NomadGal's Year on the Road

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by NomadGal, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. Cubdriver

    Cubdriver Stampede Swimmer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    717
    Location:
    Palmer, Alaska
    Hell of a ride report. You put most of us old boys to shame with your engine rebuild. Nice job. Ride safely. KLR is a great bike.
  2. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Thanks Cubdriver! Spirit is a great bike!
  3. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Left McD in search of a campground way South.

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    I am digging the Spanish moss!

    The map showed me some pretty cool green forest areas, so I figured there should be no problem finding a forest Service campsite. Yeah.... not really! Went down a long dirt road, sandy here and there, but no signs of camp grounds. If it hadn't been for the sand I would have tried my luck down one of the narrow side roads that seemed to lead deeper into the forest, but my courage failed me.
    I ended up turning around and found a forest service station that seemed deserted. I parked Spirit and went in search of a ranger. I bumped into a gal on her way home, who told me about Silver Lake camp site. She even had me follow her part way to lead me in the right direction.
    I found it right before sunset, just in time seeing as here in Florida, as well as in Georgia and South Carolina, they seem to close the park entrance! What's up with all the lock down???

    I picked a spot and made camp, but not before I ended up dropping Spirit halfway when squeezing between the posts, because I had miscalculated the amount of room my cases needed. Yikes! I could not for the life of me get her up, because I ha to push her backward at the same time to clear the post. I was way too tired so I asked my camp neighbor for some help. 4 hands are better than 2!

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    I slept like a baby that night, no worrying about gators!

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    It's such a nice sight to see when opening my tent in the morning

    I took my time in the morning, trying not to live by the clock. Hmph! That's easier said than done!!!
    I took advantage of the shower and was thoroughly enjoying the hot water when I realized that I was not alone in the shower stall. :lol3

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    Awwwww!!!!

    Left around noon and headed to the coast.
    The scenery there was pretty awesome but some of the pics didn't take. Turns out my memory card was loose. :(
    Did take a few once I got to the coast.

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    If you look carefully, to the center tree, there is a bald eagle perched on top!

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    After all that nice scenery I was forced to take Hwy 19 down for a stretch.

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    Ugh!! Yuck, what an awful road! Stop go, stop go. Spirit didn't like it either, who in there right mind would want to live there?????
    After what seemed like forever that alternate 19 turn showed up.
    Much better!!

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    Could have sworn I space jumped to Hollywood!

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    Some awesome bridges to go over!

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    Famous hotel, I'll get back with the name later....

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    See that bridge in the distance?

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    Absolutely mind blowing!!!

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    It's like I landed in Turkey...

    I got to Sarasota where a friend of my friend Geoffrey lived. She had a guest house where I would be allowed to stay......
    Knocked on the door, and a guy opened it. "Hello? May I help you?" I introduced myself and said I was a friend of Geoffrey's, assuming he knew I was coming and that G had called and talked to him. Nope, no such luck.
    On top of that, the guest cottage was no longer a guest cottage but a rented out cottage. LOL.
    So here I was in the middle of Sarasota at sunset with no place to stay. Hmmm, think I've been there before.....
    So I asked Tom (the guy's name) where the nearest camp group was. Thank fully not too far.
    As I got there it turns out they were filled up, and also closing their gates. Yikes! I had forgotten about curfew time.
    By now it was pretty darn dark and found myself wondering what the heck to do now. Camping out in suburbia is not really an option. I texted my friend Lorrie and asked her if she was ready for me to drop by tonight. I figured I could hang in there for 2 more hours. Turns out it was only an hour and 15 minutes away, and she was ready for me.
    I put the pedal to the metal and made it there without falling asleep.
    It was great seeing Lorrie again! She made us a great supper, and after a small glass of white wine I was ready to hit the sack.
    Of course then I decided to do my RR.
    Well, now I'm going to bed! Goodnight you'all!
  4. Motomedic

    Motomedic Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,512
    Location:
    Spokane
    Hmmm, it's a small world, and we seem to be on convergent paths, even if the timing's a bit off. :evil

    I spent three nights on Jekyll Island, waiting for Sandy to go by. I'm currently just south of Sarasota (Nokomis) and heading north after a delicious McD's brekky. :D

    Are you heading for the Keys?

    (Great job with your bike, too! :thumb)
  5. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Yep heading for the keys at some point.
    I am running out of dough, and need to go and find a temp job for a while so I can head west via the southern states at some point.
  6. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    24,828
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    Unless you have a host lined up in the keys it can be very, very expensive down there.
  7. Motomedic

    Motomedic Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,512
    Location:
    Spokane
    I ended up staying in the Long Pine Key campground in the Everglades for a few days. I don't want to advocate anything like staying in a campground without paying (:evil) but there wasn't a whole lot of patrolling going on by the rangers....

    I stayed 4 days and never got hassled. My Access pass gets me thru the gate fees and the camp ground was 1/2 full during the week. Flamingo was less crowded, more bugs and no shade. Camping in the Keys was out of the question. I looked for "free" camping, couldn't find any, and the "official" campgrounds wanted $50 for a tent site!
  8. terryckdbf

    terryckdbf Pickles

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,156
    Location:
    Perry, Ga
    South Florida, cold weather setting in, tourist season, Holiday season, there are worse places to be while looking for a job.
    If you had a place to room it would be ideal to sock a couple of bucks away.

    Wishing you well.

    Terry
  9. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Spirit and I are safely tucked away in my girlfriends garage near Naples.
    We've been cruising the town and surrounding areas and done a lot of walking.
    I'm looking around for a job so I can fund my further journey later on in the year.
    Hopefully I'll get to ride down to the keys before starting work.
    Just a few pics of the area for now.

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    Two pelicans on the sandbar.

    Wish me luck in finding a job!
  10. Ratman

    Ratman Lucky Rider

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,214
    Location:
    Baja is good
    I just finished your RR up to date. Great report, and thanks for taking the time to do it. I don't know many folks that could have accomplished the engine work you did. Way Cool.

    I've a sister about 20 miles north of Gainsville near High Springs. She has a 10 acre yard, and could help you out with camping and maybe other general Help.

    If you need an introduction...let me know.
  11. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Thanks Ratman! Once I get back on the road I might!
  12. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Right now things are rapidly moving into a different direction.....
    I actually got a seasonal job already at a small clothing store that sells True Religion jeans and such. This is the first time I got a job that fast because I speak several languages. It seems that about about 90% of they clientele is German, and I speak it fluently. The gig is for a month or so, and hopefully I can get a few other things to do on the side.
    Part of me wanted to find a place to stay in the Keys and work on boats. But who am I kidding? I get horribly seasick if the boat isn't going super fast! :puke2
    Meanwhile I am safely esconded in my friend's luxurious garage :D

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    Get to sleep right next to Spirit, just the way I like it!

    Tomorrow however I am heading to the Keys for a few days seeing as the job doesn't start till next week.
    I'm excited, supposedly there are 41 bridges to go over, Yay!!!
  13. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Thought I'd just post the question here:
    Does anyone on this forum live near the Florida Keys?
    The closest tent space is North of Miami, smack dab in the middle of noisy civilization. Hmmm, nope, no way!
    Let me know if you know anyone with a yard I could crash tomorrow eve. :D
  14. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Made it to Key West!
    Now I can at least say I've been there, would I go here ever again? Hmmmmm, nope very unlikely!
    The problem with imagining things is that in my imagination things are almost always better.
    I had envisioned long beautiful stretches of land and water, beautiful bridges to cross over, the sun stinging on my back, and the fresh ocean air in my lungs.
    The reality was a tad different.....
    Long stretches of roads through towns filled to the brim with one store after another, so much consumerism :( , some beautiful bridges, sun in my have and wind howling around my helmet, and the smell of diesel exhaust in my lungs. Yep, a sad reality.
    Anyway, let me backtrack to the beginning.
    Left my friend Lorrie's house late, around 11 because I decided to check my oil filter again. Yikes, still metal slivers albeit not that many anymore.
    It took me an hour just to get through Naples on Hwy 41. Traffic light after traffic light, neither Spirit nor I cared for it much.
    Finally I got to the open road! I smiled again and relaxed. This is what riding is all about, not the congested and polluted town and city rides.

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    Stopped at a visitor center which one guy I met there called Alligator Alley

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    Not only where there alligators, there were birds and fish too.

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    These fish must not realize that they will be dinner at one point or another. Either that or they seem at ease with the knowledge.

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    Yep, pretty gnarly looking, and definitely not something I would want crawling outside my tent......

    Took a couple of okay shots while riding over the bridges, it was windy so I mostly held on to the handlebars
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    The bridge on the right has a couple of sections missing. I was told by Omar (my unexpected host) that this is where they filmed True Lies with Arnold and

    I got to Big Pine around sunset and couldn't find the camp ground. I stopped at a house where two Harley guys were working on a bike, and asked where the campground was. The guy pointed to his yard, and said that if I wanted I could pitch my tent up right there. Wow! That was very sweet. his name was Omar and his friend was Keith. They were both recovering alcoholics and drug addicts, and proud that they had been straight for years. I pitched my tent while they worked and afterward sat with them for a while and talked about the program they were on.
    It sounds really cool. They even meditate and get in touch with who they really are.
    We talked about books and such.
    Omar had even read a few books I had read too, like "The Way of the Peaceful Warrior", Richard Bach's Illusions and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. I told him to read Eckhart Tolle's New Earth and the Power of Now. Wonder if he will like it.

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    I slept great even though I woke up a few times.
    The good thing about going to bed at 8 pm is that you wake up at 6.
    This is the first time I hit the road at 8 AM! Wow! The road was still quiet, and the last stretch to Key West was way nicer.

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    Some other early birds

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    A McD with a nice view.
    I had my oatmeal and coffee, and am heading to the southern most point.
    Afterward back North and into the Everglades
  15. ben2go

    ben2go Moto Flunky

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,981
    Location:
    Upstate SC USA
    Might wanna try a hammock and hang high to get up away from the gators.That's kind a scary.:eek1
  16. sd2ftl

    sd2ftl Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    12
    Location:
    Tamarac, Fl
    My wife and I just met you today for a few brief moments at "Roberts" fruit stand, just outside of the Everglades. You are truly inspirational. Hopefully we'll cross paths with you again in Tennessee. . .you never know.
    Barry & Audrey
  17. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    Hi Barry and Audrey! It was really nice meeting you! And who knows....... the world really is a small place! :D
  18. NomadGal

    NomadGal Esther

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,103
    Location:
    Everywhere and Nowhere
    After MacD I headed into downtown Key West. The plan was to go into the state park and take some awesome pics of the Southern ocean. Well, that plan kinda backfired! Not sure what was going on, canoe race or so, but I think I traveled about 10 yards in 10 minutes, and Spirit thought it was way too hot to put up with that. I decided to just turn around and forego the southern pics. As I was trying to find my way out of the city I glimpsed the ocean and headed for it. I got very lucky!!! Guess what I found there?

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    I had a lady take 2 photo's of me next to it, but somehow those pics either magically disappeared, or she didn't press the button hard enough, or I'm a vampire and didn't know it :lol3
    I passed Hemmingway's summer home, but was unable to stop and take a picture, too bad!
    I used my phone's navigational software to get out of the maze, and as it turns out there way a detour to make it out, and that detour was so much nicer than coming into Key West

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    I did not know this was here! Awesome!

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    The old bridge again

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    If you look closely, right after the street light is the gap where in the movie True Lies the bridge gets blown up!

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    I had decided to not take the same way back, but to take the evacuation route that went over a toll bridge.
    I was glad I did, it was a great road, uncrowded and beautiful.

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    the toll bridge, only $1, and so worth it!

    I had such an early start which allowed me to mosey on over to the ever glades and still have plenty of time to turn back and camp at a campground on Hwy 41
    Again I was glad I had my National Parks pass, and got in without payment.

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    I felt like I was in Africa and not in the Everglades

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    It was very swampy left and right of the road.

    I was on my own, and hardly ever saw a car. After all the hustle and bustle of the Keys, I felt like I was finally somewhere peaceful. Even though I love meeting people and talking to them, I cherish my solitude more. The quiet moments where I can just shut off and enjoy the ride and the scenery. It is hard to describe the feeling exactly, it's like utterly de-stressing and letting anything negative and tense just ooze out of you into the surrounding, and soaking up the good, the beauty, the sounds, or lack thereof, and the smells. Hmmm, maybe not so much the latter in the swamps, boy, it does smell gnarly sometimes!

    I arrived at Flamingo, and found out that at the end of the road was a camp ground.
    I checked out the sign, but all the fees had a plate over it saying closed.
    There was a Ranger parked next to the booth, and I rode over and asked him how come the camp ground was closed, he said that it wouldn't open till next week. Darn.
    But then he said loop A was open now, and that I just had to put the monies into the envelope, the fee was $16 not too bad compared with the fee in the Keys.
    Yay! I was happy, I could pitch camp early!
    The camp ground itself was awesome, and only a few there campers were present.

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    Crows are pretty vicious! They fight each other and are territorial it seems. This one claimed my table, and whatever scraps might be on it.

    I took a nice long hot shower and made dinner. I felt utterly peaceful happy and relaxed.

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    The sun set early, and I crawled in my tent and watched a movie.

    At 9 my eyes started to close and I decided to call it a day.
    At 10 I woke up with headlights beaming into my tent, and loud teenagers shouting, laughing and making a lot of noise.
    What the????????

    After a few minutes it dawned on me, that out of all the empty campsites, at least 30, these kids had decided to pitch camp right next to me!
    AFter another few minutes and a hefty internal debate, I got up and asked them if they were planning on pitching their camp there. Then I said if they were, to please be a bit quieter seeing as I had planned to break camp early the next morning.

    I crawled back in bed and heard them hop back in the car and leave. Wow! Yay!!!
    I did hear them stop a ways down the road, and hoped they were not making someone else's night miserable.
    Unfortunately sleep would not come after that, and I tossed and turned till 1 AM, when I finally succumbed.

    Woke up at 7 and found that it was very overcast but warm. And guess what was in abundance??? Mosquitos! Oh boy! The wind had died down overnight and now they were patiently buzzing around waiting for their morning meal, me!

    Needless to say, I didn't stay long after that.
    I did strike up a conversation with a woman called Barbara, whose daughter was grown up as well, and who deciding what to do to make her life less dull and monotonous. She thought that what I was doing was great. I told her that I didn't want to wait till I was 62 and retired. Who knows if I'm able to do this then, or if I'm even alive. It's now or never I figured. Barbara was thinking of going to Canada in the summer and working at a farm 4 hrs a day in exchange for food and a place to stay. I hope she does it!

    Took a couple of nice pics on the way out.
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    Witnessing the annual crow meeting!

    I stopped at a few scenic places, amazing what a different eco system this is

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    Then on to another scenic point
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    Caught the sun's reflection in the water.

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    After I left the Everglades I stopped at a fruit stand

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    Right after I stopped a couple walked up to me and introduced themselves, Barry and Audrey. Barry was biker too, and an ADV member, so I told him about my ride report. They were very nice and hoped to meet me in Tennessee.

    I felt like getting a smoothie, but decided against it when I saw the price, and went for a carton of coconut milk instead.
    As I was standing at the register waiting to be rung up, the owner started berating his employee, a young girl, in front of everyone about having made a mistake and not charging a costumer the right price (she had undercharged him).
    I looked around me and the place was packed! Come on! You don't do this right in front of everyone, you pull your employee aside and talk to them like a human being! I can't imagine him loosing money at that place!
    Anyway, I lost my appetite and did not feel like giving him my business. I put the coconut milk back and left.

    After filling up my tank and getting something to drink at a gas station, I managed to get lost in Homestead. It took me quiet a while to find my way out. My cell was no use either, the sun glared too much and I could not see the map on it.

    Finally I found Hwy 997 and headed North to Hwy 41.

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    Lotus flowers in a mote along 41

    This time however I decided I did not want to ride 41 all the way to Estero, that road was just too crowded.
    I took a dirt road to the right in the hopes of hitting Hwy29

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    yay! back on the dirt again!

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    Wow! talk about living together!

    It was a pretty cool and easy dirt road, and it felt great to be out in open space again.

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    Once I hit Hwy 29 this sign popped up, I did not see any though :(

    Made it back to Lorrie's house at 4, tired but happy to have had a great day riding.
  19. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    24,828
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    :d
  20. Motomedic

    Motomedic Long timer

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,512
    Location:
    Spokane
    Funny- I stopped at the same fruit stand. No owner berating employees (I would have walked out too) but the Key Lime milkshake was really good, a bit pricey at $5, but good and thick.

    I then made the mistake of asking how much the firewood was, as wood was scarce around the Long Pine Key campground and I was having an attack of the lazies. For a normal sized bundle of camp firewood (8 or so splits) the man wanted $12! :eek1 Needless to say, this customer laughed and walked out, sans wood. What a rip-off! Obviously survives on the one-time tourist customers.