11 states,19 days,4600 miles MI to Key West and back

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Xcntry, Apr 17, 2018 at 9:43 AM.

  1. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    To start out. This trip kind of came out of nowhere. In January I was surfing around the web when I came across a YouTube video about March Moto Madness. I thought that looks like fun while I was staring out the front window of my northern Michigan home at 18”s snow on the ground. 98ECB16F-76DE-48B8-BD5B-AB38AD182C0E.jpeg Later that evening I brought the subject up to my wife and expressed my enthusiasm about the video. Being the greatest wife in the world, she said that it looked like it would be fun. Why don’t you go? To that I replied REALLY? I actually wanted her to come as well but she had to work during that time. So now I had some planning and preparing to do!! First I needed to get the KLR cleaned up and perform the maintenance that I had slacked on last fall. Oil change,chain maintenance,washing and a general check over of the whole unit. 94355F86-693E-49DC-AA7D-6F85DAE62A9B.jpeg I also wanted to add a few things for the trip. The longest trip I had taken up to this point was a few years ago. My neighbor and I did 1300 miles over 5 days through northern Michigan, him on a xr650L and me on a KTM520EXC. This trip to Tellico Plains was going to be about 1500 miles total. Straight down from my house its about 700ish miles. I learned on my first trip that I packed too much stuff and I didn’t want to make that mistake again. I knew that leaving in march (still winter) it was going to be cold. So I got on eBay and found a used gerbing heated jacket liner and gloves. I also got a set of OBR adv gear mitts. They are like hippo hands but not quite as big. 4B319C8F-9201-4AB1-9D91-66F5B13D2116.jpeg Then I went to walmart and got a bunch of hot hands hand warmer packs and some of their insole warmers. After that I needed to get things that would make long days on the bike easier. I did a little research on throttle locks and went with the ATLAS after reading about it on this site and watching a few YouTube videos. C9FA5688-ACFC-4A04-9378-0E66A1B80427.jpeg I also tried to build some highway pegs and attach them to my crash bars but I didn’t like the leg position and took them back off. I already had a seat concepts commuter seat so I had all the comfort I was going to get. All this was over the course of a couple months and now it was time to start packing!! I packed up a few times changing how, what and where to put things. After some trial and error I got it done.
    #1
  2. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    Loaded and ready! E42F63C9-8F09-4C8B-96FD-2D1671199A03.jpeg March Moto Madness started on Thursday 3/22 so I was going to leave on Monday 3/19 because I had decided to not take any interstate and take my time on the trip down. The problem was that the weather was calling for freezing rain and sleet on Monday, so I decided that I’d leave Sunday since the weather was supposed to be cold but clear. Now because of the extra day I decided to detour over to Indianapolis to see some friends. I planned on making it all the way there in one day because I knew it would be warmer there. When I got up on Sunday morning it was a little colder than I was expecting. 27745190-3392-48BC-B0E5-5C48BE68D93F.jpeg But I plugged in my gear and headed off with snow in my front yard hoping to return with NO snow in my front yard. D2187ACB-7B1C-4E19-8977-2FA1E0ADCAC2.jpeg That day I just put down the miles trying to escape to warmer temperatures. The heated gear was proving to be an invaluable asset. I was plenty warm, the sun was shining, the roads were dry and I was on my way!!! I slowly turned the jacket liner down until I reached Fort Wayne, Ind. where I was able to turn it off completely. I got to Indy about 5pm, met with my friends, went out to eat and had a nice visit. I had intentions of camping that night but all the campgrounds I contacted weren’t allowing tents yet. I’m sure due to cold and wet weather. It was in the mid 50’s but was still getting pretty cold at night so my 1st night on the road was spent at a super 8. 6DB16EAB-4563-4338-975A-5ACD93263EAB.jpeg The next morning when I got ready to go I checked over the bike and saw that my high beam had come unplugged and a motor mount bolt came out. Fortunately the bolt fell into the skid plate. I had the bolt but had to run around and find a new nut. After thinking about it, I think I forgot to completely tighten that bolt after having my crash bars off. Unfortunately the first hour of the first morning on the road was spent tearing apart the dash to plug in the high beam and finding a new nut. The problem I had was the nut I got was a nylock (good) but it was a socket size I didn’t have in my kit (bad) so I had to buy a socket as well to tighten it up.
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  3. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    After that small delay I got rolling about 10am. The beginning of the day was sunny and decently warm and the roads south of Indy were great. I planned on getting down near Knoxville, TN and finding a place to camp. Before I got out of Indiana I found this cool place! I wish I could tell you where these places were but I don’t even know. I was just taking whatever roads went in the direction I was heading. 5A8199BC-A840-4FCD-82A0-2D339C6321E6.jpeg As I went further south the day got cloudier and the temps dropped a bit so the jacket liner got turned back on. This was just before I crossed the ohio river. 01F12611-5F22-4E2F-8DE2-6C606369B9CA.jpeg I rode through some beautiful horse country in Kentucky. Then as I was coming into the mountains on the border of KY/TN it started to sprinkle. After stopping for fuel and putting on my rain gear, I pressed on down to Kingston, TN. It was about an hour before dark and I figured I better start looking for a place to camp. Although it was raining pretty steadily at this point, I was still game to pitch a tent and get my first night of camping in. I called a couple of campgrounds that were full and when I found one with open tent spots the lady on the phone said "yeah we have spots but are you sure you want to tent camp tonight?" I said "I know its raining but it should be ok". Then she informed me of the tornado watches they had going on in the area. I took a look at my weather app and sure enough it was about to get really nasty so it was off to a motel 6 for the night. Then it did get nasty! 1F72B75E-5511-4DE3-9D45-0300914F554D.jpeg Rain is hard to capture in a photo but you can see that the parking lot was flooded. So good call on the motel 6!! The next morning looked promising, a little overcast, but the roads were generally dry. This was Tuesday morning and I was only 90 miles from Tellico Plains where March Moto Madness will be but not until Thursday. Since I have an Aunt that lives in SC I figured I’d go see her and hit the tail of the dragon on my way through. C7463F53-4664-49C0-84EA-2AF8FD7C5C13.jpeg
    #3
  4. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Michigan
    The day was overcast but warm. Since it was a Tuesday midday as I rode over the dragon, I only saw 3 bikes and 2 cars. After talking to other people who said the worst part of the dragon was all the traffic I think I lucked out. 8D409C01-CF46-4E80-A9FB-0CC502D2F342.jpeg When I got to Deals Gap there was only one other motorcycle there and he happened to be from michigan as well and was also in Tn to go to MMM. CF920A1F-CC52-46EE-B7BA-C1C8C74D23C8.jpeg
    I didn’t feel comfortable stopping on the dragon so I only have pics at the beginning and end. 37C6667A-65F9-4282-AB31-F451FBBD4579.jpeg 690B1EB7-46E2-4A0C-A5F2-2DC84B1F10C8.jpeg
    #4
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  5. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    While at deals gap I looked at the map and just picked a road that would take me toward SC. I picked US 28. I really hadn’t checked out any routes in this area before the trip. I just knew about the dragon because everyone knows about the dragon but I hadn’t heard about US 28. I should have known it was going to be awesome when I turned on it and the sign that said curvy rd ahead was plastered in bike stickers. All I can say is WOW what a road. If you are ever in the area do yourself a favor and ride this rd. It’s a little over 100 miles and goes from the end of the dragon on the NC side south through GA and into SC. It was the best paved rd I’ve ridden so far. Great scenery, very twisty, very hilly, just a great rd. B327F52D-9D2E-4C57-93A3-779D6D50762C.jpeg This is called dry falls. If you follow the steps down to the bottom the path takes you behind the falls. 242D6787-4287-4BDC-B874-43EE818BEC32.jpeg US 28 Awesome!!!!! (I found out later that this route is called the moonshiner 28) I rode into SC on Tuesday night and stayed with my aunt until Thursday morning. I wanted to go back up 28 to the Cherohala Skyway and over to Tellico Plains for MMM. Unfortunately it snowed pretty hard on top of the skyway on Wednesday night so I headed west through north GA. I rolled into MMM Thursday afternoon about 4pm and set up camp. 53034F89-5F43-4C91-93E2-1719C08E9C39.jpeg

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    #5
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  6. Runswithscizzors

    Runswithscizzors Been here awhile

    Joined:
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    Keep going man!
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  7. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
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    Location:
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    After I set up camp I decided to check out one of the routes they had a route sheet for before it got too dark. 99BCD7DF-BA2F-467A-97A7-1B9F9C070D25.jpeg The route took me along this great forest rd with some pretty nice views. It was a nice sunny day but a little cold only in the high 30’s. I went back to camp and there were a lot of people filtering in. 538011FB-2C28-490E-8F39-52AAB00E027F.jpeg Around dark they had a bonfire and everyone was in great spirits in anticipation for the start of festivities the next day. When I went to bed that night it was about 35° when I got up in the morning it was 25° BRRR!!!! 813A3298-9AD1-4B45-9906-885AC188F83E.jpeg It’s hard to tell but my bike is covered in frost. On Friday morning I hung around the bonfire for a while and met a couple guys from Florida who were also there for the first time and we decided to go out and do a ride. Those guys knew a guy they had met at another rally who had a GPS (which we didn’t have )
    and he had some tracks already set up for a good ride to NC and back. When we got suited up I introduced myself to the navigator and later found out he is on this site afkdx/klr. So off we went into the mountains. But remember how cold it was the previous night? That meant snow at the higher elevations. 9B05CD65-4794-448B-A652-0169730F69AB.jpeg We stopped here to get some snow pics (although I’d seen enough of that leaving michigan) but this was still a nice spot. Little did we know what we were about to run into.
    #7
  8. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
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    22
    Location:
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    D1FBC658-7DA9-4398-B767-B0D3BA4F03AF.jpeg After we left this spot the road conditions started to deteriorate. The higher we went the more snow cover there was. We also noticed people that had passed us while sitting in this spot were now going the other direction back passed us. A few miles later we hit the icy roads and snow. 4A351A9A-7AFC-4BDA-9FB6-AE3C3A9647EE.jpeg Even though the gps was saying we only had 1/4 mile to go before our junction, we didn’t know if the road continued up after that or not. Also because two of us had ridden to the event we didn’t really want to take the chance of breaking something important from a fall. We had to ride these things back home! 2C53EFFC-424F-46E3-88B7-3DE5B96E1633.jpeg We had come quite a way at this point in the ride already so we turned around and headed back toward tellico plains. It was still a good days' ride. After we returned I decided to ride up the hill behind the campground and try to get some pics of the festivities down below. 4E9574BF-78C3-4B99-837C-43A1E751B173.jpeg
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  9. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    I AFE74797-8CC2-4DE3-8E43-7FE8FA45EAFE.jpeg
    4F0525D9-7FCD-424C-9A43-D7F6362F1168.jpeg 53354E57-B90F-42E9-8B5E-320F55729490.jpeg Friday night we stood around the fire, did some bsing and decided to turn in early. When I was on the phone with my wife, she told me the weather was getting crappy in michigan so I told her I may just head south from MMM and take another week or so while it cleared up at home. I decided to head to Key West (I hadn’t ever been there before!). 4DFA7FFC-3DD3-455F-8EB1-5E6855D7D45C.jpeg
    #9
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  10. black 8

    black 8 Long timer

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  11. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    The weather warmed up a bit overnight into the mid 40’s. The next day afkdx/klr asked if I wanted to try and ride over the mountain that turned us around the previous day. So off we went. We rode up past bald river falls. B8D14FE7-2D77-4DB8-81B4-4A9502E80D99.jpeg After that we made it to the spot where we turned around but today there were two dirt tracks in the snow that we could get some traction on. When we got past that 1/4 mile stretch the road was actually pretty clear. We continued on all day going a couple hundred miles I think. It rained on us a little but it was still a great twisty mountainous dirt forest rd. When we returned to Tellico Plains the hill climb event was in full swing. 5A9C201B-83EC-4558-889B-687364FAC3BB.jpeg After I told afkdx/klr about my plan to head south and ride to the keys, he invited me to stay the night at his place in Savannah on my way. I accepted and we made plans to ride to his house the next day. That night during the awards ceremony at MMM it started to rain pretty hard. Then after I went to my tent it started to pour. There was a pretty good thunderstorm that lasted all night. I woke up about 6:30 in the morning and noticed it had stopped raining but it didn’t look like the rain was going to hold off for long. So I scrambled out of the tent and started packing up all my gear. My tent was soaked, not only from the rain falling but also from the ground water backing up and soaking through the bottom of my tent. I finished getting packed up about daylight and I noticed afkdx/klr had the same idea. We put on our rain gear and hit the road. I have to say that I really enjoyed MMM even though the weather wasn’t great. I met some new friends and enjoyed the atmosphere of like minded people. I’m sure I’ll be there again next year. They had something like 650 people register and everyone seemed to have a good time although about 1/3rd of them left early due to the weather. Sorry I should have taken more pics of all of this but I was having too much fun participating. I realized my lack of pics after I got home. Next time I will make more of an effort to snap a few more. When we left it wasn’t raining but everything was soaked and it was pretty foggy. When we got just south of Blairsville, GA we crossed over the top of a mountain on RTE129 and got hit with a cold front. I think the temp must have dropped 15 degrees in like two miles. On the decent it was steep, foggy, twisty, wet and cold. About half way down we came around a blind curve and traffic was at a dead stop. The road was closed due to an accident. We waited there for it to be cleared and decided to go to the next town and stop for breakfast. When we stopped to eat it was starting to sprinkle. After breakfast it was starting to rain. For the next 100 to 150 miles it was a downpour all the way to savannah. Luckily we both had good rain gear and I was just starting to get wet around my waist, neck and ankles when we got to Savannah. We unpacked our gear and spread it all over his garage to dry. A hot shower ,fantastic meal and great company topped off the whole weekend. I cant thank afkdx/klr and his wife enough for inviting me to stay with them. Great people and a great experience to add to my trip. Meeting someone one day and staying at their house the next was something I never would have predicted. When we got to his house we only knew each other’s first name! But now we are discussing possibly riding the MABDR together this fall. The next day I changed my oil at his house. I had put on 2000 miles up to this point and it was a good convenient place to get it done. We bs’d until noon then I suited up and headed for Florida. I put on my rain gear because it looked like rain but the roads were dry. When I crossed the GA/FL line it started to rain and it rained steady all the way down to just north of Ocala FL. It was about an hour before dark so I started looking for a camp site. I found a place just southwest of Ocala at a state park with an equestrian theme called the Shang Gri La. If you're ever near Ocala looking for a nice place to camp this is it! This was prime spring break season in FL and there was only one other camper in the park besides me. It was quite nice and DRY finally. 4B33B4DA-C8FC-42CF-8EE6-B1187D50E962.jpeg That night I got a call from some friends of mine that were vacationing in Key West. They were staying on a boat and said they wanted me to make it down there the next day. Because they were leaving early on Wednesday, I’d miss them if didn’t get there Tuesday night. I looked it up and that meant I’d have to ride 450 miles on Tuesday to get there. It may have been shorter if I took the interstate but I hadn’t touched interstate yet this trip and I was sticking to that. So I got up early Tuesday morning and headed off into orange grove country down the middle of the panhandle. 94D903CB-E844-437B-917F-08090A4CAD1F.jpeg
    #11
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  12. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    As the day wore on it was getting hotter and hotter. I kept stopping and opening more vents on my jacket and shedding more clothes. I soon realized a mistake I made while packing. I packed everything so tight that I had no place to stuff the warm clothes that I wore from home. It had been cold up until now so I had the same amount of clothes on. Now that it was getting hot I had no place to put anything. Next time I need to leave with a little space in my luggage to stash the cold weather clothes I wear from the beginning. I stripped off everything I had space for but still had to wear my long john bottoms so I was getting pretty warm when the temps climbed into the 80’s. It was also very windy on this day and was giving me a pretty bad neck and back ache. I pressed on determined to be done with the day and get to Key West. When I got to Homestead, FL I was relieved to only have 120 miles to go. I was making good time and it was only 4:30 pm. As I was pulling away from the last light in Homestead before entering US1 into the keys something felt funny. Son of a bitch, I had a flat! 859128F9-E09E-4F14-80FB-D1ADE08BCBB5.jpeg A big ass screw had gone through a side knob and out the side wall. F51B6DA6-49ED-4721-A801-99C9DD8DF0ED.jpeg I pulled into a Holiday Inn parking lot just past the intersection and commenced to change it. 1561087B-CB1A-4E47-B79D-CA1C980B34A7.jpeg The Motion Pro Bead Pro tire spoons I bought just before leaving home worked out great. I wasn’t going to get them but decided to do it at the last minute. Worth every penny!! It took just 45 minutes to strip all of my luggage, change the tube, pack back up and start rolling again. BCCBCF5E-9A07-4F5A-AD80-B7B27EF18604.jpeg A++++ on the Bead Pro’s!!!!
    #12
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  13. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    49FB8DA5-143A-4246-B0B8-909286F1426E.jpeg I thought the ride down to Key West was just going to be a novelty to get there. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The water color was awesome! The weather was perfect and watching the sunset as I rolled into Key West was worth it. A highly recommended ride to anyone who’s ever thought about doing it. I got to Key West right at dark and made contact with my friends. I had a great night of bsing and enjoying the south Florida weather. That night some other friends of mine that had made their way into Key West on a motorcycle hooked up with us as well. It was starting to sink in that I had ridden my KLR from northern michigan all the way to Key West and I was glad that friends where there to share the night with me!! I stayed on the boat that night and made plans to ride out of the keys with my motorcycle riding friends the next day. 970F11C2-179C-4CAF-BF0E-211625C8EE4D.jpeg As i went to bed there was a painting above the bed that really hit home with me. It was perfect!! 520459C7-452F-44E6-90C9-796595EE6AA9.jpeg The next morning the guys who had rented the boat left early to catch their plane back home and I had the boat to myself for a few hours. A864BFF8-3B3A-46D1-8F66-815C0CA6342B.jpeg
    #13
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  14. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
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    22
    Location:
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    I did some laundry and took a shower. The friends that rode their bike down from Key Largo wanted to ride out of the keys together. However, they had booked an excursion to the Dry Tortuga’s for the day so I had some time to kill. I rode down to the southernmost point hoping to take a picture of my bike next to the buoy. There were people lined up for two blocks waiting to get their picture next to it so I decided to ride to the end of US1 Mile 0. When I got there, I found not so many people. While getting a pic of just the sign, a guy on a bike pulled right up on the sidewalk, got off and took a pic of his bike right in front of the sign. I noticed his plate was from Nova Scotia, Canada. I asked if he had ridden all the way down. He said he trailered down to bike week and rode down from there. We made a deal that we would ride back to the buoy, pull up in front of it and I’d take his pic and he’d take mine(kind of cut the line). First I told him I was going to pull my bike up on the sidewalk and snap a pic in front of the mile 0 sign like he did. I pulled up on the sidewalk and while waiting for people to clear the way to get a pic, a guy and his wife walked over and saw my license plate. They asked if I had ridden all the way down from Michigan. I said yes and he said "I notice you have an ATLAS throttle lock on your bike". I said "yeah I love that thing I just put it on before the trip". He said "I’m the owner of the company!" It was David and Heidi Winters! 351987F8-A6A9-47D2-B765-E2B00813FD30.jpeg What a cool chance meeting! We talked for a little while I got my pic in front of the sign and then the Nova Scotia rider and I headed off to get our pictures at the buoy. (The Nova Scotia rider is also a member of advrider canadianfjr) 635DC758-0099-40EF-B21D-F51DD33E84F5.jpeg 43B64DFF-8130-4EF5-A159-BED0E9939562.jpeg After getting the pics Canadianfjr and I got a cup of coffee and parted ways. It was really cool to meet Canadianfjr and David and Heidi!! So the rest of the afternoon I rode around the island checking everything out. 3CDF9003-F54F-4E4A-A4C7-3BC49A4C4E60.jpeg I went to Ernest Hemingway’s house, Duvall st., the beach and down to where the cruise ships come in. Then i found a nice little place to have a drink with floating tiki bars.
    #14
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  15. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    BC319C41-08BB-4897-993A-5C8FBA772834.jpeg 997FDE59-F194-47BC-9C23-B1C86706DFAC.jpeg 9240D8F0-E793-42E3-A408-DA4EF6068B66.jpeg After my friends got back from their excursion it was time to get out of Key West. AE681176-2201-4FA7-9666-FCCA2E8C025F.jpeg
    #15
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  16. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    We rode out to a restaurant for dinner. By the time we left the restaurant it was starting to get dark so we rode up to Big Pine Key and found a campground to pitch the tents. We were in the key deer habitat area. When we got up in the morning there were a few deer in the campground near our tents. DD3C8192-AAA3-46F4-BA32-AE7DB00C8756.jpeg We packed up, got some breakfast and headed out of the keys. 9741138B-B46F-4353-BCF1-3FA663F52C6A.jpeg 438602D8-43F7-480A-A3DF-F126A1A14392.jpeg When we got to Key Largo we stopped at their truck. Mark and I planned on riding together across the Everglades and Mindy was going to follow us in their truck. But first I needed to get a new rear tire. Not only because that screw had torn a big hole in my sidewall, but it was getting pretty worn out anyway. The day before, I tracked down a tire in Miami so we were going to ride up there to get it then head through the Everglades. When we got into Homestead I pulled up next to Mark at the intersection where I got the flat heading south. I told him "yeah this is were I got the flat on my way down". The light turned green, we took off and something felt weird. Sure enough I had another flat!!! Now what are the chances of that? I pulled off to the side and Mark didnt notice and pulled over about a mile up the road and called me. I told him what happened and he said he would head up into Miami and pick up my tire. I pushed the bike back to a Days Inn parking lot and tore it apart, AGAIN. BDDD903E-D7FB-4A35-A15F-A82C7B16F5B7.jpeg Damn the luck, but again those bead pro tire irons were well worth the money!
    #16
  17. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
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    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    Sure enough another screw. Same intersection two days later. 5377FBAF-0D4A-480A-BF75-E885E306DC50.jpeg Mark brought back my new tire and two tubes. We stretched it on and got back on the road. B959835D-D453-44CD-B284-5826BD194EB5.jpeg We set off across the Everglades! We took US 41 which is south of I-75 and a much better route. We saw a bunch of gators and turtles. We went about 3/4 of the way across the state and found a campground. 9FC6076D-BD2D-436D-90F6-DAC5A49D8423.jpeg This was where we were going to part ways. I had been offered a couch in Bonita springs by my brother-in-law's parents. So they got set up with a campsite then we rode to a restaurant, got dinner and parted ways. I got into Bonita springs about 10:30 that night. I spent two nights in bonita springs and visited Ft Meyers beach. 98F1F9E6-A45C-4914-8D0F-F6D48D6A4E15.jpeg I had a nice visit with the in-laws then headed north toward Tampa.
    #17
  18. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    I planned on heading north of Tampa to Homosassa, FL to surprise my cousin who I hadn’t seen in about 10 years. I stopped at his place and had a great visit. I left there and went in search of some friends of mine from canada that spend their winters in Florida. Another surprise visit. I found their house just before dark but they weren’t home so I set up my tent in their front yard and waited for them to arrive. 1F47F7C7-D396-45A0-9C1E-195D3E6B6D07.jpeg They were pretty surprised when they got home and there was a strange motorcycle in their driveway and a tent in their yard. The next day was Easter so traffic was actually not bad. My friend Claude from canada and I took a great little 100 mile scenic ride through the countryside. We stopped about noon, had a drink and I headed off north. I rode up into GA until about an hour before dark. I callled a few campgrounds but couldn’t get any answers. I guess because it was Easter. So I found a hotel and called it a night. I called my wife and she said the weather wasn’t getting any better so I wasn’t going to head straight home. I decided to go back up through the mountains to see some friends in West Virginia.
    The next day I picked an obscure route and headed northeast into the mountains again. On the way I rode across a big dam on the border of GA/SC the Strom Thurmond Dam holding back the Savannah River. 0368CC93-FF48-4E0A-92BE-80F597B584A4.jpeg 8A7B0477-97F7-45E1-A98F-9A1944E6A92F.jpeg It had a nice visitor center with some interesting items. This was an old water main made of wood. 2467EB9E-1F6E-45B2-8199-D342B07EA4D2.jpeg After that I rode north up through Bristol, TN where it started raining and then up into VA where I stopped in Wise, VA for the night.
    #18
  19. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    I had a nice view out of my motel window although it was raining. B4B727E7-A345-420B-9A1A-9F6C682C1EB7.jpeg The following day it was raining when I left and rained all the way through VA/KY and into WV. I arrived at my friends house right on the OH/WV border just as the rain stopped. Go figure. I spent a couple days there while keeping in touch with my wife who was keeping me abreast of the weather at home.
    #19
  20. Xcntry

    Xcntry Ride More!!!

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Oddometer:
    22
    Location:
    Michigan
    I got to West Virginia on Tuesday afternoon. I decided Friday was my window. It was snowing in Michigan on Friday morning but clearing in the afternoon and it was going to be snowing in WV Saturday morning. I figured I could make a banzai run 500 miles home on Friday between the two storms. I left about 8am and headed north. It was cold when I left but I had my heated gear. No problem, right? Well, that lasted about two and a half hours and then for no reason my heated liner stopped working. I tried everything. I’m still not sure why it isn’t working. I was just north of Columbus, OH and it was getting colder. I wasn’t riding any interstates so the slower speed helped but I was freezing. When I crossed into michigan it started to snow pretty hard but it was 36° and the roads were dry. I stopped at a gas station and was so cold I couldnt stop shaking. Luckily my heated gloves were still on just not the jacket liner. I rummaged through my panniers and put on all the clothes I had. Then I found a pair of hot hands insole warmers I hadn’t used so I stuck those on my long johns over my chest and it worked! I actually started to feel pretty warm. I talked to my wife about the snow that was happening and she said the sun was out and the roads were dry at home but that was still 200 miles away. I left the gas station and knew I could make it straight through gas wise so I went for it. It was snowing so hard at times that visibility was down to about 100 yards. It stayed that way for the first 100 miles into MI. After that the snow started to build up on the surface and there was slush! The temps had now dropped to 31/32°. It was getting pretty sketchy. The road conditions stayed this way for another 50 miles. I was having a hard time keeping my helmet shield clean. It seemed to be getting a little brighter out and before long I rode out of it! The sun was shining and the roads dried up but the temps dropped to 27°. I only had 50 miles to go and nothing was going to stop me. The next hazard I had to deal with was that the wind was blowing really hard (all day actually) and in the fields it was blowing the snow across the road and making 50 yard patches of black ice. I was cruising along at 60mph and all of the sudden it was all black ice! I had to ride on the only half ass’d dry pavement I could find which was the 18” between the white line and the edge of the asphalt. I came across 6 or 8 of these patches in the last 50 miles. I rolled into my driveway at 8:10 pm. Right at dark! EABE965C-CA13-4B75-AA99-A4D93E14B177.jpeg 4F592609-A34E-4648-9243-E0D1DEFE95D8.jpeg 53268247-9AAE-4CF8-8A47-6CB8119EA88D.jpeg As you can see from these pics my hope to come home to no snow didn’t happen. We actually had more snow than when I left. The trip was great! I rode 4583 miles 19 days, 11 states, 2 flats and 0 interstates with 1 cylinder. I was really considering getting a Honda Africa Twin before this trip but the KLR did so well everywhere (again no interstate) that I can't justify the price difference. Is the Africa Twin better? Probably, but $7500 better? I cant see how. Thanks for reading!!
    #20
    Fosters likes this.