Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My First BIG Ride!!!!

Well, it is that time of year, Spring Break! For a college kid, you would think I would be out at some party beach somewhere across the country or just being lazy and sleeping all day....not this year. Well, I never really have done that before, most the time I just work. But anyway, this year we decided as a family that Spring Break would be a good time to go on a long bike ride since I just got my FZ6. We decided that we would ride down to South Florida to see my Grandparents on my Father's side, seeing as how my Granddaddy is 86 years old and I haven't been down to their place since I was in the second grade.

I invited my Jordan to come along on the ride as well since she seems to really enjoy riding alot now. In order to pack for two of us on this trip I needed a few bags that would mount on my bike as well as a way to mount them. I ended up with a Givi Rack to hold a couple top bags and to help support my mini-saddle bags as well. Along with this we needed some way to communicate so we installed a J&M Intercom system. This allowed Jordan and I to talk to each other as well as talk to Mom and Dad via the CB that is part of the J&M system. Since my bike wasn't exactly designed for this type of application Dad and I had to do some work to get this system to work, but in the end it ended up working great and was by far one of the best investments for the trip.

Since my father has a blog site as well and is currently working on a detailed ride report with day by day summaries, I am going to post a link to his site which will include pictures that he took during the trip. I took my Canon along with me on this trip and managed to get some shots as well. So I am going to do this blog a bit different than I have in the past.

Here is the link to my Fathers Blog: http://rdytogo.blogspot.com/

Below you will find pictures that I took while on the trip as well as a few words about each.


To start things off, here are a few pictures of the bike after installing the J&M and the Givi-Rack.

Here you can see the intercom system on the right side of the bars and my iPod mount as well in the center. This turned out to work well, however the bumps in the road would tend to mess with the iPod and cause it to freeze up. I will need to work on a better mounting system for that in the future.

I had a time installing those flush mount turn signals there in the front of the bike. The old ones were not the right size and were not very visible. These a bit larger and they mount a bit different. I spent a good bit of time cutting away the inside of the fairings with my trusty dremel tool. But here you can see them as well as the bags mounted to the new rack.

Now for the trip pictures.

Our first stop on the first day just outside of Kershaw, S.C. The mural on the building I thought was pretty neat as well as the sunset as the day came to an end.

The next morning we came out to the bike to find this. It was a bit chilly that morning, however it wasn't the coldest point of the trip...

The next stop was at the Georgia Welcome Center off Hwy 301. Unfortunately they are closed on Sundays, however that didn't stop us from having fun. It was small building, but it had a nice wooded area behind it that had picnic tables and swings and such for people to enjoy.

Jordan, being the flower child that she is managed to find all the "pretty flowers" at each stop and would make little things with them. Most of the time she would try to put them on me but by the end of the trip she realized I really did not enjoy that too much so she found ways to fix them to her hair. She would braid the flowers into her hair then put her helmet on so they would blow in the wind. She really was born in the wrong decade...

The Spanish Moss was really cool looking in the large trees through out South Carolina, Georgia and Northern Florida. These pictures were taken outside our hotel just inside Florida, just as we got on A1A. It was at this time, the weather became very nice and the layers were coming off!

The northern part of A1A included a ferry ride. I guess all of us were expecting the ferry ride to be a bit longer than it was. It was the first time Jordan and I have ever rode a ferry, so it was a neat first time experience.

So I couldn't quite get the camera to pick up all the colors in the sky here, but man was it wicked. After we got through Daytona we had to take I-95 South for a bit to make a little time. Well we made a quick stop for fuel a little ways out side of Daytona and the sky's were looking a bit scary. Yes that bight spot is the sun... weird huh.

The next day when were in Clewiston we went and saw the family for a bit, then went out for a little tour of the the town. This area is right off the lake, and is next to one of the many pump stations for the lake. They turned this area into a park with a play ground and have some of the older engines and pumps that ran for years set up on display. I am sure Dad will go into more detail about these pumps and such, so I will leave that up to him. All I can say is, wow! They were big and moved alot of water.

These pictures were taken just out side of my Granddaddy's house. I always thought the canal in front of the house looked neat with the the large palms that line it. I thought the trees made for some neat shots.

"Rut Roh Shaggy" We found a young gator' on one of the canal banks just outside of Clewiston. I wanted to be sure I got some gator pictures before I left Florida, so we pulled over and had a little fun with him.

On our way out of Clewiston we stopped at one of the many orange groves that lined the side of the road. As we rode down the road all you could smell were the oranges, so we had to stop. I have never really been fond of just eating orange slices, but I love orange juice. We plucked a couple nice ones and I sucked the juice out of a few slices and that was the best O.J. I have ever had.

Our next stop was at Avon Park. Mom and Dad spent alot of time their when they first got married and lived in that area. It was a really nice park with lots of trails to walk down and plenty of chances to see wild animals. As you can see in the pictures that was the walkway they had build to take you over the swamp areas, including where the gators were. It was neat getting that close to a live gator, and it made for some nice photos as well. You could spend several days out there walking all the trails and enjoying all the park had to offer. However we didn't have that kind of time, so we just did a couple that Mom and Dad knew were nice and then we headed out.

Well just up from Avon Park was the Sebring International Speedway. I had hoped we would be able to stop and just see the track on our way home, so we made our way towards it. Turns out it was testing day for the IRL cars. We got lucky! Those V8 Honda's we screaming and were really getting the job done coming out of the hairpin and down the back stretch. The girls were less than amused, however, Dad and I were loving it.

Now the next day we made plans to stop at Don Garlit's Drag Racing Museum. Once again the girls were less than thrilled and did not go in. However they were of the thinking that it wouldn't take us that long to go down a few rows of cars and pictures....wrong. We spent about 2 hours and didn't even go to the last building which was the antique car shed. Here are few of the pictures I took.

Somebody should tell him he put his motor in sideways...

The reason rail cars are now rear engine. Don lost half of his right foot due to the clutch exploding in this picture.

I think he might have had a bit of an air leak on that one...

As I sit and think about all the vechicals I would love to drive, this isn't one of them. Some how I just can't stomach the thought of sitting on the rear end like that...

So from now on when someone says they blew up the motor in something, this is what I will think of. Now I have seen motors get destroyed at races, but I haven't seen one do that and I have a feeling that was a heck of a site.

I am going to go on a limb here and say those motors got a bit hot...

Now for the main event....







This is the main reason Dad wanted to stop here

They really should have had this car in its own room where you could get better pictures of it. It is by far one of the most amazing cars there. If you have nothing better to do, Google Swamp Rat 34 and do a little research, you will be impressed.

So the last stop for pictures was as the Suwannee River. Jordan and I had never heard of it before to which Dad was in complete shock. So we turned down the dirt road which is in the picture above to get to a large opening where we could strech our legs and mess for a bit. Dad took plenty of pictures here as well. What was really neat though was that there was a Seminole camp ground up the road from where we were and through the woods could hear them playing a small flute like instrument. It was very soft and erie sounding, quite fitting for the area though.

From that point on we dodge more rain and tornados and even rode 30-40 miles through the snow and sleet. I am sure Dad will cover those stories in more detail, however.

Overall the trip was alot of fun. We put in many miles and have memories which will last a life time. I am glad we decided to go on this trip and I am looking forward to many more.

Overall Milage: 1867.5 miles

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