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Old 05-12-2012, 02:45 AM   #16
Kedgi OP
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Hello from Ft Myers

Hello from Ft. Myers

It is 5:30am. I'm up early just to write a few quick words about our trip so far.

We left Thursday morning as scheduled. Up at 3:30am to pick up the guys in our van and go to the airport. We were at the airport by 5am. Angele was kind enough to get up and drop us off and then drive the van home.

We departed on time, arrived in Newark NJ, changed flights, flew to Miami, took a taxi to Gables Motorsports to pick up our bikes. Hualbikes had delivered them on May 9th. Excellent service on their part.

We picked up the bikes, Gables had done the work we requested and even washed the bikes. Very nice of them.

We still had some work to do to get ready. Marc had received his new Panniers at home in Shediac the day after we shipped the bikes south so he had to install them in Gables parking lot in 90 degree heat.

Mike R and I headed for Key West ahead of Marc and Mike M and arrive at 7:20 PM after a very slow ride on the Overseas Highway, thanks to heavy traffic, in high heat and humidity. The others caught up with us in Key West after the Pannier installation was complete.

We spent the night in Key West. I had a chance to have a short visit with many of my friends there.

We got going late on Friday morning and headed north. It took us a while to get going thanks to the incredibly long day on Thursday. The ride up through the Keys was very slow. Heavy Traffic! high humidity, 93 degrees. Wow! What a shock to the system after coming from Canada. We made it up through the Keys and then rode the Tamiami trail over to Ft Myers and stopped short of our goal of Sarasota at about 7pm when faced with thundershowers.

Today the plan is to head for Tallahassee. It is supposed to be very hot again today. 93 with high humidity. We paln to be on the road at 7am. The others will be up in 15 minutes for breakfast.

I will write more later and provide more detail but it was fun seeing alligators at the side of the road and signs warning of Panther crossings yesterday, we'll see what today holds.


Here is a look at Seven Mile Bridge and Pigeon Key


More to follow......

Kedgi screwed with this post 05-23-2012 at 05:40 AM
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Old 05-12-2012, 06:10 PM   #17
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As I was told on my trip down south a couple of years ago, "Ride Fast and Reckless. Have fun, but be safe!".

Waiting for the updates!
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:43 AM   #18
Kedgi OP
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Hello from Tallahasse

It's early Sunday Morning and we are in Tallahassee. Light rain and about 78 degrees. The rain is kind of nice after blistering heat the last few days but it is ironic that when were are here to ride the "drought is ending" is all you hear on the TV Weather.

Yesterday was frustrating to say the least.

We had planned for an early start. 7am. It was 8am by the time everyone was ready.

I had an oil filler cap issue. I have one of those Eagle Manufacturing Caps (it was on the bike when I bought it) and it stripped where you put the hex key in because the cap was on so tight. I had had the oil changed at my Kawasaki shop and I'm not sure if they over tightened it, but I really doubt it. It may have been the extreme heat had made it so tight. In any case I had a problem. I was getting close to the bottom oil mark and i could not get the cap off.

I told the guys I needed to get this issue addressed before we went too far. I agreed that we should make some time in the relatively cool morning but said if we saw a Walmart I wanted to get some channel locks and remove the cap. We went up the I-75 to get through Tampa. Not my preference. I do not like riding the loaded KLR on a busy Interstate. There was a strong crosswind just to complicate things.

We rode for about an hour, stopped for gas and there was a Walmart across the street. I could have solved the oil cap issue in five minutes. This is where problems started. One of the guys was determined to make time in the cooler morning air and wanted to address my issue later in the day when we took a break from the heat. My idea is if you have oil filler cap issues in 100 degree heat and you are riding as a group you all have a problem that needs to be addressed asap. In any case I was a way from the bottom oil mark and I agreed to push on.

We rode up to the I-275 at Tampa and almost immediately after that exit there's another exit with a small sign, "last exit before tolls". I took the exit. I was in the lead and I took it when I saw the small sign because fighting the crosswind was treacherous for me around those trucks on the Interstate. (I had told the guys that I was struggling on the Interstate in the wind at the last gas stop) When I saw the sign, "last exit before tolls" it occurred to me that the toll was for the skyway bridge in Tampa which I had seen from the air a few months earlier on a flight to Key West with a stop in Tampa. There was no way I wanted to go over that bridge in the wind.

One of the guys, the last guy in line, missed the exit. We were now separated. He had no phone. One of us waited at the intersection for him to return. I went with another to the nearest gas station. My oil was at the bottom mark, the weather was getting hot. Now I had a real problem.

The missing rider came back and looked for us but somehow he and the guy and the intersection did not see each other when he came back, looked for us and got on the highway again and headed north again.

We waited and waited. Finally I said I have to find a fix to my oil cap issue and I headed north on Route 41 in search of help. I found a small automotive garage that after some trying with a socket set that looked like an easy out that would not budge the cap, he got the cap off with large channel locks. ( I didn't like that Eagle Cap when I bought the bike used. You always have to have a hex key with you to add oil. Who would have though about it stripping)?

The rest of the day was spent trying to regroup in 100 degree heat. Phone calls, directions, re-directions, missed mettings by 5 minutes after two hour waits, more long waits in brutal heat. It turns out the missing rider was at a rest area on the I 75 north of Tampa and borrowed a phone to call me. I called but couldn't reach the guys we sent looking for him. I couldn't call the guy waiting in the sun at the intersection, because he too, didn't have a phone.

I should say I have only recently met these guys. Although we all live in the same small town I am relatively new to the area. I moved back East from Vancouver. I had never traveled with them before. They are all good riders and good guys and I don't know how you ride in a group and avoid issues like starting early or late, how to address priorities related to mechanical issues, route planning, timing etc successfully. I do know that this is the second major trip in a year where it has been an issue with new riding partners.

We talked and planned at length for this trip. I expressed the concern that I was riding a KLR, a bike not well suited to Interstate travel at speed, fully loaded. The other guys are on much larger displacement bikes with huge street tires. Quite a different animal than my KLR and I had suggested in the beginning that I would truck my bike with them and then do my own trip.

In the end that Is what I've decided to do. They are currently on the way to the Barber Motorsports motorcycle museum in Birmingham. I am headed to Talladega to see the Nascar track which is one of the things I most wanted to see and discussed at length in the pre ride meetings. Yesterday morning I was told we wouldn't have time to see it. There is a disjoint here in riding plans. I feel like I've driven the length of Florida without really seeing much and that's why I don't have many photos so far. I did take some video in the Keys with my GoPro but I haven't edited it yet. I'll post it here when I do get the chance to sit down and edit it.

I just got a call from one of the two riders headed south from Shediac with the plan to meet us in Deal's Gap. One of then is having issues with his wrists and is going to nurse that back home. The other rider who is on an extended trip has decided he will likely skip the Deal's Gap idea and head West to get out of the rain. His eventual destination is Edmonton, AB

I am on my way to Talladega later this morning. I see from the weather that the drought is ending from here to Maine on the East coast. I may head north on a more westerly track.


More to follow........




.

Kedgi screwed with this post 05-13-2012 at 06:11 AM
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Old 05-13-2012, 05:45 AM   #19
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Great seafood in Shediac fellas!! Lobster capital of the world.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedgi View Post
**snip** I don't know how you ride in a group and avoid issues like starting early or late, how to address priorities related to mechanical issues, route planning, timing etc successfully. I do know that this is the second major trip in a year where it has been an issue with new riding partners.
What works well is to decide where the start and end point of each day is. If someone misses and exit or gets lost, the end point of the day is X. As far as mechanical problems go, 1 rider remains with the broken one and they play catch-up. "Leave no man behind"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedgi View Post
We talked and planned at length for this trip. I expressed the concern that I was riding a KLR, a bike not well suited to Interstate travel at speed, fully loaded. The other guys are on much larger displacement bikes with huge street tires. Quite a different animal than my KLR and I had suggested in the beginning that I would truck my bike with them and then do my own trip.
It certainly helps to have similar displacement bikes, especially if the plan is to take the Interstate. Wait...who wants to ride on the Interstate, anyways?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kedgi View Post
In the end that Is what I've decided to do. They are currently on the way to the Barber Motorsports motorcycle museum in Birmingham. I am headed to Talladega to see the Nascar track which is one of the things I most wanted to see and discussed at length in the pre ride meetings. Yesterday morning I was told we wouldn't have time to see it. There is a disjoint here in riding plans. I feel like I've driven the length of Florida without really seeing much and that's why I don't have many photos so far. I did take some video in the Keys with my GoPro but I haven't edited it yet. I'll post it here when I do get the chance to sit down and edit it.
Ride yer own ride! After years of traveling with someone else, there is a comfort factor to solo travel, especially if you all don't have the same riding style. Have fun Kedji...following along.
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Old 05-13-2012, 06:44 PM   #21
Kedgi OP
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Originally Posted by DockingPilot View Post
Great seafood in Shediac fellas!! Lobster capital of the world.

Shediac is indeed the Lobster Capital of the World. You can buy cooked lobster in several places in Shediac sometimes for as little as $4.99/lb

The Wharf at the end of the Point de Chene Rd. is an excellent place to people, bike and car watch.
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:27 PM   #22
Kedgi OP
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Pictures

I have only taken a few pictures so far, some of them need to be edited on my computer at home and I'll post them later but here are a few I've taken

My cat, Bob, tried to stowaway in my helmet bag



Marc on the Flight to Newark



Mike very happy to be in Key West after a long, long day




Our bikes in Key West




A couple of cool signs

One in Key West....a warning!


And a different kind of warning on a storefront in rural northern Florida

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Old 05-13-2012, 08:40 PM   #23
Kedgi OP
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Talla to Talla

I had a wonderful ride today from Tallahassee to Talladega. A little rain in a couple spots made me don the rain gear twice but it was dry for the most part and the temperature was a near perfect 73. What a relief after three very hot days.

I rode route 27 up the western edge of Georgia. It varies from two lane blacktop in spots to divided highway. The pavement is smooth as glass. For the most part there is no traffic. It is like having the road all to yourself, like an Interstate without any traffic. Canada needs more roads like this.

I saw things you never see in the Maritimes like possum and armadillo road kill, vultures, rattlesnakes. Cool!

I saw cows that look like Oreo cookies, Dark brown at each end with a white stripe in the middle. I saw peanut processing plants. I saw boiled peanuts for sale. I tried them once before. I guess they are an acquired taste.


I made it to Talladega. I have wanted to see the track in person for many years. It is huge! It is hard to describe the acres and acres of fields for parking. The grandstands that look like a small mountain range, as you approach, the wide boulevard to accommodate the traffic. The place takes up thousands of acres of land. It is all really out in the boonies.

It is amazing that Nascar attracts such a huge number of fans to this place twice a year. I wish I had been thinking about Talladega when we planned this ride. It was last week!

Maybe I'll get to see the race one year, in person


Kedgi screwed with this post 05-13-2012 at 08:58 PM
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Old 05-13-2012, 08:50 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by C-Stain View Post
What works well is to decide where the start and end point of each day is. If someone misses and exit or gets lost, the end point of the day is X. As far as mechanical problems go, 1 rider remains with the broken one and they play catch-up. "Leave no man behind"



It certainly helps to have similar displacement bikes, especially if the plan is to take the Interstate. Wait...who wants to ride on the Interstate, anyways?



Ride yer own ride! After years of traveling with someone else, there is a comfort factor to solo travel, especially if you all don't have the same riding style. Have fun Kedji...following along.
Thanks for following along. I really do enjoy riding by myself. Stop when and where you want, see what you want to see, eat what you want when you want, and I find you meet more people. Lots of people come up and talk to a solo rider. I can't tell you how many times people have commented on or asked me about my Go Pro Camera on top of my helmet. I guess they are not that common yet. I even had people stopped, beside me, in traffic roll down the window and ask about it

More to follow....

Not sure where I'm going tomorrow. It will depend on the weather. We'll see what tomorrow brings

Kedgi screwed with this post 05-13-2012 at 09:00 PM
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:23 PM   #25
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Unedited video NC

I haven't had much time to post, here is some un edited video I took while riding in North Carolina.

I rode 243 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway today and shot more video. I'll edit it and post more when I get home.

I'm in Waynesboro VA tonight at the north end of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Shanedoah Parkway tomorrow

Here is the one video I've managed to download


Part of Route 28 in NC

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Old 05-23-2012, 02:45 AM   #26
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Report will continue

I don't want to spoil the suspense but I'm at home now. I made it safe and sound. I found posting from the road to be very time consuming. I was using my new Go Pro movie camera to make film clips along the way and downloading them takes a little while every night but editing them and uploading them to Youtube so you can share them takes forever (sometimes a couple hours to upload a 5 minute clip) Impossible after a long day on the road. Now that I'm home I plan to go through some of the film I shot and try and do a ride report that does the ride justice..That bit of film (above) was posted mostly as a test and is out of sequence.

When i left Talladega I rode back into Georgia and had a bite to eat and a coffee in Tallapoosa GA at this little coffee shop.



On Tallapoosa's Main Street



Before setting out on back roads to meet up with the other riders for a night at Deals's Gap.

I had a GPS with me but it's an older Garmin hand held, an ETrex Legend. It will show you roads but it cannot be prograqmmed to show you a route like today's models. Here it is.



So what I was doing for navigation was looking at Google Maps on my netbook in the hotel at night and deciding on a route and just marking the route numbers down. It worked alright for the most part, but why I didn't bring my more modern automotive GPS and keep it in a baggy to keep it dry and just to check when I needed it is beyond me. I won't make that mistake again.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:09 AM   #27
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Solo Riding

For the most part my navigation strategy worked out alright. I did manage to get lost and confused a couple times. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. My handheld GPS helped once or twice at intersections. Writing down route numbers in the morning was alright but sometimes at intersecting highways I wasn't sure if I wanted East or West, usually I could rule out South since I was riding Key West to Canada.

I was beginning to enjoy the benefits of riding solo. So many people talk to you when you stop by yourself. I can't tell you how many people asked me about the GoPro Camera.

I'm a cat lover and at a place in Georgia, called Motorcycle Bob's, which is appears to be a privately owned riding park, I made a new friend, at least for a while.



Try hanging around with a cat for 20 minutes while others riders wait for you, I'm betting it won't work.

Kedgi screwed with this post 05-23-2012 at 05:43 AM
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:49 AM   #28
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Greetings from the south shore!

Glad you decided to set out on your own - that's often the hardest but most rewarding decision I've made a few times. And I do know where you're coming from - I've often got the smallest bike in the group.

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Old 05-23-2012, 05:58 AM   #29
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Drought

I bactracked to see this "Welcome Center" which was nothing more than a roof you could park your bike under. No map and no explanation of what you were being welcomed to although I'm sure it is the Blue Ridge Parkway, nearby.




I saw areas where the effect of the drought they have been suffering in the South was very apparent. Look at this boat ramp near the Georgia/North Carolina border. The lake level must be down 20 feet.


Kedgi screwed with this post 05-23-2012 at 06:24 AM
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Old 05-23-2012, 06:01 AM   #30
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Having done both solo and group rides, one of the best suggestions I know of for riding with a group is to do a shorter ride (weekend/long weekend) to work out how well you manage together as a group of riders before doing longer rides.
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