Where Is Maggie Mae?

Blasting Away....


Another Fall Riding Season

You would not know it by the temps but the calendar says it is fall.  Around here though, the real indication that the fall riding season is upon us flies around and spatters your bike with black and red blotches of goo.  Love-Bugs - they stink, mess up the paint and are generally a huge pain in the butt.  However, they do come and go rather quickly, we can be thankful they are not year round pests. 

Another indication that fall is here  -  Daytona Biketoberfest.  We will be heading over on Thursday and getting into the thick of it this year staying right near the racetrack. In a move completely opposite to what we have done for nearly 10 years now, staying way north or way south of Daytona, this year we chose to get into the middle of the melee and booked a hotel just off International Speedway Boulevard.  This will allow us to be a little closer to the Party Palace, aka Steve & Judy's Mobile Luxury Lounge. Along with Steve & Judy Briant, Mark & Cathy Hunt host the party of parties in Daytona, be it Biketoberfest, Bike Week or Race Week.  They are kind enough to always throw an invitation our way.  We always look forward to riding with them and hooking up for a cold beverage.

As evidenced by my lack of posting here, I have been doing more riding than internet work.  We will usually put some miles on in the morning, stop for a bite and then hit the road again. Last weekend Thumper put himself on energizer bunny mode.  We stopped only three times for gas and water and made a 250 mile loop from Wesley Chapel, up through Homosassa and Inverness and round back to Wesley Chapel before he finally let me get off the bike and eat. I guess he was putting me in training for this next weekend.  Even though we will be staying right in Daytona, rinding to St. Augustine, Amelia and then south down through New Symrna will most likely fill up the days - after all, it is about the riding right?

Till next time, Happy Trails
Mags

The Long Way

Saturday was proof positive of what can happen when the wandering mind meets maps on Google, motorcycles and a few nomadic souls. The straight shot ride becomes a zig-zag back-road, "he's headed in the opposite direction" "are we there yet" "never been on this road" "how do we get there from here" butt buster ride - and it was great.  The clouds kept the heat at bay and the scenery was spectacular.

Cedar Key, Florida is a sleepy little fishing town with a bike problem. It's a great motordycle destination and the only difficult part is choosing between lunch spots.  Ice Cream in the shade on the dock with cool the gulf breeze made it hard to motivate onward. Seeing the dolphins darting in and out of the choppy waters was an added bonus. 

After stops at Sleepy Hallow and the Riverside cafe we eventually headed home.  270 miles and tonos of smiles later we finally parked the bikes for the nite. 

Pam, you mastered the ride like a pro.  I promice not to tell your mom you got a motorcycle, but you'll have to break the news sooner or later. Pretty soon she'll be on to you when you keep disappearing for hours on end. 

After so many years of riding it becomes more and more difficult to find new roads.  Thanks for putting together such an incredible route Duane. My favorite of the day: Withlacoochee Trail in Dunnellon, Florida.

Thanks Pam, Ed & Ted and Duane and Suz - couldn't have asked for a better day in the saddle.   'Till next time...

Just Riding

Motorcycles - the passion that drives us.  Since I last wrote we've been to St. Augustine, Riding Into History, always a favorite event for us. A cool breeze, lots of vintage bikes and burgers at Caddyshack's - a perfect day.  It was also a 200 mile test ride for the new D&D exhaust - which, while a bit loud, performed great. 

I've posted a pic of my brother Mike's new ride as well as a photograph from fellow Blaster Dave Miller.  He lives in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Parkway and I'm rather certain he will be having a ton of fun surfing that Blast through mountain curves. 

My 2009 Blast now has 9,000 miles and is still my favorite ride ever.  We will once again be packing up and hitting the road this summer. We will be blowing through Michigan almost non-stop, just long enough for a family get-together on July 5 and then up over the Mackinac Bridge and through the Upper Peninsula into Wisconsin and Minnesota before we head back south.  We are also hoping to have enough time to hit the Barber Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham, Alabama on our way home. 

Check back - will try to keep posting as much as possible.

Happy Trails, Maggie (Thumper too)

Fate

I believe in fate.  Things happen for a reason and in this universe of uncertainty I believe that you can't truly change the force of nature, the will of destiny.  Fate brought Thumper and I together. Our journey through life prior to meeting each other was filled with the good, the bad and the ugly - but ultimately all those things did not matter once our paths crossed.  We were meant to find each other and be together.  Being together was more important and meant more to us than that paper the Court makes you pay for, but eventually we decided to make the union legal.

Our courtship was a very private, personal experience.  So too the wedding we carefully did NOT plan and attempted to pull off without the presence of any family or friends.  Not that we didn't want to share it, but it was just a personal moment for us and we decided to handle it the same way our union had begun, private and personal.  We chose to hold the event during Biketoberfest because we love riding, we love being around bikers and Biketoberfest was our first joint venture together years before.  The hosts at the Longboard Inn B&B in New Symrna informed us the morning of the ceremony that two other bikers who were guests had asked if they could be present.  Pam & Ed Willoughby showed up with smiles and gifts in hand and ultimately we asked them to sign the certificate.  We learned they lived just a few miles away from us and we vowed to stay in touch.  But life has a way of getting in the way of living and after a few notes we lost touch and never did get togther.  They were not forgotten though and often when I would hear someone mention something about bikers from Zephyrhills they would cross my mind.

Enter Duane Martin.  While looking for a bike that might fit his significant other Suz he comes across whereismaggiemae.com.  Duane rides a Vulcan and that happens to be a bike Thumper just loves.  So Thumper replies to Duane and Duane is kind enough to invite us to breakfast that Saturday morning. He mentions that he'll be bringing some friends with him. 

YEP - FATE - two of those friends were Pam & Ed who also brought their son Ted along for the ride.  Additionally they were joined by Bill Wade and his son Sean.  It is wonderful to see families sharing the love and joy of riding together.  They were all so full of life and laughter - it made for a very enjoyable morning.

We headed up the road as a group north on 301 before Thumper and I pulled off for fuel and hydration.  Thumper and I have been following horse racing for a few years since catching the bug while in Charlottesville, VA and watching the Belmont Stakes.  What better place to watch the Kentucky Derby than in Florida horse country, Ocala.  I usually try to find a horse with Ocala connections and back that horse.  This year the pick was Frieson Fire.  We rode into Ocala, found the Vinery Stables and snapped a couple pics.  Then just for kicks made a pass by Jumbolair where John Travolta lives, again just to snap a couple of photographs. 

The Ocala Hilton sits on a beautiful piece of Florida countryside, complete with a paddock area and a clydesdale named Buddy.  We shared a private moment with Buddy then headed to the Starting Gate Lounge to watch the derby.  Our horse was never in the picture but we had a blast anyway.  Somewhere along the way my new '09 Blast turned over 8,000 miles and another weekend came to and end.

Thanks so much to Duane for contacting us and putting us back in touch with Pam and Ed.  BTW - congrats Pam on the new V-Star, I predict you will have many happy miles on it. 

We look forward to see ya'll soon.

Happy Trails...Maggie & Thumper

Iron Butt Run 2009

The alarm sounded with an annoying buzz - 3:00 AM.  Some thoughts about how we must be crazy crept into my brain and then before I knew it the excitement of what I was about to do replaced any negative thoughts I had about getting up so early on a holiday (Good Friday).

 

Thumper and I had already made a qualifying run for the Iron Butt Association on a trip out west to Sturgis, Glacier National Park and California.  We rode from Tampa to St. Louis in just under 24 hours. Certainly not a record for time, but we'd left a little late in the morning and I have this safety thing about riding after dark in unfamiliar territory.  No matter, we'd accomplished what we set out to do and that was all that mattered.

 

Still, I wanted to qualify myself - riding the Buell Blast.  We were contemplating making the run at the start of our annual summer journey.  Then Thumper hatched the idea of doing it on Good Friday and getting it out of the way so we could enjoy the meandering journey north in July without the post-SaddleSore weariness to intrude on our vacation. 

 

My plan was to leave around the same time we had for our first IBA ride, 9 AM, head south first, then north and eventually south back towards home.  I was still thinking along the lines of riding as far as we could into the evening and then getting a couple hours of shut-eye, getting up very early and completing the run.  Thumper saw it differently - getting up early, hitting the road and not thinking about sleep until we had completed the circle back home.  After a check of weather that could be moving into Georgia in the early evening hours a reverse course was chosen. Again, Thumper took my proposal and tweaked it into a much better plan.

 

So here we were, 3 AM getting ready to ride up into Georgia and then make a loop around the entire Florida peninsula.  Riding for a distance up into Georgia was necessary to qualify for an official 1,000 mile IBA ride.

 

After waking up our very understanding and tolerant neighbors just before four o'clock in the morning to sign the necessary witness paperwork (thanks Amy & Jameson), we were headed to the gas station for our first timed gas receipt.  The flashing red and blue lights of a cop blocking our way into the gas station was not a great way to start the run. With no choice but to push on to a different gas station we hit the interstate. After finally obtaining the mandatory first timed receipt we were off. 

 

We rode north on I-75 towards Lake City, Florida.  At I-10 we headed east towards Jacksonville and then north again on I-95.  The turn around point was initially planned to be at South Newport, Georgia but once there doubt set in. I wanted to make certain there was no chance we'd fall short of the full 1,000 miles so we rode past that exit to Midway, Georgia. We encountered our second obstacle while heading north in Georgia hitting construction delays and then an accident was blocking the southbound lanes of I-95. Knowing we had to head back down that stretch of road, decisions had to be made. Do we dare retrace our steps or look for an alternate route? Upon obtaining the requisite timed receipt we ultimately headed south on I-95 back into Florida, my thought and hope was that the accident would  be long gone and the road clear.  It was & other than the masses of northern plated vehicles heading south into the sunshine state for the long holiday weekend, it was not a bad ride.  Well, figure in the idiots that think the interstate is their personal race track, drivers doing everything but actually paying attention to driving and throw in a few of those drivers that must travel twenty miles under the speed limit and you must be on your toes for this kind of riding.

                                                                                                   

Around 1:00 we stopped in Ormond Beach at Destination Daytona for a quick 30 minute lunch and then hit the road again.  We rode I-95 south all the way to Boca Raton and then picked up I-75 west across Alligator Alley. 

 

The Miccosukee Indian Reservation was open for business and was a needed fuel stop.  Back on the road for less than 20 minutes we suddenly see a huge plume of black smoke rising in the distance and then break lights as everything came to a complete halt on the highway.  I have heard horror stories in the news about bad accidents and long delays on Alligator Alley when it is completely shut down awaiting emergency vehicles and clean-up crews.   Ohhhh, to come so far and be derailed just a couple hundred miles from completion. 

 

Kick stands down and our run in jeopardy, we decided to relax and take advantage of the unintended break. We ate a granola bar, drank some water and snapped a couple photos of the beautiful sunset .  The only other worry at this point was sundown itself.  The mosquitoes down here in the everglade area could eat a man alive and repellent was one item missing from my endurance riding kit.  I feel bad for the poor guy who's car was toast (no pun untended) but luck was on our side as they got the fire out and quickly started filtering cars past the melted mass of steel and plastic.

 

The only other challenge was dodging happy hour hooligans racing down I-75 at 10:30 on a Friday night.  I can't say I place my life in the hands of a bright neon green safety vest, but I did feel just a bit safer with it on.

 

All said and done:  1,050 miles, 19 hours 57 minutes.  15 stops, 13 for gas, 1 for lunch and 1 for the car fire. 

 

The Blast and the FJR performed flawlessly.  I missed my cruise control (ok, throttle lock) and the hand/wrist fatigue was my biggest nagging problem.  A little stiffness is always expected on long runs and I am used to the road weariness that comes with long distance riding.  In the end, it was everything I expected it to be.  Now...the next challenge awaits!

Kickin Grass

It's great when you can combine two passions into a beautiful sunny day.  For Thumper and I we had the opportunity to get up and throw a leg over the saddle early and head to Auburndale, Florida for the Blue Grass Festival.  But for me it was more than the riding and the music.  It was a reunion of sorts.

I have often talked about how my first riding came at the hands of my Dad, with many a mile on the back of his Gold Wing.  And then Dad introduced me to his friend Harry Dawson.  Harry loved riding and spent many an hour seeking out roads in North Carolina and West Virginia that he had never ridden or routes he could take friends back to ride.  Sometimes roads that most people wouldn't even think of as "roads", more like bike paths curving down the side of a W.V. mountain heading deep into a holler. 

Well, Harry was gracious and would allow me to ride along whenever the chance came up and helped to further my passion for riding.  I will never forget the trip up to New Brunswick for the specific reason of getting out to Nova Scotia.  Well we did make it to New Brunswick - but getting all the way up to Bathurst took nearly a full day of riding and by then, we had to bug out and start that long ride back home and so we had to choose - Nova Scotia or Bay of Fundy.  Bay of Fundy was incredible. That should be a destination on every "bucket list" out there.  The highest tidal changes in the world, you can "walk on the floor of the ocean" when the tide is out, just be  gone when it comes rushing back in.  Thanks Harry for all the memories.

The ride to Auburndale was a bit cool and we arrived in time to see the cloggers at work.  Then The Kickin Grass band which includes Harry's son Jamie on Mandolin.  They are a great, high-energy band playing many songs they have written themselves.  Get over to www.kickingrass.com and check them out. Buy a CD and tell them Maggie Mae says hi!

The road awaits...

Happy Trails to all!


Daytona 2009

Daytona Bike Week, seems like every year there is one weekend with perfect weather and one with not so great weather.  Problem is you never know which weekend it will be and usually plans must be made before that cute little weather girl gives the forecast. 

 

For Thumper and I we've have had pretty good luck with this dilemma, usually picking the one weekend that turns out to be good. 

 

This year we wanted to do both weekends and luck was with us for at least half of the first weekend.  We had near perfect weather on the first Saturday  and were able to ride into the outskirts for lunch in Debary at the Swamp House River Front Grill on the banks of the St. John's River. 

 

Then Sunday took a turn for the worse, rain, wind and very unseasonably cold weather -  flurries were reported in north Florida and Georgia had measurable snowfall.  But there is always the 2nd week of Daytona...

 

"Better days are in the cards I feel
Feel it in the changin wind
I feel it when I glide

With a little love and luck
You will get by
With a little love and luck
Well take the sky


In this mangled modern world
Youve got to try
Try a little love and luck
And youll get by

Mysteries dont ever try to solve them
Were just players in a game
And no ones keeping score

So have your fun
Go ahead and tell your story
Find yourself a lover
Who will glue you to the floor"

 

Kick stands went up on Thursday and we headed north towards St. Augustine.  It's always about the ride and not the destination so it did take several hours to make usual 2 - hour drive, but it was through beautiful Florida back-country and there were a couple curves thrown into the mix. 

 

Jeff played the part of the hard-core biker dude and rode over from Pensacola through the 30 degree weather, what a beast! He is also quite the gentleman and made certain we were all taken care of by time we arrived at the hotel.  Jeff,  you ARE the man!  

 

Jameson was celebrating his 30th birthday and we made it a night out in the Oldest City in America. Happy Birthday Jameson.  

 

We had a pretty formidable group: Thump and I were joined by the aforementioned Jeff and Jameson with Jameson's wife Amy providing the mule vehicle.  Don't think that Jeep could have accommodated a hanky after we fully loaded it with all our gear!  Bobby N-The Dale were along as was Todd riding Jeff's FJR. James & Toshia came all the way from Dayton, Ohio. 

 

Friday found the group heading towards the Worlds Famous Oasis for breakfast and then a sunny ride down A1A towards The Loop.  That was where luck was surely on our side. Some unfortunate rider and a car had a little encounter, with the biker getting the worst of the deal and the north lane of The Loop was at a complete standstill.  The masses from Daytona trying to head north were going absolutely nowhere.  Tough for them, lucky for us.

 

We made a stop at The Last Resort and then had a great lunch at Famous Philly's before heading to the Iron Horse and Broken Spoke.  It was well after dark before we eventually made the long ride up US 1 and back into St. Augustine, but it had been a great day.

 

Saturday Thump and I broke away from the group and headed even farther north to ride the ferry across the St. John's River at Mayport and up to Amelia Island.  What a surprise to find that Jeff, waking up to find everyone gone had decided to head out and north himself.  After his crossing on the ferry and meeting up with us on Amelia Island we headed to the Oldest Saloon in Florida - The Palace Saloon.  Jeff, we enjoyed the ride and sharing the laughs with you.

 

I treasure being able to hang out and enjoy the company of friends, both old and new.   Todd - hope your ride home was enjoyable.   James and Toshia - sorry you had to head back to the cold north, maybe we will see you this summer if we get into Ohio.    Bobby & Dale, Jameson & Amy and Jeff - our lives would be empty without you in it.

 

Kudos to Jameson, Thumper & Bobby - you guys put some miles on those bikes not meant for the long haul - buns of steel!

 

And a big southern howdy to the new friends we met from Canada - good meetin ya eh?

 

JJ, Rick, Dan & Eddie - thanks for the airplane chat and photograph opportunity.

 

Katie & Michael - head down to The Palace and have one for us. 

 

Until next time - Happy Trails to all!

Firsts...

Firsts, they start almost the day you are born.  Early on these momentous occasions are carefully recorded by an adoring parent in a little pink or blue book,  first smile, first words, first steps. 

 

Years later those same adoring parents cringe as the firsts become more serious: first date, first kiss, first car.

 

Today was a picture perfect chamber of commerce day here in the Sunshine State of Florida.  Sunny skies, 70 degree plus temps, no rain.  Mark and Steve arrived promptly at our house where Amy and Jameson had already parked the 919 out front ready for the day's adventure. 

 

A few miles down the road we pulled into the Neon Cowboy to await Bobby N-The Dale.  The Dale would be arriving on the Red Rider, a Ninja, her first street bike and this would be her first group ride.  The telltale sound of Bobby's Hyabusa floated through the air and there she was, pulling into the parking lot, making a short, quick u-turn as though she had been born on the bike. 

 

Most riders' first group ride might include a few close comrades they know well and the ride a short distance there and back to get a feel for what it's all about.  No, not Dale.  Jump in, head first and full gear.  7 bikes, a generous number of technically curvy roads and 60 miles later we arrive at the destination for the day: Sleepy Hollow just north of Floral City, Florida. 

 

Set along the banks of the Tsala Apopka Lake, Sleepy Hollow offers good cheap food, music and plenty of picnic tables under age old moss covered trees.  The parking lot was nearly packed upon our arrival and overflowing as we departed a couple hours later. 

 

On our ride home my thoughts drifted back as I tried to recall my firsts.  My first bike (Honda Magna) my first group ride, first long distance/over night ride.  I don't think I was as adventurous as Dale, and most certainly it was not a 120 plus mile ride through curvy narrow country roads.  Dale, my helmet's off to you.  Thanks for the privilege of allowing us to share in your conquest. 

 

Thanks also to Mark and Steve (long ass ride on that chopper) and Amy & Jameson who graced us with two great days of riding.  

 

Till next time, Happy Trails

The Horse and Ranch Country Rides

FUBAR

 
I know many of you may be familiar with the traditional connotation of this frequently seen message on helmet stickers, the occasional vest patch or tattoo.  But FUBAR has an alternate meaning for Thumper and I – Find Unknown Back- roads And Ride…

 
After doing just that across every corner of Florida, there are those days we wake up, ponder the days riding plans over a steaming cup of coffee and think to ourselves “there are no NEW roads to ride”.  Depending on time allowance, we’ll settle for riding the roads familiar to us and hitting the haunts we are happy to hang out at for a while.

 
But then those moments occur, when a little extra time presents itself and settling for the known, been there and done that attitude will just not due.  FUBAR – we must find the roads we haven’t ridden yet.

 
And so it was Christmas weekend.  My hobby of endlessly staring at maps, trying to pick out roads and somehow put together a sensible route culminated into the Horse and Ranch Country Ride.

 
The internet can be a wealth of helpful information when searching for interesting ride destinations, roads and watering holes.  At motorcycleroads.us I discovered a few roads north of Ocala that intrigued me and that I could not recall having ridden, at least in recent years.  After a little bit of finagling between that site and google maps a route had formed. 

 
Just east of Ocala and Silver Springs 326 rises to the north and west. It’s not a jewel, but a fairly nice road. 225A backtracked us  to US27/464 west to pick up 225 north, this is the jewel.  Beautiful horse farms, sweeping curves and huge ranch homes added to the beauty of this ride.  Just outside of Irvine you’ll head west on 318 to Williston and pick up 121 north into Gainesville. There pick up 441 North and head to Alachua. 

 
Alachua is a small Florida town with a few shops and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat, relax, stroll down Main Street, smoke a cigar and ponder how you could move yourself from the big city to this slow-pace country lifestyle. 

 
441 will continue north into Lake City where Thumper and I always find the hot tub at the Hampton ready and waiting to sooth the road wear from your body.  Meeting people on the road is always a great part of traveling by motorcycle and out front sat a Hyabusa.  It was great meeting Chase and Choice and sharing road tales.  Hope to meet ya’ll again real soon.

 
I have no idea how to explain the route home.  We just started meandering down any old road – south, east, south, west, south, east, south, west…eventually dumping ourselves on 301 for the ride back into Dade City and home, 500 miles later and well satisfied that I had indeed found a few roads we had not ridden and further feeding the fires to find more.

 

New Years Eve would be spent at our usual Punta Gorda destination – The Best Western Waterfront. Nice clean place right on the waters of Charlotte Harbor. After a welcome beverage at The Celtic Rey, soon to be known as O’Connell’s, we checked in and headed next door to the on-site restaurant for a bite. The Fisherman’s Village held midnight fireworks over the water and 2008 was on the books, 2009 – here we come.

 
After the big party and little sleep we managed to crawl down to the bikes and climb aboard for a leisurely ride down 41 to Marco Island.  The Boathouse Inn is an off the beaten path old Florida style inn, clean and quiet.  I highly recommend anyone who wishes for a day ride in Florida to check this place out for an overnighter.  Microwaves in the room, tables on the dock overlooking the channel that dumps into the Gulf of Mexico – you can eat while watching the evening’s entertainment: huge yachts, the rumble of speedboats and the occasional dolphin roll through the clear blue-green waters. I’ll post a link in my Biker Friendly tab. 

 
From Marco Island we headed north on 951 into the little town of Immokalee.   Between Immokalee and La Belle we started out on 29 but in Keri turn on Keri Road towards the Okaloacoochee Slough State Forest and then we pretty much just got lost.  We meandered around trying to find our way towards Clewiston.  I couldn’t tell you how we found it, but we did.  That’s half the fun in a journey like this, getting lost, trying to stay on blacktop as much as possible, trying to stay out of the bad parts of town you see every Saturday night on the latest episode of Cops.

 
Clewiston has the Roland Martin Marina and Resort at the south end of Lake Okeechobee where the Tiki Bar is the place to be. Met Tony and Susan and spent some time talking about Sturgis, Deadwood and the how wonderful it is to ride out west.   The Tiki Bar is right at the locks that open up into the big lake and you can actually ride up an onto the levee.  This offered me my first ever view of Lake Okeechobee.  After 23 years and three trips towards this huge lake, I finally got to see it.  Riding up 441 along the east side of the lake also provides for several places to ride out and up onto the levee for a glimpse of this massive body of water. I was impressed. 

 
Hwy 70 took us further east into Ft. Pierce where we would put the kickstands down for the night.  The following day we rode down US1 to Ft. Lauderdale to have a rickshaw ride along the famous River Walk.  Stopping for a bite to eat we watched as million dollar boats floated by heading out into the Atlantic. 

 
Back in Ft. Pierce it was hard to believe that the next day would be Sunday and we must ride towards home.  We took Orange Avenue which I believe my map referred to at 68 over to 441 south towards Okeechobee again and then 98 north-east.  This part of 98 is a great ride through some very nice Florida countryside and my all time favorite – dairy farms!!

 
27 carried us north into Haines City where we picked up Deen Still Road for the ride back towards Dade City and home.  850 miles and a few chicken wings later we arrived safely into the garage.  Another journey down, tons more memories made and already wondering about that next unknown back road is that’s waiting for our discovery.

 
Happy Trails

Thanksgiving Travels

Thanksgiving – a time for family and friends. A time to reflect on everything you have to be thankful for.  And…a couple days off to hit the road!

 

A leisurely ride down HWY 39 towards Myakka and a stop at Myakka River State Park for a little rest, snap a couple photos and call our kinfolk to wish them a wonderful holiday.

 

Further down the road we head into Punta Gorda and find our favorite Irish Pub, Celtic Rey, which I believe is soon to be renamed.  Still great food, atmosphere and company.

 

Friday finds us heading further south towards Everglades City.  We look the long way down, heading inland before heading south, but the ride is always the purpose anyway.  Once down into the city we found a nice place to have lunch, quench the thirst and then start the trek back towards Punta Gorda.  Of course, couldn’t pass by the Iron Rhino, a local biker hangout, without stopping to…rest a little.

 

The luxury of spending another night on the road mean that Saturday’s wake-up time was early and hitting the road while the cool fog still hung in the air for the blast home to get cleaned up and back to Riverview in time for the Elliott – Wilkins wedding. And we made it, barely, but we made it.

 

Thanks for a great time guys – the wedding was beautiful and the party a ball.

 

Thanks once again to my family and friends for putting up with my nomadic ways and days of non-communication while I feed my need to be in the saddle and riding down some lonesome highway. 

 

Until next time,

Happy Trails, The Magster

Obsession

I am obsessed.

 

Obsession as defined by dictionary.com (hey, we are in the age of technology – who uses a Webster’s anymore!):

 

 Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1) - Cite This Source - Share This

ob·ses·sion  Spelled Pronunciation[uhb-sesh-uhn] Pronunciation Key - noun

1.

the domination of one's thoughts or feelings by a persistent idea, image, desire, etc.

 

2.

the idea, image, desire, feeling, etc., itself.

 

3.

the state of being obsessed.

 

4.

the act of obsessing

 

It’s all there.  The thoughts roll around in my head 24/7 – where I’m gonna ride, the ride I just had, my current odometer reading, when’s the next road trip, how pretty the wild flowers were along that small country road, can the Blast odometer make it to the triple digit number?

 

My family and friends know first hand the true level of this obsession.  I don’t call, don’t write.  Birthday cards are late, the house needs dusting, projects sit in limbo – and where is Maggie Mae?  Yep, out riding. 

 

When I first started this web page the postings were a little more regular and I was a little more dedicated to keeping it updated.  Then it got lost in the midst of my obsession, like everything else in my life, and riding once again took over.  

 

Every weekend you’ll find the two Thumper’s (my husband and my Blast) and I rolling along the beautiful Florida countryside.  We usually take off with no destination at hand and just ride until the pains of hunger strike us to find a tavern or crab shack somewhere.  It’s the best therapy and exercise that money can buy.  Fresh air, sunshine and the focused concentration required to operate a motorcycle. 

 

I don’t know how the obsession to reach 100,000 on this single entered into my consciousness, but once it permeated my brain, it stuck.  There are times I try to see good reason and believe I should get a new bike, especially for the long summer journeys ahead.  But when it comes down to the actual part of doing that – my fixation with the Blast wins out.  Deep down, if I care to admit it, the fascination may not be in trying to reach triple digits on this bike, maybe that is just my excuse for wanting to escape out onto the two lane highways of Florida’s backcountry and avoiding the realities of everyday life.  The miles are my sanctuary.  The Blast is just a tool I use to get there.

 

Thanks to all who have continued to pop in from time to time, even when nothing new appears. 

 

My gratitude to all those who have been integral in helping me feed my obsession and keep the bike running at it’s best:  

 

Thumper – the best material ever for husband, best friend & mechanic a girl could ask for. 

Jameson.  The boys at RTM Motorcycles. 

Cooter & Jim at Tampa HD.  

 

And Erik – for building an awesome machine.

Scattered Sunshine

Any day spent riding with friends is a good day, even when the rain threatens.  

 

And any day that includes a ride over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a good day. 

 

I guess my venison chilli didn’t do too much harm Saturday night as Trent and Marisol were up and ready to roll right on time. 

 

After a quick stop for a photo we meandered over the big bridge, down the coast and had a great lunch at Gator’s on the Pass at Treasure Island. 

 

The scattered sunshine became more scattered but we were able to dodge the rain for a while.  Along with the rain came a little dark cloud over the Blast and we had a bit of a bumpy ride home (damn jets) but all that ends well is well. 

 

Thanks Trent, Marisol, Bobby and Stacy.  We had a great time with ya’ll today.

 

Road trip….

Sanibel

The Long Way???  We may never get to ride from London to New York like Ewan & Charley did in the Long Way Round or ride through two continents as they did in the Long Way Down, but we can find the long way between two cities whenever we get the chance.  And though we may not have to cross any borders, there are African type prairies right here in Florida, all you have to do is look for them.

 

Sanibel Island is one of the best known barrier islands on the west coast of Florida and is known worldwide for its magnificent shelling.  It is connected to Ft. Myers by a three mile long causeway over San Carlos Bay where the Caloosahatchee River empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  

 

The islands (Sanibel and Captiva) were once dedicated to growing grapefruit and coconut and they have resisted much of the growth that has invaded Florida’s coastline. While there are some resort type hotels, it is primarily the single story cottage type of motel that gives Sanibel it’s character.  There are no stoplights on either island and both are covered with jungle like Florida fauna.

 

Our escape for the weekend was The Parrot Nest on the south part of the island known as Old Town Sanibel, by the lighthouse. Nestled among the greenery, it is a hidden and quiet piece of paradise.  Visit the owner and innkeepers, Brenda and Lenny, at www.parrotnest.com

 

Riding over the causeway and through Sanibel to Captiva is a relaxing and beautiful outing.

 

A short ride some 62 miles to the south takes you to Marco Island another barrier island that is relatively free of the hustle and bustle of the big city.  Another 10 miles south is the remote town of Goodland, Florida.  The Mullet Festival is held every year here around Super Bowl time and draws thousands of people to Stan’s Idle Hour. Here the Buzzard Lope Princess and Queen are chosen in a pageant consisting of outrageous costumes and dancing to the Buzzard Lope song.  Visit www.stansidlehour.net for more information and history. 

 

Stan himself wrote the song and owns the restaurant and in the off season (August and September) he closes the place down.  In his absence, we found Marker #8 down around the corner.  A small town, locals mostly tavern/restaurant that sits right where it should, on the dock at marker #8.  Come by boat, bike or car and relax in the screened in porch for some of the best smoked mullet fish spread we’ve ever had. 

 

Heading back is never the best part of the trip, so as usual we took the long way back.  Just east of Ft. Myers off Hwy 80, a left hand turn on 31 will take you north.  Head east into Arcadia and north on 17. 

 

Hwy 17 is the best north-south route alternative to I-75 and is bordered primarily by cattle farms.  This is the section of Florida roads that most resembles the African plains. 

 

At Fort Meade we headed east on 630 to Old Hwy 37 heading north.  Old 37 curves through the high banks of phosphate mines and over several train tracks which run between the mines.  Watch out for buzzards and the occasional suicide song bird.  I heard the thunk as the little bird flew right into Thumper’s windscreen.  He looked down and saw two tiny little claws holding on to their last breath of life.  We stopped to check the bike and allow me to snap a couple of pics. With due respect of the bird and his feathered friends, we did not intentionally photograph him. 

 

At Hwy 640 we headed east to 39 and north again through Keysville, Plant City and eventually back to the Chapel. 

 

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be able to hit the road for 3 months…just like Ewan & Charley…

Aimless Wondering

Florida – the mere mention of the word brings visions of Disney World & sunny beaches.  Stock cars speeding around the race track and motorcycles cruising down Main Street.  But there is so much more to Florida.  There is the Old Florida or what some natives prefer to call The Real Florida. 

 

To experience this side of the Sunshine State you must get off the “big road” and head for more rural routes.  What direction you go really does not matter, for the Florida that once blanketed the peninsula is all around us.

 

There is a quaint beauty and peacefulness that you cannot find in a theme park or even on a beach.  Where the flora and fauna encases you in lush serenity and wildlife enlivens your soul.  This is The  Real Florida. 

 

Weather by car or motorcycle, foot or bicycle – get off that beaten path and wonder wherever the old two lane road takes you.  Get lost.  Doesn’t really matter, after all if you do go astray, eventually you will find the coast. Find the coast and you can find your way home.

 

Explore the same paths that famous novelists and infamous pirates once roamed.  Sit on the porch of a century old farmhouse or hike deep into an ancient sink hole. 

 

We’ve been riding and exploring Florida’s old two lane roads for more than a decade and still we are amazed each time we wonder off and find NEW OLD roads we haven’t yet discovered.  During Memorial Day weekend we look off from Wesley Chapel heading north.  We had no plans, no particular destination in mind, we just wanted to spend the day in the saddle with the warm sun upon our backs.   US 19 north of Crystal River provides a great ride with trees on both sides and fewer cars the farther north you go. 

 

In Chiefland, Florida you will find US 129. A right hand turn will take you on a northerly trek through small towns, where the land is still farmed and the cows and horses have not lost their gazing grasses to matchbox communities.  This is the same US 129 that is legendary in the motorcycle world. Ride it far enough north through Georgia, it eventually crosses into North Carolina to the Tennessee state line, where it is known as “Deal’s Gap” or “The Dragon”.   318 curves in 11 miles.   While the Florida portion may not sport as many curves and is missing the rocky ledges of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it still provides for a great two wheel journey.

 

As rural as 129 may be, there are even more remote county roads to explore as you ride along. Some may prove to be dead ends, making you practice those short, tight little turns.  Some turn into dirt roads, at which time you must ask yourself how much adventure riding you want to do.  Some will turn into curvy little gems you will not want to forget even if you have no idea where it is or how you found it, ala Lowe Lake Road somewhere outside of Lake City.

 

After years of wanting to visit Cross Creek and the childhood home of famed writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, we found it quite by accident and couldn’t pass on the opportunity to snap a couple of photographs. 

 

Just outside of Ocala we also passed by a brightly painted horse, the vision of a four legged American flag.  A prophetic find on Memorial Day.  So, we stopped for a photo-op once again. The painted horse sits at the gates to a horse ranch named Padua Farms. Turns out this is the home of Behindatthebar who is running up against the first Tripple Crown possibility in 30 years.  Behindatthebar will challenge Big Brown on June 7 in the Belmont Stakes. We will be on the road when this third leg of the Tripple Crown takes place so we will have to find a place to saddle up to the bar to see if Behindatthebar will crush Big Browns chances.  

 

This is the kind of aimless wondering Thumper and I enjoy the most.  No destination, no idea where the road is going or where we will end up for the night.  It is energizing yet relaxing.  The hushed serenity of remote country roads with nothing more to look at than fields of grain or grazing cattle is calming and cathartic.  And the miles will add up. Although we technically ventured no more than 150 miles from the house via direct route, we were able to log over 500 miles in two days and find roads we hadn’t yet ridden.  That’s a treasure we will never stop looking for.  Are you hunting for treasure of your own?  Happy Trails….

 

Pics are posted in Photos 2008

Happy Memorial Day

We took off up US 19 to 129 and headed north.

Had we stayed on 129, we would have ended up
at Deal's Gap, The Dragon, but we ventured off
at Lake City and found some very rural back roads
and eventually a hot tub! 

Will write more later if I have time. Trying to get
ready for Texas.  I am sure, Florida being what
it is, the drought will end on Friday. That is when
we are supposed to leave.

Cheers, see you soon...

Group Riding

I am not really into group riding that is nothing new to people who know me.  I stay away from the big parade runs, mostly because I just would rather get out there and ride rather than sit in line inching my way along with some unknown rider behind me doing who knows what.  I am not saying that group rides are bad – they are just not for me.

 

Same goes for even small groups, for selfish reasons, I am first to admit.  It’s just because I am used to doing my own thing with my favorite riding buddy (Thumper) and we know each other as well as we know ourselves.  When the two of us ride, it is as if we are one.  Communication helps.  We have our blue tooth helmet headsets that allow us to constantly speak back and forth and that is definitely a plus when riding together.

 

But, there are those times when you want to share the joy of the journey with someone else. I am definitely not saying I NEVER ride in groups. I have had many memorable trips with friends whose company I truly enjoy: Panhead Phil, Bobby N-The Dale, Trent & Marisol, Whit & Kim to name a few.

 

This day we set off for the beautiful canopy roads of Floral City with Jameson in my rear view mirror.  I was happy to have him along, but it was the first time we had ridden with him and there is always that uncertainty of riding with someone whose skills and riding behavior you are not sure of. 

 

We are heading towards Sleepy Hallow, a cool riverside restaurant/biker bar with live music, the shade of old Florida oak trees and great food. Not to mention some of the areas best curvy roads between here and there. 

 

150 miles later I can say with heartfelt certainty that Jameson can be my wingman any time.  Not once did I look in my rearview mirror and think “what the heck is he doing?”  He rode his own ride, stuck with us and maneuvered those corners like he had ridden them hundreds of times.  It was a great day.  Thanks to Amy, his wife, who was with us in spirit, for letting him come out and play.  And a shout out to Georgia Mom and Dad, Allen & Lynn – we miss you two.

 

Jameson – Florida is not just comprised of flat, straight roads.  There are many yet to be ridden, saddle up.

Still out there...

It has been way too long since I have posted in here, I know.  Way too much going on in my life and I have been very lax about writing.

 

Biketoberfest came and obviously went, without my presence, I am sure they did not miss me!   Clutch long ago fixed and life goes on.   Bike Week in February was perfect for us. We went the first weekend, great weather, light traffic.  Got to meat the Motorcycle Monster finally.

 

Since then I have also had the help of my very dedicated mechanic (also doubles as my best friend and husband, Thumper) and my neighbor, Jameson – they took my motor apart to put a new gasket in (tiny leak) and went ahead and replaced the piston.  I’m not complaining, that motor has 43,000 miles on it and really looked good inside.  As of this writing, I rolled over 45,000 today and keeping my fingers crossed that I can get another 45,000 out of it.  WHY?  Why don’t I just get another bike?  Simple – I just love this bike.  Feel very connected to it.  And I just want to see how far I can push it.

 

This summer we will be heading out to Texas to ride the hill country – so you can be sure to be hearing from me then, if not before.

 

Happy Trails, The Magster

 

Biketoberfest (NOT)

The 400 mile trip to Daytona.  Or the Biketoberfest that didn’t happen.  Or you could say 10 hours on the road to St. Augustine and never making it there.   Murphy’s Law – anything that can happen, will happen. 

 

My luck with Daytona bike events has not been the greatest lately.  In February with Bobby ‘N The Dale and Jeff along for the ride my Blast had a bit of a carb issue.  Thumper quickly figured out the source of the problem and soon we were on our way.  It turned out to be a great weekend. 

 

My luck would not be as good this trip.  All started out well enough.  The rains were holding off up to the north, although getting wet before the day ended was almost a certainty. What’s a Daytona bike event without getting wet?

 

Trent and Marisol were joining us. We planned to hit some of the hot spots in Daytona on our way up to St. Augustine World Golf Resort – our destination hotel. 

 

The ride down Deen Still road in Pasco county is always a pleasure and so much more relaxing than the I-4 demolition derby track.  The 417 North toll road also offers a much gentler ride through Orlando than I-4. With our Sunpass transponders firmly attached to our bikes – we could roll right through the toll booths beating out the traffic at every toll.  So far, so good.

 

Off 417 into Sanford we were one little gas stop away from our first destination of the day.  We like to hit Gators on the River before crossing the big bridge over the St. Johns and cutting through the forest.   Gassed up and ready to roll we pulled out on US17-92 and within a few hundred feet of the gas station -  it happened. 

 

I pulled my clutch in and SNAP – surprise it pulled all the way to handlebar and just stayed there.  My  clutch cable had broke.   I pushed myself into the closest parking lot and the task of trying to resolve the issue began.  We were 110 miles from home.  And although we had tools to assist in a repair job – there was not a clutch cable to be had.  Destination Daytona, much to my dismay, was “too busy to check for a part”. WOW – so much for helping out the stranded biker during a major bike event.  But that’s another rant for another place and time.

 

With no cable and me not wanting to make my first attempt at limping around without a good clutch in Biketoberfest traffic, I locked up the bike in a corner of the Walgreens parking lot, ditched our bags with the manager of the store. Two-up on Thumper’s FJR we started the 110 mile trek back to Wesley Chapel. 

 

A couple hours later, with a quick drink of tea to recharge, ramp and tie-downs loaded we turned the truck in the direction of Sanford and began the 110 mile journey back to the bike.

 

I called my parts guy Eric at RTM to order a new Barnett clutch cable for me.  It would be a couple weeks before I would see it.   Passing by Lakeland HD I called to see if I could get a stock replacement to hold me over until the Barnett arrived.  They had it and would hold it for me.  I had until 6 PM.

 

Eventually we made it back to bike, loaded into the truck and strapped her down, then began our 4th 110 mile trek. 

 

Andy at Lakeland HD was nice enough to stay a little late to get me the needed replacement cable and 10 hours later we home, exhausted and ready to just relax.

 

Surprisingly, I was not as ticked off as I thought I would be – Thumper assured me I would be on the road again tomorrow.  And how can you not smile when you push the bike into the garage, turn around and there stands your smiling neighbor Amy with two beers and hot wings in hand!

 

Yes – alls well that ends well.  

 

Thanks to all those who came to my rescue – Thumper, Trent & Marisol, Andy @ Lakeland HD, Eric @ RTN and Amy – for always being there for me.

 

Happy Trails

7 Bridges Road

 
 
There are stars in the southern sky
Southward as you go
There is moonlight and moss in the trees
Down the seven bridges road
 
Now I have loved you like a baby
Like some lonesome child
And I have loved you in a tame way
And I have loved you wild
 
Sometimes there's a part of me
Has to turn from here and go
Running like a child from these warm stars
Down the seven bridges road
 
There are stars in the southern sky
And if ever you decide you should go
There is a taste of time sweetened honey
Down the seven bridges road
 
(The Eagles - Seven Bridges Road)
 
 
 
Destination: Unknown
 
We took off in the morning with(nearly)cool temps knowing 
it would not last.  Somewhere along SR 54 I thought to
myself that the bridges across the bay would offer the
coolest temps.  So a plan had formed.  We were just going
to keep going back and forth across the bay area waterways
until we ran out of places to go.  As the Eagles said
“There is a taste of time sweetened honey, down the
seven bridges road...”
 
        580 over Old Tampa Bay
 
Bayshore Boulevard over Alligator Lake, 
Safety
Harbor
 

60 East - Courtney Campbell Causeway

 

275 West - Howard Franklin Bridge

 

4th Street Bridge Old Tampa Bay

 

Gandy Bridge East

 

Davis Islands Bridge

 

Platt Street BridgeChannelside Drive

 

Technically it was eight, but are we really counting?  The Eagles song just appeared in my head as we were riding along and I love giving names to our travels, even the short trips, hence the 7 Bridges Road Trip. 

 

Eventually we ran out of bridges, time and fair skies and headed home.  Life is a journey – enjoy the ride.

 

Until next time, Happy Trails!

 

Motorcycles & Boats

I know I have said this before, everybody has a passion.  For some people it’s sports, other enjoy hours toiling away in the garden.  Some people pursue art as energetically as others pursue “The Big One” fishing for sport or trophy.   For me it would primarily be motorcycles. 

 

Motorcycles – what is it about all that plastic and metal that causes some to squirm with the thought of dangerous crashes or Hells Angels on wheels and others to close their eyes and smile at the thought of leaning into the perfect curve.   Old and new, motorcycles always draw attention.   An nowhere more so than recently up in St. Augustine at the Concours d’Elegance – Riding Into History.  With over 300 antique, vintage, race and custom motorcycles beautifully situated around the World Golf Resort lagoon, it was motorcycle heaven.   Making this event even more enjoyable was the fact that the owners of these amazing machines were there to talk about the bikes, tell stories and answer questions.  It was like a living motorcycle museum.   Now if I could only afford to get Thumper that Bimota with the telever suspension, anyone have a spare $59,000.00 lying around?   

Amy, Jameson, Laurie & Pedro – had a great time – thanks for joining us on this one.  Best four wheel motorcycle buddies one could ask for.  

I also love the water and being out on boats, small or big.  I find the feeling of floating free upon the water as relaxing as riding along those back country roads I love so much.  

So what do you do when you have two things you love but you can only be in one place at a time??  In Florida we wait for love bug season!   As much as I love riding, and anyone who knows me knows how difficult it is to drag me away from my bike, I can’t stand those two times a year when the pesky love bugs come swarming in.   

For the most part we grin (albeit not with our mouths open) and bear it.   But it also gives us the chance to climb aboard our kayaks to see another side of Florida.  Rivers, canals, mangroves, springs, lakes. 

Saturday we headed for the Davis Island Yacht Club.  We paddled towards Bayshore Boulevard in Old Tampa Bay and the west side of Davis Island. As we traversed the first canal we found the site of Thumper’s childhood home. Although the house he lived in has long been torn down and replaced, the canal remains much as it did when he floated around in his little wooden double-oar boat. This canal leads back out into Old Tampa Bay.

The next canal was longer and turned into a dead-end, resulting in the need to turn around and paddle right back.  For nearly 4 ½ hours we paddled until we had gone completely around Davis Island, under the Bayshore Bridge, past Tampa General Hospital and eventually down the channel and back to the Yacht Club.  Tampa looks very different from down here! 

We were also lucky enough to be invited aboard the GIGI II a 34 foot sailboat captained by Furman “Whit” Whitaker and his wife Kim.   

Sailing out of Apollo Beach, Florida we headed towards Tampa Bay, passing by MacDill Air Force Base on the way towards the Davis Island Yacht Club.  On the way back we anchored off an island for lunch and swimming. The island is covered with BBQ grills and tents, with many boaters spending the entire three day weekend in one long continuous party. Even a gigantic cruise ship floated by to check out the action (proof is in the picture). Whit and Kim, thanks for a great day on the water! 

Next up – getting closer to our summer journey.  Where will Maggie be?  Even I don’t know the answer to that one.

 

Happy Trails

 

Around Town

Summer is fast approaching with plenty of days filled with sunshine and warm temps. Currently the humidity is fairly low but that will be changing soon.  

 

Went to see our buddy Ralph at the Bloated Bull yesterday – had to get our fix of his great wings – we are addicted to them for sure.  Thanks Ralph – and to Kamieo – for taking such great care of us.

 

Headed over to Ybor City for the Bike Fest. Plenty of bikes lined the city streets and vendors to pick through.  The best part was being able to hang out in the courtyard behind some bar – don’t know the name if it as we found our little “Garden of Eden” quite by mistake just wondering around. It had a Jimmy Buffett feel with a Tiki Hut covered bar and plants all around, flowering vines from the top of the old building and lazy Adirondack chairs. We sat with the music in the background listening to motorcycles running the strip and chatted while the cool breeze blowed around us.

 

Later we also ran into some old friends – which is always nice.  A little shout out to Ray, Deb & the Crew.  

 

The Blast has just over 31,200 miles and running very well.  Next up will be a poker run next weekend and maybe an appearance at Leesburg – the fastest growing Florida Bike Fest around. 

 

See you out there,

Happy Trails – The Magster             

 

 

A Look at Old Florida

Spring Break is here and the last place we want to be is sitting in coastal traffic, hunting for the evasive parking spot so we can sit on a crowded beach and bake.   Yet here we were, headed to the beach.   Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach to be exact, and a place in northeast Florida we had never been to before.  

 

History – that was the bait the lured us to this quaint Victorian fishing village.  The downtown area is alive with picturesque buildings that date back to the 1800’s.  Some have been updated a bit, but most still bear the markings of days gone by; old bricks, creaky wood floors and that telltale architecture from the early days when explorers landed on our shores.  

 

The Palace Saloon has the notoriety of being "Florida's Oldest continuously operated drinking establishment” a title that did not come easy given Prohibition.  The Palace remained open for business instead selling near-beer, special wines, cigars and Texaco gas.  It is also the first liquor establishment to begin selling Coca-Cola in 1905.   The building was built in 1878 selling shoes, purchased in 1903, and renamed The Palace Saloon. It was known locally as the “Ship Captains Bar” also serving such notables as the Rockefellers and Carnegies.  Although small, it is a charming place where out of town visitors can mingle with the locals and maybe the Captain of a nearby ship.

 

We found Amelia Island to be amazingly free of the usual spring break activity, no traffic jams or wet t-shirt contests (sorry Thumper).  The ride up US 301 was lazy and relaxing.  

 

Departing Fernandina Beach we headed west, north, south again in and out of Georgia so many times I lost count.  We ended up in Thomasvlle, Georgia for a night.  This town also boasts many buildings from a by-gone era and has that gentle southern hospitality that Georgia is know for.  

 

Next destination – Old Florida – Tallahassee Style

 

Tallahassee – this conjures up visions of a Capital City, alive with activity, bustling with harried politicians rushing around with modern day political agendas.   But Tallahassee also has a softer, more peaceful side.   Branching out from the city like spokes on a wagon wheel are The Canopy Roads of Leon County. 

 

These roads were formed centuries ago when Native Americans traveled the hills of Leon County and created a network of trails which were later followed by Spanish explorers and American settlers. Today you can travel these same historic routes; roads lined with majestic live oak trees covered in Spanish moss creating a canopy of green over your head.   Most are paved but we did traverse down one that was cut deep into the clay forming almost a “red canal” – hard packed, it was not too bad a ride on the motorcycles and well worth the adventure.

 

We traveled down 4 of the 7 or 8 famed roads stopping by the Bradley General Store along our way.  As we entered the historic mercantile the scent of BBQ tempted us and soon we were sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch enjoying lunch and taking in the quiet peaceful countryside.  Water bags hung above our heads to “keep away the flies”, although nobody could explain how this concept worked.  “Don’t see no flies, so I guess it works” was the best answer we could get.  The gentleman working the register had been doing just that for nearly 80 years as he was the son of the original owner. 

 

Hard as it was to leave these “tunnels of trees” behind – we did and headed south towards Wakulla Springs.   Arriving early it was our intention to ride around the Wakulla State Forest before heading into the springs.  Little did we know that a leisurely drive around this massive forest would take us on a journey of more than 60 miles – but we do like the riding more than the sightseeing – so once again it was worth the detour.

 

Getting out and riding on lonely off the beaten path roads is not without trial and tribulations.  Several times we would ride for great distances through forested areas only to come to complete dead ends. But that’s part of what makes a journey an adventure – and always worth our time!

 

The Blast now has 30,500+ miles and Thumper works hard to keep me running in top condition.  He is my hero!

 

Enjoy the photographs, they start on page 6, Photos 2007

Till next time, Happy Trails

 

 

 

 

 

Bike Week '07

Another Daytona Bike Week bites the dust and so did the Blast (almost!).  

 

This year we were lucky enough to be joined by our “friends in high places” pals Dale & Bobby Hanson and friend Jeff.   Amy & Jameson also ventured over for an evening of camaraderie at the Edgewater Inn in St. Augustine where we were staying. 

 

Thumper as usual does an amazing job of finding his way around Daytona without hitting much traffic – darn near impossible during Bike Week but he manages to pull it off.  

 

Biting the dust?? Yep the Blast finally gave me my first real scare as we made our way out of Zephyrhills.  At Hwy 54 and US 98 he decided to stall out and would not restart.  I cannot explain the disappointment I felt as I heard Thumper saying “shut it down, there is gas pouring out of the carb”.   My heart was nearly broken. Thumper grabbed the tool kit and fiddled with the carb main needle, and the bike started.  Gas had quit leaking out but we deemed it too risky for the long ride to St. Augustine.   I turned the bike around the started to limp for home.  Bobby, Dale and Jeff – being the great friends they are decided to limp back along with me – all for one, one for all. 

 

Now just what happened next could be divine intervention, a miracle perhaps. The most likely scenario though was the gunk that fouled the carb dislodged, and a couple miles up the road the Blast was once again running like a champ.  A command decision was made, and we turned around one more time, and headed back towards the beach.

 

There is never a bike event in Daytona that doesn’t include a stop at Gators on the River off SR 415 outside Sanford, Florida.  It was time for refreshments.  After quenching our parched souls, we continued our journey towards St. Augustine. 

 

In New Smyrna Beach, if you go east on SR 44, over the big bridge & continue on as the road curves towards the right – it becomes A1A. Down at the end of the island you will find JB’s Fish Camp.   The parking lot was overflowing with bikes of every make.  They have a huge dock and plenty of places to relax and enjoy everything that is Bike Week – Babes, Bikes and…t-shirts!

 

With the sun setting behind the clouds, it was probably the most beautiful ride through “The Loop” I can ever remember.  That is the only part of riding my own bike that is hard – no way to take pictures!

 

Saturday found us wading through the various Bike Week must do list…Iron Horse, Boot Hill and checking out the latest rides in the dealer tents at the speedway. 

 

The numbers were definitely down from previous years, something that totally surprised us with the great weather we were having.  We were a little miffed that some of the vendors were packing up early and some of the watering holes appeared a little less than prepared with adequate staff – but all in all – Daytona Bike Week is always a fun place if you have a passion for motorcycles.

 

Thanks Bobby, Dale, Jeff, Amy & Jameson for a great weekend. 

 

Mystery Place

Where was Maggie Mae?  You tell me.

 

The forecast called for lots of sun, small chance of rain and great temps.  So out we went.  Our thought was to head to Dania Beach (down by Hollywood, Florida) to Jaxson’s Ice Cream. But the body of Anna Nicole Smith was still there and it had yet to be determined who would get guardianship of her. The paparazzi would still be too numerous to make it enjoyable.  So we headed elsewhere. 

 

Where?  You tell me. I have posted a picture in the 2007 Photo Link – Desert Inn – you tell me where it was taken.    I can tell you that we left Saturday morning and returned Sunday afternoon. We rode about 550 miles total and the location is rather historic.  I will write a little more once the correct guess has been posted.

 

Sending a shout out to our new friend from Iowa. Great looking chopper!

 

Until then, Happy Trails…see you in Daytona for Bike Week.

The Secret Place

Sunday January 14, 2007

 

The Secret Place

 

Where Was Maggie Mae Today?  Well, I can’t exactly tell you.  It’s a pact Thumper and I made to each other years ago; we would never reveal the location of the “Secret Place”.   But I can show you the pictures.   If you think you know where it is, post your guess. We may or may not confirm if you are correct. After all, it is our secret place. Keep in mind, it is not as obvious as it may first appear. Thumper grew up here in Florida; he knows hidden places that are off the beaten path.

 

Happy Trails

 

The Need For Speed

Saturday January 13, 2007

 

For as long as man has roamed the earth, males have always had the need to try and “out-do” the other. It’s that whole Alpha Male thing.  Put a guy on a motorcycle at a traffic light, another rolls up and you can pretty much count on the fact that when the light turns green – power will be put to the test.

 

But Saturday I saw a whole different side to the arena of men, motors and The Need For Speed.

 

We headed the bikes toward Winter Haven hoping to find an out of the way restaurant we had been to before that sits on the banks of a lake and canal. The canal leads to the lake where Cypress Gardens holds their shows.  

 

Progress has made the area look a bit different and there are new roads in place that were not there the last time we visited, but eventually we did find Harbor Side Steakhouse and Oyster Bar (2435 7th St SW, Winter Haven, FL 33880)  You will find them just off the beaten path of Hwy 17. 

 

The food is excellent.  We had some of the biggest oysters I have ever seen.  My pick: The grouper sandwich  and Thump had a huge burger. 

 

But the real entertainment was the constant flow of boats along the channel.  Including boats with some of the biggest, loudest motors I have ever seen. Think back now to the two bikes sitting at the light and imagine two boats powering along in a no-wake zone, the engine with that classic sound of a short block V-8, just waiting to get to the end of the channel…and then, vroom! I posted a picture of what one looks like but in now way could reproduce the heart thumping sound as they make their way through the channel.

 

We met some new friends, Dewayne & Tina we would like to send a shout out to – Thanks for a great night!

 

Until next time, Happy Trails

Happy New Year!

The Saturday the 30th found us heading south on HWY 17 in central Florida.  As is the usual for us, there were no real plans, just wanted to get some ride time in and the day a Florida Sunshine State Chamber of Commerce perfect day.   A couple hours later we pulled into the Celtic Ray – a cool little Irish Pub in the heart of Punta Gorda.   Then we found the true hidden gem; The Best Western Punta Gorda.  After last year’s horrible hurricane season, many places were left having to rebuild and repair.  So the accommodations were nearly new and the pool heated to a glorious 90 degrees.  Just like a huge hot tub and you know, if you have read my posts, how much we love sitting in a hot tub after a day of riding.

 

Right down the road is the Fisherman’s Village and Harpoon Harry’s (a Restaurant/Bar and Bikers delight) is right on the water overlooking Charlotte Harbor. 

 

New Years Eve day we hit the road and headed down to Pine Island and The Ragged Ass Saloon. Another biker hangout that serves up great food, cold brew in a relaxed setting. Seems like all the hangouts down here have outside decks on the water.

 

That evening while floating around in the bigger than life hot tub pool, the band played on the patio next door and we danced around in the hot water.  Later, we sat alone on a secluded beach overlooking the water and waited for the stroke of midnight signaling a New Year – the fireworks were a bit delayed but well worth it. 

 

Boy, where does time go?  2007.  Everybody tends to reflect back when the New Year comes along. 2006 was a great year for Thumper and me.  My life long dream of riding a motorcycle from Florida to Michigan was realized and along the way we made many new friends.  That dream also gave rise to this web page, created to allow people to watch my progress. 

 

The web also allowed us a way to keep in touch with family and friends and so a new little hobby was born.  The site is just under a year old and had over 6,000 hits – so I guess I will try another year. Thanks to you all for your support and friendships.

 

Here is a little shout out to Scott, Kristen, Kenny & Jason at Harpoon Harry’s – it was great meeting you – hope to see you again soon.  And Jason, to answer that age old question – What Would Buddha Ride?  Well, a Yamaha of course! See you in Charlottesville, Virginia some time.  Also – next time you are in Punta Gorda stop into the Celtic Ray and tell Ashling (our wonderful Bartender) that Thumper and Maggie say hello.

 

The holiday was capped off by putting my Mom on the back of Thumper’s bike and heading to Plant City for Bike Night.  The weather was unseasonably warm so the turn out was great.  Mom appeared to have a great time and enjoy the ride.

 

Photos in the Photos 2007 link.

 

Until next time, Happy Trails

 

The Bloated Bull

Hello Ya’ll

 

Hope everyone has had a great holiday season so far.  We truly are blessed. Great fun, lots of family and hours on the road.

 

You remember Ralph from Fat Heads and then The Bloated Goat?  Well he has opened The Bloated Bull on the corner of 301 and Fowler Avenue in Tampa. Still the best wings in town, lots of pool tables and he has a shuffleboard game.  Stop by, tell him Maggie & Thumper sent ya.

 

Sending a big hello out to David, whom we met this past Sunday. He was there on his HD Fatboy, nice bike. He will be making a trip to see Tom, Brian and Eric at RTM for some new rubber real soon.

 

Thanks to all who have signed my guestbook recently.   Hope to see you on the road sometime.

 

Till next time, Happy Trails, Maggie Mae

 

 

Bubba, Bikes & Ozella

All I can say is Bubba knows how to put a Blast through it’s paces.   Bubba Blackwell is a stunt rider I was lucky enough to meet recently.  In addition to being a very nice guy to chat with he does some amazing things on Buell Motorcyclcles, including a Blast. 

 

Bubba – thanks for taking a few minutes out of your busy day to say Hi and allow me to take pictures.

 

We had a great day riding the curves in Ozella – Trent, Marisol, Casey, Bob & Stacey – we had a great day.  Can’t wait ‘till next time!

 

Until Then, Happy Trails

 

New pictures start on page 15

Biketoberfest 2006

When does a 300 mile round trip journey turn into a 625 mile adventure?  When it is

Daytona Biketoberfest.  

 

After years of seeking out alternate routes from Wesley Chapel to Daytona, the toll

road route has become our favorite.  Departing Wesley Chapel on Hwy 54 East

towards Zephyrhills we turn left on Eland Blvd which becomes CR 54.  This takes us

all the way to Hwy 98. 

 

 

At Hwy 98 we turn right (SE) until we get to Rock Ridge Road.  Turn left onto

Rock Ridge.  Rock Ridge will eventually become Deen Still Road.  This will take

you all the way to Hwy 27.

At Hwy 27 turn right and not far up the road is the entrance ramp to I-4. 

Now I do not like I-4, but we are only on it for about 3 miles, 2 Exits –

so I tolerate this part of the trip.  It goes fast.  You will take the 2nd Exit

417 Toll towards Sanford.

I would recommend investing in a Sunpass.  We have one for each bike

and trust me when I say it will be worth every penny you spend. It is just

$25 to purchase, another $25 to fund it and you will love it.  Once on 417

you will not have to stop at all – you will breeze through all the toll booths

with no waiting in line.  However, the traffic on 417 is light and we have

never encountered a backup of any sort. It bypasses all the I-4 Orlando

traffic hell.  It is approximately 50 miles from I-4 to Sanford.  You exit

at Sanford 17/92. Word of caution – there is a 17/92 before you get to

Sanford – ignore it. Just remember you  are going all the way to Sanford,

so look for the 17/92 SANFORD exit.

 

Turn right on 17/92.  At 46/46A turn right again. Take this to 415 and turn left. 

Just before you cross the big bridge on 415 you can turn left on Celery Ave.

This is Indian Mound Village.  The first right will take you into a Marina on the

St. Johns River and a cool joint called Gators on the River.  Great place for lunch

and a cold one either on the way there or on your way home (our tradition). 

Back on 415, this road will take you all the way past the World Famous Cabbage

Patch Bar and to International Speedway Drive just west of the speedway, if you

want.  But we prefer the road less traveled.   So - just past that big bridge we take

a right turn on Railroad Ave.  Don’t worry if you miss it. The next road is New

Smyrna Blvd/Florida Ave. Both will curve around. From Railroad turn left where

it dead-ends and then right or east on Maytown Road. From New Smyrna Blvd

it will be a left turn onto Florida/Maytown Road.

Osteen Maytown road is a 22 mile jaunt through forest with little traffic,

even during a bike event. You will come across an occasional car and

some bikes but it is definitely the road less traveled and it is a great ride.

A few curves, lots of trees and Florida fauna. It takes you all the way to

US 1 in Oak Hill.   A left turn on US 1 and you are heading north towards

all the fun.

Grant it, this route takes a little longer to get to Daytona, but you will encounter

less traffic, you will not be sitting in the heat inching your way along and once you

get into the New Smyrna area on US 1 there are lots of places to stop.  Venders,

pubs, bike shows….it all happens along US 1 from Edgewater all the way North

to Destination Daytona in Ormond Beach.

 

We did a lot more riding this year than hanging out. I guess that is why a 300 mile

trip turned into a 625 mile adventure.  After all riding is what it’s all about anyway,

isn’t it?  

 

More riding also meant less picture taking.  So I apologize I don’t have a plethora

of bike event photos.  There’s always Bikeweek…

 

Thanks to those we chatted with, you are what make our bike events truly memorable.

 

Photos are in the top photo album starting on page 13.  Map photos are there also.

 

Happy Trails,

Maggie Mae

Daytona Bike Events

Biketoberfest is coming – I can’t wait!!  How can I sound so exuberant and enthusiastic about an event that I have gone to every year for the past 8+ years?  Well, I just love bike rallies.  Period. 

 

I know some of you will think to yourselves that there is too much traffic, too many people & prices too high for the same old thing.  I hope to give you a fresh way of looking at it.

 

First we don’t just head out on the highway towards Daytona and end up sitting in traffic.   We find the back roads which tend to have less traffic, prettier views and offer a more enjoyable trip. After all motorcycling is about the journey, not the destination, even if that destination is Bike Week or Biketoberfest.

 

Once in the Daytona vicinity, we seek out alternate routes. The most common roads will lock up with traffic, which will also include a ton of cars/trucks/trailers.  Don’t be afraid to meander off the main roads and find a new way around. But, be mindful of the signs that indicate a particular area is closed to local traffic only.  By getting off the beaten path you will save lots of time and enjoy yourself more.

 

As for doing the Main Street Shuffle – all I can say is pick your time wisely.  If you head out there in the middle of the day it will be hot & crowded.  On the other hand if you head out there very early in the day you will get better parking. You will be able to walk and shop without another biker growing out of your side and you will have more fun.  That goes for all the most popular Daytona destinations.  The earlier you get there in the day, the less of a headache it will be.  

 

The events in Daytona continue to grow and you don’t have to go to all the right places to have fun. Get out there and explore, you will be amazed at what you find.  Points North, South and West of Daytona are brimming with events and bikers. To the West is Sanford, Deltona & Debary. New Smyrna and Port Orange to the south along US 1 both have a ton of biker bars and bike events with music, venders and lots of bikes.  Flagler Beach and St. Augustine to the north also has its share of bike related events, plenty of bikes & bikers. As well as all points in between.

 

Each year there are new places and new vender areas popping up.  Getting out and exploring some of the outskirts not only gives you a break from the main street shuffle, but allows for more ride time and that’s what it’s all about anyway -  isn’t it?

 

So even though this will be my 6th Biketoberfest with Thumper, I am giddy with excitement and just can’t wait to saddle up and head out.  We love seeing all the bikes, chatting with other bikers and just being in the milieu of a Daytona bike event. Every year is a new adventure.  I’ll be writing about mine soon.

 

Happy Trails,

Maggie Mae

Where Have I Been???

I know it has been a long time since I have posted.  Too much riding?  There can never be too much riding, but it does tend to get in the way of managing a web page.

 

Anyway – we have been enjoying our greatest riding time of year down here in the South.  Temps get cooler (a little), humidity drops and the bikes come out in force. Watch for those lovebugs….

 

As always, The Hog Pen offers great music and biker camaraderie – Thanks Glenn for keeping it real.

 

We had an End Of Summer, Jimmy Buffett Live, but not in person, grass skirt and Hawaiian shirt party.  The turn out was good and we enjoyed burgers (Thanks Trent for helping out) Corona and margaritas.

 

The bike rally season is upon us.  West Coast Bike Rally, the First one, was held in Palmetto.

 

Quaker Steak & Lube was the location for Buell Days with demo rides and stunt riders.

 

Next, we are off to Spooks & Scoots and then Biketoberfest.

 

New pictures start in the Photo album page 11

 

Happy Trails, see you out there….

 

The Venture Dragon Ride

VentureRider.org  

 

The VentureRider 2nd Annual “Tail of the Dragon” gathering at Vogel State Park in the beautiful north Georgia mountains.

 

We left Wesley Chapel at 4 PM bound for the north part of Florida or South Georgia – however far we could make it before rain or fatigue wore us out.  Well, neither did.  We ended up high tailin’ it right through Atlanta in the 11 o’clock hour and made it to Alpharetta, Georgia by midnight – about 461 miles. 

 

Friday morning was cool and rain poked and prodded us as we meandered towards Blairsville.  Just outside of Blairsville on US 19/129 is Vogel State Park.  An old log cabin awaited our arrival. 

 

But first – we wanted to head into the alpine village of Helen, Georgia.  And only one thing stood in our way – HWY 348 Richard Russell scenic highway).  This is the Deals Gap of Georgia and it is a motorcyclist’s dream road.  Hell – it is one of many Dragon type roads and I am sure every rider has his favorite.  This just happens to be one of ours.

 

The rain never did let up.  For those who do not like to ride in the rain, Saturday was a total wash out.  The rest of us rode into Blairsville for breakfast.   The toughest of the tough then continued on to Deals Gap, The Dragon run was on! 

 

Thumper and I had some chores to attend to and since we had already slain the dragon we watched as the others pulled out in a still steady rain.  

 

Later that day, rain still sprinkling down upon us, we gathered for dinner, drinks and story hour.  Door prizes were handed out and the 50/50 ticket drawn. 

 

Back at the cabin, with the cool north Georgia damp evening chill in the air, we sat in the screened in porch and watched the mist rise above the lake.  A warm fire cracked in the fireplace and laughter could still be heard coming from the darkness.  Life is good.

 

Sunday morning dawned and a long ride ahead.  Nearly 600 miles needed to be covered. Hopefully before the rain once again set upon us. 

 

8 hours later, 100 miles from the finish line our luck ran out. We ran into a wall of rain so hard we were blinded – it was all we could do to get off the highway to catch a meal and let the hard stuff pass over. 

 

Back home, 1,200 miles behind us – we miss our old Venture friends and the new ones we just made.  Till next year  ya’ll –  when we’ll be up to Slay the Dragon once again.  Pictures start on page 9 in the top photo album.

 

Poker Run For the Kids

It’s school time and there are kids out there that need school supplies, but can’t afford them.  Being a teacher, Thumper has a true understanding of this situation.  Kids can be cruel.  When one shows up without the proper materials for class the other children can be unkind. 

 

The New Tampa Kiwanis Club was holding a poker run to benefit local school kids. Bringing money and backpacks filled with supplies the bikers arrived for a day of riding and camaraderie.

 

The ride began at the Beef’s on Cross Creek in New Tampa, continued on into Pasco county with stops at a weight loss clinic, The Bloated Goat, San Antonio Lounge, Osceola Tavern, Sky Dive City and ending back at Beef’s.

 

Mags thought she had the winning hand…a full house with 8’s and Jacks. 

 

However, it was Beth who nabbed the coveted prize.   With 4 9’s she won a Sky Dive package!  This is where the real fun began.  See Beth really did not want to jump out of an airplane.  Don’t blame her. She is about 90 pounds and the wind would most likely just carry her away.  It wasn’t long before the event planners were at our tableside. The winner of some Beef’s gift certificates were willing to trade off.  Now she was ready to take advantage of this turn of events.  However Rick, her husband was not quite so eager.  See, it did appear as though he did want to jump out of that airplane.   After discussion and debate, Beth decided to keep the Sky Dive City winnings. 

 

Then it got even better.  The event planner returned to the table yet again.  This time the offer had gone up.  Now someone was willing to pay $100 for that envelope.  Kind of like “Deal – No Deal”.   Rick was a little more open to the $100 and a deal was struck. 

 

Rick and Beth – it was great to ride with you. Hope you enjoy many more miles in the saddle.   See you in the wind…

 

Pictures are in the photo album.

 

Happy Trails

Killer Turtles

We survived the “Revenge of the Killer Turtles”.

 

This is Old Florida as it should be.   Lush green tropical flora & fauna flourish along the banks of the Myakka River.  Peaceful, quaint and rustic.  

 

The outdoor stage still plays host to musicians while patrons dance under the canopy of 300 year old oaks.

 

The killer turtles?  Oh yeah, they were here once.  Back in the 1940’s  Tarzan (Johnny Weismuller) filmed “Revenge of the Killer Turtles” at this very spot. Locals will try to convince you they are still out there. Huge turtles, killer turtles. Tourists still come to look for them.

 

Snook Haven, Venice, 941-485-7221
5000 E. Venice Avenue
Venice, FL 34292


Aside from the threat of "killer turtles," this is the most relaxing, back country place you can find to guzzle good ole’ southern sweet tea or down a cold beer and dine on inexpensive, down-home Florida favorites and fish as fresh as the Myakka River out back. Work off lunch with a canoe paddle upriver. Come Sunday, live country music, barbecue & bikers shatters the peace, filling the picnic tables inside and out with locals. Pretty soon they’ll start telling you about those dangerous shelled reptiles…

 

Back at the Hog Pen we reunited with Glenn & Kelly and a few locals we hadn’t seen since setting out for Michigan.  Hi ya’ll J  As usual, I had my camera out snapping photos to post.

 

Saturday night found us checking out the Plant City Bike Fest.  After a 200 mile ride and sweltering heat – I was zapped.  I snapped a photo of my Dad’s next toy (Suntrike) and headed home to recharge for my next day of riding…

 

Photos loaded to photo album...

Thumper's Birthday Gift

 

 

It was Easter weekend and the weather in Florida is, IMHO absolutely glorious.   I love the warm sun, the smell of orange blossoms and spring flowers.  Even by Florida standards, the temperatures are a bit high for this time of year and I suspect we are in for a very hot summer. 

 

Friday found us stopping into The Hog Pen to say hello to Glenn, Kelly and Tammy.  Glenn was nice enough to buy Thumper a Birthday Cuban sandwich.  Thanks Glenn! It was then off to the Yamaha dealership to, as Thumper put it “just have a look”.  He had been waiting for them to take delivery on a 2006 FJR 1300 and it was finally here. 

 

It is an incredible sight to see a new bike for the first time, even more so when your first glimpse is while it is being carefully lifted fresh from the crate.  For a motorcyclist, it is like watching the birth of a child.  And Thumper just witnessed his FJR being born. 

 

Needless to say the wonderful sales and management crew at Barney’s Yamaha in Brandon, Florida made Thumper an offer he couldn’t refuse.  He arrived on a 2005 Yamaha Royal Star Venture with 27,000 miles on it.  He left on a fresh from the crate 2006 Yamaha FJR 1300 with ZERO miles on it.  By time the weekend was over, he would be nearly ready for the first 600 mile service.

 

Our maiden voyage took us through Lithia, Florida – and down Jamerson Road, a gem we often look for, but seem to have trouble finding.  Maybe that is why down this stretch of road you can actually find a bit of Florida paradise that has somehow managed to avoid the contractor’s backhoe. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Animals & Dirt Roads

I have a problem with animals.  OK OK just a minute. Before I get any animal activist out there all up in a tizzy – I want to make it perfectly clear – I love animals.  All animals.   But my bike is anther story.  My Buell Blast “Sundown” has this knack for finding roaming four legged friends while I am at the controls.  

 

There was this poor unfortunate dog in Brooksville back last October.  It was the weekend before Biketoberfest in Daytona and I was looking forward to the long ride over. Out for a little pre-bike-week fun, we were riding down those curvy Pasco County country roads and all of a sudden this dog comes from out of nowhere and it’s going after Thumper like he is the devil himself.  Well I was right behind Thumper and I knew in a very quick instant that he was going to miss the dog, which meant I was probably not going to miss him. 

 

I was correct.  Not only did I hit him, but I somehow managed to kind of bounce right over him.  Poor dog. But good for Mags, as I managed to keep Sundown upright, recover the fishtailing back tire and move on down the road. I was pretty shaken, but unharmed and glad of it.

 

On April 8 we had the pleasure of meeting some of Thumper’s fellow Venture Rider friends.   Mike and his buddy McBull hail from near our neck of the woods, Spring Hill, Florida.  Diane and Al came all the way from my home state of Michigan.  We wanted to show them a good ride.  Thumper and I never plan anything (riders beware) so it wasn’t long before we had them lost down some Brooksville dirt road.  I later tried to cover and explain that all motorcycle adventures must include a dirt road in it somewhere.  I don’t think they bought it. 

 

Anyway – here we are moving very slowly down this dirt road praying for pavement when we come across a cow.  It wasn’t huge, but it was as big as my bike, if not a little bigger, and it was on the wrong side of the fence.  Thumper made it past OK – I was close to getting by when all of a sudden he sort of came at me.  Now I wouldn’t say he charged me, but in my mind I thought he was gonna get me.  It was actually just enough to set my heart beating just a bit faster.  I think I scared him more than he scared me.

 

As for Al, Diane, Mike & McBull – thanks for joining us on our little adventure.   Hope to ride with ya’ll again real soon. 

 

The Souloless Riders

Sunday March 19, 2006

 

OK, so souloless is not really a word, but today it certainly had meaning. 

 

At 3:00 AM the alarm sounded and I knew that I had one hour left to enjoy my husbands company.  He was setting off on his Yamaha Venture to visit Mya & Jon, his daughter and son-in-law and hold his granddaughter Amara in his arms. In the cool morning air I watched as he throttled the bike to motion and rolled down the road.  I was instantly very lonely.  Oh how I wish I could be sitting behind him, or riding beside him as he made his way north to Norfolk, Virginia, but obligations at work would have it otherwise.

 

Hours later as the sun began to appear I pondered over riding plans for the day.  My best friend and riding partner were by now somewhere in Georgia and I knew riding solo would only make me miss him more.  So I called my sister to see if I could invite myself along with her and her husband.  Being with family would certainly be therapeutic.  Well riding wasn’t on the Ketchum agenda due to a brake problem with Kevin’s bike. However, I think my sister sensed the desperation to get out and ride in my voice and offered to ride along with me. 

 

Riding among the green pastureland with cows lazily grazing in the warm sun was very cathartic.  Focusing on maneuvering my bike back and forth down the curvy road was invigorating.  Yet something was missing.   When we stopped at the one lane wooden bridge to take a brake, snap a couple photographs and catch up on sisterly chat we both had the same thing on our minds; we missed our husbands.  The heart was in it, the soul was missing. 

 

Tonia – thanks for a great day.  I truly enjoyed spending a day in the saddle, 145 miles of motorcycling therapy, but I think we both would agree that today we were not only solo riders, but riders without the soul and spirit of our better halves. 

 

Today we were souloless riders - Guys, we truly missed you! 

 

 

 

      

Dedicated to Thumper McKenzie

& Kevin Ketchum

     

Bike Week 2006

Bike Week 2006 – Daytona Beach, Sanford Florida

 

March 3 & 4 found us making our annual pilgrimage towards Daytona Beach, Florida

for Bike Week.  We prefer to seek accommodations away from the high priced,

minimum stay Daytona area and found a great location in St. Augustine, Florida.  

Roughly 60 miles north of Daytona, St. Augustine is a wonderful place to stay and 

a great ride along the ocean on A1A.  

 

I highly recommend The Edgewater Inn.  Located at the foot of the Bridge of Lions,

you are minutes away from the historic St. George Street shops and situated on the

banks of the Mantanzas Bay.   You can sit outside your room in rocking chairs, while

watching bikes cross the bridge and boats heading out to sea. 

 

After three days & 600+ miles, we headed for home.

 

www.stayatedgewater.com

 

 

 

March 11 & 12, 2006 – Sanford, Florida

 

The last weekend of Daytona Bike Week and the weather was beautiful.  City officials were calling for even larger crowds than usual, so we headed for Sanford.  Close enough to Daytona to get in on the motorcycle mania, yet far enough away to avoid sitting in traffic.

 

This is one of my favorite rides.  Sanford is about two hours north-east of Tampa and accessible by major interstates or peaceful back roads (my preference). It is

beautifully situated at the southern end of Lake Monroe.  Head to The Alley for a taste of the Blues and Bikes.  

 

The Palms Resort Island Resort & Marina offers a clean, quiet place to rest your weary head.  Located directly on Lake Monroe with two restaurants right on site.  

Bikes are welcome, shopping and entertainment is close by.

 

 

 

www.alleyblooz.info

http://www.ci.sanford.fl.us/index.html

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