Friday, October 22, 2010

Oct 22nd- 32 days on the road...

Today was not a picture day.  Today was a day of going against my beliefs for convinience. Today was a thinking day.  Today just sucked.

I started out the day really late as i only got to sleep at around 5-5:30 am.
Got a quick breakfast...
was ok... but a) it was from a chain and b) i didn't want to eat.  Wasn't hungry.

I was tired.  I didn't want to ride today.  I didn't want to sleep either.  I guess i was just in my usual mood.
That got me thinking to being back home.  thinking thinking...

I know what to expect when i get back home, but it doesn't make it easier, knowing what i must deal with.

Tired and wanting to do nothing, i pulled over and looked for coffee.  none to be had anywhere.  So i got wifi instead
yay... chain #2 of the day. At least i won a free smoothie.

I stood outside with the laptop on the top case and updated yesterday's blog.  as you can probably tell from reading it, i didn't feel like writing it. meh.

Something i forgot to add a while ago.
Going south through Florida where i saw all the vendors and such (south of alligator alley) there was a guy n the side of the road, holding a chihuahua over his head in one hand, trying to make eye contact with everyone.  Odd.  Was he trying to sell it?
that's another thing... all the dogs down here are chihuahua's!  unreal.

Even all this thinking about things, all this anxiety, i was falling asleep at the wheel.  Not good when you have the worst drivers in the USA (floridians) and you're doing 85mph on a bike that suddenly likes to wobble for no reason. heh.

I needed to pull over soon.  It's slow going, when you have to pull over so often. Kinda like digging a trench with a spoon.  not fun, but it can be done.

I got some aids to keep me semi-conscious while i rode.

The more i rode, the more i thought... the more i thought, the more anxiety i got.  Thinking sucks.
I thought about situations i want to deal with at home. situations i have to deal with and some i want to deal with.
I was thinking of last year's trip and how i went totally loopy for months afterwards. It's odd that i spend over a month on the road, and when i get back, i'm worse off than before with axed and depression. bah.

People often ask me why i do these trips.  In actual fact,  i don't know.  I suspect i'm running away from life, putting a barrier between me and it, and living a fantasy for a while.  odd to think i've gone over 10,000 miles, and when i get back home, i'll circle the wagons and hid out in the man cave for a few months.
at least i've already got the beard.

the caffeine helped and i felt more normal.

wasn't in the picture taking mood, and needed to concentrate on riding.  The other reason there aren't many pictures is that there is nothing interesting on the interstates.  usually a stand of trees of both sides of you, and you can't see through them.

mostly of what you see on the interstate. oh what fun

this was a nice sunset in person... camera didn't pick up the colors or the moon properly.

i was riding in the cold and dark, and didn't have a problem with it but the temperature was dropping fast and felt hungry.  Only chains where i was, and decided on trying out Cracker Barrel.  I had never been before.

since i had never been, i took the sampler breakfast.
from left to right
grits.  they sucked
hash brown casserole.  they were ok
scrambled eggs, country ham, sausage patty and bacon.  all was 'ok'.  nothing special.\
Fried apples.  They were good.  then again, it tasted like apple pie filling.
biscuits and gravy.  I've tasted better.

the problem wth all this food is that it was mostly bland.  the actual food had no flavor in it.
meh.  at least my server was cool.

saw this on my way out.  made me laugh
really??   this bugs th hell of out me.
it says "i'm a ritard".

i rode for a little while longer and then i was really cold.  I took a room at a motel 6 and it was drirt cheap.  $36 is cheap.
And now that i just realized i'm right next to the rail lines.. i don't know if i'll get some good sleep tonight. bah.

Oct 21- from key largo, to key west, to key largo, to fort pierce.

Stayed up late with the blog sitting in a Tiki hut mostly.  Was relaxing listening to the tree frog.

The Tiki Hut.
form the inside. It was late,  It was dark.

here's the accommodations for the night.
it was the cheapest they had, and it had AC and it was comfortable. i'm not complaining.
a little different than i'm used to though, that's for sure.

did my usual coffee thing in the morning.  I think i left it was around 11am.  getting later every day.  not good.
I need to get going earlier! not later...

anyhow... i won't say much today as i don't have the time really.  i'm essentially standing in the parking lot at a McDicks updating the blog.  meh.  at least i won a free smoothie.

The Gulf!

some kind of sea mammal thing.  dunno, rode right by it quickly

see the road? two lanes, max speed is 55 in some places, mostly 45 and 35 though for much of it and the cops watch like hawks.  People drive slower than the speed limit all the time and it rives me insane.
no clue what that bridge on the right is all about... the old one maybe?  there were gaps in the bridge though.  odd.

i found a nice little beach with very few people on it.

and maybe this is why.

the old man was sorting out a fishing net.  it looked like he was doing a strange fishing dance.
odd. be thankful the shutter didn't go off when he was bending over.  jesus.
dead sexy.  i couldn't stop looking.  just like a car accident.

I finally made it to Key west... it takes about 2.5-3 hours if you go fast.  meh.  it's a long ride, but the ride itself is worth it.  It's nice to not be passed all the time and just look at scenery.  relaxing even.
probably why i wasn't tired later that night.

Went down to the Blond Giraffe where they have the best key lime pie in the world.  Well, they were closed until Nov 15 as they were on vacation.  damn you.  guess i'll have to find better pie.

Duval street was neat.  lots to look at, a lot of shopping... etc. Key west has so many scooters (and not many people know how to ride)

For your viewing and listening pleasure...

Spider-man playing the sitar!
quite the odd site.  I wanted to get wifi and a coffee.  Go the coffee, but starbucks didn't have Wifi. WTF.
took a break anyhow.
Moto parking only.  sweet.  so many scooters.
On this one way, 3 scooters and 1 car turned into it the wrong way.  1 near collision.  idiots.  this was in the span of 10 minutes.  The dude in the background selling shells, just kept shaking his head... seems this is very common here.  wow.

finally hit my waypoint.
cuba is that way... 90 miles...
saw it ... took a picture... left... so many tourists. (and nowhere to park)

at a light... the camera doesn't pick up the awesome color of it.

I went back to that little beach and creepy fisherman was gone.  I went into the water.

yes, in my full suit. No, i didn't get wet. lol.  These boots are awesome... i felt water seep in, but the way the boots are designed, my feet stayed dry.  love the alpinestars.

I went back to Key Largo... as you can see, i haven't eaten all day and i was starving.  I went to the place the resort said was good.  I had a free key lime freeze voucher for it from the resort.  I tried it... why not.

world's famous key lime pie eh?

Here's the key lime freeze.
a no frills kinda joint..  The freeze? AMAZING.  never it's like a key lime float... they have it trademarked and for good reason.  it's truly one of the best things on this trip.
see that? a true sign of a good eatery.  it may look a little junkie to you, but to me it looks like good food. hah.

I think i ordered something i would never had eaten in a million years.
Bull Fish.  I don't eat fish.... not really.  I've never liked it.

well, i cleaned the plate... it was so well cooked  and the fish didn't taste like fish... a little sweet to the taste (because of the lobster it eats)

I ordered it because i asked what the house specialty was... so i ordered it.  you can't go wrong when you do that.  The beans were a little spicy but worked well with the fish.  it was truly very good.  best fish i've ever had.

I read in their menu that Cosmo put in the magazine that this was the best key lime that they've had (2004)

So i took a piece.

phenomenal.  It chilled to almost be frozen.  it was wonderful... i almost cried.

it''s a small joint, but by no means was it dead.  Cars kept pulling up and getting take out and leaving.  Always a constant flow.  inside, a bar with stools to eat at (good sign) old booths and tables... about 7 in total and some patio furniture outside.

if you see places like this, stop in.
doesn't hurt they had cute staff. :)
ghostrider pic of the day
since i got up late, i made a decision to stay up late and ride in the night.

and here's some night riding.  this is the good part on I-95  I took the toll way (turnpike) for a while but people in florida really cannot drive.  It's scary how bad they are. the worst i have encountered in all of the USA so far.
i'm being serious too.

see? doesn't it look like the video game Night driver? remember, my visor is tinted so everything is darker. lol

I took a room in fort pierce.
it was cheap, clean and of course the wifi sucked.  Thankfully no holes in the bathroom wall. heh.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oct 20th- I found some keys but no locks

I awoke feeling quite rested for 5 hours. odd how that can happen.
Here's Tim!

unfortunately, my eyes cannot focus whereas the camera can.  Not a great shot. meh.  I know what he looks like :)

Here's Tracie!

At least i could get my eyes open enough to see what i was doing.


Sweet little cat.  Tim taught both Roxy and Ruby tricks... as well as Kai.. I love well behaved animals... people need to learn to train their dogs... It's not so much about tricks as it's about making the dog know you are boss.  You don't need to hit an animal.  Tim trained his animals properly and it shows. They want to behave.

I should have taken more pictures, but when memories are being made, you seldom remember to pull out cameras... I had a truly great evening with them... great hosts... great people... hah... a home away from home for a day if you will.  It helps that when you go sit out back, you feel like you're in a cottage / cabin... but you're right in town.  Great established neighbourhood.  very peaceful and i hated that it had to end...

But wait there's more!
We went out for breakfast (can't remember the name) but it was a ma and pa type restaurant... the kind we all like  Both Tim and Tracie like the smaller places... they like good food done right... it shows in their cooking as well.  Food, like an establishment should have character.  A real restaurant always has a specialy of some sort... you may not like it, but they'll have one.I wanted something different today, and the menu inserts for the specials (written in black marker on plain paper) was right on top.  I took the first thing I saw, and it appealed to me quite a bit.  Why waste money on nice menus? i want to eat the food, not what it's written on.

I took this

looks bland and tasteless right? wrong.
loved it. Two properly cooked and seasoned pork chops, two eggs, Grits and rye toast.
I used to make pork chop and eggs once in a while and i had never seen it in a restaurant before... had to have it. I've had grits before, but these were really good.

Just because something may look bland, it may not be.  It was good.

Oh and Tim, i just finished off the pulled pork.... damn that was tasty...

i think my food is taking half the table. hah.

sadly, we had to part ways... Tim and Tracie for work, and myself, to my 2nd point... Key West.
Why Key west? simple.  It's the most southern point in the united states.  I've been to the most northern last year (Deadhorse Alaska) so now it's Key West.

More interstate riding. Interstate riding wears me out fast... since i'm late in the trip,  I am fatigued and i need to watch out for that.  I stopped not far away at a starbucks because... well. you eat that much protein in a day and shit happens.Let's just say i had business to take care of. heh.

At a rest stop

Snake identification chart.  Some can kill you, some can't.
how about this... if i see a snake, i stay away from it.  I won't run away screaming like a little girl, but i think it's prudent to approach ANY animal you don't know with caution.
It's also a reminder that shit in florida CAN KILL YOU.
yet, i'm still more afraid of the old drivers.

me thinking i'm awesome.

actually, i'm looking at these clouds.
not good.

not good at all.
so yes, it rained... a little sprinkle though. I had hoped the sprinkle would cool me off, but alas it was so light it didn't even penetrate my mesh jacket.  All it did was make the air more humid. blah.
i call this pose "touch of grey"

"uhhunh...i like dem gators"  oh wait.. taters... anyways, nice rain clouds.  
I went through alligator alley (I-75) and saw a bunch of vultures on the side of the road waiting for roadkill.  massive massive birds.  That should be the symbol of the USA. Isn't that what Ben Franklin proposed?

I bypassed all the cities and took a smaller highway parallel to it.  This was actually an interesting ride.  It was all grove growers... Palms, exotic plants... etc.. neato.  There were people selling their fruits and vegetables out of the back of trucks, little stands, etc... Some of it looked awesome... no room to pack anything on the bike for fruits though... :(

I was getting hungry again, and decided on going as far as i could tonight.  I knew i might have trouble finding a place to sleep, so when in doubt, load up on food and caffeine.
I saw a few restaurants, and hit this place in a gas station.  didn't look like a chain, looked decent.  The area is filled with many Cubans and Mexicans, so i had hoped I'd get some home style cooking.  maybe not true authentic, but close.

I walked in and it looked way too nice to be in a gas station and i hoped the prices weren't going to break the bank.  I read the top of the menu which has the story on the restaurant.  The original is in Hollywood, and was started way back by Cuban refugees back in the day when 176,000 fled Cuba to the US.
looking at the menu, there was standard fair with a Cuban flair.  was nice.  The prices didn't fit the restaurant.  It was was really nicely set up inside, and the prices were not that expensive at all.

I took something called the trio.  Maybe not Cuban, but i had something similar in Colorado last year which was Mexican.  This tasted different but the same style of food.

The Trio!
Pork chop, Skirt steak and chicken breast.

The Sides!
Rice, Black beans and Fried plantains.

all the meats were tender and juicy... tasted very good.  The rice and beans were really good too, but the plantains were my favorite.  I'd never had them before, not that i remember...
These were crispy and caramelized on the outside, tender but not mushy on the inside.  A little sweet but not too much and flavorful on the inside.  It was truly well done.

I ate as much as i could.  So... family owned and operated restaurant, serving good food and they were Cuban.  The waitresses accent was very thick.  I liked that.  Gave an air of authenticity to the place too.

after packing that down my gullet, i was asked if i wanted a coffee.
Of course!
Out comes this.
A coffee Cubano.
it's an espresso really... I wasn't asked if i wanted cream, and i wasn't about to.  This is how they serve it, this is how you should take it. There's a reason for that!  people make foods the way it's meant to be eaten.  Like Tim's Awesome pulled pork. why kill it with additives?

The coffee was really good, and if you know me, i overdo it on the cream.  because of the sweetness and flavor of the coffee (which wasn't a burned taste like an espresso usually is)
but this was really good. very sweet.

I felt bad not eating it all, or not packing it on the bike, but i had no room :(

I love finding joints like this.  Honest restaurants... besides an egg or a rib steak, i don't want to be asked how it should be cooked.  You're the cook.  you cook it.  i'm just there to eat and enjoy.

Not 10 miles down the road, stores started showing up... until then, it was the farm with an occasional gas station.  Homestead looks... seedy a little...  it was getting a little dark and didn't know if i should risk going to the keys now in the dark, or get a motel room.  There were a lot of cheap places ($39) with wifi... but the bars on the windows really turned me off it.  many chains here, as well as big box stores, etc.  So i kept heading south.

South i went and hit Key Largo.  It was full dark now (around 8pm) and started hunting for a room.  I knew this was going to be EXPENSIVE... so i was looking for something cheap.

I found a little place called the sunset cove beach resort. looked really nice and i didn't know what i was getting myself into.  Oh well.

I talked to the guy for a while (he used to ride but his wife won't let him now) and he gave me a discount.  Still expensive for what it is, but not expensive for where it is. you need to keep that in mind.
I took the cheapest they had and i'm fine with it.
It's a trailer!  two large twin beds, full bath... fridge... what more do you need really?  It might seem hokey to some people, that instead of a regular motel room, i got a trailer which is old and needs work, for the price i got it for, but hey, i was sitting under a Tiki hut on rattan furniture in KEY LARGO.

I did almost step on a little lizard (the size of a newt) and it startled me.  So not used to things like that.
no bugs inside here, but i'm sure there are cockroaches, snakes, bats, spiders and all kinds of critters outside.
While at the Tiki hut, i kept hearing a tree frog. damn thing sounds like a calling bird... not an obnoxious sound though.  so many different things to get used to... like the heat and humidity... hah.
time for bed... 3 am again. tomorrow will be rough