Dallas, TX to Key West

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by Razzeaux, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

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    Feb 8, 2013
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    Dallas, Texas
    I'm glad I'm on the other side of the camera most of the time. I need to work on my posing.
    #21
  2. 10 Man

    10 Man Long timer

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    looking at the avatar pic and the pic above ...Id say take a day off from rideing and vist the beauty shop .
    #22
  3. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Where did you end up staying in KW ?
    #23
  4. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

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    I stayed at the Harborside Motel in Key West. It was clean, simple hotel room and priced a little high. I was there during the last parts of spring break, so it was priced accordingly. If you want the exact price, PM me.
    #24
  5. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Harborside Motel is a ways from where I like to be. I usually stay a couple of blocks from the Southernmost Point. Last fall I stayed at the Alexander Palms Court which is a great location.
    #25
  6. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Preface: I now know some of the challenges that face those who choose to write ride reports. I have a much better appreciation of all the work that goes into them. I meant to post this as soon as I returned from my trip, but I got caught up in life. So here we go.

    Razz

    Day 4
    I want to ride the Tamiami Trail so I leave Orlando heading to Naples. I ride west on I-4 then head south at Lakeland, FL. As I ride through the local roads I see how agricultural South Florida. I get to Naples, then begin my ride on Hwy 41. Once you get through Naples, you are on a 2 lane road through the Everglades. If you want an airboat ride through the everglades, this is the place to be.

    Flarider1 pointed me to two places. The Oasis Ranger Station and Loop Road. I stop at the ranger station and they have boardwalks over the swamp where you can see the alligators sunning themselves. It's very cool to be this close to them. I ride back to get on Loop Road.

    Loop Road is a 20 mile gravel road with culvert throughout. At each culvert are pools on each side of he the road and this is were the alligators like to hang out. This turned into a great little ride. It was my first off road adventure.

    Once off loop road, then back on Hwy 41 to Homestead. I get to Homestead and finally met Andy. He was a great host and I picked his brain about his trips. Learned how to take pictures on the bike (next RR I will have lots more pictures). Next mornings as I prepare to get going, Andy surprises me by going with me on the first part of ride. See pictures above. We have breakfast at a great place called Marlins. Andy has to head to work and I'm off to the Key West. Meeting fellow ADVriders is a great part of what we do. Thanks Andy for everything.

    A backdrop of this part of ride. While I'm making this ride a cold front if moving through Florida, so there are steady 25-35 mph North winds. The clouds have cleared and the sun is out.

    I'm a Florida boy at heart and I love the water. During this ride I get to see the incredible beautiful water around each island or key. The longest bridge stretch is 7 miles and traffic is moving about 40-50 mph. I stop at the No Name Pub on Pine Key for lunch which is a great introduction to Key West. The wind is making this part of the ride challenging. But I finally get to Key West. I check out Duval Street, the Parrot Bar. I can definitely tell that is Spring Break.
    #26
  7. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    Its about time!!!!! Lets get this finished.......and pictures please!!!
    #27
  8. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    With Key West having record low temperature and the crowds of Spring Break, I decide one day is enough for this trip to Key West. I will definitely be back to the Keys during the summer. So I load up and head north on US1.

    The wind has died down to 15 mph so the ride up the keys is much easier than the ride down. I get the chance to actually see more of the beauty of this part of the world. The water is different shades of blue green. On the way up I stop at Scotty's, which is another place Andy recommended. I catch them between breakfast and lunch. I'm not in the mood for breakfast, so they offer to cook me a hamburger. I end up having one of the best hamburgers I've ever had along with some great hash browns.

    With a full stomach, I begin the ride north. It's such an awesome place, I can't wait to come back.

    I end up gasing up at the same place I did on the way down. My destination for the day is Orlando. So my decision is whether to go the FL turnpike or to go up the middle of South Florida.

    Well, I end up going up the middle of South Florida. I've never been in this part of Florida before and I am amazed by the feeling of the vastness and emptiness of it. I'm on a 4 lane road and to my left was the vastness of the everglades and to right seem nothing but open land. Even though I knew that only about 20 miles away was the masses of people in South Florida.

    After about hour of this, I decided that if I'm going to be on a 4 lane road in the middle of nowhere, I might as well take the Florida turnpike. So, I hit I-75 east, then find a toll road that leads to the Turnpike. 200 some odd miles later, I find myself at my cousins home once again.

    This day seemed a day of extremes. I begin with the beauty of the Florida Keys and end up in the farmland of central Florida. Once again, is it the journey or the destination?
    #28
  9. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Day 6

    I know I need pictures. This is my first RR and I will have pictures on my future ride reports.

    Today, I have a 400 mile ride to a friends home north of Atlanta. When I look at the map, I decide to take the first 200 miles on the slab and the second 200 on back roads. Well the first 200 miles once again are pretty uneventful. As uneventful as 200 mile trip can be on an 8 lane interstate. Then I head north on a 4 lane road through rural GA. More flat farmland. Once again, I'm reminded of the farmland in the south.

    As this 4 lane bypasses one small town after another, I begin to get a little discouraged. I have to learn to go more off the beaten path to see more of where people live and work. After 100 miles of this, I begin to get rewarded by long sweeping curves and going through the center of one small town in GA. This begins to repeat itself as the afternoon wears on. I find myself enjoying this ride.

    It's 5:30 pm I'm about 30 miles south of Atlanta and I need to go to North Atlanta. I don't know if you've ever been around Atlanta during rush hour, but ti's not a pretty site. So, I work myself around Atlanta, then I head north to my friends.

    A note here, ever since the first day of riding my upper back has been hurting me, it feels like a constant charlie horse in the middle of my right shoulder blade. It lasted through the whole trip.
    #29
  10. akaDigger

    akaDigger Amateur Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2013
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    552
    Location:
    Evansville, Indiana
    I get that every trip I take. More so on the Tiger 800XC than on the just obtained KLR650. I would be interested to understand the cure.
    #30
  11. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

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    Feb 8, 2013
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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    Day 7
    Today I have a some free time, so I take this chance to explore a little of north of Georgia. I ride north on I-575, it turns into a nice sweeping 4 lane. As I keep going north, it turns into a nice curvy 2 lane. Now this is riding. I end up at lake with the Smokey Mountains in the background. I wonder what it would be like to have this kind of riding in your backyard. I end up North Carolina. Unfortunately, it's time to turn around and head back. I will be back to this part of the world again.
    #31
  12. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

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    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    It's time to head back to Dallas. I look out the window, it's overcast but not raining. I go to Google Maps, it's 808 miles to my home. When I pull up the weather on my phone, their is a big blob of green, yellow and red that are in-between me and Dallas. I should have been on the road at dawn or before, but I don't. Note to self, in the future when I have long days, get started as early as possible. I end up leaving at 8:30 am local time.

    I begin packing up. The kids are up and I get the goodbye hugs, then off I go. 808 miles, I've never ridden more than 700 miles in a day. Today I will ride in the rain for the first time for sure. A day of big firsts, let the adventure begin.

    I get about 120 miles into my ride and the rain starts. I exit and find a place to put on my rain gear. First time for my rain gear. I ended up getting a 2 piece rain suit and I got a xxl size. Let's see how it works. Have a few issues but I get it on. It fits perfectly over my gear. So here I go.

    The rain is not heavy and it's steady. This isn't too bad. The GSA is handling great. Abut 100 miles of this and it's starts to slacken up. I take off the top and leave the pants on. The ride is gong good, only 500 miles to go.

    The sky looks dark ahead. Look at the radar and a line of heavy rain is ahead. I put the rain gear top back on. In Jackson, MS the rain is very heavy, the wind is really blowing. It's time to find a place to wait this out. I find a store, park underneath a cover for about 20 minutes.

    The wind is subsiding, look at the radar again, looks like the storm in passing and it's clear behind it. Get back on the road, and about 50 miles later I see the sun, and a little later, not a cloud in the sky.

    Next gas stop it's time to pull of the rain gear. When I'm gassing up, a guy pulls up next to me and says I passed you before. We get to talking and he's driving from Atlanta to the DFW area. He left 2 hours behind me and we are about 500 miles from Atlanta. He's a pilot going to a new job. Nice guy. Note: I meet the best people when I'm off the bike. I'm beginning to learn, it is the journey not the destination.

    I'm heading west, the sun is getting in my eyes. I'm wearing a Shoei Neotech helmet. I already have the sun shade down so it's time to put on my sunglasses. Sun is very bright, but I've driven this road before.

    I ride through north Louisianna. It's been a long day so far. 250 miles to go. Get to Shreveport. Do I stop or keep going? 170 miles to go. I keep going. 100 miles to go. I'm tired, it's dark. I can do it. I keep going. 30 miles to go. 20, 10, I'm home. It's 10 pm. 808 miles. 14 1/2 hours on the bike. I made it.
    #32
  13. Razzeaux

    Razzeaux Reluctant Wanderer

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2013
    Oddometer:
    91
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    This was a great first trip on my GSA I road 3,587 miles in 8 days. I experienced riding at night, in the rain and off road for the first times. I had my longest riding day to day, met a great ADV rider in Andy and learned a lot about myself.

    I took this trip when the south was hit a big cold front. For the first 4 days I was riding in 25+ mph winds and temps in the 40-60 degree range.

    My gear did great. I wore a smart wool base layer, when it was really chilly, a patagonia down vest and my Rallye3 jacket. Never got gold. For the pants, smart wool base year and Triumph pants. I did have to get some suspenders from home depot to hold them up. For boots I wore Sidi Adventure Gortex. Feet never got wet and they comfortable.

    I ended up pulling out the inexpensive ear speakers from my helmet and just used some head phones I bought at Walmart. They worked ok, but I'm working on a solution for this.

    This was my first trip on a Corbin seat I picked up from an inmate here. It was Ok, but it's not the solution for me. I've since picked up a used Bill Mayer seat, I'll let you know how that worked out.

    As mentioned earlier, my back gave me issues. Ever since the first day of riding my upper back has been hurting me, it feels like a constant charlie horse in the middle of my right shoulder blade. I've purchased Roxx risers and going to try them to see if they take care of the back.

    And most important. Need to never forget my camera again.
    #33
  14. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    Dec 30, 2009
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    Homestead, Florida

    Its caused by your riding position. Sit up straight, shoulders back and you your arms will make a natural fall to the grips. Train yourself to stay in that position.......and when you slip your body will start aching and remind you that you are not in the correct riding position. I get the same ache and pain on the bike and seriously, it goes away as soon as you get in the proper riding position.
    #34
  15. telejojo

    telejojo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
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    Huntsville Ala. foothills of the Smokey's
    I rode my C-14 from Orange Beach to Huntsville Sunday which is 425 miles and took the back roads and got home in about 7 hours and was pretty tired no way I could do 14.I meet a guy on a Harley who was riding back to Atlanta we had friends carry our clubs down and we rode our bikes and played golf all week.
    #35