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Old 03-18-2014, 11:00 AM   #1
His Pistolship OP
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Idaho or D.C.
Oddometer: 417
The TET that never was...Key West, FL.

Hey All,

The following RR is mostly based on an un-scouted dirt route from Ocean Pond Camp Ground (Olustee, FL) to Key West, FL, as produced by Northern Traveler. This route was originally to be included in the Trans Eastern Trail (TET), but for various reasons was omitted from the final release. As such, this route was never scouted. All in all, this was an excellent trip.

Last spring break I did the Trans Eastern Trail - South, or TET-S (RR included in my sig below). Ocean Pond Campground is a stop on the southern portion of TET-S, thus it is the starting point of this un-scouted route to Key West.

Here are a few appetizers:

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Old 03-18-2014, 11:27 AM   #2
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Location: Bellingham
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It's 40F and raining here. Please, more pictures.
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Old 03-18-2014, 11:37 AM   #3
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Heard there are some dead ends....


HoW (ForeverWest) 2014 CO/UT 2013
Northern Rockies 2013 IBA Key West 2014 Tentspace
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:23 PM   #4
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Location: Idaho or D.C.
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Originally Posted by DYNOBOB View Post
Heard there are some dead ends....


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Old 03-18-2014, 01:28 PM   #5
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Idaho or D.C.
Oddometer: 417
Day 1:

It was just above freezing in Alexandria, VA when I took off. It rained almost the whole day. There was a pretty intense rain/hail front that traversed North Carolina and South Carolina. I made it down to Brunswick, GA and decided to stop for the night.

The next day I made my way down to Olustee, FL and Ocean Pond Camp Ground. I couldn't park my truck at the actual campground, but the camp folks told me to go to the other side of the lake to the boat docks. They said I could park my truck there for an extended time. I just had to pay $3 per night.

When I was unloading my bike the camp host of the boat dock area came up to speak to me. His name is Mike and he and his wife are nomadic retiree's who volunteer at Dept. of the Interior camp sites all over the nation (including National Parks, Forests, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Reclamation). He is a Texas boy and made his fortune owning and operating a telecom hardware installation company. He's travelled all over the world.

After he found out what I was up to he recommended that I park my truck on his campsite behind his outfit. He didn't think it would be bothered in the parking lot, but nevertheless he offered to have me park it behind his stuff. This was awesome. We chatted for an hour or so and exchanged numbers. I told him I would be back in one week. He told me to call him if I needed anything. What a super nice couple.

(When I did the TET-S I parked my truck at a busy truck stop on the SC/GA border for a whole week. No one messed with it there, so I wasn't really worried parking my truck anywhere, but it was still nice to be able to have someone watch over it, and to park it under some shade.)

The Dunlop 908's were at their half life. The front would wear out prematurely on this trip because I had it underinflated (11 lbs) and there were many stops and starts on pavement on this trip. The rear wears like iron. I love these tires. They are 6 ply and stout as hell. They are great on everything, but especially soft stuff. After they are wore in they can corner pretty good on pavement too. I don't know why so many people poo poo the front. I think it is a great tire. I just had it underinflated for 500 miles and did lots of stopping on pavement in that time frame. Before this trip started I had about 2 k miles on these tires. (After this trip the rear now has 3500 miles with life still left in it.)

There was plenty of dirt on the day, and most of it was actually wet sand. I had plenty of traction, but I would hit lots of soft spots where the bike would bog down a bit. It had rained the whole previous week. I really like sand roads, and the 908's did awesome.

It was sort of an odd day though. I turned down a road that I thought was national Forest property. Turns out it was private. While I was trying to exit the road around a closed gate (open gate at the entrance and no signs, pretty standard nf stuff) the property owner showed up with a couple of fellas. They were country folk and they weren't happy. They were sort of jerks about it. I was there by accident and there were no signs. I said sorry and they grumbled. Once they saw my plate (Idaho) they grumbled again and began to lecture me with an attitude. I said sorry again and rode off. That was it. They should have locked both gates and had signs at both sides.

When I entered the little town of Waldo I saw the most peculiar speed trap. Three three patrol cars and two cops in a sperate little golf cart. They were set up at an intersection, and the cops in the cart were just ahead with a radar gun. The cart had flashing police lights too. The guys in the cart would laze poor people (on a blind corner no less with 25 mph limit) and follow them to the intersection where they would direct them to a gas station on the corner where the other officers would write a ticket. It was quite the process.

Anyway, I stopped to get gas at that corner station and the police were doing a DUI agility test on these two fellas. After a really long time the two guys passed the test and the cops let them go. One of the guys started wailing/crying and he walked over by me and put his hands over his face and knelled down and sobbed some more. His buddy was gloating about knowing how to deal with the cops: "yeah, I told you I knew how to deal with the police...yeah." The gas station owner came out and told the two to leave.

Apparently the Waldo speed trap is notorious throughout all Florida; I met a guy from Key West who knew about it. What's funny, as I was leaving Bob's Rib Shack I forgot where I was and went 35 mph though the same speed trap. When I saw the two officers in the golf cart, the one looked at his radar gun, then looked at me, then looked at his partner. His partner looked back and shook his head "no." They didn't pull me over for some reason. I waved at them. I think they remembered me from earlier when I was getting gas during their outrageously long sobriety test.

Bobs Rib Shack in Waldo, FL. Great fried Grouper here.

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Old 03-18-2014, 08:18 PM   #6
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Joined: Jan 2012
Location: NOVA
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well this looks like fun.

"While it may be to early to drink scotch, it is never to early to think about drinking scotch."

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Old 03-18-2014, 09:32 PM   #7
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Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Dirty South... FloRyda
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This should be good. Right in my backyard. I'm in

Yep... Waldo is known all over Florida for their little Speed trap. They even have a huge billboard on 301 warning folks about it. Needless to say, they probably have some good end of year parties off the proceeds
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Old 03-19-2014, 07:08 AM   #8
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Joined: Aug 2010
Location: Prescott Ontario, Canada
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Hey HP - thanks for making this RR.
My gf's father has a place near Fort Lauderdale and I'd like to review riding opportunities around that area.
What if there were no more hypothetical questions?
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Old 03-19-2014, 08:09 AM   #9
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Location: The Big Mitten
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Ride report

Thanks for doing the ride report - I told you it would be interesting and probably some issues.... LOL!

That private road was my fault - the county road map showed the county road going west to a corner, then you go south and are good.
When I converted the route to an auto route to create the tracks, Mapsource cut the corner on that private road and when I reviewed it I didn't catch that it had done that. Oops!

Really liked that pic of the beach.... this winter has been REALLY long!
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Old 03-19-2014, 11:21 AM   #10
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Joined: Oct 2005
Location: 3rd Ring of Buzztopia
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Cool. Always looking for more dirt alternatives for covering distance down here.

The chief of Waldo police was called Waldo Willie ages ago-- dunno if Willie's still there but the speedtrap BS there has been well-known for decades
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Old 03-19-2014, 01:49 PM   #11
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Location: drowning in the empire's legislation....
Oddometer: 15

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Old 03-19-2014, 02:01 PM   #12
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Joined: Jul 2013
Location: Bottom of Grand Lake Ohio
Oddometer: 296
Being an Old South Florida

guy...who grew up in Venice back in the 1950s through Early this stuff, Florida has changed so much{and not much for the better} it is good to see some still out of the way the Glades and the sournding areas of Monroe Station and Loop Road, when I get down that way.

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Old 03-19-2014, 05:24 PM   #13
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Location: East Bay
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Sounds good! Lived for a bit in Key West (thank you Uncle Sam!) and want to go back some day.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:36 PM   #14
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: Virginia
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Looks like a good report to keep up with during this long winter. I forgot what a beach looked like with all the snow.
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Old 03-20-2014, 01:16 PM   #15
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Joined: Sep 2011
Location: Idaho or D.C.
Oddometer: 417
Day Two:

Day 2, Waldo to Lakeland, FL. It was a great day. 75 deg and sunny...75 mph dirt roads...lots of friendly people... water crossings that nearly swallowed me whole...2 hours of dead ends that only rerouted into other dead ends, in a overstretched chain that I had to adjust 4 times...a hawk almost hit me in the face at 60 mph (no joke, I had to lean off the bike like Indiana Jones, it missed me by inches, they like bright lights)... I swam in a pool.

(The above is a post to my facebook.)

Don't ever buy Volar chains! They are rubbish. This chain had less than 500 miles on it, but I was adjusting it about every 30 miles. Bogus stuff. I think I spent another day on this chain, but it was total garbage. It started to kink on me too. I replaced the chain with an EK Japanese chain and didn't have to adjust it once in the last 800 miles of the trip, and it was a brand new chain.

The Ocala NF is awesome. This dirt road went for 20 or 30 miles it seemed. Sand was pretty firm due to recent rain, but there were soft spots around. I just kept it at 70 or 75 mph on these roads. A guy in a dune buggy was stopped at an intersection. I passed him going about 70 and he decided to try to catch me. He only caught me when I stopped to upload the next gps track. We chatted for about an hour in the middle of nowhere. Turns out he is a multimillionaire land developer who now resides in the Keys. He is 42 and retired. He has a house that borders the Ocala NF. We talked about the government closing down the park and forest lands. While I was talking to him I looked at my chain and noticed it was super loose, so I adjusted it as we talked some more. When we finally took off he followed me for about ten miles then we parted. He was a super nice guy. He didn't want me to take a pic of him, so I just took a pic of his ride. The temps felt about like 85 while we were stopped in the middle of the forest. There are tons of dirt/sand roads in the Ocala NF. What a fun place.

I came across some prescribed burns, and the sand started to get a little deep and soft, but I was just floating above it. Man, that is fun stuff. I love sand. The Dunlop 908's were awesome.

Later on the route took me into a state park called Green Swamp. There were some awesome dirt/sand roads down here...and tons of water crossings. The water is deep black so you can't see the bottom; this made for some fun surprises... like don't hesitate or die surprises. Some were 6 inches deep and smooth, others were close to 3 feet deep with ledges. I hit one (pictured below) that came up over my air box (water mark on my bag is a witness mark). When this happened I just gunned it and powered my way out. On another "puddle" I went in then the bottom fell out of it; I smacked the face of this steep ledge. I flew forward to the handle bars and pushed my gps and mirror all the way forward. Luckily I had the instinct to whack the throttle. I made it out just fine.

The Husky airbox is cleverly designed. The sponge has a large surface area and then it has what looks like a pooling area before the air box climbs up to the air intake. It is a pretty good system.

Anyway, in the Green Swamp state park I kept running into this private ranch/farm. There was barbed wire and gates and the like. I spent a couple of hours farting around on the many other dirt roads, but they all kept hitting this huge ranch. Many little roads turned into pig paths but I kept going anyway just for the fun of it. I eventually just bypassed the whole state park and hooked up with the route again some 15 miles later before coming into Lakeland. I had a fun swim in the hotel pool then got some five guys then went to bed. A nice swim at the end of a long day on the bike feels good.

Some of the other pics show my "tool kit holder" and more chain adjustments. At least I was stopped in 70 deg weather with a nice breeze of country air. Sometimes I just stopped and stood there and took in the silence and the little birdies.

Groves of some sort:

I thought the name of this gas station was funny. The actual name was something like "Quik Stop" but it seemed like "Not for city boys" was more appropriate. Lots of country folk here. I come from Idaho but I still felt out of place here. Ocala NF came after this stop, just down the road.

This road went on for nearly the whole length of the NF, like 30 miles or so.

He was pretty blown away by how fast I was going. He couldn't keep up when we took off again.

Prescribed burns and deeper sand. WEEEEEEE......

Take a guess? How deep? There were about 15 of these on the day, each with its own character.

This was another dead end in Green Swamp State Forest. Sweet little paths though.

Aftermath of one particularly precarious pond.

Adjusting chain again. I just stood here for a while. It was so peaceful and warm.

His Pistolship screwed with this post 03-20-2014 at 01:28 PM
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