Changing my profession to vagabond

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by NoHorizons, Oct 10, 2018.

  1. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    In my wanderings of Wynwood I came across a new motorcycle coffee shop I spent some time talking to the guy running it and he showed me around back to see some of the projects they were working on.

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    Why have one when you could have three.

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    On the left is an original Vespa, on the right the smallest Ferrari I’ve ever seen.

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    Made to transport factory workers.

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    I quite enjoyed parts of Miami, I love the multicultural vibrance it has. Not such a big fan of paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee.
    #81
  2. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I had considered going down the keys and checking out the everglades but, after looking at the prices I decided there were better ways to spend $50+ then on a campground. So, instead I went back north. The wind was brutal on the coast and not all that much better inland which made the fatigue come fast and the miles slow. I would occasionally jump over to the gravel farm roads that run parallel to the highway for a change of pace.

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    Other than the wind it was a perfectly beautiful day

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    Just as the sun was setting, I pulled into Allapattah Flats where I had reserved a free campsite.

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    This is perfection

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    Hopefully I will get to the campsite before last light.

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    It would help if I was on the right road.

    Naturally I went 3 miles down the road before it dead ended with no sign of a campsite anywhere. After a couple minutes of confusion, I checked the satellite maps and figured out I was on the wrong access road.

    By the time I had ridden back to the main road and it was completely dark. Then, going down the proper access road I had to dodge cows and their droppings, thanks to the lights I had just installed I didn’t make splats of any kind.

    When I go to the campsite, I was the only one there.

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    7 or 8 fire pits with plenty of room to camp.

    The next day I got to Orlando where I stayed a couple of days with my godmother before heading north.

    While there I noticed I was below low on oil despite having changed it less than 1k ago, I hoped it had something to do with the oil I put in or maybe a leak I hadn’t noticed. I changed the oil again, wiped down the engine and watched it for a day no leaks.

    When I finally left Orlando the wind had died down and was replaced by some seriously menacing clouds.

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    The clouds seemed to hold off and I spent the day exploring Ocala National Forest.

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    Dodging sand pits.

    I was headed to my campsite when I noticed a grinding noise, especially loud when I went over potholes. I pulled to the side and found the issue; the bracket holding my chain guard on had fallen off.

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    And then it started to rain.

    I got down and pulled it off I will have to find someone to weld it at some point. Somehow the combination of being on the side of the road with my tool kit out makes me a prime target for rain. Figures it rains 5 minutes and a quarter mile away from the campsite.

    I set up my camp in the rain and hunker down.

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    #82
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  3. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    In the morning packing out took twice as long as normal, I hate having wet gear. I strapped my chain guard to the back and went on my way.

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    I’m not sure what to call the water that day, it was a heavy mist that seemed to defy gravity and simply hang in the air around me, quickly covering my visor in fine droplets on the outside and fog on the inside… not the best for visibility.

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    Not quite fine enough for fog but too fine for rain

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    Lots of water

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    Cedar Key

    In the early afternoon I found a campsite by Cedar Key for $5 a night and went into town for something to eat. I did a bit of exploring in Cedar Key, it seems alright, a bit of an artsy town for old rich tourists.

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    One of those grayscale days where someone pulled the saturation down.

    I went back to my campsite and worked on editing some photos.

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    I wish my screen was a little brighter but, I’ll squint a bit for an office with this view.

    The next day I made my west through forests / swamps, I hugged the coast as much as possible and as I came through Tates Hell State Park I started noticing more and more debris and destruction from Hurricane Michael.

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    Because having a Supper Bowl Champion living in your county merits its own sign.

    As it got dark, I found a wildlife environmental area with a lookout tower that looked like it hadn’t been touched since before the hurricane.

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    Covered in reeds and trash

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    Almost strung my hammock between the beams on the top of the tower.

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    But having a roof won out in the end.

    I was really glad for that mosquito net. If I stood still
    for more than a moment I was attacked by 20 of them, I heard them swarming around me all night long.

    I only saw the no camping sign in the morning, not that it would have changed anything.

    In the morning I made it a full half an hour down the road before coming to a little town called Apalachicola where I found a coffee shop to do some work on the blog. Despite sitting their for over 3hrs I didn’t get much done, I did talk to a lot of people and by evening I had made plans to work on a nearby farm for a couple days.
    #83
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  4. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I really liked Apalachicola, while there are plenty of tourists it is still at heart a small town of artists, old hippies and travelers that have found a home in the oyster capital of the world.

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    Like most towns along the gulf there is lots of seafood, here the specialty is oysters.

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    In the morning I headed over to Jack’s farm in Sopchoppy about an hour away. I grew up in the middle of nowhere upstate ny and even by my standards this farm is out there. The driveway is a good mile of dirt double track.

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    At times it felt a bit spooky, so far from anything or anyone with no internet or cell phone service.
    #84
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  5. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I think I spent most of my time there sitting around the kitchen table talking with Jack and the other farm hands about everything from mechanics, philosophy, farming, religion and much, much more. Jack is a truly incredible man, he spent 30 years sailing the caribbean, moved back and started an organic farm which at about 70 years old he is only now considering may be a little much to do by himself.

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    Jack prefers these old tractors because they can run on biofuel.

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    Many of the trucks, tractors and machines scattered around the farm are in working condition, many aren’t.

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    Garlic I planted.

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    Catlin, one of the other farm hands I worked with

    Originally from Alaska he was last working in Texas and had all of his tools loaded on his truck ready to head to Florida to help with the hurricane damage when everything was stolen. So, he took his bicycle instead, pulling his old bulldog in a trailer behind him.

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    Adrian has seen a lot in her 13 years.

    After a bit over a week I had to leave, I had made plans to meet friends in New Orleans.
    #85
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  6. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    On my way west I stopped in Apalachicola to say goodbye to new friends.

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    The Chocolate Company delayed my departure by another hour because of their delicious coffee.

    I got out around noon and soon found myself approaching Mexico Beach FL the epicenter of Hurricane Michael. Coming from the Northeast I’ve never really seen natural disaster, sure we have the occasional bad storm but nothing that comes close to a disaster.

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    Piles of rubble and trash were everywhere, the evidence of several months of hard work.

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    And still there is so much more to do.

    Whole buildings swept off their foundation, walls ripped off exposing the remnants of people’s lives untouched since the hurricane exposed like an eerie museum exhibit. I felt conflicted stopping to take photos of such tragedy. On one hand it felt wrong like I was using someone’s loss as tourist attraction, like I was a voyeur to their pain, on the other it felt it is a moment in history worthy of remembering, both the loss and the generosity that came after, like it would be disrespectful not to attempt to capture the moment.

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    I wish I could have spent longer here to help with the cleanup or even just to talk to people and try to capture more than a couple roadside snapshots. But, I for once on this trip I had a timeline I had to stick to.

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    Big fat trees snapped in half like toothpicks.

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    I didn’t take many more photos on the way to NOLA, I guess I was a little bit preoccupied. I knew this chapter of my trip was coming to a close, the question was what comes next. Catlin (who I worked at the farm with) had plans to open a fencing company, there is certainly enough work to go around after the hurricane and he offered me half of everything to manage the business side of things. Or I could head a bit further west and get a serving job, Austin TX looks kind of attractive. Or maybe something else?

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    It was a pretty dreary ride anyway.
    #86
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  7. phreakingeek

    phreakingeek adventurer Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,757
    Location:
    VA
    Hey! Glad to see you back out on the road, and the bike looks great.

    It is definitely tough to go through places like that with so much and so many devastated by natural disaster. But like you already said, it is part of the journey...you can't pick and choose what yarn goes into the tapestry, you see it all and appreciate the opportunity to experience it.
    #87
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  8. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    Thanks,
    That is among the differences between an adventurer / traveller and a tourist, a tourist is there to enjoy themselves, a traveller is there for an authentic experience (definitely not an absolute, just an observation of a tendency).
    If anything I wish I could have spent more time there to do it justice.
    #88
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  9. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
    I was headed to New Orleans to meet up with my boss and coworkers from the catering company I worked at in DC though really they are more of a second family than anything else. They were coming in to NOLA for a catering conference and had offered me a place at their Airbnb.

    Somehow I got my dates confused and got there a day early, oops. I booked a hostel for $15, not too bad. I made friends with some guys from europe we had dinner at the hostel before heading down to Bourbon St. for a fun evening drinking beer and watching the absurdity, a week before mardi gras the city was already flooded with tourists. We made it back to the hostel a bit before 1 where we met some girls we had been hanging with earlier and somehow 15min later I was in an uber heading to back to Bourbon. One of those decisions you know you will regret before you’ve made it but the girls are pretty so you make it anyway.

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    I tend to be a control freak when it comes to my body and mind, as such I am a rather careful when it comes to drinking.

    I am also fairly immune to peer pressure, I just don’t care what you think. My downfall is that I am polite(ish) and a cheap bastard so, when someone buys you a $12 hand grenade (the epitome of college drinks, tastes like lemonade and has enough alcohol I’m pretty sure I could put it in my gas tank) it’s hard to refuse. I did make it back to the hostel around 5am and after a solid 3hrs of sleep only had a medium sized hangover.

    The next day I spent 3 hours trying to get around a parade that went right past the airbnb when I finally did get there I parked the bike and didn’t move it until I left New Orleans.

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    There are few things as frustrating as being 1/2 a mile and 3hrs away from your destinations

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    I have never seen a place with as many police, it was like every float needed its own motorcade (That’s only a slight exaggeration.)

    The airbnb was pretty awesome, even more so was seeing old friends. While they went to their conference during the day I would go out and explore the city. In we would go out for delicious food (often recommended by the uber driver). I don’t think I’ve ever had fried chicken as good as Mama Mae’s… and why haven’t beignets become a global thing?
    #89
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  10. NoHorizons

    NoHorizons Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2016
    Oddometer:
    77
    Location:
    Hudson NY, Washington DC
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    Parades on the other hand confuse me entirely.

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    How can you be that excited to have cheap plastic crap thrown at you all day long and then go and do it again tomorrow?

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    What motivates people to build a massive float buy a shit ton of crap and drive it slowly around a city so you can throw that crap at people?

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    Not to mention all the people walk around in the heat all day carrying heavy instruments or jumping up and down

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    I find the whole affair to be rather odd.

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    This old man came up to me and tried to give me his beads. I had to decline, I dont know what to do with them either.

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    It didn’t take long for him to find someone that wanted them.
    Sometimes the things you don’t want will make someone else happy.


    A bit more of New Orleans to come
    #90
  11. ChazL

    ChazL n00b

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2018
    Oddometer:
    1
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    Kevin:
    Your posts are thoughtful, observant, and articulate, and you have a very good photographic eye. You've also shown considerable fortitude in the face of some bad luck and mechanical problems early on in your trip. I'm thoroughly enjoying your ride report. Good fortune in your travels.
    #91
  12. hooligan998

    hooligan998 Save a life, grope your wife.

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2018
    Oddometer:
    50
    Location:
    Chester, VA
    I made my first trip down to LA this year and visited my brother who lives in Slidell. We went down to Bourbon St. on the Friday during Mardi Gras. It was definitely a unique experience. Every one should experience it at least once.

    Great r/r and great pics.
    #92