November 30, 2005


Today is the last day of hurricane season. Thanks Christ.

Uh, Tropical Storm Epsilon? It's closing time. You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.

But that doesn't mean that the 26-storm season hasn't left us with some lovely parting gifts. Like a still-devastated South Florida (with apologies to a probably-will-be-devastated-for-another-generation New Orleans).

Side Salad cycling and Major League Baseball spring training correspondent Alan Snel took his annual 128-mile bicycle circumnavigation around Lake Okeechobee on Friday. He does this every year (you can read last year's story here).

He found an alarming amount of destruction compared to what he saw in 2004.


Hi everyone. Hope all is well. On Friday, I renewed a November tradition -- bicycling around Lake Okeechobee. It's a time of year when the weather cools in south-central Florida and there's still enough daylight to pedal some 120 miles around one of the most amazing lakes around.


It's old-time Florida. This is where local folks call their nutrient-rich, sugarcane-loving soil ``black gold.'' The Belle Glade welcome sign declares, ``Her Soil Is Her Fortune.'' It's stuff you never see in glossy brochures or TV shows or Disney commercials. This time around, I saw some bad damage inflicted by Hurricane Wilma in the small west Palm Beach County towns of Canal Point, Pahokee and Belle Glade.

A rowboat sitting in the middle of a bicycle trail bridge...

...piles of rubble mixed with trailer debris and tree limbs; BellSouth disaster phone trucks repairing lines after four weeks.


Photos show the beauty and distressed images of The Big Water.

We have a lot to be grateful this season.

Best, Al.

An update: Willie Drye filed this dispatch on the end of the hurricane season for National Geographic.

Posted by Jeff at November 30, 2005 08:07 AM

Al, I love that boat on a bridge photo.

Posted by: lynne at November 30, 2005 12:50 PM
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