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

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

  1. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco

    Thanks, I may do this after Christmas. Maybe around the 27th? Ill try to get a plan together and let you know what im up to. I really appreciate the offer.
    #21
  2. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    San Francisco, California - Savanna, Georgia (Tybee Island).
    I have arrived! The east coast is at my feet. I stood in the mighty Atlantic and jumped for joy. Todays ride was a tough one and a fitting end to the first leg of this trip.
    I started near Atlanta and managed to turn a 4.5 hour ride into an 8.5 hour ride. I took back roads and scenic byways through rural Georgia. I stopped a lot to take pictures and to chat with people. The challenge came mid ride as the rain started falling. It was a light rain through the back roads and then darkness fell upon the state of Georgia. I was still 2.5 hours out from Savanna. I decided to get off the back roads and get on the main highway as it was night and I couldnt see the sights anyways. I was starting to get wet through my many layers, so I picked up the pace and headed due East. I passed a police officer as he was going the opposite direction. I was speeding, not too much but defiantly speeding. He didnt turn around and I kept up the pace. I was actually so wet and cold it was hard to make adjustments. About 5 minutes up the road I see a car doing a U turn and it looked as if he was going to hit me? It turns out it was another cop and he was on my tail. He pulled me over, and luckily it stopped raining for 5 minutes. He asked the regular questions and I answered yes sir, no sir, my apologies sir. He told me he that the other officer called him to get me, because I flew past him and he couldnt catch up? I apologized again. He stated he was worried about me, he said this over and over. "Its raining and I dont want you to get hurt". He said he understands the speeding as he also rides, but asked me to please slow down and ride safe. I told him I was hearing him loud and clear. He let me off and I thanked him for his concern and leeway. It was another 2 hours of wet and wild riding. I kept it around the speed limit, but that puts big rigs and other cars all over me. The rain was insane and the spray from the trucks was incredible. I would get caught in a flurry of wind rain and spray from the trucks, it was actually quite dangerous and I kept thinking only one more hour?
    Normally i would have stopped earlier but I was thinking in terms of 3,000 miles down a mere 50 more to go. I was so soaked that I did not want to get off the bike at all. Not for gas, directions not anything but a warm dry room. I had one stop left in me. I felt like if I got off the bike I wouldnt be able to get back on, too wet and cold.
    I was supposed to meet someone in Savanna and they were going to let me sleep at their house tonight, I was to cold and wet to find their number. Like I said I had the energy for one stop only. I rode around Savanna in the pouring rain looking for the cheap hotel district? Savanna is very quaint and all decked out for the Holidays, but its not on the Atlantic! Tybee Island is, and its 15 more miles! Well I havent gotten off the bike yet, so I ride on towards Tybee Island. I see a hotel claiming to be the only one in town on the beach. Thats what im looking for. I am dis oriented so I really cant tell where the beach is. I walk in and im dripping water all over the office. I take off my gloves and water is pouring out onto the floor. I apologize to the clerk and ask pleeeaaase do you have a room that I can afford. At this point my budget is out the window ill pay top dollar to get out of these clothes, ive allready passed up the free room that I had arranged.
    Im in luck the room is $69 bucks, it is actually a great hotel. Really nice amenities, right on the beach, super clean and it has a bathtub! That is the first thing I did after peeling off all my wet clothes was take a long hot bath. Soap, shampoo, conditioner... Im talking one of those deluxe washin ups.
    I then ran down to the beach snapped some shots in the rain. Touched the Atlantic, jumped around in circles and ran back to my cozy, private, over sized room. I am so snug right now. I am on the Atlantic, and in sea turtle country. Im not sure how im going to get these clothes dry for tomorrow, but tonight I am snug as a bug in a rug.
    Life is good, I can do anything I want, and I will.

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    The Atlantic Ocean. Tybee Island, Georgia. 12/12/12



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    The Atlantic Ocean. Tybee Island, Georgia. 12/12/12
    #22
  3. HardWorkingDog

    HardWorkingDog Harvey Mushman

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,802
    Location:
    Walnut Crick, Cal.
    Whew, glad you made it in one piece. Glad you were able to talk your way out the traffic stop too.
    #23
  4. whitey818

    whitey818 knob

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2012
    Oddometer:
    3
    Location:
    Lake City, Fl
    I'll be here. Glad ya made it to the east coast safe and sound. Been pretty wet last few days.
    #24
  5. FLARider1

    FLARider1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,413
    Location:
    Homestead, Florida
    Been there, done that, with the rain. Caught me in July on the FLA Turnpike on a flat section north of Ft Pierce. Winds howling, driving rain and tons of traffic......scary to say the least and I was riding in daylight!!

    Anyway......after today the weather looks down this way for the next week!!! Have fun cruzzin down this way and see you tomorrow!!!!

    A
    #25
  6. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Just found your RR. I live 15 miles North of Savannah and was at Tybee a few days ago. If you are gonna be around for a few hours I would love to buy you lunch. PM me.
    #26
  7. riceburner30281

    riceburner30281 misADVenturer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Oddometer:
    646
    Location:
    Lurking in the shadows of ATL
    Nice meeting you Greg, Glad you made it safe!!
    #27
  8. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    A brief celebration here on Tybee, Im packing up and heading south to Daytona Beach, Fl. Ive still got around 4,000 miles to go on this ride.

    I slept like a baby, I have nearly finished drying all my clothes. And the hotel clerk packed me some food for the road.



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    Tybee Island, Georgia
    #28
  9. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco

    Im getting a late start. Its 11:00 a.m. and im thinking of taking a walk around Savanna, before heading South. Call if you want to have a cup of coffee or lunch. 415-846-2769 or (415) tin-crow. Its easy to remember.
    #29
  10. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Southbound.
    Georgia is cold today. I am riding south, hopefully to warmer weather. Aside from my cold, wet boots, im warm and dry with all my gear on. I rode south to Florida. I took a detour to hop on the 10 east. It goes from Santa Monica Beach, California to Atlantic Beach, Florida.
    It was a bit anti climactic, but ive often looked at that freeway and wondered what it looked like from the other side. I have now witnessed the end of the 10. Its actually a lot like the other side. There is a shopping mall, with lots of things to buy. Restaurants, Traffic jams and parking lots. Oh yeah and there is one big difference, im looking at the Atlantic Ocean. Im glad to be here.
    I rode onto Daytona beach and was greeted by my host Eric from advrider. We had a delicious meal and talked about motorcycles and life for a few hours. A beautiful fox came up to the window while we where talking, its a jungle out there. There are gators across the street, and coral, and rattle snakes in the yard. Although I imagine its a little cold for snakes to be out around here this time of year?. maybe further south.


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    Lebowski and friend, pose on the Versys.



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    The end of the 10
    #30
  11. Rutabaga

    Rutabaga Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    734
    Location:
    Southeast Lower Carolina
    Well dang. I rode down to Tybee before lunch and rode past the Desoto looking for your bike all over then stopped for lunch just a block away from the hotel to get out of the cold. Glad you found some warmer clime, it sure was a cold raw 36 hours for us. Safe travels.
    #31
  12. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    My apologies. As I got on the road I checked for messages, but my phone was waterlogged from the night before. So no phone for the next few days till...

    Im in Cocoa Beach having a cup of coffee with sharky. The sun is shinning, the weather is perfect for riding. There are a lot of critters around here. Its nice to be warm in December. Thanks again Eric, I really appreciated your hospitality. It was great talking with you, its been an inspiring ride.


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    #32
  13. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
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    Prison books -
    I got started pretty early today, I left Erics around 8am? The plan is head south to Homestead which is around 300 miles away, and meet up with some more folks from advrider. On the trip i planned on mixing up the ride with both the coastal road A1A and the main highway 95. I really havent seen much of Florida in the day light. And the temps are up. the sun is breaking through. Its looking good.
    Before I cut over to the coast I passed a place in an older strip mall. It was called Prison Books. I thought about stopping, I had an idea of what the place might be, im not a religious person, but i figured id turn around and go back and meet someone new. I pulled in the lot, and parked next to an older, well rusted Goldwing.
    I walked in and there was an older gentleman working in the shop. The place was packed with books. Shelves, and boxes full of books and literature. There was a map posted on the wall. It was of the United States, and there was a red thumb tack to mark all the locations he had sent out books and literature to. I asked him what exactly he does and who are the people he sends books to. He explained that he gets about 400-600 letters month requesting books. The letters come from prisoners all over America. He said he can send out about 10 boxes with packages a week, and he throws all the other letters away. his outlook on the whole project was pretty interesting. Whether or not I agree with his philosophies, I respected his efforts and passion. And that he chose to reach out to prisoners.
    We talked a bit more about his project, life and how different everyone's experience is. And then he began talking about his wife. Im not sure how the subject shifted, but he really wanted to talk to me about her. He told me she just recently passed away, and how hard it was for him to deal with. He was really upset, and he was getting quite personal about his mixed feelings on the situation. He then began telling me all these stories about their life together.
    Her name was Kazuko, he told me that he met her in the 50's when he was stationed in Japan. He seen her on a train and he fell in love instantly. He tried to follow her off the train but lost her in the crowd. He went back to that same train station and market place and looked for her for three weeks, until he finally seen her again. He had tried to learn a few words of Japanese, but he was nervous he couldnt remember any of them, and when he approached her he spoke in English and she replied to him in broken English. He explained that he seen her on the train but didnt get the chance to talk to her. She also remembered him from that day. She thought he was a nut, for trying to find her, and he told her he was crazy because thats what people in love do.
    It was a great story and he was full of emotion about the memories. He would start tearing up during many of the stories, and he had me tearing up as I listened. He told me in great detail about their first walk together. He was explaining about how there was a retaining wall along the sand and they had to step over it to get to the street. He reached for her hand and she held onto him. He told me "she grabbed onto my hand, and I never let it go for 56 years" it seemed like a fairy tale. Not all the stories were happy, a lot of folks, even people that where his friends, said horrible things about Kazuko and him when he returned to America with a Japanese wife. He said he would never be able to forget the things people said and did.
    Most of the stories were uplifting, and all of them were classics. Seemed like they were right out of a movie. Another story was, when he was working at his post. She would call him every day on his lunch break. He reminded me that there were no phones like today, she had to walk down the block to the post, to make the call. "I was tickled to my toe nails, every time I heard her voice".
    there were more stories, and as he finished, he began getting really sad, He told me he was ready to go. He didnt want to be in this world anymore. He told me about some visions he had been having, his sisters were with Kazuko and they were talking about his childhood, he was so delighted, and figured he would rather go sooner than later to see them. It was all so beautiful and so sad at the same time. I didnt know what to say.
    It was such an interesting conversation and a lot of the things he was saying were both inspiring and heart breaking, and really affected me. As I left a guy was walking in, he was the owner of the old Gold Wing. It was a classic and we began talking about his story with the bike and... these things go on and on. I was spending my first warm sunny day of my vacation in Florida, in a cluttered religious bookstore. I would not have put that one on the itinerary, but it was something that has kept me thinking all day.
    As for the riding portion of the day. All went well. I rode south, headed towards the cape/ space center. stopped at a bird viewing trail, they are everywhere. Lots of birds, very peaceful. I had a close call with an otter running across the road, there were giant Great Herons, and I saw a Turkey Vulture eating a dead Armadillo. Now i dont know if I got all these animals right but its a reference point. I also was nearly hit by a Barn Owl while on the freeway, very close call.
    As for the A1A. Seen lots of businesses and stoplights. It did however provide lots of beach opportunities. I stopped at a few for brief visits, then back to the main, via about 10 miles of loose sandy, shale roads on the way back to 95. Some of the best parts are the bridges that connect the A1A with the main, great views. Once I got back to 95. I realized i didnt get that far south at all. I still had 3 hours to go to homestead. Well, im here now and again im in great company. Im deep into gator country, but have not seen any yet. Tomorrow, a casual riding day of tourist attractions?


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    todays back roads


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    Que bonita.


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    Normally I would turn around, but David (riceburner30821) has inspired me to go beyond all signs that say "road closed"


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    Ugggh, foiled again. It was impassable, but still worth the detour. It gave me privacy for coffee break.



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    The end. For now.
    #33
  14. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Everglades Nat. Park

    Its hard to remember where I left off, but Im in Florida! My hosts have been amazing.and generous.
    The weather is warm, there are light to heavy cooling rains, and im loving it. December is the time for me to be here. I can barely handle the winter heat. I would never make it hear in June. San Francisco has chilled my blood.
    Today im riding through the Everglades to the tiny town of Flamingo. Its situated at the furthest tip South on Floridas main land. I started off stopping in at Roberts fruit stand. I hear they make the best shakes in Florida and their cherry/ key lime smoothie has me convinced. I had forgotten about my love for Key Lime anything and here I am in Key Lime country. I am happy.
    On the roads leading to the park there are canals, waterways, swamps, and mangrove forests. theres water everywhere. I was warned about the flat lands of Florida, the never ending swamps and deadly wildlife. Its all true and I love it, thats why im here. As I keep one eye on the road and one eye on the water, I spot my first gator. Hes lying on the side of the road getting some sun. I pull over, take a pic, get closer for another, then he whips his tail and in an instant he disappears into the canal. The water hear is clear but so full of plant life that its perfect for hiding giant gators.
    I realize after seeing how fast he moved that I am in his house and he is higher on the food chain than I am. Luckily he is afraid of me and I get back on the bike and ride on. More gators more water birds more mangroves, its amazing out here.
    In the park there are lots of opportunities to check out the natural features safely. You are still within inches of everything, but I suppose its safe? I took a few hikes through the mangrove, mahogony and cypress forests and its a crazy jungle in there. You go from blazing sun to near darkness, with mangrove roots reaching for the canopy, air plants clinging to the tree trunks, exotic birds singing their jungle songs, and spiders. Big spiders waiting for you to walk into their webs, I even found a pygmy rattlesnake and a box turtle. And then you walk back pout to the bright and blazing sunlight. You would never imagine what lies within those groves of trees. Its really amazing. I really wish I had a small boat or canoe as water is really the only way to get off the beaten path. I did however find a few back roads, as well as some dirt riding. I made it to Flamingo, tucked myself out of the way, found some solitude and had a picnic and private Hot Chip/Yeasayer dance party. I gazed out to the South. Nothing, nothing but sea and mangrove land masses rising up here and there. Its amazing to picture myself in the map in my head.
    Its been a long ride and im nearly half way there?

    I am tripping through this amazing botanical wonderland. I feel like I have found the real Florida, or at least a small part of it. As far as the real Gregory? That seems to be a bit more complicated, I am still looking and I dont understand how thats supposed to work? so ill keep wondering.

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    My first roadside gator.


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    Pygmy rattlesnake.


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    #34
  15. TinCrow

    TinCrow Adventurer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Oddometer:
    30
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I guess I really havent been talking much about riding. I got here on my bike, but the people, the animals and the scenery are what im diggin on lately. I was off the bike for a week while at sea, and I was going crazy. Im back on track now. Heres a story from the day I cought the boat. Not a riding story, but interesting anyways.

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    Sean "The MILF" Hunter

    At this point of my journey, I was preparing myself to get on a giant ship and cruise the Caribbean in the style of decadence and Rock n Roll.
    It sounded confusing from the start, but Yeasayer and Hot Chip where involved so I was ready to give it a try. I was getting directions to the cruise ship terminal from my current host Andy, I had told him I had a couple hours to kill before the cruise and wondered if there was a spot in Ft. Lauderdale he recommended I visit. He figured the beach was my best bet and he suggested to park near the Elbow Room and start my walk there. The Elbow room was the last remaining bar from the spring break heyday of the 80's. From what I read and the pictures I saw, this place was goin off in the 60's. Im not much of a spring breaker, but I packed my duffle with the one pair of extra pants I brought and my clean under ware and socks, and a nice sweater. I packed for a motorcycle ride not a luxury cruise so thats what I have. I waved goodbye to Andy and Angie and off to Ft. Lauderdale I went.

    I made sure I knew where the cruise terminal was located, and the beach was only a mile or two away. I cruised the strip and it all looked pretty beachy, nothing exciting or new. A city with lots of stores and things to buy, on a beautiful white sand beach.
    I recognized the Elbow Room and blocked around to find a parking spot. Its a busy town and parking sucks, even on a motorcycle. I couldnt find anything that wasnt $20, or looked like a tow away zone. So I blocked around and around and then magically a spot appeared in front of Hunters Bar. Its in an alley behind the Elbow room, perfect? Well I still wasnt convinced, so I looked around and asked a fellow what he thought. "Is this spot legal, Will I be towed?" Your good man, dont worry about it, he says. Then he replies, f%#k that man, get that bike off the street and pull up here in front of the building, this is private property and well watch your bike for you. I asked are you sure? I do not want to be towed. He repeated this is private property, keep off the sidewalk and stay on our pavers and they cant touch you. Right on im thinking, this is working out well.
    I proceed to park my moto, get my helmet off, and by the time I look around to thank them, they had disappeared into Hunters the bar. I walked in and took a look around at the decor. Lots of taxidermy and lots of kitsch, all dangled with women's under ware and bras... Ive seen this before so it didnt seem that out of place?
    Excuse me I said, thanks so much for the assistance. Im not from around here and... I give them the long ride story. Im now around non riders and they seem genuinely impressed with my story. I then ask if they know a place I can grab a bite to eat. They throw out a few names and tell me about the greatest pizza in town or the best Italian restaurant around, and the best sandwich... everything is on the same block and its evident these guys work, live and play within the few blocks around hunters and the Elbow room. They introduce themselves as Sean and Mike. Great to meet you I say, thanks again, and im ready to stroll. Then sean yells out, "Hey Gregory, if you want to go grab some dogs and buns, ill fire up the grill and ill make you some lunch. Ive got all the fixins and wed love to have you hang out for awhile" Hmmmm. I havent had a hot dog in 25 years, but hospitality superceeds my food ethics. I am seriously considiring the offer, as sean scurries around working in his bar. Mike walks over to me and says do you realize who that is? I reply no? Mike says Thats the MILF dude! Mmmmm im still confused? He says Sean The MILF Hunter! I am still confused. Mike walks me to the back room opens the door and the room is covered wall to wall to ceiling, full of pictures of Sean having sex with hundreds of different women. Its becoming more clear now, Sean is a world famous porn star. Mike tells me about his website milfhunter.com. I walk back out to the bar and tell Sean, "I did not realize I was in the prescence of such royalty. He holds out his fist with a smile and gives me a solid. I now realize I have to go get those dogs. The chance to have hot dogs with a porn star is something I never imagined I would be doing. Mike grabs my helmet and gear and says, ill hold your stuff you go get the dogs. Its on, a hot dog social at Hunters Bar. Mike actuall loves my helmet and puts it in the display caser in his buisness next door. He rents scooters and those mini cars that tourists rent to drive around tourist towns. He explained his uncle has the patent on this particular model and thats his family fortune comes from these. He shows me one of the logos on a car and says thats Seans fiance, her family has owned the Elbow room for years. Im trippin on how all this came together, but in the spirit of my rides its seems to fit right in. Mike says this is all he knows, this block and these cars, he doesnt know anything else and he never wants to do anything else. Its a trip because while all this has been going on at least 20 people have been by to say good morning to these guys and they are all excited to meet me and hear my story, and they are all old friends or admirers of Sean. Theyre a motly crew, ex porn storns, up and comming porn stars and other local Lauderdales. Its very interesting.
    So Im off to the local 7-11 to fetch dogs and buns. I get back and the grill is fired up, Sean is the grill master and im lovin these guys. They are kind people with huge hearts. And theyve invited me to spend the afternoon with them, too cool. Sean cooks up the dogs and chili, he warms the buns and in no time everyone in the bar is eating hot dogs. Its still only 10 a.m. but things get started early here. The hot dogs are grand and I get a few pics with Sean and the gang. I mention im here to see the Elbow room and immediatley one of the Varsity porn queens takes my arm and says come on beautiful, your with me. She proceeds to walk the block and introduce me to every bartender, shop owner and person that walks by. Part way through our walk she notices my eyes are burning. I tell her I have sensitive eyes and the sun is a bit too much for me. Come on honey she says lets get you some glasses. We walk to several basrs, wich she knows all the bartenders and we look through lost and found untill I find a pair im satisdfied with. I assk the bartender, are you sure this is o.k.? He says if your with her everythings ok. It was quite an afternoon.
    I had to sneak off for a moment to see some sights. I went to the swimming hall of fame and seen a giant fish made of recycled plastic and lots of people on the beach that also resembled recycled plastic. I was done with Ft. Lauderdale untill I met another gal at the swim museum. I told her about looking for the real Florida. Dont get me wrong Sean The MILF Hunter is a big part of the real florida, but i was thinking more along the lines of nature. She mentioned a billionare that left some beach fron property to the city as long as they promised to keep it in its natural undevoleped state. I thought that sounded great, I went back to Hunters, said my thank yous and goodbyes. They told me after the cruise I was welcome to return and they would have a place for me to stay and we could party, party, party. Well I never took them up on that one, but it made me feel very welcome. I headed to the gardens and indeed, it was lush, tropical, and downtown Lauderdale. The State Park ranger was super cool. When I arrived he told me its 5 bucks to enter, and I gave him the old, long ride, looking for the real Florida story and he was like, "come on in, its on me". I spent the rest of my waiting time in the park looking for Manatee. Although unsuccesful I did find a turtle and nice folks to talk to. I am now off to the cruise ship Terminal, and S.S. Coachella begins. People are good. Andy and Angie, theyre grreat!

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    Sean at the grill.

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    Hot Dogs with the stars.

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    Friendly Lauderdale.


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    My helmet on display?


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    The real Florida.




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    My tour guide.
    #35