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Old 05-29-2011, 10:30 PM   #1
Jordan Y OP
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Bored with straight lines; a quick ride to the curviest road in Florida

I bought my SV650 about 4 months ago, my first real bike after upgrading from the 125cc scooter I commuted on the last couple of years. Riding around locally has been great after years of wanting a bike, but as I got more comfortable with the basics I started to notice a distinct flaw in the roads I was riding on: namely, they're all completely flat and straight. I decided it was high time to go in search of some curves before I ended up with two tires with 2" strips worn bald in the center and fresh tread everywhere else.

From occasional trips to local motorcycle forums I had heard of "North Runs" and had a general inkling of the areas the local sport-bike types headed to for some fun, so I hopped on the slab and headed north about 30 minutes on I-75.

I got off south of Brooksville and pulled out the trusty Motorola Droid, which got pressed into triple duty as a GPS and Camera as well as a phone. I had wanted to bring my camera, but upon realizing that it didn't fit in my jacket pocket I was forced to improvise, lacking a tank bag or any other sort of on-bike storage. Over the course of the day I further lamented the lack of a tank bag and camera, as taking any sort of picture meant stopping the bike on the shoulder, taking off my gloves, and extricating the phone from my pocket to boot up the camera mode before taking a picture. D'oh! Time to start a shopping list...

This is starting to look promising. I pulled up here to fish the phone out of my pocket and look at the map and as I sat there a handful of sportbikes cruised through the corners, subsequently followed by a mint-green 80's turbo Porsche that popped and crackled loudly, a modded Mustang, and another small group of bikes. A pretty good sign, especially considering this was mid-day Tuesday.



I found a road that looked pretty curvy on the map, but it turned out to be a narrow farm road. There were some turns, but they were tight, blind, and the road was in rough shape, with gravel and dirt from driveways in the corners. Nice scenery, but not exactly what I was looking for.



I happened across a dirt road that had a sign promising a nice fishing lake at the end. Having grown up on the water, I can't resist the allure of a new body of water, so in the ADV spirit I turned onto this dirt road and quickly determined that the SV650 in stock trim is not the ideal off-pavement conveyance. The washboard road rattled my brains out at 25mph, inspiring me to slow down to 15mph. I got strange looks from a few local farm hands, geared up and sweating my arse off crawling down their dirt road on a sportbike. After about 15-20 minutes of this the lake that originally inspired the detour was nowhere to be found, but I stumbled upon one of the roads I was out here looking for in the first place.



Ayers/Hayman road was one road I'd seen mentioned by name on the net, and I was excited to find it in real life. As I started on my trip down the road I saw a "Watch out for Motorcycles" sign off to the left, which confirmed I was in the right place.





The road starts with a couple of tighter sweepers running through a shady tree-lined section, then transitions into the second series of long, high-speed sweepers in the second pic, then... becomes straight and flat again.

I felt slightly cheated when I realized I'd just ridden the entirety of the curvy section of this road. A couple of high-speed sweepers and done. A vast improvement on the dead-straight roads I was used to, but hardly worth the trip. I spent some time on the phone looking around, and eventually came to the conclusion that there was nothing more exciting that that to be found in the vicinity. With a bit more poking around in the area, I could see how you could piece sections of road like that together into a sort of a high-speed tour of the countryside, but without blasting around at 80mph+ in a group of 600 supersports as is the traditional "North Run" MO as I understand it, the lack of single-road flow or variety in corners was a letdown.

Time to pull out all the stops. I had one more trick up my sleeve- a road I'd read about years ago on a local car forum. Nobody had actually been there to say if it was any good, but on Google Maps it looked damn promising, and I was ready to take a chance. I whipped out the phone and plotted a course for the Ozello Trail. An hour of back-road Florida cruising ensued, which while enjoyable in its own right was not worth documenting on film, and then I was there.

The road started out unassumingly, a few mild corners through a residential area- but it got a lot better. The houses and side streets died out as I rode through a series of nice bends, my excitement growing with each one. A road with more than 3 corners in a row? Several miles of sweepers, tight corners, even some elevation changes over bridges! This was a lot more like it!

I popped out of the first section of trees and found myself on a narrow causeway through the middle of a marshland. I felt like I'd been transported several hundred miles south to the Everglades.



What's that sign up ahead? I've never seen one of those in Florida!



Finally, a whole bunch of curves in the road coming one after the other. Such a simple concept, yet so foreign to whoever laid out the roads in this state. It seems like they built this road wherever the high ground took them- which all over the place in a winding fashion.





I try to take it slow, knowing that I'm inexperienced and this is my first run down the road, but I can't help myself from giving it some throttle and diving into the corners. I'm having a blast when I hit a corner that suddenly tightens up midway through past my original sightline. This introduces me to the new and exciting "Oh Shit!" feeling of suddenly realizing I'm going way faster than I'm comfortable with in a corner that's way tighter than I'd originally thought it was. Fortunately I've spent enough time reading The Perfect Line that I simply dig deeper, put my faith in the bike to grip and push the bike over even further and make it through unscathed. That little scare reins in my throttle hand and I cruise the rest of the way to the end of the road.



The driveway right before the causeway in the previous pic- what's that parked there? A Saleen Mustang lowered on beefy rims with sticky tires parked at the end of 10 miles of the curviest road in Florida. I bet it's owned by a little old lady who drives it 25mph to church on Sundays.



I pull up in the parking lot at the park that marks the stopping point and stop for a breather. I'd never expected to find anything like the road I'd just ridden here in boring, flat Florida, and it was a heck of an experience riding a road like that for the first time.

As I stared off into the distance I noticed the cooling towers for the Crystal River nuclear plant. Not sure that you can see them in this lousy cell-phone pic, but being a big nuclear power fan it was a cool addition to the scenery.



Blasting through the corners might fool you into thinking you were up in the hills of Georgia somewhere, but then the smells of the swamp would hit you and bring you back. Nothing like the smell of rotting mullet to remind you of home.



I spent another hour doing a few laps of the Trail, then did one fast run back out of there before I wore out my welcome with the locals and headed home. All in all, a very successful little day trip in search of some curves. It was also the longest ride I've done to date, about 6 hours in the saddle and 300-350 miles covered. I was a bit sore when I got back, but completely satisfied and ready to head out again at the next opportunity. I've already started planning a route for the next ride- the bug has definitely bitten me.




The crummy pics I took don't do the road justice, but I spent some time searching after getting back from the trip and found that I was far from the first biker to find this gem. Here's a sped-up video another rider made, and the page I found it on. It should give a much better idea of what the Trail is like.

http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/W...Ride-Video.wmv

http://www.paulstravelpictures.com/W...ide/index.html

Jordan Y screwed with this post 05-29-2011 at 10:35 PM
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Old 05-30-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
Finally
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Great write-up of a great road! I really enjoyed your pictures too.

Next time you're up that way, be sure to include the Fort Island Trail just north of there. While the road isn't as twisty, you'll have a better view of the power plant at the end.

Thanks for bringing us along!
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:01 PM   #3
BERNERBUDDY
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That road looks like a great ride. Tanx for the pics. BB
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:04 AM   #4
malott442
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Hey! I grew up there! If it wasn't for Ozello road, I probably wouldn't own a sport bike and a sport touring !! Thx redneck fishing town!
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:03 AM   #5
Jordan Y OP
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Thanks for the comments. After years of reading and enjoying others' ride reports here it feels good to be able to share one of my own, even if it is just a quick day trip.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Finally View Post
Great write-up of a great road! I really enjoyed your pictures too.

Next time you're up that way, be sure to include the Fort Island Trail just north of there. While the road isn't as twisty, you'll have a better view of the power plant at the end.

Thanks for bringing us along!
I'm definitely planning on hitting up Fort Island Trail next time I make the trip. I love the geography of the Gulf Coast up north- I've spent a lot of my life on the beaches and waterways from Tampa south all the way to the Keys, but north of Tampa the coastline changes completely.

I just checked out the ride report in your sig- I have to say the Magna is a much better match for cruising the back roads of North/Central Florida. I've just started to appreciate the peaceful charm of riding through the last bastion of old Florida after years of considering everything between the I-75 and I-95 corridors to be wasted space. However, it's hard to slow down and soak in the atmosphere with the SV constantly urging you to crack the throttle open a bit more until you're running through at extra-legal speed, which kinda defeats the point. I probably had more fun on the Ozello Trail than you did, but not on the rest of the journey.

You've given me a good idea for the next ride though- an early morning blast up to the Old Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs for some pancakes. Those looked good!
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:22 PM   #6
ClearwaterBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jordan Y View Post
I bought my SV650 about 4 months ago, my first real bike after upgrading from the 125cc scooter I commuted on the last couple of years. Riding around locally has been great after years of wanting a bike, but as I got more comfortable with the basics I started to notice a distinct flaw in the roads I was riding on: namely, they're all completely flat and straight. I decided it was high time to go in search of some curves before I ended up with two tires with 2" strips worn bald in the center and fresh tread everywhere else.
finally, someone write a GREAT ride report about MY STOMPING GROUNDS
wow....
well done
i love all the places you've shown here
thanks for sharing... where WE live, there aren't many rides or roads like this
you showed of OUR area very nicely, Jordan
thank you
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #7
ClearwaterBMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Finally View Post
Next time you're up that way, be sure to include the Fort Island Trail just north of there. While the road isn't as twisty, you'll have a better view of the power plant at the end.
i'll have to take my new hack (when it arrives) there soon
thanks for the idea

here is a LINK to that road:

http://goo.gl/maps/v0br
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Old 05-31-2011, 04:32 PM   #8
patmo
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Few years ago, my son and I rented some Harley's for a day and went out with my brother for a day of riding east of the Tampa area. We started out in Bradendon and headed toward Sebring. We did find some curves out that way, not many, but a few. Since it was in December and we had left cold and rain to fly down, we really didn't care that it wasn't real curvy, we were just happy to be riding in (semi) warm temps.

Great pics and a nice report.
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
Harry'O
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The whole State is a bore... I've been here 23 years and I've been trying to move back to SC for at least 15 years. I have to ride 60 miles West toward Tampa to get anything that resimbles a curve. However, if you go to a place called Cherry Pocket on Lake Pierce near Lakeland and then take the Scenic Hwy South toward Frostproof you can explore SOME topography and you get SOME curves. The State was built on a grid system and becuase it's so flat and because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line... you get the obsurdly long and straight and flat roads.
I have a Florida bike and a North Carolina Bike. MUCH more fun in NC.
It reminds me of the time I had a guy in my car on a road west of Palm Beach. He had never been out of the mountains of New York. He tilted his head down and looked a bit pale. I said "are you OK Jason"? He said he was dizzy. He had never seen a road as flat and as straight on the one we were on. You could see for miles. I've heard of carsick but this was new to me and quite funny.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:30 PM   #10
Domromer
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The best curves I've found are in the Ocala national forest and around the small City of Perry.
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