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Old 03-03-2013, 09:51 AM   #1
jconly OP
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From Miami to Austin, TX.. Who can comment on the Gulf?

So, I left NYC in October on my 990ADV, and headed south along the TET and TETS. Instead of riding home again, I left the bike in Miami waiting for my return to take her west.

That's the plan at least, to tackle the country piece by piece.

Now, I just need to figure out how.
Naturally, the route that initially comes to mind for us all is the TAT, but I'm thinking not now. Heavy bike, solo, too much prep required, blah blah... I'm talking myself out of it. Some other time I think.

Instead, I'm thinking my next leg should check out the Gulf of Mexico. Seems like it has potential. Been to NOLA once before for a few days, the culture was rich for sure. Sparked my interest in the rest of it.

Problem is, I've not been able to find much information. Has anyone tackled a route like this? Headed west along the southernmost portion of the US? What's good down there? The more dirt the merrier.


Any experiences are welcome. Let's share, and maybe we can compile a good source of info for anyone else pondering this route.
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Old 03-03-2013, 10:18 AM   #2
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Head on down to the Keys, then come back up and head west up the west coast of Florida, just stay as close to the water as you can, around Panama City pick up hwy 98 and head west eventually picking up hwy 90, crossing into Alabama, and Mississippi. Stay on 90 and keep heading west. You'll eventually find yourself in Marathon TX, go south to Big Bend National Park; from there, its up to you. Compared to NYC, Big Bend will be like another planet and another life.
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Old 03-03-2013, 04:40 PM   #3
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http://blog.al.com/entertainment_sou...bcs_top_g.html
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Old 03-03-2013, 06:11 PM   #4
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If you don't get stopped by the Leo's you can be across Alabama in about an hour , and across Mississippi in another hour.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:52 PM   #5
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Great advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by acejones View Post
Head on down to the Keys, then come back up and head west up the west coast of Florida, just stay as close to the water as you can, around Panama City pick up hwy 98 and head west eventually picking up hwy 90, crossing into Alabama, and Mississippi. Stay on 90 and keep heading west. You'll eventually find yourself in Marathon TX, go south to Big Bend National Park; from there, its up to you. Compared to NYC, Big Bend will be like another planet and another life.
You nailed it, Ace - great routing! Not a lot of dirt until West Texas (which is ALL dirt)!

Here are a couple of my trip reports of West Texas and Big Bend (with some Mexico thrown in) that may help motivate our friend from NYC:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L9fIk7Hk7I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEKpJ...ature=youtu.be






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Old 03-03-2013, 10:41 PM   #6
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Most of the time there are back roads that hug the coast. You can hug the coast all the way to Brownsville, TX or you can cut across. Once you get to West Texas there are lots of dirt roads. Big Bend National Park is definately worth seeing and there are lots of dirt roads open to motorcycles. Once you get past El Paso there are back/dirt roads that are south of I-10.
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Old 03-05-2013, 11:21 AM   #7
jconly OP
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Awesome guys, thanks for the very useful info.
Looks like it'll be some boring slab for the most part.

I'll probably do some coast hugging, bouncing on and off of 90.

Any recommendations on towns / bars and restaurants / sights along the way worth checking out?
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Old 03-05-2013, 02:41 PM   #8
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Once you get west of the Redneck Rivera and on this side of the Sabine you'll find lots of flat-n-paved. Theoretically you could ride the beach from Sea Rim state park and then catch 87 in High Island. Then continue down Galveston to Freeeport and up 36 to meet with Alt 90.

There are good gravel roads if you're willing to move north. You may want to check out this thread for some ideas.

http://www.twtex.com/forums/showthread.php?t=82497
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:52 AM   #9
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Definitely ride US 1 into the Keys. Plan to stay in Key West for a few days and take your time riding in and out. That's about the most scenic 150 miles that I can think of.

Ride Rt. 41 through the Everglades and through the Indian reservations. Definitely unique, and some great history.

Keep meandering up Rt. 41 along the Gulf Coast. Highlights include the little town of Matlacha (get a room at the Bridgewater Inn, right there on the Intracoastal Waterway - you won't regret it).

The Edison and Henry Ford houses are not too far from there. Can't quite remember where - maybe a little backtrack is in order.

Keep on Rt. 41. Plenty of sights and museums. Venice is where the Ringling family (of circus fame) built a museum. Further north is Gibsonton, which is an active circus and carny community today. Go to the Showtime bar in Gibsonton and have a few drinks. One of my favorite dive bars, you are usually surrounded by circus performers.

The Greater Tampa area has Ybor City (go to Columbia's for legendary food). Another option is to ride the coast (Rt. 699) from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater).

From there Rt. 19 runs up the coast. That's not real exciting although Cedar Key and Apalachicola are stand outs.

Follow 98 over to Pensacola. That's ok - there are a few industrial things to see. It ends in Pensacola. Pensacola has the Navy Aviation Museum.

When you leave Pensacola you hit what they jokingly call LA, or Lower Alabama, which is target rich if you like legendary partying and bars. The Floribama is literally on the Florida/Alabama line, Jimmy Buffett's sister owns a place in Gulf Shores called Lulu's.

From there ride north past Lulu's, go to Spanish Fort, and ride the old road (Rt. 90) across the causeway on the bay. Among the sights there are Drifters, another of my fav dive bars (24 hour bar on rickety stilts - what's not to like?) and the USS Alabama memorial that has the battleship and tons of aircraft.

From there hop on the Interstate, ride through the tunnel, and meander through Mobile (you can probably see the Carnival Triumph over there in the shipyards).

Ride Rt. 90 through to Bay St. Louis. Several places there have large casinos and even if you don't gamble those are often opportunities for cheap food, lodging, and adult beverages (I have logged plenty of time in the RV parks at Bay St. Louis).

From there hit New Orleans. I usually stay in Kenner on the theory that it's much cheaper than New Orleans. You need to check out Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, but if you have the time ride down to some place like Cut Off or Houma to get an idea of what swampy Louisiana is like.

I can't tell you much about the coastal areas between Houma and Beaumont, TX. However, I can tell you that I have explored the coastal areas and the ghost towns and port towns of theTexas coast from Galveston to Port Lavaca and Indianola, through Rockport, Port Aransas, Corpus, and South Padre. Quite a bit of lost Texas history there, as well as current touristy spots. Indianola used to be the major Texas port of its day but is now a ghost town with nothing left except a concrete sistern and, as I recall, a cemetery.

If you get that far them drop me a line and I'll tell you about the riding opportunities along the border. That's where I am living now and still exploring.

Good luck!


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Old 04-10-2013, 11:03 AM   #10
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PJ has pretty well said it. The only issue I have is that Hwy 41 north of Naples can be a real traffic slog.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:34 AM   #11
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PJ has pretty well said it. The only issue I have is that Hwy 41 north of Naples can be a real traffic slog.
Yup. That one really sucks on a hot day but I don't know a viable alternative other than to hit I-75.

There are lots of neat side trips down there and plenty of history but I wasn't sure that he'd want to spend an extra week in Southwestern Florida ;)


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Old 04-11-2013, 04:36 PM   #12
acejones
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Yup. That one really sucks on a hot day but I don't know a viable alternative other than to hit I-75.

There are lots of neat side trips down there and plenty of history but I wasn't sure that he'd want to spend an extra week in Southwestern Florida ;)


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Last October I got off of I-75 to ride 41 south of Sarasota on my way to Naples. Bad move; the traffic was stop and go , slow, and hot. I wish I had stayed on 75.
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Old 04-12-2013, 07:14 AM   #13
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Last October I got off of I-75 to ride 41 south of Sarasota on my way to Naples. Bad move; the traffic was stop and go , slow, and hot. I wish I had stayed on 75.
It's been a few years since the last time that I was there but my recollection was that even I-75 runs heavy down there and traffic is pretty wild.


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Old 04-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #14
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I-75 was pretty peaceful except through Tampa. I'm not a big fan of Interstate Hwy. Travel, but on the upside everyone is going the same direction and approximately the same speed and the Interstates will get you through the metro areas a lot faster and at least no one is going across your path; at least not intentionally.
To me some of the scariest roads are rural roads with lots of trees/schrubs along them and blind driveways or road crossings adjacent to hills. I'll take a Interstate any day over that.
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Old 04-12-2013, 01:19 PM   #15
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I-75 was pretty peaceful except through Tampa. I'm not a big fan of Interstate Hwy. Travel, but on the upside everyone is going the same direction and approximately the same speed and the Interstates will get you through the metro areas a lot faster and at least no one is going across your path; at least not intentionally.
To me some of the scariest roads are rural roads with lots of trees/schrubs along them and blind driveways or road crossings adjacent to hills. I'll take a Interstate any day over that.

Agreed. I am really phobic about someone on a side road or driveway pulling in front of me.

South Florida is really interesting. If the OP had 2 months to kill I could keep him busy sightseeing.


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