Homestead to Key West to Blenheim AKA: My First SS1000

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by kg4lho, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    And they said it shouldn't be done...(that way):wink:

    First off, Thank You Lord for keeping me safe on this journey.

    I had to be in Orlando, FL for the ISN Tool Expo June 24-25th. Seeing this as an opportunity to combine a few things I have been wanting to do; an Iron Butt Association Saddle Sore 1000 and taking my VFR800 down to Key West, I set about planning and asking input from others. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=694851 So with some good info and even Wreckcheckers comments, I modified my original route. I am glad I did, after thinking awhile on it, camping never lets you get a quick start on the day, you can get up as early as you want but you still got alot of packing to do. I reserved a room at the Super8 in Homestead/Florida City, finished planning my route, and got the VFR ready for some mileage.


    Then trouble. [que dramatic music] DUN DUN DAHH!!:eek1
    I awoke June 18th with a crick in my shoulder/back/neck. It was very painful, so much so, that I only worked a half day that Monday. I rested all I could and got on my Ibuprofen regimen. Grunt Candy® has always done wonders for my back problems, not sure at what cost to my liver though. Anyway, I couldn't even stand to put my helmet on let alone ride in the position required by the VFR. Now everything is up in the air! Would I be able, in just four short days, to ride down to Orlando? If I did make it to Orlando, could I make it to Homestead another 6hrs south? And, if I could do all of that, would I still have enough left in me to even START my 1000mi/24hr ride???


    Fast forward to the morning of Friday, June 24th. It's 0530 and I am stretched out, fixing to climb on the VFR. Bound for Orlando, some 500mi south and eight hours travel time.
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    My neck is doing better but there is still a slight twinge when I am tucked in behind the wind screen. I am just leaving my options open, nothing set into stone. I will see how I feel and adjust my plans as needed. If, when I get down to Orlando, I feel ok and think I can make it to Homestead, fine. If I don't think I can take it, I will write it off and am only out the hotel reservation of $58. I know my limits and although I may tend to push them, rarely do I disregard them.


    I made it to Orlando in good time and with the only issue being at the start of my trip, 45 minutes down I95, 2nd song into Dark Side of the Moon, MP3 goes silent... I look down to see the headphone plug swaying in the breeze! Must not have put the player back in my pocket well enough and it fell out. Now what was I goon do for Tunes??? :cry I pulled off and put my molded ear plugs in. Now I was gonna have to listen to myself for eight hours and I ain't that deep so guess how that went.....:lol3

    The Tool Expo went great and we, I met my boss and three colleagues from other locations there, purchased around $34k worth of tools that had to be sold in less than 90days or it's our butt. :eek1 0600 Sunday morning saw me leaving Orlando bound for Homestead.
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    I would come to absolutely LOVE getting up and hitting the road before dawn. I packed a long sleeve over shirt for the mornings because my mesh jacket flows air rather well, but I never needed it. A single, light weight t-shirt under my jacket was perfect for the brisk morning air at highway speeds. Never got chilly until I was on the way back, I'll get to that in a bit. So, There was lots of this:
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    which gave me an opportunity to finally get one of these shots:
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    Yup, Flatistan is a great nickname for Florida. The only hills I went over were overpasses. One good thing about that is, you can lock the throttle down, sit back, and just roll on down the highway. Especially helpful on long rides like this. :clap I made good time and stayed pretty cool. The morning air seems to heat up around 1100, then it did start to get pretty warm. I made it back to I95 with out hitting a toll and aimed for Miami. I wanted to stop in and tour for just a bit seeing as how I wouldn't have time for it the next day.
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    Atlantic Ave.
    Right on the beach. Old section of Miami. Lots Cafe's and traffic. Lucked out finding a spot to stop for a few minuets and snap a few pics.

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    Nice place but it was getting hot and I needed to get on my way. So, I hit good ole' #1 and headed for Homestead. I stopped off around 1230 for some lunch and then found the motel.

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    It was ok but I must say, their pic on the website made it look like it may have a bit nicer rooms than what they were. Anyway, what should I expect for $58/night?? :lol3 I finally got a chance to pick up a new MP3 player and got it loaded off my netbook I carried with me. Now I don't have to listen to my own incessant nagging! :roflI had asked the maid if the area was safe and she looked at me like :huh, I pointed at my bike and asked her if I should be worried about it being stolen in the middle of the night and she said no but I figured I'd make sure....
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    It had been storming all afternoon and then the bottom fell out that evening. I watched the puddles and hoped that this would be the only rain I would have to deal with but the weather report was calling for rain off and on all day. After a few phone calls to my wife, my folks, and a few friends, I hit the sack, or tried to. I woke at 0100, got a shower, and moved the bike out of the room. That was when I saw another bike just a few doors down. I hadn't heard him ride in. It was an older burgundy BMW touring bike from Missouri if I remember correctly. I actually passed him as he was headed south later on that day on the way back from the Keys around 1030. I got packed up and headed for my start point.


    I met two guys at Rick's Bait Shop, a 24hr store on #1 leaving Florida City. They were excited to witness the start of my journey and we got the paperwork filled out. I got my first gas reciept (mile 0.0) at the Racetrack station right next to the bait shop and started the clock! :clap I had the next 24hrs to get to Key West and then home :eek1. It rained on me not half a mile down the road :cry......














    I got my tank bag cover out and made sure everything was put away. I tucked behind the windscreen trying to minimize how wet I got. Luckily, it didn't last long and I dried out pretty quickly. I rode on through the dark, kept close to the speed limit and resisted the urge to fall in behind a new GT Mustang that all of a sudden showed up on my butt and then sped away out of site when I let him by. I stopped somewhere after 7 Mile bridge and pulled off the road. I took a quick break and noticed the moon trying to peak through the cloud cover behind me. It was dark. Now, I am from the country, far from any major city. And when "I" say it was dark, I know of what I speak. It was beautiful, but very dark. Then in the darkness, I hear what I likened to what a Mitsubishi Zero must have sounded like at full dive....:huh Skeeters! Lots, and lots of mosquitoes. Time to go!


    I made it into Key West just a bit before 0500 but what I wanted was to be there for sunrise. I was a bit early so I stopped for some breakfast at the Denny's. Not bad french toast!
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    I left there and headed for the Chevron station to get my 2nd fuel receipt (mile119.9). Remember when I said I wanted to ride my VFR down to the Keys, I wanted to get a pic of it beside the famous buoy marker that states "Southern Most Point in Continental USA". Well, I got it, but I needed the flash!
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    I couldn't wait around much longer because I also wanted a pic of the sun coming up over the water off the eastern beaches, well, that is, if the clouds would play along with me....
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    Not this time, unfortunately. :cry

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    With that last pic, I turn my VFR North....ish, and head for home. Unbelievably, the song in shuffle mode that comes on from my MP3 is...wait for it... Comin' Home by Lynyard Skynyard. Then, get this, after that song, Turn The Page covered by Metallica:eek1! You know the lyrics... like: On a long and lonesome highway east of Omaha, You can listen to the engine moaning out it's one long song. And... When you're riding sixteen hours and there's nothing much to do. And you don't feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through. I laughed to myself and twisted the throttle toward home.

    One thing about coming down to KW in the dark? You get to see it coming back with the sun on your face and setting up nice photo ops.
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    I had to turn around, ride back up the bridge, turn around, and take these two from the emergency lane. Yeah, Yeah, I know what the emergency lane is for...:wink:
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    I made it to Florida City at 0952 and got my 3rd gas receipt(mile252). I hit the Florida Turnpike and next stopped for fuel at 1111am MM#94/Lake Worth, FL 4th gas receipt(mile348.2). I was making too many stops and wanted to push it so I held my next stop until 1433pm in Titusville, FL 5th gas receipt(mile502.7). It was the wrong thing to do. I hadn't eaten anything since 0500am but had been drinking water regularly. I pulled into a Subway and was just completely out of it. I got a sandwich to eat and thought about what I should do. I wanted to sleep and considered setting my cell phone alarm for 20 minutes and putting my head down on the table in front of me. I knew what was wrong with me and knew that I would feel alot better once my lunch started being digested. I pulled my gear on and figured if I didn't feel better by the next rest area, I would pull off and cat nap on a picknic table. Once I hit I95, I was feeling better and passed up the Rest Area. It has started to rain off an on and as I passed Daytona Beach, I was watching the sky when the storm really hit! I mean it was a frog strangler type of downpour. I took the next exit, Flagler Beach, and ducked into the next gas station. A local guy on a harley pulled in right next to me, both of us were soaked. After 15 minutes, the lightning had passed but the heavy rain remained. I called my dad and asked him to look at the radar. Maybe it was just a passing summer storm? It wasn't. He said I was in for rain and storms blowing up all the way into Georgia. Not what I wanted to hear. :cry


    I made sure everything was put into dry bags, hunkered down behind the windscreen, prayed to Jesus that no one would run me over, and hit I95 again. It wasn't that bad, after a bit, the rain stopped and I dried out. Course, once I dried out, it rained again. I got dried out again and then another shower.....repeat 4-5 times. Soon I crossed the border into Georgia. I was making pretty good time though considering the weather. I was running low on fuel and needed to start looking for a place to stop but I wanted some Chick-fil-a so I passed up exit 48. Bad idea! Just after that exit, I saw a wall of rain coming. I rode through the worst downpour yet for seven miles, with my low fuel light indicator flashing, mocking me, until finally getting off at exit 49. When I pulled up to the gas station, I lifted my arms up and water poured out of my gloves like buckets. There was a guy filling up his SUV next to me that struck up a conversation about my VFR. We talked for a bit, he rides a KLR and a 6th gen VFR. I invited him to check out ADV and got my 6th gas receipt(mile716.8) at 1829pm. Then I hit the KFC for some chicken, a few phone calls, and a chance to dry out a bit.


    Dinner down, calls made, I hit the road at 1920pm and put the hammer down. I had an appointment to keep. You see, Joe (JALnSC on here), said he wanted to meet me at Santee Cooper Lake and would ride with me the last few hours of my trip. He was about 150miles and several more storms away but I was looking forward to him riding with me. Georgia was a breeze to get through. Looking back on it now, both GA and SC were nothing to ride through. But Florida?? Florida was never-ending, or so it seemed. I crossed the Georgia line around 2030pm and made it to Santee about 2130pm. Joe was already there and brought me a Cajun Filet biscuit and some water. :clap Man was it good too! We talked briefly and then hit the road. He lead the way and I was thankful to just have to follow his tail light. We stopped at 2230pm in Summerton, SC for my 7th gas receipt(mile890.4). Then on past Florence all the way up to Exit #1 in NC. Hamer, SC the home of South Of The Border! You never sausage a place! :rofl
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    It was there at 2330pm that I got my 8th gas receipt(mile982.5). We turned round and headed back to exit #181, for what was supposed to be my 9th and last gas receipt(mile1000.5). Joe left me and headed back to Florence because I was only a few miles away from home. I got home and was concerned about my route mileage because I ended up going north on the FL Turnpike instead of I95 the whole way. So I before I went to bed, I took the time to punch it all back in to the computer and came up with 1002 route miles. So as to not mess this up on a technicality, I got back on the VFR and rode to Bennettsville, SC for my 10th and final gas receipt(mile1024.6) time was 0134am and 0151am when I returned home. So, I ended my trip with a whole 9 minutes to spare. :D:clap:D:clap:D




    I had a great time and it definitely was a challenge. I awoke today just after 1200pm and surprisingly, don't feel all that bad aside from one blister on my left middle finger from the clutch and some compression pain on my right thumb and index finger from the throttle. I am very thankful that I had someone to ride with me for the last few hours of the trip as that took alot of stress off of my mind. I couldn't even keep a consistent speed. I would twist up to 80 and then Joe would slowly pull away and I'd look down and be doing 70, twist up to 80 and then be doing 70 again, I really had to focus.

    I had started out planning on getting back home around 2100pm and for the first third of the day, the GPS confirmed that. But things set you back and then the rain really slowed me up. Florida was just so long to get through. :puke1 I enjoyed the Keys but don't plan on returning any time soon. :lol3 Total mileage since departing Friday morning, 1830miles.

    Sorry about being lite on pics for those last parts. Couldn't be helped.:wink: Thanks for reading my ride report! Wesley Jones
    #1
    StanBo likes this.
  2. PeeDeeRider

    PeeDeeRider Been here awhile

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    Great report Wes. I would do that trip if we could stop in Islamorada for a few days of fishing on the way back.

    :clap
    #2
  3. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

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    Chris, I'd ride with you most anywhere bud but, obviously, you didn't read the whole post.

    :rofl
    :rofl
    :rofl
    #3
  4. JALnSC

    JALnSC Long timer

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    Good pics,
    #4
  5. PeeDeeRider

    PeeDeeRider Been here awhile

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    Yeah, I looked at the pictures AND all them werds! I just can't imagine that trip without some fishing. Most of it had to be pretty much the same as the rest of it.
    #5
  6. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

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    Thanks for the escort bud! :clap

    No, not that kind of escort. :huh

    :lol3
    #6
  7. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

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    You guys don't say much, do you? :ear
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  8. boybrushedplad

    boybrushedplad Been here awhile

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    great ride report- Iron Butt rides sound like a very 'zen' thing to me, lol- I enjoyed the pics- Thanks for posting

    - also now if I do a IB ride anytime in the future- joe has to bring me a sandwitch, too :lol3
    #8
  9. scmax

    scmax Adventurer

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    great job, enjoyed the ride report.:D
    #9
  10. Land

    Land Wanderer

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    Good report, Wes. I really enjoyed the pics.

    One of these days I may document a 1K day -- but I sure do hate paperwork!:lol3

    Chris
    #10
  11. wawarides

    wawarides where's Laura0107? Supporter

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    :clap Good job, Wes! I don't think I'd ever want to do an iron butt ride, but I'm proud of you for having that as a goal and achieving it!

    Laura
    #11
  12. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

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    Hey thanks guys! :clap


    Weston, You do the mileage, we'll take care of the biscuits!

    You need any jelly? :rofl
    #12
  13. Fireman1000

    Fireman1000 Long timer

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    I would love to ride to Key West some day. But I'll take a week to get there and back.:D
    #13
  14. PeeDeeRider

    PeeDeeRider Been here awhile

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    That's what I'm talkin' about! :D
    #14
  15. kg4lho

    kg4lho Outside Sellin'

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    Coming up on one year later. I think about this ride often and what I learned about myself because of it. When I hear "comin' home" on my playlist, I am instantly taken back to the moment I turned north on A1A, comin' home. I never did send my paperwork in to the IBA, partly because I'm lazy but mainly cause I didn't feel I needed to. It was great trip and I would recommend everyone challenge themselves throughout their life. We are given a finite amount of time here, so get out there and do something you will remember forever.

    Sent from my PG41200 using Tapatalk 2
    #15