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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Ginger Beard, Apr 26, 2019.
Haha, we used damn near every tool you brought too!!
Dave you inspired me.
I just had to work that store into my ride Saturday. Pretty cool place. The lady running it likes to tell the history.
Bought some good stone ground grits. Had an RC cola. Bought my wife a couple of Moon Pies. Entered the drawing to win that cool rifle.
Luckily I worked in a nice scenic route with lots of back roads to get there.
I was riding my wife's Valkyrie, so obviously no dirt.
I want to go back when she can go. She will love that place.
Glad to hear that you enjoyed it!! Lots of lovely roads around that area for all types of riding styles. Have you ridden the areas west of Dade City? If not, it's worth the trip. Thanks for sharing man!
In the morning, Andy obliged me by going to Waffle House. Truthfully I would have eaten here last night too had I been solo... I'm a fat guy in training.
We wrapped up breakfast and were on the road before 9 a.m. Our hopes of the heavy fog dissipating during breakfast had faded. The heavy fog now seemed more like ground level storm clouds. No rain but a fog so thick that we may as well have been riding in a shower. I tried to snap a quick pic when we hit a clear patch but the moisture won the fight to obscure the landscape.
Little did we know that we'd be riding in this soup for the next couple of hours. I can take the soaked gloves and the feeling of cold water running into my pants but not being able to see? That's a pain in the ass. We took frequent breaks in order to wring out our gloves and wipe the inside of our visors.
The cool temperatures, quietude of nature and blanket grey that muted the contrasts of each passing scene all contributed to an eeriness that Poe would stumble through describing. I really was digging the vibe.
Today would be a day of dead ends, turnarounds and reroutes. One such happenstance turned out to be a good thing as we wondered into a hidden gem of a park with a lone man fishing on a dock that overlooked a spring.
The man's name was Bill and bill is a local to these parts. He's an ex military tank gunner and he can spin a vivid tale of warfare or a love of nature in a way that leads you to believe that you were an eyewitness upon the stage in which the events played out. We spent quite a bit of time hanging out with Bill ( who preferred to be called Woodpecker by his friends) , talking about everything from his glory days in the military, the changing landscape of Florida and about how society seems to have lost that mutual respect that was common back when being disrespectful meant that you'd probably get a black eye. That latter part reminded me of one of my favorite quotes;
“Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing.”~Robert E Howard~
I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Woodpecker. An interesting man with a great perspective on living vs existing. We thanked him for his company, shook his hand and off we went. Good luck to you in the rest of your journey , Woodpecker.
Stay hibited my friends...
Just north of Mayo, the trail started to go south both literally and figuratively. I had routed this portion of the FLAT based upon tracks that I had run nearly six years prior. Apparently things can change a metric shit ton in 6 years which resulted in more reroutes, dead ends and uturns than you can shake a stick at.
One such dead end lead us onto private property where the road disappeared into the undergrowth and the GPS wanting us to go straight through a cemetery. We tried it but there was no exit and the road that I had ridden years ago was a specter among the dense woods. As we were leaving the cemetery, a man riding a 4 wheeler complete with a Pug in tow, came out of a double track path that was clearly marked "no trespassing" . We spoke for a couple of minutes, explaining why we were riding down what turned out to be a private drive and what we were trying to accomplish with our FLAT route. He was really hospitable and thought that a dirt route around Florida was a really cool idea. He took a look at the route tracks then invited us to cross his property which lead roughly 1 mile to the next highway where we could rejoin the planned route. Andy and I both laughed and I thanked him but insisted that "We need to find an alternate route. You'll be cursing me up n' down if I route a bunch of motorcycles across your land! " . He returned the laugh and showed us another way to get south so away we went.
Andy and I rejoined the route to the south and about 40 minutes later we encountered yet another snafu. The route going through the forest now went straight across several private hunting leases that stretched for miles! We tried to dovert to the west but about 10 miles in, we ran smack dab into a gate that the timber company had put up.
At least there was a cool old cemetery to check out.
We headed to Steinhatchee Falls which is the widest ( though lowest ) set of falls in Florida. Unfortunately with with the higher than normal water levels, the falls had been swallowed up by the river with the only evidence of their existence being small vortices created by the rushing water entering voids in the limestone shelves.
It wasn't a complete bust though. The place was still peaceful and beautiful with the tree shaded park giving us an enjoyable respite from the 80 degree temps... February , am I right?!
Feeling a bit refreshed , we kicked rocks and pointed the bike towards the town of Steinhatchee where we were hoping to score some vittles. It turned out that there was a town festival underway and we soon found ourselves sitting in bumper to bumper traffic with the main road along the river closed to vehicular traffic. We backtracked a bit and stopped at the first restaurant we saw. We were hungry and at this point, didn't really care where or what we ate.
The place was packed and they had a DJ that was blasting Hick-hop... hip hop for rednecks. (Now google Jawga Boyz..NO DON'T!!) Service was as spectacular as the music but the food was great as was the sweet tea. Apparently while we were eating, our waitress went home. This really threw off the finely tuned machine of customer service here and it took about 35 minutes to get a check. No worries, I can drink sweet tea all day long!!
Check in hand, we paid and hit the road on our way to Cedar Key. The forest roads south of Steinhatchee had plenty of standing water but hopefully the multiple water crossing would cooperate since it was late in the day and swamping a bike or a major reroute would be a big pain in the arse.
Someone had graciously made a makeshift "bridge" out of rocks and debris. A little to the left or a little to the right and there are a couple of nice Jeep holes to fight with
About two miles later we would come across the mother of all Florida water crossings. Why the hell neither of us took a pick of it I'm not sure. I'll blame the fact that it was now 4:30 and we were a bit frustrated to be confronted with an such an obstacle this late in the day and so close to the exit of the forest. As it was, this water hole was at least seat deep which was confirmed when a van pulled up to the other side of the crossing (which was far enough away that we had to shout back and forth to communicate) and a 14-15 year old boy decided to walk it out to see if the van could pass. He got out about 20 yards and was up to his armpits which it seemed was enough to let them know that a minivan would be making the voyage. It was also enough of a display that I heard Andy exclaim "Fuck that!". I agree man. Fuck that, fuck that indeed. It was about here that we saw a fish jump and both of us started laughing. Not today Lake Fuck That, not today!
Back through the forest and a try at another road which Andy said would be just as bad since it paralleled the road we had just come down but me? I'm stubborn and wanted to give it a go. Andy was wrong!!.... It was worse!! The good news is that i found the river that was feeding the lake. Andy and mother nature won this round. We wound up backtracking to the highway and slabbing it to the tiny town of Inglis for the night. Cedar Key would have to wait since the reroute and lunch had eaten up nearly 4 hours. We'd pick up the route in the A.M. We were beat.
Florida can be fun. Your report is proof!!!
There's two of them!
Whoa cool!! I didn't know there was a tributary by the same name!
I do love riding here and thank you!
Thanks for the report! Planning to head down that way next summer. Taking notes!
Thank you for taking the time to read along!
If you don't mind me asking, are you dead set upon a summertime visit? We get a lot of rain during the summer months and extremely high heat and humidity isn't ideal if you aren't used to it.
Did you go by Shell Mound on the way to Cedar Key?
That's a pretty cool place. There is an scenic overlook there like nothing I have seen in Florida.
Between the fog and cold morning temps to the unseasonably hot afternoon with multiple reroutes complete with a 45 miles highway run , we were pretty damn tired. Andy decided to hand at the hotel while I went to find some grub and a stiff drink. There's an old school lounge next door so away I went. When I say old school, I mean it's one of those dark smoke filled lounges with the windows blacked out and an ambiance akin to a 70's biker movie. I sat down at the bar and ordered a Jameson, neat of course. I sat there for a while attempting to soak it all in. From the barflies chain smoking to the locals talking local politics over a cold one, this seemed the place to be.
I overheard two men talking about trucks and buggies when one them says something to the effect of "I just put a Supra Turbo engine in that old truck frame". Sir, you have my attention. You see, many moons ago I ran a performance shop and at one point I had a Supra Turbo. If I hear anyone talking about bastard builds, I get excited. I interrupted them and asked "Was it a 2jz or 7m turbo engine?" . The man turns to me and laughs, "You know these things huh? It's a 7mgte. " to which I replied "Anyone nutty enough to jam a a Supra engine into a hunting truck gets my attention. Sorry for interrupting gentlemen." And just like that i was hanging out with Larry and his buddy for the next hour or so.
Larry was an interesting guy and a local to the area. I told him about the trip and the route that I was trying to put together while we thumbed through my pics. He immediately recognized the entrance to Goethe Forest, going so far as to tell me which entrance it was in the pics. he nailed it. He then told me stories about old man Goethe and how when he was younger he would run a sand rail through the forest as a shortcut (which was all an active logging area at the time) and how the loggers would try their hardest to catch him in various ways but he knew the forest way too well for it to work out in there favor. As someone who used to do things like that in his youth, I completely get why he was laughing as he told his tales. He told me how one night he ran into old man Goethe at a local bar while driving his rail and how Mr Goethe congratulated him on being the only person brave enough or stupid enough to trespass day in and day out but could never be caught. This earned Larry a bit of respect from Mr Goethe who thought the whole thing was so funny that not only did he not call the cops but he told the loggers to leave Larry be and gave Larry his personal business card in case they or the cops gave him any shit.
Meet Larry, my good friend for a night and a reminder of why I love hitting local joints while traveling.
Having drank my fill and second hand smoked at least 2 packs of Camel unfiltered cigarettes , I headed to the gas station for a hotdog and some chips then stumbled back to the room to eat and pass out.
I've been there on past trips but sadly,we didn't make it to Cedar Key as we had planned and went to Inglis for the night instead. Yeah, that place is beautiful and worth every minute spent along the humdrum road that leads there. It's an odd contrast. The camp ground out there is a nice bit of tranquility right on the Gulf.
Dave, great story about Larry, I love running into to dudes like that and glad some are still around, it's the real Florida.
I'm planning a 49-state trip, beginning in May(ish) from either San Diego or Seattle. Headed to Hyder Alaska first and then basically clockwise through the lower 48 until I reach San Diego. Then I decide to either sell the bike or ship it home. Most likely I'll end up in the Southwest during the summer months.
Thanks!! I've met so many cool characters over the years. Meeting the older cats that have grown up in FL is always a learning experience. Really great to hear their take on the history if an area.
Wow that is going to be amazing!! If you decide to venture to the "southernmost point" let me know!