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A sweet place to ride

Honor system roadside stand
Honor system roadside stand
Tom Batchelor

Florida isn't well known for twisty roads and challenging switchbacks but there are a few places with quaint roads with fun places to see and stop. Taking some time to ride off the beaten path is always better than the alternative 4-lane or interstate. One cool area is Brooksville/Dade City. Here, quite a few neat-o back roads twist around the area and even a few hills here and there to make it interesting and really cool destinations. Here's one: Pickup Pasco Road off of Hwy 52 and head north. Then to Lake Lola, Bayhead Road to Bellamy Brothers Blvd. Keep heading north to Powell Road. Take Emerson Road north. Turn east on Mondon Hill Road. Turn onto Weatherly Road. Go to Croom Road and turn East again. Then head north again on Dempsey Road, through to Cyrano and onto Willow St. Then Danmar, Pine Hill and north on Daly Road. Head east on Lake Lindsey Road, north on Lingle, continue through on South Istachatta Road. Keep going and then when Thomas Road comes into view, slow down, Turn right on Thomas and stop. Immediately stop. Why? The best honey, marmalade and sweet jams this side of paradise and some fun roads to ride.

Or, just grab these GPS coordinates and meander around to them: 28°41'24.4"N 82°16'19.3"W. Might be a bit easier. Make it a day ride with friends, have lunch in Floral City while there.

Opossum Ridge Farm is located on Thomas Road, near the intersection of Istachatta. This small family-owned enterprise doesn't have a website. There is no store front. Hardly even a sign. What is there will put smiles inside the helmet. A wooden hutch of sorts, plopped roadside, with daily stocked jams, honey, marmalade with payment via the honor system. A wooden box with a slot is where money is stuffed -- or even a personal check -- and jars of the sweet stuff can be hauled off in saddlebags, tour packs, backpacks, anything. Remember to bring some towels or something to wrap the jars to protect them from damage; and if repeat trips are made, bring empties. There's even a box for them. Sorry, no return $ for the glass but they're worth the extra effort. Remember, this isn't a big operation. Why not help the folks out.

Items are 3-4 dollars each, with multiple purchase discounts.

Opossum Ridge is one of those Florida gems located way off the main thoroughfares. It's worth the trip. Buy enough Marmalade, though. It'll be gone super fast if it's shared.