Of Harrisburg we will not see more than narrow, paved streets which have now been taken over by dense, aggressive vegetation. In this corner are still the remains of what was once the Tom Gaskins’ Cypress Knee Museum, where the protruding roots of cypress trees as a natural sculpture were exhibited until about decade ago.
In the short initial stretch of State Road 29, while the rainy season lasts in the tropics, we’ll find submerged land and swampy areas where the silent and expectant swimming alligators are. On Highway 74, we’ll see endless fields where thousands of cattle roam the tall yellow grasses, shining with the sun and rain water, thus creating incredible contrasts and colors.
Looking north, a leafy forest mass along which numerous streams and creeks go by can be seen. This is Hall City, another ghost town of the early twentieth century. It had about 100 inhabitants and it was also connected to the railway line, but it disappeared in the 1920s.
At ten and a half miles we’ll arrive at the confluence where Tasmania Road begins. Now we’ll head northward into another section in which we will probably not see any people at all. No houses or evidence of off-road civilization and fences of cattle ranches.
Similarly, on the left we’ll have the Clay Slough and we’ll soon cross the Rainey Slough, a marshy and dark ecosystem where the soil remains largely flooded through the year, covered with roots of dead cypress trees pointing skyward.
The road is winding as it changes its name to County Road 731. However, the path is what guides us. First east and then north. Then we’ll get to what used to be Tasmania, currently with a handful of ramshackle houses and other wooden buildings left at the mercy of the elements. Until the 1930s it was a relatively prosperous community since had a couple of schools, a post office and a Trading Post where items of all kinds were exchanged.
The County Road 731 keeps going and in a short while we’ll get to Highlands County. Here the landscape begins to vary slightly with the appearance of some gigantic citrus groves and farm animals. The road turns to the east and we’ll begin to see small commercial establishments, churches and more vehicles and people. The stillness is enviable.
Also nearby is the home base of a famous Think Tank, one of many organizations involved, in one way or another, or for various reasons, to mark the fate of societies, economic trends or fads worldwide. It’s The Venus Project, with its motto: Beyond Politics, Poverty and War.
Later, on the same street, we’ll arrive at Venus, a tiny unincorporated community located shortly before the original town of Old Venus, now another ghost town where some houses still exist. It was originally named after the stream -Fisheating Creek-, Upper Fisheating Creek Settlement. The original town is located eastward, back at the US 27. Not much remains of the early settlement, except rubble and old bricks that remained after a fire destroyed the place years ago. As we move through the last stretch of the County Road 731 we will come to an end and we’ll head south and turn right on US Highway 27, which will take us to the starting point at exactly ten miles. However, we will enter Glades County again before the end.
Almost at the end of the journey we’ll arrive in Palmdale, which accommodates one of the most impressive tourist attractions in Florida since 1957: Gatorama, a place that houses thousands of alligators.
Now, all we have to do is get to the State Road 29 in Harrisburg to complete our ghostly journey. On our bike, we will at all times on the side of the road that has more influx of vehicles. In all the rest, despite the lack of special lanes, traffic will not be a problem.