Sunday, October 6 – Amelia Island to Bradenton – 274 miles
Another beautiful day for moto travel, although it got pretty hot as the day wore on. Bradenton is my overnight destination today, located on Florida’s west coast just south of Tampa. So I will be cutting across the state, east to west, through the north central Florida interior. This area is known as “Old Florida”, with it’s beautiful countryside, forests, and horse farms. I pass through small towns – Baldwin, Lawtey (speed trap capital of FL.), Starke, Ocala.
My sightsee stop today is Dade Battlefield State Park just outside of Dade City. A battle here between the U.S. Army under General Dade and the Seminole Indians sparked the Seminole Indian Wars in 1835. All but two soldiers under Dade’s command were killed, including General Dade himself. President Andrew Jackson sent the U.S. Army into Florida (at the time a Spanish colony), as “protection” in the event of a Spanish attack on the U.S. In reality, the goal was to displace the natives to make room for American settlers, which led to the battle here. Two subsequent battles eventualy led to the internment and shipment of all Seminoles to Oklahoma. A sad, but very interesting informative video tells of the state of affairs at the time.
Moving on through Dade City, I stop for lunch, then continue southwest on my final leg to Bradenton. I arrive at my hotel by mid-afternoon, unpack the bike, and take a relaxing and refreshing swim in the pool. Tomorrow I head southeast through the Florida backcountry and the reason for this trip – the Florida Keys!
Next up: A morning storm; Lunch for a Florida Panther?; Gatlinburg of the Everglades.