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Nearly an adventure!


Fubar

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Well, I finally got to the Keys after 25 years of living in FL. I had 5 days free and clear so I did my 30K mile service, packed and went. (Pics/proof at the end.)

 

Full disclosure: I went to Key Largo about 15 years ago for a dive trip but saw nothing but rain and the inside of a very small tent for 2 days thus it doesn't count. IT was an adventure(NOT a good term in this context) and details can be provided by PM for those sick bastards so interested.

 

All was sunny and bright at 9 am on Wednesday, 4/29. I'd dropped the offspring at school and had no other commitments on my time until 3 pm Monday.

With the bike serviced, fueled, loaded and waiting, I hit the slab from Sarasota to Naples on my way to beautiful views.

 

Adventure attempt #1: Checked the rear tire pressure and found I had lost 2 pounds. Second guessed my memory and blew it off.

Topped the tank for the ride across the Everglades on US41, lit the GPS for info and headed east.

 

Adventure attempt #2: The GPS wouldn't go beyond the first screen. Power-cycled it repeatedly, confirmed connections, etc. Nothing. Damn. Turned it off.

Some light rain was possible (Florida, summer, duh) and I was prepared when I had to stop 15 miles later and put the liner in the jacket and slide on the rain pants.

 

Adventure attempt #3: They weren't rain pants after all, though behind that fairing it weren't no thing. Yet.

2 1/2 hours of steady drizzle later I hang a right to head down Krome Av. to US1 and the Keys. All is relatively well.

Upon reaching the middle of Key Largo the drizzle became real rain, solid and annoying.

I stopped at my only scheduled stop, Islamorada Brewing Co. for lunch and a beer. Dripping all over their tile floor I waited 2 hours in hopes the rain would cease. Nope. Checked the rear pressure again, 2 more pounds missing. No place to top off, still over 40 psi. Ride on.

 

Back on the road things went as well as can be expected with the conditions. Then the rain picked up. All the way to the end of the road, some 150 miles or so. I had to choose between a fogging visor and rain in my face. Even with the visor cracked on my Shoei or the vents open, I got rain in my puss. You can only get so wet. Ride on.

(I found out the next day that Key West had only received 6 inches of rain since Jan 1. They got 5+ inches that day. It took two days for my waterproof boots to dry after my non-waterproof socks sucked in a ton of H2O.Love a ceiling fan!)

 

Arrival in Key West at 6:30 to flooded streets - feeling as if I had missed a turn and driven into the Gulf of Mexico I was so wet - and the adventure attempts are mitigated by the wonderful owners of L'Habitation B&B on Eaton St (1/2 block off Duval). Some tool in a cage had parked in the motorcycle only space on the block so they moved their car so I could park in the driveway. He rides an Indian and told me where the only usable air pump was. Next day I bought a can of fix-a-flat with slime in it, rode over to the gas station, bled out all the air, filled it with slime, aired it to proper pressure, filled it with go juice and re-parked it. Time for enjoying the sites/sounds/people.

 

Skip forward to departure morn. Recheck both tires, perfect reading. I head to my lunch stop at Florida Keys Brewing also on Islamorada. Well worth it. Best beers I've had in several days and I'm the only customer on a Friday late a.m.

 

Adventure attempt #4: GPS check? Failed. Since my next stop was downtown Miami, I grabbed my map. Crap. A Tampa/St. Pete map will not help me, I need a FL road map. I finally found someplace that sells them back on Key Largo. Attempt denied!

After checking my route (again) I rode into downtown Miami via toll roads, which I despise. The world's worst drivers love toll roads and I was surrounded and assaulted by them for far too long. Plus, SE Florida drivers are the WORST I have ever had the displeasure of being around.

Despite numerous attempts on my life, I found my destination(s), two craft breweries on 24th St., Wynwood & J. Wakefield. Many hours later I headed to my next overnight in Hollywood.

Come the a.m. I headed to a Triple D breakfast spot (Grampas), topped off the tank and headed to my last stop, Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park. Sadly, they wouldn't fill growlers that they didn't sell. Fine, I'm out! After a recuperative ale and an hour+ off the bike.

 

Adventure attempt #5: My phone decided it didn't like the SIM card anymore and wouldn't even let me check the weather or re-confirm my route. Tough shit, I've done this part before and my notes are good. See ya, bye.

 

The trip back across on SR 70 is pretty old hat, nothing but cattle ranches, orange groves, a couple of small towns and a prison until I get to my home county. A bug-filled breeze. Glad I don't actually look through my windscreen but hunching over to keep them off my visor is killing my back(I'm 6'5"). One last stop on the east side of Arcadia (Yee ha!) to stretch the legs and spine, grab a drink and I can practically smell home. One hour to go, let's get it rolling!

All goes normal for the remainder of the ride. I recalled a local brewery was celebrating their 1st anniversary so I stopped in. After all, that was the theme of my trip. A minute later some acquaintances waltz in. We catch up and rehydrate(?) for an hour or so then I'm feeling the need to put those last 4 miles behind me. I roll into the garage, unpack the bike, grab a shower then a cold beer and become one with the couch.

Due to camera/phone issues as well as the weather my pictures as proof are few, but here they are.

 

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Some good times in there.

After spending nearly every weekend in the Keys 73-77 I left Miami and the 9th Circle of Hell they call driving and haven't looked back.

Glad you got a chance to make the trip.

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