So this will be my first RR but definitely not the last...... I live in miami a place i affectionately like to refer to as the toilet of the U.S. Ever heard the phrase "shit rolls down hill"?! There are three kinds of weather in miami, hot, humid and windy. More often than not it's the first two combined. With that said i've been longing for the first cold front to hit this dreadful place and friday it finally did. I'm a very unpredictable living in the moment loaner kinda of guy. So most of my escapes tend to be spontaneous. I woke up friday around noon with only a couple errands to run for that day. It had been raining non stop for 2 days prior so when i woke to view sunny clear skies and cool temps i was grinning from ear to ear. After a cup of tea, a toke or two of my pipe and a bowl of oatmeal in the backyard my decision was clear. Get as far away from miami on as little money and fast as possible. After running my errands, passing by wallyworld for a few last minute camping items i came home and packed up the beast. The beast is my old man's 07 V-strom 1000. Dad had never owned a bike and bought it without a test ride fresh off the showroom floor. I had to ride it home for him and from his first ride on it till today it scares the shit out of him. Typical male ego attitude of wanting the biggest baddest most expensive thing on the lot. The bike has close to 5k miles after this weekend, only 800 of which are his. The thing is heavy, nasty and unforgiving. However if you give it what it likes it can be a fun ride. I dashed out of miami right around 4:30 (rush hour) the quickest way possible I-75 to US.27 (my favorite florida road). North is always a good direction when you're at the bottom! I was at lake okeechobee in under an hour and just in time to watch the sunset. grin After the spectacular sight/moment i had but two things on my mind "camp" and "food". 5 minutes up the road and i saw open gates on a dirt farm road and quickly pulled in. couple hundred feet up ahead and i was greeted by an old shack, farm equipment and not a person in sight. so i set up camp, a fire and cooked up some grub. Beans, corn, onions, tomatoes and fire heated tortillas. Rest of the night was spent tending the fire, smoking my pipe and watching the stars from the roof of a caterpillar harvester. In miami we have no starts and no one cares. Before going to bed i made sure to set my alarm for 5:30am. I figured the next day was saturday and if anyone was to come around it would surely be later on. Ha About 5:15 i'm woken up by headlights, loud noise and voices. I exit my tent to be greeted by a older tall black fellow named Willy. I began explaining to Willy i was a cheap traveler and had no money for a hotel blah blah blah when i began to notice he didn't much care. He asked "weren't you cold?" to which i replied nah i rather enjoyed it with a smile. He then said "take your time" as i started to gather my things. As he began to walk away he said "and don't worry the boss don't come in today, besides i didn't see anything" I hit the road (441 N) hard and fast in the dark and made it all the way up to port mayaca before i noticed my fingers were numb. I stopped off at one of those gas stations that look like a mini wallmart and bought a cup of coffee. I asked the cute attendant if she knew what the temp was outside and if i could sit on the floor inside and defrost a while. she grabbed a chair from behind the counter handed it over and said with a smile it's 40 degrees. From inside the station i saw the early morning light piercing the night sky across the street where the lake was. So after a nod and a smile to the attendant i hopped on the bike and went over to take a peek. To think if Willy hadn't woken me up i would have missed this. tsk tsk After spending a good hour watching the sunrise, thinking about life and such. I hopped on the bike and headed north on 441. I got to Okeechobee in no time and was confronted with a decision. North on 441 which i had never taken or west back to 27 which i knew well. So on up 441 with clear blue skies cool temps and miami getting smaller and smaller in my rear view. Eventually i come to a sign for a state park and decide to check it out. A quick left and a lot more miles than i had anticipated at first i arrive at this: The park had dirt roads, a funny sign telling you not touch any bombs you might find laying around and i didn't see a gate/office anywhere. so i rode on in. I found my way to the "designated campsite" (big mistake) and pulled up to an empty lot away from everyone else. There were a few campers around and a few quiet folks having breakfast. so i unpacked made some more oatmeal took in the beautiful natural scenery and eventually crawled into my tent to get some more sleep (i'm not a morning person). I pitched my tent on a grassy part of the lot which was super comfortable, the wind was blowing hard and cold. The sun was gleaming down and birds were out doing what birds do. To say this was the best sleep i got in the trip would be an understatement! After what seemed like an eternity but was actually probably 2-3 hours i was woken to that dreaded sound of a semi backing up. I poped out of my tent dizzy and crooked to be greeted by a 20+ft horse trailer and a fat white lady asking me if i had a ticket for the spot. I said i didn't but that i'd be glad to move my tent over out of their way since they apparently did. After moving my tent over a couple of spots i watched as a few suvs arrived full of screaming spoiled white rich children. Eventually another horse trailer, a clown and an ice cream truck were there and very quickly what seemed like a perfect little piece of heaven turned into ruins. A park ranger truck pulled up not long after the circus and from the distance i saw him chatting with the old bag. About 5 min later i see him walking towards me. I knew it was trouble and i thought to myself why didn't i just stick north on 441. Anyhow after a few words this old geezer he expects me to pay $17.50 for pitching my tent overnight and keeps asking me how i came in through the closed gates. To witch i laugh and ask what's the daily? he answers $4. I hand it over to him and say this is all you're going to get now give me my receipt and go away. Since paradise was over i pack my stuff eat some nuts and get ready to leave. at least the horses they brought were pretty to look at. As i'm making my way out of the park cursing society, america and mankind. I see a dirt trail and decide to park the bike next to the "no motorized vehicles beyond this point" sign as if to possibly make a statement or not. I set out on foot with my trusty nikon in hand hoping for some lone time and some much needed fresh air. I walk for a good half hour and forget the earlier incident and think so this is what florida looked like before "people" arrived. So after that nice walk and reminder of what i was out to see i head out thinking next time skip this park. I get back on 441 north and a few miles down the road i'm confronted by another decision. North, east or west, this place is called the "yeehaw junction". I decide to grab some late lunch and a brew at the "Desert inn" across the street. Figuring this is some good old americana type place i walk in and to my surprise find cuban spanish being spoken out loud, cowboy hats and the slowest waitress known to mankind. After about 15 minutes and a tuff neck looking guy who looked like he worked there nudging her; she finally came and asked what i wanted. I said una becks e un menu por favor. I ordered a cuban steak sandwich "pan con bistec" which was pretty decent but not amazing. Walking out $10 bucks poorer and wondering how in the hell cubans made it all the way up here i hop on the bike toss a quarter in the air and which ever way the eagle or washington's head is facing when it lands is where i'm headed. West it is. I ride west on SR 60 for a while and come to the first of many lakes in that region. Beautiful stuff! I hit a road dirt before a bridge and ride parallel to 60 right up to the shore. I thought about setting camp here since the scenery was beautiful. But figured with the road traffic at night and being right out in the open it wouldn't be a good idea. So i kept on west and stumbled upon a radio tower and the overgrown little stretch of pavement leading to it. I rode in and in the very back by one of the anchor cables i found my home for the night. This would prove to be the place i got disturbed the least at. I got some good rest here, saw a beautiful sunset through the florida pines and was greeted by a surprised to see me as i was him armadillo. I decided the steak sandwich was more than enough and i didn't breakout the cookware instead just munched on a an apple and some nuts. The night sky here was even more full of stars than the farm the night before. It felt nice to see the milkyway again. Spent the night the usual way watching the sky, tending the fire, smoking my pipe and thinking about life, the universe and everything. The next morning i woke up early it was cold so i re-lit the fire, made some oatmeal and packed up. I headed west as chance had instructed me the day before and the road/scenery was pretty rewarding. Since i knew i was going to hit US.27 sometime soon (familiar territory) i decided to head SW towards Frostproof through SR 630. Beautiful pristine natural florida pine forests! which unfortunately led way to acres upon acres of oranges. Think about this next time you reach for that fresh squeezed cup of florida orange juice. "How many pines does it take to make one glass of florida orange juice?!" What this area must have looked like a few generations ago only real americans will ever know. I stopped and snuck a few oranges into my tank bag for a snack later and rode on into Frostproof. Got some gas while there and noticed the chain guard on the strom was a little loose. A couple of zip ties later and i was on the road headed towards 27. This is the unfortunate point which the battery on the D70 died. As i reached for the spare i had packed i wondered if i had grabbed the "charged one" as the lack of further pictures will prove this was not the case. After getting to 27 i decided that unfortunetly it was time to start heading back south since i didn't want to get too far away from home and have to spend too much money. I headed south on 27 into Sebring. I stopped at wallyworld and picked up a headlamp and a excercise mat for a sleeping pad for the upcoming night. Washed up, munched on some nuts and raisens in the parking lot and eventually got back on the road. I decided to take SR 98 S/E instead of 27 and was hoping to spend the night somewhere along it. However when i got to the lake again the wind was gusting 25mph+ and a huge storm was approaching from the north and the east. Since i doubted my $30 tent could take the abuse i decided to cut down 441 into south bay instead and eventually back to the dump i call home. till next time.