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Old 03-06-2015, 06:19 PM   #1
conchscooter OP
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Riding The Everglades

David from Montreal was staying with relatives in Ft Lauderdale and his break out plan was to rent a Harley from Eaglerider and ride A1A up the coast in search of beaches and bikinis.


Because I am a spoilsport I suggested we instead ride the Everglades. He's never seen them, he rides a Vespa at home and he was renting a 700 pound Dyna Switchback to see if a cruiser might be in his future. Handling the beast in stop and go traffic seemed like a bum idea to me, especially for a newbie, and as I was the local guide I also knew i had no desire to spend the day crawling in stop-and-go traffic. Even with, or especially because of, bikinis.


The joy of the open road was the plan here.

So I led him on my 2007 Bonneville out of the city on I-595 to Highway 27 south and from there to the Tamiami (Tampa-Miami) Trail also known as Highway 41. Turning west at the Miccosukee Indian gambling hotel a tortoise was busy crossing the highway. I would have stopped but I wasn't riding alone and traffic was intense. He seemed to do okay, head up plodding swiftly and forcing traffic to slow. My plan was to gas up at the little Indian gas station, one of the few I knew which had not gone automated. Actually scratch that, modern times have reached this little backwater and I with my smaller tank got gas with no human interaction.
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:34 PM   #2
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February Everglades Ride



Visitors usually like to see alligators when they come to south Florida so I figured the Loop Road would work. It did and David got his obligatory alligator picture.


Loop Road is 26 miles long and only the first eight are paved and I knew we weren't ready for gravel just yet.

I marveled at how small my Bonneville seemed compared to the Harley, 200 pounds heavier.

Loop Road has half a dozen homes actually in Monroe County, whose county seat is Key West, left over from a time when mainland Florida was swampy and uninhabitable and Key West was the largest city in peninsula Florida.

It doesn't look much like the Keys here!
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Old 03-06-2015, 06:52 PM   #3
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Tamiami Trail

The advent of the automobile required improved communications in South a Florida and Barron Collier persuaded ($$$?) Floruda to give him the concession to build a road from Tampa to Miami. The end bits were there, the hard part was driving a road bed across the swampy section in the middle, all 100 miles of it. They did it, Florida took the road back and called it US Highway 41.



The canal alongside the road was littered with wildlife including more alligators than I've seen previously basking in the dun, after the recent freezing spell that struck mainland Florida. Alongside the alligators we see Angler Americanus hunting while at risk of being hunted himself by passing 18 wheelers:


We stopped off at Clyde Butcher's gallery (www.clydebutcher.com/) my favorite photographer.

Complete with his resident alligator.


From here we swapped bikes and David had a chance to ride a motorcycle with the standard riding position. I have long admired the Switchback, a smaller version of the Road King behemoth which I like but from a distance. I found the thirty mile ride to lunch interesting and it explained why so many riders prefer Harleys for long straight roads in Flatistan, but the feet forward position feels odd to me when I like to feel connected to the bike not simply plunked on top of it.
David at Cafe Havana in Chokoloskee:



82 degrees American, 28 degrees Canadian is hot for a Northerner.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:06 PM   #4
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Lunch in Chokoloskee



Cafe Havana offered Cuban mix and Roast pork so we shared.



Ready to go. I think he's getting into this actual geared motorbike thing:



Rain started to spit out of a cloudy sky but we pressed on soon getting dry as the sun returned. David was having his own private kittens up in front of me as he had taken on no gas since leaving Ft Lauderdale and we had 30 miles to go to the Miccosukee gas station on I-75, Alligator Alley. We made it just fine though his gas gauge was showing below empty.
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Old 03-06-2015, 07:21 PM   #5
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Snake Road

I had previously told David about the "twistiest road" in Florida, but this is
Flatistan so one shouldn't expect too much. The speed limit is 45 and the tribal police are active so you have been warned.

David took off like the proverbial off a stick and I left him to it. I figured I had converted one more civilian to the dark side, and I have been riding since 1970 trying to convince others this is the way to travel.




From there we parted with a handshake and I went south on 27 to Homestead and the Keys while David went back to Eaglerider in good time to return the Switchback.
My Frogg Toggs got good use that night on a Krome Avenue picking my way through the rain and agricultural vehicles in the darkness.


The rain cleared up by the time I got to the Keys and the Overseas Highway. It was a good dry ride home for the last 90 minutes in the dark on US 1 and all it's numerous bridges.
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Old 03-08-2015, 06:45 PM   #6
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Looks like a great adventure. I have lived in West Florida (P'cola area), but never been to the Everglades.
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Old 03-08-2015, 09:03 PM   #7
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Thanks for posting....it was 96 since my ride from Az to Key West and back.
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Old 03-09-2015, 03:52 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting that Michael.

I couldn't have asked for a better guide.

Riding that Harley as an introduction to shifting was a tall order. Knowing I had a seasoned rider close by made all the difference.
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Old 03-09-2015, 07:13 PM   #9
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It was a good day.
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Old 03-16-2015, 07:59 PM   #10
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Looks like great fun!


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Old 03-23-2015, 08:30 PM   #11
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Florida is a subtle state. You have to see what's there and it's not always obvious!
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