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Old 06-20-2010, 12:26 PM   #61
Swampy OP
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Final Chapter: North Florida Adventure

North Florida Adventure
Chapter 8

The Reflection

Towards the end of any journey, time is needed to stop and reflect about what has happened. Every journey should change a person, spiritually perhaps, or even possibly appreciatively as to what they have learned.

A journey does not need to be months long, span continents, or even cross the country. A journey is travel, and travelers are part of the story, and they're the ones who reflect and tell the tales of the experience of the journey.

Reflection is a look into one's own soul and finding meaning in the experience. Some of these experiences are personal, some are shared. Today, I just happened to share it all with my wife.

Which leads us to relationships and the bonds that form relationships. The bonds of where you've been together and where you are going. Today we experienced those bonds, but they were bonds from other people, in other times, in other places and those experiences have influenced us, in some small way. Today was a lesson on appreciation. Appreciation of the past and of the present, of what was and what is. Of what used to be and who they were. Of now and the present, in this place, this locale, this section of North Florida.

Leaving Falling Creek we spied a small cemetery across the way. Once again a chance to meet people who were here long before, and who have since left, yet they continue to influence those around them.

Rivers Cemetery was not on the route sheet. Once again, spontaneity and observation provide the opportunity to meet the pioneers of the state in which we live. The bloodlines are still present in this area. It must be pride to know that you are descended from the first settlers, and that your name carries history with it.



AdventureGirl pays her respects.






Just up the road a tick, tucked behind some pines lies another jewel. Once again, not formally on the route, yet still available to those who look. Clues to this church were given in the information sign back in Falling Creek park.



The history of the church.




A church this old, carefully taken care of. No defacing or evidence of disrespectful actions. Just peaceful solace tucked in the pines....

Please notice the twin doors. It was customary in the day that men entered through one, and women entered through the other.



AdventureGirl tries the door knob and opens the door. Living part of history, entering where other women have entered so long ago.



The church is open to the public. And yet, while sitting peacefully in the pines, not one sign of of graffiti, name carving, or disrespect is evident anywhere on the structure or the land that surrounds it.






If you are curious, you can still attend services in this church. A living piece of history. A link to the past, a shared activity with those who came before.



Some of the folks who have gone before who rest here on the church grounds....


















The stories that each one could tell, from wash boards and chores, to fighting the Yanks to preserve a way of life, to being of a different race and culture, yet married into a new one. The stories of their lives, their day to day activities. What could they have been? Rabbit or deer in the pot on the fire, perhaps eating jerky and hardtack on the long march to Antietam. Perhaps stories of scorn and ridicule for not being the "same" as the other in this small town so long ago. What were their lives like? We can only sit back and wonder.

Another dirt road and we are soon back at our hotel. The day was full of sights, sounds, smells, and adventure. History came alive through architecture, dirt paths, and cemeteries of those who were here long before the interstate came through.

A total of the miles we've covered today. From smooth pavement to dirt roads. Broken asphalt to sand.. Gravel to a a full-on race track. We covered it all, just the way it should be.



My buddy Bert says "Adventure is where you find it."

I find that a true statement. If you are in the right frame of mind, open to the possibilities, and be aware of your surroundings, you can find adventure. It doesn't jump out at you. There are no flashing neon signs, nor are there billboards pointing the way.

Adventure is a state of mind.

It's also a metaphor for life itself. Life is about the journey, the activities we do, the places we visit, the times we spend in reflection of our lives.

For some, today was viewed as just a ride.

For me, it was another page written in the book of my life.

And what a book it will be when it's finished.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Hope ya'll enjoyed the North Florida Adventure...


Now...... What shall I post next....hummm.... let me think.....
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:38 PM   #62
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Simply amazing

i just realized I've been sitting here for an hour reading this incredible story about the state I now call home. I have been trying to make extra time to DS ride more and I think I've found my needed inspiration... Many of these roads look very familiar, some on street bike and some on DS. Thanks again, maybe catch up with some of you someday....... Steve
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:52 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swampy
So...

While it's off the beaten path for most folks, if you live in Pinellas County, chances are you've never been here.

Visit the park, relax, maybe do a little fishin'...
We were just there a couple weekends ago. She's been here her whole life and never heard of it. Great park! We even saw some baby armadillos right by our picnic spot.
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Old 06-25-2010, 06:14 AM   #64
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Philippe Park

Man! I haven't seen that in ages, my mom used to live just down the road from there and we did countless picnics and boat trips out of there. I probably rode a couple thousand miles on bicycles in there too.

Great stuff and a wonderful RR.

I've been in FL most of my life growing up around the bay area and now up here in NEFL. I gotta get out and explore more of this area now that I have a good DS mount.
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Old 06-25-2010, 09:27 AM   #65
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Great Thread. We tend to forget sometimes where we come from.
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:54 PM   #66
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Thumb Thanks for making me home sick Swampy!

Nice thread!! Looking forward getting home and making freinds with the 950 again.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:02 PM   #67
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Thanks guys! It is a wonderful thing to explore your own backyard....

As we say in DixieDualSport: Adventure is where you find it!

Here comes some more....
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:23 PM   #68
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This next report is special.

It's about a special group of people, coming together for a special little girl.

A group of people I am proud to be associated with. People with big hearts....The people of DixieDualSport.

This is a 3 part story....







----------------------------------------------------------------

Stephanie's Ride
The Day Begins


0600. Dark and cool. Dew covers everything outside. Yet we are comfy and snug in our room at the Best Western!

Which leads us to breakfast (which is included in the room rate!) at 0700 down in the dining room as the sun starts it's rise...

Which then leads us to setting up the sign-in area right in front of the hotel in what will be a glorious day!

krlos was the first to arrive and others began to arrive shortly after... it surely was beginning to get brighter today!

No wait...... it was DRIVERS jacket!



L-R: Donco, finally back from his injury, jwcivc from Valdosta, and krlos from orlando....


geohound makes the scene with her freshly re-tired XT225...



XRDan was questioning DRIVER about the power source on the jacket, something about possibly using it in a new hybrid and getting some Obama-bucks for the idea! Notice the glare from DRIVER's jacket coming off XRDan's shirt...




Suzuki's, BMW's, Triumphs, Kawasakis, KTMs, Hondas, Harleys, man there were all types of bikes....



L-R: Bert with the Devil's Creek shirt on, Andy (kawazukimaha), and Bob Mehl shootin the breeze in the mornin sun...



Chad Skiles showed up on his 690 Duke...



Now how often to you get to see a RGV250? Sweeeeeet 2-stroke!


Karl showed up on his retro-Duc.... folks bring out "the other bike" in the garage for rides like this!



...and everyone likes to talk bikes....



For those that love a little British iron...



A big thanks to the crew at Tampa bay RATs (Triumph riders) and Tampa Bay BMW for making a showing.... a good group as well! A good cause brings out good people.



Doesn't Ron Brown look like a kid in 3rd grade trying to paste together his art project? Don't eat the paste, Ronne!



Just a coupla DixieChicks, DRIVERs better-half Emma (who rides a TW200 and a Ducati Monster) and the XT225 ridin' Samantha....



MrGuns making those last minute calls. Afterall, he was gonna be seeing some cool roads, better check in now!



Everyone was told not to say a word about about it when they reached lunch. We had to keep the secret...

...and one last shot at directions and bail-outs... and yes, that is yet another rider with the same taste in outer wear as DRIVER.... so technically if they stood together... they could probably generate enough power to light a small city.... maybe Gainesville....



So it's off to the riding. AdventureGirl grabbed the truck and headed off to pick up the food and get to Motorcycle Enthisiasts KTM/Triumph in Springhill, while I joined Bert, Bob, Andy, and Guns for a ride through the countryside....



Yes, THIS is a good day...

Let's continue...
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Old 07-01-2010, 04:58 PM   #69
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Let's bring ya'll up to speed on this ride...

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stephanie is 12 years old. She is a fraternal twin. Her sister was born a normal healthy child, Stephanie was not. She was born with Spina Bifida. Stephanie was not to live to see her first birthday let alone her 12th.

There are 5 kids in this household. She gets around by wheelchair or crawls on the floor. Smart as a whip, never misses a beat and still has a bit of a rough road ahead of her. This year she has made honor roll. The family would love to get her a bike but unfortunately it was not in the budget.

It is time for her to start riding bikes with her siblings.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ride For Stephanie Part 2

So DDS stepped up to the plate and organized a fun day of street and adventure riding to help a girl get a bike.

Some couldn't make it and donated ahead of time. But one thing is certain: the folks of DDS have the biggest hearts of anyone!

...and let's continue the story....


So we clean up the registration area, give the tables back to the Best Western, send AdventureGirl on her way, and the last bikes out were myself, Bert, Bob Mehl, Andy and Guns.

So the nice part about something like this is that a friend from far away gets to ride your neighborhood, so you can take them out and show them what's around....

Bert said: "Let's take him to the RollerCoaster" so off we went!



After doing all the curvy roads up to the Coaster, then doing the Coaster twice and seeing Guns smiling under his helmet, we took him around Lake McKeathon Park....



A short single lane paved road that loops around the park. Very scenic wouldn't you agree....






A Band of Brothers....


We made our own route, primarily because we left so late but wanted to get a little riding in before we made it to the shop....

While our riding above was going on, AdventureGirl snapped these pics back at the shop while people were pulling in....




The band. I'm told they were quite good.



Here's a bike that not only gets it's oil changed, but Terminex comes and does a termite inspection every year!


L-R: I forgot this guys name, but on the R is Greg Johnson. His job is setting up powerchairs and bikes like the one we got for Stephanie...


More of them there Harley-Davidsons...



...and what's a group of riders to do but sit back and shoot the bull!



Ron Brown and John Rhodemeyer...


Here's McGillicuddy getting some food!



Scott Littles and his lovely wife drove all the way down from Gainesville just to help out and work the grill. Great people is what DDS is made of.



Two generations of Fischers....


This is the required "Where's Ralph" photo. See now, Dottie doesn't quite trust us everytime we go riding. Well, doesn't trust Ralph anyway. Something to do with topless Bingo parlors or such, I'm not sure. But Dottie came along to keep an eye on him this time!

Here they are with Andy and Samantha...



Austrian and Bavarian....



We even let this homeless guy in... wait... err... that's Bob Mehl...



DRIVER and his much, much better half Emma.


Folks chowin down....



Once again, someone has to raise their hand to use the rest room. You can go when Dan comes back.



Carlos to the left, new guy John to the right





Ladies and gentlemen, meet Miss Stephanie



Now meet Miss Stephanie gettin her DDS On!


I'll wait a little for the next post.... go get a box of Kleenex...
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:58 PM   #70
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Kleenex ready Swampy.

and I was there the first time!
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Old 07-03-2010, 11:32 AM   #71
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Stephanie's Ride: Final Chapter

Stephanie's Ride Part 3
It's All About Ridin'

As motorcyclist, we always like the ride, and sometimes we run across people who don't have the opportunity to enjoy the ride.

One of the mantras at DDS has always been that it's about the people, and people make the ride.

Today was no exception.

I got to ride with some wonderful people on scenic country roads on a sunny clear blue sky filled spring day in Florida. How lucky I am.

And the people who have gathered today to enjoy a ride and each others company have come together for a ride, not ours, but someone who has never experienced the thrill of the ride. Here we all are, making this happen. How lucky I am to be associated with these people.

This is a special bike. It was custom made for a special girl. She was measured and fitted, the specs were sent off to the factory where technicians built this bike, not knowing who it was for, but they were there for a reason. To build this bike for a special little girl. It all comes together, doesn't it?



Yet this bike has been kept a secret for over 2 months. No one let the cat out of the bag. At the riders meeting this morning I reinforced that with everyone, that Stephanie had no clue, and that we needed to keep it that way.

And everyone came through with the surprise.


Stephanie was chosen to pull raffle tickets for folks to get prizes.... little does she know....



Behind Stephanie, we slowly build a wall with people so that there can be no glimpses of a surprise from the girl upfront...



Here I am setting it up with Rick. This is gonna work...



Stephanie is still calling numbers for the raffle. the prizes are dwindling away to none...



We sneak the bike out of the shop...


Ron Brown keeps Stephanie distracted, wondering if there was at least one more prize for someone to win...


The bike arrives... look at the surprise on her face....


The sunglasses come off as it starts to sink in. Ron tells her to go on over and see HER bike!


Notice the excitement & disbelief on her face... as the tears start to swell from happiness...


Once again, she reflects through her tears about the gift she's received....


With a little assistance, she's up and riding! Just look at that face! That is a face that is experiencing the thrill of the ride for the first time!



Still the disbelief is there as she stops and looks at everyone.


You tell me in all honesty that none of these guys had a tear a few minutes ago. If you look closely, to a person, everyone is smiling. It was a special feeling in that parking lot....


...and a special girl has a special bike. And that special bike instills a sense of freedom during the ride. I think we're all familiar with that feeling....


...and so a girl goes, on her bike, expanding her world...


Yes.


It was a good day.
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Old 07-06-2010, 05:12 PM   #72
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Sweet!

Both my and my wifes family had places in Fla., the in laws were actually in NPR. I wish I'd had a chance to ride down there, lots of beautiful shots. I had kin in Thonotosassa too, talk about the middle of nowhere! Can't beat it!(Hope I spelled it right!) Use to be nothing out there but Orange Groves, haven't been there in years, get a shot or two if you get out that way, purty please! Stay safe, not clean!I posted the 1st part of this early on, you guys rock, very cool what you did for Stephanie! Y'all weren't the only one with a tear in your eye, I'm man enough to admit it! DAMN GOOD JOB!

slowpoke69 screwed with this post 07-06-2010 at 08:03 PM
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Old 07-07-2010, 07:15 PM   #73
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Yup...That was really a great day.
Robert, Have you heard back from them lately?
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Old 07-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #74
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It's not just every day when the fun of a ride is overshadowed by the happenings at the end destination. Good times for sure. And the route there was great. I've made it a point to revisit some of the scenic spots I liked best. Good times !
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Old 07-09-2010, 05:13 PM   #75
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GOOD MORNIN' LAKE CITY!

After yet another breakfast at the Huddle House we all showed up to do it again on Sunday!








Here's Joel and AdventureGirl...



Just another band of roaming lunatics...

Oh yeas, and Dottie, this one is to prove that Ralph was
once again riding with us and NOT at the topless bingo parlor....
come to think of it...
I didn't see any one of these guys after the start?



Angie, Brad, and the Submarine Commander!





Craig Custer & Rob Robinson...



Gary Platt and his Blue Angel.... he has riding that bike everywhere!



...and here's AdventureGirl kickin it up a notch!




HEY! It's Saskatoon Mike!



Craig and Rob pulling in to another section....



AdventureGirl slicin and dicin'!



Rob Robinson...



Guy on a blue DRZ....



Angie on her KLX...



AdventureGirl waitin on me!



What a great day to be in the woods!



Funny who you run into in the woods!



What a lovely couple! What's that behind them? Oh...... a big waterhole that everyone, except one rider on a 950, went around.... Hummm..... wonder who THAT coulda been....



Two groups at a rest break...



AdventureGirl gettin the groove...




Now this long straight had a puddle in the left track and AdventureGirl was in the right track, but she has some crazy story about some guy on a big orange KTM coming by and splashing her leaving her soaked. I say she's probably a bit delusional. Who'd do something like that? That's just plain rude! If I ever find the guy riding that big KTM...



Coming out of the woods before gas before lunch.....



About a mile or so from lunch... here's Bill Whalen who was ridin with Rich Bumar, they were backtracking because Rich lost his keys and they were tryin to find 'em. Now THAT's funny!



...and at lunch, of course we were last... but AdventureGirl wanted a picture of her dirty KLX to show ya'll!


And that's it for the Swampy & AdventureGirl pics from riding at Lake City!

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