Saturday, April 2, 2016

Coast to Coast (Florida) on a Yamaha SR400 and Kawasaki Vulcan 500

Always wanted to make a long trip on our small bikes.  Having the time and the cash at the same time seems to keep a long ride a dream.  There are great ways to enjoy shorter trips though, so we decided to ride coast to coast across Florida.  I talked my good riding buddy Gary into joining me.  We also promised our wives a nice camping trip and combined both in one weekend.

Loaded down for the coast to coast dash

I got up and on the road early on a Friday morning so I could reach our rendezvous point at the Lone Cabbage Fish Camp before Gary.  My plan was to get a few pictures of him arriving on his new/used Vulcan 500.  My plan took a wrong turn almost as soon as I left the driveway.  Less than three miles from the house, I turn onto the wrong road and didn't realize it until I had ridden ten miles in the wrong direction.  Sometimes I get little glimpses of the things that had to try my parents patience...

No matter, once on course and onto one of my favorite back roads, I bumped the SR up to an indicated 65 MPH.  This is a speed the SR can handle with no trouble, but it is right at the point it begins to vibrate and let you know it is a bike from an earlier era.  In this department the Suzuki TU 250 is quite a bit smoother.  Still the SR doesn't put your hands or feet to sleep and your feet will not be vibrating off the footpegs the way some bikes use to do to us.

I pulled into the Lone Cabbage to see my efforts were in vain, Gary was there waiting for me and enjoying the sunrise.

A final look at the map before heading to Cocoa Beach.

After taking a couple photos, we were ready to head east to our journeys' starting point near Cocoa Beach, Florida.  We could see rain clouds moving toward us from the coast, but we knew we had time before the sea breeze picked up and moved much real rain inland.  We were wrong...

The Atlantic Ocean just beyond the green hedge behind the bikes
A grey lonely day to be on the ocean

After enjoying the morning rain we hopped on our bikes and headed west toward our destination of Bayport on the west coast - of Florida.  We slipped out of town on highway 520 and picked up Nova Road as we headed for our breakfast destination of St. Cloud, Florida.  We rode out of the rain a few miles west of the coast line and had super weather most of the rest of the day.

We skirted south of Kissimmee on Dean Still Road, after crossing highway 27 we came upon a hang gliderport called Wallaby Ranch.  We stopped for just a few minutes, but not much was going on as the day was still young and the thermals had not started to pop.  I didn't think to take pictures, but the place is impressive and the people are super friendly, so if hang gliding is your pastime you might want to look this place up.

West of 27, Dean Still Road takes on the look of old Florida.  There is a lot of open country, a few cattle grazing and plenty of swamp.  The road twists and bends as it works the high ground westward.  The further west we rode the closer to the Green Swamp we got.  To skirt the thickest part of the swamp we turned north on highway 33 , we turned then west and north again on Lake Erie Road and route 565.  This area is all nice and lightly traveled.  The roads wind through very pleasant and rural countryside.

Near the town of Masvotte we picked up route 48 and transitioned to 476.  476 takes you across the north end of the Green Swamp.

As we neared our destination of Bayport on the west coast of Florida, we could see afternoon thundershowers developing to the north west.  Once again, the sea breeze off the gulf was pushing rain toward us.  It looked like it would be a race with the rain.

Bayport is now a ghost town or at least semi-ghost town.  It was formed on the coast near where the Weeki Wachee and Mud rivers converge. The area was an important small port for shipping foods and supplies prior to the civil war.  A battery was built to protect the area during the war and bits of that battery can still be seen at the Bayport Park.  The park is about all that remains of the old town of Bayport.

We raced toward the park as lightning pitchforked down just a few miles to our north.  We stopped just long enough to snap a couple photos for proof that we rode two smallish, 400 & 500cc, bikes coast to coast.  We then had to race back inland to get around the east side of the thunderstorm and hopefully make it to the campsite at Chassahowitzka springs campground.

Bayport Park on the west coast of Florida
As we sped east the lightning continued just to our north and pounded the ground only a mile or so off our left side.  As we edged east of the storm, we worked our way north again to catch up with our ladies at the campground.  When we arrived, they had the tent up, chairs out and a cold drink waiting for us.  Super women by all counts.  The rest of the weekend gave us picture perfect weather.

Chassahowitzka Springs area
While we were away shooting these pictures our campsite was visited by a family of squirrels.  These marauders chewed their way into the tent and thoroughly destroyed everything they could get into.  Seems we had left some M&Ms in there that they thought should be theirs.  Another lesson forgotten and relearned about no food in a tent.

On Sunday morning we packed up and the girls headed home with the camping gear and we wandered our way home on the bikes.  A very super and memorable weekend!

Heading Home

Saturday, March 7, 2015

International Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet

Bike week is getting underway and that means it is time for the annual International Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap meet in Eustis Florida.  Eustis sits in Lake County north of  Orlando.  The show is held the first weekend of bike week and is one of the nicest low key events of the year.  The Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club hosted the meet and held it at the Lake County Fairgrounds, a large and clean venue.

I'll add comments and history as I sort through my notes and photos.  For now, enjoy the pictures.

Suzuki's water cooled GT 750 two stroke sometimes called the "Water Buffalo"

Suzuki's RE 5 rotary engine bike.  Displacement was about 500cc
These two mid-seventies Suzukis looked like could have just come from the showroom.  From the early seventies came another very good Suzuki two stroke, the T-500 Titan.  I owned one of these in this same orange and gold color scheme.  Put many carefree miles on it.

T-500 Titan
On the Honda side of things, we found this C110 with full factory race kit.  According to the owner it is 1 of 5 in the world.  The engine is 50cc.

Honda C110

Another Honda 50cc racer was this single cylinder dual overhead cam racer.  It is actually a 2004 AC15 that Honda produced to commemorate their early 60s racer.

Honda AC15
Zundapp with Steib sidecar







Harley Davidson 125 Hummer

Gilera 106

We had a Gilera 106 when I was young.  A relative gave it to my Dad.  I remember that it was delivered in a number of cardboard boxes.  Someone had taken it apart for a reason that was unknown to me.  We raced through the fields all year long on it, pulled each other on sleds with it in the winter and used it to ride the railroad tracks and pick asparagus in the spring.  I remember it as being nearly bullet proof.  I think both Sears and Wards sold this bike for a time.

Ducati 350
I nearly bought a 350 Ducati back in about 1970, but didn't.  I bought a Harley Davidson / Aermacchi 125 instead.  Wish I had both bikes now...

Rickman Metisse
I didn't catch up with the owner of this Rickman Metisse, but saw it cruising the grounds a couple of times.  The engine looks like a Triumph 650.

1928 Harley Davidson JD 

1963 Honda 300 Dream an early Japanese big bike.