Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Raising Awareness for Veterans - The Tartan Visor

Since getting back to Canada I started following a lot of moto-vloggers so I could vicariously ride while being bike-less. That and I just enjoy the content that these talented vloggers create. One in particular vlogger who I connected with on Twitter rides over in Scotland and goes by the name of The Tartan Visor. It has been about 3 months since I had connected with him on Twitter, subscribed to his channel on YouTube and have been watching him develop his channel ever since. 

Check him out: #TheTartanVisor 

So today while doing my regular 'Twitter Good Morning' chirps with my Twitter Friends I came across a notification from The Tartan Visor who currently is doing the #22PushupChallenge to combat veteran stress. 

To my surprise he nominated me to do this challenge! 

*Blush* I have to admit, it was cool to hear my name mentioned in his vlog. 

Well seeing I can't even remember the last time I even attempted to do a push-up and the fact that I am blogger not a vlogger I began to think that this challenge (one that I felt I needed to at least do something for because it is such a great cause) was going to present a few problems for me. So as not to disappoint my Tartan friend I decided to do this post to help spread the awareness and hopefully send a few more donations his way. 

So what is it all about? The Tartan Visor is spreading awareness for veterans' mental health issues through raising donations on his moto-vlog. This particular charity is focused in the UK, however veterans from all over suffer the same debilitating symptoms of PTSD. All our veterans are important, so let's give back to these women and men who give so much of themselves for us. 

For those of you who do not know about this charity challenge for veterans; it actually started in the United States at the beginning of 2016. It was a way to create awareness for veterans' mental health issues and PTSD while at the same time donating to the charity. The challenge is to get people to video themselves doing 22 push-ups and then donate to the charity.  

The Tartan Visor has a little bit of a twist on this challenge and has taken the challenge a step further to combine the challenge into moto-vlogging and doing 22 push-ups each vlog over 22 days ending on Aug 28, 2016 with a Bike Meet.

So if any of my followers from Scotland are interested in donating and helping The Tartan Visor raise money for this cause here are all the links in one place: 
The Tartan Visor Facebook 
Bike Meet up info
The Tartan Visor -YouTube 
Follow The Tartan Visor on Twitter  @tartanvisor
About the Charity Combat Stress UK 

Keep the rubber side down my Tartan Friend :)  Great work!

I thought I should also provide these additional links:
PTSD Association of Canada 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Even the best laid plans contain twists

Well it has been a little over two months since getting back from Florida. Seems a lot longer. Getting back into the swing of things is really taking it’s toll on me, as in ‘work’. My ole body is having a hard time adjusting back into work life again after being idle for almost five months, with the exception of riding a motorcycle. That classifies as exercise right? I know, no one feels sorry for me, huh! 

I had thought about buying a bike for when I am home in Canada. Ever since we started leaving the bikes in Florida it has always left me with such separation anxiety. Seriously! Anyway, I had big plans, and thought oh what fun it would be to have all kinds of adventures and share the scenic beauty that surrounds me with you from my own ‘backyard’. I would probably be going it solo, and that notion absolutely intrigued me. 

But as with all the best laid out plans this plan of mine is proving to have more twists than highway 518. Time has become my number one enemy this year. This working for a living has really gotten in the way! But of course we all know that work is a catch 22 scenario. This of course could be rectified if I became independently wealthy by winning the lottery. Seeing the odds are against me, I guess I will just have to keep working for the time being. 
Then add to that every spare moment that I do get I spend working on the house that we built last year. There is still a lot of interior detail work to finish, along with landscaping.  So there in lies my dilemma, time. 

‘When your best laid plan contains that inevitable twist, the secret is to just lean into it.’

Even with time being an issue I still thought I could squeeze in a few moments here and there to see what was out there. I don’t live in a big city or even close enough to one that would have a motorcycle dealership, so I started looking at new and used bikes online, focusing on places within about an hour or so drive.  It has become quite apparent to me now that the selection is quite slim around here. 

In my quest for getting a second bike I considered financing a new one, but then thought I really don’t want or need another monthly payment. We had just replaced our car last November after it suddenly died just prior to leaving for Florida. I also sadly concluded that I really couldn’t afford another Harley, even a used one. Maybe in my next life.  I even considered a sport bike, but I know that I am just a cruiser gal at heart. 

I have only owned two bikes in my somewhat short riding history of seven years so I am limited to comparing my “shopping” experience to that. (However both were bought from dealers) I am also kind of doing this as a solo adventure as my BF is not interested at all in getting a bike for here, sad but true. I am by no means an expert on the workings of  motorcycles, hell I don’t even change my own oil! At least I know where it goes and I could if I chose to *grin*. As far as my expertise goes, it starts and ends with having read nearly every Internet article on what to look for when buying a motorcycle, so maybe that counts for something. But as far as the mechanical aspects, I would definitely have a used motorcycle from a private owner inspected by a professional.

So I figured why not start where I began... looking at new and used Yamaha 250s. Don’t laugh, yes it is quite a few steps down from my 883, but I still have a soft spot for my little Yamaha 250. Maybe it is because it was my first, non the less it was a great little bike. Even though it is considered a ‘beginner’ bike, does it really matter? So the saying goes... Just as long as you ride.
The Yamaha 250s are somewhat inexpensive, a new one will run $4,499 (add 13% sales tax and I’m into it for $5,083.87). Used ones start asking around $3,400, most have low milage. Also as a 250cc the insurance would be somewhat reasonable, as far as insurance is concerned. (Insurance is ridiculously expensive where I live).

I could always get a sticker for it that says ‘My other bike is a Harley, REALLY’ (HaHaHa) 

Maybe it wouldn’t be the kind of bike to go on epic journeys with, but would do just fine for the little excursions I had in mind. There really are some beautiful places close by to where I live that I would like to experience and share with you, like Algonquin Park and all the quaint little towns to explore. I can just picture it now, motoring down the road, enjoying that wind therapy that all bikers crave, that I crave. 

Alas, reality sets in again and I realize that I am fooling myself. I probably will not end up with a bike this year. Even if I do find the perfect bike for me, I really wouldn’t have the time to ride it! At least not this season. So for now I will continue to dream a little longer. On the brighter side, only five more months and I will be reunited with my Sporty Blue!

Keep the rubber side down my friends... until next time...

Saturday, July 2, 2016

GUEST POST: Decisions, Decisions

Hello my faithful followers!
Today I am featuring a guest writer, Ania Todua. She is from Brea, CA, USA. and is an avid biker. She also happens to ride a Harley Sportster 883. Not that I am biased or anything *grin*  (Links, pictures and opinions are hers)

Decisions, Decisions - Choosing to Buy a New or Used Motorcycle

Owning a motorcycle has always been a dream of yours. It can be a big investment for you, much like buying a car or a home, and you want to make sure you put just as much thought and consideration into your purchase as you would one of those other large items. For many people, the choice comes down to buying a new motorcycle or choosing a used one for their purchase. Figuring out just which one is the right step for you will depend on you personally, but there are pros and cons involved with both sides of the issue. When you are choosing between buying a brand new motorcycle and buying a used one, you want to closely consider both before making a decision.

Buying a New Motorcycle

 For many people, buying a new motorcycle seems like the only way they want to go. When you buy a new bike you know you are getting something that has never been ridden by anyone else before. You get that feeling along with the knowledge that a new bike should come to you with the highest level of reliability. Since it is brand new, you will not experience any issues with it that will cost you a great deal in terms of repair. You will also not have to worry as much about it breaking down somewhere during your rides. The downside of owning a new bike primarily lies in the cost. New motorcycles can be very expensive, depending on the make, model and manufacturer that you are looking at.

Buying a Used Motorcycle

Buying a used motorcycle can be the perfect choice for someone that is just starting out with riding. You may not want to make a huge investment in a new bike if you are just starting out and unsure if you are going to ride it a lot. You can get a used motorcycle from a dealership or private owner and save thousands of dollars. There are risks involved with buying a used motorcycle as well. You buy it with the knowledge that the engine and the bike may have gone through months or years of use and there could be repairs that you will need to do to keep the bike in good running order, potentially costing you more money. If you have a good knowledge of bikes and can perform repairs on your own then a used bike can be a good investment for you, but if you need to bring it to a mechanic all of the time it may not work out well for you.


In the end, the decision you make will be about how much money you have in your budget to spend right now and whether or not you are able to perform any maintenance, repair and gears that may be needed to the bike. Whichever you choose, you want to be sure that you select a motorcycle that you are comfortable in riding and is going to bring you joy and good performance.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Last Ride To The Everglades, bittersweet

April 21, 2016

For my last ride of the season here in Florida I decide to revisit the Everglades. We have made this trip plenty of times, and the route to get there is always the same. (The sketchy 82 to the wind tunnel on 29). But something about this ride made it extra special. 

Maybe it was just because it was my last ride and it had me savoring each familiar mile. While at the same time made me a little sad because it also signified the end of my time here. 

From the first time I came here on a two week visit many years ago, I have always felt a special connection here.  And now it has become my home away from home, and a place where I feel like I belong. Or maybe it is just because I love the heat so much. Okay, enough with the sentimental interlude.

Click image to read History of Post Office
I had wanted to revisit the little post office on 41 in Ochopee. (Ochopee is located in the Big Cypress National Preserve that 41 cuts through). 

The last time we were there was back in 2011 when I was riding my little V-star 250. This Post Office has a bit of history behind it and is considered the smallest Post Office in the US. 

Amazingly, it has also been in continuous use since 1953.  Although when we pulled in the post master was on a lunch break and it was closed. But my real reason for wanting to stop here again was for the photo op of the Harley’s in front of it. Just an obsession of mine.

A little further up the road from the post office is one of those kitchy road side attractions. My interest was sparked a while back when I stumbled upon it on the Internet on my never ending quest to find quirky places to visit. 

The SkunkApe Research Headquarters  is run by Dave Shealy. He has spent a life time tracking a creature that lurks in the Everglades within the Big Cypress Swamp known as the Skunkape. 

According to Dave and the locals; there is a large ape-like creature that is covered with hair, stands up right and smells like a skunk. It lives in the Everglades and can be traced back to 1891. You can decide for yourself. If your so inclined you can stay at the convenient Campground adjacent to it or if you are in for a bit of adventure take one of their Adventure Tours into the Everglades. Maybe you might find the Skunkape or at least have fun trying.

Hey! The Skunkape is trying to steal my bike!

Upon entering the gift shop we were welcomed by the Skunkape's cousin. (At least that is what I assumed)

Guarding the yard was a very large panther.

As we geared up to leave, my zipper on my jacket broke. My zipper had been giving me a bit of trouble lately and I was hoping it would last until I had a chance to bring it in to get a new zipper. But as my luck would have it, as I went to zip it up the teeth pulled apart and I was left holding the pull tab. I put the pull tab in my pocket and just buttoned the top and bottom part of my jacket so we could continue on to our next stop. Not a good plan. I realized as I headed down the road that the wind catching in my jacket not only made the perfect sail for a boat it was also like getting punched by a...Skunkape as the wind buffeted on my chest.   

Such a nice guy to fix my zipper
At least we didn’t have far to travel and pulled into the HP Williams Picnic Area on Turner River Rd. 

Before we went exploring the park I wanted to see if I could fix my zipper. I fiddled around with it for awhile and gave up, resigning myself to the fact that I would have to ride all the way home feeling like at any moment I would become air born. 

Then my BF gave it a try and after a bit of work managed to get it back together again, ah my hero. I had a feeling he planned it that way, watch me struggle then step in to save the day *grin*

The last time we were at this park we had seen alligators lounging on the banks of the river, from the safety of the board walk. However the only thing we caught a glimpse of this time was a few fish in the murky water. 

Look real close you will see a bug-eyed fish or click the pic to enlarge :)

It wasn’t until we headed back along 41 that my BF caught sight of this rather large alligator. 
We turned around and stopped at the side of the road to get my ‘money’ shot. 
That was one big gator!
Close up

We thought we might head back on 841, a rural road which would eventually bring us back out onto 29. That was until we turned down it and were faced with loose gravel.

My BF was in the lead and his bike was kicking up quite a dust cloud. I hung back to minimize my dirt intake. 

About a quarter mile in we stopped at a bridge, which was the only paved portion to this road, to access our situation. A couple of cars drove by covered in a thick layer of white dust that obscured what colour the cars actually were. It was then that we decided that we were not up for another adventure ride on the Harley’s.  Well mainly it was me, I wasn’t. I had eaten enough dust in the small stretch to the bridge that I couldn’t image doing that for the next 7 miles and at speeds of less than 10 miles per hour. I am pretty sure that if I said ‘lets go for it’ he would of obliged. So we turned around and headed back the way we came along 29. 

As I rode back a melancholy descended upon me. Anyone who rides knows that of all the emotions one associates with riding, melancholy is not one of them. Exhilarating, uplifting, joy... only positive feelings, you get the idea. Even though on the surface my smile was a mile long and I was still totally in the moment of free spirited bliss that undertone was still festering there, and I couldn’t help but feel it twinge at me.

It has always brought a tear to my eye when I put my bike to bed and close up for the year. It will feel like an eternity before I get to sit in his saddle again. To feel the wind in my face and let my worries of the day get lost in those soothing tropical air currents. To feel the thrill of discovering a new road to travel on or just relish in the pure pleasure of the ride on a familiar one. 

Good-bye my sweet Sporty Blue.
Good-bye my sweet Florida.
Until we meet again...

Map Route to the Smallest Post Office, Skunk Ape Research Headquarters & HP Williams Roadside Park 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Random Thoughts On A Solo Ride

April 8-2016

I did IT and IT was Amazing! 

What was so amazing? Finally getting out on my bike for a solo ride. My first solo in Florida to be exact. Even though it wasn’t an epic ride, it was more of a notable turning point of sorts for me. 

A journey that I believe is the next step to my riding independence, while at the same time trying to discover who I am and what direction I want to go in the next phase of my life.

But first things first, I had to get my bike out of the garage. Okay, that might of been a bit dramatic. Actually, it didn’t really present that big of a problem after all. Just the minor act of moving the car and leaving it parked at the end of the driveway allowed for plenty of room to back out my bike without fear of smashing into it. With that accomplished I suited up and headed out.

I had just pulled out onto the road when my gas light came on, so it was obvious that my first stop would need to be at the gas station. As I made my way through the neighbourhood a wide grin spread across my face. It must of had an infectious effect on a few people that I saw as they each gave a big wave and had a smile as big as mine as I passed by. 

"Wheee....I feel like a celebrity!"

As I pulled in at the gas station every pump was occupied leaving me to wait for my turn behind an SUV. A few minutes went by and finally the guy whose truck it was came back to start pumping gas. (Gas stations work different here; when paying in cash, you pay first inside then fill up - unlike the trusting Canadians). Anyway he starts pumping his gas and gives me the thumbs up and says “Nice bike, is that an 883?” I nod my head and speaking loudly over the thrum of my engine say “yes”. He continues with “What a great day for a ride, hope to get out soon myself” He finishes up and gives me a big wave as he pulls away. 

“Bikers are naturally friendly folks, even when on four wheels” 

I really had no destination in mind that day, rather a direction towards those rare twisty roads that are so illusive around here. I meandered down a few side streets letting my memory serve as my road map until I came upon my target called Buckingham Road. A rare find indeed, with its swooping curves that lazily weave their way around a mix of cattle and horse ranches. Peaceful, serene, a place to loose ones self.

Even though I must of been on this same road a hundred times before with my BF over the years,  this time it was completely different. My bike was my guide and my desires were my direction.

Now that I am officially in the “middle aged” bracket I asked myself... “What the hell do I really want to do now with my life?” A glimmer of a thought started to form, then silence was the reply.

Eventually I came to The Hut restaurant and pulled in for a break. It wasn’t open yet and I had my choice of spots so I settled off to the side near a group of trees and drank some ice water from my cooler pack. 

Being here I recalled the time a couple of friends had went on a ride with us around Lake Okeechobee and stopped in here for a drink (non alcoholic of course) It was a good day. 

After my brief rest I decided to head back the way I came in order to get to another curvy road called Treeline Ave. Besides it gave me a chance to ride those curves once again. (A do-over in biker lingo) My only goal was to miss as many traffic clogged roads as possible. Along the way I missed a street I should of turned down, but soon another came along and I discovered a new road to head down. My timing was perfect to be out when I was. I managed to hit long stretches of next to no traffic giving me time to let my thoughts wander as my tension blew away in the wind.

“I am doing this, me alone, and it feels great!”

Making the turn onto Treeline Ave I was yet again travelling along a mostly deserted road. Fortresses of gated communities sprawled out along this section with their perfectly manicured lawns and private golf clubs hidden behind walls of trees. 

After crossing over Alico Road I realized how close I was to Costco and decided to make my way into the parking lot. It occurred to me as to be there I might as well grab a ‘bottle’ for my reward for when I got back home. *smile*  

A perfect fit...honest that was the smallest bottle they had.
I decided to brave a little more traffic and head back along the main routes and make a cut through town just because. 

I made one last stop at the WinnDixie to get a bag of chips to satisfy my munchie craving and crammed them into my saddle bag on top of my bottle. 

I ended up having to remove my backpack and wear it to make room for those all important chips.  Missing a few more streets (on purpose) that I could of turned down to get home, I eventually made it back in a round about way.

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future.....

“If not now...when?" 

Even though my ride was only a 62 mile (99 km) ride, it proved something way more valuable than putting on miles. I proved something to myself and for that I am so proud of me. 

I realized that I can test my limits and not fear where it will take me. It allowed me to rejuvenate my soul and bring me one step closer to understanding just where and what I want to do with the remainder of my life. And of course with my spirit free to roam it cleansed my senses. Liberation is a wonderful thing. Now I can’t wait to do it again and again. 

“Random silly thoughts, hard serious questions...but in the end, isn’t it really just about the ride - maybe I just need a longer one”

Partial Route of my tour - Buckingham / Treeline Buckingham is a fairly long road and there is much more to it than the brief section I travelled on.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Left to my own devices

So my BF went off to Germany for the next three weeks and I am left to my own devices in Florida until he gets back. It is not as bad as you might think. After all, I am a loner by nature and this ‘alone’ time is a nice temporary break. Doesn’t the saying go; absence makes the heart grow fonder. I have no problem being alone, I enjoy solitude when I can get it and I always seem to have plenty to do to keep my warped little mind busy. Twitter, Google+, Facebook...(my friends live there) 

Besides, I won’t be totally alone, Fred is here with me. He doesn’t say much, except for around dinner time, other than that he mostly sleeps all day.

So here I am lucky to be in a place with plenty of days of great riding weather but there is a slight catch. I have never been out on my bike alone, at least not here. Three weeks is a long time to just leave my bike parked in the garage, and one can only walk by and pat it so many times before the urge to twist the throttle over powers. Yes I have a tendency to pat my bike when I can’t get out and ride, doesn’t everybody? 

After seven years of riding I just haven’t done solo that much. The opportunity just hasn’t presented itself, especially here in Florida as we always ride together. (On separate bikes of course) His riding style is much faster than mine so I always follow, I actually prefer it that way. I also figure this gives him a chance to ride his ride and me mine, at least whenever the opportunity presents itself like when we are in the less populated areas. The thought of riding alone doesn’t bother me, but for some reason riding alone here does.  Although I am looking forward to riding where I want, when I want and for how long I want, the whole “no one to answer to” sort of thing is very appealing.

Back home when I had my little V-star (I loved that little bike) I took her only out twice for a solo ride, just on a little cruise through Burks Falls and once up to Kearney. I was fairly new to riding back then but I sure did enjoy those solo rides, even if they were just brief ones. Just those two little rides had sparked something deep within me and enlightened my soul. 

Then we started coming to Florida, traded our bikes in for Harley’s and because we licensed them here we felt it easier to just store them when we leave. So consequently I have been left bike-less when we get back to Canada. Ironic isn’t it. 

Anyway that brings me back to riding solo, I can still remember how it felt to be totally immersed in the ride back then, a freeing of the spirit, independent, and capturing a taste of that carefree attitude of my youth. I suppose now is my chance. However, I am a still just a tad jittery at the thought of going it alone. Also if you have been following my posts, you will have noticed the familiar theme of straight and flat around here, so finding an interesting road to ride is very unlikely, at least one that is close by. I don’t think I would attempt an epic journey just yet, at least not here.

So if I really thought about it, if I could get my motorcycle licence by myself, then I sure can go for a ride in Florida by myself. Guess I just needed a bit of a pep talk, and putting it in a post seemed a little more saner than talking (out loud) to myself, besides Fred didn’t bother to stay awake long enough to listen to me. 

If you made it this far reading my babbling, Thanks for listening. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Adventure Riding on a Harley... what?

March 22, 2016

Back in February on one of our adventures, ‘To the Everglades...Not Quite’ we had discovered a route through the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park that looked as though it might be an interesting ride. But at that time flooding had closed the road and prevented us from exploring the more ‘wild’ side of the ‘Real’ Florida. Today I figured that by now the water should be dried up and figured we should try it again. 

The temperature started off a little too cool for my liking but the weatherman promised me that it would eventually be a sunny warm day. So taking him at his word (this time), we headed out. We would be coming in from the opposite direction from where we had initially found the road so I had printed off a Google Map to help us navigate through the Picayune Strand State Forest that would eventually lead us to the Scenic Drive that I had waited this long to experience.

SR-82 was extremely windy and even the perpetual wind tunnel of 29 was windier than usual (if that is at all possible) but I persevered. Eventually we got shielded from the flat openness of farmland when we got into the town of Immokalee. Next we turned down 1st and passed the Casino leaving the town behind us and headed back into the more remote side of the country side. After a short jaunt, we soon were turning off at Everglades Blvd. No surprise it was a very long, and wait for it... straight road. However this was not the usual orange field and palm tree kind of a road out in the middle of no where. Instead, looking strangely out of place, an upscale neighbourhood emerged tucked behind chainlink fences and cement walls with iron gates.

Eventually we crossed over a bridge that spanned over the I-75 highway and left the huge houses behind to come upon the Welcome sign to the Picayune Strand State Forest. 

According to Google, the road was supposedly paved, however today that was not to be. At least it looked hard packed and lucky us, while we were standing there having our moto-break a water truck came by to spray water on the road to keep the dust down. 

The gravel road continued for several miles until we came to the next Welcome Sign where the entrance to the ‘pay’ portion of the park starts. Which incidentally was closed due to a restoration project that was going on. Our route was to go left down Canal Rd., so we paid little attention to the signs.  We made our turn so that we would eventually get to the start of ‘Jane’s Memorial Scenic Drive’. At least that is what we thought. It was nice to see that the pavement was also back and gave me a chance to cough out the dust that I had swallowed from following my BF. Apparently that water truck earlier really didn’t make a difference.

It was a little unnerving when I passed a road sign that warned of Panthers, but knowing that Panthers are nocturnal I wasn’t really worried, and besides I didn’t plan on being in here after dark. At least I was fairly confident we wouldn’t be.  

A few miles down, the road simply vanished into nothing more than walking path forcing us to turn around. After consulting our backup map and figuring we could get there in the other direction we went back to the park entrance. 

That is when we noticed, staring at us plain as day, that the road we had been on was in fact Closed.

Also posted nearby was a convenient Detour Route sign. *Blush* 

A few miles more of dust filled lungs we turned onto Miller Blvd and pavement once again returned. If you could call it that, it had more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese. In the sections that didn’t have potholes it just gave way instead to a washboard effect that had me intermittently standing on my pegs to keep from getting my insides whipped into a smoothie. 

We came upon a Park Employee in a golf cart who disappeared after we passed and after that we never came across another soul for quite some time. I was glad there was no traffic as it gave us plenty of space to play dodge the pothole and avoid the possibility of losing the bikes in one.

Looking a little strange on such a deserted road we pulled up to a stop sign. I had a hard time picturing this place as a busy intersection.  It was time for another moto-break before we made the turn onto Stewart (100th Ave SE), and I welcomed the time to settle my stomach from the shake, rattle and roll contortions I had just done.

Getting off my bike I noticed the road was littered with shot gun shells and it made me wonder if someone from the movie Deliverance might jump out of the thick brush. 

Then I glanced over at the condition of the stop sign. I am guessing the stop sign bandit was hunting the elusive ‘Stop Sign’...

The one on the other side unfortunately didn’t fare nearly as well... 

Continuing on Stewart, once we crossed over a bridge it was back to gravel again. This was turning into quite the ‘adventure ride’ on a Harley. And became painfully obvious that we were on the wrong bikes for this type of outing.

The further we went down that road the more it deteriorated to the point where there was no way to get past 2nd gear. Harley’s just were not meant to ride this slow! In some spots the road was completely level with the swamp and water lapped at its edge. Then came the puddles the size of swimming pools in the middle of the road.

This began to test every moto-skill I had. I even surprised myself a few times. Keeping as close to the edge of the road without going into the mushy swamp was definitely a balancing act.  Then there was a section where I swear that all the sand from Fort Myers beach was just dumped so as to soak up excess water on road. It was a stretch of pure beach sand and was a little ‘hairy’ to say the least just to get through it. I started to bog down a bit, then gave it a little more throttle to push through which made me fish-tail a bit while the brush whipped me in the face and scrapped down my side. But I eventually made my way through and I am proud to say I didn’t dump it! *Pats myself on the back*

Plenty of birds flew out of the brush as the roar of the Harley’s cut through the silence. In a clearing there was a family of deer that were crossing the road, they stood for awhile as we approached, probably wondering what the hell we were doing way out there. But by the time I was able to stop and grab my camera they had disappeared into the thicket. After that I just slung my camera over my shoulder in case I had another opportunity. I figured it wouldn’t be a problem carrying it this way because my max speed was barley 10 mph. As my luck would have it, none came.

Even with the road as challenging as it was, I was still optimistic we would eventually get to Jane’s Memorial Scenic Drive, that was until we came to this...

It was evident that there would be no possible way to get through. Not only was the water completely across the road from edge to edge, it looked quite deep. The Harley’s finally had met their match. As we were accessing the situation a Park Ranger pulled up. The two Rangers inside each had that look like either we were one cracker short of box to be way out here on a Harley or we were Canadian tourists.  Anyway, the passenger politely told us with a slight smirk on his face that it would probably take another month or so before the road would be passable and that further up it got a lot worse. Worse?  As I watched them leave, the water went well past the tires on their pickup. Well that settled it. Time to turn around. 

There was an alligator sunning himself on a broken piece of cement by the road when we first pulled up. He was not more than a few feet away down a slight embankment. 

After the Rangers left I looked backed to see where he had gotten to and to make sure he was not sneaking up behind me. But he had slithered down in the water although he was still keeping a watchful eye on me. Glad he wasn’t hungry. Was that a wink?

So close, yet so far... by my estimation we were about 2 miles before we would enter Jane’s Memorial Scenic Drive

Inspecting the bikes when we got back on the paved solid ground I figured it would definitely be time to wash the bikes when we got back.  

Lately I had wondered what it might be like to go on one of those motorcycle adventure tours, not anymore. As far as I am concerned our little tour might not have been exactly like one but it sure came close (minus the hills)... uh, where is the Rub A535!

Route Maps:
Here is the route we took, at least as far as we could go

We took a slightly different route home once out of the park