7 days, over 1,600 miles on the motorcycles, almost an 11 hour trek home on the bikes today (oh my poor butt), zip lining and a rope course high up in the Tennessee Mountains, white water kayaking down the river and some tourist exploring. Spring Break 2012, AMAZING!!!!!
After the long push on the bike today I am exhausted but I’ll start posted about the trip tomorrow along with some stellar pictures!!!
Until then, enjoy the rest of your Saturday
I have never been so scared in my life! That is not an exaggeration for entertainment value.
After we were done flying high, we got on the road to head home. We hopped onto I-4 for a quick stint before hopping off on a back road to take that home. This plan was perfect to me, this plan didn’t involve I-75!! I was happy about that.
We were about 30 minutes from home on the back road and traffic was starting to get backed up. The Doctor decided to hop onto I-75 south bound (it would only be for a few exits). This would have us home in 10 minutes.
Oh joy! I was not looking forward to this, I was enjoying our cruise on this back road. Time to get on the beast, AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!
I swear people on this interstate were going over 100mph. I merged on and got in the far left lane. The Doctor and I got separated from each other. Normally that is fine, no biggie, but for some reason I panicked a bit. I was going 95 mph (keeping up with traffic). Cars were passing me, AT 95 MPH!!!!!
I have jumped out of a plane, rode a motorcycle up multiple mountains in Costa Rica as well as other crazy things, nothing scared me more than this ride on I-75. Luckily, it was only 10 minutes but it scared me. Words can’t express the happiness that overcame me when I finally got off the exit ramp.
I would be happy never riding a motorcycle on I-75 again. However, over Christmas, The Doctor and I took I-75 to get to my Uncle’s house. That ride, no fear, no issues, no being scared!!! After a bumpy start, I conquered the beast!
The prepping for the last road trip of 2011 is underway. The Doctor and I are heading out tomorrow morning toward the Florida Caverns State Park.
Earlier this year I did a trip to Chattanooga, TN for some caving, white water rafting and zip-lining. Caving has been on my bucket list for years so it was nice to cross it off the list (as well as white water rafting). Zip lining was on the list previously but I was able to cross that off last year in Costa Rica.
Since The Doctor hasn’t been caving before, we decided to check out the Florida cave system outside Tallahassee. From Tampa to Marianna, FL it is about six hours via interstates. Since I’m not really an interstate fan, we are going to take US 19 all the way up.
Our plan is to leave before sunrise Wednesday and see where we end up. Find a local campsite and make camp for the night. Wake up Thursday and finish up the rest of the way. Thursday night we are going to splurge and get a hotel room close to the caverns so Friday morning we will be close to them.
There are hiking trails and canoe rentals at The Florida Caverns State Park so Friday after the caving tour, we will either hike, canoe or head back down toward Tampa. Goal Friday night is find another campsite. Then Saturday make our way back home.
I’m so excited for this road trip! It will be my first extended road trip on the FJR. Perfect trial run for March when The Doctor and I are planing on spending 8 to 9 days on the road somewhere. That trip destination has yet to be determined.
Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!
The Doctor and I had two stops to make on this beautiful and sunny Florida Christmas. It seemed like such a waste to take four wheels on a day like today, so we jumped on our bikes and hit the Christmas stops in style!
In order to get to our respected places we had some choices of which roads to take. One option is to head down U.S Highway 301. It goes straight from our house to both stops. This was the easiest of the two options but it involves lots of stop and go traffic.
Option two was the scary beast that upon our last meeting scared the crap out of me!! This coming from a girl who has rode her enduro up the side of a mountain in Costa Rica with a hard mountain wall to one side and a cliff to imminent death to the other.
What could be so scary?! Interstate I-75. This interstate runs from Southern Florida up to the Canadian boarder were it terminates in Sault Ste. Marie (Thank you Wikipedia for that last bit of information).
Growing up in Florida, my life was spent on I-75. Whether for daily use or traveling, living in Tampa, I-75 is a majorly used interstate. Morning traffic reports always report some sort of accident, I have been stuck in traffic on this interstate due to some sort of accident. It’s just one of those roads. In a car, I have no problem with this interstate. On the back of a motorcycle, no issues. However, with me at the helm, it has been a slow battle.
The Doctor and I took a road trip a few months back over to Orlando and I-75 was part of that trip. Check out my blog this week “Bikes and Flying. I’ll go into detail how I-75 became my arch nemesis.
Yesterday though, the fear was gone. I got on the bike and told myself, “You Got This”. We made our turns and began to merge onto The Beast! Since it was Christmas morning traffic was light. It was like the planets aligned and my prayers were answered, when I hit the apex of the on ramp and I-75, there was a perfect gap for me to dart over to the far left lane. THANK YOU!!!!!!
The ride was quite enjoyable, so much different from the last ride where I swear I left “my balls” at the on ramp. Traffic was smooth and it seemed like everyone was relaxed. We made our way to our first stop then before we could blink, it was time to move our to my family’s Christmas extravaganza.
Every year we all gather at my aunt and uncles house in Zephyrhills, FL (yes, same place the water is from). It is always fun going there. As with every family, there are all the little kids and grand kids running around playing with their new Christmas gifts. The kitchen is filled with smells of turkey, ham, sweet potato pies with walnuts on top and every other delicious food you can imagine.
While all this is going on, the “grown-ups” all sit around joking and sipping on grown up beverages. It is very cool going over there because both my cousin Jason and Uncle Dave work for Harley. You get those two and The Doctor together and the motorcycle and shop talk never stops.
After the food coma, gifts being opened and amazing Red Velvet Cake, which is my favorite cake that either my aunt or my cousin Jason’s girlfriend make every year for me, I’m so spoiled. My cousin’s girlfriend trained at the Le Cordon Bleu in their Bakery and Pastry Arts Program. Some of the cakes she makes, I can’t even describe. I put a couple of pictures at the end of the post, she is phenomenal.
Sorry, went off track there, Red velvet gets mentioned and my minds spaces out.
After all the Christmas festivities, it was time to load up the presents and enjoy the lovely night ride home. The perk of having sport-touring motorcycles is the saddle bags. Perfect amount of room to fit all the gifts in.
We said our good-byes and hit the open road. We took U.S Highway 301 straight back home. I may have conquered I-75 during the day on the way up, but I wasn’t ready to push my luck at night. One day, eh night, I will hit that on-ramp to I-75 with nothing but the street lights and car head lights to light my way. Until then, I’m perfectly good taking other ways home
Sunday, you oh so sexy day of the week! This weekend has been filled with Christmas parties, good friends and a couple of delicious beverages! Love the holiday season.
After our festive weekend, The Doctor and I woke up today with a need to be on two wheels. He has been itching to hop on the motorcycles while I was wanting a little mountain biking action. Thus our Sunday became a two-wheel kind of day.
We started our morning out with a 45 minute bike ride. Nothing too crazy, just riding around the neighborhood. We live in an area where there are some big grassy fields, railroad tracks, corporate warehouses, and back roads to go play on. Works out perfectly because each way gives us a different type of workout.
I decided that I wanted to go to this cute little creek that runs underneath the railroad tracks. This is perhaps the longest and most strenuous route to take. The Doctor was a little wary of this route but I was feeling motivated!!
We made our way to the tracks, heart rates were up and I was feeling good. Then not even half way there, we gave each other “that look”. You know the look, the one where even though you want to go on, it just isn’t happening. Without waiting another second, we turned around.
We agreed upon another route to take. It was still a good workout but nothing like the railroad way. I didn’t feel guilty about this decision. Yesterday we had gone out for a walk/run session and pushed ourselves pretty hard. So today we didn’t have to be too brutal.
Once we made our way home it was time to get the motorcycles ready to go. Now The Doctor is an excellent rider and I have a tendency to slow him down at times. Once I get better with the FJR it won’t be the case (I go a lot slower into turns then he does). So we decided that he was go out for a cruise solo then we would meet up to do a Sunday date of riding together.
Worked out, gave me time to get things done around the house
When The Doctor arrived back at the house, I was beyond ready to go. We decided to head south toward Apollo Beach area to grab some lunch. Before we took off, I wanted to try to get the bike off the center stand. I have not attempted this before with the 640 pound FJR so this was going to be fun.
It took a few attempts. By a few, at least 10. Next time it will be so much easier but for the first time out, I was very pleased with myself. So center stand – check! So with the bike off the stand, it was time to take off.
Perfect temperature and weather. Florida in December is simply amazing!! As we journeyed south, we kept an eye out for somewhere to eat, something new. You have to mix it up a bit from the usual places.
We ended up finding an Asian buffet. Pulling in, I wasn’t really feeling Asian Buffet but I was hungry so it was going to work. Have to say, we were pleasantly surprised. After eating way too much, it was time to get back on the bikes.
We decided to head east over to Walmart in Sun City Center so that I could get a new pair of sunglasses. The current pair I have, while completely cute (see below), do not work on the bike. They create blind-spots in my peripheral vision, so while I love being stylish, I find that being able to see safely on the bike to be a bigger priority.
As we were walking out of the restaurant, we could see rain in the direction we were heading. As being new into the world of owning a road bike, I am still wary of riding in to the rain. However, as a Florida resident, rain is something that must be dealt with. In the summer, it rains everyday.
So instead of getting nervous, I decided to jump right in to the rain. Best to learn how to ride in it now. We made our way south, then made our left turn on to College Ave which would lead us right into Walmart. Once we made our left hander, the temperature dropped significantly, rain was going to happen.
We made it to Walmart and the hunt for new glasses was on. Since I was looking for glasses that would work with my helmet, I put my helmet back on as we got into the sunglasses area. There were some stares and I’m sure some, ” What is that girl doing?” but I didn’t care. I take safety on the bike seriously so I paid no attention to them and picked out my glasses.
When we walked outside it started to sprinkle. Ok, the moment of truth, time to ride in the rain! We geared up and took off toward home. Turns out, we were heading ahead of the rain so the little sprinkles we had leaving Walmart were the only rain drops we got. Oh well, there will always be the another time.
Almost home and The Doctor decided to take a different way home. As soon as I saw his blinker on to make a left I knew where he was going and what he was going for. The road we were turning down has some great, tight turns. Now that I am getting more use to the FJR, I found this detour very exciting!!
Luckily the speed limit drops kind of low for the turns so it is perfect for me at this stage in my riding. The first turn was a tight 90 degree lefter. I dropped down to a couple of gears, leaned the bike through the turn then straightened it up and then came up to the 90 degree right turn. This went on for about a mile, fantastic!
I can’t wait for the day when I am 100% comfortable in going into turns on my bike. They are so much fun, just need to build the confidence to do it with a bit more speed.
This twisty road took us out close to the house. Before I knew it we were pulling into the driveway. I am always sad to see the end of a day of riding. Something so beautiful and freeing about being on a bike. Saw a quote recently, it said “You never see motorcycles parked outside a psychiatrist office”. So true.