In three miles we’ll get to Brownville, one of the few settlements of this route where a small sign will appear on the right side of the road announcing its name. A brick building on the opposite side is perhaps the tallest one in the whole area. With only two floors and almost one hundred years since it was built, the local school has seen silently how the town has remained unchanged for decades. Currently the area is still inhabited by the descendants of the pioneers who came to this land a century and a half ago, surnames that name countless streets throughout the region.
Buchanan and other inhabited spots from now on are to be found on maps and other sources because, despite being inhabited, albeit rarely, they appear as ghost towns and are not even marked on the roadside. This one specifically is located two and a half miles north of Charlie Apopka Creek. The new name was adopted in honor of John Buchanan, the manager of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in the area. Nearby we’ll find the great Peace River Ranch, which was owned by Ben Hill Griffin Jr., a prominent politician and Floridian philanthropist who became president of the Atlantic Land and Improvement Company (ALICO) a subsidiary precisely of the Atlantic Coast Line which even today is dedicated mainly to livestock and agriculture.
The landscape remains almost unchanged and it occasionally shows buildings of other times and at times, if it weren’t for the more recent car models, it’d seem as if we had traveled back a handful of decades. Three miles exactly on US 17, State Road 35 in the Sunshine State, we’ll get to Moffitt.
At this very moment we’ll leave for quite some time the main road going right on Moffitt Road and we’ll go further deep into the pastures and plantations. Many of the streets that we’ll cross will be made out of land and fencing wire and wooden posts. To the left, we’ll see countless greenhouses. The names on these paths or tracks are usually those of the first settlers. Then we’ll turn north, merging with the Sasser Road where the pavement ends momentarily. At the end of this section we will head east and immediately left at the Merle Langford Rd, returning again to the asphalt. Other roads that we will pass by among orange groves are the SR 66, Steve Robert Special, Lonnie Shackelford, Broadus Williams Rd, Jack Smith, Ramon Petteway or Mel Bryan. The peninsula is, after Brazil, the second largest producer of oranges.
Returning to our route, we will continue on State Road 64 for a little less than two miles, to get to Griffin’s Corner, where we’ll merge with the Griffin Road. At this point we’ll go back on the same roads to Sasser Road and Moffit Rd, but this time we’ll move eastward instead of going to the US 17.
At the Dallas McClellan Rd we’ll turn right as the tarmac appears once again. This one is headed south even before ending up into the Sweetwater Rd, it arches westwards and then sharply continues south. Later we will go to the left, passing on top of the Charlie Apopka Creek and into Sweetwater. Now, we will go south on the Crewsville Rd but half a mile later, it detours and we’ll continue straight along the Fish Branch Rd, which again becomes a dusty gravel track. It’ll meander as we cross the Branch Fish creek, then we begin to look for US 17 by Gardner. From this point, we’ll return to Cubitis to end our tour. As for the bicycle route, it’s not a very difficult one, and at all times there’ll be a broad shoulder for us to ride. In other areas outside the US 17, traffic will be practically nonexistent.
Read Patrick Dwyer’s “Be prepared to self-rescue from danger while SUPing”