From Miami to Austin, TX.. Who can comment on the Gulf?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by jconly, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. jconly

    jconly Been here awhile

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    So, I left NYC in October on my 990ADV, and headed south along the TET and TETS. Instead of riding home again, I left the bike in Miami waiting for my return to take her west. :clap

    That's the plan at least, to tackle the country piece by piece.

    Now, I just need to figure out how.
    Naturally, the route that initially comes to mind for us all is the TAT, but I'm thinking not now. Heavy bike, solo, too much prep required, blah blah... I'm talking myself out of it. Some other time I think. :huh

    Instead, I'm thinking my next leg should check out the Gulf of Mexico. Seems like it has potential. Been to NOLA once before for a few days, the culture was rich for sure. Sparked my interest in the rest of it.

    Problem is, I've not been able to find much information. Has anyone tackled a route like this? Headed west along the southernmost portion of the US? What's good down there? The more dirt the merrier. :wink:


    Any experiences are welcome. Let's share, and maybe we can compile a good source of info for anyone else pondering this route.
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  2. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Head on down to the Keys, then come back up and head west up the west coast of Florida, just stay as close to the water as you can, around Panama City pick up hwy 98 and head west eventually picking up hwy 90, crossing into Alabama, and Mississippi. Stay on 90 and keep heading west. You'll eventually find yourself in Marathon TX, go south to Big Bend National Park; from there, its up to you. Compared to NYC, Big Bend will be like another planet and another life.
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  3. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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  4. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    If you don't get stopped by the Leo's you can be across Alabama in about an hour , and across Mississippi in another hour.
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  5. michaellmcc

    michaellmcc Dudester

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    You nailed it, Ace - great routing! :thumbup Not a lot of dirt until West Texas (which is ALL dirt)!

    Here are a couple of my trip reports of West Texas and Big Bend (with some Mexico thrown in) that may help motivate our friend from NYC:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L9fIk7Hk7I

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEKpJUheF2Y&feature=youtu.be






    #5
  6. charlesdarwin

    charlesdarwin Adventurer

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    Most of the time there are back roads that hug the coast. You can hug the coast all the way to Brownsville, TX or you can cut across. Once you get to West Texas there are lots of dirt roads. Big Bend National Park is definately worth seeing and there are lots of dirt roads open to motorcycles. Once you get past El Paso there are back/dirt roads that are south of I-10.
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  7. jconly

    jconly Been here awhile

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    Awesome guys, thanks for the very useful info.
    Looks like it'll be some boring slab for the most part.

    I'll probably do some coast hugging, bouncing on and off of 90.

    Any recommendations on towns / bars and restaurants / sights along the way worth checking out?
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  8. Meriden

    Meriden Yea whatever

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    Once you get west of the Redneck Rivera and on this side of the Sabine you'll find lots of flat-n-paved. Theoretically you could ride the beach from Sea Rim state park and then catch 87 in High Island. Then continue down Galveston to Freeeport and up 36 to meet with Alt 90.

    There are good gravel roads if you're willing to move north. You may want to check out this thread for some ideas.

    http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82497
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  9. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Definitely ride US 1 into the Keys. Plan to stay in Key West for a few days and take your time riding in and out. That's about the most scenic 150 miles that I can think of.

    Ride Rt. 41 through the Everglades and through the Indian reservations. Definitely unique, and some great history.

    Keep meandering up Rt. 41 along the Gulf Coast. Highlights include the little town of Matlacha (get a room at the Bridgewater Inn, right there on the Intracoastal Waterway - you won't regret it).

    The Edison and Henry Ford houses are not too far from there. Can't quite remember where - maybe a little backtrack is in order.

    Keep on Rt. 41. Plenty of sights and museums. Venice is where the Ringling family (of circus fame) built a museum. Further north is Gibsonton, which is an active circus and carny community today. Go to the Showtime bar in Gibsonton and have a few drinks. One of my favorite dive bars, you are usually surrounded by circus performers.

    The Greater Tampa area has Ybor City (go to Columbia's for legendary food). Another option is to ride the coast (Rt. 699) from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater).

    From there Rt. 19 runs up the coast. That's not real exciting although Cedar Key and Apalachicola are stand outs.

    Follow 98 over to Pensacola. That's ok - there are a few industrial things to see. It ends in Pensacola. Pensacola has the Navy Aviation Museum.

    When you leave Pensacola you hit what they jokingly call LA, or Lower Alabama, which is target rich if you like legendary partying and bars. The Floribama is literally on the Florida/Alabama line, Jimmy Buffett's sister owns a place in Gulf Shores called Lulu's.

    From there ride north past Lulu's, go to Spanish Fort, and ride the old road (Rt. 90) across the causeway on the bay. Among the sights there are Drifters, another of my fav dive bars (24 hour bar on rickety stilts - what's not to like?) and the USS Alabama memorial that has the battleship and tons of aircraft.

    From there hop on the Interstate, ride through the tunnel, and meander through Mobile (you can probably see the Carnival Triumph over there in the shipyards).

    Ride Rt. 90 through to Bay St. Louis. Several places there have large casinos and even if you don't gamble those are often opportunities for cheap food, lodging, and adult beverages (I have logged plenty of time in the RV parks at Bay St. Louis).

    From there hit New Orleans. I usually stay in Kenner on the theory that it's much cheaper than New Orleans. You need to check out Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, but if you have the time ride down to some place like Cut Off or Houma to get an idea of what swampy Louisiana is like.

    I can't tell you much about the coastal areas between Houma and Beaumont, TX. However, I can tell you that I have explored the coastal areas and the ghost towns and port towns of theTexas coast from Galveston to Port Lavaca and Indianola, through Rockport, Port Aransas, Corpus, and South Padre. Quite a bit of lost Texas history there, as well as current touristy spots. Indianola used to be the major Texas port of its day but is now a ghost town with nothing left except a concrete sistern and, as I recall, a cemetery.

    If you get that far them drop me a line and I'll tell you about the riding opportunities along the border. That's where I am living now and still exploring.

    Good luck!


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  10. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    PJ has pretty well said it. The only issue I have is that Hwy 41 north of Naples can be a real traffic slog.
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  11. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Yup. That one really sucks on a hot day but I don't know a viable alternative other than to hit I-75.

    There are lots of neat side trips down there and plenty of history but I wasn't sure that he'd want to spend an extra week in Southwestern Florida ;)


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  12. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    Last October I got off of I-75 to ride 41 south of Sarasota on my way to Naples. Bad move; the traffic was stop and go , slow, and hot. I wish I had stayed on 75.
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  13. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    It's been a few years since the last time that I was there but my recollection was that even I-75 runs heavy down there and traffic is pretty wild.


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  14. acejones

    acejones Long timer

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    I-75 was pretty peaceful except through Tampa. I'm not a big fan of Interstate Hwy. Travel, but on the upside everyone is going the same direction and approximately the same speed and the Interstates will get you through the metro areas a lot faster and at least no one is going across your path; at least not intentionally.
    To me some of the scariest roads are rural roads with lots of trees/schrubs along them and blind driveways or road crossings adjacent to hills. I'll take a Interstate any day over that.
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  15. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    Agreed. I am really phobic about someone on a side road or driveway pulling in front of me.

    South Florida is really interesting. If the OP had 2 months to kill I could keep him busy sightseeing.


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  16. DolphinJohn

    DolphinJohn Caveman

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    When heading west on 41 (Tamiami Trail) turn left on the Loop Road for a little bit of dirt (gravel) and beautiful cypress swamp, birds, gators.

    It's about halfway across the state where 41 makes it's first bend to the north.

    Then take 29 north at Everglades City and catch Jane's Scenic Drive. When you get in the Picayune Strand area you have to look close at the map and take the trail that goes west from 68th Ave SE that leads to Rifle Range Road, to Sabal Palm.

    *Edit --I can't get google maps to route it exactly

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  17. Nttra

    Nttra My english is not very good looking

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    Great information!
    I am actually going to take some of it, since I am doing the opposite trip from the OP. I am now in Miami, but planning to go to NYC via the most interesting route, avoiding as possible highways and camping all along the way. Departing tomorrow.

    Keep the info flowing :)
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  18. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    You may not want to camp anywhere near Everglades City. I have never seen so many hungry mosquitos in my life. :eek1

    I might add that Dolphin John has some great side roads there. However, whereas I am not a gun freak or anything, I swore that I'd never get off the Tamiami Trail without a firearm with me, and that's because there is a genuine danger that if you break down a 'gator might get you. The suckers are everywhere down there and if you ride by the observation center you will notice that the fence is there to keep the gators out, not keep the tourists in. :lol3

    Also, you will be riding through the Miccosukee reservation, and that can be entertaining. They don't get along with anyone, including the nearby Seminoles. :lol3

    [​IMG]
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  19. Nttra

    Nttra My english is not very good looking

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    Ooops! Although I carry two bottles of repellent, I will follow your advise an stop just as necessary while in that area.

    I know it might sound crazy, but somehow I am really eager to see crocodiles. It might has to do with the fact I have been kept in captivity as an economist for soooo long, that I need to reconnect with mother nature, or something :rofl

    Also, not that I would like to hijacking this tread, but If you could give some hints about the trip I am doing, they will be very appreciated... I am new in this camping thing in America. Here's the link of my RT:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=891334

    Thanks everyone!!
    ps. Do you guys recommend visiting Cape Canaveral? What is there to see?
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  20. PirateJohn

    PirateJohn Banned

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    It's the boring author-of-travel-stuff in me but I guess that I need to point out that we are talking about alligators on the Tamiami Trail. There are crocodiles there but they are very, very rare. Alligators, however, you should see plenty of because there are in the ditches all along the Trail. When I rode out of Clewiston and over to South Florida I saw several road kill gators as well as the live ones.

    If you want to see actual crocodiles in South Florida (and since it appears that you are in Miami then you are in luck :lol3) then head to Alabama Jack's on Card Sound Rd. just as you get onto US 1 in Florida City and you MIGHT see one.

    Alabama Jack's is on Lake Surprise and supposedly the aggressive population of North American crocs was the surprise that the workers who built Flager's Railroad discovered. :eek1:lol3
    #20