|10-24-2010, 02:19 PM||#1|
... that element.
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Spacecoast, FL
Maggies on vacation in Ocala Florida
The wife and I got back last week from a fantastic week of riding around the Ocala area. I'll be writing it up here as a series of day rides.
Our plan was to head to Ocala, FL and do a series of day rides out from there. It's only 100-150 miles away from home, but this was our first vacation dedicated to exploring the area with the motorcycles and the first trip I'd try to write up. The “plan” started as follows: Sunday – Get setup in Ocala, Monday – West to Cedar Key, Tuesday – North to Ocala National Forest, Wed. – East to DeLeon Springs, Thur. – Daytona for Biketoberfest, ???
A week off of work, a happy riding partner, a new map and 20 bucks! (note to self: may need more cash.. )
The plan gets fuzzy after Thursday though. I don't vacation well, it's an art. The wife didn't know if I'd be able to relax and slip into vacation mode while staying at someone else's place. So we thought we might just ride home on Thursday after Daytona... (spoiler alert: nobody goes to Daytona this trip )
The preparations started with her 1984 Honda VF700C. We just picked it up a couple months ago and since it had been sitting awhile, went through a few things. Replaced fluids, seals, brakes, tires, bearings and did valve adjustments, carb rebuild, etc... fortunately there was no trouble found during the process. She put a couple thousand miles on it and we knew it was solid. She'll start the trip with only 11k on it!
Note the highly detailed route map and early departure time!
My 1985 Honda VF1100C is my daily transportation with 111k on it. It's my first bike and I've owned it for four years or so while putting around 8k per year on it. My faith in it is good and I've been through most all the systems at least once. It just needed a new front tire, valve adjustment and carb sync in preparation for this trip.
The list of sins committed against this bike are long and will not be confessed here. But let me just say that while lot's of folks tie-wrap things to their bikes – some of mine are structural! (not shown here)
We packed twice of course. The first round included things like: tire plug kit, 12v compressor, etc.. After fitting everything into a HUGE bag, it was clear that another plan was needed. In the last 4 years I have never needed to plug a tire on the road, so out that went along with quite a lot of other stuff. I figured if one bike had a little problem like a flat, the other could ride in to the nearest auto parts shop and get whatever is needed at the time. Besides, I've got: AAA w/motorcycle coverage, cell phone, credit card. Where we're headed, that's enough to solve any serious problems as well.
Second round of packing got down to two small duffel bags and small saddlebags. Now we are ready to go!
We headed north on US 1. This lighting is best for photographing my bike!
West on 44. Her bike does fine photographed in the sunlight!
City parks are some of the most wonderful things I enjoy on a trip. But when you need them, they hide! While I “could” skip a meal now and then, it's not really a plan I support. So while we were riding along, I see the beautifully shaded parking lot of the Post Office at DeLeon Springs. It's Sunday and we have the place to ourselves. Just have to love a woman who will let you count a Post Office parking lot as a picnic stop!
We then headed north again. This was on County Road 3 just north of the DeLeon Springs State Park. The road parallels US Route 17, but we were looking for the smaller roads and this fit the bill perfectly.
At the corner of CR 3 and SR 40, we saw a motorcyclist receiving medical attention. Handlebars folded and twisted around, but the bike still looked like a bike at least. Some pretty odd looking tire marks through the intersection where the roads met. No guesses to the chain of events that caused it, but it certainly heightened our alert level. I trust they were alright..
After getting settled in (some of my family were away traveling and we were staying at their place while they were gone) we were ready to find our way to the local grocery store and stock up on a few things. While getting the bikes ready to go, a friendly neighbor out walking his dog stopped to checkout who we were and what we were up to. My family had told me that they keep an eye out for each other up there and we had expected to meet someone. After we chatted awhile about our trip, he gave us the name of a road on the west coast to consider – 494. Real nice guy, told us to stop by his place if we needed anything or just some local knowledge. Have to see how the week goes...
Getting groceries on the bikes requires more planning than with the car. We'd emptied the duffel bags back at the house and were pretty sure this would all fit.
Groceries all packed up and ready to go. While the yellow straps worked great for us, when strapping down groceries you do have to be aware of what is under them! Didn't break a single egg though.
After a wonderful dinner (and reminding myself afterwards to take more food pictures! ) we were ready for a good nights rest. The first day of wandering still lay ahead.
|10-24-2010, 05:11 PM||#3|
Ghost In The Machine
Joined: Jul 2008
Looking good, bring it on
|10-25-2010, 05:27 AM||#4|
... that element.
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Spacecoast, FL
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.
|10-30-2010, 03:22 PM||#5|
... that element.
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Spacecoast, FL
After breakfast (and completely forgetting to take any pictures), I thought I'd better check the oil level on my Maggie. Sure enough, it was low. Hard to tell how low from the picture of course, since it's completely dry!
This was not unexpected and I knew it was only ˝ quart low.
I topped it off with the finest Maggie specific oil!! Only the finest for me.
I'd checked the wife's bike too. Her Maggie hasn't burned or dripped a single drop yet! No oil for her...
We got out on the road without any further controversy and headed east & west.
We had stopped in at the Ocklawaha Visitors Center at the corner of 40 and 315 to see about maps. They had quite a bit of stuff for sale and a very friendly guy working the counter. Since it was mid-morning on a Tuesday, it wasn't real crowded! We already had our DeLorme map and didn't see anything there that would be better. Finally picked up a National Parks Passport though. I wonder if we'll keep up with it...
County highway 315 was closed though, road construction I think. We backtracked east on 40 to 314 and headed north through the forest.
Riding through the Ocala National Forest on the pavement there are few surprises. But finding a missile along side the road did catch me off guard! It became the replacement tag for Cedar Key.
Much of what we saw were these pine trees. Miles and miles of pine trees... It is beautiful and peaceful. Riding 19 north is a pretty straight shot though.
We found Rodman Rd and took that west to the dam. I have never rode over as rough of asphalt as on this trip! A sand road would have been smoother. I'm not exactly sure what technique they used to achieve that texture, but hopefully the secret doesn't get out. Nobody needs to be duplicating it.
This is the Rodman Dam.
For such a small dam, it is the topic of many conversations. It was built to support the Cross Florida Barge Canel project.
Since that didn't happen, there has been talk about removing the dam and letting things get back to the way they were before. Everything has it's pro's and con's.
From reading a bit on the web, it seems the fishing is pretty good around here. I would have loved to have brought some tackle. Traveling light on the bikes was worth the trade off though.
Somebody lost a bobber while fishing here.
More pictures of real Florida, in it's original black & white glory.
I liked this area. Sort of made me wish for a little boat again. Florida has a beauty you just can't always appreciate from the shore.
While we were stopped at the dam, I wanted to try and take a few “interesting” pictures. Interesting to me anyway...
My riding partner was a bit tired today. The road didn't hold many new features on today's route and our momentum was slowing.
But that was a good sign – vacation mode was starting to kick in!
Here is a picture you could paint with only two colors – green and blue. They were enough too... it was a beautiful place and I could have spent more time just sitting right there.
But we had more road to cover and moved along. We turned west onto 310 and then on 315 south. The detour (315 was closed) finally kicked us off on 316 west over to 200 south. This would run us right back into Ocala.
Each time we tried to stop and get a picture of the bikes with horses, the horses would bolt away from the fence. I don't think they were afraid of the bikes, they never moved when we rode by, just spooked when someone would stop. But the wife wanted a picture of her, the bike and the horses. I got two out of three!
After getting into Ocala we stopped at a Mother Earth grocery along 40 that the wife had spotted. She found a few special gluten free things to go with dinner: fajita shells, cookies, and a natural cane sugar root beer.
We also stopped in at our regular spot to pick up some water and an avocado.
Yes, dinner was delicious. Nope, didn't any pictures. Tuesday was a slow day and the lack of pictures certainly reflect that. But they'll pick up!
Wednesday's plan - breakfast at The Old Sugar Mill in DeLeon Springs State Park.
|10-31-2010, 06:08 AM||#6|
... that element.
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Spacecoast, FL
So on the day we don't fix anything, I finally take a picture of breakfast!
We just needed enough of a boost to get us down the road to DeLeon Springs State Park for pancakes.
First we have to take out the trash. They don't have trash service out here and we had to haul our own in to the transfer station. Not much drama in a cage, but we learned some things using the bikes!
What could possibly go wrong with this setup?
That bag closest in the picture on the wifes bike? Yep, it shifted and rubbed up against the rear tire. It did make a pretty good hole in the bag, but no mess on the road though. She pulled over and we just put that bag into the one on my bike.
A couple things I learned: first - full bags travel better than partial bags, second - tie the straps low, they are going to be low eventually anyway!! My bungee net was really good for this job, better than the straps. I wish I'd have brought more cargo nets.
After getting the trash dropped off, we headed east on 40 until we found 3 again. The railroad tracks run along 3 and you also run past some cattle farms. After having been around so many horse farms, cattle looked out of place.
The Old Sugar Mill is located inside of the DeLeon Springs State Park and they do charge $4 per motorcycle for entrance. We wound our way through the parking lot and found a nice spot for the bikes. Showing up at 10am on a weekday, you can get a pretty good spot!
Inside the Mill there are probably only a dozen or so tables of different sizes. There are griddles built right into the tables for cooking your own pancakes right there! Our table was larger and had two griddles, we shared the table with a couple ladies from out of state. I believe they were a mother and daughter, but our conversation with them was mostly teasing them about how big they made their pancakes!
If you order the pancakes, they will bring you two pitchers of batter. We also ordered some blueberries to add in and they were wonderful. It was a lot of fun cooking them right there! And having them hot off the grill will spoil you quick. Coffee was good too..
They have replaced the water wheel at some point over the years and the new one looks really good.
We wandered around the park a bit and, being the tourists on vacation that we were, had to get a picture with our toes in the water. While I was trying to setup my $0.99 tripod to get the shot, a guy stopped and offered to take the pic for me. There were five of them down from Detroit for Biketoberfest and had come over for breakfast as well. Good people...
The springs are a constant 72 degrees year round. Since that is about 30 degrees cooler than we prefer, we didn't jump in. There was one guy swimming. We told him that in our stories about the day, we'd be referring to him as "that crazy guy"! He took no offense and laughed with us.
Leaving the park, we decided to just wander the little roads on our way south to 42. Right outside of the park, we headed south on Park Ave. This was a wonderful little road to drive down. The picture didn't capture the leaves gently falling as we rode through.
I had hopes that 42 would be a bit more interesting than 40 and it most certainly was. The wife had suggested it when we rode in on Sunday, but I wasn't in vacation mode then. There were stretches of 42 that were some of the most scenic riding of the trip. And better yet, the road crew had just laid the asphalt down and it was as smooth as glass. Ok, frosted glass - but still pretty smooth!!
Well, there is some debate between the wife and I on the location of this next part. My notebook says it was along 42, but the wife says no.
So while we're running down a beautiful stretch of unnamed road , I manage to hit the one pothole we saw that day. The front-end took a good smack and I started to hear a new high pitch noise. Since I'd upgraded my earplugs for this trip, I knew it must be pretty loud for me to hear it. As I slowed down, I could tell the pitch was dropping.
I pulled over to the side and stopped. The noise was definitely speed sensitive so I figured it was something with the tires. So I'm looking over the front tire and notice this...
The picture is a little dark, but you can see that the back of my fender got hung up on my homemade highway bars! I guess I mounted them a little higher for this trip than before. Notice how nicely this closed the gap at the front of the fender!
The wife had to help me compress the forks down so the fender could slip back off the bar. That looks better!
If you're going to have trouble on the side of a road, this is a great road to do it on! Got ourselves put back together and ready to ride on home.
Once we got home, we reviewed the plans for the rest of the week. Thursday was supposed to be Daytona/Biketoberfest and possibly ride on home. But after the peaceful quiet roads we've been enjoying, the craziness of Daytona would have been to much. So we called it off and decided to spend Thursday exploring "south" and maybe ride home on Friday...
Vacation mode is getting stronger by the day.
|11-02-2010, 11:14 PM||#7|
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Pacific NW
Had a buddy back in the day who upsized the front tire on his Magna. Looked Phat. But above about 50-60 mph, that high-pitched buzz started, then disappear as it slowed. Took us a while to figure out that tire was "growing" in circumference and contacting the underside of the front fender.
Good times, those Magnas.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
|11-03-2010, 07:00 PM||#9|
Will ride for food
Joined: Nov 2008
I love those old V fours and love Florida away from the beaches too. The further north the beta. Nice report.
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