First Ride of 2015. In search of warmth. - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:20 AM Thread Starter
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First Ride of 2015. In search of warmth.

I had 3 weeks off work for Christmas due to being too busy during the year to meter out the leave when the weather was nice. I convinced a buddy to head out on the 2nd for warmer climes. I borrowed my wife's truck and loaded the Versys in the back. Headed to my Bud's house and hooked up his trailer. With the Voyager XII in tow, we drove through a cold rain south.

I have an uncle who recently moved near Daytona Beach, FL. He has a second driveway off a back street that leads to his shop and he graciously allowed us to park the truck and trailer there.

Our goal was to ride to Key West via as many lightly travelled back roads as possible. We camped when convenient and stayed in Hotels the other nights.

Many of the images are screen captures from my GoPro so please excuse the low quality.

The rig and the bikes at the Florida Welcome center.


They greet you with some ocean scenes and a free glass of Florida Orange or Grapefruit Juice.



Overall ride was 1000 miles. Here is the route.


Our first stop was Okeechobee, FL on the northern edge of Lake Okeechobee. Found an RV park that let us set up tents on the grass near the bath house. $12. Since we saved so much on camping, we decided to eat a nice fish dinner at the "Tin Fish" restaurant. Very good.

We were in such a hurry to hit the road on day 1 that I didn't break out the GoPro. Here is the Day one route.

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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An interesting fact that I did not know about Lake Okeechobee is that there is a tall earthen berm completely surrounding the lake. I had hopes of riding along the shoreline of the lake and enjoying the view, but that will only happen if you are on a bicycle riding the path at the top of the berm. We did find a place in Okeechobee that has a boat launch so you can at least get a view of the lake. We took advantage of this after breakfast at the local Dunkin Donuts.



Got my GoPro ready for today's ride.


My buddy on the ever reliable Voyager XII. Those bikes last forever with very little maintenance.


We rode south along the eastern shoreline towards Bell Glade and then south trying to skirt the western edge of Homestead before stopping in Key Largo for the night. The traffic was lighter than my riding buddy Tom was anticipating. He had been to the keys many times over the years and said this was the lightest traffic he had ever seen.




There are no twisty roads in Florida, but it was warm. I would have enjoyed the Voyager 1700 more on this ride, but there was no getting it in and out of the truck safely.



I think this little bird was used to a squished bug meal. He kept landing on the different bikes parked. There were lots and lots of motorcycles the further south we got.


Of course the vast majority of them were cruiser riders with no protective gear at all. Made me feel good that Florida roads were so safe.


View from the hotel room in Key Largo.

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Last edited by twowheeladdict; 01-10-2015 at 08:45 AM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Photos of what we saw between Key Largo and Key West.
















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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Getting a photo of the Versys at the Southernmost point in the continental US proved to be a challenge. There was a long line of tourists on the sidewalk patiently waiting to get their photo taken at the marker. We pulled up on the bikes and took several photos hoping something would come out.

The next morning we rode back there in an attempt to get a photo without a tourist blocking the wording on the marker.

Here are a couple of the better photos from all I took and captured with the GoPro.





We had reservations at the Navy campground just off Key West. $15 a night for a tent site. We set up camp and then headed back into town to explore.

Here is our campsite.


A lot of cool historic, or historic looking homes in Key West.


The last time I was in Key West was 30 years ago with my then fiancÚ. We will be married 30 years this coming September.

More photos from walking around.

Yes, it was warm enough for swimming.


Walking up Duval Street


A lot of scooters and chickens around town.


Cheers



Did see one of those Slingshots Pretty cool looking, but definitely more car than bike/trike.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:22 AM Thread Starter
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Had to sample the local cuisine.
Street Vendor Conch Fritters with his own special mustard sauce that was amazing!


a slice of Key Lime pie. Oh Yeah!


Street performers entertaining the cruise ship tourists. There were three huge ships dockside when we were there.


We left the bikes parked at one end of Duval Street and walked the entire length and more. When we got back we were greeted with nice parking tickets stuffed in our seats. The bad part is we were both ticketed even though we shared one spot.


Found a nice way to commemorate the ride.


The next morning we started our ride north. The goal for today was to get to the southwest corner of Florida near Marco Island.





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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Homestead, FL had a little traffic, but at least it looked cool.


41 west was very straight and flat. At least it ran along this waterway for most of the ride.


Many birds enjoying the wetlands and reeds.


Didn't see a panther, but there were many panther crossing signs around.


No alligators sighted either.




We were planning on stopping at Collier-Seminole State park and hanging hammocks, but they didn't have anymore hammock sites available. We decided to continue on to Fort Myers and hotel it. We hopped on 1-75 and got into a mess of a traffic jam because of a roll over. We took the next exit and took a break. I talked with a local who gave us a route that would circumvent the interstate and get us to our hotel. It was dusk by the time we checked in.

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Today the first Arctic Blast of 2015 was reaching down in Florida. The highs were barely 60 and the lows were going into the 30s. Wishing we had stayed in the keys, but since we hadn't we decided it was time to ride back to the truck and make for home.

We saw many Orange groves during our ride, but none of the oranges showed up on my GoPro. This is the best I could get.



Route 33 was a fast and almost deserted route. Glad the tourists hadn't caught wind of this route yet.



Crossing Little Lake Harris. I am wondering what Big Lake Harris looks like.



Crossing the Saint Johns River on route 44. Did a lot of fishing on this river when I was young. Wanted to honeymoon on one of the houseboats, but my wife did not consider that a proper honeymoon.





That's it. Hope this helps you plan your next winter escape.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 10:45 AM
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Thoroughly enjoyable ride report. How much was the parking ticket & why were you ticketed in the first place?

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 11:20 AM
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Very Nice.. Use to go through Okeechobee all the time in the 80's the front of car would be covered with black gnats...

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-10-2015, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arion View Post
Thoroughly enjoyable ride report. How much was the parking ticket & why were you ticketed in the first place?
$25 and we left the bikes there too long. Should have just found a parking lot and paid the $10 all day parking fee. Didn't realize we would be there that long.

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