This is it. It is meltdown friday. The jet lag and two full days finally catch up. We go out for a late breakfast, return and promptly fall asleep. One or two even sit outside by the cement pond overlooking the lake and scan the surface for alligators. The weather is definitely on the turn though still pretty cold.
In the evening we stir enough to go out for a treat at the Silver Spur Rodeo in Oceola County. This event has been a recurring favourite for some years. The evening is split between saddle and bare back bronco riding, tie down roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, horse riding demonstrations and bull riding. we sat behind the releasing pens for the broncos and the bulls. The power of these beasts should not be underestimated. They are frightening. One cowboy was sat on a docile bull and was clearly worried that the beast would not be violent enough for him to get a good score for the ride. He jumped on it, kicked it, whacked it and when the gate opened it very nearly killed the cowboy. The ride lasted barely a second and then the bull turned on him trapping him against the fence. The clown and the assistants saved him. Deaths are not uncommon.
The final event of the evening would have every health and safety expert in the UK having nightmares. Up to 100 children are let out on to the arena floor. In very short time six calves with tags on their tails are added to the mix. The children chase the calves all over the arena to grab the tags. Mayhem. No one seems to get hurt but......
We are all a little more up for it today though still a little chilled. So it is time for road trip before finishing the day at the Old Town Saturday Night Cruise in Kissimmee.
We head off up the 27from Davenport to Clermont and Minneola. These are small towns, approximately 100 years old given the dates on the town centre buildings. The town centre buildings are dated. But, this gives feel of an older America, more individual and very to different the current corporate developments. They towns are situated in the proximity of Lakes Minneola and Minnehaha. Both lakes are centres for all kinds of water sports and activity. We just circumnavigate them from the comfort of our vehicle. We call in at the Lakeridge Winery for a tour and a wine tasting. The wines are created from their own muscadine vineyards. At the end of the tour we were invited to a tasting session. For us, the wines were a little too heavy and sweet for our European taste. Still, it was a great experience.
We also take a drive through the Lake Louisa State Park and stop off for some board walking at the Lake side. The lake is habited by Alligators and it was fascinating to watch the cat and mouse game between a gator who wanted a meal and a couple of large terrapins who did not want to be it.
Hungry again by this time we dropped back into Clermont in search of food. Like many towns, the popular franchises are kept out. We find the cheesily named Cheesers Palace. The building is almost 90 years old tired with no discernable design theme. The burger-o-meter registered 9.5 for each of us, by far the highest score for trip.
Now for the highlight of the day. We leave Clermont and head off south in search of the 192 and Old Town. The cruise is now big growing from Friday and Saturday night to include Tuesday and Wednesday. On Cruise nights owners of fine (and not so fine) interesting cars park the up in the Old Town Parking lot for the public to view and chat to the owners. The evening concludes with the cruise on the streets where the punter can see and particularly listen to the cars which range from a V8 1956 Chevrolet Belair to an 1960 A series engined Mini Countryman.
The music is live 60s stuff with the accompaniment of three types of dancer. The 'Dad' dancers, Line dancers and those 70 year old dancing to the music of their youth complete with all the moves. Talking to folk is also a joy, whether it is to the car owners and restorers or to other visitors. One such was Roly a retired nickel miner from Ontario. His family had just escaped temperatures of -41 celcius.
A very good day.
Author: Peter Morris