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Old 05-04-2013, 07:11 PM   #16
Lori_Q
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Worried...

It is after 9:00 EDT and I have not yet heard from my loose-chained husband. The BMW dealership in Plantation, FL, said they can inspect and adjust the F800's chain on Monday, but chain and sprocket replacement would have to wait until Tuesday due to a part delivery.

The valets here at the W Fort Lauderdale will let him park his bike in the motorcycle area of the porte cochere, and charge $30 for the privilege, but at least it will be where they can keep an eye on it. Assuming Doug and his bike aren't upended in a swamp in northern Florida, being munched on by an alligator. Or three.

Updated to add: Doug is tired but safely tucked into a hotel in Daytona Beach. Ride report coming soon!

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Old 05-05-2013, 11:06 AM   #17
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waiting around to die

May 5, otherwise known as the fifth of May. *I wake up at 5:45 am and decide it makes sense to get up and get as many miles behind me before the freeway gears up into full death dealing capacity. *I have about 240 miles to go to Fort Lauderdale. * I should be there by 10.

It is raining yet again, but it is very light. * I pass an exit sign for Jupiter and I think I have come farther than I realized. *The freeway does remain largely abandoned until I get close to palm beach. * I have to stop once for gas.

And then about ten miles from the exit I need, the freeway signs say that I 95 outh bound is closed at some avenue whose name I do not now recally. * You have GOT to be fracking kidding me! * I think it cant be true as we are still goiing along, but *sure enough about a mile out from that avenue, dead stop. * It takes me about a half an hour to get to an exit. * Hot tired, and thoroughly done with Florida, I take another half an hour on surface streets trying to find the hotel, but now I am safely at the W in Fort Lauderdale.

We unloaded the bike. * We went for a swim in the ocean, and when I went to get the keyboard that I had forgotten on the bike, I found a nail in the rear tire. * Shit. *I have never taken the pre-ride inspection all that seriously but those days are over, * I am going to inspect the tires at the very least on every ride now. * Jesus. * I am hoping it stays firm enough to ride it the four miles to the BMW dealer tomorrow. *It looks like I may have avoided eternity more narrowly than I thought.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:35 PM   #18
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FMFDOC and Timbercat, thanks for reading and commenting. FotoTEX, yeah I probably should not break balls about the Smokies. They were beautiful, and even the Rockies in Denver are kind of wimpy compared to what you see in British Columbia. Sorry for late replies, but it is difficult to do much more than ride and do the trip reports. I am taking a very few photos but had planned to take a lot. I will try to go through the process of uploading a few soon.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:03 PM   #19
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Doug ill watch your progress to see if our paths cross during after the 18th.
Enjoy your swim and hopefully the tire pressure will hold for tomorrow.
Ride Safe when you can.
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Old 05-06-2013, 09:28 AM   #20
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We had dinner last night with some freinds who raid with me in WOW. * We had fun.

Took my bike in to the BMW shop. *They need to overnight a chain and a sprocket, so we are trapped in the hell of the Ft Lauderdale W Hotel for another day. *Life is hard. * ...goinig for a swim. * We may cook dinner in our room tonight rather than eating out.

It will also give me the opportunity to lift weights for a bit.

The hotels worked with us to shift reservations here and in Key West even though we were past the cancellation window.

BMW mechanic guy said he has never seen a chain as bad as mine, and he was surprised I made it.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:09 AM   #21
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Helmets



More later when i get a wifi connection.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:50 AM   #22
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May 7:

We are waiting around to hear from the BMW shop about my motorcycle. * They needed to overnight the chain and sprocket, so we have no real idea when those willl come in, and the shop was pretty booked, so we are not sure when they will finish. * If we do not hear from them by noon we will call and check, and, if necessary rent a car to go to Key West tonight and pick up the bike tomorrow. * We will probably leave Lori's bike at the airport. *I would really rather ride the bike to Key West, but I do not want to lose another day, so that is the plan.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:25 PM   #23
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Key West

The ride to Key West.

After lucnh and a swim in the pool we called the BMW 441 shop to get an ETA, *They said they would be done between 1:30 and 2:00 so we got a cap to carry me and my crap and Lori rode her bike. *As iit turned out we did not leave there until around 3:15 or so, but I am happy they were able to get us out today at all. * I bought a new pinlock shield and we were on our way. *

Lori went in front, because in heavy traffic I am way more comfortable catching up, but she made a wrong turn and got us on the dreaded I 95 where the traffic was very heavy. *We rode there awhile and then got of and headed west to connect to the toll road heading south. * It was much less heavily traveled and we could relax some.

The ride down the keys was spectacular. *It was more or less as I envisioned, and riding the narrow keys with the bridge between and ocean all around was wonderful. * One of the things I had thought before we started was at least we would not have to worry about deer, but, oddly, one of the keys is acttually a deer refuge, and I saw one of the dog sized beasties standing forlornly behind a high fence wishing it could launch itsself into me. *Poor deer. * We saw no crocodiles either despite a sign that said, "Crododile Crossing."

The rooad there heads south and west for a long way so we had to ride into the setting sun. * It was great, but the sun does wear you down. * *Some clouds came out and helped by blocking the sun for a long time. * I loved the ride, but we were exhausted by the time we got to Key West.

Lori stopped in *this parking lot to check my ipad for the route to the Westin, and som guy came out to try to sell us motorcycle tours to Alaska or whatever. *I hated to be rude, but we were both exhausted, so I told him we really had to go, and we were out of there.

We got to the Westin in time for me to take some sunset photos from the balcony of our room and we wandered off to get dinner at Solo American Bistro. * It was great.

I really like Key West and would like to come back for a long weekend. *It has that drunken tourist bullshit vibe like Cancun and Cozumel and all that, but there is enough southern texture and interest in the off-the-tourist-track sections of the town that it is really easy to be enchanted with it.

SInce we got iin so very late, we will likely take our time getting going in the morning to see some of the town in the daylight and to avoid the sun in our eyes on the way out. * We hope to get close to Tampa tomorrow, but it will be a challenge. **

It is very late and I am very tired, so I do not think I am being all that interesting, but fuck it. *I need sleep.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:49 AM   #24
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Sunset key west

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Old 05-08-2013, 01:21 PM   #25
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Thanks for taking us along with your ride. As per Key West and the Eastern Coast of Florida. Hmmmmmm! That's all I got to say. Course I was 68 years old when I rode down there and had done service in the Pacific spending two years on Navy ships as Marine Detachment. Maybe if I was 28 or 38 , it would of been better. LOL!
After traveling in about all the lower 48 by motorcycle, Give me the Rocky's or Serria's. From Mexico and up into Canada. Hard to beat.
Again, thanks.
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:52 PM   #26
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Swamp

Swamp.

We decided not to try to get a super-early start since we had arrived in Key West so late. * *After dinner we had wandered around a bit and got ice cream, but we wanted to have breakfast and let the sun get higher so it would not be in our eyes. *We got up and I communed with Roosters as Lori asked about breakfast places that might be cat free.



*We strollled about 5 blocks to Pepe's and had breakfast complete with three little rat dogs accompanying the *people next to us and the obligatory cat in a hammock. *We asked for not cats:



This cat was so jaded in his ceiling hammock that you could pet him and he would not even move. * It must be a rough life.

Here is Lori reading, the breakfast, and the check in a mouse trap.







We headed back, packed up and left on a lovely sunny morning. * We intended to go 400 miles and get near Tampa. *We ultimately failed, because getting out of the Keys is just slow as you pass the crocodile crossing signs, the deer refuge with its fences sequestering the long legged rats that are deer, and the rotting old bridges of questionable provenance that parallel the road in places.

We pass a hotel with a sign that says, "Pirate Wellness", and I tell Lori over the radio that I imagine a woman talking to a Pirate. * "Well sir, how are you feeling?" * " Well, deary, *AAAARRRguably I have been betterrrr." * Yeah, I am a bit ouf a douche in the fugue state, but there you go.

Not much happened other than riding, which is great of course, except when your right wrist is hurting. * I bought some more alleve. * I think I am not going to finish this trip even with anti-inflamatory drugs as my wrist hurts during the day and my last two fingers approach numbness as night. * I am Thomas Covenant on a motorcycle. *My odds of finishing the 15,000 miles are probably about zero. * I asked BMW 441 to put a lever on the throttle to help but they forgot and I did not want to remind them and wait. * I really need a throttle lock and am thinking of trying to get one in Houston. * In the mean time I will pound the anti-inflammatory drugs..

We got out of the Keys and headed west on 41 through the swamps north of the evereglades. * Initially it was just a wide canal along the two-lane road with a flat horizon of low bushes. * As we went on water lillies began to appear on the edges of the canal and the bushes and foliage got a bit larger. * Then it turned intow water with cattaills, more lillies, and flat horizons of cattails with low hillocks in the distance covered with the same low shrubbery. * It didn't look like the swame I expected, but i t was still rather swampy. * It smellled nothing like the light sewage smell you gen from the swamps around Savannah. * All I smelled was a little creosote. * The shrubs kept getting taller and taller and turned into small trees, and eventually to Cypress trees and others I cannot identify. * There were bromeliads growing on the trunks. * Very cool. * Then the road work started delaying us for probably as much as a half an hour as we had to keep stopping at flag men. * It is very frustrating and irritating.

But it is all good fun when you see the panther crossing signs and spend a bit of time wishing you could hook those up with the deer crossing locations. *The carnage would be lovely, even better than *all the crushed arrrrrrmadillos in Arrrrkanas and Tennessee.. * We ran across panther habitat after we turned north. * It would be so cool to see one, but they are smarter than to be riding BMW mororcycles both hither an yon.

Here is Lori on the Key highway and a shot of the bikes withthe swamp in the background:





We stopped not too long after this having made it only 300 miles and still well in the belly of Florida. * We went to PF Changs for dinner (yawn) and Lori crashed while I went to drink whiskey ans write. *That is pretty much the update, except on the way back from dinner I tought Lori the proper way to enunciate when you are reading signs backwards. * That is it for the day, but I will post some past pictures in a bit.
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Old 05-08-2013, 07:12 PM   #27
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old photos

Catching up on old photos:

Here I am departing over a week ago:



Our town can kick the shit out of yours with our self-propelled gun:



Somewhere in Arkansas I think, but fuck if I remember for sure:



A building on the hill in Eureka Springs:



Sylar in the Smoky Mountains:





Various shots from the W Hotel in Ft. Lauderdale:







The notorious nail and the hyper-floppy chain:



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Old 05-09-2013, 07:49 PM   #28
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Bug Storm

Bug Storm.

We got a bit of a late start and left at 8:30. * Our intent was to try to get to *Appalachacola or there about. * I thought it was about 400 miles but we actually ended up riding about 500. *We stuck mostly to interstate so we could make good time, because we realized that by riding far enough we could free up time to spend an extra night and an entire day in New Orleans after we arrived. *Lori has been wanting to visit that for awhile and we are in the vicinity.

The day is quickly fading in my memory so let me type fast.

Early in the day I was singing my vague remebrance of that Johnny Horton song, "The Battle of New Orleans.": *In 1814 we took a little trip, along with Colonel Jakson down the mighty Missisip. *We took a little bacon and we took a little beans, and we fought the bloody British in the Town of New Orleans. *We fired our guns but the British kept a comin'. *There wasn't as many as there was a while ago. *We fired once more and the began to runnin' on down the Mississipi to the Gulf of Mexico.

I fired up the radio and installed the song in Lori's head as well. * She thanked me, but I am prettty sure she did not mean it.

Not long after that the bug storm started. * I had commented earlier on how I was surprised at how few bugs we had encountered in Florida. * We got our share *today. * I have never, and I mean ever and ever seen a bug flux density as high as this. * It was a black storm streaking right at us, coating everything with ferocious rapidity. *We stopped for gas and I noticed each but was two bugs. * Black and orange and hooked together looking for any surface to land and finish the obvious copulation. *I told Lori they were pissing me off so much I really wanted to kill them, except I truly wished not to be killing them in such copious numbers. * It was truly revolting. * I wished I could help them undersand that the propogation of their genes was not abetted by smashing into shit at 70 miles per hour, but it isn't as if Ii am some sort of expert on bug sex. * I do not know if they were cicadas, but at one point when we stopped to rest the cicada song was intensely loud so they may have been.

We heard this noise at a rest stop where I stopped to sleep for five minutes. * I was laying the ground with my eyes closed and two bikers (one on a sport bike and another on a suzuki cruiser of some sort) came over and asked us if we had seen a truck with a trailer stopped at the side of the road on our way up. *We had not, but they still stood and talked for a long time while the younger of the two phoned said friend. *I did not want too be rude, but I was wondering exactly why me laying there on the ground with my eyes closed was an indication to them that what I wanted was to pass the time in conversation with their charming-assed *selves. * Apparantly their friend had a flat or something and it was only after the fact that I wondered what the hell two guys on motorcylces are supposed to do about it. * The only thing I could come up with was that said friend was a girl or handicapped or something.

We went on and on. *We began to see large patches of flowers on the side of the road, *At first it was only a very intense pick/purple, but soon a bright complement of warm yellow and then red with a smattering of white.

As I am writing this Lori comes up to tell me my helmet is nicely polished now. *Heh. *She cleaned the bugs off my helmet, and yes she intended the innuendo.

We got off the freeway and headed toward the gulf coast on a lovely little road with beautiful houses. * One little estate had a hundred or so very tall conifers planted in something like a grid with bright green grass on the ground and a couple of houses ensconced within.

Lori had decided to get us a motel on St. George Island, one of the little barrier islands off of the gulf coased near aparachacola. *Incidentally, I want to make a little town only for government toadies called Apparatchikola. * Anyway, when I thought of the destination, I thought of luxury, but the place is actually a bit cheap and seedy, which is fine. * We settled into the motel where I had a shower that was cold, because I apparently did not run the water quite long enough to make it hot. *Then we headed to a local eatery where I had a dozen oysters for 8 dollars. *Seriously. * A dozen oysters in Denvere will cost 35 dollars. * They were pretty good, *and the fried shrimp she had were good as well.

Then we went out to the fine white sand beach were we watched the light fade and exchanged wary glances with the seagulls while we drank a bottle of champaign she bought in Ft Lauderdale and smoked a cigar I had been carting around for ten days.

I will put up photos of this as soon as I can, but this place is too seedy for wifi service at the hotel. * It is like we are in Canterbury Tales or something. * I understand they had spotty wifi as well.

More tomorrow I suppose.
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Old 05-09-2013, 08:45 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daq7 View Post
Not much happened other than riding, which is great of course, except when your right wrist is hurting. * I bought some more alleve. * I think I am not going to finish this trip even with anti-inflamatory drugs as my wrist hurts during the day and my last two fingers approach numbness as night. * I am Thomas Covenant on a motorcycle. *My odds of finishing the 15,000 miles are probably about zero. * I asked BMW 441 to put a lever on the throttle to help but they forgot and I did not want to remind them and wait. * I really need a throttle lock and am thinking of trying to get one in Houston. * In the mean time I will pound the anti-inflammatory drugs..
Find a Throttle Rocker or Cramp Buster. Might not be perfect but either should give you some relief and both are cheap options.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:55 PM   #30
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Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning.

We woke up early, and knew we would have an extra hour because of the time change, but we still did not know if we would aim for getting all the way to New Orleans or not. *It was 400 miles and Lori was not sure she would be up for it, so we decided to just ride and decide later. **

It was a bit cold for riding, at least for Lori, but we knew it would warm up. *There was a pretty solid overcast in the St. George Island area, but it was broken by very textural clouds. * It was hard to tell if it would rain or not. *It may. *It may not.

It did start to warm from about 65 degrees to 75 as we rode and that is the best temperature for riding. * I began to be happy with the overcast and that it would probably not get in the high 80s, which begins to get a bit uncomfortable. * We stuck to the state highways, because we wanted to see the local color, *and the morning ride was great, starting with the bridge back to the mainland from the barrier island.

We got nice sea views as the surrounding scenery slowly changed to very fine white sand dunes that were covered with grasses and small trees. *It was an odd looking landscape. *We stopped at a Panera for some coffee. *RIght after this the road became less charming, being endless city-scape with stop and go constantly. * We kept hoping it would change back to local charm but it never did, so eventually we gave *up and headed north to the 10 so we could move faster. * We were still in Florida. *It was taking forever to escape.

Along the way we kept passing Magnolia trees. * Ok, I exaggerate a bit. * We passed a few Magnolia trees.

We made fast time on the 10, but around Alabama it started to rain and rained fairly hard. *Even worse *we had gusty side winds that were strong enough to really freak Lori out. * She has ridden in them before, but like me in Kansas, this was her first experience with heavy side winds and a brisk rain. * It was disconcerting. *We rode past mobile. * Alabama battleship in the distant mist. * Mobile sky scrapers approaching while wind blows sheets of water from the bay over the curbs for the low freeway bridge we are crossing. * Tunnel. * Mobile in the rear view.

We had stopped before Mobile to put on rain gear. * I probably would have just ridden on without it, but Lori wanted to stop so I put on my jacket. *I saw a break up ahead and figured the rain would stop. *It did, but the overcast moved in to cover the area and did not clear.

We stopped at some place called Country Pride for lunch and so Lori could book us in a Hotel. *She picked the Rennaissance Arts in the French district of New Orleans, and more importanly used the Ipad to figure the exact route to get there.

We got back on the road and it started to rain again. *I had earlier decided not to dig for the ziplock bags to put my ipad and keyboard in. * I carry them in a tumi messenger bag over my shoulder, but that bag is not water proof. * I figured I could keep my leftt arm over it and it would be fine. *

The rain became pretty intense and kept going. * We had thirty or forty miles to go, and the freeway was filled with cretins. * We all know that freeways everywhere are filled with contestants vying for supremacy on "drive like a douchebag day." * And while I am sure there are places just as bad as the southeast of the United States, I am also sure there are few places worse. *I95 in Florida is a horror show, and the narcissist creeps that inhabit it seem to have followed us. * Fast, agressive, and unfamiliar with signaling and checking blind spots.... * This is a bad combination with rain and low visibility.

The rain kept getting worse and worse and the rain resistant parts of the gear yeilded their virginity to the urgent insistence of the wet. * Then I saw lightning. * I know that on a bike you do not have the advantage of being in a Faraday cage, and so you are not safe from lightning as you are in a car. * But I have been driving for 40 years or so and have never once had lightning strike anywhere remotely near me in a *car, so I was not all that concerned. * But then I have never had lightning strike about two miles ahead of me in a torrential downpour while surrounded by frantic narcissists in massive metal weapons. * We raced ahead. * I told Lori to turn on the emergency flashers to increase our visibility.

Lightning may be a low risk under normal conditions, but entering New Orleans you climb these massive bridges whose entire purpose at this point seemed to be to elevate us above everything else but a few metal poles holding lights and electrical cable infrastructure nearby. * On the F800 I sit about as high as anything else short of a giraffe on stilts. * I crouched instinctively against all rationality. *I increased my distance to Lori as I wanted to make sure if one of us got hit the other could go home and *feed the goddamned cat. *The cat does not realize the lengths I go to in order to make his world safe and warm. * Ungrateful wretch. *But I was soaked. * My bag full of electronics was soaked and then the traffic stopped and I was no longer able to try to shield it with my left arm. * Eff this. * But we were only a short distance from Canal Street, and Lori's persistance in identifying the route helped get us there both toot and sweet.

We got to the hotel where they *had us park the bikes on the brick sidewalk in front of the hotel. *Lori had to do an emergency call to the shippers to make sure they would pick up her bike on Monday in Houston, but after that was taken care of she showered while I went to the bar for comfort drinks and to start this report.

We took a death Taxi to the Creole restaurant "Olivier" and had dinner. * I decided I *would rather be back on the bikes in a Hurricane than ride in New Orleans taxi again.

After dinner the rain had finally stopped so we walked back to the hotel, and I have to admit I like the art galleries in the French Quarter. * I have been in gallery districst all over the place, and I saw more art that Iike here than anywhere I have ever been. *So tomorrow I guess we go to the garden quarter, wander the plebian horror of Bourbon Street, browse art galleries and get ready to ride for Houston where the lovely wife will depart and I will again be alone.
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