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Old 07-13-2014, 07:42 AM   #1
Ginger Beard OP
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Location: Sunny Northern Cuba (aka: South Florida)
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5 Day escape from Flatistan

It's hotter than hell here but worse....It's flat and straight for the most part!! A couple of weeks ago my buddy Victor and I decided that we had enough of South Florida and made the decision to escape it with extreme prejudice!!

Okay, okay. So it wasn't in a hail of bullets or anything but we did battle heat , rain and a 731 mile "day 1" !!!


As well, in classic "me" fashion, I didn't take very many pics.


Met Victor at the fire station where he works. It's about 100 miles form my house to the station's front door so I began my morning at 6 a.m.


My bike at the station while I wait for Victor to get off shift. The mighty Sportster.




All geared up and we are ready to beat feet at 0800 !! Victor and the unstoppable FZ1!




Victor and I had a talk before we departed about where to go...You see, we had no real plan other than "By the end of the day I want to lay my head down somewhere in Georgia!". Boy were we in for a surprise as to just how far we would wind up riding.

Our first stop would be just south of Tampa FL. We fueled up , hopped on the bikes , hit the starters ....My bike fired to life. The FZ1? Nothin'!!! Turns out the new Iphone charger that Victor had installed decided to kill the battery...Ever push started a fully loaded FZ1 while wearing full gear and in 92 degree heat with 90% humidity? I have!! No pics but trust me when I say that I was far pinker than normal.

Stop two was a fuel and snack break just north of Ocala FL. It was ...ummmm...HOT!!!




Still, we were both happy to be on bikes and even more happy knowing that we would remain on them for the next 5 days....

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Ginger Beard screwed with this post 07-15-2014 at 06:01 AM
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Old 07-13-2014, 08:55 AM   #2
Weldman
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I've spent some time in Ocala when my brother lived there. It is tooooo hot for me in the summer!

That's a long-ass day ride! What fairing/screen is that and how does it do?
Pretty well I'd guess if you got that far ...
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:30 AM   #3
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Hey Weldman,

It's definitely hot during the summer. We got into the habit of wetting our under layer. A practice that I learned years ago growing up in this climate.

Not going to lie...Day 1 was brutal. We were on the bikes from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with only a few 10-15 min breaks. I had an additional 1.5 hours on top of that as well as an extra 120 miles. Where's my damn plaque?!!!

The Fairing is a Maier Plastics sport fairing with a windshield extension. It works great and after a few different extension designs , I found one that has zero buffeting under 85mph. I have done 600+ mile days without any wind protection and it just plain sucks!
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Blasting down US27 in order to GTFO of Florida...We were trying desperately to entertain ourselves.




My view for the next 2,113 miles.



We got turned around just south west of Alachua FL. I had just picked up a Garmin Montana before this ride and was still familiarizing myself with it. This would not be the last time that I got us lost on day 1.


Did I mention the heat? That ain't brownie mix there...That's molten black top!!

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Old 07-13-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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I've done about 400 miles without a windscreen. It just wears me out. I usually have to crash and nap for an hour or so before I can enjoy my destination, heh.

I'm running a Dart flyscreen myself right now and it works better than nothing. I never could find a screen that didn't buffet badly before this minimal Dart (I'm tall).

Keep postin on your trip!
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Originally Posted by Ginger Beard View Post
Hey Weldman,

It's definitely hot during the summer. We got into the habit of wetting our under layer. A practice that I learned years ago growing up in this climate.

Not going to lie...Day 1 was brutal. We were on the bikes from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with only a few 10-15 min breaks. I had an additional 1.5 hours on top of that as well as an extra 120 miles. Where's my damn plaque?!!!

The Fairing is a Maier Plastics sport fairing with a windshield extension. It works great and after a few different extension designs , I found one that has zero buffeting under 85mph. I have done 600+ mile days without any wind protection and it just plain sucks!
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:59 AM   #6
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Once we were in the northern end of Florida (approaching the panhandle) we made the decision to get off of the major highways and stcik to back roads. We passed through several small north FL towns. My favorite area in Florida due to the fact that the towns still look like you would imagine small town USA to look.


Sitting at a red light I look over at Victor...

Victor: "Did we just go back in time?"

Me: "Welcome back to America!"

It truly is surreal. I have noticed throughout my travels that outside of the big city it seems that different cultures, races , etc seem to be far more willing to converse with one another. Sure, there is hate and bigotry everywhere but for the most part what you tend to see are welcoming faces, genuine smiles and honest curiosity about who other people are. It's part of why I love this type of travel...It's raw. You have no choice but to interact. the sterility that comes with driving a cage vanishes and there you are, right there , immersed in life!


Not my pics but High Springs is one such town..



Another is the town of Live Oak..




The last FL town that we would pass through would be Madison. After that it was time to cross the border into GA!! If you look closely you will notice the definitive line between FL's road maintenance and that of GA. Many parts of this ride would make me grateful that I dropped the coin to upgrade my suspenders with rigs from Works Performance... They have paid for themselves ten fold over the years.




We were exited to be out of FL!!!

GA's chamber of commerce gave Victor this nifty helmet decoration!

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Old 07-14-2014, 06:41 AM   #7
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About and hour into GA the rain gods decided that they had enough of our dry weather shenanigans and opened the skies up on us. We would continue to ride in and out of the rain until about 8 p.m. Victor and I were going to try and make it to Newnan GA to meet up with another ADV inmate but it just wasn't in the cards...We were wet, we were tired and we just wanted to find a dry place to crash. Looking at the GPS we could see that it was about 50 miles to the nearest hotel in every direction. We opted to head west away from the big storms. Originally we wanted to camp but between the fact that it was suppose to rain all night and the shadows were growing quite long in the tooth, we hauled ass to Columbus GA which is right on the GA-AL border.


After getting us lost a couple of times while looking for a cheap hotel, we finally rolled into the Best Western around 9:45....Over 700 miles just to get a hotel room in what could be best described as a ghettoish setting complete with a biker gang that decided they would ride through the parking lot at 1-2-&3 a.m. all the while revving the shit out of their straight piped baggers....Thankfully they were blasting shitty hip hop to try and drown out the sound of their bikes!!


Before we passed out, we went across the street to a "Mexican" restaurant. We ordered beer...They were out! So we ordered some week sauce margaritas and some food (I am using that term very loosely). If you guys have never had Chef Boyardee raviolis smothered in pizza sauce and nacho cheeze' sauce well then....I highly recommend not trying it! We choked it down because we were starving and tired, headed back to the hotel and passed out.

Pic of the camping gear that wouldn't see any use on this trip...




Having a laugh about it all as we get ready for some long overdue sleep..



Day one has come to a close.
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Old 07-14-2014, 05:29 PM   #8
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Nothing puts me to sleep as well as a good long, hot ride. Well, almost nothing. Something about the long intake of fresh air, and the sensory overload of the ride just sets me up for some heavy zzzzzzs.

Nice place ya'll found, heh. But it beat camping in the rain ...
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:04 AM   #9
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I know what you mean man. Tougher to do when you think that your bike might get jacked and every hour on the hour some douche nozzle go blowing past, revving the shit out of his 150db bike as though the clutch won't engage!
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:21 AM   #10
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Day two

Day two started off fairly early. We were up around 6:30 and hit the continental breakfast bar for some coffee. When we got back to the room to start loading the bike, we found these two youngsters excitedly running around the bikes. Cute kids. They were on a trip with their mom and asked if they could sit on the bikes. I told them that it was fine with me but they had to get their moms permission. The mom, who was standing right next to me agreed so I helped them onto the bikes so that their mom could snap a few pics. I asked their mom for permission to take a pic of the kids with the bikes. One decided that he liked the FZ best and the other chose the Sportster (this kid got the good genetics...).





The smarter son...




After loading the bikes and heading to checkout, I had a quick conversation with the clerk. She sceptically asked if I was a member of "the bike gang" . I replied "No but if I say yes do I get a discount?" . She laughed and said "NooooOO!". I got the impression that the locals didn't think too highly of these cats.

We checked out and headed over to the best freakin' breakfast restaurant in the south...WAFFLE HOUSE!!!

I'm 5' 10" and 175lbs but I'll be damned if their isn't a fat kid in me just dieing to get out!!


I ordered the All Star!!



Apparently the bikers run this town. Waffle House was packed with members of the gang. There were literally bike gang members at every establishment that we went to in Columbus. As annoying as their bikes were to listen to, the bikers were all pretty polite to us and the staff while we were there. Even watched one member stop and hold the door for an elderly couple and a couple of other patrons.

Bellies full and deuces dropped, we hit the road.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:02 AM   #11
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The morning started out hot and humid. West central GA seems to have the same climate as South FL this time of year. Luckily my boots were still wet from the day before so my feet were nice and cool. We wanted to make it to TN by nightfall which is about 250 miles from Columbus so we chose to stick to back roads and small highways. Finally an actual day of enjoyable riding....FU interstate travel!!


Our first stop was the small town of Greeneville GA for a snack and water break. We had been enjoying the sedate pace and beautiful little towns as well as the winding back roads so much that this would be the first of very few road pics for the day.


Victor making sure that I'm not about to be run down by local traffic.



The Court House in the towns center.




Us. Note my cruiser face!




From here we wondered the back roads and virtually unoccupied highway while simply enjoying the scenery and the smell of fresh air. We ain't in the city no more folks!!


We stopped for gas in Tallapoosa GA. I'm pretty sure that everyone in this town owns a bike of some sort. We pulled into the shade to hydrate while watching the constant parade of bikes go by. It made me smile...I can't imagine life being any better than this.



About ten minutes out of Tallapoosa we would hit our first storm of the day.. We would do the in and out of rain gear dance for the rest of the day so pictures are scarce but the joy wasn't. We were having a blast regardless of the wet weather. Something about carving down narrow back roads and emerging in places that it seems time has passed by that just creates an inner joy that is difficult to describe. It's just one of those things that makes you feel that life is beautiful.

Stopping to take off the gear which we would be putting back on 15 min later. Not such a bad view.



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Old 07-15-2014, 07:22 AM   #12
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As we neared NW GA the scenery began to change and temps began to drop. For the first time on this trip we could see mountains in the distance and the flora all too common in the southern areas of GA and north FL disappeared, giving way to the lush summer time vegetation of the mountains.

We stopped at the first pull off we could find and just stared out over a small valley. To me, having to live in the city but having grown up in country, this is home. Sure, I grew up in the sticks of south Florida but I've always felt "at home" in the mountains of GA, TN and NC...Not sure why but I feel plugged in when I'm here.











We stayed here for about 20 minutes just talking about life and how our day to day is surviving , not living... We both desperately need to find a way to change that. Life should be lived, not survived..
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Ginger Beard screwed with this post 07-15-2014 at 07:34 AM
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:29 AM   #13
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Nice

Keep it coming, I am starting to cool off... Thanks for posting this up.

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Old 07-15-2014, 07:33 AM   #14
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Glad to have you along!
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:49 AM   #15
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Shortly after the lookout pics were taken it began to rain and I mean RAAAAIIIN!!! It came complete with lightening and some nasty wind gusts. We decided to call it a day , find a hotel and grab some grub.


We checked into a hotel in the town of FT Oglethorpe just south of the TN / GA line. The hotel clerk was super a nice younger cat from India. We chatted about motorcycles, his home town and the storm while checking in. He even gave us a discount because I was on a Harley. Never had that happen before but apparently his family is very proud to be American and they will give discounts to people that own an HD as well as truckers and war vets. Cool!

We unloaded our bikes in the pouring rain and hopped back on them to go find some grub and a brew. We found a local liquor store that actually stocked good beer and found a greasy fast food burger joint in order to have something to wash down with our freshly acquired stouts!


How the hell am I not 400lbs?




We ate while watching the movie Up. What a fucking depressing flick!! I called my girl and talked about the day for a bit. Victor and I drank a bit of the moonshine that I had brought along and then passed out....Day 3 awaits!!



..
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