Sunday, March 24, 2019

Bikefest Rockstar Harley & New Hangouts

(Sat March 24-19)
We hooked up with friends this weekend to check out Bikefest at Rockstar Harley Davidson in Fort Myers. I suppose this is a scaled down version of Bike Week in Daytona. Which suites me just fine, I have an aversion to large crowds. 

There were only a few booths to browse, and some food trucks to pig out at. I am guessing today was all about the main event, the bikini contest, which I purposely averted. So instead of taking pictures of that you will have to enjoy these instead….

Checking out the vendors


Cute little Piggys!


Nice artwork on this Indian


After we walked around a bit at Bikefest the plan was to head on over to the Ink Expo. Elaine was hoping to get a new tattoo and I thought it would be a great place to snap a few pics of interesting tats people were sporting. When we got there, we were all shocked that there was a $20 (per person) cover charge to just get in the door! (You would have thought when it was posted on FB that they would have mentioned that) Suffice to say we opted not to go in.  Well that was disappointing, but all was not lost. After the Ink Expo didn’t pan out, Elaine & James showed us a couple of new hangouts.

New Hangouts

We are all about finding places with a patio, after all we are in Florida and I can’t imagine being cooped up inside when you can be out enjoying the sunshine and awesome warm temperatures. Our friends feel the same way and showed us a couple of their favorite places they like to hang out at.

First stop was Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill. This place is off of Danport & Daniels Parkway on Marketplace Rd. I have it on good authority that the food is good here, although we just came to wet our whistle this time.


We opted to sit at the outdoor bar, it was a little cooler under the roof.


Elaine with her “lunch in a glass” A Bloody Mary with Bacon! 

A little closer to home our next stop was at the Boulevard Deli & Tavern. This place is hidden behind an office park off of Daniels Parkway & Gateway Blvd. on Towne lake Dr. 

I really liked the atmosphere of the patio. We also planned to eat here before heading home. Whenever I am at a new place to eat, I always stick to something that is fairly safe for my “picky eater” tastes. Wings are usually a safe bet. The Boulevard didn’t disappoint, the wings were super crispy and tasty. I of course had my wings naked while the BF got his smothered in garlic. (Glad I ride my own bike) The Boulevard gets my two thumbs up. And the price was right too, $10 for 10 wings! 


Thanks to Elaine & James, we now have two new places to hang out at. 
It was a great day to ride and discover a couple of hidden gems to wet our whistle at. 


Until next time keep 
Cruising Through Life & Enjoying the Ride...




Monday, March 4, 2019

Pine Island -Low Key Tiki & Ragged Ass Saloon

(Sat March 2)



Over the weekend we hooked up with our new biker buddies. We took a ride out to Pine Island to check out the Rubber Duck Races that were being held at the Low Key Tiki  and then on over to the Ragged Ass Saloon 

I am happy to report that I didn’t lose anything off my bike on this trip.


We didn’t realize that the actual duck races  at the Low Key Tiki were not kicking off until 4 pm and we really hadn’t planned on staying there all day. 

So, we grabbed a quick liquid refreshment and listened to some folksy tunes from the band that was playing.








This was the only Rubber Duck we got to see.

We then headed over to the Ragged Ass Saloon for some lunch and stayed to listen to the band that was starting at 2 pm. It wasn’t as busy as we thought it might be at the Ragged Ass, but I was glad because we were able get a table in the shade of the Tiki patio. Besides, me and crowds don't mix well. 

I am not really a "foodie" but I did enjoy the wings that I had and the french fries were especially good with a crispy coating.  I give this “biker friendly bar” with reasonably priced eats and drinks my thumbs up! 


I personally don’t know the guy who flashed me the peace sign as I took this pic, but Elaine mentioned she sees this couple all over the place on their bike. Back at ya buddy!


This band was more my classic rock style. Good Tunes!

(Hey Elaine, who is the guy hogging the front of the stage in our pictures LOL)



Before heading home, we decided to stop at The Boathouse Tiki Bar in Fort Myers. 

Gotta luv that reserved space for motorcycle parking.











The BF and I had sat at the Tiki bar the last time we were here, but I had no idea that you could also sit by the water on a “beach”.  

Our timing was perfect when we brought our drinks down, we had our choice of comfy Adirondack chairs (or Muskoka chairs as we call them) 

We relaxed for a spell around the fire pit and enjoyed the view of the Caloosahatchee River. We still haven't had a meal here yet, but hopefully we get a chance before we head back home to Canada.

No need for a fire today!

The day had turned into quite a scorcher, seems to be a theme this year with the hot humid temps so early in the season. The minute you get off the bike it is instant heat exhaustion, at least for me it was. Kind of like stepping out of a fridge and into a furnace. I am not really complaining, just a little grumbling. There is no way that I would trade places with anyone dealing with the snow and sub-zero temps. Even with the extreme heat it was another amazing day out on the bikes. Great riding, interesting places and spending time with awesome friends.

Need I say that at the end of a long hot ride there is nothing better than a dip in the pool with a glass of wine on the side.









Route to Pine Island: Low Key Tiki & Ragged Ass Saloon / The Boathouse Tiki Bar




Until next time keep





Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride....

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Swamp Cabbage Festival – LaBelle Florida

(Sat Feb 23)

We decided to take a ride out to the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle for something to do over the weekend. We have been to this festival a few times over the years and I have written about it before in 2014 if you care to take a look. 




It was already getting toasty out when we left around 10:30 am. Once we were on the road with the wind flowing around us it made the heat bearable. We took the back way into LaBelle via Immokalee Road then onto 29. The parade had started at 10 am and was just ending when we got into LaBelle. The traffic was at a stand-still while the police were directing traffic. We ended up sitting for what seemed like an eternity in the sweltering heat. When we finally began to move, we were re-routed along E. Cowboy Way. Probably not a good idea to have went on a Saturday, especially when the parade was just letting out. Oh well, there is something to be said about hind sight. 








Of course, we easily found a parking spot. Although we didn’t realize that we were still several blocks from Barron Park where the festival was held.  As we trudged along, (well I trudged) I noticed there were plenty of spots we could have squeezed into with the bikes.

I can’t believe I actually walked that far and in motorcycle boots no less! 





We did see a couple of cool looking Bumper Cars motoring down the road as we made the trek. Believe it or not these “cars” were actually plated, so I assume they are legal to drive on the road. Maybe they were in the parade.




I was already drenched in sweat when we finally got to the park where the festivities were already under way. My new jeans were the only thing that was saving me from a total melt down. My jeans have an open zig zag pattern on the pant legs making them have a built-in air ventilation system of sorts. I had bought them the previous weekend at the Thunder by the Bay festival in Sarasota. 



Our first stop was at the famous Armadillo races, unfortunately there were so many people crowded around that we never got to see the Armadillos race. 
This was the closet I got. At least I seen an Armadillo, sort of.

Entering the park

As we shuffled further into the park the crowds got even thicker. It was a wrong move walking through where all the food vendors were. The masses were lined up like vultures.



This is the famous Swamp Cabbage heart. Which happens to be Florida’s state tree, the Sabal Palm. Only the heart of the palm tree is harvested. It is then made into stews, or mixed with salads, it is even fried up as a Swamp Cabbage fritter. I still have not tried it, and never will, but it does seem quite a popular favorite to the locals.

I love the heat, but I really am not fond of humidity, especially when I am all decked out in my motorcycle gear. I should have at least brought my flip flops.  It has been unseasonably hot this February, even by Florida standards. The mercury was tipping near 34C /93F, then add in the humidity and I swear it was hovering around 100F.  With the heat and the crowds that were crammed into Barron park I felt like I was suffocating. I really don’t like being in large crowds to begin with, especially in smaller spaces. Too many people make me feel like I am being crushed. All I could think of was getting the hell out of there. So, suffix to say we didn’t stick around too long. 

We made the long way back to the bikes and were on the road with a nice breeze cooling my overheated body. We took North River Road on the way back home to extend the ride. 

Loved the ride, walking around the crowded festival, not so much.

The moment we got home I stripped off my clothes and jumped in the pool. Strike that, I poured a glass of wine and set it up poolside before I jumped in.  


Route to the Swamp Cabbage Festival in LaBelle

Until next time keep...






Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...

Monday, February 18, 2019

Thunder by the Bay, Sarasota - new friends, new roads

I always seem to answer all those “Location posts” in the women’s motorcycle groups that I belong to on Facebook. I sometimes get a few “likes” or the odd “Hey, that’s near to me” but nothing ever seems to come from it, until now. This is one of those times…




Prologue
I just happened to answer a post Elaine put up on the Open Road Girls group stating if anyone was in Southwest Florida. She was on the hunt for people to ride with from her area. Within a few moments of posting that I was in Lehigh Acres, Elaine was messaging me that she was too. We started planning a ride for the following weekend to Thunder by the Bay in Sarasota. (Feb 16)

I admit that I was a little nervous, okay a lot nervous about meeting Elaine and her boyfriend James. Especially since we had only briefly messaged through FB a handful of times.  This was so out of character for me to crawl out from behind my computer.  Since hitting my 50’s I have been trying really hard to break away from my almost hermit like existence. So what the hell, take a chance and meet people, I am not getting any younger.

Elaine also mentioned that two more were going to join us, TJ and Lynn. Our group would consist of a total of six, (myself and BF included) - on 5 bikes. I haven’t been on many group rides in my 10 years of riding, in fact most of my rides consist of myself or going with my BF and on occasion one other. (Hmmm… Does 3 count as a group?) Anyway, my very first group ride was back in 2014. (There were 5 other bikers, with us it made 7). Wow, 5 years since I was riding with more than two other bikers, no wonder I had a few butterflies. But really what is 3 more bikes, especially as it turned out, we all seemed to have the same riding style which naturally made it so much easier.

The Ride
We set out to meet everyone at the 711 gas station on Joel Blvd. Immediately upon meeting Elaine, James, TJ and Lynn it felt like we had already known them for awhile. After the introductions we organized our ride positions. We all agreed we didn’t care much for highway riding and opted to take 31 to Acardia and along 70.  (James held the lead position, then Elaine, TJ & Lynn, Me and my BF in the back. Elaine pointed out that it was us girls sandwiched between the guys LOL. My BF added he would make sure to pick up any pieces along the way, little did I know that he really would be. Then we were off to Sarasota. 

We were about halfway up 31 when I heard something clang onto the road, I wasn’t sure at first what had happened but then looked in my mirror and seen my BF turn around. It was then that I realized something must have fallen off. I pulled over and noticed it was my battery cover and my BF had backtracked to retrieve it. He literally had to “pick up the pieces” LOL. James had noticed we had disappeared and had ridden back to make sure we were okay. We decided to leave my battery cover off for the rest of the ride. We caught up with the others who had stopped and then carried on. BTW, not to fear, my battery cover managed to survive the slide across the highway, only a minor scratch at the bottom of it. Lucky it won’t be noticeable.



My little Sporty needed to be gassed up again just past Arcadia. I am sure that everyone welcomed the pit stop to stretch their legs. All in good fun James insisted that my bike was now too ugly with it's missing battery cover to park near the other bikes. I laughed and said I would try to keep my distance. Every group needs a little Sporty to keep things interesting.  My bike managed to reach Thunder by the Bay without further incident.


We have arrived

This was one of the largest festivals we had ever attended. We all stayed together and wandered around, had a bite to eat and browsed the wares and of course admired the bikes.





Even the dogs got in on the action



Now that is one giant Jenga game!



The sparkle on a pair of jeans caught my eye at one of the vendors tents and I decided to try them on. After making sure the jeans fit, I spent the next five minutes trying to get out the changing room!

In my defense, the guy did warn me that the door might stick a little… umm maybe he should have said, you may need a crowbar to get out! 

BTW, I bought them and they match my Sparkle Rider Bell that Lisa from BikerGirlBling.com gave me!







After my narrow escape from the change room we made our way over to watch some BMX bikes doing jumps. With my mediocre picture taking skills I even managed to get a few shots in mid jump. 










The journey home



On the way back we decided to make a stop at a biker bar on 70, The Open Road.



Disclaimer: all those beers on the table are NOT ours! 


The band was cool, but it sure made it hard to have a conversation!
(Age could be a factor, at least for me LOL)

Of course, we made another gas stop for my Sporty on the way back, but hey, those big bikes needed a little drink too! When we got into Lehigh we parted ways and headed home. It was awesome to meet some new people who share a common love of biking. I hope to go on many more road trips with them soon. 

As for me, it was a full day with another 200 miles round trip under my belt. Not to mention all the walking around I did. After a couple of glasses of wine, purely medicinal (wink) and a little bite to eat, by 8 pm I was snug in my bed dreaming of new adventures to come. 

Route to Thunder by the Bay Sarasota
(Aside from 31, which is a boring straight road the rest of the way was awesome)



Until next time...







Cruising Through Life & Enjoying The Ride...