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet. At its capacity, the lake holds 1 trillion US gallons of water and is the headwaters of the Everglades. The lake is enclosed by the 40 feet high, 100 feet wide Herbert Hoover Dike built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after a hurricane in 1928 breached an older dike, flooding surrounding communities and claiming at least 2,500 lives. When the built the dike they created a channel around the entire lake which is sometimes separated from the actual lake by islands as pictured above. There is a well-maintained paved pathway along the dike used by hikers and bicyclists. I had planned to ride the last 20+ miles of today's ride on the pathway on the dike today only to find it closed for construction. What a bummer!! I rode the entire pathway in 2008 and it ranks as one of my all time favorite rides.
Off to Ft. Meyers Florida tomorrow to a bike shop to get my front wheel checked out/replaced. It developed a "tick" about 50 miles into the ride today.