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7/14/2005

Culture > Feature

Sports and Recreation
Writers' and Readers' Picks

 

BEST AREA MOTORCYCLE ROAD
County Road 419, Osceola County

If you ride, you know: There ain't shit for motorcycle roads in this part of the country. Great motorcycle roads are, first and foremost, curvy. They take you on a roller coaster ride up hill and down dale, finally depositing you in small towns so far off the beaten track that you don't have a prayer of your cell phone working. You're lucky if you can find gas.

Florida roads have none of these characteristics. Flat, straight, featureless and crammed full of people who should be decomposing, not driving, most roads around here are more of an endurance test than a pleasure.

But there is one road I found, quite by accident, that typifies the best Central Florida has to offer: County Road 419, between State Road 192/441 and County Road 532, in Osceola County. It's straight, but this is Florida. What makes this road so great is that it bisects the mind-bogglingly enormous Deseret Ranch, the largest private land holding east of the Mississippi River.

Owned and operated by the Mormons, the Deseret Ranch is so big it surrounds you on all sides, as far as the eye can see, as you zip along this string of two-lane blacktop heaven. CR 419 is about 10 miles long, end to end, and on a recent Sunday morning I passed exactly two cars and about 6,000 cows. Blissful.

There are a couple of curves, some shady glens and a creek to be crossed. There's no shoulder for a good part of the way; waist-high grass grows right up to the side of the tarmac, lending an even more rural feel to the ride. Squint a bit and you'll easily be able to convince yourself you're on a farm road deep in uncharted Montana, at the foothill of the mountains. OK, stop squinting now, you need to watch the road.

— Bob Whitby

BEST PLACE TO SHOOT POOL
Spatz Deli & Billiard Liquor

1025 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park,
(407) 647-3354

Duh. You walk in to loud music, a smoky atmosphere and booze being poured everywhere around you. Which is just as a real pool hall should be. Not too pretty, not too dirty, but the perfect medium. You don't tinker with greatness.

— Jeffrey C. Billman

READER'S PICKS

Best place to shoot pool
Sportstown Billiards

2414 E. Robinson St., (407) 894-6258

Best place to bowl
Boardwalk Bowl

10749 E. Colonial Drive, (407) 384-0003

Best local sports team
Orlando Predators

302 S. Graham Ave., (407) 648-4444

Best place to work out
LA Fitness

1540 State Road 436, Casselberry,
(407) 388-2258

Best beach
Cocoa Beach

Best public golf course
Dubsdread Golf Course

549 W. Par St., (407) 246-2551

Best miniature-golf course
Congo River Golf & Exploration Company

Multiple locations

Best place to skateboard
Vans Skatepark

5220 International Drive, (407) 351-3881

Best river to canoe/kayak
Wekiva River

Best place to bike
West Orange Trail

Best city park
Lake Eola Park

Downtown Orlando

Best place to camp
Wekiwa Springs State Park

1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka,
(407) 884-4311

Best place to walk dogs
Lake Eola Park

Downtown Orlando

Best theme park
Islands of Adventure

Universal Orlando, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, (407) 363-8000

Best theme-park ride
Incredible Hulk Coaster

Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza,
(407) 363-8000

Best water park
Wet 'n Wild

6200 International Drive, (407) 351-1800

Best paintball
Orlando Paintball

7215 Rose Ave.,
(407) 294-0694

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