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swampy

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Well we're back!

Me, Bert, Bob Mehl and Rich Bumar completed our most excellent Cracker Adventure stretching from coast to coast: Flagler Beach to Cedar Key!



Don't confuse this with the X-FL, this was the Big Bike Adventure Route, and it is filled with Cracker history! Awesome, awesome ride...and the food...omahgawd!   Gator, froglegs, collards, slaw, sour orange pie... unreal!

Photo's coming when I upload them later, smartalec commentary by Bert pending....

Watta a downright awesome ride!

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The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged
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Reply with quote  #2 
smartalec commentary standing by.
Lets see, I could tell a short story about our check in at the Topaz on Flagler Beach Friday night?
I could do tell everyone about our meal in Flagler Friday night after we got checked in....Oh, Canada...You'd have to have been there. It's an inside joke.

Maybe I'll comment on the Cracker Blues jam at lunch Saturday?

I could make a comment about the type of people that Bob attracts.

Or for that matter Rich.

Or what about the patented pickup line Rich uses. It sure seemed to work Sunday at lunch.

I got it, 'll start with the adorable clerk at Ceder Key...No the waitress, I'll start with the waitress.


Guess I'll just have to wait for pictures like everyone else. I only took my point and shoot which promptly chocked and died on me the first day.
Oh well, it was an epic trip and we had a genuine blast.
Thanks El Swampo

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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
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Reply with quote  #3 
tick ... tick ... tick ...


swampy

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Prelude To Adventure

So here we are, waiting for an adventure. I arranged a while back with Bert to get together and just ride. No events, no mapping, nuthing but riding.

But where to go?

We bantered a few things about and came up with riding the coast-to-coast route I made for big bike riders! That'll be cool!

So what's going on an adventure without having a pre-adventure-adventure! Or, more appropriately, when has anything gone exactly to plan!

But my bike needs tires. So I order a new set of Metzelers.

Backordered. Everywhere. Until later this month. Ugh! three days to go and I have no tires! So I settle for a set of Conti TKC80's. They're in and I'll get them installed Friday morning> I'll leave my house in new Port Richey, get to Spring Hill about 9ish, get the tires installed and meet up with the crew at Bert's house in Groveland about noon! Perfect!

Here's a view with what I had to put up with while my tires were getting installed... That new bike smell is addicting.... must...not....buy....SuperDuke....must...not....


Now, once again, we must be adaptable to any and all challenges that are put before us. Now it happens to be a front axle that won't budge from the hub! It eventually came out when Mark used a bearing puller on it.

Now, here's another... it was slightly scored...hum...curious...

So the new tire was installed, and the wheel put back on the bike...but...the wheel wouldn't turn without a lot of effort. Humm....the left spacer was cantered and putting pressure on one side of the bearing. What's up with that?

So off came the wheel. To make a long story short, out came the bearings and out came the bearing spacer in the hub, and out came a bunch of fine ground aluminum dust and shavings!

Seems there was an imperfection in the axle guide which caused the axle to begin to be ground like a piece of aluminum on a lathe! To make an already long story short, a couple of parts were Dremeled to remove burrs and a centrifical weld, the wheel was reassembled, and viola! It spun like no tommorrow! Perfect....

(An aside here. The work was all warrantied out to KTM for the defect.... Mark at Motorcycle Enthusiasts gets a huge Kuos from me for taking care of it all!)

But only now it was a bit after 1pm.... so much for meeting Bert in Groveland at his house at noon... so I head on over to the house only to find Bert and Bob Mehl sitting on the swings in Bert's yard....

...and so we were now off to the Jump-Off point on our adventure: Flagler Beach!

The roads were varied, the trip wonderful...


Here's Bert concentrating on one of my favorite Sumo roads in Lake County.... Come on Bert, back it out!


HEY! Whatter we doing in the dirt!


Life is short. make it an adventure!


Scenery is just fabulous. Ya know I get sick...no, maybe annoyed is a better word, when riders whine and complain about Florida. Florida is unique. There is so much that is there if you don't set pre-conditions for yourself. It took me 6 years when i forst moved here to realize that. Riding is Florida is sweet. You just need to go out and ride to find scenic roads like this....


Her's Bert taking us the Long Way Around.....



One of my fav's, and Bert's never been here before...


So we reach Ormond and turn down towards Tomoka State Park and the Loop Road. The forst half runs right along the Halifax River, very scenic....


...and this eventually leads us to.... this big 'ol water hole. I'm still looking for the best line through it....


What can be a better, prettier scene... blue ocean, orange KTM.... ah.... and maybe Anna Kournikovoa... but I'm stuck with Bert and Bob....


We check into our hotel...err...motel... err... well that's a funny story I'll leave for Bert to tell....

Anyway we wind up here at the Fisherman's Net for dinner... menu specials on the board... good seafood... cold drinks... pleasant bartender... friendly customers.... and a Canadien. But Bert can speak to that as well....


The Hooligan Crackers. Improving international relations for over 20 minutes!
Funny thing we learned about Michigan. It's supposedly Canada's New Jersey!


Now over to Bert for the color commentary.....

Next up.....

The Cracker Adventure begins!


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The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged
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Reply with quote  #5 
Ah where to start....
The phone rings at 11:30ish and Bob tells me he'll be at the house in a few minutes. I race to do those last minute checks, secure my gear, lube the chain...I think I'm ready to rock and roll.
I have a hard time trying to deiced which camera to take my expensive Nikon or my point and shoot. I've already found that my mid level Cannon has taken a dump on me so I decide to take my small Nikon point and shoot.
Bob rides up and we chit chat a few. Swampy should be here soon....Breeeeeeeeee ring. The phone goes off once again.
Bert: Hello
Swampy: Er, ah, we ran into a little difficulty getting the front axle out of the bike and er, ah...it will be a few more minutes until I get there.
Bert: No problem. Have they got it back together yet?
Swampy: Er, ah...sorta. I think they'll have it back together in a few.
Bert: no problem, we'll just chill out under the oak tree while we wait.
______________________________________________________________

Now 20 minutes go by and Bob and I are making fun of ol Swampo and his new bike with the locking front axle. I assume he's probably out the door by now, but I call to check again.
Swampy: Hello
Bert: Still there???
Swampy: yeah...Seems they found some...Er, ah metal shavings, when they were trying to pull the hub, things didn't seem to line up, maybe bearings or an axle, or a hub...But don't worry if things take a real turn, I've got my eye on a 950 adventure that keeps calling me near.
____________________________________________________________
At this point It could be two things.
1. He's having bike troubles and he'll be out soon or..
2. He's having a severe case of bike infection. Sitting in a dealership can have that effect on some people. I'm too far away to really help. I could call credit intervention people and try to put a temporary freeze on his credit.
I decide to ride it out and see if he makes it out with his wallet intact.

Bob and I decide to help and take on sympathy pains so we ride to the Yamaha shop to look over a few bikes ourselves.
45 minutes later we've back at the house sitting under the oak tree waiting on Swampy. I give him a call and get no answer this time...that's a good sign because it means he's on the road.

I start thinking that I should have filled up....hum, I wonder how big the tank is on Swamp's bike? More on that later.

20 minutes and a couple glasses of iced tea later Swampy pulls up. He's on the 950 SE so I assume he made it out with his wallet only bruised.

We talk a few minutes, Swampy hands me a few KLR (BMW style logo) stickers I've long desired (which I quickly find a spot on the windshield for)and we're off.

We take in some nice Lake county roads. No rush, but we're making our way up to Flagler rather quickly. We take in a number of roads I've not driven before around Astor.

I'm having fun, taking plenty of pictures, life is good.
All of a sudden I start getting error messages show up on my camera. It says the memory is full.
How can that be..It's a one gig card and I've only taken a few pictures.
 We eventually pull over and I find that the memory card is gone...as in not in the memory card slot...Geeez, I lost the pictures I took, but I have another card...no big deal.
I plug that card in and continue getting funny errors and the camera freezes up.
I 'll have no pictures to post on this outing as I wasn't prepared to have two cameras go out on me on the same trip. I guess that's the price you pay for using your camera in a harsh environment so often.
And that's the exact reason I like to have relatively inexpensive cameras to take n trips like this.
Anyway...on to Flagler Beach.
We pull into town and start looking for a place to stay. I'm not big on reservations in advance so we gave them all the look/see once over. After driving through town, we circled back around and decided on the Topaz Motel. A nice place and just the type of "man's motel" we were looking for. It was good, clean and relatively cheap. The parking lot is packed...big time. You'd have thought the circus was in town (That's an inside joke for Bob, Swampy and myself). We also learned a new meaning for the term "non-smoking room".
You want to take that one Swampy?
There must be lots of power outages as this is the only motel room I've ever had that included an emergency flashlight at the front door.
But I'm getting off track here...where was I? Oh the check in.
I'll try to keep this short and tell you the mini version.
The man behind the counter said a room was available, took my money, gave me a key and I headed out. Now if one of the other two players want to add to that, feel free. In the words of Forest Gump....That's all I've got to say about that.

We decide to head out and grab a bite before unloading the bikes. Maybe we'll have more parking available after we get back....not.

I'll leave the stories from the Fisherman's Net dinner for later.

Back to you Swampy. I've pitched you a nice slow soft ball (especially about the Topaz). Feel free to add more and hit it out of the park.
Bert






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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
swampy

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Reply with quote  #6 

You left a "little" out of the story there "Sparky"...
 
I'm waitin on you!

Heck, and this is only on the ride to the starting location!


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The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged
EbarDP48

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Reply with quote  #7 
Yes, I did leave a "Little" out of the story.
I didn't want to bring this up because I know how you like to " look down on people" just to make yourself look "bigger".
I made a decision to zip it and let it be. If you continue to press me on this, I feel obligated to inform you that I will take a stand and fight you on every "tiny" detail . 
What's say we cut this type of talk "short" and continue on with the rest of the story.

As for that "Sparky" comment.
All I can say is there was "Electricity in the air" Friday night at the Topaz.
I'm thinking many of our Dual Sporting brothers and sisters may have been "shocked" at what took place.
I'll just sum it up like this.
We came into town to develop a "lights out route" and almost succeeded.

Back to you Swampy

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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
swampy

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Reply with quote  #8 
The Cracker Adventure
Part 1
 
It's funny how things work out. The X-FL is a challenging cross Florida trip geared for the aggressive dual sport rider. What we needed was a cross Florida route for folks who adventure tour. Nothing too technical, something with numerous points of interest and one which is very scenic. Something a couple can do two-up, or riding seperate bikes. And lastly something that allows you to have a sense of accomplishment and bragging rights: going ccoast-to-coast adventure style, being able to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic, and on the same day, watch it gently dip into the Gulf of Mexico....

The emphisis is based upon scenic and the changing Florida landscapes from seashore to cattle country to swampy midliands, tidal marshes, and the calm of the Gulf as the sun sets.

Throw in some history, and old-time Florida culture and you've got the ultimate Florida adventure! the Cracker Adventure!

Let's begin where the sun rises, on the east coast. Now we have to think back to "old time" Florida, something from the travelling heyday, something based in the 50's or 60's...something with some old time tourist kitsch.... Flagler Beach!

Complete with old houses, small motels, few condos, and a fishing pier that extends out into the Atlantic, complete with "Flagler Beach" spelled out on the roof of the shops!

So here we go...

Bright and early 0600. We drag ourselves outa bed. Bert wanders somehwere for coffee and comes back. We're waiting on Rich who will be joining us this morning...

And let me tell you, watching the sun rise over the Atlantic is just a pretty sight...



Rich joins us and we head out for some morning pictures...cool morning, the breeze from the ocean...the crashing of the waves...and we're on adventure bikes... I love Florida....



Just something about KTM's and the beach... a contrast in style and function... yet the go together...







Bert and Bob join us...



We're off, heading south to Highbridge road....



If you've ever ridden The Loop Road at Daytona, Highbridge is the northenmost end of the loop. This cross Florida route includes this and much, much more...

Here's Rich taking in the scene from The Loop....



...an early contrast and a show at how diverse we are here, only an hour before we were on the beach. Now, we find ourselves just outside of nowhere, on a road with no traffic, surrounded by open fields that strtch forever. It's a Florida not many have scene, and one that's not familiar with those who live along the congested I-4 Corridor... but it's here... the ranches of Florida... Cracker Country....



Due to some bridge construction, we needed to recalcultae our route which added a good 20 miles...


Now, it's on to Espanola and CR13...


Did I mention a route sheet for this tour is available to Full Current DDS Members so you can share in the adventure... I'll give you details on how in another post....keep checking back!

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The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged
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Reply with quote  #9 
Enough of the code talk and on with the tour.

We had lots of great riding moments on this three day ride, but some of the most enjoyable moments were when we stopped.
Like at the Captains Net Friday night.


We're sitting around waiting for our food.
We start reliving the days ride. You know, running back over the cool places and what was seen. Comparing notes.
Bob chirps up,"I saw two turtles, three wild hogs, lots of wild turkeys including a few baby chicks, and a deer."
Swampys in agreement until they get to the deer.....you saw a deer? Where?
Bob and I look at each other and almost fall off the stools laughing.
It ran across the trail about 25 feet in front of you Swampy we both shout out.
Flaglar really is a great jumping off point. I've lived in Florida all my life and I can tell you there's not many places along A1A that still have the same feel and look they did in the 60s. It's as if we entered a space time vortex as we turned North onto A1A and headed into town. I keep looking for Doc Brown and the flying Delorean to come swooping in on us. 
To the West we have lots of mom and pop shops and motels, a couple small convenience stores, a few scattered condos and to the East we have a 15 feet drop off to the Atlantic ocean. 

I grabbed a quick shower and ran down the block for a cup of coffee and a danish
Nothing better than a nice hot cup of coffee on the balcony with your feet kicked up and watching the sunrise.



Rich arrived just before 8:00 and we were quickly on our way.
Back south down A1A and then these young (at heart) men headed west.
Back through the Loop, into farm lands and skirting the rains the whole time.
We stop early to get gas. I ask Swampy how much his 950 SE holds and he answers," not enough."
Having ridden a number of Dixie events and knowing that Swampy's normal event lunch time is 3:00PM I start in early on him wanting to know where/when we'll be having lunch.
He just smiles and tells me it will be worth the wait.
Armed with this information, I complete my fill-up and head inside to grab something else to eat. No telling when I'd see my next meal. I did have the consolation of knowing that I'd at least have a chance to grab a powerbar later as the orange 9fifty would need another fill-up in about 90 miles.

The gas station brings to mind something Swampy forget to mention....wasn't there something on a trailer that got your attention while we filled the tanks. I thought for sure you took some pictures Swampy.

Bert

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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
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The Cracker Adventure
Part 2

Chickens, Bert. They were chickens. When we were at gas, a truck pulls up full of chickens. Chickens everywhere. Probably enough chickens for a years worth of McNuggets! Cock-a-doodle-doo!
A whole herd of chickens. Group of chickens. Chicken bisque. Chicken kabobs. Fried chicken. Chicken Salad. Checken on a stick. Boiled Chicken.

Bubba's Momma was cooking chicken all her life. Just like her momma. And her Momma before. Bubba knows everything there is to knowd about chicken.


Now on to the report...

When we last left off our heros were taking a detour because the bridge was out....


We were still in the middle of God's Country. Rural Florida. Cracker Country.


...and that leads us to Espanola... and more Florida history dating back to 1918 and the old King's Highway...

Read more about that here before you continue

<<< CLICK HERE: READ THIS POST FOR MORE KING'S HWY INFORMATION>>>












WElcome back, now you know a little history which makes the following pictures a bit more enjoyable...

So we turn on CR13 and it goes from narrow paved to sandy...



The recent rains have washed a lot of sand from the roadway, but the bricks are easily seen as are the concete curbings, and in places, you can still see the limestone roadsides...



The Old Brick Road is always a treat for me. It's an opportunity to touch history. Ride history. and be history. I have travelled the Old King's Highway.


Here comes Bert now....



A quick Cracker Stop (stops where we talk about our recent Cracker Experience) for reflection on the road itself, the history, and a little BSing as well!


Now it was off to Palatka. Along the way we passed many many farms, more wide open spaces, more areas where folks in the cities don't think about or make fun of the lifestyle. From pick-ups to guns and religion and farming. We're in rural Florida....


Up and over the bridge and into Palatka...

Some of you may remember this section from the Bike Week Adventure a few months ago... it's the same but different....



So we wander west of Palatka heading west to gas...because the SE likes gas...but Bert can tell you more about that.



Country roads, clouds starting to roll in, but still off in the distance. Temperature is warm but not too hot. Scenic country roads and byways far from the beaten path....

...and at last we follow this road into Island Grove, yet another small town that has been forgtton a long time ago...


...and by the clock on the GPS (bottom box on the GPS screen) we see it's 12:06. We had no breakfast to speak of, bellies were rumbling, and the boys didn't know what they were in for!



 

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The Honorable Mayor of Swampyville '10 Triumph Tiger 1050 '09 KTM690R '07 Kawasaki KLX250 (Mrs Swampy's bike) '03 Triumph Speed Triple '02 Honda CR250R tagged
EbarDP48

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Reply with quote  #11 

oh, oh..I know, I know...can I tell them. You're gonna love this next post.


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Bert   09 KTM 530 07 Triumph Tiger 1050  06 Kawasaki KLR650 07 Yamaha YZ 250 1976 Husky WR250 1978 Suzuki RM250 1981 Honda CM 400 W/Velorex Sidecar Because the ride shouldn't end just because the pavement does! May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Harold McAlindon
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Reply with quote  #12 


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Reply with quote  #13 
Three Crackers just blending in.....





How about that three dollar tip?

Carry on fellas.

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Reply with quote  #14 

I can't wait to find out what happens next.


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Reply with quote  #15 

That's ok, Bert...  It just ain't an adventure without a u-turn or two!


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