The next day we all took a tour to the Deseret Ranch in Florida. It was interesting to see how they ranch in a different part of the country.
Currently Deseret uses a three-way rotational breeding program using Angus, Brahman, Simmental, Red Polled and South Devon cattle. I could probably do an entire blog about the Ranch and compare them and us. But I will save that for another time.
The Ranch maintains a herd of approximately 42,500 cows and is divided into 14 management units. The average unit runs approximately 3,100 cows. At Deseret, a single cowboy typically manages about 1,200 cows. The cows on each unit are further divided into smaller herds, and each herd rotates among several pastures to promote pasture health and optimize cattle performance.
They also have a large citrus farm that we got to visit. We tasted some of their juice oranges. They were delicious, but quite messy.
The oranges are actually picked by hand, put in the barrels and moved along by the big trucks.
The Old Seven Mile Bridge is not only spectacularly scenic, it also brings you as close as you can to experiencing Henry Flagler’s historic “railroad that went to sea.” The bridge, an engineering marvel of its day, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are two bridges in this location. The older bridge, originally known as the Knights Key-Pigeon Key-Moser Channel-Pacet Channel Bridge, was constructed from 1909 to 1912 under the direction of Henry Flagler as part of the Florida East Coast Railway's Key West Extension, also known as the Overseas Railroad.
After the railroad sustained considerable damage due to effects of the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935, the line was sold to the United States Federal Government, who subsequently refurbished Seven Mile Bridge for automobile use. Dismantled trackage was recycled, painted white, and used as guardrails. It had a swing span that opened to allow passage of boat traffic, near where the bridge crosses Pigeon Key, a small island where a work camp for Flagler's railroad was located. Hurricane Donna in 1960 caused further damage.
The current road bridge was constructed from 1978 to 1982. The vast majority of the original bridge still exists. As of 2015, the 2.2 mile section to Pigeon Key is open to pedestrians and bicyclists.
The highlight for me here was jet skiing on the ocean. We went on a tour that took us around the Southern most point and into the Gulf of Mexico. I even learned to drive the thing and it was so much fun. I may have scared Dave just a little a time or two while I was driving.
Thank you to our dear friends for helping to make this a wonderful and memorable trip.