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Two and a Half Mile Radius

Most mornings I ride my bike for five miles, occasionally stretching it to six. In our part of Orlando, about four miles from downtown, there is a wild variety of neighborhoods, mansions and trailer parks alike.

There are loads of things I do pretty much the same way each day beginning first thing after waking up--put the kettle onto boil, have a small glass of orange juice, feed Baxter, and with my new scheme, empty the drainer while waiting for the water to come to a boil for my tea. But when it comes to my bike ride, every day is different. Sure, I could set up a route, but where's the fun in that?

Some days it's the mansions, some days it's the lesser neighborhoods. I like to think of Orlando as a bike wheel--just like most large metropolitan areas, it begins in downtown with the spokes radiating out from there. Our street was developed in the late 1950's, specifically our home was built in 1960, one of the first on our street. No two homes are the same, and that goes for everything within reach of my bicycle ride. Not a cookie cutter home in sight.

Last week I turned left out of our neighborhood, traveled East on Pershing, made a left on Ferncreek following it to Lake Conway. From there I rode down Waterwitch, continuing through into a beautiful neighborhood called Harbor Island. For once, the developers didn't make it up. Situated between Lake Gatlin and Lake Conway, the few streets are lined with not only huge oak trees, but spectacular homes.
If you can imagine, before Hurricane Charley, there were even more trees! In the aftermath of that storm, the streets were criss-crossed with downed gigantic oak trees making it nearly impossible for the residents to get around. The shade is still spectacular for an early morning bike ride, while the scenery is just as inviting.
I followed Harbor Island Road out to Orange Avenue after crossing the little bridge between the lakes.
This is such a typical Florida scene, one I've seen countless times, but I happen to know there are a couple of folks in England who read this blog, so this one is for you!

A little more than a mile away in the other direction, across the street from our neighborhood shopping center, is a trailer park.  Although I've seen it a gazillion times before turning into the Publix parking lot, it was only a few days ago that I ventured into the park. Oh my! From the street it looks kind of sketchy, riding through it, even more so. I wonder just how long it has been there? From the looks of it, maybe it is as old as my home.
It is much larger than I'd realized with loads of trailers that look like the one above. Just think for a moment--at one time lives were lived out here. There are quite a number of empty trailers, and there are quite a number of cats roaming around.
To be honest with you, it was kind of spooky in there under the big trees, cats everywhere you looked, and abandoned trailers on every street. Needless to say, I rode through and out just as fast as I could pedal! Across the side street are some duplexes, one of which had what looked to be about a whole household of stuff by the curb. People are sure strange aren't they? I mean, really, what did they think would happen with all that stuff? Oddly enough, I took this photo of one piece of furniture just as I found it.
The little buttons on the the table are tiny hearts.......

This morning, after waking up early in the midst of a dream about, of all things, Madonna, I rode before the sun rose, this time heading straight down Pershing into a neighborhood on the other side of Bumby. Those homes look pretty much like ours, oldish, no two alike, and generally pretty neat and tidy, a big improvement over the trailer park! The air was slightly cooler after a "monster" storm last evening, as in nearly three inches of rain in about two hours! We needed it after about five consecutive days without. I love the color of the sky when a storm is coming in the afternoon, a deep, indigo fills the sky, like this one over our home.
The sun is still shining from the West in this photograph, but before long all you will see is sheets of rain when the sky looks like this one.

Well, I'm off for a day of bridge--both learning and playing. Hope you can make time for a little fun in your day!
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