ADV Lite, father-daughter lap of Florida

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by engineman, Apr 3, 2019.

  1. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    719
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa

    This is going to be pretty tame compared to most of the tales of derring do on this site but I did the ride so I figured what the hell, I’ll make a ride report.


    To be honest the only real risks on this trip were


    1. Miami Traffic

    2. Taking a long trip on a wrecked bike that had 0 miles of testing

    3. Sticking a teenage girl on the back of a motorcycle for 2000 miles

    I’ve always told my daughter she could go to any college she wanted as long as she got a full scholarship.

    Well, she did: https://advrider.com/f/threads/rotc-scholarship.1359283/


    Being something like her dad she’s ready to get away from home and start seeing the world and not really wanting to go to school close to home. She ended up choosing University of South Florida in Tampa. I’m sure the fact that it’s warm most of the time and close to the beach was something of a factor. She wanted to see the campus before she started school so I figured spring break would be a great time for a motorcycle trip, especially since this winter has been freaking miserable in Iowa. I made a route that follows the coastline as much as possible


    Looking at the motorcycle fleet, I didn’t see any bikes that would be comfortable 2 up for that many miles. She tried talking me into letting her ride the XT250 while I rode the 690 but she doesn’t have enough experience for that many miles of Florida traffic yet.


    Obviously I needed to buy another bike. Ended up finding a slightly wrecked electra glide at a salvage auction

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/engineman-makes-bad-decisions-an-electra-glide-story.1360039/


    The week before the ride started it was still -8F at home with massive amounts of snow. The only test ride I got on this bike was making sure it started and would go into gear in the shop.


    Obviously would not be able to ride to Florida so went to dig my motorcycle trailer out of the snow. Unfortunately it was frozen into a solid 8” of ice.

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    This was one of those rare times I really freaking hate living in Iowa


    No Bueno. Of course I broke it trying to get it out. U-Haul to the rescue. The U-Haul motorcycle trailer ended up being about $15 a day. Cheap enough that I didn’t attempt to load a 900# bike into the bed of the pickup for the trip down. I considered it but watched too many youtube videos of “Motorcycle Loading Fails!”

    Ended up taking my dad’s truck because it’s a diesel and gets much better mileage than my old V-10 F250. He didn’t need it because he’s off riding his bicycle across the US again. https://pilgrimfarmerjohn.blog/

    I keep telling him it’s alot easier with a motor attached.


    Departure day

    First fuel stop just south of the Iowa / Missouri border. Notable because it was such a time warp to the 80’s. Doesn’t look like they’ve changed a thing since 1988, from the gas pumps to the old guys sitting around smoking cigarettes inside

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    Left at noon on Friday with the goal of making it to Paducah. Mission accomplished. It was warm enough there that I could unload the bike and ride it up and down the street. It appeared to function well enough, Big Relief.

    Next day headed south again. This BBQ joint somewhere in central Alabama had the best wings I’ve ever eaten.

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    Kitty liked them too

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    I told her up front my 2 rules of motorcycle trips

    1. No whining

    2. No chain restaurants
    Eventually we made it to our stop this evening. The best thing about this little online gang we have here is the ability to meet great new folks. I was looking for some advice on the Florida board on where I could leave my truck and received a bunch of kind offers.

    https://advrider.com/f/threads/unloading-in-tallahasee.1361013/

    Thank You @Buzztail !!

    Ended up having a very nice evening enjoying the weather and hospitality from Nicole with Diesel the Dog helping out. First time in 5 months we’ve been able to sit outside without 20 pounds of clothes on.

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    Beautiful backyard campsite

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    Up and packed the next morning to head West to Panama City. Kitty wanted to check out the spring break scene.

    The route I had planned led through the Appilachicola Natl Forest. Unfortunately the road turned to sand just outside of Crawfordsville. No Bueno on an Electra Glide. Re-routed on Highway 20.


    The main takeaway from this day is how much damage there was from Hurricane Michael last year. It really shocked me how severe the damage was and how much is still wrecked.


    I didn’t take any pics because I thought it would be pretty shitty to stop and take pictures of someone’s wrecked home or business. The damage to the pine forests was also hard to believe. I did snap this out the window of the truck on the way home. It was this bad or worse for miles and miles

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    The real shocker to me was how many public buildings, schools, courthouses etc were still covered in tarps with visible damage. Looks like the country’s annual supply of blue tarps all ended up in the florida panhandle.


    Arrived at Panama City around noon and was surprised at how empty is was. We had the beach to ourselves. Of course I hadn’t realized that college students on spring break don’t emerge from their holes until 2 in the afternoon or so. Eventually there were packs of them roaming the streets. Kitty wanted to join the herd so I rented her a scooter for a couple of hours. There must have been thousands of these things on the streets. All assorted Chinese scooters, most of them just barely running and beat to death. I’m sure the local EMS services keep pretty busy with all of these in town.


    Yes I’m a bad dad because I didn’t make her wear her gear.

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    Especially enjoyed the advice of the guy renting the scooter - "this is the front brake, don't touch it or you'll crash!)


    While she was doing that, I went to the local Harley shop to buy a $60 bicycle pump to put air in the rear suspension. As bad as it rode I thought it must be empty but it wasn’t. I guess it’s just that bad



    Apparently this guy had some trouble with his roofer
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    From Panama City we headed back West along the coast. We took Hwy 98 which was a very scenic road, with lots of views of the gulf. Only problem was the washouts from the storm. The sections where the road washed out had been filled in with gravel and were often 2-6” lower than the level of the pavement. What would be a fun little whoop on the 690 was a pants shittingly Extreme Event on the big Glide. Learned to keep an eye out for the cones that marked these sections.


    We stated at a gorgeous house on the river just outside of Sopchoppy. Found it on Air BnB and had a nice evening.

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    Getting ready to hit the road the next morning


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    Today was a short day heading down to Tampa. Got there in time to spend a half day at Busch Gardens. They have some really good roller coasters there but it seems like I enjoy them a little less than I used to. Guess I’m getting old. As a maintenance engineer it’s just too easy for me to picture all the possible failure points that would end up with me augering into the ground at 60 MPH.


    Kitty still made me ride all of them though.


    Stayed at another Air BnB in Tampa. Kitty wanted a bathroom and shower so she could look fabulous while doing her campus tour


    Next day we did the campus tour at USF and spent a few hours with the ROTC leadership team. Seemed very squared away which was something of a relief for me.


    The USF campus was very nice, Kitty says she loves it

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    A small part of me was hoping she'd hate it and decide to stay closer to dad but I'm glad she's happy


    After the tour, loaded up and headed South. The original plan was to ride down through Fort Meyers and Naples and camp at Collier-Seminole state park. Unfortunately hit our only bad weather on the trip this day. Rain got bad enough that I called it quits in Naples and spent the night in a hotel.

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    Looked like we weren’t the only ones with that idea

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    Next day we headed for the Keys. Rode the Tamiami trail across the Everglades. Neat scenery but it was cold and windy most of the day. Happily there was no complaining from the back seat and by the time we got to the East side of the Everglades it had warmed up a little and the sun came out

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    Throughout the day I noticed I was having more and more trouble operating the throttle. Got especially bad fighting through the traffic jams on Key Largo.


    Pulled over on Little Duck Key and pulled out the tools. Pulled the air cleaner off and it was quickly obvious that I had throttle cable problems. There were only a few strands left on the throttle opening cable. The broken strands were getting caught in the cable sheath, keeping the throttle from opening. Cut off the broken chunks but was worried the strands that were left wouldn’t last much longer. Wasn’t looking forward to it breaking in traffic.


    Fired up the google and found a MC repair shop back up the road across the 7 mile bridge to Marathon Key. Turned around and headed there.


    It was a neat little old style dealership in an old gas station.

    https://www.keyscycles.com/services#repairs


    Turns out he didn’t have the right cable but had one that was close enough so I bought it and stuffed it in the topcase.


    Rode the rest of the ways to Key West because Kitty needed a beach ASAP. Rode to Ft Zachary Taylor and found a shady parking spot. While Kitty worked on her tan I replaced the throttle cable.

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    Left the old one in place and temporarily ran the new one across the triple trees rather than pulling the tank. Since it was an untested machine I packed a pretty extensive tool kit just in case.

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    Old one was in pretty bad shape

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    Time to reward myself for a job well done

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    That hit the spot

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    We had a pretty interesting AirBnb spot for the evening. It was on a pretty decrepit 50’ sailboat anchored out offshore of Key West. It was owned by a guy who appears to have decided to drop out of the corporate life and fully embrace the whole Key West lifestyle. I was in the Navy for 6 years and have been a mechanic ever since so I can confidently estimate it would take approximately an infinite number of hours to restore this boat and make it seaworthy. I was slightly concerned about the 10 degree starboard list and the rust holes in the hull but we survived the night.


    We ended up sharing it with a bunch of European college students and had a pretty enjoyable evening sitting on deck around a propane fire and drinking beer.

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    Sleeping accommodations

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    All in all it was a fun evening and pretty eye-opening for Kitty


    To be Continued:












    #1
  2. Buzztail

    Buzztail Buzztopian OG Supporter

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    Very cool, and glad we could assist in some small part:nod
    #2
  3. TropicalDale

    TropicalDale The Adventures of Peter Pan

    Joined:
    May 29, 2013
    Oddometer:
    287
    Location:
    Cleveland,Ohio
    Looks like a fun trip.
    #3
  4. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    719
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa

    Next day we caught the water taxi back to shore and recovered the bike from the parking garage. $30 to park overnight but at least everything was still there in the morning.


    Headed back up the keys to Key Largo where we had a snorkeling trip booked. Kitty was pretty excited about it but i almost backed out because I didn’t think I’d enjoy it.


    I’m glad I didn’t because it was actually pretty fun. I was amazed at how much sea life we were able to watch

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    Someone dumped Jesus in the ocean

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    Selfie to haunt your nightmares


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    The GoPro worked great as a snorkeling camera. Seemed to work better than a smartphone in a baggie that the others were using


    After snorkeling we headed North through rush hour Miami traffic. This traffic was made even worse by a group of dickhead stunters on sportbikes that were stopping traffic on I95. I met one of them a little earlier when he passed 18” to my left at 120+ MPH. I don’t think I have ever before actually wanted to see a motorcycle crash


    After a great dinner at a cuban diner in Miami Beach we went to Oleta River State Park for the night. This is a gorgeous little Fl state park right in Miami. I can’t imagine what the real estate value of the place would be but I’m very glad they keep it as a park instead of building more condos.


    The had nice little rustic cabins with a great view for $55/night

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    Having the JetBoil for coffee and a warm breakfast really makes a huge improvement in camping for me

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    Next day I had planned on riding up the coast on the A1A but it was just too slow going with too much traffic. Ended up traveling on 95 with detours over to the coast, Ended up on one of those nice coastline streets lined with 8 figure houses. Guess I’m not one for conspicuous consumption because it all left me pretty cold.


    Our sleeping spot for the night was another highlight of the trip. Met up with @Lizzard323 who I found on the tent space thread. He and his wife Liz were great folks and excellent hosts. Had a great time swapping stories and enjoying their hospitality. Not only is the guy a serious rider, he’s a USMC fighter pilot and overall cool dude.


    Eddie trying to give Kitty some Marine Corps wisdom.

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    Kitty with another Dog friend, If I remember right this pup had done most of the TAT on a KLR

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    Thanks Again!!


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    Stopped to see some manatees


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    After riding through Daytona and St Augustine ended up in Jacksonville. We camped in Kathryn Abby Hanna park which is a very nice park, campground and beach.


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    In the morning we crossed the river on the Mayport ferry and headed north on the A1A through Talbot Island state park which was another nice ride. After going through Fernandina beach we then crossed into Georgia for a bit.


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    In 1991 I was stationed on the USS Canopus at Kings Bay Naval Submarine base for a few years. While I couldn’t get on base I did get to do some sightseeing.

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    This was neat. This monument outside the base incorporates the actual sail and diving planes from the USS George Bancroft which is one of the boats I used to work on as a mechanic. I spent a lot of time in her fixing pumps and valves.


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    It’s funny what the mind can dredge up. I didn’t know the monument was there but as soon as I saw the hull number I knew it was the Bancroft.


    I can say I didn’t recognize a single thing in the town of Kingsland but just for fun tried to find the place my wife and I lived when we first got married.


    Amazingly enough, not only is the trailer park still there, the actual trailer we lived in is still there and still in use. Brought up a bunch of fun memories.


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    #4
  5. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    719
    Location:
    Eastern Iowa
    Spent the rest of the day riding across northern florida back to our start point in Crawfordsville. I basically left Jacksonville and told google to route me there with no interstates. Had a mix of state and county roads that combined with the perfect weather made the best riding of the trip.

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    This backroad to get back to @Buzztail place was the hardest riding of the trip. Turns out you ride a harley in the sand just like a KTM in the sand. Pin it and hold on.

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    The end of the ride

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    While it wasn’t the most adventurous trip in the world I got to see some neat places, meet some great people and spend some excellent quality time with my daughter before she runs off to see the world on her own. She just got her motorcycle license this week so hopefully next time we can ride side by side.

    #5
  6. Buzztail

    Buzztail Buzztopian OG Supporter

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    I’m ready for next time! The road is Harley safe for the time being

    58F8358E-D573-4615-98B7-1BB78DFDA16F.jpeg
    #6
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  7. Buckee

    Buckee Scott

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    Thanks engineman, great RR. Glad your daughter had a blast as well. I retire later this year and hope to do something similar - I'll show her this.
    #7
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  8. vector6

    vector6 slipstream

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    looks like a great time, thanks for sharing !
    #8
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  9. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Nicely played , written and picced :thumb

    Gidday from NZ :wave

    Our son is at Kitty’s age I guess....gonna be weird when he leaves home soon.

    Cheers n best wishes

    Shane
    #9
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  10. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

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    A fine report! And a trip you will both remember forever! Very cool. I spent some time at King's Bay in the early 90's as well, not with the USN, but with the D5 contractor. Great to see some shots from there!
    #10
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  11. danh600

    danh600 Long timer Supporter

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    Since I was born in Florida and live almost my entire life here I find these FL reports pretty cool. Always nice to see your backyard through someone else's eyes. Looks like you got a good sampling of our state.
    Looks like you had and awesome trip.

    I get to ride with my son from time to time, but never a long trip. I have to do that one day.

    There are some pretty good roads by FL standards to do some day rides just north of USF.
    Hit me up for some routes when you come back to visit.

    Question - Did you have reservations in the state campgrounds? They can be hard to get into this time of year.
    #11
  12. engineman

    engineman Been here awhile Supporter

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    I had this trip pretty meticulously planned out and got camping reservations in January. Even then, the were hard to find. Couldn't get any spots in the Keys for example. I was surprised I was able to get the cabin in Miami.

    I'm hoping I will be in Tampa at least yearly so I'll hit you up for some routes. Will probably be riding Kitty's bike down next spring so she can have it there
    #12
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  13. elguapo9

    elguapo9 Adventurer

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    Great read! I’m sure your daughter has some great memories of riding with dad. Nice work.
    #13
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  14. Comrade Art

    Comrade Art Working stiff

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    Great father-daughter trip :thumb
    #14
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  15. ozmoses

    ozmoses . Supporter

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    Your FM ad brought me here.

    Man, what a great read!
    #15
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  16. Redfish Hunter

    Redfish Hunter Been here awhile Supporter

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    Very Good Stuff! I enjoyed this one a lot.
    #16
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