Saturday, March 14, 2009

Returning To Scenic Highway 17 In Polk County

Today I renewed one of the great rides of Florida -- probably the best ride that not too many people know about.

It's the Scenic Highway/State Road 17 ride along the north-south Lake Wales Ridge through the backbone of Polk County in the center of the state. Two years ago, I wrote a Travel section story about Scenic Highway 17 for the Sun-Sentinel.

Yes, there's a "ridge" running north-south down the middle of the Florida peninsula, complete with rolly hills. US 27 runs north-south down the ridge but it's this back road of SR 17 about a few miles parallel to the east that is more scenic.

I started in Dundee and went south to Frostproof.

You can get a sense of the rolling hills on the Scenic Road.

In the Lake of the Hills, I found a great place for . . .

bikers at Fuzzy's bar.

In Lake Wales, there was an "international dance" festival in downtown, which consisted of a few tents and middle-aged women wearing belly-dancing outfits. Here's a nice mother-daughter combo at the international dance festival.

These dancers were a bit on the stiff side.

The hardware store in downtown Lake Wales is a throwback.

I'm sad to hear some old newspapers like the Rocky Mountain News has closed, but it was good to see the Lake Wales News is still kicking.

Between Lake Wales and Frostproof is Babson Park, a small place that has an audobon center.

I biked to just south of Frostproof, then turned around and headed north.

Cracker cowboy murals on the wall in downtown Frostproof.

In Frostproof, I enjoyed this mural. Hope PETA doesn't see the chicken-fighting part.

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