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Old 07-17-2011, 09:23 PM   #1
coolerthanethan OP
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Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Miami, FL
Oddometer: 22
Atlantis the last shuttle mission........................

Well as I'm sure most of you know Nasa's space shuttle program has been terminated. On the 8th of July the last shuttle to launch from cape Canaveral; Atlantis took off for space precisely at it's scheduled time of 11:30a.m. Having never witnessed a shuttle launch before even after being a Florida resident of 20+ years I figured if not now never.

The plan was simple hop on I-95 Friday morning the day of the launch and haul ass north! Watch the launch grab some lunch and spend the rest of the weekend in Ocala cooling off in it's natural springs. The cape is a mere 3:30 hour drive from Miami, 3 hours or less on a bike with a heavy handed rider. My buddy Chris decided to join in on the adventure last minute. After spending the previous night setting his virgin camping ass up with all the necessary gear for a weekend of fun we rolled out of Miami dazed and confused around 7am an hour late.







As we pulled in somewhere along the intercostal in cocoa beach with a few hours to spare it seemed the circus had been called into town. Even overheard a few canadians among the clowns bragging about their 3 day drive!





If you have never seen a shuttle launch you can set your worries to rest as you never will. I won't for a second try to describe how something of this magnitude "feels" but let's just say it's something i'll never forget.





After the minute or two of wonder it looked like someone had pulled the plug on the tent and the circus was leaving town, all at the same time. After being stuck in traffic for a good hour or so we decided to grab some lunch at what used to be my favorite mid Florida burrito shack. However after receiving my $10 burrito and tasty beverage i was disappointed to find a .10 cent tortilla filled with about .30 cents worth of black beans and white rice nothing more. Dakines rest in peace!




We dashed out of cocoa beach and hit the road once again this time with the Ocala national forest in our sights. After enjoying the twisty roads (something unheard of in Miami) and passing through countless small towns frozen in time we made it to our destination. With a few hours of day light left we started hunting for a place to pitch our tents for the night. We rode through a few red clay roads and put the Triple and it's knuckle dragging rubber to the test. After a bunch of dead ends a few sand utility roads and thankfully no close calls or shattered egos we hit the jackpot!




This little gem of a lake rests in an undisclosed location which evidence suggests was left for dead by the park a long time ago. The fishing in this lake must be insane based on all the activity we heard above the water and i kicked my self in the ass multiple times for not having brought any fishing gear.

Nothing like a nice fresh water lakeside bath after a day's worth of eating pavement. Crocks? Nah man doesn't look like there are any here it's safe. HA



The next day I discovered old gator tracks a mere 50ft from where we were.


Street triple in the woods. :grin:





Lot's of nightly critters but surprisingly not a lot of mosquitoes even with all the humidity and recent rain. However ticks on the other hand were another story.





Sunrise by the lake; magic!






Getting familiar with my Florida fungi after a nice walk.





After about 2 hours waiting for my buddy Chris to pack his shit we rolled into the first spring of the morning. Salt springs. My second favorite out of the bunch and always a great way to start the day. $5.50 gets you in and they even have hot showers if you happen to be a dirty traveling biker. General rule with all the springs in the park; the earlier the less people, avoid weekends. After soaking in the incredible natural freeze your balls off spring water for a few we hoped on the scooters and hit the road.





Next stop was Silver Glen springs and wouldn't you know semi-evolved apes and their screaming offspring everywhere!





We left all our camping gear at the lake packed up in our dry sacks hidden and camouflaged. It was a lot easier to get around the park from spring to spring and no worrying about anyone messing with our bags.





Since it was Saturday the crowds were getting heavy at the spring so we decided to head back to camp and spend the rest of the day being lazy by the lake. After being dry the first day and a half our luck finally ran out. Although personally the rain was a welcomed sight as the temp index under the cloud covered sky must have been in the upper 90’s.







Tarp, never leave home with out it!





The sunset that day over the lake was out of sight! The rest of the night was spent toking the pipe, putting down a few beers and talking shit.







Sunday morning we ate breakfast packed up our shit, loaded the bikes and headed off to the last spring on the way out of the park. Since Chris is a slow packer I had enough time to snap some shots of some angry lizards and geckos battling it out near our breakfast area over a tree.









After hitting the twisty roads in the park we finally made it to the last spring and my personal favorite Alexander springs.





After a nice cool dip to start the morning we decided to hit the road and regretfully start heading back to Miami. We worked our way over to US.27 one of my favorite FL roads via SR 42 which i highly recommend and got confronted with tons of water falling from the sky. It got to the point where visibility was zero and every cage was out for our blood so we decided to seek refuge in a Dennys filled with senior citizens grab some lunch and wait it out. The trip south on 27 was pretty uneventful say for an almost tornado.





before we knew it we were pulling off into a wendy’s in Clewiston for a leg stretch and a drink.



We hopped back on 27 and soon enough we were waist high in shit dodging soccer moms and pricks on their cell phones and SUV’s on I-75. Home sweet home.
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