Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Motorcycle Ride to Solomon's Castle

We met some other motorcycle riders last Saturday and Patti and Fran told us about a neat ride to Ona, Florida, to Solomon's Castle.  We originally planned to ride with them to see the castle today, but they had unexpected visitors and had to beg off.  So I went on line last night and found an address and directions using MapQuest. I printed the directions, and about 10 a.m. this morning, we headed out under cloudy skies with the temperature hovering near 80, for the middle of Florida.
Most people think of Florida and see beaches, Disney World, Epcot Center, and the big cities of Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Naples and Miami.  However, the interior of the state is something entirely different.  Lots of cattle ranches, saw palmetto jungles, orange groves, tomato and sugar cane fields, and swampy ground.
This longhorn steer, like most cattle, has his own cattle egret.
The miles of orange groves mean lots of big trucks on the main roads filled with oranges.
That are hauled to this big orange juice facility
We ended up taking an extremely circuitous route to Solomon's Castle, because we missed our first turn onto County Rd 661, and found ourselves on 661A (definitely not the same road!) where we wandered around in a orange grove maze for quite a long ways.  We came to several dead ends before we finally popped out onto the real 661, still about 20 miles away from our destination.  Since we had gone about 95 miles, we were determined to find the castle, and suddenly, we saw a timeworn sign where we could barely make out the words "Solomon's Castle" and finally knew we were on the right track.
It's kind of hard to tell what it is constructed from because the entire exterior is sheathed in what looks like a heavy tinfoil.  All of the windows are lead glass, created by the owner over the years.  
We never took the castle tour because we are still planning to go back with our new motorcycle friends this coming weekend, and have saved ourselves for that.
Here is the article I found about it on line before we went:
Roadside America Story about Solomon's Castle which gives some more information about the owner and how it all came to be.