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Old 12-16-2014, 09:09 AM   #1
AllBlak OP
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It Started as a Week on the Georgia Coast and Then the Snowstorms Came...

So this was the weather news on the first morning of the year I decided to take the bike to explore the Georgia coast and Flatistan:

"December Thaw Gone Wild: Record Highs Continue for Midwest While Florida Sees Fifth Day of Frost Advisories

Weather Link

Brrrr.
But then I am getting ahead of myself. It started when a fellow inmate posted his time share that he couldn't use (Thanks Paul), and I thought what a great way to go spend some time with (and some without) the family! After all I had done a quick trip in the Jeep a few years before and spent the first night on a Georgia beach in shorts...

So back to the planning. I had been to Max BMWs "Color in the Catskills in October as a means of testing the equipment I have had for years and see what did and did not work. It was a great ride up and back, but Saturday was a soaker and the wind Friday night, well I almost intentionally left the errant (or subconsciously placed) "F" before the "t" in "the wind" if that gives you an idea. Anyway, Max put on a great event and I got a good field test in. It became apparent that my MSR stove needed a rebuild it just would not run. Thankfully someone with a Jetboil provided me with hot water for coffee. (Thanks Engineer from Rochester!) Given the stove hadn't been used since camping on a beach in Mexico ten years ago. But who knows. Maybe the fuel was bad, maybe the pump, but it was fixed before this trip.

Anyway I figured my tent was good, aside from a hole in the fly that I didn't recall. My bag was good I felt great about the bike and had some solid gear. But, anyway...

I started thinking, two weeks in Florida, pula a week of touring, (or more?) maybe I need to become a bit more space efficient! So I read some gear and trip threads. I decided to go the Hammock route. Hey, It will be warm right?

I also picked up a sage green vinyl table cloth to use as a fly, if needed, or a partial bike cover/ camouflage if stealth camping is required. I also went with a green and brown hammock. Well I got home and the tablecloth was a bit shorter than I thought. Oh, well nothing a couple of trash bags and binder clips can't fix. So I added six grommets to the table cloth and called it good. Besides the table cloth makes a good impervious layer in my gear bag. I so wanted one of those BMW GS Soft Bag 2's, but then I figured that I could put the "must stay dry" stuff in the panniers and save the bag for the cook kit, food (in ziplock), and other stuff that could be either bagged to protect it from water seeps, or allowed to get wet. Besides I could use that money for something more likely to be needed.

I watched the weather, corresponded with other inmates from the area, checked out the tent space thread did some test packing and researched the areas that I wanted to see. Then in the week leading up to the trip a huge Nor'easter came through and temperatures dropped. Ugg. Ok need some glove liners, my windshell blanket to over my sleeping bag if it gets to that. A few disposable heat packs from 5Below, hey check out this little camp stool, which is also just the right height to use when adjusting your valves. Score! I looked at the REI and Helios ones, but decided to stick with my thermarest converter and grab a Sena instead! Gotta have music, and they are less than $90 now!

Ok, it's Saturday and I am running around doing last minute details, packing and errands. The Sena is charged, the hotspot crapped out but was replaced under contract, (it arrived Saturday morning) I will have some time later together a few playlists and get to bed early so
I can be on the road at 8. Oh yeah and the high Sunday is only going to be 44 (6 C). Then comes 2 AM as I finally have everything crammed in, and made sure that I have not forgotten anything. It's tight, but I am using my old tank bag as a system case liner in case I cut it too close.

7:30AM, Drat. This is going to be a late start. Bike packed, for breakfast for warmth, clean up, close up the house, gear up (glad I did a test run last night, this is a lot of stuff)

DSCF0957 by penn_trap, on Flickr

On the road (9:30AM) drat, maybe I can still beat the Sunset to Georgia. At least I am warm and have music to rock out to....wow road crews working on Sunday, maybe it is going to get nice today, but it was supposed to be sunny, and it's not I hope that I stay warm.

Back roads to dodge the super slab as long as possible, hey is that snow? I thought that the roads looked wet back there...I am going add those glove liners before I get on the Freeway...

The first other motorcycle that I saw on the road was a full six bike motorcycle escort taking someone from D.C. to (I am guessing) the Baltimore a Ravens game. The guy on the lead bike gave me a look when he saw me headed the other way. Kind of saying: "are you nuts? We are paid to be riding in this, and you are out here voluntarily" (It still was not warm).

Hmm is that water dripping or wind on my nether regions? Where is my camelback hose?

Well just north of Richmond I finally broke through the front and crossed into the sun. Just south of Richmond I stop for my first full tank (I did top up before hitting the slab). A McDonalds/Exxon. A good place to warm up, grab a coffee and fries to go with my meat biscuit, and check my camelback, that was definitely liquid, I hope it was not my flask.

Well, it was the camelback. The bite valve had gotten squeezed and the whole thing siphoned out, ran down the outside of my gore-tex and dropped as a puddle in my lap. On positive note the gore-text works and I am wearing mostly technical fabrics that dry quickly. The temperature here was showing as 57 so I decided to drop the glove liners, Hippohands, and the technical top with the dampest waist line. The negative, apparently BMW summer pants are not color fast when they get wet, and a bathroom hand dryer can do only so much. It wound up being a slightly long lunch with a fair bit of sun drying going on. I am so glad the sun came out! Back on the road and it is almost 2PM, well there goes a daytime arrival, at least I know a few probable places to camp...

Well that tank took me until sunset. Just before I got off for fuel I saw a guy on a black Versys,
He was in all black and from behind it looked like he was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt. When I came up on him I saw it was just a funny spoiler on the helmet. Anyway, just a quick stop for fuel, and to muck with the Sena, my phone keeps pausing 3/4 into the first or second song. Just long enough to get on the road and running. It was fine with the first play list, but the last several have been a bit of a pain. Let's try deleting the pairing and re establishing it.

One exit down the road, no that didn't work. Several more "hit the off ramp, pause at the stop sign, then strait across to the on ramp" attempts and I give up. We will go quiet for a bit.

Around 7:30 pm I stopped for dinner, a warm up and to futz with the Sena. Well it's off now. Maybe it needs a charge. I take the phone in, grab a booth, order coffee and dig out my (now moist) trip notes. A point to remember if it starts raining, the outer shell pockets will soak through. Don't put any important papers in there. Now where to stop. Something close to the border I think. Either one of these first two, or my fall back..now for music. Maybe it is the phone? Is it on battery saver? No well let's try skipping the playlist and go by genre or album.

Back on the road 8:30pm full dark, pretty cold for South Carolina, I opted to go back to full morning gear, just no glove liners. Cycling the grips and seat on and off seemed to work pretty well. As for the music, I kept jogging the songs, tweaking the volume and trying to keep the two devices connected. It seemed to work. The best part? I saw some fantastic shooting stars along the way.


I hit reserve again just after crossing into Georgia. It's still chilly but not as bad as it was in the hills. I stop for fuel and a last warm up and a bit of food as it is too late to be stumbling around a campsite. This McDonalds is a mess with a huge line and an irate customer berating the staff, who to be honest did not seem to be operating up to par. Disclaimer: it's not that I like Frequenting McDonalds, lord knows I hate the fry-o-later aftertaste, but they have free wifi, and in these two cases, shared a parking lot with a gas station. In any case it gave me a chance to warm and finalize my path in before settling down for the night.

So I filled up and headed off to my spot. I found an appealing tree line with a few down branches to open a hole and provide cover for my bike. I tucked it in, found two trees with about the right separation and a nice bed of pine needles underneath, deployed the hammock and got settled. Even though it was now 2 AM, again, I was still a bit wound up, so I sat back to enjoy a couple of nips to counter the coffee, and watch a few more shooting stars, before eventually drifting off.

What was that? Too loud for my eyelashes on the sleeping bag (yes I read that thread). Russell, crunch, it's definitely something out there, and not those little "Flitting about" bird like noises. Where is the flashlight?
There movement, low, dark...
Ping a pair of eyes, low to the ground, whitish gleam. How does it work? Foxes reflect Yellow, cats green? Raccoons? What if its a skunk? Well the food is still on the bike, zipped, clipped and secured..there is nothing that attractive anyway, I hope they don't gnaw. Through the bag....snore...

Ah it's getting light, but I need more sleep, after all have five days to cove part of the distance that I covered yesterday. Besides it freezing out there...snore

Finally I wake up, unable to sleep because of the light, not hungry because of the late meal, and not interested in moving because of the cold. What to do... Aha, I planned for this. I have the ipad in the hammock with me, I will write to my fellow inmates... And so here I lie my friends, telling you the tale of my GaFlatistan explorations.

2014-12-15_07-10-44_103 by penn_trap, on Flickr
looking up:

2014-12-15_08-38-51_18 by penn_trap, on Flickr
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AllBlak screwed with this post 02-11-2015 at 02:20 PM
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Old 12-17-2014, 09:11 AM   #2
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Day 2 - Pics to be added later.

2 - Dirt at Last
Stirred from my morning revere by a campground caretaker, I guess my stealth was not all that steathy:

2014-12-15_10-21-22_620 by penn_trap, on Flickr

I put aside my IPad to chat. Mike was a nice fellow and invited me to his site for coffee. I declined as I needed to eat some of what I had brought to make space for my cold weather gear. He told me where his site was an I told him that I might stop by later. And so we went our separate ways. By this point, with no wind and plenty of sun, it had warmed up considerably and I was able to make my preparations in just a tech shirt and shorts. I wound up doing a rather major repack as I did not want to dig through my cold weather stuff every time I needed something, which was the way the Test pack had run. And I wound up putting the tank bag into use.

Breakfast and repacking done, I suited up and went to find Mikes campsite to say hello and ask some advice on what to see and what to skip. I strapped my jacket to my gear bag as I was just puttering around the campsite...it was not quite as warm as I expected, and a bit further to the proper sites than I expected. I did not see Mike's car but what a view. The other sites were incredible!

2014-12-15_13-31-56_471 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Onward! I headed south checking the sites and heading to scout out the area that I had identified with some interesting potential for my first full day in Georgia. I skipped the Public's and other major groceries on the way out as I thought that there would be something in a town close to where I was planning on stopping. I also wanted some clear tape as the map pocket on my tank bag seemed to be filling with air somehow. Well there would not be much to be found later.

I came to a small town just north of my turn. In the town I saw the town hall, a post office, a package store, and a little mart of some sort. Maybe there is something on the other side of the tracks. Hmmm, nope, and here is my turn. Well here we go, I have enough to get by anyhow. The turn led me through a little "Community" with a couple of churches, a few houses and nothing else I quickly came to a T where the area that I had wanted to explore should be to the left. Well there is a locked gate. No way in. I had read that the there was a contentious real estate deal between two partners developing the area, but that was four years ago. Apparently they are still at an impasse and the I saw on the map are not public. Ok let's go south, Boy Scout Camp Road sounds promising.... The pavement quickly ended and tuned not into packed dirt, nor sand, but dry loose silt! Wow, this is squirrelly! I stopped at a junction with an open gate to the east. Well that would be the direction I want to go,but I would rather not get accidentally locked in. Well as I sat there what comes out? A road grader. Now I see what the fellow from Montreal was talking about on his Trans-Lab trip thread. These things make big soft dirt puddles that you can't see! Evil things... The gentleman in the grader stops locks the gate, says hello and trundles off.

This was the best part of the road by penn_trap, on Flickr

My decision having been made for me, I motored strait on ahead getting the hang of the silt bit by bit or, more aptly, learning to read the dryness and fluffy ness. Yes, it was actually fluffy in the worst spots. Down the road a bit it was more firm. A few more gated roads turned up all locked. Eventually the silt ended and the road became an older packed sand and grass track. It looped around a couple of man made ponds and I spied a little pavilion between the two of them one had blue-green water that looked like it was used on a golf course, and the other, larger pond looked like typical pond water. This was the end of the road. It was a peaceful little dead end by the ponds. In retrospect I should have set up camp right there.
Cant go this way:

2014-10-24_17-44-35_825 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Next time I will camp here:

Trails of GA by penn_trap, on Flickr


Pond Near Riceboro, GA by penn_trap, on Flickr


Dirt Roads of GA by penn_trap, on Flickr

As it were, I turned around and headed back to try my back up, another historic state park. I was hoping for something like The real campground that I had left. Alas, when I got there the gates were closed and locked, no way in. I guess it was a day use only site. Not to worry, just down the road is a little island with a branch off the mans road called Camp something or other. It's getting dark now and after turning down the camp fork I see something low and black out of the corner of my eye, several actually. Then something darts ahead of me and I hear hooves scrabbling on the pavement. I grab a handful of brakes, hear a squeal and narrowly miss. Was that a boar? Are you kidding me? What a day! I motor ahead slowly until the road comes to a T. The map say strait ahead, what looks like a driveway, but it has a sign that says Lake Pomona so I try it. Well it quickly turns into sand, then deep sand and I get squirted off onto the grass. I stop and have a look around to mellow out after the near miss of the boar, the sand and think about my next fall back. I guess that I should have learned my lesson form "Boy Scout Camp Road", as there was just a private community of small cabins around a lake. It was pretty though. My next option requires a some back tracking, A ten mile stint on the slab and another series of back roads. Well I struck out three more times before pulling up the list of hotels and finding the nearest few. A bunch of cold dark roads with tendrils of fog forming and I had a nice warm place to sleep. A good chance to plug in charge everything up, and plan the next couple days.
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:19 PM   #3
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Georgia Islands

3 - Fun in the Islands
Refreshed but still a bit chilly, cheap hotel blankets are terrible, I awoke, did a little more planning over breakfast and started organizing. Today would be an easy day of exploring the islands of the central coast. Rt. 99 south soon brought me to the Sapelo Island Ferry and visitor center. Because there are only three ferry runs each day I had already planned to save this island for another trip. However the visitor center had all sorts of interesting information as well as a nice porch with rocking chairs looking out toward the Island. I sat in one of these for a bit, but soon moved to a shady picnic table as the day was quite warm (in the low 70 (F) or 20s C).
Sapelo Island Ferry Landing

DSCF0963 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Onward then. From Sapelo I headed down through Darien and Brunswick noting some of the locations that I had seen on post cards back at Sapelo, and headed to St. Simon island and Sea Island. Both were gorgeous, though a bit toward the refined resort, island home living. St. Simon's houses Fort Frederica National Monument (a tribute to General Oglethorpe) and I believe Sea Island was famous for its cotton before the onset of the boll weevil. I never thought I would actually have the occasion to talk about Boll Weevils...but the pavement was wonderful, although the traffic said that during peak season it must be a logjam.

Sea Island Causeway

Bridge to St. Simon's Island by penn_trap, on Flickr
From Sea Island I headed back across the causeway,

Bridge over Minnow Creek, Darian, GA by penn_trap, on Flickr

through south Brunswick and across the bridge. This bridge is quite high, and since the wind had picked up, I really felt it at the top of the span. Luckily it was mostly a headwind, I was worried about a strong crosswind with the weight of the beast. Off the bridge and less than a. ILevel along I came to the turnoff for Jekyll Island, famous for the loggerhead turtles. Note that the whole island is a park or preserve, so there are limited supplies available. There is also a day use fee, which I looked at as more of a toll as the causeway and bridges to access the island looked rather costly, not to mention the lovely greens keeping and welcome gates. Note that the toll system is automated and if you use the cash option the machine spits out your change into a wad of bills for the wind to grab.

I saw another driver have to get out and chase a few that were taken by the wind. Once across the bridge I pulled into the marina for a look around. I was just in time to catch a photo of a passing boat. I walked out the dock just in time to catch the Evinrude crew filming a interview at the dock junction. Not wanting to interrupt them again to go back I wandered around and wound up chatting with a retired master welder who used to work for one of my clients on the east coast. We exchanged stories of the early days of the facility he worked at on a four year project and about some of the guys that were early on in their career when he met them and in their sunset years when I did. What a small world. It turns out he was originally from the same town as my old marathon training partner.

Jekyl Island Dock

Jekyll IIsland Marina Dock by penn_trap, on Flickr

By the time we finished chatting about boats and other things the Evinrude crew had taken off and I was ready to go find a campsite. I found several but settled on this one.
A Better Place to Camp

DSCF0984 by penn_trap, on Flickr

The View from Twenty Paces Away

DSCF0971 by penn_trap, on Flickr

There were a couple of vans of Canadians with scramblers staying in the same area. They seem to be hiding from the Canadian winter.

Scrambled Canadians

Another from Nova Scotia by penn_trap, on Flickr

Great little bike from Nova Scotia by penn_trap, on Flickr

With my campsite established I went off to explore the Island a bit.
Jekyll is well worth the toll. There are fantastic beaches, a bunch of picnic areas, and a campsite at the north end with some decent hammock sites once you get all the way to the back past the caravans (ask for the "J" section near the bird sanctuary. An added benefit is these are at the back boundary of the site, and you can squirt out onto a dirt road that runs behind the site. Aside from the homes, hotels, and churches, the gas station/Dairy Queen seems to be the only permanent structure on the island. There are a few shops, package store, post office, tiny grocery, and hardware store are all housed in single or double wide trailers along the beach. A bag of jelly beans will cost you $8 , and a gourmet chocolate bar $4. I did find some deals though and got out for less than $4 with canned meandering oranges, chopped celery and grits(for breakfast). They supplemented the sausage and rice that I already had to make a nice warm and filling meal. An adult beverage from the package store and I headed back to my site in time to catch the sunset.


A View of the Causeway Bridge

DSCF0976 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Sunset

Sunset at Jekyll by penn_trap, on Flickr

Back to the campsite for dinner then.

With my hammock configured with fly this time, as there was a significant amount of Spanish moss above the site, I set to dinner. Well the stove was not cooperating so I had to disassemble it and clear the jet. Well rebuilding the stove was not what I wanted to be doing, but there must have been some remaining bits in the hose of whatever I had cleaned off of the screens before the trip. One reassembled it functioned fine except for an occasional choke and spit.
Dinner accomplished, I went for a walk on the beach before I settled down to my hammock as it had finally gotten cool.

DSCF0985 by penn_trap, on Flickr
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:22 PM   #4
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Jekyll on to Florida

An early morning. There are armadillos in the area, pretty active ones. Lots of tracks and rooting holes on the beach. I am up packed and out early, to look for a coffee shop on the island. Apparently there is not a one, however they are adding a new Main Street shopping area so maybe when that is done there will be something. I just find a sunny park bench and pull out the solar to charge ups hike enjoying the view from the island although it is cool today so the island is pretty empty. Checking the route for today, it looks like a pretty strait forward route. Almost no turns down to the Georgia-Florida line then a left to Amelia Island.

Out and running I head back across the causeway, take a look at the Brunswick Bridge to the North across the manicured entry, then turn South.

The Bridge at brunswick, GA by penn_trap, on Flickr

As I thought it is a long strait run with only a few curves thrown in. I do find a great spot for lunch though. Bar-b-que and oysters. Captain Stan's Smokehouse. The people were friendly and the environment was a cross between Caribbean island bar and backyard bar-b-que with a roadhouse stage. They warned me that I-4 near Orlando was only to be taken if you have a death wish. I responded that I was avoiding interstates if at all possible.

After lunch I got back on the road for the run to the Florida line. I really enjoyed the Georgia Coast.

Captain Stans by penn_trap, on Flickr

DSCF0980 by penn_trap, on Flickr
Soon across the line the traffic increased and I hung a left heading for Amelia Island and Ferdinanda Beach. The mess of traffic was a bit of a downer after the solitude of Georgia Route 17. I hit the hit the Ocean took in the view and went back to the park entrance. The ranger initially said that I had to go online to make a reservation through the online system. After asking a bunch of questions I made it clear that I was looking for tonight. At this point the said that they maintain a few sites for walk ups. That was me and they even had one that was good for a hammock. Down the road I went on the three mile drive into the campsites.


Road to Ft. Clinch by penn_trap, on Flickr

I found my site, on one of the little cross trails where most of the big RVs couldn't make it and settled down to unload. With Mike bike tucked in, I headed to the beach for the sunset and some firewood.

Sunset at Ft. Clinch by penn_trap, on Flickr

If you stay here beware. The raccoons are highly active and bold. Much more so than those in the wild or even in the city. They came in behind me when I was tending the fire and swiped almost everything I had. Armadillos as well, but they are harmless. But now I have two or three highly caffinated and sugared up raccoons to deal with. A bit later I hear something else. I snap on the light only to see the raccoons drinking from the spigot. I hope all that instant coffee is giving them digestive problems! They are actually fighting over the spigot!

(Insert raccoon photo)
Sorry, a bit blurry as I was bleary taking it.
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:48 PM   #5
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To the Forest!

Having had a terrible nights sleep I decided to skip breakfast and coffee and hit the road early.

Leaving Ft. Clinch by penn_trap, on Flickr
Off I went down the scenic drive towards Jacksonville. I soon found a nice diner and had myself an omelette with plenty of coffee to keep me going. I set my plan to shoot for St. Augustine and then turn West for the National forest.

I was twisting through some great roads in the North Florida Barrier Islands. I had not thought the route out to carefully as I was thinking that it was just barrier islands. I was quite surprised then when I came to the Mayport ferry. I fact I almost rode right past it. I had however planned on taking the Welaka Ferry across the upper St. John's river. Well that t seems I was taking one across the lower St Johns now.

The Ferry across the St. Johns River by penn_trap, on Flickr
Given the time and goals I decided that it might be a good time to pick up a few spare parts (I needed to replace some brake reservoir screws and pick up some service items as there was no dealer near me at home) so I decided to skip St Augustine and head over to Jacksonville BMW. I actually missed it the first time apparently they had just added Ducati to their stable and the Red "Ducati" completely diverted my attention from the more subdued BMW logo. The show room was gorgeous, as they had just the day before finished redecorating to display the Italian Bikes. Travis at the parts desk was very helpful and the manager let me hang out in the lounge to charge up my electronics a bit more as I had already consumed most of what I had put in at Salt Springs. I met a few guys looking and a couple of Iron Butt guys in for service. After a good chat and picked up a recommendation for a campsite, thanked the guys for their hospitality retrieved my electronics and set out for the forest. I headed out to Pelatka, picked up some oil and a filter, then headed South on 19.
Eventually
I came to the town of Salt Springs with a little outfitter and a couple restaurants. As I had somehow lost my compass when I stopped in Pelatka and figured the outfitter might have one.
Of course the didn't. It figured. Just as I was headed into the wilderness I lose my compass. Oh well. It is called an adventure bike, as long as the sun is out I can figure out the direction.

I grabbed some "supplies" at the store and headed back north to Lake Delancy to find a camp site.

Dirt at last

Heading into the Ocala National Forest. by penn_trap, on Flickr
Recreation area campsites vs, caravan grounds

I hit the campground and found my campsite just as the sun was setting.

The sun setting over "Lake" Delancy just after arrival by penn_trap, on Flickr

Then I set about finding a good pair of trees, scavenging some leftover firewood chunks, and foraging for kindling.

Another view by penn_trap, on Flickr
Having learned from my experience the previous night, I picked a nice leafy site, and swept leaves out to form a perimeter that any critters would have to crunch through. I also gave my self much more distance from the tree line than the previous night. But as it turns out, my instincts were right and the critters were much more timid in a wild setting. I heard things moving around a couple of times, but the went scampering at the very wave of my flashlight. I had even set up a trip wire of empty cans on the vehicle limit posts, but none of these were even touched. Something did go after the empty nut can though. It was good that I put it furthest from the fire and table.
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:41 AM   #6
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Fun in the Forest

I awoke early enough to catch the sunrise it was a beautiful quiet morning, a great day to explore the ONF. I hustled down to the "lake" edge to catch a couple of photos and explore the campground.


Dawn by penn_trap, on Flickr
It was a bit overgrown at the lakeshore

Lush Vegetation by penn_trap, on Flickr

There were plenty of birds:
Ibis:

Birds hanging out at the lake by penn_trap, on Flickr
Some crazy fungus:

Fungus by penn_trap, on Flickr
But not much water.

Owls:

Great Horned Owl by penn_trap, on Flickr

The other owl by penn_trap, on Flickr
While talking to one of the volunteers who was taking care of the the campsite a truck drove back and forth a few times with a long flat boat in the bed. Finally George went over to talk to him. When George came back The guy was looking for a place to put his boat in to go duck hunting. Given the state of the lake(very little water), and the time of day (way too late to set up for duck, you are supposed to get there well before sunrise) I had to guess that the guy did non know what he was doing, Not to mention that there were not many ducks in this area this time of year...
2014-12-19_09-29-35_988 by penn_trap, on Flickr

The "Lake" by penn_trap, on Flickr
It was a huge benefit to meet George, he worked in the trail maintinence division and had a map with the new road numbering system. (FR roads are now NFR roads with different numbers)
Having read other threads about riding in the park I knew that the numbers had changed:
http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=308774

New NFR Map by penn_trap, on Flickr
George let me copy the map as the information station in Salt Springs had closed so maps were not available anywhere nearby. Even the outfitter did not have any. George gave me some idea as to what roads were God and what was terrible (I was running well worn Metzler Tourances).

I headed back to the bike to gear up and realized how well I had chosen my site. The well was only a short walk from my hammock (you can see the big green thing in the photo) making things really easy.
You can see my "rustle barrier"

LDRA Campsite by penn_trap, on Flickr

Now being well informed I geared up and set off:
I rode up NFR 21 to NFR 74 which was full of deep sand. I would have the chance to revisit this one later and find even deeper sand.

Intersection of NFR 21 and 74 by penn_trap, on Flickr
Here I encountered a tree line which made it clear this was a managed forest with nice strait lines of trees:

Historic river landing/ burial ground by penn_trap, on Flickr
There was a historic river landing in the trees and Rodman Dam nearby. The dam is near the Rodman Trailhead.

Three Gates by penn_trap, on Flickr
The reservoir was enormously wide and of course shallow.

A Florida Dam is a different affair. by penn_trap, on Flickr
A bit different than the Susquahanna Dam (which I crossed my first day) I am sure maintaining an earthen bank dam has its own challenges:

Back into the park and the sand on 74

Back in the forest by penn_trap, on Flickr
I rode all down NFR 11 then out the west side to Fort McCoy for fuel and a ten mm socket as I had realized that there was nothing in the tool kit to remove the recessed bolt holding the skid plate on. A good thing to know before having a definite need for it.

I continued my loop back into the forest, and down to Rt. 40. By this point I had my fill of sand for the day and cruised around the forest on paved roads back to Salt Springs for a burger and a couple of beverages to go to help put me out for the evening. I felt pretty good for my first real chance to play in the sand.

Another relaxing night in the Lake Delancy campground and I was out for the evening
Ocala State Forest
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Old 02-17-2015, 04:27 PM   #7
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Ocala National Forest and South

Saturday morning. I was up early again ready for a bit more sand. Today I would head South for a temporary home base at a time share which I had picked up from another inmate. The family would come in to visit and would get to charge up my warmth batteries.

But first more sand.
I packed up and headed out to Salt Springs to check out the spring:
The trees at the entry were more than two hundred years old.

Salt Springs by penn_trap, on Flickr
The water was a gorgeous blue and quite clear:

The spring itself by penn_trap, on Flickr
The spring had been turned into a nice little swimming hole with a picnic area and plastered walls:

The swimming hole area. by penn_trap, on Flickr
At the edge some Anhinga dried their wings on the buoys that marked the edge of the swimming hole. Anhinga like fresh water though they can be found in brackish and slat areas as well. The water depend across this line and the Manatee came close to take advantage of the relatively warm water when the air gets colder.

Cormerant on the swimming area bouys. by penn_trap, on Flickr
I popped up to the shower house to charge my electronics (no power at Delancey) for the run to Orlando. I saw this enormous spider in the breezeway. I was glad that he wasn't in the campsite.

A huge spider haning out in the park buildings by penn_trap, on Flickr
Onward

Lake Dorr by penn_trap, on Flickr
I wandered through lake country as I approached the mess that would be Orlando traffic. Made a stop to perform a much needed oil change as I expected that it would be frowned upon in the resort. By the early afternoon I had made it to my destination and settled in to relax. A nice benefit to the BMW Rallye Gear is the ability to pull the armor and wash it in the machine. My gear needed it by this point.
A bottle of wine and some cheese made for a nice relaxing dinner.

I opened the back door to sit out on the patio and the welcoming committiee came in to say hello:


DSCF1027 by penn_trap, on Flickr
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:09 PM   #8
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Nice Coastal Ride

I liked reading your ride report. I sometimes have to work in Brunswick, Ga and like to stay out on Jekyll and St. Simmons Islands. Last time I brought my bike and girlfriend with me. Ride safe and remember the rubber goes down.
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Old 02-17-2015, 06:44 PM   #9
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Great RR and some beautiful photos as well.
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:04 PM   #10
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Nice pics, been through coastal Georgia via the ICW many times on my sailboat.
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:03 PM   #11
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Ah where was I?

Thanks for the comments.
I have met so many great people and had many great experiences.
I have been blowing off posting while relaxing but will be catching up over the next few days.
Now what was my last post?
I think it was my arrival in Orlando..
Alright then back to it...
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Old 03-11-2015, 05:16 PM   #12
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South of the Space Coast

After a day of rest , and a chance to clean my gear :Kristy it is time to do some exploring. I have a nice breakfast and a run then kit up and set off cross town. I quickly learned first hand the basis for all of the negative comments about Orlando traffic. It has been 20 years since I drove in this area an I recall that I hated it then to. I finally hit the Florida Turnpike and ejected from the traffic nightmare. It was literally three miles before development disappeared and the land surrounding the turnpike was nothing but cattle range. It was interesting for a bit but then began to get a bit dull. That is supers lab for you. I had planned on heading to Miami, but never received confirmation for my meeting. As boredom set in I began to rethink my plan. I looked at my fuel condition and that decided to skip Miami. I hit an exit and headed to the beach for lunch. I came into the west side of Vero and found this great little park at Palm Point on the "Back Bay". I am not sure what the name of the bay is but it reaches down at least as far as Point Lucie and narrowed to a few channels here.

Palm Pointe Park by penn_trap, on Flickr

Palm Pointe, Vero Beach by penn_trap, on Flickr

I pushed on to the beach proper looking for a bit of lunch. I found this main drag at Vero Beach and had a tourist priced burger. It was tasty though.
A sign of warm weather

Vero Beach is for coconuts! by penn_trap, on Flickr
A better sign (I was too slow for the Bikinis)

Vero Beach by penn_trap, on Flickr

Satisfied with a tasty lunch I resumed my run, heading up A1A and the Indian River Lagoon Scenic Byway. This was a gorgeous ride although I did not take many photos. It was also pretty secluded and it was not long that I began to think that I should have gassed up in Vero.
There was nothing but a few bait shops until north of Sebastian Inlet in Melbourne Beach. By this point I was on Fumes. It's a bit of a run for those that live along this section. Object lesson, never go home without a full tank...

I continued on to Cocoa Beach, where I believe Kelly Slater (pro surfer) grew up and where many of the first astronauts stayed when they were training at Cape Canaveral. This looked like a great spot for a holiday E-card photo op.

Coco Beach by penn_trap, on Flickr

From Cocoa Beach I headed back to my place in Orlando. The wind was picking up and I saw some great sunset views crossing the bridges on the way back. When I got neat Orlando I saw just what the guys at Captain Stan's were talking about when they said "stay off the 4" (I-4). Traffic was horrendous and it took me over an hour to go six miles...

trafficjam by penn_trap, on Flickr
I need a drink.
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Old 03-12-2015, 06:12 AM   #13
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Southbound (again)

After a lovely holiday with visits from family it is time to move on. It was wonderful to see everyone and enjoy the weather. I was up relatively early and thus had a leisurely breakfast while watching the news and cleaning up before leaving the unit. It's been a bit misty in the mornings and today is no exception, however it is already in the seventies (50 C) with a prediction of eighty five (67 C) and sunny with lows tonight around sixty five. Excellent weather for further explorations. South! In preparation for an expected chill Wednesday night.

Well Orlando traffic was horrid, as expected, but thanks to my brilliant planning I had to deal with only about two miles before turning of onto a road that rapidly took me away from the mess.
It was but another two miles of seeing a few other cars before the traffic all but disappeared. Soon I was tooling along enjoying another Florida Scenic highway.
I was getting out in to the rural areas for certain.
you know you are far from anywhere when there is not even a store or gas station to put the paper boxes at:


DSCF1059 by penn_trap, on Flickr

I made a few turns and was enjoying the ride behind one of Florida's innumerable goldwing trikes when I noticed a huge tower off in the distance. "What could it be?@ I thought to myself, as it looked positively medieval. "Perhaps something to look over the orange groves?"
bok1 by penn_trap, on Flickr
As they were all around me now. I even saw a juicing plant aptly named Citrusuction or something like it. As we rounded a hill I lost sight of it. I was rather amazed as it towered above everything not unlike the tower at Granogue (The duPont estate where they run the vintage trials event). Then I saw a sign "National Historic Monument, Bok Tower and Gardens". I hung a quick left to see what it was. Well I followed a few signs and came across a fee for entry gate with a nice little park outside of it. A quick "U" and into the park for me. Google will answer my questions without a fee. It turned out to be quite a nice park

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
and I popped out the solar panel to charge my phone, took off my boots (two weeks of airing them out after the Tripp down had helped and I wanted to avoid back sliding) and zipped off the lowers of my pants so I could wander around a bit. After about an hour I decided to get back on the road and explore some possible camp sites, I already had found one nice option, but would examine a few more.

I soon found my way to 60 east (a four lane divided motorway) and tooled along until I found "Boy Scout Camp Road". Well this did not pay any better than the one in Georgia, as there was a huge sign "No Trespassing by order of Sheriff". I decided to not bother asking if they rented sites to non council members or alumni even though this (still active) camp appeared to have a nice lake view. I kept going and soon found a dirt side road. It rapidly ended at a fence with no gate and the spine, pelvis and tail of a six foot alligator. There was even a bit of its hide so it clearly was not too old.


DSCF1047 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Well the guy in ONF did say everything was in season right now. There was a nearby pond and some holes in the barb wire neither side of the road but it was not a particularly promising campsite as there were no trees with proper alignment to the holes in the fence to allow for "plausible deniability". And seeing as the harvester of the gator was either a property owner (though there were no gates, except for the Boy Scout camp) or a poacher, I decided this was not a preferred site.
Onward.

I continued around looking for access to the lake and soon found a nice dirt road bordering the orange groves and providing access for houses around another lake. (There are a lot of lakes in this area) It was a nice ride with wonderful views but soon ended in a strange road. Since I knew there was no circumnavigating the lake that I was targeting, an not wanting to head to Lake Kissimmee, its RV park, "Gator Cove" and other touristy attractions which might end up in a repeat of the "Ft. Clinch experience, I turned back with the intent of heading south of Rt. 60 where there were still more and larger lakes and several state forest tracts. This turned out to be the right choice. I soon found a few boat ramps, terrific twisty cruising roads and lots of state forest. Looking for a west facing waterfront view for a sunset photo I stumbled upon an incredibly cheap camp site with a little creek and dock where fishing boats could launch and moor, a tight pack of mixed small RVs and tents and plenty of open space.


DSCF1050 by penn_trap, on Flickr

I stopped, clicked some photos and pulled up a map to evaluate my options. It appear that a road wrapped around the west side of the lake, but not too close to the shore. A quick investigation led to a gate, where a "retired volunteer p" said that it was a an active bombing range, and although they allowed hunters in, "no motorcycles were allowed". Hmm this was different than my past experience with motorcycles and military bases, and contrasted with the Naval range in the ONF, but I ceased to push the issue as he brought up several other points such as the presence of a prison, etc. (Rural low security prisons are a dime a dozen in Florida) after a relatively pleasant conversation, I motored off and found a "dead end road" through the state forest that eventually took me to the paved road leading to the base that was now a prison. It was a nice NFR type road with minimal deep sand and a rather nice ride. Hmm. More inaccuracies in provided information. Oh well. This would save me time in obtains some provisions to help adjust my sleep cycle to early nights vs. the previous night. Hello WinnDixie! Avon Grove is a nice little town, formerly a destination town on the Florida rail line. A nice little lake and a rail museum.


avonpark-beach by penn_trap, on Flickr
Maybe so where to visit tomorrow morning. As I am quite near Sebring Raceway I figure that will be a destination for tomorrow.

Provisioned I headed back towards the camp site stopping to do a bit more exploring on the way. Back to the campsite about 45 minutes before sunset, I found it to have better than expected views with arising moon and a nice view firm the dock of the setting sun lighting the reeds and Spanish moss infested trees. A bit more in the western cloud department would have made for an unbelievable sunset, however it was still quite lovely.


DSCF1052 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Back to the bike to set up. The previous occupant had left a pile of fast food rubbish in the fire pit. The sort of thing that draws critters. :kaboom I gathered some firewood, cleaned out the rubbish and took the rubbish to the dumpster (Sans Fee), washed my hands and returned to set up for the evening. The Mosquitos came out with a vengeance and I soon was wearing my jacket and pants again to keep them at bay as I laid the fire and set up the hammock. Viscous I tell you, even with a nice breeze. Then again, this was the first time that I did not need long sleeves and pants to ward off the chill, and I was quite close to the lake. Soon the moon achieved a high enough angle to penetrate the trees. I thought that a mercury vapor lamp had come on! It was quite bright. With the fire going, and the riding gear back on, the Mosquitos became a minor bother and I was soon enjoying half a sandwich for dinner. By nine, most campfires had faded and the site had settled down. Clearly the fires are a protective measure against the mosquitos.
Time to settle down myself. No cooking for me tonight or in the morning. A couple of "oil cans" in the boots to keep out pests, and it is off to bed in the hammock, no sleeping bag tonight as it is supposed to stay in the high sixties. What a way to go from a resort to camping!
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Old 03-12-2015, 05:57 PM   #14
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Across the Prairie to Myakka River

Restless night, went to bed too early and wound up wide awake at midnight. The Mosquitos continued to fly sorties against me until the wee hours of the morning when the attacks dropped off to a few scouts. :flame I was up wandering again at four fifteen before finally dropping off until seven. A quick shower, charge and I was out of the campsite before eight forgoing breakfast as I did not feel like sharing anything else with the Mosquitos. It was a misty morning, but quite pleasant to meander among the orange groves. I soon found my way to Lake Reedys western shore and the town of Frostproof where I found a wonderful little diner called Grove Cafe. That it had a lot full of bikes was a good sign. The service was excellent and the environment pleasant.

Grove Cafe by penn_trap, on Flickr

I continued south from here towards Lake Jackson and the town of Sebring.

800px-Sebring_FL_Lake_Jackson02 by penn_trap, on Flickr
Once into town I find signs for the track and head out to the airport/track facility.
The office is closed but the track is open.

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
The Skip Barber Driving School has operations here and since it is Sunday they are tearing it up in the open wheeled cars.

SKipBDS by penn_trap, on Flickr

After exploring a bit I found a nice backcountry site in Highland Hammock State park.

Highland hammock trees by penn_trap, on Flickr
I believe this was actually the first of Florida's state parks created by local citizens until the park system came into creation.

Highland Hammock prarie by penn_trap, on Flickr

The sunset from my campsite was fantastic:


DSCF1056 by penn_trap, on Flickr

A couple of beverages to lull me to sleep as I listen to the couple at the next campsite with a generator and heater hooked to the tent. Around nine the headed out to a party or something and came back around two.

Monday morning:

Up early and moving on to the west.

I found some dirt to play in on the way out:


DSCF1055 by penn_trap, on Flickr

Today was a mostly long strait burn through the central Prairie, followed by some nice 90 degree turns coming into the Myakka river valley (?).

I found Solomons Castle along the way, and happend to run into the old guy.


DSCF1060 by penn_trap, on Flickr

We got talking about his car collection and he was nice enough to show it to me
he had a bunch of old amercan cars:


DSCF1061 by penn_trap, on Flickr

And this great Ford Truck:


DSCF1065 by penn_trap, on Flickr
I made it to the north gate of MRSP just before sunset


DSCF1067 by penn_trap, on Flickr

and found my way to my campsite.

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
There are wild pigs in the park and I was awoken in the morning by one rooting around nearby.
Saw a great sunrise with reflections on the water

Sunrise over Myakka by penn_trap, on Flickr
Before going for a walk
I chatted with some interesting characters and checked out the canopy walk.
Checked out the wildlife in the river

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr


Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
There was lots of open forest and a canopy walk with a viewing tower as wel

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
As the sun was setting I walked up to the cafe to grab a bite to eat and saw this.

Fire Palm by penn_trap, on Flickr
I was warned about the buzzards in the norther camping area by someone who had to pou a pop up over his open roof trailer.

Flatistan Phase Two by penn_trap, on Flickr
they really like this place for some reason.
Solomon's Castle and early American car collection
(I need to extract the Photos from my dead camera)
Even though he was closed Monday the owner was nice enough to show me his car collection.
Some great old Fords, Dodges, and Chevys.

Time for few days of rest and back north for PBR
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Old 03-12-2015, 07:18 PM   #15
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Great stuff! My mother lives in Cocoa Beach in the winter (still there). I know many of the locations you mentioned.
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