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VIOLA-TING AMERICA - Chasing the dream of music and motos

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by viola-tor, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. nukemm

    nukemm Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2011
    Oddometer:
    114
    Location:
    Marysville, WA
    :clap

    So glad to get a chance to catch up on the RR. Death Valley has been added to my list of probably winter destinations this year...
  2. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    We’ve reached our turn-around point, so we load up and take the scenic route out the north side of Death Valley.

    Art time! From other ride-reports I know that a stop at the Ryolites is a requisite.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The carpet matches the drapes... :evil The pic doesn’t show the scale, this statue is HUGE. She’s a big ‘ole gal!

    [​IMG]


    I love this kind of Wild West art. The locals surely roll their eyes, but you gotta admit that seeing these imaginative and severely out-of-place pieces in locations like this are memorable and make people stop and think, at least for a bit... As an artist that is usually all you can ask.

    Cool sofa:

    [​IMG]


    So onward we ride, pointing the bike back towards southern Arizona. Its cold. Maybe its a cumulative thing from being “out” so long, but we are having trouble dealing with the chill today, even with all the extra reserve layers we brought along and heated vests cranking away.

    When its cold like this the bike pulls over where it wants to. We get gas and there is an IHOP across the street, so we kill a couple hours eating disappointing eggs and pancakes, then getting ripped off at the register for all the little “a la carte” things we shouldn’t have had to ask for. (Yes, I recognize the irony that I’m complaining about the breakfast bill at the International House of Pancakes only days after blowing a week’s wages on dinner in Vegas, but the glaring differences is that I GOT what I paid for at Joel Robechon’s and DID NOT at IHOP.) I make a vow right then and there that I will never eat at IHOP again, unless it would be bad social karma for some reason, or maybe-just-maybe at 3:00am after a night of drinking. But that is different... :deal

    L.F. thinks my attire is humorous today.

    [​IMG]


    All that time and money and IHOP and we are immediately cold again when we get on the bike. Brrrr-Grrrr...

    One last night of camping if all goes well! Some state park, I can’t remember now, and it doesn’t really matter as it is dark when we arrive and we will pack up and leave first thing in the morning. Sometimes, even doing something as incredible as motorcycle camping, you just simply want a place to lie down.
  3. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,665
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    that's life for ya, full of high and low points, hopefully more of the former :D
  4. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,203
    Location:
    Kingdom of Belgium
    Just found your thread and caught up ...

    Our teacher back at the academy used to say our discipline was more demanding than that of engineers and physicians. And that we ought to be paid as much as a neurosurgeon.
    We thought her to be very funny.
    And when she retired we threw a big party and many tears, for we felt deserted on one hand and thrilled on the other for having had a real teacher. The one that can kickstart your engine, even do a rebuild.

    Over the years I learned that she was right.
    I learned also this that the only sacrifice one will regret is the one one didn't make.

    You expressed doubt about combining high level performing with hard core motoring.
    How would you rate introducing a segment of society with something so strange and elusive as music and finding out you made a following?

    Just to say, you did good.
    :bow
  5. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Oddometer:
    8,665
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Diek- thought you may appreciate this link to the concert I went to last night at the Kennedy Center, Afghan Youth Orchestra from the Afghanistan National Institute of Music. Was truly inspirational to see these young kids play Vivaldi using traditional instruments and all the pride and excitement that they and the Afghan expats in the audience showed. Perhaps one day when Afghanistan becomes safe to ride we'll get to see the Viola-tor jamming the viola with the kids of ANIM :D

    http://www.kennedy-center.org/explorer/videos/?id=M5339

    p.s. fwiw Russian violonist Mikhail Simonyan steps in at 31min mark
  6. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Rain, rain... We’ve been outrunning the bad weather for the entire trip (quite skillfully I might add!), but with it advancing at us from three directions we now have no choice but to face it. The final day of our “Christmas of Death” ride will be a cold, wet one.

    Ahhh, so THIS is where we slept! Seems like a nice little place.

    [​IMG]


    We are appreciative of the roof where we can pack up our gear without it getting all wet. (yes, it is raining in these pics)

    [​IMG]


    I love my gear. So many miles, and so many adventures have honed my “rig” that I feel ready for nearly any condition that might arise, and Lady Firebird has her shit together too! But I just can’t help it: As with so many of us that partake in this crazy hobby we can’t just leave well enough alone! We must, must keep tinkering, modifying, searching for that perfect bit of kit that will elevate us to the sublime pinnacle of riding nirvana...

    Or something like that. :norton

    The rain-suit has been a focus point for me as of late. I’ve never been a fan, and frankly don’t understand, the trend of these high-end motorcycle suits that have waterproof liners UNDER the suit itself. Why? I mean, yeah, great, my skin is dry, but after a heavy rain I now have a soggy one-hundred pound buffalo hide clinging to my body that leaves puddles if I go inside a building/home. And while camping what do I DO with this soggy carcass while I sleep? I certainly don’t want it in the tent with me. Hang it in a tree to continue to get rained on? What if it freezes solid and I can’t get in it? And donning cold wet cordura first thing in the morning doesn’t sound like a very nice way to spend the day... Plus it will take hours to dry out.

    So, from day one with my fancy Rev’It suit the liners have lived in a bag in my closet and I’ve opted to wear over-suits, which admittedly also have short comings, but keep me and my clothes largely separated from the rain. Call me crazy, but isn’t that the point??

    Very early on in my motorcycling I bought a first generation Froggs-Toggs suit at Cabela’s after being attracted to its breathable and packable qualities, but soon abandoned it because it wasn’t motorcycle engineered. It was geared more to hunters/hikers and wasn’t up to the task of 70 mph water deflection (closures, hood, ankle cuffs, etc). “If they ever design one with the motorcyclist in mind...” I said to myself.

    Lo and behold, they did, and I bought for this trip! Hi-Viz green even! (I’ve also never understood why one would want a black or grey rain suit on a motorcycle. Yikes! I’m all for matchy-matchy and looking good on the ride, but in the rain survival definitely takes priority for this rider!) Today it gets tested, and thoroughly.

    Rain, rain rain. After knocking out a hundred miles or so our hot meal and warm-up session for the day is this absolutely charming eatery in Benson Arizona: The Horseshoe Cafe.

    [​IMG]


    We pull a good laugh as we breech the door as all the local heads turn to look at the soggy dogs slinking in. We’re shouting as our earplugs are still installed but despite this we quickly develop a rapport with the owners who are super friendly. We apologize for the mess we are creating on their floor, and let them know we plan on staying for a while, longer than the typical meal. “That’ll be just fine, make yourselves comfortable!” is the best response we were hoping for!

    Home-town cooking, damn I love it! Yum yum, and the hot coffee keeps on coming. I definitely recommend this place.

    [​IMG]


    We chat, look at maps, talk to the locals, debate the weather, and let a couple hours pass. Eventually we run out of excuses and have to go back out into the chilly rain for the final leg back to southern Arizona.

    I swear it has gotten colder. The idea of killing time was that it would be warmer out here! Dang it. We never turn the heated vests off and are wearing every darn layer we can, but this chill can’t be outrun. Eventually we are forced onto the interstate system (blech), and sure enough end up in a construction zone with both feet down in the middle of nowhere for a good long while, which leads to a situation I was really hoping to avoid: rush-hour traffic in Phoenix, in the dark, in the rain. Oh, and tired too. Yay. Welcome back to “civilization!”

    It’s about this time the Froggs-Toggs starts failing. Maybe it’s okay for an hour or two of light to moderate rain, but the all day hose-fest is showing the weaknesses. I can feel my lower torso getting damp and cold, then downright wet, and my hiking boots are filling with ice water (which is no fault of the suit). We just want to get home, and the last two hours to Tucson are torturous. I’m shivering, but short of stopping for a hotel (no way!) there is really nothing to be done but pound it out.

    After pushing the bike into the yard L.F. opens the door for me and I hop into the bathtub to take off the gear and pour out my boots as not to get water all over the floor.

    What a ride!

    So yeah, Froggs-Toggs = fail in my opinion. Firebird was dry and warm in her Tourmaster plastic over suit, only cold feet in her hiking boots like me. Her smug grin says it all. :lol3 Someday I’ll learn... Thrill of the chase, eh fellas?

    I think there will be a nice New Year’s dinner for us as a reward for a trip well done! Lobster, hand-made pasta, cheese and wine...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  7. Katoom119

    Katoom119 Mmmm....Orange Kool-aid

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,843
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I thought you'd been abducted by aliens or something.

    Good finish to this section of the story. Now you're only, what, a year behind? :deal
  8. Ladybug

    Ladybug Bug Sister Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2005
    Oddometer:
    16,919
    Location:
    Spokane Valley, WA (the dry side of the mountains)
    It was nice to see an addition to your thread this morning. Hope there are more tales to come.
  9. NobeyamaGP

    NobeyamaGP Nerdy Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2009
    Oddometer:
    252
    Location:
    Petersburg, IN
    I finally finished catching up on this RR after I heard about it some time ago. Great report! I played Alto Saxophone until the end of high school but decided I liked the sciences better so I turned towards chemistry in college. I still have a love for all sorts of music to this day. Music amazes me as it's one of the few things in this world (along with math and science :evil) that completely ignores all cultural boundaries. Thanks for spreading the love and for taking us along for the ride.:lurk
  10. Skyclad

    Skyclad Original Bastard

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2007
    Oddometer:
    6,031
    Location:
    Moran Nation, SE PA Chapter
    You gotta get yourself some waterproof gear.

    I recently got new gear, the First Gear Kathmandu jacket and pants. Hypertex (much like Gortex) built into the outer layer, so everything else says dry. So far so good, though I have not given it the West Virginia test yet. Not the cheapest stuff out there, but I think it is a good value with all the features included.
  11. handypro

    handypro SportTouracologist

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Oddometer:
    179
    Location:
    KnoxVegas, TN
    Awesome!...Please keep us apprised of your Concert schedule this spring/summer. I have B&B In Sedona should the opportunity ever present itself by desire or necessity..fo you guys or an ADV Bi-wheeled Moto Travelers:wink:
  12. Papermaker

    Papermaker Infrequent Poster

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    45
    Location:
    Seattle
    I'm with you. I never have understood the waterproof liner under the main shell approach either. I bought an Aerostich Darien jacket and pants 10 years ago and they're still going strong after 100k miles. I've updated the armor and sent it back to have a couple of seams resealed, but the thing has been absolutely bomb proof. I've even taught a couple of very wet MSF BRC classes in it. Expensive, but then I haven't had to buy anything new in 10 years.
  13. Blader54

    Blader54 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,907
    Nice to see a new posting from you, Violator....any chance that this summer will see the carbon viola and you creating music from some new heights? Maybe a duet with LF? Don't be a stranger.:D
  14. Rango

    Rango Phaneropter

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,203
    Location:
    Kingdom of Belgium
    :happay
    Hurray,
    The Viola-tor is back, coming out of the rain...

    Welcome,
    Get yourself a chair in the corner by the fire
    and entertrain this hungry crowd.
    :kumbaya

    Vis a vis rain gear: something cheap synthetic over your clothes that if need be can hang all night tucked away in branches. That does it for me. And hot chocolate. By all means.
  15. DirtJack

    DirtJack Adventurer Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,326
    Location:
    395 miles South East of Orla, Texas
  16. TripleThreat719

    TripleThreat719 Track Addict ADV Wannabe

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2009
    Oddometer:
    564
    Location:
    Trafalgar, Indiana
    OK... So I've spent the last several days reading this ride report a bit at a time...

    I have a KTM 640 Adventure and will be traveling in Utah in June with a few friends and my brother is a luthier, so your ride report sucked me in because of those commonalities.

    Those commonalities would not have been enough to hold my attention if it wasn't for your engaging writing style and the great adventures that your lifestyle has allowed you to participate in.

    I am a high school principal, ironically at the high school where Joshua Bell graduated, in Bloomington, Indiana, and I am currently working on a doctorate degree, and have used your ride report as a means to procrastinate on writing my literature review.

    I must say that you clearly are very artistically talented, musically, photographically, and with your forays into film making, not to mention your literary skills...

    I've enjoyed reading your ride report and look forward to visiting some of the same locations you featured.

    I'm jealous of the fact that your profession allows you to have so much time to pursue your motorhikeling and would consider you rich in this life.

    I'll keep following to see what's next. Seems like some of the answers to the questions you were asking yourself after the Montana 1000 might just have been answered by your Christmas of Death Trip. Looks like Paula might just be a perfect fit for your "lifestyle".
  17. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Uhhh, 2.4??


    :hide


    You betcha! :deal

    You are most welcome, and thank you! I love science too, it opens our minds...

    Will do! Past few summers have been more about moto and less about viola, but that could flip-flop at any time depending!

    yeah, every now and then I come back to the Aerostich cataloge and wonder. Hmmmm, is it my time? Good to hear another positive review.

    Ya never know! Well, actually we do. I can't resist the mountains!

    Yes, I've now learned my lesson too many times! PLASTIC.


    Wow! Thanks for chiming in. You have a special perspective that I can certainly relate too. My mom is a retired public school teacher (orchestra, actually! I was in her class for time! :lol3), and my brother did a stint as a teacher in the public schools as well.

    Best of wishes to you on your doctorate studies. The PhD title is akin to being a musician in modern times: Highly trained, self motivated, extremely talented, under valued and under paid... :freaky I sometimes consider getting a music doctorate to perhaps ease a potential transition to academia, but I think three degrees in music is enough! I never liked libraries much... :deal
  18. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    North. South. East. West.

    You ADV readers have been following me for a long time as I criss-cross the country chasing... something. Round and round I go! :norton I LOVE to see new things, and new places, but even with my wide territory I notice that I seem to gravitate to some repeatable centers for my musical work. Humans inevitably find patterns, routines. It is springtime again, so that means the Floridians need some opera. Flatistan, here I come again.

    Once again I trailer out through the deep south and the Florida panhandle to set up shop in Sarasota. I’m early, but not by much, so I have to dump the rig and suit up so I don’t stagnate. Diek has a new goal, and it is to the south: Key West.

    After crossing Alligator Alley but before I hit the Keys Highway I make a stop at a place I’ve read about: Robert is Here. Yes, the name of the place is “Robert is Here,” which came from a sign that the owners of this produce stand excitedly erected when their baby son was born so many years ago. Robert is all grown up now, but he is still indeed there in person carrying on his namesake, selling some of the craziest things that nature will let us eat.

    [​IMG]

    I mean, at least it’s honest...

    [​IMG]


    I don’t see much of a point in buying a bunch of produce that will get beat up in my moto luggage, so I have a famous Key lime milkshake (which is good, but WAY too big. Lunch!), and I can’t help but buy a star fruit, as I’ve never had one before. Pretty good! Kinda citrus -like, in between a orange and a lemon.

    [​IMG]

    The real deal! I’m such a land-lubber. This kind of ocean “harvesting” fascinates me.

    [​IMG]

    To the islands! I’m not expecting much in the way of moto-thrills (so as not to be dissapointed), and the Keys highway certainly deliveres not much! It varies between 35 and 55 mph and is mostly a straight line. Zzzzzzzzzzzoom...

    Speed Fine. Wait, so speed is fine? Or did you mean there is a fine for speeding?? Geez, make up yer minds!! :lol3

    [​IMG]

    Some people really get off on the ocean, but I’m snoozing. Maybe it was all those miles I’ve driven the last few weeks. Wasn’t I just in California only days ago exploring the desert?? Whacky.

    [​IMG]

    I take a number of pictures from the cockpit, but even as I look back at them now to include in this report they all look pretty much the same. Road, ocean, road, ocean... [To pack light I’m traveling with only my little Pentax pocket cam, leaving my big Canon in Sarasota with my other junk. Thinking back I’m not quite sure why I decided to do that. maybe I was worried about the weather/and or salt spray?] One little island looks about like the last, and the next. Some of the most expensive real estate in the country is clustered around this strip of road, but all I see are old wooden buildings with peeling paint and rusty nails, victims of salty humidity and tropical storms. Frankly it all looks like it could be any small-town low-income community anywhere in the south, the only difference being the proximity to the purty blue ocean. “Key West, Key West!!” I keep telling myself, trying to hype it up to keep me awake. The place is a legend, unlike anywhere else. Crazy tales of boats, babes, booze, barnacles, and a FABulous gay parade! Key West: where people live free with sunshine and favorable winds all year long. I hope it lives up to the hype...

    Watching the GPS is kinda fun (‘cause what else do I have to do?), seeing the little blobs of green terrain spotted against a giant blue background, connected by a thin black line. Finally the line stops. I’m at the end of the world. Or at least the end of our country.

    [​IMG]

    As far as I can tell this is the furthest south one can go with a vehicle. There is a famous marker around here somewhere I’ve seen in pictures, but according to the GPS I think this is the end, as far as the public is concerned anyway. Strangely my bike is overheating as I pull in (in January?!?), so it seems a good time to take a walk. I can go a bit farther by foot.

    Ah, there’s the reason I can’t go any farther: military. Watching Cuba, perhaps?

    [​IMG]

    I clamor out onto some rocks poking out of the water, but that’s about all I’m willing to do in my motorcycle boots. No swimming for me! I watch the boats for a while before meandering back to the KTM. There is more to this place than the coastline...

    [​IMG]
  19. viola-tor

    viola-tor Needs to ride!

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,071
    Location:
    Rockies. Freakin' Rockies.
    Key West wasn’t always for drunken vacationers. Fort Zachary-Taylor holds an important place in the history of the U.S. Naval operations: during the Civil War the Union controlled the fort which was instrumental in the blockade of the Confederate ports in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though it was never attacked directly, history indicates that this fort played a key role in the South’s defeat.

    This place is pretty intense, actually. That is a MOAT!!! I’m imagining trying to attack this place with a musket and bayonet... No thanks!

    [​IMG]

    On top of the walls one can obviously see where the many guns were positioned, still with their arching wheel tracks visible.

    [​IMG]

    Get some. This cannon is huge, at least six feet tall. Somewhere I read that these could fire up to three miles, which is probably one reason why this fort was never attacked. The confederate ships would never even get close!

    [​IMG]

    If attackers did manage to get across the moat and past the sharpshooters (assuming their boat was not sunk before they even arrived at the island) they would have to then scale the wall, and this “last-resort” gun port would have made that a losing proposition with a special grapeshot cannon. Ground beef anyone?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I like reminders every so often of just how good we have it now-a-days. Civil war monuments tend to make that hit home for me, especially when I read the displays about not only battle conditions, but the medieval care for the wounded, rampant disease that was not understood, and the inhumane treatment of prisoners (on both sides). In the grand scheme of things all that nastiness really wasn’t all that long ago. And even sadder: this kind of thing is happening all the time in various places all over the “modern, civilized” world, every damn day. We here in the “first” world are lucky indeed.

    Carnival Cruisers partying it up just past where dozens, if not hundreds, of U.S. soldiers died of disease or otherwise meeting the reaper by the nature of life and death in Victorian times while constructing this outpost.

    [​IMG]

    After getting a regional history lesson, it’s time to go exploring!

    Ahh, THERE it is! According to the GPS this isn’t “the most southern point” at all, but whatever, I need this pic for my life-list! Check.

    [​IMG]

    Another thing on the checklist: Oysters.

    [​IMG]

    If nothing else, Key West certainly is two-wheel friendly. There are scooters everywhere, and reserved parking! My bike is way, way out of place here, but of course I kinda like that fact...

    [​IMG]

    I’m neutral on oysters, not particularly loving them, but not having a gag reflex either. It’s fun once in a while, the act of tempting food poisoning that is... Seems like a special occasion!

    [​IMG]

    I meet all kinds of crazy folks at the bar, many with baked faces and inebriated eyelids. “A race!” they say! The boats I saw lazily cruising on the water earlier were in fact competing in one of the biggest sailing races of the year. Who knew? Now I feel extra fortunate to have witnessed it (even though I didn’t know what I was looking at). Big sail ships racing look about the same as big ships sailing... :huh

    Way, way back in this ride report I put up a photo of a crazy powerful restroom hand dryer that made an impression on me. Here is another. The Dyson Blade?!? Kinda awesome, actually. Weird that I discover these things on moto trips.

    [​IMG]

    After dining at the bar on various un- or lightly cooked sea creatures I walk about the docks for a while, just trying to absorb the feel of the place.

    [​IMG]

    Lots of touristy shops, and of course boats and related paraphernalia, but not much for the budget minded solo moto traveler to do. I do have dessert planned, but need to let my dinner settle a while, and I want to find a good place to watch the sunset.

    Back on the bike I cruise up and down the main drag (Duval Street) a few times, where the famous gay parade takes place. As dusk moves in the nightlife starts to rev up and smiling people in shorts and flip-flops are everywhere. I can’t really do any drinking because of the bike, and even if I could drinking alone in places like this usually ends up making me sad. This COULD be a good place to come with a group of old friends to party it up, but on the other hand, when I’m with my old group of close friends it doesn’t really matter where we are, we always have a good time. Hmmmmm, profound...

    I park the bike at a fancy hotel at the north end of Duval St, The Pier House Resort, for another of my Key West must-do’s: Key Lime pie.

    Key limes, you ask? They’re all grown in Mexico now, except for a few token trees in hotel courtyards. Tropical storms take out the fruit trees and the uber-valuable land is more desirable for hotels and condos now. It’s ironic that all of the world famous key lime pies served here are made from imported limes. It doesn’t really matter, obtaining a slice of the green wonder is a requisite activity, and I read that THIS place in particular has an excellent recipe.

    With as crazy as Duval St. is becoming and the glowing review I researched about Pier House I’m quite surprised that I’m the ONLY patron requesting a table on the deck. Really?!? I almost cut-n-run for a more populated spot, but then change my mind realizing that this is actually fitting for me tonight: the lone motorcyclist in a strange land he doesn’t understand, given solitude among the masses. The pie is delicious, and I slowly savor every bite and nurse a coffee as the sun sets and elegant white boats glide by underneath the occasional seagull and rising full moon. My own personal waitress (from Russia, and with excellent English) checks on me from time to time, but I’m left largely undisturbed with the entire waterfront deck to myself. I will always prefer a mountain top for quiet reflection if given a choice, but under the circumstances this is pretty nice. I leave her a disproportionately large tip.

    [​IMG]

    Key West does, or did, have a part time symphony orchestra. I’m not sure of it’s status at the moment, but it does cross my mind as I let the lime custard melt in my mouth. Of course no free-lance musician could ever afford to live on the Keys, so the symphony organization would actually fly in instrumentalists from other places in Florida, namely Sarasota, Miami, Jacksonville, etc., and then house them somehow. The pay was so-so, and it made for a long weekend of travel, but it was a great project that I know someone had to have worked really hard to make happen. The real killer (and shame) was when the management “ran out” of money and didn’t pay the musicians for services rendered. I have several colleagues who still haven’t been compensated for the work they did, even years later. The Keys Symphony then tried to continue to stage concerts and hire younger hungry students from music schools who didn’t know any better, STILL not having paid the previous professionals. The music world is small and word travels fast, so sadly that is probably the death sentence for any sort of professional classical music on the Keys. No “real” musician would come fearing broken promises, and so everyone loses.

    When planning this little excursion I knew that I’d need to find a place to sleep as there are simply too many miles to get to get back to Sarasota in a one-day trip. Hotels are off the chart down here financially, but there is ONE state park with camping: Bahia Honda, the middle island of the Keys. I reserved a primitive beach campsite online only days before, and as I checked in earlier in the day as I passed through on the way to Key West the rangers exclaimed “How’d you get THAT campsite?!? These book up a year in advance!” I dunno, I just logged on and it was there. “You are really lucky...” I shrug. Really lucky, eh? This has to be the most expensive campsite in the ENTIRE COUNTRY, costing as much as a hotel room in most places, just to put my lousy tent on the ground?? I’m the one who is in disbelief. Seems like a crime. Or an old hippy song: "Signs, signs, everywhere is signs... Put up a fence to keep me out, and keep all the nature in..."

    As I ride in the dark to Bahia Honda I’m trying to keep a keen eye out for the famous Key Deer (so I don’t hit one!). These funny critters are just like White-Tail deer that are found all over the U.S., except that they are half the size. Like little mini tropical island deer! Awwww... Apparently they can swim between the islands and are unafraid of humans because of their close habitat proximity. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately from a motorcyclist’s perspective) I do not get to lay eyes (or tires) on one. Oh well. At least I got my pie.

    The beach is dark, but there is a moon, and I can set up my tent with my eyes closed anyway. The designated camping spot is kinda just off the the park drive, so I feel obligated to go hang out on the beach proper, since that is what one is supposed to do here (I guess). I take my sleeping pad and a newspaper I snagged from convenience store down to the waters edge with my headlamp and plop myself in the sand to figure out how to enjoy this experience that people come from all over the world to do. Beaches... I guess I just don’t get it! It’s nice and all, the sound of the water and the bright moon, but of course I get sand all over everything, and it is really humid, the combination of which is gonna make for some really pleasant sleeping conditions (not).

    [​IMG]
  20. Chains45

    Chains45 Wait.... what?

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2008
    Oddometer:
    487
    Location:
    Frenchtown MT
    Diek!!! Fantastic to get a little more of your story. Was wondering what I had missed till you let slip how long ago this was. Was looking at the San Antonio Symphony website recently and cannot find your name, am I looking in the wrong place?

    Love your writing and your pics, let me know if you get this far north again!

    Dennis