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Old 06-13-2010, 12:35 PM   #46
Swampy OP
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North Florida Adventure

I promised a multi-parter and here it comes..... the North Florida Adventure from 2009... Enjoy the Ride!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
North Florida Adventure
Chapter 1
Adventure Lives Where You Find It


So we begin the adventure....

The route leads us north on side roads which turn dirt. At a pre-determined intersection, the adventure broke left to explore what lies outside the known universe of Lake City...

For the next bunch of miles we experienced pavement. Which, for an adventure rider, is not totally a bad thing. We view this as part of the overall experience. The journey is what matters, not the destination.

Here we will begin to delve into the past, enter a time before us, and see things that were built without our input, for needs only known to those who required it.

Herman Melville and Jack London were masters of local color. Wrapping stories through local tastes and cultures to bring us closer to something special. A view into the life of a locale in which we do not live, nor do we know. Yet for a brief time we become a part of. That, my friends, is the beauty of adventure riding.


We come across the Suwannee, and out of the corner of my eye I spy wooden trestles on a bridge...something you don't see often...followed by brick trestles... how many man-hours did this take to build? How many workers? How many people lived here working on the railroad that goes through here....



The historic Suwannee...




Sometimes good things come by a chance. A wrong turn here, and detour there. That's how we ended up off the route, yet we were in a forest, surrounded by lush greenery, riding under the shade of tree.... Focusing on following directions would not have allowed us to discover and experience this forest tract...






Once back on the right direction, we entered a world of the past. Where architecture brings out the past, where homes have stories to tell, where streets have seen generations play....Welcome to White Springs....




Just down the street we enter a celebration of of Florida history, the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center...




Classic Southern Architecture at the museum....






Live oaks, wrought iron lighting fixtures, columns, double doors... classic southern colonial... simply stunning...





A carillon. Bell tower. Ringing at predetermined times, tunes made from bells, rising majestically above the canopy...




Folk artisans working long passed by trades. Here a women woodworker adds touches to a project in the artisan village...


We leave the Cultural Center and return to the route. It takes us past old filling stations, and more houses. A turn onto a side street reveals an appreciation of the areas buildings....



...and of some of the houses as well....



We continue down our chosen path, only to realize that we would never experience the discoveries we've seen so far...

The road less traveled continues...urging us on... to more discoveries....



Our Adventure Continues...(Chapter 2 Up Next!)
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:56 PM   #47
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North Florida Adventure
Chapter 2
Adventure Defined


What really is adventure riding? Is it the bike? Is it the terrain? Perhaps it is the road less traveled, or possibly what we make of our circumstances at any particular time throughout the ride?

I like to think of adventure as circumstantially substantial in an organized random setting. Plainly spoken, we can plan for an adventure, yet we never know what to expect until we actually begin to live it. And by living it means we are open to all possibilities that may a ride and occur, whether optimal to our expectations or surprising in their spontanaety.

White Springs opened the door to North Florida...

Roads such as these led us through our adventures...



What beckons beyond the farthest rise? What mystery awaits? We won't know until we see it. Feel it. Live it. We will never know what lies down that road until we take it.



Live oaks cling to their soil. Moss drapes from the limbs. Sunlight barely penetrates the canopies, and dirt remains moist to the touch. Were these once trade routes? Indian trails? Farm roads? We may never know, but we allow our minds to wander and explore the possibilities. That is adventure.



Perhaps an old share croppers house. The dinner tales, the gospel songs. Pots of black eyes with fat back, corn bread and greens. Scarce Christmas's where a child may have gotten a wooden toy hewn from a limb gathered in the woods and fashioned by a fathers hand. Perhaps sitting on the porch and dreaming of good days to come, or the possibilities of the future. So much can be learned on old dirt roads.




As minds wander we continue to explore. Never knowing what awaits. Yet we are ready to see and learn. To smell and taste. To anticipate and dream. And yet we wonder...




Bird pens, smokehouses, corn cribs and tobacco barns. What was life really like in rural Florida in 1920? 1930? Families gathering around radios, sons going off to war. Small town values leaving to enter a bigger world of the unknown. With only faith and upbringing to guide them. So much can be dreamed or supposed from old farms on side roads. If only one can open their minds to possibilities and let the moments happen... that is adventure.




Next Up: Chapter 3
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:49 PM   #48
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Nice writing..just enough to keep glued..keep it coming.
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:00 PM   #49
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Thanks 28markb!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
North Florida Adventure
Chapter 3

Brother, Where Art Thou?

Old meets new, that's the way the world goes. We live with the past as we progress through the present. Many obsess about the present while positioning for an unknown future, all the while dismissing the past, either consciously or subconsciously. Toady's world is about what can I have now and in the future, while we forget what we've had in our past. Yet when those memories are awoken, they trickle that feeling of wonderment down the spine that culminates a slight chill while a smile appears upon the face as a memories of long ago comes rushing to the forefront of thought.

It's that thought of what was good then, that makes us smile, and somehow, ironically, makes us look ahead with skepticism. being rooted in the past, knowing what was, makes the future a more stable place. History teaches us lessons. Some learn and place in practice. Some dismiss for more trendy opinions. Some reflect.

Above all we must respect the past and those that have gone before, for they've laid the groundwork for where we are.

A twin front wheel. Large spokes. Hand throttle on an arc. Rust adorns the surface where paint once held on firmly to the newness of the machine. At one time a farmer saw this is glistening colors and imagined how his productivity would increase, bringing more prosperity to his familiy's way of life. Today, it sits as a reminder of those times. Perhaps it allowed for a new pair of coveralls, a new fangled color tv, extra money for the preacher for his daughters wedding, or perhaps it opened up a little extra to replace the roof that had been leaking for a few year. No matter what the outcomes we'll never know, the sentinel sits as a reminder of how things were.



And now new iron stands in stark contrast as to what was as it carries us on a recreational odyssey, through the times and places that were his.



Farther along the roads less traveled, the resting places of many who have gone before are tucked away under the oaks. A reminder that this was their land, cleared and tilled by their hands. Where sons and daughters were born. Children walked the road barefoot to school, sometimes with nothing more than a biscuit for lunch. Times were good, times were bad. Each one a brother or a sister. Son or daughter. Mother or father. There lives touched by many, and many lives touched by theirs, though no single thread may be evident, we can believe that lives were shared, and the bonds were deeply rooted, like to oaks standing above them, protecting them as they rest.












1819-1914. Turbulent times. A new country. Southern and westward expansion. Indian removals and 3 Seminole wars. The Georgia Gold Rush. Slavery. Floods, storms, famine. Heat waves and cold spells. Insects. Succession. Where did these people stand, what did the families believe. How many left home never to heard from again, perhaps dead on some long, far away battlefield in Vicksburg, Manassess, Gettysburg or Pensacola. The depression and rebuilding of the south, the gilded age of the 1890's, immigration, Teddy Roosevelt and WWI. Imagine life without indoor plumbing or medical care, where elixirs could fix anything, amputation was surgery, and people died of consumption and pneumonia. The trials and tribulations of those who went before, yet they persevered, kept moving forward, kept living, maintaining and strengthening what blessings they had around them.






We reflected on the strife of the early years of our country and the south during those years as we paid our respects to these fine people who helped build what some take for granted. Each one had a hand in where we are today, and fate brought us to them today, for what ever may be the reason, if even to remember and reflect.

The colors of spring adorn the roadside as we leave. Spring. A new beginning. Another chance. Another opportunity. Just like the springs that came 150 years ago, 100 years ago, or only last year. A time to reflect on where we've been, an to look to where we are going...



Adventure riding can be rewarding in not only the terrain or the scenery, but in the history and in the self reflection that it affords. Combining all this while on a motorcycle is one of the greatest experiences in life.


Coming Up: Chapter 4....
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:19 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scfrank
I'll try to stay off of the front brake and stay upright this time!
Frank
Hey Frank, Lookie what I found



Sorry you didn't get to ride Cheaha with us.
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:39 PM   #51
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TONY!

You old dog! Good dig on that pic of Frank!
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:47 PM   #52
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North Florida Adventure
Chapter 4


In The Now

As with all trips through time, we always come back to the present. The Adventure Ride thus far has been stimulating to the senses. The weather has been cool and overcast, which makes for a pleasant riding day in Florida!

And, as during anytime we wax nostalgic, something always draws us back to reality. This for me, was a series of paved roads which again led us to the Suwannee...



Which in turn led us down another paved road where we were made aware that progress even comes to rural Florida in the fashion of a big box discount store.


Pleasant would be how I would describe the remaining miles towards lunch. Rural, country and farm fresh. While riding along this herd was spotted and at least one bovine was drawn with curiosity towards the wheeled beasts that were disturbing his grazing.

What wasn't shown were the two longhorns, probably relatives visiting from Texas. These guys were huge, and the horns spanned a good 5 feet from tip to tip.




As per the instructions at the riders meeting so long ago, we were told that gas was only a mere 3 miles from lunch. So we knew we were close to a mandatory rest stop. There was also the possibility of taking a lap around the track is we made it on time, but today, we were not set on any schedule. We were finding adventure within the route and thus far, were far from disappointed.



Tucked away into the back roads and woods of North Florida lies the home of track days known far and wide...



If Rich were here, his sound meter would have been broken and he'd be sending the lot of ya'll back to your trucks to repack those pipes!


As stated earlier, our lunch destination was the track at Jennings, and as an added bonus, arrangements were made to have the adventure riders take a lap or two around the track. The next two photos are courtesy of LaurenOE...





We pull in not long after the laps were completed. No sorrow for us, we have been having one of our best rides to date. So much we have seen and experienced, and still another half a day remains!

Some of the folks right after we pulled in...


Pit row. Not something seen at dual sport or adventure events...all marques were present and accounted for, with Suzuki appearing to be the unscientific bike of preference.



We grab our lunch at the concession stand and head on over to the pits of LaurenOE who happens to be here for a track day on her Kawasaki ZX10R.

While lauren's out on the track, husband Bill makes sure we don't do many laps on the practice track laid out in front of their tent...


Lauren arrives back at the pits. While not the fastest in her class, she is one of the faster riders.


...as opposed to this guy who happens to be riding the trailer back to the pits. Or is it that riding the trailer IS the pits. I'm not sure....


The day has taken it's toll on AdventureGirl and with confidence up, she climbs aboard a track bike. It may only be a matter of time...


Our time at the track has drawn to a close as we must be continuing on our way. We say our goodbyes, gear up, and head on down the road less traveled in search of our continuing adventure. The day so far has been filled with new sights, new experiences, history coming alive, and an appreciation of things that have gone by.

Two wheels carry us away from Jennings GP, but they're carrying us onward into the unknown. What lies in wait for us is yet to be discovered. But I'm sure we'll find it on the road less traveled...



Next Up: Chapter 5...
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Old 06-16-2010, 05:10 PM   #53
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Best ride report ever! It's all about where I live! Go Swampy!
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:14 PM   #54
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North Florida Adventure
Chapter 5

Country Mouse, City Mouse

The road less traveled. I've used that phrase quite a lot during this report, but with good reason. North Florida is not as heavily populated as Central Florida, the roads have less traffic, there is nary a housing development or strip mall. We are on the outskirts, far and away in the the periphery of Florida that many do not think about, and many who are consumed with their "suburban" or "urban" settings, nver wish to venture or ridicule those that call this home.

I was raised in country like this. Rural. Small town. I can breath in a small town. Had myself a ball in a small town. Probably die in a small town. That's probably where they'll bury me. John Mellencamp hit it all on the head. The spirit, the life, the feel, the "it" of being small town.... and small towns are along the roads less traveled....

Once again dirt leads us along the way. So many things can be learned from old dirt roads...

Quote:
DIRT ROADS by Lee Pitts

What's mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved.

There's not a problem in America today; crime, drugs, education, divorce, delinquency that wouldn't be remedied, if we just had more Dirt Roads.

Because Dirt Roads give character, people that live at the end of Dirt Roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride. That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes. But it's worth it if, at the end, is home...with a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

We wouldn't have near the trouble with our educational system if our kids got their exercise walking a Dirt Road with other kids, from whom they learn how to get along.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved. Criminals didn't walk two dusty miles to rob or rape if they knew they'd be welcomed by 5 barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun. And there were no drive-by shootings.

Our values were better when our roads were worse! People did not worship their cars more than their kids. And motorists were more courteous. They didn't tailgate by riding the bumper, or the guy in front would choke you with dust & bust your windshield with rocks. Dirt Roads taught patience.

Dirt Roads were environmentally friendly. You didn't hop in your car for a quart of milk. You walked to the barn for your milk. For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

What if it rained, and the Dirt Road got washed out? That was the best part. Then you stayed home and had some family time, roasted marshmallows and popped popcorn and pony road on Daddy's shoulders and learned how to make prettier quilts than anybody.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap. Most paved roads lead to trouble.

Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.

At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August. Because if we didn't, some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

At the end of a Dirt Road, there was always extra springtime income from when city dudes would get stuck. You'd have to hitch up a team and pull them out. Usually you got a dollar...always you got a new friend... at the end of a Dirt Road.




And John Lennon reminded us how much life is like a wheel and we get caught up in it, until we learn to step back and "watch the wheels go round and round. How I love to watch them roll. No longer riding on the merry go-round, I just had to let it go..."





Adventure riding. It allows for life's reflections if you open your mind to the possibilities. Unplug the Ipod, get in the now.

Once again something caught my eye and we were once again in a forest, off the route sheet, and going places others have not been. Being open to possibilities. Grabbing opportunities. Seizing the moment.






Dirt roads can reveal things about themselves and those that have been there... open lands and remote tree lines, dense underbrush and hanging canopies. Farms, windmills and water pumps....





While agriculture is a way of life, Mrs Swampy was taken back by the realization that this was a veal farm. Once again, we have become so far removed that we even have distanced ourselves from the food chain, that sensibilities get riled when the reality of living invades our worlds.

More to come! Only 2 more Chapters!
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Old 06-17-2010, 04:03 PM   #55
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:39 PM   #56
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Just stopping by for the first time?

Start at page one and work your way through! It's a compilation of riding in Florida!

Only two chapters left of the North Florida Adventure then there's a w bunch more coming after that!

Come on! Let's ride!
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:01 PM   #57
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I am really loving this. I was at Jennings 3 weeks ago.

Thanks for showing the better side of Florida
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:21 PM   #58
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North Florida Adventure
Chapter 6

The Unexpected

As with all thing relating to motorcycling, we occasionally come across the unexpected, and sometimes the unfamiliar, when combined offer a unique perspective to the here and now in which we find our selves.

At times the roads hypnotic effects can blind you to things, until something happens that allows you to refocus on your surroundings. Usually something out of the ordinary, something which you don't see everyday in your daily life.

This sign is a sure indication that we are not in the greater Tampa Bay Area...





Farther along our path is blocked. The hi winds of this afternoon's cold front blowing threw has created a new opportunity in an area which is unfamiliar. We must detour, but to where? How?

A Deputy provides us with one answer, the "how". Where we end up will be a surprise and an adventure to look forward to!


52nd Street was the detour, just a little ways back from where we were in the middle of some "s" turns, tucked away under trees, something you'll never find unless you are looking for it.

Narrow, old pavement, yet pavement. It winds through the countryside under oak hammocks...



Detours have something to be said about them. In this case, this road wound up being some of the best 4 mile stretches of the day! It's always special when you receive a nice surprise which continues to add to an already superior day!



No hurry to get anywhere, no reason to be anywhere, just you and the road and the adventure.... what many fail to understand, is that by slowing down, it prolongs the enjoyment, and allows you to see and experience so much more throughout the ride. It gives you an opportunity to spy something and turn around, read the terrain, and wonder...



...Wonder what lies ahead....
Tucked away in nowhere, a little wayside park, probably passed by a thousand times buy people who live in the area and small enough to not be on the radar of many riders... yet important enough to sustain a community that was built around it, that it gave hope and a sens e of home to many, through good times and bad...







How many kids have played in this stream throughout the years, family picnics, lovers getaways...



During the rainy season the trickle turns to current, eating away at the limestone even more.


It's a serene place. Peacefully hidden in the trees, preserved by the county for all. Yet I wonder how many people fully appreciate the creek and it's marvel?





Falling Creek. Part of Florida many do not know exist. Far away from the megacenters, the strip malls, and other man made amusements. Tucked away in a small town, in rural America on a road less traveled. This is adventure.

At last, we come to the final chapter in this story...stay tuned!
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Old 06-18-2010, 02:34 PM   #59
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Thankx for the ride Swampster......
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Old 06-19-2010, 03:57 PM   #60
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More Please.....

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