Ride to Key West 4-2012

It’s that time of year to bring our bikes back from Mesquite and back to Sandy so we can ride with everyone up North. Normally it’s about a 300 miles ride but this year we had some additional time on our hands so we thought we would make the best out of it and take a ride we have wanted to take for years.

Just leaving Mesquite our bikes are all shined up and ready to ride.

As you can tell from this route it might be a little more than 300 miles but it will be the trip of a life time.

I’m sure the route will change a bunch before we get home because we like to ask the locals bikers the best roads to go on.  It will be so interesting to see how the route differs from our original route the one that we actually do.  Because of the weather we decided to leave on Sunday the 15th of April.

Our hotel was right next to the Harley  Davidson in Tucson

We stopped in El Paso at the largest Harley Davidson Dealership.  It was a big one they have hundreds of bikes stacked everywhere.

Notice our Ute shirts…

We just rode to Tucson AZ

The ride from Tucson to Van Horn was a little rough because there is nothing to see and we crossed two-time zones because van Horn is where the central time zone starts and we left from Pacific time zone. I am glad we talked to a trucker in Tucson who told us to stop in Van Horn because we were going to ride to fort Stockton but we talked to a truck driver at the restaurant and he suggested we stop in Van Horn because there is nothing in fort Stockton. We would have ridden an additional 100 miles for nothing.  The Truck driver also told us he made the mistake of taking his truck up the Tail of the Dragon… He said he only went about two to five miles an hour and after he got the top he had to get out of his truck for forty five minutes just to get his mind back because he was sure his load was going to tip over the whole way.

Here is our route.

The ride from Van Horn was not bad in fact with all of the Blue Bell flowers and other flowers on the side of the road it was really beautiful but the butterflies on the other hand were bad. When Linda stopped I could hardly see her through her windshield because of all the yellow marks. I think she killed every butterfly in Texas.

I had no idea that Texas had so many winery’s on HWY 290… Linda and I had to stop and have a taste.  The best one we found was at Fredericksburg Winery at first it was hard to drink but after it opened up it had a great floral taste to it.  But of course they do not ship to Utah.  If someone wanted to make the ride again I think it would be so much fun just to stay at the B&B’s at Frederiksberg and visit as many winery’s as we could.  It is a German community so we had to eat there as well. They had great food and even better deserts.

We did have a great ride after our lunch at the German cafe.

We met up with Marci, Cara and Aspen (Marci’s daughter) They met us on Sixth Street and took us to a great mexican restaurant it was called Chuys I have to tell you that was the best mexican food I have ever had.

Here is Linda and I enjoying a beverage while we are waiting for Cara and Marci to come and get us.

Here we are at dinner with Marci Aspen and Cara.

After we spent some quality time with them we even got to see Cara’s house and walked down the lake she lives on then we had to go get a brownie with ice cream this trip just keeps getting better.  One thing we have found is the food is amazing I don’t think I can eat Mexican again in Utah.

Cara dropped us back off at Sixth street I took Linda around to all of the bars and the amazing performers.  We saw so many amazing piano players and singer, I cannot believe the talent in Austin.

This is really where the cool riding started we rode on some of the most amazing roads in Texas here is our route to Jennings LA we thought we could make it to New Orleans but we stopped too much to check out the local bar-B-ques and stores. Here is our route

Pappy’s is an old gas station in Dayton Texas they turned into a Bar-B-Q outfit WOW the food was great and spicy.

Here’s Linda standing next to one of the many Bayous or as I call them swamps.

If you get the chance to go to Dayton Texas and the roads were amazing HWY 77 and HWY 90 I could ride every day.

We had dinner in Jennings LA at the Bourbon Street Cafe all I can say is AMAZING food we had Gator, Crawfish etouffee and Shrimp sausage, chicken Gumbo it was soooooo good.  One thing we did notice from our server is these people take their food seriously… Our server told us everything about the food and why it was so good.  We also noticed the people are pretty heavy here I think everyone likes the food a lot.  Let me tell you the food was amazing, I don’t understand why it’s so hard to get good food in Utah.

WOW today was the best ride of the trip here is the route

I had no idea that Mississippi and Alabama had such great beaches the ride along the coast was so beautiful.

Bourbon street was cool and getting to it was not very difficult at all, maybe because it was a Thursday at noon.

It was nice walking all around and seeing all of the “shops”….  The food was amazing Linda had a hard time eating Crawfish and Shrimp with the heads on them but after she figured it out the plate was empty.

We pulled over and found a Hampton Inn at Daphne Alabama.  Ok this is cool just because I am cheep.  the room cost me $103.00 but it comes with Free wine, a dinner buffet, and breakfast so as I do the math Wine we drank at least a bottle maybe more at a cost of lets say $25.00 then Dinner we would have paid at least $70.00 and then breakfast lets say $20.00 by my math I made money staying here.

Here is the route we took today Friday.

The ride was fantastic with all of the beaches but even when we got away from the beaches the trees were so green and dense you could not see ten feet into the forest. We saw lots of water again but did not cross as many bridges as we did yesterday it seemed like we were always on a bridge of some sort going through Mississippi and Louisiana.

We had to stop at the Gainesville Harley Davidson because Linda needed a new front tire and we both needed our 5K check up. We had dinner at the Miraku we had the best Sushi it was great.

The forecast for Florida look pretty bad in fact they called for a 90% chance of rain so we decided to spend an extra day here so we could avoid the rain and get our laundry done. Well the rain never did come so after we did our laundry we just sat at the pool and had a few beverages. Then we walked over the Ale House (home of the Gators) and had a few more beverages. Tomorrow we will be ready to ride and the weather looks great so we are very excited to hit the open road.

The rain did come in about 5:00 on the afternoon and boy did it rain.

April 22 Sunday we rode from Gainesville to Homestead Florida. It was a good ride no traffic and the view was amazing with the Everglades and all of the different birds with so many different colors. We even saw an alligator just sitting by the water it looked to me to be about six to eight feet long.

Here we are at the Everglades.
here is the route

We were going to stay in Miami but the Harley sales rep told us to stay in Homestead and I’m glad we did because we ate at the best Cuban restaurant called Casavana they had the best empanadas’ and mariquitas. I think we will be going back there tomorrow.

April 23 Monday Wow the ride today was absoultley amazing. here is the route

We rode about 60 miles and took a picture of the key largo sign we jumped back on our bikes and linda’s bike would’nt start.  As luck would have it there was a motorcylce shop about 300 yards away from where we were so i just picked up a new battery.  there is a lot more to the story but i don’t have the time or engery to write it so just get with me if you are interested.

Here is the “Harley Shop” they have in Key Largo.  Not really a harley shop but they were very nice and tried to get us a battery for Linda’s bike.  I ended having to ride back to Miami to get the battery

Let me tell you the ride is amazing the bridges and water and Keys are even cooler than i thought they would be.  If you get the chance make the trip either from Key largo or Key West even if you have to do it in a car you will be glad you made the trip.  They have a Key called “Deer Key” and yes I saw white tail deer on the side of the road.

This is a picture of the seven mile bridge as you can see or not see it goes on for ever.

Drive the speed limit it’s 45 and 55 I think I saw at least 50 police officers today. I think they spread themselves out about ever five or ten miles.

Here I am at the furthest south I can get in the US.  It was very HOT in Key West and the traffic is a mess with all of the people so as soon as we took this picture we were back on the road and heading to our Hotel in Homestead

April 24 Tuesday started off with Linda needing a new stater.  If you don’t have Road American insurance I would get it.  We called them when Linda’s bike broke down and they were there in two minutes really… well their yard was only a half mile away from where she broke down but still that is amazing.  They towed her bike to the Miami Harley Davidson and we were back on the road by 10:30!!!  Here is our route

Beautiful ride we stopped in a little town called White Springs and ate at the only resturant in town call Fat Bellys trust me the patrions where fatter than the owners.  But the Bar-B-Que was fantastic…

Wednesday April 25 we rode to Robbinsville.  The Coast is great and I love riding the coast but getting into the Blue Ridge Mountians and the Smokey Mountians WOW beautiful… Here is our route

The only problem is it is a dry county.. they really should have a sign telling people that so we wouldn’t stop. The good news was we found another great resturant called the Carolina Kitchen. the food was great and the server made it so pleasant by telling us everything about how the food was prepared and why she likes the different meals. If you are seeing a trend here it’s because these small towns have some really passion about their food.

April 26 Thursday; The day started out with rain… and a lot of it. We sat around with all of the other bikes and waited for the rain to stop.  About 10:30 it stopped and started to dry up and you would of thought someone set off a bomb in the hotel because everyone took off and got on their bikes to ride the “Tail of the Dragon” the funny part was last night we talked to the locals about the ride and they told us how scarry it was with the tight turns and drop offs.  well the ride was the coolest ride and what they call drop offs is more like a ditch.  there really isn’t a turn on the road that you have to take slower than 15 miles an hour.  But it does earn the #1 motorcycle route in the USA.

One of the 318 turns in the eleven mile Tail of the dragon.

We took a break and sat for a while the road was so beautiful.

Here is our route today

We are so glad we waited until after the rain to get on our bikes we met some riders in the Dragon Harley Davidson who didn’t and their ride was a mess.

Today started out like we were going to have to ride HWY 40 all day until we met this guy at the gas station and he turned us on to a fantastic ride up in the
Arkansas mountains call the Pigs Back bone.

It was so worth the extra miles the route was amazing it follows the Mulberry River which the water is so blue, I have never seem water that blue in my life truely beautiful but it really made for a long day.

Linda standing next to the Mulberry river.  Great ride a lot like the Tail of the Dragon but the turns were spaced out so we could ride about sixty or seventy it was soooooo fun.

Arkansas is as beautiful as Tennessee and North Carolina.

Getting around is easy here finding a country that is not dry is hard. We stopped again in a dry county so we had to ride thirteen more miles to Oklanhoma to get beer.

Today was a route 66 day we spent most of the day on 66 but most of 66 is HWY 40 either way it was a pretty ride just a long one because we were going to stop in Amarilo Texas but when we checked the weather it was going to rain for two days there but if we just drove another 100 mile the weather was clear for the rest of our ride. So Linda said lets go. Here is our route

The one thing I have noticed on this ride is the difference between rabbits and possums. when someone runs over a rabbits they just roll over and die a possum on the other hand explodes like a nuclear bomb.   With the added miles on today it was a long day of riding so we stopped at the Hampton Inn parked our bikes grabbed some beer and sat in the hot tub.

It looks like the weather is going to be clear sailing from here to home wow who would have thought we could ride over six thousand miles and nerver put on rain gear.

Long day today the plan was to stop in Farmington New Mexico The only reason I picked Farmington was because I had never been there because if I had there is no way I would have picked it or even drove through it. It is one nasty place. Here is our route we took

We wanted to end up in Torrey Utah but as we rode we both thought why go some place cold when we could ride to Moab and be warm. So Moab it was.

the usual ride from Moab to Sandy not a big deal but here’s the route

It was nice to have a short day on the bikes my butt was getting very tired. The whole trip to get our bikes back to Sandy from Mesquite was 6,500 miles.

We were asked what was the best part of the trip.  That is a very tough question because I love the ride the coast the beaches and the ocean is amazing but the dark green trees and grass on the southern states are amazing as well.  Maybe it’s just because it’s new but my favorite part of the trip was everything but New Mexico…. yuk that state is just ugly.

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3 Responses to “Ride to Key West 4-2012”

  1. Nanci Ingersoll Says:

    I am so glad you guys are having fun. It all sounds good with the exception of the bugs, ick. I could do without the fish heads as well. Safe travels and have a blast.
    Nanci

  2. John and Deb. Says:

    Sunday morning, Deb and I are enjoying coffeed and just read your blog…sounds like you are having a great trip. Sorry we could not join you. Beautiful day in Sandy, will be 82 this afternoon, so we are pushing the bikes out and riding to Kamas for breakfast, lets see, is it 285 miles up there? Ride safe and have fun!

  3. Ken Smith Says:

    That’s some serious riding! Thanks for bringing us all along with you guys via your blog and daily Facebook posts!

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