Manatees in the mist. S.F. to Florida Keys

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by TinCrow, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Hello all, I will be riding from my house in San Francisco, and aiming for the keys in Florida. Its December and the Weather of course will be a factor. I am on a 09 Kawaski KLE 650 (Versys).

    I would like to mix up the route as much as possible for the round trip, but weather is the deciding factor. Any input would be appreciated. I plan on getting across the first half at a quick pace and spending my time wandering more of the east side of the south. Ill probably take the 40 through to Albuquerque and drop down into Lubbock TX, to visit my sister,and then from there? Ill start the wander, and hopefully end up swimming with a Manatee in a brackish water way somewhere in Florida?

    Im also looking on the tent space thread for places to catch some sleep along the way. I do not need much, a dry place to lay my sleeping bag and that's it. So if you are on the road between California and Florida and you've got space, let me know. I look forward to meeting new folks along the way. Gregory
    #1
  2. freeflow

    freeflow get in or go in

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    this will get moved to trip planning, but in the regionals thread there are a few prolific guys there that have the manatee area of florida pretty well covered....

    otherwise, Crystal River FL will have all you want for swimming with the manatees,,,,Three Sister's spring is the best IMO
    #2
  3. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Im ready to ride. I wanted to leave this morning, but I awoke to crazy rain here in San Francisco. It poured last night and through the morning.

    The skies have cleared and the winds are calm. I'm planning on leaving at dawn. Ill be heading for Kingman, Az. or somewhere near there. If any one has a couch or floor for me to lay my sleeping bag, that would be great.


    [​IMG]

    This little rebel took a fall during the wind storm. I stopped and got her back on her wheels.
    #3
  4. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    Good luck, Greg...That storm hammered us here in the East Bay. Hope you can get on the road tomorrow? I'm headed south and a bit east myself in about 4 weeks--until I hit the Pacific Ocean at the tip of Baja. No manatees there, but I look forward to reading about your trip. Say hi to the prairie dogs in Lubbock. :lol3
    #4
  5. toypro1

    toypro1 Adventurer

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    I'm in - I would like to do the same thing.
    #5
  6. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    San Francisco, Ca. - Flagstaff, Az. (750+ miles, 13hs)
    Today started at the break of dawn, on the beach in San Francisco. I watched the moon slowly sink towards the sea, and then I turned to the East and rode into the sunrise. What a great day. I stayed dry, got to get off the beaten path a couple of times in the desert, and I made it safely into Flagstaff. The moon was on the rise, in a sharp winter glow as I rode through the mountains finishing today's ride. It was a beautiful and fitting end to the day.

    The familiar routes seemed different today. Its not just another weekend ride, this time I get to keep going East until I run out of America. I am super excited to be riding! This years goal is a three part deal.
    #1 Motorcycle ride across America, 7,000 miles. I love it!
    #2 Hug a Manatee. The Manatee is my power animal?
    #3 Ride a ridiculous distance to see a Rock and Roll show. Hot Chip and Yeasayer will take me on a musical adventure to the Bahamas and Jamaica.

    So that's the plan, well see how it goes. Ill take it one day at a time.
    I am hoping to meet the good people of America face to face and in their back yards. I was amazed at the hospitality I was shown by the people of Mexico, never before has a nation of strangers offered me their hearts and homes in such a beautiful way.
    I'm looking for the good side of America. Its out there, I just need to approach it in the right way. For instance, I learned in mexico you can generally walk up to someone in a small town, strike up a conversation and they will offer you a place to stay for the evening. Ive tried it a couple times here in the states and its a little different. In America, its better to e-mail first. Folks have been offering me places all over the U.S. I start tomorrow in Albuquerque. Terri B. and her 2 teen age sons are opening their home to me. They have invited me to dinner and offered a couch to sleep on and a hot shower and coffee for the morning. I love Americans, they're cool.


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    Coffee break, near Boron, Ca.
    #6
  7. FAW3

    FAW3 Old wanderer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    No.VA.
    Good luck on your trip...

    1: On the way close to I10...might swing by Panama City...St. Andrews State Park has nice tent sites, snorkle right from beach.

    2: Your Manatee plans seem somewhat vague. Been there and done that so for what it's worth: I second: Crystal River (city and river name) on the West coast above Tampa offers "crystal clear" water, manatees, a couple of dive/boat shops and motels all clustered in a 2 mile area around the springs of orgin for the river which is often termed "Kings Bay". This is spring fed fresh water "cold"...you will be wanting to rent a wet suit.

    Good bar, great food: Crackers...on the north side of the bay at Crystal River.
    #7
  8. CurDog

    CurDog Adventurer

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    That was a big start to your ride but it sounds like day 1 went off well. It sounds like you will take it a little easier over the next 2 days (Albuquerque and then Lubbock.)

    I have to say that you have surprised me with the idea of swimming with the manatees. I have lived in Florida for over 25 years now. I am a transplant from the Pacific NW... Seattle. Near where I live, is a popular viewing area for manatees... Blue Springs State Park. We have gone there many times to show visiting family or friends the manatees. But when I checked it out, they do not allow you to swim with them. As a matter of fact, I learned that only in the Crystal River area is this possible. This definitely has piqued my curiosity... do you have a particular guide company or spot in mind? There are a number of them listed on the internet.

    Depending on when you plan to arrive in Florida, maybe I could join you for the "swim." Crystal River is straight west of Daytona Beach, about a 2 1/2 hour ride. Whether that would work or not, you are welcome to stop by our home, either coming or going, for a place to stay and a decent meal. Feel free to PM me with any details.

    CurDog
    #8
  9. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Vague plans indeed. I have heard everything from "No touching or swimming" to "They are everywhere, jump on in". Either way ill approach the situation with respect.
    Ill get in touch with you as I get closer to the Manatee.

    Yesterday was another nice ride. Highway 40 from Flagstaff to Albuquerque was beautiful. Very straight and fast, but lots of chances to wander off the beaten path. I stopped at the Petrified Forest, Painted Desert, and a few dirt roads that led hear and there?

    Im off to Lubbock today. Clear skies and cold temps.

    [​IMG]

    Somewhere near Meteor Crater, AZ.


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    Somewhere near Meteor Crater, Az

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    Standing on the corner in Winslow Arizona.
    #9
  10. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    ...there's a girl my lord in a flatbed Ford...

    (I can SEE her in the window :evil )
    #10
  11. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Its hard to tell, but shes slowin down to take a look at me. (I had to do it)
    #11
  12. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    I always heard that as flathead Ford. Like a model B coupe. Women driving flatbeds often look a bit like their fellow teamsters.
    #12
  13. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

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    so, a search of multiple lyrics websites has revealed the Eagles version and the Travis Tritt remake, all have the line as 'flat-bed ford'. I would picture this as a farm type Ford work truck, not a flatbed semi tractor trailer.......

    now back to the posting.........when you gettin to south FLA?
    #13
  14. pulco

    pulco Ready to Ride

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Houston
    I'll be reading along. I plan to ride with the wife from Houston to Tampa after Christmas, so may be taking some of the same roads.

    Be careful of your manatee plan:

    [Florida] makes it illegal to "annoy, molest, harass or disturb" the endangered aquatic mammals, whose survival is imperiled by manmade threats, including boating collisions. Violations are considered a second-degree misdemeanor.
    http://news.yahoo.com/florida-woman-arrested-riding-endangered-manatee-055926479.html

    But best of luck and enjoy the trip.
    #14
  15. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Ive read this story. That lady sounds like a nut. No Manatee riding for me.
    #15
  16. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    Take it easy, was actually written by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. The Eagles made it famous with Glenn Frey on vocals. The statue appears to be Jackson Browne. The store on the corner has a speaker mounted outside on the sidewalk. They play The Eagles all day long. Its a Flat Bed Ford. I have a thousand songs in my head that ive created lyrics for. I think its my way of personalizing the song to fit me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondegreen

    Anyway back to the ride.
    I planned on riding straight through Texas, but the weather is good for December and I have lots of family throughout the state. I stopped to see one relative and I am now obligated to stick around for 4 days and visit every one within 300 miles? My last road trip was all about being with strangers and not seeing a familiar face for 2 months. This trip seems to be about visiting everyone I know that is in my line of travel. I guess im lucky to have family and friends that welcome me.
    The roads are long and straight. There are a few sights to see, and the country side is beautiful. Its getting colder and Im hoping to be on the road tomorrow.
    It looks like I may need to replace the back tire in Florida. I think the best way is to buy online and ship to a Florida address. Anybody in Florida with a tire changing station or a recommendation for a place that wont charge $50 bucks?

    [​IMG]

    Texas twisties.
    #16
  17. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    [​IMG]

    Prarie Dog Town. Wichita Falls, Texas.
    #17
  18. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

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    :lol3:lol3:lol3

    As a kid that was one of the highlights of a weekend, taking a trip out to Prairie Dog Town.

    Now, they just remind me of the no-good, very-bad, garden-destroying ground squirrels that I'm at war with. I love my pellet rifle :evil

    Thanks for the updates and photos. The road is calling...
    #18
  19. whitey818

    whitey818 knob

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    I am in Lake City,FL, where I-10 and I-75 cross. I can help with tire change and location to ship tire, if you are passing along this way, just PM me for address. I do all of mine by hand or take to a friend who has a hydraulic changing station if he is around.
    Either way looking forward to more of your RR.
    #19
  20. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

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    I made it out of Texas as the weather became colder. It was a light rain through Texas, and then some heavier rain, thunder storms and lightning through Louisiana. I headed to Jackson for the night.
    I rode North on The Natchez Trace the next day, The skies cleared up but the temps dropped. It was nice to get off the interstate. I finished the day in Tupelo, Mississippi. Birthplace of Elvis Presley.

    From Tupelo I wandered South East on different junctions and back roads through Alabama. I got a bit lost, but ended up in Tuscaloosa. There were some really fun roads. I didnt have a map and my GPS is pretty much useless right now. so i was stopping at gas or general stores along the way for directions. I ended up heading to Atlanta via the interstate to finish off the eve. It is cold out there tonight, but ive got a warm house thanks to David, and I am in Georgia! Feels good to be so far from home. Im thinking Savanna tomorrow? The weather is looking grim. If any body has route recommendations from Savanna to Ft Lauder dale, or places of interest, let me know.

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    Reflections in a cypress swamp. Mississippi


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    A brief rest on Elvis's front porch. Tupelo, Mississippi
    #20