Morning Roadcruising Advice

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mtratcliffe
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Joined: January 19th, 2014, 4:34 pm
Location: Springfield, VA

Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by mtratcliffe »

Hey everyone, I've got a quick question I'd like to have input on. On my drive up this Saturday to Manatee Springs State Park (Levy County, FL) for the Herp BBQ, I plan on making a short detour through a state forest for some mid-morning roadcruising. I'm targeting cruising between 8 and 9 AM, for no more than an hour (one-way route, no backtracking). That way I can be on the roads while the sun is out but the roads are still warming up from the night before. The habitat will be largely long-leaf pine forest.

Can anyone offer insight into the best hours for morning roadcruising in Florida summers? Is it at all productive, or even worth the effort? Should I just skip it and take a short hike through the woods instead?

Thanks for any advice. Regardless of how the morning goes, there will be plenty of roadcruising elsewhere late in the evening. I'm also going to snorkel the springs in hopes of turning up some turtles and snakes! It's also a great way to stay cool in this heat.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by BillMcGighan »

Best AM road cruising times can be variable based on temp, humidity, cloudiness, barometer rising or falling..... This is virtually useless info since you have to be out on the road at the almost unpredictable magic moments.

That said, a AM strategy that has worked for me in Florida, Mexico, Panama, AZ, west Texas, etc. was high speed driving on roads with good visibility surfaces, covering as much ground as possible, cruising good habitat, all in the window of time you have. It helps with a vehicle that reacts predictably to quick responses, braking and handling.

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mtratcliffe
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Location: Springfield, VA

Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by mtratcliffe »

BillMcGighan wrote:Best AM road cruising times can be variable based on temp, humidity, cloudiness, barometer rising or falling..... This is virtually useless info since you have to be out on the road at the almost unpredictable magic moments.

That said, a AM strategy that has worked for me in Florida, Mexico, Panama, AZ, west Texas, etc. was high speed driving on roads with good visibility surfaces, covering as much ground as possible, cruising good habitat, all in the window of time you have. It helps with a vehicle that reacts predictably to quick responses, braking and handling.
Thanks Bill! I will be driving on paved roads, and since I don't want to delay my arrival too long, I will likely drive at or just under the speed limit in order to cover ground. Summer mornings here are almost always clear, so conditions should be good for stopping and seeing snakes before it's too late.

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Noah M
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Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by Noah M »

I think you have a chance of seeing something. I've heard from others early AM summer cruising can be productive. I'm usually just too lazy to get up that early to try it. I would imagine, like most day cruising, you can go a bit faster than at night, and keep your eyes looking far down the road to give you plenty of stopping distance and time.

Jimi
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Joined: December 3rd, 2010, 12:06 pm

Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by Jimi »

I think a month or so ago would have been better but I'd say you have a decent chance of seeing something - even if just racers, ribbons, and green snakes. Bill's advice is great - in sum "survey a LOT of transect, and be ready to react quickly". Animals out in these conditions are mainly going to be peppy, if you swerve around them they'll probably book it.

June mornings between about 9 and 11 AM were my best situations in FL for encountering hognose, pine and coral snakes on dirt roads, which I'd cruise at about 30 mph. On pavement I reckon maybe 45-50 mph would be ideal unless you still have excellent vision and reflexes.

Is this Goethe you'll be traversing? There's some decent xeric uplands there, plus lots of ecotone with wetter flatwoods. The private-state margin on the east side is nice uplands. Pine snakes don't seem to mind pastureland at all.

Good hunting, safe driving.

Jimi

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mtratcliffe
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Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by mtratcliffe »

Jimi wrote:I think a month or so ago would have been better but I'd say you have a decent chance of seeing something - even if just racers, ribbons, and green snakes. Bill's advice is great - in sum "survey a LOT of transect, and be ready to react quickly". Animals out in these conditions are mainly going to be peppy, if you swerve around them they'll probably book it.

June mornings between about 9 and 11 AM were my best situations in FL for encountering hognose, pine and coral snakes on dirt roads, which I'd cruise at about 30 mph. On pavement I reckon maybe 45-50 mph would be ideal unless you still have excellent vision and reflexes.

Is this Goethe you'll be traversing? There's some decent xeric uplands there, plus lots of ecotone with wetter flatwoods. The private-state margin on the east side is nice uplands. Pine snakes don't seem to mind pastureland at all.

Good hunting, safe driving.

Jimi
It is Goethe! I'm familiar with the area as I was up there in March, but it was quite cool then and I didn't really have a chance to roadcruise once it warmed up. I also plan to cruise it on my way home the next day, and I may give myself more of a window for that session since I won't be in a rush to get anywhere. I think one segment I have planned runs along the pastureland, which is near where I camped. If I turn up anything at all, I'll be happy.

Thanks for the advice!

simus343
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Re: Morning Roadcruising Advice

Post by simus343 »

Morning this time of year, at least regionally for me, seems to work great. I'll be driving to work at about 11am-1p, and see fresh DOR kills from earlier that morning (still squishy and moist, not yet cooked from the sun/scavenged).

This month and late last month, morning DORs I have found have been Racers, Red Rat Snakes, Cottonmouths, Banded Water Snakes, Eastern Hognose Snakes, and Eastern Diamondbacks. Another one that I can always turn up in the morning if I'm driving through an area (state forest or middle of city) that has them is Eastern Glass Lizards.

Good luck and have fun at the BBQ!

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