Tuesday, June 28, 2011

June 27, 2011 Day 5 Rain Gear Dance

I got up bright and early today, I knew I had a long day ahead of me. I left my aunts house in Sebastian just after 7am, went to fill up at the Flash Foods. While filling up, a gentleman came up and asked if I was the one doing the Alzheimer’s ride, I said yes and asked how he knew. Apparently he saw me on tv last night, haha, crazy. Then the couple in the car behind us were like “Yeah! That is him, I thought I recognized the bags on a sport bike, don’t really see that too often.” Ha! I got a kick out of it.

Today, just like the rest of Florida, Im hitting the superslab. I-95 up to Jacksonville then over to Ferdinand Beach to meet up with an old elementary school friend Adam. He moved down to Jacksonville 6 years ago and I havn’t seen him since high school. Never in a million years did I think in elementary school that we would be riding motorcycles together one day. After taking a wrong turn, I pull up to see Adam already waiting and we catch up for a while before we don our helmets and go for a quick ride. Adam was gonna show me around some back roads in the area. It was no Deal’s Gap but its Florida and it was the most twisties I had ridden all week. We stopped at a place called Kings Ferry on St. Marie River and hung out for a bit. Nice little spot.

Georgia is on the other side of the river.

Earlier, I noticed Adam had a throttle rocker and I said I needed something like that, then he tells me it was only $12 at a local shop up the street. I’m like, lets hit it! I ve got $12 on me. But, its Monday, and they are closed. So Adam whips his off and hands it to me. I try to give him money for it but he refuses and says its his contribution. Thanks Adam! It has made a huge difference!

After our ride, I had to get back on the road so we grabbed a pic and I went on my way. Took 95 to 16 to get to Macon. It was a long boring ride and it really put a hurting on my rear tire, noticeable wear in just those three hours. I’m watching the rear tire wear closely, Im crossing my finger it makes it to Seattle.

Going through Dublin, there was a large storm ahead. Great 5th day in a row with thunderstorms. When I got underneath it, it had just moved to the south so instead of being soaked and blown everywhere again, I got a very nice ride through some cool air. Finally! A day without having to the do the rain gear dance.

Get to Macon, go to my parents restaurant for some grub. First thing that happens is my mom wants me to figure out whats wrong with the Angry Birds game on her iPad, haha. I get that done while catching my parents up and eating. I got to my parents house where I’ll stay the night just before dark. I guess I ‘ll service the bike in the morning. I don’t have to be in Atlanta until 4 pm for a demonstration with the Atlanta Police Department. Unfortunately, its supposed to storm tomorrow here and Atlanta. Back to the rain gear dance. I’m looking forward to Deal’s gap area Wed. Forecast is sunny skies.

I’m catching the blog up tonight since the next few days or so I’ll be camping so probably no internet connection. I’m also doing last minute changes to the bike and a quick service. I planned the route so that I would come back here after a few days so I could have another trial run before leaving for 4 months. The cradle for the GPS decided to crap out so now I have to charge it using the USB, but the Garmin’s backlight doesn’t light up at all if the USB is plugged in. So I have to find an address to send a new cradle to. I brought a spare GPS, but no moto mount. I could be paper mapping it soon.

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 26, 2011 Day 4 There’s a first time for everything.

So today was supposed to be a longer day, but it ended up being the shortest day so far. I slept in a bit today since I didn’t have to be in Palm Beach Gardens until 1pm. I rolled out of bed at 9 and was out the door by 9:45. I was starting to feel a bit sore so I popped a couple Advils and called it good. In the two nights I spent at Andy’s it already started to feel a bit at home. Thank you again Andy and Angie, I really can’t thank you two enough, I had a great time. Andy, good luck and ride safe to Prudhoe and Angie, have fun in Paris! Hope to ride with you guys again one day.

At 10:15, I was to call into a radio show to talk about my ride during a motorcycle segment called American Biker Talk Radio ran by the main chapter of Enforcers Motorcycle club. I’ve never been on the radio before so I was definitely nervous. But it wasn’t near as bad as I thought it would be. Hopefully I didn’t sound like a complete idiot. Rosco made it easy for me though. After about 10 minutes or so I was done, so I left the gas station in Homestead and made my way towards Palm Beach Gardens.

I arrive at the Project Lifesavers International headquarters at 12:30 and was greeted by Elizabeth Kappes. She has been the one working hard behind the scenes to set up all the media events and all kinds of things for this ride. We chatted for a bit while waiting for Chief Gene Saunders(Founder of Project Lifesaver and Sheriff Extraordinaire) to get there. Chief arrives with his wife Jeanne. So Gene and Jeanne. Chief showed me the Project Lifesaver transmitter and explained how everything worked from installing the transmitter, to search procedures and gave me a brief history on Project Lifesavers. Check out www.ProjectLifesavers.org, it’s a very cool device and they have had over 2,400 successful rescues over 1,200 agencies all over the US, Canada and Australia. My ears perked up when he said Australia. Potential next trip??? I think so!

Chief Saunders Founder of Project Lifesaver

We watched a couple of the PLI videos and also a video made by Mutual of Omaha for their Aha moments. They made lots of these videos with different people and they will pick the top 10 videos to air on television. Check it out and vote for Chief! www.Ahamoment.com/moments/1980.

While watching videos, we heard of group of bikes rolling by. The Enforcers are here. Taken straight from their website, “The Enforcers Motorcycle Club consists of, but is not limited to members of Law Enforcement/Armed Forces/Public Safety/Professional backgrounds. The enforcers Motorcycle Club promotes an enjoyable, friendly atmosphere with an opportunity to meet and ride with those who love to ride. www.enforcersmc.com
We went out and greeted everyone and hung out and chatted for a while. I checked out all their bikes while they checked mine out. I don’t know if they were expecting to see a sport bike kitted up or a cruiser of some sort. Most people are surprised by the amount of stuff I carry on the bike, hell, Im surprised myself.

It was awesome meeting and talking with everyone, great group of folks. One in particular used to be an ex-road racer, read Japanese sport bikes so we bonded immediately, haha. He was telling me that me works with sharks, so of course I had to know more. Why? Because sharks are awesome, hence Shark Week. He tests shark repellents so I asked if he was the product tester. He says no, my friend does that, Im the guy behind the camera filming. I told him he was the smarter one, ha. But seriously though, that’s a pretty cool job. Look up 007shark attack on you tube for some videos.

We hung out for a while and took some pictures with my new friends, then Chief placed a transmitter bracelet on me so they could track me as we rode into the fundraiser. The Enforcers gave me an escort to the restaurant a few miles away. How cool is that? Ive never been escorted before and I never imagined that one day a group of Harleys would be doing it. Usually the sport bike guys and Harley guys don’t mix. We respect one another because two wheels is two wheels and we are all family in a sense. But to have these guys escort me in 2x2 was freakin cool. I couldn’t tell if my bike was even running at times, haha.

The Enforcers

Lady Enforcers

I really want to thank Rosco and the rest of the guys and Lady Enforcers for being part of the show and making an unforgettable experience for me.

Rosco and wife(?) Terrible memory, I apologize if I got that wrong.

the two rows of bikes in front, and then everyone else trailing for the escort.

When we get to the restaurant(Russels Blue Water Grill), there is a group of people and a TV camera waiting for us. Yikes, now Ive gottta be on TV? I really hope they edited out all the ummms, and ands…… Hopefully they send me the link to the 6:00 News so I can watch myself stutter through the interview, ha. We went in and had some appetizers and drinks and I did the meet and greet with everyone. Fantastic people all around. There were several in particular that really stood out to me. First was Eddie, his father had alzheimers, mother had brain cancer and son has autism. Tough go. We chatted for quite a while, had some laughs and had a great time. Super cool guy. He says he has family in Boston that would probably take me in for a night so he said he would email me about it, sweet, I hope we can work something out with that since they seem really from cool what he described.

Eddie, we had some good laughs.

Next there was Charles Coe. He is the executive chef at Rusell’s Blue Water Grill. His resume was so extensive and impressive I can’t even remember it all. His short life story immediately caught my attention and I told him he needed to write a book. Guess what, he is. Its not about his crazy life story, but about cooking with coffee pots, as in for students living in dorm rooms and such who don’t have proper cooking utensils. It should be pretty cool, I can’t wait to see it. He had several really cool stories and one that stood out to me was the fact that he owns the Triumph that Tom Cruise rode in Mission Impossible. And no, I don’t mean he has A Triumph like Tom Cruise, I mean he has THE Triumph that Tom Cruise rode. How cool is that? Also, once he crashed a bike, broke his left shoulder and some other bones in that area, but still managed to ride the bike home. That’s a badass right there. I wished I could have stuck around and talked to him some more, I bet he had stories for days and I could have listened to every one. Somehow my camera didn’t get used when we took a picture together, maybe Elizabeth has that photo.

There were so many people I talked to that I could ramble on all night about it, but I need to finish this up and go to bed, Ive got a long day tomorrow.

Before I left, Chief Saunders gave me a PLI hat and shirt. Sweet, now I can toss the grungy Alpinestars hat Ive been wearing around. Then he said he had one more thing for me. It was something called a Challenge coin. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Challenge_coin Basically, it’s a coin or medallion used usually by military to prove membership and if one produces a challenge coin to someone and they can’t bring out one of their own, then the challenged buys the challenger a drink of their choice, but if the challenged can produce their own coin, then the challenger must buy the challenged a drink. Read the Wiki for the origins, it’s a pretty cool story. Chief Saunders gave me his own personal challenge coin which is just awesome and I almost had no words. I believe I said something like, “I hope I get some free drinks out of this….” haha….
Thanks Chief!

I was worried the stuff I got today wouldn't fit, but it did, barely, unfortunately they wouldn't fit in the dry bags so they were soaked by the rain.

Being the idiot that I am sometimes, I left my Spot tracker at the PLI office so I met Elizabeth and her husband over there to get it. It was going to rain soon so I changed into the rain gear and covered all the bags while I chatted with them before I left. Elizabeth’s husband is into the American Choppers show so we talked about that for a good while. I’m always up for a conversation about bikes, cars, anything with a motor, wheels and can breathe fire. Then the subject changed to basketball and I was a little out of my element. I’m not a huge fan of the stick and ball sports. Just racing for me. It was great to finally meet Elizabeth and Chief.

Elizabeth Kappes

I left Palm Beach Gardens at around 6pm. There is no way I’m getting to Anastasia State Park in St. Augustine where I already paid for a campsite. Oh well, too bad, I was looking forward to staying there but it was worth missing to stay at the fundraiser. It stormed on me for the next 1.5 hours up I-95. I was trying to decide how far I was going to go tonight when I remember that I was supposed to stop in Sebastian to visit my aunt and uncle. I also needed to give them a dvd my cousin Andy had made from our grandfathers funeral. So I got off at 512 and headed towards the restaurant. About half a mile from the restaurant, I ran into a road closure at a railroad crossing. WTH, the restaurant is right there, Id have to backtrack miles to detour. I got off the bike and went under the caution tape to see if I could get across. Nope, the pavement was completely torn up and the bike would have bottomed out on the tracks. This is when I need that KLR. So I backtracked and took 512 all the way down to US1. There, I took a quick picture of the bike by the water and a pier and met an older couple who were regular customers at my aunts and uncles restaurant. We talked for a bit, they asked about all the bags on the bike and it turns out that their church group has an Alzheimers meeting once a month. So I gave them a bunch of my cards and they promised to hand them out for me. I forget to ask them their names, but thank you!

My turnoff is just past this closure. I need a KLR.

Corner of 512 and US1

From there I went straight to the restaurant. They didn’t know I was coming today, I was supposed to stop by on the way down, but with the rain and my bag malfunction it didn’t work out so I surprised them today. I had a HUGE dinner and it was 9pm by the time I finished so they offered me a room at their place. Of course I accepted, can’t turn down a free bed with family, especially since Ive already paid for one and am not using it. My aunt wanted to get some fruits so she asked me what I wanted. She said I know you like watermelon, but what else do you want. Haha, she knows me pretty well. I asked for bananas since I get constant cramps in my legs and calf. It’s not from riding, I just get them all the time for some reason. The calf cramps are the worst. Back at their house, we have watermelon and I showed them my pictures thus far and also my mom’s(her sister) Facebook page. I had a beer with my uncle(it was a Bud light and I hardly consider that beer), I think that’s the first time I’ve ever had a beer with anyone in my family. I’m really glad I stopped by, its been an awesome day and it was a great way to end it with family.

I tried to catch the surprise face but was too slow and she got the peace sign up.

Main course


I heart watermelon.

If your ever in Sebastien, FL, this is a must visit. Tell them I sent you, I get a cut, j/k....

All my gear is still soaked from the storm and they are starting to smell pretty bad from all the constant rain and sweat. I’m gonna put them outside for tonight so they will hopefully dry a little before my 7am departure. I hate putting on wet gloves.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25, 2011 Day 3 From beaches to swamps and gators.

Today, we are heading to Key West for my first corner and so Andy can document the start of his Key West to Prudhoe Bay and back ride. This is the first time I’ve ridden with someone in quite a long time. It was great to have their company and have someone show me a couple of cool spots.

We leave Andy’s place around 9:15 and start heading all the way south. Getting onto the toll road headed towards US1, Andy is moving quicker than I expected anyone to ride on a big BMW. It was awesome, just my speed. At the No Name Key, we pull off and have lunch at the No Name Pub, a small restaurant Andy knows about that used to be a general store/brothel in the 1930s. Inside, there are thousands of dollar bills stapled to every inch of the interior. Walls, ceilings, water pipes, everything. Layers upon layers of dollars. Apparently the story behind it is that since it’s a fishing town, fisherman sometimes wouldn’t have any money if the fishing was slow. So when they did have some extra cash, they would staple money to the ceiling for a rainy day.

After lunch we stopped at the 7 mile bridge to snap a few photos and just kept trucking along. On the way, me and Angie had some fun taking pictures of each other in motion. Here are some of the better ones.

There are so many its impossible to upload onto Blogspot, check out my Facebook page for all the pictures.

We went by a store so Andy could get some new sandals, I needed some too so it was convenient. I browsed for a while but just couldn’t justify spending $40 on a pair of sandals so I walked out empty handed . I was looking for something around the $10 range so I guess a trip to the Walmart is needed.

In Key West, we took the obligatory photos at the Southernmost point and the 0 miles marker of US1. It was ridiculously hot so we didn’t spend too much time hanging around. After the 0 mile marker, Andy and Angie had to split and I needed to start heading back up north to make it back to Homestead for the night. I had originally planned to camp in Key Largo, but Andy offered me his place again even though him and Angie were staying down in Key West for the night. How insanely awesome is that? I just met him and Angie yesterday and they are letting me hold down their fort while they are gone and all I have to do is bring in the paper in the morning. Truly great people and I’m so happy I had the chance to meet and ride with them. I can’t say thanks to them enough.

Northbound again, Im getting tired, the heat is getting to me. Somewhere in Marathon, there is a red Infiniti G35 with flashers on in the left hand lane and some girl is attempting to push the car. Theres a huge line of cars waiting and just watching this poor girl. There’s no way she was moving that thing by herself. I weave my way up there and ask what’s wrong. Apparently her clutch went out and I could definitely smell the burning clutch material. I park the bike and run back over to help push while dozens of people just watch. One guy is in am open top Jeep wrangler with no doors and he just stares at us when we slowly come by. Didn’t even bother to ask if we needed a hand, he didn’t even need to open a door to get out and help or anything. Lazy inconsiderate bastards all those people are. As we get closer to the gas station parking lot, a guy pumping gas sees whats going on and help us push the rest of the way. Thank you, finally someone willing to help. I give the girl some mechanical advice, drink half my camelback and get back on the bike. So I’m not exactly in the best shape, but even if I was, pushing a car in full gear a couple hundred feet in the florida sun is tiring.

Traffic moves slowly heading back to mainland and I get into Homestead about 6pm. Then I head towards the Everglades for a quick visit. The entrance stand was closed so I got in for free. Walked one of the trails that leads you into the glades and over the gator pools. Definitely worth a visit, Ive never been that close to an alligator before. I was just waiting for one of them to snap at me while I was taking a picture, but none of them even so much as twitched. Flamingo in the Everglades is next on my list so I start making my way there but there is rain that direction. I get about 20 miles down the road and it starts raining on me, forget it, Im tired, sick of being rained on so I turned around and went back to Andy’s place. Lubed the chain and now Im relaxing and hoping to get to bed extra early today, Im beat. I don’t even want to update the blog but I need to write something down before I forget it all.

The heat and rain has taken its toll on my the last few days. I hope its cooler as I start heading north. Tomorrow is going to be an exciting day, a long day, but exciting. I need to try and make it as far north as I can tomorrow so I can get back to my parents place near Macon at a decent hour as I have some work to do on the bike.

Friday, June 24, 2011

June 22, 2011

“Remember this day three months from now” says the little slip of paper. Okay, note to self, Sep. 22. This fortune cookie better have something good for me in September. I always want to eat a second one to get a better fortune or more winning lottery numbers but I think it might be like telling someone your wish, then it won’t come true.

Mileage before the trip.

Since most everything is already prepped, I didn’t have to do much today. Just going over some schedule stuff with my parents and showing them how to track me on their iPad using the Spot tracker. I went to bed around 1AM but ended up reading my book until almost 4. I was trying to finish the last of the Maarten Troost series before I left since I bought a few more books the other day. For someone that should be saving money to do a big trip, I’m sure not doing a good job. I can’t even keep track of how many books I’ve bought the last few months. Finally, I closed the book a couple chapters from the end and packed it on the bike to finish this weekend. Futurama went into the laptop and I drifted off to Fry on his Scootie Puff Junior battling the brains and hilariously misspelling reason(raisin) and greatest(greetest).

June 23, 2011 And away we go.....

7 AM

Snooze…….one more snooze. Just one more, blah…. Okay, get up Daniel. Hopped in the shower and went downstairs and pushed the bike out of the basement. My parents decided to get up early to see me off so we had a quick photo session, then I picked a good song on the Zune and me and Jess were off. I immediately jump on I-75 south as I had planned to meet my cousin Angela in Gainesville, FL for lunch. I had chugged a Starbucks Cappuccino and it was finally starting to wake me up a bit. Couple of hours later, I stopped for gas in Tifton, GA and grabbed a Red Bull for further “caffination.” About 15 minutes down the road, I was bobbing my head to the music and laughing maniacally at finally departing for my trip after what seems like an eternity of planning and waiting.

My office for the next 4 months.

The first few hours in South Georgia were pretty non eventful, which is great if you ask me, I just needed to put on some miles. At the Florida border, I pulled off at the welcome center to grab a quick pic and then kept going. Just a couple miles down the road I hit my first rain storm, got soaked, then dry again in a matter of minutes. I got into Gainesville right about 1pm and met up with my cousin Angela at Daves Real Pit BBQ. The pork was excellent but the Mac and cheese was less than stellar. The corn nuggets Angela had were pretty good though.

A storm hit G-ville while we were eating and when we finished, it looked like it was letting up a bit so I started to gather my things and went outside just in time for the skies to open back up. So we hung out outside and waited for another lull, then I hugged Angela goodbye and got back on I-75. Angela, if your reading, it was awesome to see you and thank you again for lunch. Also, its not too late to join me! Haha. Maybe 15 minutes later, I started going through another storm but actually had to pull off this time, it was heavier and a lot larger than I expected. I waited it out at a gas station for 30 minutes, put on the rain gear then headed back south again. Of course, since I put on the rain gear, it stopped raining and hasn’t rained since. But I didn’t feel like stopping again to change, so I just endured the heat for a few hours until I got through the Ocala National Forest then changed in DeLand. After changing, I took the rain covers off the bags and noticed that both saddlebags are ripping already. Brand new bags, not even a full day on them and they are coming apart. Im getting sick of these saddlebags, second set to do the exact same thing. Im really not carrying that much weight, Ive actually carried more weight in them before with no problem. The only thing in common with these rips and the rips in the last set of bags was that they were wet. Not sure if it actually has anything to do with it or just a coincidence. The Velcro that holds the saddlebags to each other seems to loosen up placing all the weight on the bottom seam of the bag, so I pulled out some zipties and tried to take some weight off the bottom seam. This will work for now, but how long with it hold? I may need to consider just getting rid of the bags altogether which means losing the laptop, shoes and the cooking gear for camping. Not a happy camper right now.

Reservations for a campground were made at the Sebastian River Inlet off A1A and I finally pulled in at 8:30 after several stops to check the bags and re-hydrate. I was supposed to go by my aunt and uncles place in Sebastian but it got too late. Got registered then did a few laps around to find my site. As soon as I pulled the helmet and jacket off, I was instantly devoured by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love me, a lot. I have about 8 bites on 3 square inches of skin, and that’s just one shoulder. I got bit in places I had no idea they could get to with clothes on. After I got my tent up, I went to the bridge and took a few pics. Then I decided I needed to swim in the ocean. So I went back to my tent, changed into swim trunks and sandals and squidded it to the beach on the other side of the bridge. First time I have ever ridden with no gear at all except for a helmet. It was strange, I felt naked.

After a quick night dip in the Atlantic, I came back and showered up, had dinner(can o clam chowder), then was dinner, and now Im sitting in my tent working on the blog wishing I had set up the tent facing the other direction to catch the breeze. I thought it might thunderstorm tonight so I actually staked it and now I regretting it. Come on, Rain!!! All my gear is in here too so it just seems like too much work and Im feeling really lazy after that cold swim and dinner. No 3G service tonight so I cant upload the blog but tomorrow the plan is to stay with Andy(FLARider1 on ADVRider.com) so I should be able to post it tomorrow night. Andy and his fiance have graciously offered me a bed tomorrow, then Saturday morning we will ride down to Key West together so I can hit my first corner and Andy can document the start of his Ironbutt from Key West to Prudhoe Bay.

Between the sounds of waves crashing on the beach, I can hear a mosquito buzzing around in my tent. I need to kill that thing before I wake up as one big itchy lump. Wish me luck…..back to Troost

June 24, 2011 Florida, the Sunshine State or random thunderstorm state?

So last night, I got maybe 3 hours of sleep. I camped at the Sebastian River Inlet because we spent a lot of time there when we lived in Sebastian. I have a lot of wonderful memories as a child fishing and watching my dad and uncles fish for crabs. Lots of late nights were spent there under the bridge. Last night however, was not as pleasant. Did I mention mosquitoes love me? The heat and humidity made it difficult to sleep. I sat up reading my booking whilst sweat was dripping onto the pages and I keep thinking “Why the hell am I camping in Florida in the summer?” I kept checking the Weather Channel on my phone. 12 AM 82 degrees F. 1 AM 80 degrees F. 2 AM, 79 degrees F. 3 AM, 78 degrees F. Come on 3 AM! Apparently, 79 degrees F is when I stop sweating profusely and just lightly coat my skin with perspiration. 6 AM rolls around and my alarm rings and I do my usual snooze, grunt something about what the hell was that, then roll back over. I wake up and get everything packed up and ready to go by 8AM dripping sweat and getting eaten by mosquitoes the whole time. One even bit me on the lip, I mean seriously, the lip? The worst part is, I get huge welts when they bite me, so it probably looked like I had herpes or something.

I cruise through the rest of A1A and hit 95. The whole time I’m thinking, how the hell are the ripped saddlebags supposed to last the rest of the weekend much less 4 months on the road. I start thinking “What the hell am I doing? This is the wrong bike for this trip.” I hated all the people with their fancy aluminum panniers and Givi hard cases. I wished them all misfortune. But, this is no time for malicious thoughts, I must remedy this issue. I pondered the problem while blasting down I-95 through random rainstorms. When I reached the Turnpike and Jupiter, I came up with an idea that might alleviate some weight off the saddlebags. Plugged fabrication into my GPS search and starting calling. At first, I was looking for a shop that would let me have somewhat free range over tools, welders, mills, lathes and that sort in exchange for an hourly rate. No luck, even after I told them my sob story. I guess I’ll just have to pony up the dollar bills and have someone do it for me. After 25 calls or so, I finally reach a place that can fit me in today. West Palm Machining and Welding. I head straight over and explain the situation. $150? Fine, starting cutting some metal and weld that shiza together.

Jorge is the man in charge of working on Jess. I, being the super mechanically anal retentive person that I am, immediately start giving directions and spouting off measurements, angles, weld placements and that sort. Jorge was super cool about it, I told him I do a little bit of fab work myself so I think he understood where I was coming from. I wanted to remove the passenger pegs and fab up a plate that would support the weight of the saddlebags to keep the same seam from tearing. After a couple of hours, a ready made tuna and crackers lunch and lots of patience watching someone else working on Jess and doing a job that I should be doing, she was finally ready to go. it’s a bit of a quickie hack job, but I think it will make the trip, only time will tell.

Zip ties can fix almost anything.

Say queso Jorge.

During the fab process, I talk to Elizabeth Kappes who is the Media Director of Project Lifesavers and the person responsible for making all of the media events happen and she explains the plan for the fundraiser Sunday and how I need to call into a radio show. What? Radio? No, Jorge, a little lower and place a bar here and weld this to that. Ummm…yeah, 10:15, Enforcers Motorcycle Club…. Okay….fundraiser at 3 pm…..yea Jorge, that looks perfect and lets weld a bar here to……..
I’m not good at public speaking. I’d rather write than speak anyday. But I’ll give it a whirl, I’m not scared to make an ass out of myself.

Back on the Turnpike, tolls suck by the way. More rain showers. I get to Miami, traffic is at a standstill on the turnpike and the clouds look dark so I exit. I hang out at a gas station for a while to see what the weather is going to do. A random person gassing up his SUV starts chatting me up and I give him my story and all that good stuff. He gives me some pointers about where to eat and hang out if I decide to wait out the storm, then he hands me his business card and says, “I know I’m a complete stranger, but seriously, if you don’t want to ride any further or you have a problem, call me. I’m close enough to come pick you up and you can wait out the storm at my place.” Creepy? Or genuine? I think genuine, it can be hard to tell with some people but my instincts rarely fail me and I believe this Troy was serious. I waited for a bit and then decided to hit the road through the storm anyways but using surface streets. I figured if Im gonna be stuck in traffic and being rained on, I might as well be in Miami checking out the sights and pretty ladies. After my left hand starting becoming numb from working the clutch lever in traffic, I make it to US1 and just couldn’t take it anymore. Back on the turnpike. No rain, no traffic, smooth sailing, until exit 2. Dark skies, wind and cool temps. Here we go again. I exit at 2 and pull into a Suntrust and got some cash out of the ATM in case I decided to make it to the Everglades. I noticed Andy(FLARider1) called so I rang him up. He met me at the Mickey Ds parking lot and we went back to his place. Parked the bikes, then gear explosion. Off went the rain gear, rain covers, bags, the whole kit. Met Andy’s fiancĂ© Angie who is super cool and nice even though I probably triggered the gross factor in her olfactory glands due to my wet sweaty smell. I got a shower and decided to do a load of laundry. Its only been two days, but Ive gotten rained on both days so my jeans were getting pretty rank. We were getting ready to head out for dinner when I realized I couldn’t find my wallet. Crap. I remember having it when I met Andy after pulling cash out of the ATM. Tank bag? Nope. Rain jacket? Nope. Leather jacket? Nope. Jeans? They are in the washing machine, and apparently so was the wallet. Haha. Like Andy said, it wouldn’t be an adventure if something didn’t go wrong.

With the items in the wallet sitting out to dry, we left for dinner at a local seafood joint. Seared ahi tuna. Awesome. Makes my lunch taste like Play-doh. After the good eats, we head to Mutineers. Funny thing is, Ive been to this place a few times when I have raced at Homestead Speedway and Ive always avoided the bar because of the random karaoke nights. Turns out, Ive been avoiding Andy this whole time as he is a regular at the Mutineer, haha, small world. Couple of drinks later and a quick gameplan was made for the morning ride to Key West.

If any of you guys get an offer by Andy and Angie to meet and stay with them. DO IT. I’ve had a smile on my face since the minute I walked in. Awesome people, I can hardly believe the generosity that has been shown to me tonight. Thanks again Andy and Angie!

Dry, until the next big storm, or brain fart.

Dinner. Fresh tuna and Guiness.

Any's BMW towering over Jess.