So, after 9.5 hours of sleep, this vacation is off to a great start! The weather was just perfect for riding. During breakfast the thermometer read 63 degrees outside and warmed up nicely through the day.
Speaking of breakfast – the wife cooked up some tasty pancakes & eggs to be served with coffee and orange juice. Simply a great way to start the morning.
We were headed to Cedar Key today in order to collect a tag. We needed a “west” destination and I enjoy the tag games. So we picked out a route and got it taped up on wifes bike.
Note the early departure time again today! This could get habit forming.
The tape turned out to be a great method for her to keep track of where we're going. I tend to get focused (some folks call it daydreaming, but it's really “focusing”) on other things and have ridden right past my own driveway more than once! The tape is 1” gaff tape. My boy brought some down to me from college, very useful stuff. Don't get it wet though...
I prefer more of a drawing to follow. This worked well for me too, when I remembered to look at it. The paper stayed tucked in without any trouble.
And here is evidence of my traveling style. This gas station is located on 25 just north of 326. Yes, the same 326 we should have turned west on!
The maggies are not that bad on gas, around 40mpg for me and 40-45mpg for her, but we still fueled up every 100 miles or less. We had taken a trip earlier this summer and found that as we got closer to 100 miles we'd get focused on the gas and this kept us from enjoying much of what was right around us. Now we just simply fill up whenever the mood strikes us between 60-100 miles. Besides, we're not kids anymore, stops are part of the fun!
Rolling down 326 took us past some beautiful places.
I think this Post Office was at the intersection of 326 and 19. It was a pretty Post Office, lots of cool small ones out here.
We had intended to run 19 north, but thought the map showed a good road further west that ran north too. So we kept heading west on 326. This turned out to be another great little section of road and I'm glad we followed it to the end.
At the west end of 326 is a boat ramp. We were hoping to find picnic tables and sure enough – there they were! Had a great snack of red grapes, extra sharp white cheese, lime corn chips, raw carrots and broccoli. This would be our lunch most every day of the trip and I never got tired of it.
From the corner of the park, you could look out over the water and see what Florida really looks like. No camera tricks here, real Florida is actually black & white.
Since we didn't see any other roads coming in, we pulled the map back out and double checked our route. Sure enough, there is a road indicated. Here is something I learned – while an unimproved road may be dirt, improved roads are not necessarily paved roads. And sure enough, there was a road after all. But not for us.
A Maggie has four carb's that need to be kept in sync and running down a dirt road just isn't the best way to do that. I thought about bringing equipment to re-sync them if needed, but decided it would be simple enough to just stay on the pavement. So we backtracked to 19 and headed north to 24. There is a reason you don't see any pictures of these two roads here though.
Cedar Key made for a great destination. It is a funky little town with just enough tourist vibe to make you feel welcomed, that they are glad to see you. Not so much that you feel taken advantage of in the process though. Here is the tag we came for at the end of an airport runway.
Now with that goal achieved, the wife wanted to get some pictures of her bike on the west coast. We found a quiet spot along the road and grabbed a few pictures. First with the bikes, then with just us.
The time was getting later and we decided to start heading back. We stopped for gas and the wife saw these for rent. How much fun would this be for touring Cedar Key? The sign didn't say, but I'm fairly sure there is a big block under that hood..
As it was our first day, we were making tracks back on the big roads. Missed some scenery, but it's only our first day! Running east on 40 through Ocala took us by here. The sign is pretty impressive and I had to get a picture. After Cedar Key, I was still feeling like a tourist! The temptation to ride those banked sides was very strong!
Must still have some skateboarder left in me...
We stopped for a few more groceries and picked up some oil for my bike. Her bike hasn't burned or dripped one single drop since we got it. Mine is not only thirsty, but has a built-in automated rust prevention distribution system. (yeah, it leaks..)
While talking to the guy at the parts house though, he asked if we did much riding at night. No, why? After 11pm, he said the deer were so thick around there you could just drive the truck down the road and just slap them on the butt as you went by! While that sounds like fun in a truck, I said I'd have to pass on trying it with the bike. You meet a lot of friendly/helpful people when you're out riding!
Once we got back to the house, I unloaded the bikes and covered them up for the evening. The dew was heavy every night but one and the covers got pretty wet. No rain forecast and I certainly wasn't worried about leaving them out front. Just another benefit of owning 25 year old motorcycles!!
I had fun tweaking this pic.. the colors worked well for me.
Finished the evening with a great dinner of black beans & rice with iced tea.
Next, "north" through the Ocala National Forest.