Saturday, October 29 - Luke will be leading a ride over to the Florida State HOG Rally. This is the last of its kind to be held as the new format will be regional. The meeting spot is the Starbucks at Clearwater Mall with a departure at 0700. This will also be a late season breakfast ride as we will be stopping to gorge ourselves at Fred's in Plant City, before making our appearance at the Rally. If you feel a need to pre-register by 7 Sept you can at http://flstatehogrally.com And if you have one handy, please remember to wear your Man O War t-shirt. Y'all know how big a hit they are at local events.Sunday, October 30th - It has been quite a while since we have ridden on CR-561, so let's gather at Lenny's at 7:52, partake of the best offerings on their menu, then head north to Clermont. No SunPass, no tolls, no overnight reservations required. We should be home around 3:00.
Sunday, March 1nd - I have been directed to schedule a trip to Solomon's Castle, so today is the day. We will begin our day at breakfast at the Skyway Cafe on 4th Street and 112th Avenue, 7:49 a.m. Bring your SunPass and prepare for some puns. Lunch will be at the castle, at the Boat in the Moat. Our return trip willl also require your SunPass. UPDATE: Seven at breakfast became six for the ride over the Skyway. We meandered about, watching the minutes tick by so we weren't there too early. Arriving at eleven, we were on the first castle tour. Our guide had memorized the script well, so none of Mr. Solomon's puns were orphaned - we heard them all. After the tour, lunch at the Boat in the Moat was well received by all. Sitting under the shade of a giant oak on the outdoor patio area was enjoyable with the mid-70s temps. The ride back was pretty much uneventful, except when I discovered the Dairy Queen in the back of the gas stop. MMMM. Good!
March 8st - Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar will be our starting point at
7:47 ayem. After a couple biscuits, we will travel north through
Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties for a while before working our
way back to Hudson Beach and Inn on the Gulf for some grouper. UPDATE:
The breakfast seven became the ride five. We had anunusual occurrence
today - the pack was stopped for excessive speed on Newberger Road by a
Lincoln MKZ driven by a HCSO officer. The neighbors were complaining,
so he was sent to control the speeders. I dispute his assertions, but he
was pleasant enough and only detained us about 20 minutes. While
speaking with us, two squid bikes came by, one of which slowed down to
about 40 and one just zoomed out of sight. After a warning, we were on
our way. Lunch at the Inn on the Gulf was as good as expected. Good
Saturday, March 14th - Breakfast at 9:00 ayem at Acropol of Starkey Road. After breakfast, if you're looking for something to do, you can tour a B-17. $10 per person, veterans and active duty free. The website says it's happening at Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. Flights are available until 1:00, tours from 2:00 until 5:00.
March 15th - Begin on Drew Street, at the Farmer Boy restaurant at 7:46
a.m. After breakfast we will tour Hillsborough County until we find
Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. There we will have lunch, then
hightail it back to Pinellas.UPDATE: We managed to ride around
Hillsborough County without having
to entertain a Hillsborough Deputy. We saw lots of strawberry fields
forever, some citrus and some cattle. We managed to get to the airport
before the assisted living facvility bus, so tables were available.The
restaurant has again changed hands, now called Hallback's. The menu has
changed, too, but lots of options. After lunch, my Road Toad swerved
unexpectedly into the parking lot at Parkesdale Farms, so we stopped for
strawberry shortcake. They even have a version without cake - just
berries and whipped cream.Good deal at $4. The rest of the ride was
uneventful, but warm. Looks like breakfast rides may begin early this
Sunday, March 22rd - Family day, no ride.
Saturday, March 28st - Dinner day! We dine at 7:00 pee emm at Acropol. Join us if you can.
February furst - The weather will be warm and inviting, so it's time
for a picnic lunch. Not exactly a picnic, just a picnic lunch. If the
internet is as honest as Al Gore was when he invented it, there's good
fried chicken just a bit south of Arcadia. We're going to find out, one
way or the other. We will begin the adventure with breakfast at the
Square Plate on US 19 at Mainlands, 7:47 ayem. The destination is just a
bit over 100 miles away, and the return trip is about the same. Bring
your SunPass, it will be used twice on the Skyway Bridge. UPDATE: Well,
the target restaurant wasn't where the internet said it was, so we went
to an old standby - Wheeler's Cafe. I must say, the chicken was a big
disappointment. Dry overcooked chicken is never good. However, the
search for fuel and functioning restrooms made the day interesting.
Another great day on teh road with friends.
February 8th - We're headed north today, Dade City to be precise. We
found a place called Steph's Southern Soul food and it is definitely
worth returning for lunch. You have to get the fried chicken and I
suggest the collard greens for one of your sides. We will start with a
light breakfast at the Farmer Boy on Drew Street at 7:43 ayem. UPDATE:
WOW! We began the day with eleven people at breakfast (just ten of them
for the ride) and had two more join for the ride, making an even dozen
on a journey for southern comfort food at Steph's Southern Soul. I had
called ahead, so there were two tables reserved for us, and we beat the
crowd. I think everyone was happy with their meal. The ride up was good,
with no surprises or traffic problems, just a bit chilly to start. The
post-lunch ride was also without incident and very pleasant weather,
bordering on warm. Thanks to all who joined in today.
Saturday, February 14 - Breakfast at Proino Breakfast Club, Largo. Usual 9:00. Bring a small cooler along for the leftovers.
February 15th - We will begin at Lenny's at 7:41, then head east to
Plant City for a little competition. High score will win a valuable
prize. Bring your own, rent or borrow, but come compete. We will have
lunch at Snellgrove's afterward. I wonder if they have fried chicken?
UPDATE: she must have been a trainee at Lenny's - terribly slow service.
After that, a nice ride through north Hillsborough County to Plant
City. The range was full when we got signed in, but the wait was short.
Eight of us took to the lanes, but Patty said she was just watching.
Eventually she managed quite a few deadly shots on target, including
four to the forehead.Bill brought something that sounded like a cannon,
but I never checked it out, so still not sure what that was. Cathy and I
tied, so she won the one US Dollar prize. Yes, it was another good day
on two wheels with friends.
Sunday, February 22nd - Are you kidding? I can't ride on WHN's birthday! See you next month.
February 28th - Dinner, 7:00 p.m. Our selected eaterie is the Square
Plate on US 19 at Mainlands Blvd. Yes, the usual 7:00 pee emm time slot.
Sunday, January 4th - The route map says it starts at Bob Evans on US 19, north of SR 580, east side. I reckon 7:46 is as good a time as any. Our destination will be the Columbia in Celebration. It's a bit over 100 miles to get there, and about the same to return. Wonder how that works out? UPDATE: Nine of us gathered for breakfast, but only four bikes were in the lot. Five of us (or is that them?) were in CARS!! After chow, the four real riders headed into the wild blue yonder and their 1905 salad rewards found at the Columbia. Aside from one U turn, the trip was uneventful, but still a good ride. The weather was excellent, the roads were clear and the traffic light. The route home was even less traffic, but it did get warm. We saw about 9,000 other bikers on the road, some even waved.
Sunday, January 11th - Gather at the Farmer Boy on Drew Street, just west of Belcher Road, south side. at 7:47 ayem. We will head through Tampa, then south to Punta Gorda and Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car Museum. Our return route will include the Skyway bridge. Bring a SunPass and some folding money - there is a fee to get in to see the cars. There is a diner in the museum, so it will be one stop eyeball and stomach overload. UPDATE: A good group enjoyed the museum and lunch in their cafe. They are going to move a mile away and downsize a bit, but it will still be a large collection, worth a visit. Another good day on two wheels.
Sunday, January 18th - We meet at 7:42 at Lenny's for breakfast, then head into the sunrise and Bok Tower and gardens. They, too, have a cafe for lunch, so planning is easy. There is a fee for admission, but probably no tolls. UPDATE: A small group made it to the gardens and enjoyed great weather and light traffic along the entire route. The gardens were in bloom, the cafe served a good lunch and the return trip was as good as the to trip.
Sunday, January 25th - Something different - a journey to the Crystal River State Archeological site. We will begin at the IHOP on US 19 just south of Curlew Road, west side. Gather at 7:43 ayem. We will ride up to Crystal river for lunch, then ride to the park for a visit, then a ride back to Pinellas, not straight down US 19. The toll road may be invoked on the return trip, not yet sure. UPDATE: After visiting the State Park, it is easy to see why the native Americans chose this site for their village. The view of the river is amazing. If you were not one of the five in our group this day, I suggest you wander up there for a visit.
Saturday, January 31st - dinner at 7:00 p.m., Carmelita's on Ulmerton, just east of Belcher, north side.
Saturday, December 6th - 7:00 p.m., annual Christmas Party at Babbo's Italian Grille in ICOT Center, Ulmerton Road at 58th Street.
Sunday, December 7th -
Sunday, December 14th - Anyone want to go to the middle of nowhere? I mean Cross Creek. The Yearling restaurant has been the there for over 600 years. Probably since triceratreetops walked the area. It's famous for being named after the book by Marjorie Keenan Rawlings, who lived in the area when Columbus landed in St. Augustine. It's an all day ride, being about 140 miles each way. We will start at Lenny's at 7:35. UPDATE: Bill and I survived the 297 miles to and from Cross Creek. The restaurant was open and pretty much as I remembered it. Smelly and pricey. The riding was good all day, cool enough for a jacket. Another good day on two wheels
Sunday - December 21st - IF the weather cooperates, we can meet for breakfast at the Farmer Boy restaurant on Drew Street, just west of Belcher. Road. Our destination will be determined by the weather radar. Farmer Boy at 7:45? UPDATE: Bill and I headed inland for a while, then south and west to St. Armand's Circle, then through Longboat Key to Cortez and lunch at the Star Fish Co. The place was crowded, but we found a table on the floating dock. By the time I got home there were 185 miles showing on the odometer. It was hit and miss rain for the last three miles, but not enough to get one wet. Lots of bikes out today. You should have been one.
Sunday, December 28th - No ride today, family day.
Sunday, November 2 - Gather at Lenny's at 7:44 for breakfast, then we will head out for Florida's open roads. Our destination will require a trip over the big bridge south of here, so bring your SunPass. Destination? Phosphate country and Catfish Country. Update: OK, I understand. When the temp drops to 55, all the injuries pop up or more pressing activities take precedence. Bill and I suited up and headed out from Lenny's, over the Skyway to parts far and wide. We arrived at Catfish Country about 11:40, had some lunch and headed back home. Just 199 miles for me and home in plenty of time to watch the NASCAR race.
Saturday, November 8 - Breakfast at Proino Breakfast Club in Largo, 9:00 a.m. You can do the swap meet after breakfast.
Saturday, November 8 - the swap meet at the Masonic Lodge on Hercules, south of SR-60, across Hercules from Clearwater High School. We have a spot. Bring your stuff and we'll see what sells. I have tables and a tent. You can drop your stuff on your way to Proino if you'd like. Setup is 8:00 a.m. UPDATE Smallest swap meet I've ever seen. There were six vendors and not many more lookers. At least it was a nice day to sit under the giant trees on the lodge property. Got to chat with some old friends and acquaintances.
Sunday, November 9 - The ride begins with breakfast at Farmer Boy restaurant on Drew, just west of Belcher, south side. Chow at 7:52 a.m., then we head north for a few hours and find more to eat. We have been there before, many times, but Inverness is the goal. Actually, we will be passing through town on our way to Hernando and Red's on SR 200.. Maybe we can see the progress on Papa Joe's building. UPDATE: The walls are up on Papa Joe's building and there's steel on the roof. Five of us met for breakfast, but only three ventured out, braving the elephants. It was cloudy most of the way north - our first shadow popped out on Ayres Road. It didn't stay sunny. When we arrived at Red's, the parking lot, the roadside and the field nearby were all full. People gathered outside the door. I checked in for what became a 45 minute wait. While we waited, Steve and Chuck discovered they were both in the same army, in Viet Nam at the same time. After lunch, the ride back was just as overcast as the ride up, until I got 1.5 miles from home. Then it was bright sun and clear blue skies.
Sunday, November 16 - No ride today.
Saturday, November 22 - Our monthly dinner gathering is at Acropol on Starkey Road, 0.74 miles south of East Bay Drive. Usual 7:00 p.m. starting time.
Sunday, November 23 - Time for a ride before the winter residents totally hose up the roads. If we start early enough and ride far enough, fast enough, we can have lunch in Mount Dora. Meet for Breakfast at Bob Evans on US 19, north of SR 580, east side at 7:46 a.m. It should be less than 130 miles each way. Update: Of the six who dined together at breakfast, only four joined the ride to Mount Dora. It was a good day for a ride - overcast and warm, little traffic and only one pack of bicycles in Pasco County. When we parked at the municipal parking lot, we found a small ten seat cafe right next door. The menu was diverse enough to satisfy the group, so in we went. After lunch, a short walk over to Piglet's Pantry for dog treats and back to the bikes. The ride home was as good as the ride north and the traffic was just as light. All in all it was a good day on the road with our friends.
Friday, November 28 - Turkey Rod Run in Daytona. It's a four day event - go to Daytona when it's not jammed up with bikes, spring breakers or race fans. It's a different place. Send pictures - I won't make it this year.
Sunday, November 30 - I think we need a ride. How about heading south, into the heart of winter residents congestion? If we get to the Pioneer early enough, we can grab a table. We will begin at the Village Inn on SR 60, just west of Sam's Club, meeting at 7:41 ayem.
Saturday, October 10th - Breakfast at Acropol, Starkey Rd, 9:00 a.m.
Friday, October 17 - Ride cancelled.
Saturday, October 25th - Dinner gathering at Carmelita's restaurant, Ulmerton Rd, 7:00 p.m. This place is on the north east corner of Ulmerton and Belcher Rd. Road construction makes access other than simple. Use the Monterey Lakes Apartment west entrance from Ulmerton or the Finley's Pub entrance from Belcher and wiggle your way to Carmelita's. It's on the east end of the shopping center.
Saturday, September 13 - Breakfast time once again. we return to Proino Breakfast Club in Largo, 9:00 a.m. Bring a friend to share the huge meal.
Saturday, September 13 - Breakfast time once again. we return to Proino Breakfast Club in Largo, 9:00 a.m. Bring a friend to share the huge meal.
Sunday, September 14 - Luke says: As we have yet to get a cool down here in the land of the high tanning index and feels like temperature, we will be starting out from the Starbucks at Clearwater Mall at 7 AM. Our destination for a breakfast meal will be Popi's Place in Ellenton. After we fuel ourselves we will head up the east side of the big body of water named after Cigar City in a fairly direct route so that we can get back to our machine cooled caves. The high point of our journey will be on a toll road so remember your Sun Passes or some change to keep the cost of crossing down. Later he added: The result: Under the threat of cooler morning temperatures and lower humidity, combined with only a few clouds, 3 of us met at the appointed starting point. We were a few minutes late on our departure but did manage to complete our route to breakfast, where we were able to get a booth that could handle our crowd without waiting. The morning feast was as good as breakfast can be and for the journey home we were joined, most of the way, by the group that had made their way to Popi's. Sunday, September 28 - Luke once again set up a ride to Stumpknocker's on the river. I somehow deleted the write-up, but here's the recap: It was a day of firsts for the group of 6 of us that met at Farmer Boy's. Patty brought her neighbors for their first trip with the group. It seems that I was the only person at the table that had ever enjoyed this breakfast spot. After the bellies were full we proceeded in an indirect manner north to our rendezvous with lunch, which included a sprits of water from above. As we were waiting to place our food orders at Stumpknocker's, it was determined that again i was the only person at the table that didn't need a menu to learn what they served. The ride back also included a change in route that led to my being in the first time group, as Cathy and Steve showed off the beautiful work that had been done during their house remodel. Oh yea, we also got the hoped for break in the daily high for the day as it only reached the upper 80's.
Sunday, September 14 - Luke says: As we have yet to get a cool down here in the land of the high tanning index and feels like temperature, we will be starting out from the Starbucks at Clearwater Mall at 7 AM. Our destination for a breakfast meal will be Popi's Place in Ellenton. After we fuel ourselves we will head up the east side of the big body of water named after Cigar City in a fairly direct route so that we can get back to our machine cooled caves. The high point of our journey will be on a toll road so remember your Sun Passes or some change to keep the cost of crossing down. Later he added: The result: Under the threat of cooler morning temperatures and lower humidity, combined with only a few clouds, 3 of us met at the appointed starting point. We were a few minutes late on our departure but did manage to complete our route to breakfast, where we were able to get a booth that could handle our crowd without waiting. The morning feast was as good as breakfast can be and for the journey home we were joined, most of the way, by the group that had made their way to Popi's.
Sunday, September 28 - Luke once again set up a ride to Stumpknocker's on the river. I somehow deleted the write-up, but here's the recap: It was a day of firsts for the group of 6 of us that met at Farmer Boy's. Patty brought her neighbors for their first trip with the group. It seems that I was the only person at the table that had ever enjoyed this breakfast spot. After the bellies were full we proceeded in an indirect manner north to our rendezvous with lunch, which included a sprits of water from above. As we were waiting to place our food orders at Stumpknocker's, it was determined that again i was the only person at the table that didn't need a menu to learn what they served. The ride back also included a change in route that led to my being in the first time group, as Cathy and Steve showed off the beautiful work that had been done during their house remodel. Oh yea, we also got the hoped for break in the daily high for the day as it only reached the upper 80's.
Sunday, August 2nd - I'm out of commission, but Luke is stepping up again: It is time to get the bike out for a ride. Keeping with the tradition of the season, it will start at 7 AM from the Starbucks at Clearwater Mall. This should put our arrival at Fred's in Plant City just after their stated opening for the day. After consuming some of their offerings, we will make our way west in a semi straight route so that we are home before the red stuff spills out the thermometer's vent hole. UPDATE,,, After a few extra minutes of socializing, 5 of us set off east for a pleasant ride to Plant City. Well it was as pleasant as an August morning can be in Florida. We managed to arrive at our breakfast stop within a time frame to get us seated directly. Everybody enjoyed their selections from the food bar and for at least two people it was a new experience. The cinnamon buns must have been good as one was taken home as a bribe to get back into the house. After we did as much damage as we could we made our was north for a bit before weaving our way back to the west, and made it home before the daily high temperature.
Due to my mobility issue, there will be no KLEEK Tours until Labor Day or possibly beyond.
Saturday, July 12th - Sixteen of us, plus Gene, gathered at Acropol for the monthly breakfast gathering. Our waitress did a good job taking care of us and Gary didn't burn the food too badly. Those who missed it missed a good opportunity to abuse me and/or pet Gene.
Saturday, July 26th - We had sixteen plus Gene (sounds familiar) at Bella Kouzina for the monthly dinner gathering. Aside from the friends and conversation, the new owners and their staff pretty much ruined the experience. We are once again looking for a dinner spot that can handle us
Sunday, June 1st - Day 1 of the ride to the KY State HOG Rally. We begin at breakfast at the Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar, 7:21 ayem. We head to the Hilton Garden Inn in Albany, Ga. UPDATE: Ok, it's only 4:10 but I have to do this before I forget everything. The four of us travelling to Lexington together (LLoyd, Cathy, Steve, me) were joined for the day by Bill and Sharon, but another seven made sure we left town, joining us at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Sometimes you make people very happy when you leave. The journey took us up the toll road to the northern terminus at US 98, then over to US 19, where the navigating got real easy. That strip of pavement takes you all the way to Albany, even beyond. We had a quick comfort stop mid-morning, then mushed north until Perry where we got both fuel and lunch. Old Mexico was the lunch stop, and no problems were encountered. More north after lunch, toward Monticello. Above Perry, US-19 joins US-27 until you reach Capps, where 19 takes a hard right to the north. About seven miles east of Capps, the road turns from almost due north to almost due west. At the end of that turn, all I could see was rain. Lots of rain. Now, I diverge. Last week, I got some new Armachillo shirts from Duluth Trading. They're supposed to keep you cool, even in Texas heat. Last week, I was skeptical; the shirt did wick away sweat, but I cant say it kept me cool. Today, I discovered that, if you SOAK the shirt in cold rainwater for 5 minutes at 60 mph, it really cools you off! That wasn't clear in the commercial. By the time we reached Camilla, the wicking was complete - at least the shirt area. The Wranglers don't wick as well. The Camilla stop was brief, we were just 30 miles from our hotel. No more rain, in fact, we had enough sunshine to see actual shadows. Our hotel is downtown, but they have a restaurant and bar, so we don't have to travel far for dinner. Oh, another trip bonus - in Georgia, every town has a radio station that broadcasts NASCAR on MRN Radio. I had clear reception when they announced that Kyle Busch smacked the wall and dropped out of contention. Team Hendrick is doing pretty well right now, so I gotta go. UPDATE Two: Dinner in the hotel was good, the bar was limited in selections. Jimmy Johnson won. The bed sucked.
Monday, June 2 Albany to Hampton Inn Fort Payne, AL, home of the country musical group Alabama. UPDATE: The morning started out at a nice 69 degrees, lots of clouds, but nothing on the radar. Breakfast at the hotel, farewells to Bill and Sharon and off we go. About 25 miles later, still under 70, we get drizzles, twice. I decided to get gas before we got to TMON and put on the rain jacket to ward off any additional moisture. It worked! It stayed cloudy and cool until our lunch stop in Oxford, Alabama, the town north of Mt. Cheaha. Again, I must digress: We all know that the aliens who visit us every winter can't drive, right? Well, it seems that their driving instructors live in central Alabama. I can't tell you all the stupid stuff we witnessed / avoided. Oh, we found non-ethanol gas, 93 octane, for under $4 per gallon. Now, back to the regular diatribe. Lunch was good, a deli right on the highway. With about 90 minutes left, we could see the light at the end of the tunnel, but quickly realized that light was the sun. Accordingly, the temp rose quickly, almost 80 when we hit Fort Payne. Quick! Check in and get back a mile to the DQ! LLoyd checked out the pool, Cathy has the restaurant selection assignment. Steve is Steve.
Tuesday, June 3 Fort Payne to Hampton Inn Bowling Green, Ky. Hopefully we will visit the Corvette Museum before closing. UPDATE: We were on the road early today - breakfast at the Hampton wasn't much, didn't take long to pick out the edible portions. It truly was a non-eventful ride today, except for some local color. Tangent time: I think Old Farmer Brown died recently (he was 92) and his widow used some of the insurance money to buy her mother a new Chevy. We followed the old bat on a nice two-laned road for miles and miles. When it was safe to pass, she did 50 - 53. When it wasn't safe, she did 33 - 45. Just before town, she let it rip downhill, about 65, then back to 35 before we hit the 30 zone. There, she punched it to about 40 and left us. We saw where all that as-yet-undistilled ethanol is coming from - a million acres of corn! We saw some nice roads, esp in Tennessee when we took 53 and 79 (IIRC). Nice roads. OH. it looked really wet this morning, so shortly after we left Fort Payne, I pulled over to put on the gear. Good timing, the roads ahead were freshly wet. We did hit a couple sprinkles, but not too bad - the gear warded off any real threat. A quick Subway lunch in Lebanon and back on the road, gear still on. MISTAKE! It wasn't rain gear, it was portable sauna enclosure. When we hit Bowling Green, we stripped off the gear then went to the museum. The eight sink hole cars are on display until August. Totally Cool! After the musings, we checked in to our hotel, waiting for the "manager's reception" hosted by a local pizza joint. Ask me about the traffic here. UGH! Update Update: The reception didn't happen, but the desk gave us coupons. We ordered pizza from a local joint, chowed down in the lobby. Another good day in the books.
Wednesday, June 4 Bowling Green to Homewood Suites Lexington-Hamburg, Ky. We are scheduled for the Corvette factory tour before we leave town. UPDATE: We made it to the Vette assembly factory early and got the first group. Ever notice how many idiots there are in the world? The speaker says the tour take an hour and covers a mile, immediately someone asks "how long is the tour?' In today's computerized world, the line has a mix of cars - coupe and convertibles, white and silver, standard and performance models all mixed together. COOL! After the tour, we took some seriously backwoods roads. As I topped a rise, I see the road ahead disappear - just sand and weeds ahead. On my left, behind the weeds, I see a bridge take a hard left to more blacktop. OH, a personal best today - we were blessed with the fragrance of six, yes six, one-half dozen skunks somewhere roadside, probably flattened. Ummm! We found the Penn Store and Restaurant in time for a late lunch. We were on time, lunch was late. An hour for four burgers. We rolled into Lexington ahead of the storms, got registered, headed to the meet and greet at Man O' War H-D. Dinner was wings from Hooters, followed by a walk to the local ice cream store. Another good day on the road. OH, the storms hit while we were under the tent at MOW H-D, then returned when we were safely in the hotel. Tomorrow we ride!
Thursday, June 5 Rally ride day. I'm leading a noon ride to the For Roses distillery. UPDATE: The storms are gone, the skies are cloudy and it's under 70 degrees when I emerge from the cocoon called Homewood Suites. The ride isn't till noon, so there's time to wander around the store. Noon approaches, so we ride to the ride start point and wait. Eventually a crowd forms, the rally coordinator stops by and the event coordinator tells us what's what. We get a police escort out of town (drive on Man O' War Blvd and you'll understand) to facilitate a safe exit. Once we get off MOW Blvd, it's open road, followed by narrow, two-lane scenic byways. Somehow I managed to get the group to Four Roses without incident or loss of life. The distillery tour was interesting - we saw the fermenting and distilling process, the samples were good. Now it's back to town via four-lane terror slabs. I only lost a few riders in traffic once we left New Circle Road. I think they came in to the hotel right after me. It's only a couple hours until the pig roast under the tent at MOW H-D. Update pert two: The tent was mobbed when we arrived, couldn't find seats for six at any table, so we went to the Outback for dinner. It's just a long block away, or 15 minutes if you limp. Dinner was good, the chairs solid and the room air conditioned. Not a bad choice.
Friday, June 6 Rally ride day. I'm leading a late morning ride to the Buffalo Trace distillery (theme??). Actually, I think I get sweep today. Yea! UPDATE: Yes, I got the sweep assignment. It was a nice scenic ride to the distillery and the tour was different from Four Roses in that we saw bottling and an aging warehouse. The aroma of the warehouse may be the best part of the tour. We learned that they make 17 different types here, but use only three recipes. The rest is all aging. They also make vodka and bourbon cream. Vodka takes ten distillations v. bourbons two or three. After the tour we headed to a seafood restaurant nearby. The staff there blocked traffic when we left to make life easier for us. St dinner time, I lead all the flatlanders to Wallace Station for dinner. It's one of Guy Fieri's DDD joints. The ride out and back were both on some scenic roads. We got back in time to see Jean Davidson's talk about her life in the Davidson Family (she was selling a book). Another good day in the books.
Saturday, June 7 Rally ride day, closing day. I am leading a ride called "Eye of the Dragon" through the remotest sections of Central Kentucky. I hope I don't get lost. UPDATE: Luke hits the road early. A responsibility change - I was relieved of the group ride duty, so I took the remaining flatlanders (less WHN) to the Eye of the Dragon ride ahead of the official ride. Terrific traffic control devices.roads with light traffic all the way there. In the dragon's eye area, we met a lot of oncoming traffic that thought the yellow lines were more of a suggestion than traffic control devices. We dined at the Natural Bridge State Park restaurant, where the other group caught up to us. We were out way ahead of them and never saw them again, until closing ceremonies. The mob got ahead of the master of ceremonies and mobbed the food line, se we went to the Outback for dinner. Check the box for another good day done.
Sunday, June 8th Ride around the KY mountains. UPDATE: Fran and Kyle motor south, bike safely on the trailer. The sky was solid clouds, but the weather geeks said no rain. Four od us loaded up and headed out to Old Fort Harrod State Park. It stayed overcast, but we only hit a few light sprinkles. The Fort wasn't open when we arrived, but we wandered about outside before heading back to Lexington for an afternoon break. En route, we found a Mexican restaurant for lunch and only a wee but of sprinkleage. Watching the race, waiting for the dinner gathering.
Monday, June 9th Ride around the KY mountains. Steve and Cathy head for Virginia, WHN heads for the airport. We are down to two. Lloyd and I will be riding to TMON, on one of William's favorite routes. Details later. UPDATE: We had a little cleanup duty at MOW H-D, then headed out with William and Lisa for McKee, a small town up in the hills. It was a 2.5 hour ride to get there, with altitude changes from 600' to over 1440', twisty, scenic, rural and suburban, all in one. Lunch was in McKee where Opal's used to be - it's a Mexican restaurant now. After the ride, we all went to Windy Corner for dinner, then said our farewells back at the hotel. It was a very good day.
Tuesday, June 10 Lexington to Hampton Inn Huntsville Arsenal Al. UPDATE: The weather looked bad for Alabama, so we cancelled our reservations in Huntsville and headed southeast. We wandered into Virginia where a very nice man with a badge asked to see our licenses, then sent us on our way. A roadblock on the outskirts of nothing. Interesting! We also entered Tennessee and North Carolina. Tennessee must be real small - less than an hour in the state, including a gas/comfort stop. When we were approaching Boone, a black cloud appeared overhead, so it was time to call it a day. Restaurant right next door. This ride took us up hills, down hills, through towns and forests. It's amazing where some people will live! Now to get the forecast so the route can be planned for tomorrow. Yes, another good day on the road.
Wednesday, June 11 Huntsville to Hampton Inn Troy, Al. Since we're not in Huntsville, this might be tough. The route out of Boone will be down US 221 into central Georgia. The weather will determine the destination. UPDATE: The weather determined more than the destination. We skirted rain all day, some far, some near. A small sprinkle under clear skies came first, then, around Louisville, GA., a downpour. The Armachillo shirt again proved to be cooling when totally saturated, Donning the rain gear assured the rest of the ride would be dry, except for the steam generated inside the stuff from the soggy clothes and no ventilation. We detoured a bit west to avoid the storms after we suited up, so the ride got a bit longer. As we approached Vidalia, it was getting dark (cloudwise, not sunsetwise), so we found a hotel with a restaurant out front. Just before I started this update, it was pouring outside. It was a long day, but still a good day on the road, except for the fawn sleeping in the roadway. Dinner is in walking distance. A "Japanese Steak House" in front of the hotel isn't like Arigato - more like food court. Oh Well!
Thursday, June 12 Troy to Hampton Inn Perry, Fl. UPDATE: 330 miles to home from Vidalia. We hit the road before seven, hoping to beat the summer afternoon storms. We skirted the worst of the weather until lunch time and the radar showed clear roads ahead. Well, the radar was wrong. How much water can one pair of Wranglers hold? Of course, shortly after putting the gear back on, it stopped. Got home about 3:30. another good, wet day on the road.
Friday, June 13th - Perry to home. UPDATE: No ride, got home yesterday.
Saturday, June 14th - monthly breakfast gathering, 9:00 a.m. at Proino Breakfast Club in Largo. I will NOT bring pictures from the rally. Promise!
Sunday, June 15th - Father's Day. Enjoy your day.
Sunday, June 22th - We will gather at Tri-City Plaza at 6:31 a.m. and head across the troll bridge (bring a SunPass) to Lakewood Ranch and the Country Pancake house. We will take a short route there, but the long way home, weather permitting. UPDATE: Yes, six of us gathered at Tri City at the designated time (almost on time Fran?) Yes, we did get hit with a full one second downpour on the north end of the Skyway, but we soldiered on anyway. Three more early risers joined the group before we hit Terra Ceia. A black cloud to our east caused a route change that shortened our ride a bit, so we arrived at the Country Pancake House about 14 minutes before they opened. We loitered, they prepared and eventually let us in. We all had our fill of good things, then headed out. According to MapSource and Google Earth, you can take Lakewood Ranch Blvd south to Fruitville Road, but the big fence across the pavement convinced me otherwise. We adapted, shortened the route and went off-map back to Pinellas. I think everyone was home by 11:00 except me. Another successful day on the back roads (and Superslab) of Florida.
Friday, June 27th - Barb, Jerry, Gene, Tony, WHN and I meet for breakfast and then head to Daytona via the forest route. Why? Because the Cross-Florida Reliability Cruise started there. At the host hotel, the organizers handed out door prizes and awards. Barb and Jerry won one of the door prizes and their Mustang won one of the "Top Five" awards. Since the 55 still doesn't run, we drove the Acadia and somehow missed out on the "Top Five" consideration. Lots of nice cars - cars we haven't see at prior shows - and a dozen bone-stock Corvettes were on display. I bet Barb has pictures.
Saturday, June 28th - The Sunup pictures requires the Mustang to leave the hotel at 5:45 ayem. Gene was ready, not sure about Jerry or Barb. Tony, WHN and I met them at 7:54 for breakfast prior to cruise staging. New Smyrna PD escorted us through town so we could keep the group together. After that, it was a bit less formal. Prior to arriving in Mount Dora, another staging was required to facilitate the escorts support. Somehow, Tony and I missed that turn and went to Tavares to wait for Barb, Jerry and Gene. After a short break, we headed west to Inverness, bypassing the organized lunch stop at Catfish Johnny's. We went to the old downtown section and had lunch at Coach's Pub on Main Street. From there it was a short drive to Crystal River and our lodging for the night. A bit later is dinner, car cruise at Wendy's and sunset pictures of the Mustang. So far, a good trip. UPDATE: Dinner was at Charlie's Fish House because Cracker's looked too busy. Just before we left, the rain hit, but blew by pretty quickly. We meandered down to the local cruise-in at Wendy's, chatted with some of the locals and then went on to the photo shoot at Fort Island Park. The photographer was apparently a bit of a grump and the "sunset" pictures were not individual cars with the sunset behind as we thought. Oh well, some pics are better than others. A trip to DQ completed the day. Sleepy time.....
Sunday, June 29th - no ride today, it's the last day of the Cross-Florida Car Cruise, Crystal River to home. Breakfast at the hotel, then southbound.
Sunday, May 4th - 7:49 ayem, breakfast at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton / Roosevelt near the St Pete Clearwater airport. From there, we will take about 368 miles of Interstate to get to Manatee County, then some back roads, finding our way to Placida. The return route will be mostly the ugly road. Two tolls required, bring the SunPass. UPDATE: Seven of the eight at breakfast headed south over the Skyway on a morning that was more than pleasant - it was terrific! We spent a lot of time in the ruralest sections of Manatee county and those south. Once we got near Punta Gorda, we went to the sea. Well, to the Gulf, near where the Manatee River exits land. We beat the crowds and got tables with a good view of the water and many fishing boats. Lunch was good, service was good and prices tolerable. The ride home was boring, mostly Interstate, except for the trike rider watching his reserve odometer count down to "low" and stay there for ten miles or so. Traffic got heavy, the temp rose a bit and the humidity rose, but it was still a great day on the bike, with friends.
Saturday, May 10th - Breakfast gathering, 9:00 ayem, Square Plate, Pinellas Park, US 19 at Mainlands Blvd. If you haven't been, they have good food and large portions, on square plates, all reasonably priced.
Sunday, May 11th - Mother's Day. I ain't crazy, see you next week. Go hug a mother.
Sunday, May 18th - Back to Lenny's for a 7:48 breakfast, followed by a ride to Crystal River and fresh seafood at Crackers. No trolls, no admission fees, just gas and food. It's going to be a good day. UPDATE: Only six of the eight that gathered at Lenny's went on the ride, but we managed anyway. We worked our way through Safety Harbor and Oldsmar, then Lake Fern and Lutz, followed by Ehren, Darby and almost Blanton. A stop at the Hess by Papa Joe's showed still no progress on the restaurant. Two Model T Fords were gathering crowds at the Hess, both in good running order, one a pretty good restoration. We skirted Brooksville and Sugarmill Woods on our way through Lecanto and on the Crystal River. The restaurant was pretty empty, but that didn't keep them from being slow in the kitchen. After lunch, we headed south on US 19 and in Homosassa, we caught our FIRST green light of the day. We were on CR 1 / East Lake before we caught another. Green was good, because despite the below normal temps, it still got hot and sweaty on the way home. Red lights aside, it was a good day in the saddle.
Saturday, May 24th - Monthly group dinner, 7:00 p.m. at Acropol. I need RSVPs by the 22nd, please.
Sunday, May 25th - The last Spring lunch ride. We will meet at the (Skyway) Jack's Café on 4th Street (at 112th Av), St Pete. From there, it's over the river and through the woods, or maybe, across the bay and through Tampa, rural Hillsborough, Lakewood Ranch and St Armand's Circle to the Old Salty Dog. The return trip requires the SunPass. UPDATE: Six of us survived the day. Nothing terrible about the day, just HOT and MUGGY. Breakfast at the Skyway Café was typical breakfast food, the ride through Tampa was uneventful. The comfort stop in Sun City at Mickey Dee's reminded me why I generally stop at gas stations. Too many clueless people and too many kids. When we approached St. Armands Circle, traffic was creeping, but moving. When we got to the OSD, creative solutions for parking spaces were required. The host put six of us at a table for four, but the server let us move to a table suitable for six adults. OSD was good, both food and service. Our return route was up Longboat Key. Looking into the bay from the small bridge revealed about 200 boats all anchored en mass. I wouldn't want to be on the water in that mess. Returning to the mainland on Cortez Blvd made me happy to be headed east; the westbound traffic was stop and go for about four miles. What were they thinking to go to the beach on Sunday afternoon? Aside from hot, the return was uneventful. Another good day on two wheels with friends.
Sunday, April 6th - Run With the Big Dogs Poker Run. Let's show support to the greyhounds and wave the Man O' War flag all at the same time. We will meet at QS&L and pick our ride partners there. QS&L is preparing breakfast with 15% of your tab going to GPA. Bring all your friends so we can capture the challenge trophy.
Thursday, April 10th - Day 1 of the Alabama State HOG Rally in Mobile. Registration was quick, the dealer reception had lots of food and beverages, good day.
Friday, April 11th - Day 2 of Alabama State HOG Rally. We opted for one of the shorter rides, to Dauphin Island. we stopped at Fort Gaines for a picture, and Cadillac Park for a BBQ lunch. One of the longer rides also had lunch at Cadillac park with us. The Ride leaders and pack rides had it together and the riders kept it tight. Great ride! The riding skills demo showed how much more versatile the Police bikes are than our cruisers (just kidding), They put on a good show and obviously have incredible skills. The evening poker walk brought us to some interesting places. WHN and I went off-route for dinner at Wintzel's Oyster House. We missed the Mardi Gras walking parade due to our excursion.
Saturday, April 12th - Third and final Rally Day in Mobile.We took the eastern shore ride down to Fish River and Big Daddy's for lunch. The crawfish appetizer had a pound of tails on it! The burgers were a full 8 ounces. The Gumbo was really good. The ride leader and pack riders did another amazing job, but the group of riders really rode well, too. Saturday night's closing ceremonies at the Mardi Gras museum had good food, music and admission to the museum included. Oh, good Gumbo, too.It was another good day.
Sunday, April 13th - I might be out of the saddle, but Luke took control of this site and added the folowing: Whoa..Whoa.. Whoa... Just because our regular ride designer is taking a Sunday off to spend time with the family doesn't mean the rest of us can't go riding. We will put the kickstands up, or release the parking brake, in the parking lot at Starbucks on Gulf-to-Bay at 0845. I will be there a bit earlier to enjoy a cup of coffee and possibly a cupcake look-a-like. This should put us at the Pioneer Restaurant in Zolfo Springs in time to beat the regular crowd.
Saturday, April 19th - Monthly breakfast gathering at Proino Breakfast Club in Largo. 9:00, as usual. Bring someone to share the enormous breakfast you order. Or not. UPDATE: We had about 16 at breakfast today. The usual good food with too much on the plate.Good to see y'all come out for an hour of socializing and a pleasant repast.
Sunday, April 20th - Easter for the Christian world. No ride today.
Saturday, April 26th - Dinner gathering at Bella Kouzina. Yes, same as last month, but y'all said it was OK. See you there at 7:00 p.m.?
Sunday, April 27th - OK, nobody suggested anything, so I pick (drum roll, please) breakfast at Lenny's at 7:47 ayem. From there, I think a ride to Tavares sounds good. UPDATE: Six of the seven at breakfast headed out for Tavares and O'Keefe's Irish Pub. We found a new road or two, passed about 1.67 million bikers headed to or from Leesburg Bike Fest. They were not headed to Tavares, so no big deal. When we did arrive at O'Keefe's, there were lots of people there with their therapy dogs. They filled the patio, we went in for air conditioning. Good lunch behind us and back to the bikes. OOPS, Patty's won't start. Not even crank over. UGH! We tried everything six people without tools or parts could, so we abandoned her and the bike along side the highway. Actually, Patty contacted Mark and he was coming to rescue her with the trailer, so she sent us packing. The ride home was boring, except for the snake crossing SR 50. Another mostly good day, with friends.
Sunday, March 2nd - Let's meet at Rodie's on Enterprise, just west of McMullen Booth at 7:49 ayem. From there, we will head all around Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties in search of grub. We should find some at the Leprechaun in Floral City. Haven't been there in a long, long time. After lunch, we will twist our way south for a couple hours in search of home and a NASCAR race on TV. UPDATE: 105 miles to lunch today. Perfect weather for a ride and eight of us took one. We got to the Leprechaun just before the wait for a table hit. The route home was a bit shorter and quite a bit warmer, but tolerable, fer sure. Another good day in the sadle.
Friday, March 7th - Childrens Cancer Center Sporting Clays event.UPDATE: Tony and I did not win the competition, nor did we get the worst team prize. Thanks, Tony, for overcoming your teammate's abilities.
Saturday, March 8th - There is still an antique motorcycle swap meet in Eustis, even though the official AMCA swap meet has moved close to the Cabbage Patch on SR 415. Reportedly, Dale Walksler and a couple other big antique bike collectors run the Eustis show now. I think a ride over is worth playing hooky from work. Meet at 6:30 at Starbucks, Clearwater Mall. Bring a SunPass. We will stop en route for breakfast and probably after the meet for lunch. Plan all day for this. UPDATE: Hundreds of y'all obviously heard the weather forecast and stayed in bed. Three of us missed said report and ventured out early. Bill's digital German thermometer said we saw 39.4 degrees while on the toll road and 44.6 degrees when we stopped in Brooksville for breakfast. The rest of the morning was a couple degrees warmer, but not much. The swap meet is smaller than when AMCA sponsored it, but a bike show by the Antique Japanese Motorcycle Association was way better than a bunch of basket cases. It wasn't just Jap bikes; they had classes for everyone with two wheels. Or three. The ride home included lunch at Gator's Dockside in Eustis, after which a jacket was not necessary. It was a great day for a ride through the groves with the orange blossoms coming out.
Sunday, March 9th - Oldsmar Cracker Barrel, 7:49 ayem. Gator Joe's Oklawaha, 11:50 ayem. 120 miles betweem the two. Another 110 miles to get home. FUN! All this in Eastern Daylight Time, not EST. UPDATE: Six of us made the trek to Oklawaha and enjoyed good grub at Gator Joe's, including one gator basket. This was an interesting place, the food was good, the service was good and the ride was terriffic. Terriffic may not be a good word considering the two attacks on the leader by pickup truck drivers, but it was still a place to which I will return.
Saturday, March 15th - Breakfast gathering at the Country Skillet on Roosevelt Blvd, 9:00 ayem. It's between 58th Street and 62nd Street, south side. UPDATE: Apparently not a popular choice, only 11 folks showed up for breakfast today. 2we had a nice quiet corner to ourselves, once the little kids left. Didn'thear any complaints, so everyone must have been satisfied with their selections.
Sunday, March 16th - Somewhere south. Well, south of my house, but really east of Pinellas. The gatherancification will be at 7:47, Bob Evans, US 19, north of Countryside Mall. About 110 miles later, we will see food, sea food. Catfish Country isn't on the coast, but they have fresh, tasty stuff and a ton of coleslaw to go with it. Well under 100 miles will get us home in time for the NASCAR race. UPDATE: Seven for breakfast and the ride today. The weather was perfect, the traffic light and the wind picking up all day. We didn't get ahead of all the church-goers, but we did get two tables right away. Yes, two. Cathy and Steve's son and d-i-l joined us for lunch and no 9-tops were available. The ride home was getting warm as we poked through Tampa, but we survived it. The rain delay made sure we didn't miss any racing. Another good day in the saddle.
Sunday, March 23rd - The Winter Residents are still with us, so we need to avoid all the popular places still. Lettuce begin at the Skyway Cafe (was called Skyway Jack's for a while) on 4th St in St Pete, about 110th avenue. If we begin at 7:48, we should still be ahead of the rush. From there, we will head to Arcadia for lunch at Wheeler's Cafe. Get the chicken. UPDATE: Seven of us descended on the Skyway Cafe early today for pre-ride fueling. We got through Tampa with no AirFest issues whatsoever. After escaping suburbia, we cruised through the phosphate pits and into the oranges. Lots of blossoms scented up the ride quite well. We arrived at Wheeler's as the breakfast crowd was leaving and before the lunch crowd hit. After lunch, at Patty's direction, I went in search of strawberries to add odiforousness to the return route. Found em! Found more oranges, too. The ride home was routine, but the stop at the new Circle K at Moccasin Wallow and US 41 was a surprise, Cars and people everywhere. Traffic was incredible. Ask me about the Jaguar... Another great day on the road with friends.
Saturday, March 29th - Dinner gathering at 7:00, Bella Kouzina. UPDATE: Sixteen of us had a good evening together. Thanks for coming along.
Sunday, March 30th - The half-naked and totally wasted spring breakers are still clogging the roadways and tourist destinations, so we will go inland, away from Orlando and Kissimmee, and avoid all of them. We will begin at the Square Plate in Penniless Park, 7:51 ayem. That's at US 19 and Mainlands Blvd, southeast corner. We will cross the troll bridge, so bring the SunPass. Eventually we will find ourselves in Bartow where we will search for suitable grub to provide the energy to return home. The whey Bach (not Johann Sebastian) will take us a bit north, then west and some south, so no SunPass will be required, so you can mail it home during lunch. UPDATE: The square plate was good, the ride over the Skyway terriffic and Fred's closed. Fortunately there was a non-chain place just a bit north, and the food and service were both acceptable or beyond. The return route was perfect riding weather and light traffic. What more could we ask for?
Sunday, February 2nd - Blue Gator Dunnellon from Bob Evans. If we gather at 7:50, we should make the 115 miles to destination before noon. The return route is under 100 miles. Update: Bob Evans served eleven of us quite easily for breakfast, Afterward, nine of us headed north to Dunellon. If you haven't already heard, yes, I did manage to pick a road that turned white. It was well groomed, but had a few spots that caused a Harley to self-steer. We made it to the Blue Gator without incident. Fortunately, we arrived before the mob, so we got a table near the river and under cover. Lunch was good and worth the price. On the return ride, we ran up on friends who had their F-1 Ford Pickup out for a Sunday cruise. The balance of the day was very uneventful and contained no white roads.
Saturday, February 8th - MOW breakfast gathering at 9:00 a.m., beautiful downtown Largo, Proino Breakfast Club.
Sunday, February 9th - Izaak Walton Lodge in Yankeetown - Ike's for lunch. We will begin the day at the Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar, 7:40 ayem.
Sunday, February 16th - Webster Winter Extravaganza this weekend. Come see us at the swap meet. Update: We got rid of enough stuff on Friday and Saturday that a trip back on Sunday would cost more than we could gross, so we packed up the trailer Saturday afternoon and headed home. All the big items except model A frame and old rear axle assembly found new homes. We didn;t make a lot of cash, but we sure cleared up some floorspace.Now I can put an exhaust system on the 55.
Sunday, February 23rd - Celebrating WHNs b'day, no ride.
Saturday, February 29th - (OK, it's really March 1st) - MOW dinner gathering at Chili's Tri-City Plaza. Yes, this is the Chili's where we often had our post-meeting dinners as FBACC HOG. The back room is ours, so the first to arrive should ask for the Man O War group seats.(AKA back room)
Sunday, January 5th - Let's try the Pioneer once again. As before, SunPass or 27 quarters will be required. Breakfast begins at 7:55 at Skyway Jacks's on 4th St. N. From there we will find our way to the big toll bridge south of St. Pete. remember, the Pioneer is still in the 18th century, so no credit or debit cards. Update: We made it! Arrived in time to get a table ahead of the mad rush. We were only four, so we were in and out without delay and back on the flat and straight roads of south central Florida. All in all, a good day.
Saturday, January 11th - Breakfast at Acropol, 9:00 a.m. We had a pretty good crowd.
Sunday, January 12th - North to where all that cold weather came from. Maybe not all the way to the source, but north nonetheless. It is predicted to be 80 with a 40% chance of rain. we'll take the 80, ignore the 40%. If the radar permits, we will go to Citrus County. Let us gather at Bob Evans on US 19, north of Countryside Mall. 7:49 works for me. Neon Leon's Zydeco Steakhouse is the sdestination. Can you say Cajun???Check your e-mail on Saturday evening for weather updates and any ride changes. Update: "I new it was cold, but not that cold" greeted me at Bob Evan's because I had a denim-like shirt over my fishing shirt. Seven of us at breakfast became nine at lunch with some cagers joining in. The ride to Homosassa was really pleasant, the traffic light and the roads clear except for that giant puddle that messed up Patty's new wash job. I went slow! After lunch, it was a straight down US 19 grind. I don't recommend that during winter resident season.
Sunday, January 19th - Anyone up for breakfast at Lakewood Ranch? If we gather at Tri-City Plaza at 7:50, we can be there a bit after 9:00. After breakfast we can go for a ride around the world's straightest, flattest roads. We've scrubbed the sidewalls some, so now we need to focus on the center tread for balance. Update: OK, wimps, we missed alla y'all on this one. Four of us made it to the Country Pancake Inn before nine and before the mobs arrived. Afterward, we headed for the phosphate mines, but had a little delay trying to go by the drag strip... a mile of morons that wouldn't think of waiting on the shoulder to get in. Thirty five minutes to go one mile. UGH! Once we got by, there was nothing but open roads for another two hours, including potties. McDonalds in Mulberry was the first sign of civilization. Even with the delay, I was home before two..
Sunday, January 26th - OK, a strange ride today. We meet for breakfast, then head inland, wandering around Hillsborough County for a while. Somewhere in the ten o'clock hour, we arrive at the Plant City Gun Range. This indoor 15yd range will allow us to hurl high-speed projectiles toward their bullet traps for a mere $14 per person. Two people per lane permitted. They rent Glocks, sell ammo and targets, and are pretty reasonable. Bring your own iron, borrow one, or rent one. Bring safety glasses and ear protection, or use theirs. Meet me at Lenny's at 7:48 and we'll take it from there. Update: It was either the cold or the guns that scared y'all, not sure. The ride was small; one truck, one bike. I will say that if you see a certain blonde with a gun, duck. She's deadly!!
Sunday, December 1st - Final day at the Turkey Rod Run. I hope the trailer is empty. Oh - no ride unless I sold out and came home early.
Saturday. December 7th - Christmas party at Bella Kouzina. Santa knows if you've been bad or good, so plan accordingly
Sunday, December 8th - A ride is necessary to work off all those calories consumed last night. Meet for breakfast at Lenny's, 7:43 ayem. If your head hurts, they have the cure. If not, they have other stuff. After b'fast, we will head out through Hillsborough and Pasco Counties, with a brush with Hernando, on our way to grouper fingers at Hudson Beach on the western end of Clark Street. No tolls.
Sunday, December 15th - Pie O' Neer? No, not the Irish desert, nor the Irish restaurant run by Patty O'Furniture, but the chicken restaurant in Zolfo Springsteen. Break the fast at Square Plate at 7:51 ayem. Sunpass required, or a handful of quarters (5 each way). 126 miles to lunch, 112 back home. No fuel out there, so fill up before breakfast. UPDATE - weather south said no Pioneer. Local weather said no pansies. Tony and I managed to get in about 115 miles between breakfast and lunch at Papa Joe's in Brooksville. It was a really good day for a ride. It was just above 70 when we left the Square Plate. Over by Fishhawk it was about 3 or 4 degrees cooler, but a bit of mist in Keysville dropped the temp a few more degrees. At the stop in Plant City, the sun appeared and we got about 5 degrees back. The sunshine didn't last long and when we got to Brooksville, we were back in the low 60s. The temps pretty much stayed constant for the ride home, a mere 50 to 60 miles (didn't actually check). Good day on two wheels and y'all missed it.
Sunday, December 22th - Lunch in Eustis at Gator's Dockside (which seems more like Tavares). Breakfast will be at the Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar. Breakfast will begin at 7:49 ayem. The ride to Gators is just under 120 miles, the return ride will be about 10 miles longer. Update: It was a good day for singing a song, I mean going for a motorcycle ride. Fran, Kyle and I did just that. we had good weather, light traffic and no scary situations. All together it was a 255 mile day. Lunch ia Gator's Dockside was good, but I have to gues their hot wing sauce is ketchup, because their suicide sause wasn't much hotter than Heinz 57 catsoup.
Sunday, December 29th - Family Day, no ride. Use this time to think of destinations you would like to add to the ride calendar. If you don't, we may start every ride at McDonald's in Pinellas Park and go to Wendy's in Largo EVERY WEEK!
Monday, December 30th - we meet at the Blue Parrot on St. Pete Beach at 6:00 for dinner. After dinner, the Tom Katz perform. It's a band of approximately 14 members, including Dr. Lynne Ellis on Sax. reservations required, so let me know if you are going so I can get the right size table.
Sunday, November 10th - I missed four months of riding, so a longer ride was in order. I like going north, so Coach's in the old downtown was the destination. We departed from Starbuck's Clearwater Mall at 8:45 ayem. Our route took us through Pasco and Hernando Counties before we found Citrus and lunch. Nine of us in the group and an empty restaurant. Easy to find a table and waitress. It was overcast all the way north, so riding was very pleasant even when close to 80 degrees. After lunch, it got a bit sunnier and a bit warmer, but bearable, for sure .It was just over 100 miles to lunch, just under 100 to get home. Thanks to all that joined in on my practice ride.
Sunday, November 17th - Family day, no ride.
Sunday, November 24th - Something different today. Real motorcycle clubs have designated north and south departure locations, so this week we have a south departure location. Just north of the world's busiest WalMart there is a diner named Square Plate. It is in the shopping center at the south east corner of US 19 and Mainlands Blvd. Breakfast at 7:49 ayem, departure as soon as all the square plates are empty.Our destination is lunch at the Columbia in Celebration. It will be about 115 miles to lunch, a bit less to get back back. No tolls, no fees.
Sunday, October 13th - Luke has stepped up to squash the boredom. A ride has emerged. Luke's description is:
The weather is finally starting to cool off, so it must be time to throw a leg over the saddle and go find a place to enjoy some type of lunch. We will gather at the Starbucks at the Clearwater Mall to start our journey at 8:00 AM and make our way to The Bayport Inn. The route will take us for an appetite stirring 100 miles or so as we wonder north, east, west and south to get to the destination. The electronic map says it should take about three and a half hours to get there but it also does not allow time for a rest stop. I figure about the noon hour should be when we finally arrive, which is the traditional lunch hour. The journey back toward the starting point will be a bit shorter and straighter.
So, join Luke at Starbucks and I'll see you at the Bayport Inn.
Sunday, August 11th - Luke B is tired of sitting home and listening to me whine, so he's going for a ride to one of my favorite restautants. I will be there with WHN, by car. What he said, exactly, was: "It is time. We need to fire up the scooters and lubricate the top end of the engines. There are no surprises here with my love for a certain fresh water fish. We will be leaving the Starbucks at Clearwater Mall at 8 in the morning and taking something other than a direct route to Catfish Country. Just a bit of a warning, the eatery is in Bartow , which is not in Pinellas County. The route designing software shows that we will add 104 miles to the odometer on the way over, with just about 60 to get back near the house. If you have the desire and would like to display your local chapter's flags, rocker, name badge or a Derby winner's likeness you are more than welcome." SDo, if you like Catfish Country as much as I do, join us there. Follow Luke from Starbucks for 100+ miles of scenery through Hillsborough and Polk counties.
Sunday, July 7th - I am out of commission for a while. Achilles is a pain! Watch this space for updates.
Sunday, July 14th - It will be a couple months before I can ride. The tendon had to be screwed to the heel because of a rupture. Surgery was a success. Recovery in progress. See you on the road when the weather improves.
Sunday, June 2nd - Cogito, ergo sum. I think I should ride on Sunday. I think you should ride too. I think we should meet at Lenny's at 7:44 ayem. I think we should have breakfast there. I think we should all go for a long ride after that. I think that ride should take us south and east beacuse we have seen enough of those stoopid curvy roads in May (well, maybe not). I think you should bring your Sunpass or several rolls of quarters. I think lunch will be someplace we haven't visited for a while. I think it may be the Pioneer. I think I better decide soon. I think I just did. Update: I think it was a good day. Eight at breakfast, five on the road. The ride to the Pioneer was under clouds, so generally pleasant until we got close. Then it warmed up a lot. While we were traversing Jameson Road near Keysville, two hawks flew across the road in front of us. The first one had a furry breakfast in his grasp. The second was still hunting. We got to the Pioneer before the church crowd, so we had no wait, got served quicklu and tyhe food was fresh and hot. The ride home wasn't too interesting, other than the quick shower in Parrish and the hevy rain. on US 19 from NE Coachman to Countryside. I'm still wet!
Sunday, June 9th - OK, I yield to the prevaricators. I mean, the prognosticators. It is time to start the breakfast portion of our agenda. The gathering will be early - before seven ayem. Sixteen minutes before seven to be precise. Gatherance will be at Tri-City Plaza, near the Fat Cat Tavern. We will cross the big span south of St Pete on our way to Longboat Key and Rotten Ralph's on Bridge Street. Post dining, we shall motor south a bit more, through snobworld and on east to Varna. Another trip past the Blackthorn monument and home before the mercury aligns with the 89 mark. Quarters or Sunpass required. Update: The ride over the Skyway was in a cloud - you could kinda see the bridge cables, but they were colorless until you got half way up the hump. The ride through the back roads was uneventful, as was the trip across town to the barrier islands. When we got to the pier, we found a note on the dood - "closed for now". Back on the bikes and up to the Cortez Cafe. We had our pick of tables, but the town's entire population followed us in. After breakfast, it was back to the islands and all the scenery that goes with them. We headed inland from St Armand's to the middle of nowhere, then north to the fish camp on the lake for a drink. Then on to Parrish and Moccasin Wallow, hop onto I-75 and back over the bridge. As expected, once we were off the superslab and on the surface roads, it started getting hot. Another great day!
Sunday June 16th - Happy Father's Day alla y'all.
Sunday, June 23rd - Another breakfast ride anyone? You know it's coming, so here it is - breakfast in Plant City, Snellgrove's to be precise. We can gather at the Starbuck's on SR 60, east of US 19. 6:44 is start time, TBD is the end time, with breakfast and lots of Hillsborough County thrown in for good measure. No tolls, no fees. Just fun, food and friends. Update: The Zumo was acting up because of a map update after I loaded routes. So, we made some interesting maneuvers on the way to Plant City. Seven of us made the journey to Plant City for breakfast and teh agricultural tour that followed. It started getting warm before ten ayem, so the shortcut through Tampa was necessary. We managed to pick up about 115 miles to and from breakfast.
Monday, June 24th - Harley-Davidson's World Ride Day. 8:30 gathering at the southeast corner of Alderman and US19 because we're headed north to the Speckled Butterbean. Not the southern edition in Webster, but the real one by Wildwood. It won't be a 500 mile day, but it will contribute to the goal. Update: Four of us made the journey from Palm Harbor to Wildwood. Lots of back roads, mostly well known to us, with some of the more interesting thrown in for good measure. Withlapopka and Gobbler were the highlight for me, but the close fly-by from a hawk was a bit startling. When we got to the Speckled Butter Bean, we discovered it is now an Irish Sports Bar. So, no southern cooking, no fried chicken, no greens. I tried the 'Scorpion Stinger' chicken wings. That was a big mistake. I got through five and had to quit. Five diet cokes and six packs of sugar wouldn't stop the burn. Occasional stomach aches on the way home folowed. The other food was reportedly acceptable and non-life-threatening. The trip home was largely US 301 and well-traveled roads in Hernando and Pasco Counties. We added another 230 miles to HOG's World Ride total (each).
Sunday, June 30th - Wow! Five Sundays in one month... But, I get to skip this one, ride-wise. See you next week?
The first five days of May are on the Planes, Trains and Autos page.
Wednesday, May 8th - I abandoned my daughter on her birthday and drove William's Monte Carlo north. Made it to Kennesaw without problems.
Thursday, May 9th - I finished the trip to Lexington with the Monte Carlo. No problems. I dropped by Man O' War Harley-Davidson to buy some things and a 55 Chevrolet. Things had to be ordered. Chevrolet was ready. Dinner with William and Lisa before a (good?) night's sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day southbound.
Friday - May 10th - On the road early to begin the adventure. Without cruise control, it is hard to keep the car at the limit. At least the radio works. The outlets for the phone and GPS don't work, the GPS has a low battery, so it's necessary to read signs and remember routes. Rain, the wipers make one pass in 30 seconds then quit. The rain quit. When I got to Atlanta, headed for the Harley dealership, the GPS battery goes completely dead. Leaving Atlanta at rush hour without a map is frustrating, no straight roads and the street signs and map names don't always match. Made it to Thomaston and the Days Inn, Mexican right across the street. Good night.
Saturday, May 11th - The roads are flatter and straighter, so it is easier to maintain 55. Not easy, easier. Ate one of the many fuel stops, rain-x was found. Really worked during the day's rain event (minor one). Stopped in Monticello for lunch with Bill Barnes. The afternoon stretched out. US 19 is boring for many miles. Glad to see the power plant stacks while approaching Inglis. This fuel stop added some oil. Now I need to add dipstick and dipstick tube to the list. Caught every red light in Pasco County, I think. Home at 6:01 and ready to flop.
Sunday, May 12th - Mothers Day. I get included with my daughter and wife in their celebration. No ride today.
Sunday, May 19th - How many miles is it to the Bayport Inn? The way i'm going, it's 115 miles. I'll begin at Stars restaurant in Dunedin, on Main street, north side, just east of Patricia. I plan to be there at 7:44 ayem. After breakfast, a cruise past the Anclote Power Plant, then into Pasco's interior, a bit of Hernando and then out to the sea. OK, not the sea, the tidal marsh. They are famous for the fish and chips. That's the Bayport Inn, not the tidal marshes with the fishy reputation. After lunch, it's only 44 miles back to my house, TBD back to yours. See you there? Bonus opportunity - you can check out Steve's new Tri-Glide. Update: we had 5 bikes and seven folks out for the day. The cod was good, the roads almost perfect and the traffic non-existent. A lot of bikes arrived at the restaurant after us. Timing is everything.
Thursday, May 23rd - Home to Dublin, Ga for day 1 of the Man O' War HOG Memorial Day ride to Helen, Ga. We will gather at Oh Seven Hundred for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel Oldsmar. A short trip up the toll road, then a zillion miles of US 41/US 441. Poof, then we're there. Update: We had a great day for a ride. The folks on the Interstate can't claim the same thing. It took all day to get to Dublin, with a few stops and a lunch break. The Chinese restaurant was crowded and the A/C was broken. A hot sweaty meal, but good food.
Friday, May 24th - Dublin to Helen, in time to meet the Kentucky MOW HOG Chapter members. This should be an easy day on some good Georgia roads. Update: Unless you're on the Interstate, again. We were close to Helen when we stopped for lunch and learned the support vehicle was going to beat us there. Another day of terrific roads. We arrived early enough to get some rest and dinner before the big group from Lexington showed up. BTW, Kyle showed up with a new Street Glide, in Midnight Pearl.
Saturday, May 25th - Helen to Dawsonville, Amicolola Falls and Dahlonega, returning to Helen. We had 48 folks on 34 bikes on today's adventure. When we got to the Georgia Motorsports Museum in Dawsonville, they were hosting a car show. An added free bonus, plus the museum gave our group half-priced tickets. At the falls, we walked about a zillion miles up the creek to see the falls, then back down again. When the group was finally ready to leave, we headed for Dahlonega and the mandatory en-route U-Turn. Lunch in Dahlonega was at several restaurants because of the group size. We were back about five, in time for a short rest and dinner plans. Town is BUSY!
Sunday, May 26th - a ride from Helen to Brasstown Bald. A stop at the Tallulah Overlook is planned. Update. We departed at 9:30 and headed over some nice roads to Tallulah Gorge Overlook. Many in the group had never seen the gorge, so it was worth the stop. From there, we headed to Brasstown Bald. It was more great motorcycle roads all the way to the top. Some watched the movie, some checked out the distant mountains, some did both. The ride afterwards took us through Blairsville, where I totally missed the target eaterie. I was told it was swamped and people waiting outside. We found a place in Young Harris called the Blue Otter. Parking was tight, but we found tables. We didn't find much more. After 90 or more minutes, we had no food and no promise of any. We left in several bunches. My bunch took the spirited ride down US 17 back to Helen. Fourteen of us madeit to Paul's for dinner, which also took forever, but we did get food and it was good. we strolled back to the Hampton and crashed.
Monday, May 27th - A day in the North Georgia mountains. We started out after the large Lexington headed north at nine. We took some of the best roads in the area, including the Russel Scenic Highway, Ga180. US19, Wolfpen Gap Road, and US60 into Dahlonega. After lunch at the Pub, we took less twisty roads, like Ga115 abd Ga75 Alt back to Helen. Dinner was on the riv erside once again, this time at the Cafe International. Pretty much everyone was happy when we left, so it must have been OK.
Tuesday, May 28th - Helen to Valdosta, Ga. An 8:30 departure will have us checking in late afternoon, ahead of any rain, i'm sure. Update: We said our goodbyes with Lisa, William and the Pioskis in the parking garage, then hit the highway. One red light SNAFU broke up the group for a while, but we recovered. Gas stops in Georgia back roads are scarce, so you take what you get when you get it. Accept the fact that the trees are more inviting than the indoor plumbing. Lunch in Monticello took about 90 minutes, so I recommend passing through. As we approached Valdosta, we passed through Moody AFB. The nice folks of the Air Combat Command gave us a four aircraft A-10 Warthog fly-over in missing man formation. We were able to see them as they broke off and landed one at a time. By the time we hit the Hotel in Valdosta, there was only 15 or 20 minutes left in their evening reception that ends at 7:00. A short limp over to Cheddar's for dinner and back to the Inn for the night. Tomorrow will be a much shorter day.
Wednesday, May 29th - Valdosta to home. Weather was threatening down south so we left at eight ayem. The ride was totally without interest except for the many sleeping animals in the road or alongside the road. Fuel stops are few, small towns interesting, radar traps averywhere. Rumor has it that the club members that blew off the mountain ride in favor of the Hot Rod Power Tour passed us around Inglis. We made it to Charlie's in Crystal River for lunch where no complaints were heard. The trip south kept me on US 19 to Tampa Road, with arrival at home a bit past 2:30. Another great week in the history books.
Sunday, April 7th - A nice liesurely cruise down Longboat Key for lunch. Or, maybe the key ride will be after lunch and the 'to' portion will be inland over those fabulous flat straight roads for which South Florida is internationally known.The winter residents should be headed or almost heading home, so we might be able to get a table at the Old Salty Dog. Meet for breakfast at 7:46 at Cracker Barrell on Ulmerton/Roosevelt. Update: Ten bikes, twelve folks spent the day riding through Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota Counties. As usual, the Cracker Barrel service was slow and the waitresses seemed confused. The weather was perfect today, almost a bit hot at times. The Old Salty Dog did an excellent job with the food and drinks. Another good day on the road with friends. It was good to see Larry and Cathy out, too!
Sunday, April 14th - Run With The Big Dogs Poker Run. It starts and ends at Quaker Steak and Lube, with registration at ten and FBO at eleven. I'm thinking breakfast at Country Skillet at 8:30, then a scenic cruise to QS&L for the event. Remember your MOW Colors and to sign in for the chapter challenge, if your a MOW member or guest.. Update - we had 13 folks at breakfast, and, with some others signing in after we arrived, Man O' War HOG had seventeen or so sign in on the Chapteer Challenge. A local club had about a 20% turnout, so we were second overall. We did take home first place in the Poker hands and picked up some of the gift baskets, so MOW HOG did its share and reaped some rewards. The poker hand money was donated back to GPA Tampa Bay.
Sunday, April 21st - Lettuce begin at Lenny's, Oh-seven-forty-sicks. From there, it's into Hillsborough (Tampa) just as a way to find Pasco County. Once we get to Pasco, we will ride in circles, accumulating 111 miles between meals. BBQ at Hungry Harry's is the chosen protein for mid-day. A directish route home after lunch will get me cleaned up and back out of the house in time to see the Dance Theatre of Harlem with the fam.
The rest of April and 5 days of May are on the Planes, Trains and Autos page.
Sunday, March 3rd - Ride postponed. See you on the 17th.
Wednesday, March 6th - three inches of snow on the ground in Lexington when we landed. 31 degrees Farengrade. Still snowing.
Sunday, March 10th - Man O War HOG club meeting day. No ride.
Sunday, March 17th - Yes, we went north most of last month, but North is better roads than South, so today's ride will be over a few of the same roads we used (really) recently. The destination is Tavares and Al's Dockside BBQ. Plan about 125 miles each way. No tolls, no admission fees, just fuel and food. We'll be home before five pee emm. Update: We set a record for time in restauramts in one day... breakfast was 7:45, but we were there until 8:55. Nothing special, off the menu, no nothing to explain the poor serrvice. In Tavares, Al's Landing was busy, but there were tables available. We arrived at noon, walked out after lunch at 1:20, again with standard off the menu stuff, no special requests, Aside from that, the weather was great, the roads good. Great day with friends.
Sunday, March 24th - Family day with no motorcycles involved. See you next week.Update: freezing cold in Mobile Alabama this morning when I left.
Sunday, March 31st - Easter Sunday for the Christian world. I get to spend the day with my daughters. See you next week.
Sunday, February 3rd - All new everything on this ride. OK, not everything, but the start point and the destination are. We will dine in style at Daddy's Grille in Oldsmar, 7:42 ayem. This is just west of Forest Lakes on the south side of Tampa Road. From there, we will head mostly north, with a little of every other direction on the compass thrown in. Our destination is Ike's at the Isaac Walton Lodge in Yankeetown. If that is an unknown, it's because it hasn't been open for a long time. I mean, for a long time, it was closed and it has only been open for a short time, hence the 'not open for a long time' description. It's another waterfront place like we just visited. Hopefully it's worth the 117 toll-free miles to get there. Our return route will be a little shorter - by about 35 miles or so. Yes, you will be home in time for the big rugby match. Update: Ike's is a good place, good food and service, good views of the Withlacootchie river. Perfect weather for a ride, too.
Sunday, February 10th - Bok Tower, weather permitting. The map shows we gather at Lenny's, so plan on chow at 7:43 a.m. The route will take us through Tampa, around Plant City and Lakeland to Lake Wales and Bok Tower. Admission to the gardens is $12 for adults and $18 if you also want to tour the Pinewood Estate (opens at noon). There was a cafe on site when I was last there, so that could be lunch. Its 85 miles each way, so we could spend two to three hours in the gardens and still get home in daylight (before 5:00). Update: Eleven travelers on this journey, from breakfast, through the gardens and the snack shop and back home before the 5:00 news. Good Day!
Saturday, February 16th - The Cushman Club meet in Dade City. This is limited, so only those who previously responded to the invitation can join us. We will begin with breakfast at Cracker Barrel Oldsmar at 7:44 a.m. After chow, we'll head up north and join in on the fun until early afternoon. A lunch stop will be planned for the return route. Update: Eighteen of us, on nine bikes or in three cages, had breakfast at the CB then headed up to Blanton and Tommy Small's collection of automobiles, motorcycles, scooters, signs and gas station equipment. There was a large group from the Cushman club and Pinmar car club already at the farm when we arrived. Sandy had an episode of Carfix on the TV that featured Tommy's barn and all the toys inside. After ogling all the sweet rides, we headed to Papa Joe's for lunch. While we were inside the cold front definitely passed through and kicked up some serious wind. The ride home had a lot of unplanned heading changes.
Sunday, February 17th - Fence repair day, no KLEEK Tour today. I have spare hammers... Update: No hammers needed today. The gate frame was the primary goal and it's steel, so the MIG welder and chop saw did most of the work.
Saturday, February 23rd - the Healing Heroes car and bike show in Lakeland. Check out http://www.healingheroesfreedomfest.com/ for more info. We will gather at Starbucks Clearwater Mall at 9:00 ayem and head for LLRA. Admission is $5 and parking is another $5. Lunch will either be from a puveyor of deep fried grease balls at the show, or at Amelia's at the airport ops center. Update: Five bikes, plus two passengers made the trek to LLRA for the show. They had some nice cars on display, plus a few bikes. The motorcycle drill team were entertaining, even with the few mistakes. After checking out all the iron, we headed for Aerhart's restaurant in the ops center and lunch. The ride home was good until the creeping section on I-4 and I-75. Another great day with friends.
Sunday, February 24th - Al Clarke's birthday. If you're going on the birthday ride, we meet for breakfast at Lenny's, 7:43 a.m. From there, we head north for 129 miles, ending up at Inn on the Gulf at 1:00 pee emm. If it rains too much to make riding safe, we will meet at Inn on the Gulf at one pee emm. Update: four of us had breakfast at Lenny's, then headed out under a lot of clouds. I added a few miles to make sure we sidn't arrive too early. A bit of rain hit at the truck stop at ten ayem, just after we stopped for a drink. When we left, it had stopped drizzling, so we were good enough to stop at SR-50 for a quick drink and storage of the rain gear. Unfortunately, the last three miles was kinda wet - Tony was right to keep the Frog Toggs on. The party had 29 folks, to my count. IotG did a good job serving us. The ride home after lunch was dry.
Sunday, January 6th - Begin with breakfast at Lenny's, 7:41 a.m. From there, we'll cover most of Hillsborough County in search of lunch on the Manatee River. The route will cover 130 miles before lunch, but way less after lunch (Interstate return). Woody's River Roo is the destination, check them out on-line. The return will require five quarters or a SunPass.
Sunday, January 13th - After breakfast at the Cracker Barrell in Oldsmar (7:46 ayem), we will headup and out to Celebration. The route will cover about 100 miles, as will the return trip, all toll-free. I recommend the 1905 salad for lunch.
Sunday, January 20th - Lenny's will feed us at 7:43 a.m., after which we will head north to Pasco, Hernando and Citrus Counties. After 95 miles of two-laned rural relaxation, we will arrive at Neon Leon's Zydeco Restaurant. His menu is on the net, so check it out. No tolls once again. The return route will be just a bit shorter. With highs in the low 70s, this should be a perfect day for a ride.
Sunday, January 27th - Over the Skyway, once again. Destination is the Fishery restaurant in Placida. Not cheapest place we've been to, but on the water This 130 mile jaunt will take us through town and country, two lane, four lane and highway. Ten quarters, one SunPass - you choose. The return route is about 120 miles, with similar roads and scenery, a bit more I-state, plus the other half of those ten quarters. We will begin at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton/Roosevelt at 7:46 ayem. Update - this was a good place for lunch, but get there before noon. It filled up completely by noon-thirty.
Sunday, December 2 - Breakfast gathering at 7:41, Cracker Barrel Oldsmar. Lunch in Inverness. Lots of great road in-between. We will cover about 100 miles northbound and 90 miles southbound. Apparently, we'll end the ride ten miles from anywhere if the math checks.
Sunday, December 9 - We gather for breakfast at 7:43 at Lenny's. Lunch will be the destination, at a place to which we have travelled before, but at which we have never been. Confused? Sometimes restaurants close and reopen under new ownership, new menu, etc. This is one of those places. It's almost 140 miles to lunch, but still under three hours because we're going to be south of the Skyway on those treacherous (non)curvey roads. We may even reaches altitudes in the double digits (in feets). Aside from the Skyway and a couple ramps, we will never see more than a 15% grade. The return ride is under 70 miles, but we will have a fuel stop once we see civilization. Restaurant food choices includes a buffet, sandwiches and burgers. Maybe more? Bring a SunPass for the 'to' portion, or seventeen quarters.
Sunday, December 16 - 7:46, we will gather at Star's on SR-580 in Dunedin. From there, we will head to the Skyway via a very scenic, but slow route. Once over the big span, we will head inland for some agricultural exposure, followed by some waterfront and lunch. The return trip will be short and fast. Sunpasses or lots of quarters required.
Also, at 5:30 p.m. Christmas Light Ride. We will gather at Tri-City Plaze, about 99 yards north of Chili's. From there, a short, direct ride to the Largo Botanical Gardens Christmas Lights display. There is a fee for viewing the lights, about $5 IIRC. After the light viewing, we'll head for dinner, if you wish.
Sunday, November 4th - Breakfast at Lenny's, 7:45 a.m. From there, it's a trip north for lunch.
Sunday, November 11th - a short day so I can get some stuff installed on my bike - We begin at 7:44 at the Country Skillet on Roosevelt. This is about 0.5 miles east of Cheddar's, same side of the road. The ride will require a SunPass or a fistfull of quarters. Twice. The plan is to scoot southward over the big bridge, cruise around some flood-prone areas, then head north and east through a few nice neighborhoods, then tour some agricultural areas before heading west back to the superslab and another toll. Once we exit the fast lane, we will head for lunch and Muggs and Juggs. After lunch, i'll go drill holes in my bike. 130 miles.
Sunday, November 18th - Air Boat Rides on the Kissimmee River with FWCMC.
Sunday, November 25th - a lunch ride with FWCMC to LLRA. My last club obligation in 2012. Or, ever.
Sunday, October 7th - How about a 6:55 departure from Sears Countryside. The target eaterie is J Christopher's in Tampa. After chow, we'll head toward Dade City to find some of thos non-straight, non-flat roads that Pasco and Hernando are known for. This will be about a 150 mile day with no tolls, fees or service charges (except the breakfast part). I'll have you home mid-day.
Sunday, October 14th - No KLEEKTours ride today.
Sunday, October 21st - I think we can start lunch rides now. Let's begin with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:44 a.m., then head north for lunch. We will travel through Tampa, yhen head north around New Tampa, up to ZHills, around Brooksville and on to lunch. 111 miles to lunch, 65 home.
Sunday, September 9th - rainout. Time to work on the new ride to get it to fit.
Sunday, September 16th - time for another break-in ride on the FLTRU. Sears parking lot, 7:00 a.m.
Sunday, September 23rd - the FWCMC picnic day. Care to join me at the Eagle Lake Park? Ride em if you got em!
Sunday, September 30th - 6:43 at Starbuck's Clearwater Mall. We will head into the retina-burning sunrise for a while and find breakfast in the wilds of Hillsborough county (Riverview?). On the way to chow, we will avoid tolls and trolls, but probably encounter lots of farmland, cattle, railroad crossings and maybe even phosphate. After chow, we will need a SunPass or five quarters. We will see more agricultural stuff, poorly paved roads, and lots of 90 degree, off-camber turns.
Sunday, August 5th - Let's get together at 6:51 at Sears Countryside Mall. We can head north for breakfast, probably getting to Hernando County before the dropping blood sugar causes us to fall off our mounts. OK, a bit dramatic, but I still think Hernando is a good place for breakfast. I think we'll dine at the Leprechaun in Floral City - before the Wingers and squids get there.
Sunday, August 12th - It's 6:50 at Tri-City Plaza, near Chili's. The destination is inland with the return taking us over the Skyway, so bring a SunPass or a buck and change. Yup, it went up, remember? Think Sherriff Grady Judd. Think phosphate. Think cows.
Sunday, August 19th - Cancelled due to weather and whether. Rain is predicted and I need to service my bike, so no ride.
Sunday, August 26th - The weather guy said stay home, so I did. It was a nice day for a ride.
Monday, August 27th - headed toward Lexington, in rain all day.
Tuesday, August 28th - more road time to Lexy. Not much rain
Wednesday, August 29th - spent the morning at Man o War H-D signing papers for a new FLTRU. Got to ride 50 miles to dinner.
Thursday, August 30th - rode around the mountains most of the day, added 150 miles or so.
Friday, August 31st - Headed for Dalton, Ga. with William and Lisa. FLTRU in the trailer.
Sunday, July 1st - A breakfast ride! we will gather at the Starbucks on SR-60, east of US-19. Departure is 7:00 a.m. and the destination is in down town Plant City. The ride will get us to breakfast around nine, and home before we melt.
Sunday, July 8th - New York City ride. See you there?
Sunday, July 15th - Breakfast ride, gathering at Sears Countryside at Zero Six forty five. That's 6:46 ayem for those unfamiliar with military time. We'll head north for breakfast, maybe the speckled butter bean in Webster. I'm thinkin...
Sunday, July 22nd - Breakfast Ride to somewhere in Pasco or Hernando. More to come. Gatherance at Starbucks Clearwater Mall, 6:50 a.m. OK, so there was no update, but we had a ghreat ride - and you missed it.
Sunday, July 29th - I'm leading the final FBACC HOG Chapter ride to lunch. If you're a member, please help make this a memorable ride.
Early June is found on the Long Hauls, Kentucky State Rally '12 page. Eight of us headed out for 12 days of riding and fun. Check it out.
Sunday, June 17th - Recovery day, father's day, no ride today.
Sunday June 24th - I'm leading a Chapter ride today. No KLEEK Tour today.
Sunday, May 6th - Let's gather at 7:44 at the Roosevelt/Ulmerton Cracker Barrel. from there, we'll use up a Skyway dollar on our way to the middle of nowhere. We'll cover about 140 miles to lunch, then a quick 40 or so to get home.
Sunday, May 13th - Mothers Day. No ride
Sunday, May 20th - Took my bike apart today, no ride
Sunday, May 27th - bike's together, let's RIDE! Lenny's at 7:42, then into the sunrise for 118 miles. Bartow Airport is the destination, citrus, sod, cattle and phosphate is the route. The return is but 72 miles, so 3:00 should be the arrival time back in Pinellas.
Sunday, April 1st - How about meeting for breakfast at the Ulmerton Rd Cracker Barrel at 7:48 ayem? From there., we can traverse Hillsborough County via the agricultural two-lanes with multiple RR crossings on our way to Polk County and ??? for lunch. Give me a few days to select the destination, but it will for sure be a 5-star joint with 1-star prices and loose gravel parking. Well, maybe not. Plan on 125-140 miles to lunch and less for the return. UPDATE: only 115 miles to lunch and 100 back. Think of the Nicholas Family in Wauchula - I did.
Sunday, April 8th - Easter Sunday, no KLEEK Tours ride today.
Sunday, April 15th - Tax Day - No KLEEK Tours ride today.
Sunday, April 22nd - What originally looked like a greeat day for a ride became a rainy day forecast due to a "Sou'easter" - whatever that is - coming ashore from teh Gulf. I get to put brakes on the Acadia instead of riding. Nothing like a couple hundred miles of mountain driving to point out the need for new pads and rotors.
Sunday, April 29th - Lenny's at 7:41 ayem. Then it's through Tampa, Z-Hills and middle-o-nowhere en route to O'Keefe's Irish Pub. That's about 120 miles. After chow part II, we'll drop through Mascotte, hit Dade City, a bit of Lutz and Keystone. Home in just over 100 miles, or close to four pee emm.
March - in like a Lion...
Sunday, March 4th - I went to Lenny's as planned, but dined alone. I thought a ride north would be good, but my phone went dead. No, I don't drive by phone instruction, but riding alone without a phone isn't a good idea, so I came home to update this. Maybe next week the weather will come through on Friday instead of over the weekend.
Sunday, March 11th - Today will be a short ride because i have to be home by two pee emm. So, let us begin at 7:41, at Bob evans on US 19, between SR 580 and SR 586. From there, we will head east through Oldsmar, Lutz and Z Hills. We'll skirt southern Brooksville on our way to Hudson Beach and lunch. Unless I need to shorten somewhere along the line, we'll cover about 125 miles.
Sunday, March 18th - No KLEEK Tours ride today. I did get about 500 miles in myself, starting in Mobile at 7:00 CDT and ending at home at 5:30 EDT. Yes, I took 170 or so miles of Interstate, but returned to normalcy for the rest of the ride, including just about 180 miles of US 19. I passed so many riders returning from Daytona that I wore out my waver.
Sunday, March 25th - I'm leading a Chapter lunch ride to Papa Joe's at ten ayem. Coming along?
Sunday, February 5th - Maybe my only shot at a lunch ride this month, so let's do something worthwhile. Umm... been north, been south, burned my retinas heading east. West is a bit wet. There's a place in Hernando i've been thinking about. Hmmm... Maybe we can make that interesting if we start at Oldsmar's Cracker Barrel, then head north for a while. O.K., that should work. See you at the CB at 7:43 ayem. We'll get to Dunellon at noon, dine, head south, get home around 3:52 pee emm.
Sunday, February 12th - No KLEEK Tours ride today
Sunday, February 19th - Old Time Swap Meet at Fletcher's South. I'll see you there.
Sunday, February 26th - Ride postponed. Allergies suck.
Sunday, January 1st - Traditional FBACC HOG ride
Sunday, January 8th, Let's all chow down at the Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar, 7:45 ayem. From there, we'll head north for three hours, have some lunch, then head home. No tolls, no fees required. Plan 111 miles between meals and another 81 back to Pinellas. I guarantee an opportunity to use the outer tread on your tires.
Sunday, January 15th - The FBACC HOG ride to Peace River Refuge and Ranch. Care to join us?
Sunday, January 22nd - No KLEEK Tours lunch ride today... Chapter obligation
Sunday, January 29th - Breakfast at Lenny's, 7:43 ayem. After that, we're headed to O'Keefe's. Not the one in Clearwater, the one in Tavares This is a 120 mile ride to lunch, with a much shorter 110 mile ride home. Fuel will be had on the return route. Plan on being back around four pee emm. We'll try to avoid the idiots on bicycles when we get to Pasco. I have no idea if O'Keefe's is affiliated with the Clearwater restaurant of the same name, but the TripAdvisor reviews are positive, mostly.
Sunday, December 4th - i'm not riding into the sun again this week - the retinas haven't healed yet from last Sunday. So, After breakfast at the Cracker Barrel on SR-580 /SR-586 in Oldsmar, i'm headed north for three hours in search of lunch. I figure a 7:42 a.m. start at the restaurant should get us to the target eaterie a bit before noon, ahead of the church crowd. The return route is more direct, so we should be home at three something. One tank should do it - just over 100 miles to lunch, 80 back home. No tolls, either.
Sunday, December 11th - Seven forty three ayem at the Ulmerton Rd Cracker Barrel (south of St.Pete - Clearwater Airport). Breakfast, followed by high-speed travel through St. Pete on the super slab and the mandatory $1 donation for the Skyway Bridge. From there, it's south and east to Lake June in Winter. If we find an open eaterie there, we'll dine. Otherwise, we'll continue searching to the north. After lunch, it's north and west to the Skyway once more and yet another trip through St. Pete on the slab. This ride is a bit long, but the speeds are higher, so we should still be home before four.
Sunday, December 18th, no ride today... family day
Sunday, December 25th - Merry Christmas!
Sunday, November 6th - today is the Disater Animal Response Team's annual poker run. Starts and ends at QS&L. See you there?
Sunday, November 13th - Lunch ride to Winter Haven. We gather at Bob Evans on US 19, east side, a bit north of SR-580, 7:44 ayem. After packing on the calories, we head out on a 100 mile journey via the northern route to Andreas Restaurant. the return route is just a bit shorter. No tolls.
Sunday, November 20th - I'm leading a lunch ride to Peck's for FBACC at ten.
Sunday, November 27th - lunch ride to somewhere good. Although the destination is unclear as yet, the starting point will be Lenny's after breakfast. We'll gather at 7:42, consume consumables, then head out. This should be about 120 miles to lunch and 90ish to get back.
Sunday, October 2nd - Lunch ride anyone? I have to be back for the LOH dinner ride, but that leaves a lot of time for lunch... I'll start with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:43 a.m. After that, we'll head north for a few hours, grab lunch, then undo what we did by heading south.
Sunday, October 9th - Fletcher's Harley-Davidson has their Old Time Swap Meet. See you there??.
Sunday, October 16th - FBACC HOG ride to Don Garlit's museum. It was a great day for a ride... eleven of us covered about 225 miles to and from, with lunch at Cracker Barrel nearby.
Sunday, October 23rd - how about a lunch ride to Inverness? We can begin at the SR-580 Cracker Barrel (near Racetrack Rd) at 7:51 a.m. After chow, we can cover about 120 miles while heading north, trying to find Coach's place in old downtown Inverness. After lunch, about 100 miles will get us home.
Sunday, October 30th - Time for a scary ride filled with witches, goblins and zombies. I'm not sure where we'll find that, but this week's destination is a bit scary - they serve a half-pound hot dog. They also serve gator bites, burgers, sausage and stuff i've obviously forgotten. The ride is about 125 miles to lunch and 100 miles home, both routes over the Sunshine Skyway. We'll start at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton and 40th street (just east of the west intersection with Roosevelt) at 7:48 ayem. After devouring heat-treated animal products and by-products, we will head for I-275 and the big scary bridge. One comfort stop is planned. The return after lunch will include I-75 and I-275.
Sunday, September 4th - The weather has been so wet that I didn't plan anything. I did see a fantastic sunrise on my way to breakfast.
Sunday, September 11th - Rememberance day. I plan to avoid big cities, tall buildings and large crowds.
Sunday, September 18th - the return ride from St Augustine. No KLEEK Tour.
Sunday, September 25th - I committed to lead a Club ride.
Sunday, August 7th - Let's gather at Starbuck's again, at 6:47 ayem, then head over the Skyway for the sunrise, then up to Ruskin for breakfast. This is a 70 mile ride, with a short 50 mile ride to get back home before the heat wave and rain clouds. One Skyway dollar is required.
Sunday, August 14th - Maggie Valley
Sunday, August 21st - I'm leading a breakfast ride for FBACC HOG. Join us if you can, otherwise, enjoy the A/C.
Sunday, August 28th - Rainout - ride cancelled.
Sunday, July 3rd, we will meet at Starbuck's at Clearwater Mall once again, at 6:47 ayem. From there, we'll head into the sunrise in search of breakfast. I think we can make Floral City and back before the rains hit. This is 75 miles each way, more or less.
Sunday, July 10th - i'm leading a club ride. Check the chapter website for details.
Sunday July 17th - departure from Sear's parking lot SR-580 and US-19 (AKA Countryside Mall) at 6:35 ayem. We'll continue the trend of riding into the sunrise, so bring some shades. After a quick 80 miles, we'll chow down at a familiar purveyor of heat-treated animal products with a view. From there, it's just over 100 miles home, with a Skyway dollar required. If all goes as planned, the ride will be over by noon.
Sunday, July 24th - it's still too hot to ride. However, I think I can still tolerate the morning heat, so i'm heading south to Rotten Ralph's in Bradenton Beach. This is a short ride, so i'll try to take the long way to breakfast with the direct route home. Two Skyway dollars are required for this ride, plus $10 +/- for food. Departure will be from Starbuck's on SR-60 at US-19 at 6:47 ayem.
Sunday July 31st - We've gone east, we've gone south and there's not much to the west, so we're going NORTH! Departing from Sear's parking lot in Countryside mall at 6:33 ayem, we'll get to Homosassa Springs just after 8:00 ayem, which should get us ahead of the church folks at the Sugarmill restaurant. A two hour ride home after breakfast says we'll be back inside before the heat of the day.
Sunday May 29th - We're back!!!!! This weather dictates a return to breakfast rides. This week, my destination is the Country Pancake House in Lakewood Ranch. Departure is 6:51 from the Starbuck's in Clearwater Mall. A Skyway dollar will be required for the return trip. 90 miles to breakfast, much less to get home.
Sunday, June 5th, WHN and I will be heading from Cocoa Beach to Valdosta with the Hot Rod Power Tour. Unfortunately, we will be traveling without the T Bucket.
Sunday, June 12th, WHN and I are returning from a couple days with Bob and Barbara after completing three days of the Hot Rod Power Tour.
Sunday, June 19th - It may be fathers day, but it's also time for a breakfast ride. Let's gather at Starbuck's on SR 60 (Clearwater Mall) at 6:45, then head out for some chow. We'll be back in time to support the sidecar ride activity for the Fletchers.
Sunday, June 26th - I'm leading a club ride today. I reckon we have to wait until the holiday weekend to do something here.
Sunday, April 3rd - How about a ride through farmlands and phosphate lands? How about Catfish Country for lunch? After chow at Lenny's (7:49), we'll head through Tampa, then south some, then Plant City and MON to Bartow. This is 123 miles as currently planned. The return route is just under 80 miles.
Sunday, April 10th - The pet adoption event at Fletcher's South is today, ten till three. After that, I'll be watching the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) at the St Pete Times Forum.
Sunday, April 17th - I'll be riding from Jacksonville to home today. Care to join me?
Sunday, April 24th - Easter Sunday in the Christian world. A day best spent with family.
Sunday, march 6th - today is the Humane Highway Tour Poker Run. Join us at Fletcher's South at 9:00 ayem.
Sunday, March 13 - A short ride is in order... There's a fundraiser at Brighthouse Field at 3:00, so I'll be back by 1:00. Breakfast at Lenny's at 7:48 (new time), followed by a ride to some close destination. More info to follow.
Sunday, March 20th - A great day to work on the T Bucket. Maybe we ride next week?
Sunday, March 27th - Lunch ride. Gather at cracker Barrel on Tampa Road in Oldsmar, 7:53 ayem. From there, well take the strangest possible route to the Bayport Inn. 123 miles to lunch, about half that to get home.
Sunday, February 6th - Sumpter Swap meet by truck today - no ride
Sunday, February 13th - we've been north, we've been east and we can't go west, so we're heading SOUTH! Let's find something with a view, atmosphere, and good food. Never mind, we'll go to Avon Park. 130 miles to lunch, 120 miles home, two Skyway dollars required. We'll start with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:49. See you there.
Sunday, February 20th - Headed to Orlando by truck. No ride today.
Sunday, February 27th - Suggestions? Yes we have a suggestion... How about a ride to Plant City where we will spend an hour or so at the gun range? It's $12 for the range, targets are relatively cheap and guns can be rented if you don't have one. Ammo is also available there, reasonable, too. Lunch will follow range time. Gathering for breakfast is 7:49 at Ulmerton Road Cracker Barrel.
Sunday, January 2nd - Today we met at Lenny's at 7:49, had some comfort food, then headed north to Inverness. Not often you can see seven headlights on four Harleys - yep, three of four bikes were Road Glides. We had a little rain, but not much and not for long. We took some of the twistiest roads between Clearwater and Inverness just because we could. Lunch was at Cockadoodles, a quaint little place near city hall, where we met Chuck and micki,. We covered about 100 toll-free miles before lunch and then another 900 to get home. It was cloudy, but no rain on the southbound leg.
Sunday, January 9th - let's ride! It started out a bit cool - in the low 40s when I left home, but Tony and I headed into the sun after Lenny's. Gandy through Tampa is much improved. We took SR 640 through the phosphate mines, went east all the way to Frostproof, then south through Arbuckle and into Sebring. The Sebring Diner must be THE place in town - we had to wait in line for a table. Once seated, the service was quick, the food was good and the prices were aimed at the retirees that filled the place. Adter lunch, we headed south to SR 66, then west to Zolfo Springs. We took SR 64 to Green Springs, then north to SR 62, and west all the way to Parrish. The stop signs on Moccasin Wallow at the railroad are now yield signs. Over the Skyway, through St Pete and then north to Dunedin. Home before 3:00.
Sunday, January 16th - Dog Show in Brooksville. No ride today!
Sunday, January 23rd - The return from the club Pirate Dinner Ride. No KLEEK Tours ride today.
Sunday, January 30th - Clear ande cool... time to ride. The weatherman must have said it was riding weather, because 6 bikes and one convertible were parked in the lot waiting for the signal. We started at the Cracker Barrel in Oldsmar at 7:55 for heat treated animal parts, then took a liesurely ride through the center of our fine state with lunch at Lisa'a Country Cafe in Sorrento. A few new roads were travelled, a new diner vistied, and old friends were enjoyed. This ride was about 125 miles each way, so it took all day - got home at 5:00.
Sunday, December 5th - After meeting at Lenny's at 7:47, and downing some chow, we headed north and east. I needed to be home for the Chapter LOH dinner ride, so we only went to the Yalaha bakery. It was a little cool, but lunch in the sun outdoors was pleasant. I got home before 4:00, so the objectives were all met. Another good day on the back roads of Florida's central section.
Sunday, December 12th - I led the FBACC HOG ride today. Yes, we got wet!
Sunday, December 19th - We gathered for early morning chow at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton Road, 7:53 a.m. From there, we headed into Tampa, then through the agricultural wonderland of Hillsborough and Polk Counties. We traversed the phosphate pits, finding rain along the way. Chow was found at teh LLRA restaurant that was once Tony's Airside. The trip home was mostly interstate so I could dry my jeans. It was still a good day on the road with friends.
Sunday, December 26th - no ride today...
Sunday, November 7th - this is the annual FBACC HOG UPARC Leigh Nolan Memorial Poker Run date. WHN and I were working/riding this, so there was no KLEEK Tours ride. Thanks to those who supported the event.
Sunday, November 14th - I thought we'd meet at Lenny's at 7:52, have some chow, then head out for Mulberry. Well. I was wrong! After breakfast, I headed north and inland, finding Zephyrhills and a few roads I haven't been on in a while. It was still a good day on the road.
Monday, November 15th, I led a chapter ride to the Crow's Nest in Venice, departing TWBMD at 9:00 ayem. Seven of us on six bikes crossed the Skyway, passed through Rubonia and Palmetto, into Bradenton, then west to Anna Maria. After a comfort stop on the island, we headed down past the Mote Marine Lab and on to St Armand's, then went back to the mainland, where we picked up US-41. The traffic engineers have timed the lights on Tamiami Trail so you can actually get one green every 3 or 4 miles. Once we arrived in Venice, we went through the poor section where people are stuck in million dollar houses on the bay, unlike the expensive ones along the Gulf. We found the Crow's Nest and were lucky to get a good waitress that was not only efficient and friendly, but also liked motorcycles. After lunch, we cruised through down town, then hit the superslab, arriving home around three pee emm. A great day on the road with friends.
Sunday, November 22nd, WHN and I will be in Key West for a wedding. See you next week.
Friday, November 27th - I'm headed to Daytona Beach and the Turkey Rod Run. I hope to pick up a model T body.
Sunday, November 29th - WHN and I are playing tourist in Orlando today and tomorrow. No ride this week.
Sunday, the 3rd of October - I asked "Punta Gorda for lunch anyone?" and the red-bike crew responded in the affirmative. Behind me were Phil and Bea, Bill and Tony, all on red bikes. We began at Lenny's at 7:43, then headed east, then south through Tampa, skirting Sun City, then into Parrish. After a stop at the fish camp, we passed through Myakka City, then headed south down Sugarbowl to SR-72.Yes, the roads down there are straight and flat, but at least there's a lot less traffic than around here. We arrived at the pier just before noon, so waterfront seating in Harpoon Harry's was no problem.After lunch, we cruised some of US-41 before we hit the superslab and a trip through the toll booths on the Skyway. I managed to get home before 3:30 - plenty of time to get ready for the LOH dinner ride.
Sunday, October 10th - Shop-toberfest at Fletcher's South. This was our opportunity to shop almost forty vendors in one place. Most of the vendors signed up did show, so that was good for the shoppers. From my perspective, many shoppers showed up, so that was good for the vendors. It was a long day, but the Children's Dream Fund benefited nicely from the event.
Sunday, October 17th - I'm thinking Peck's Old Port Cove. We can start with breakfast at 7:45, then head out through the autumn mist of west central Florida. Let's begin at Bob Evans restaurant on US 19, north of SR-580, but south of SR-586, east side. From there, it's 120 miles to Peck's, with the return route covering 90 miles. We should be home around 4:00 pee emm. Remember, Peck's has the large gravel rocks for a parking lot.
Sunday, October 24th, we'll be returning from the Florida State HOG Rally that was held in Destin, so no KLEK Tours ride today, unless you start with us in Destin.
Sunday, October 31st - Halloween. WHN and I will be working the car show at Steinbrenner field. See you next week.
Sunday September 5th - Labor Day Weekend, but I needed a ride anyway. I also needed breakfast, so nine of us gathered at TWBMD before 7:00, then headed through St. Pete on I-275, across the Skyway, the esat on SR 64 to Lakewood Ranch. When we arrived at the Country Pancake Inn, the place looked closed - one car in the lot. Looks can be deceiving... the 'open' sign was flashing, so we joined the two people already inside for our share of pancakes, waffles, french toast and egg dishes. It was my day to be last served - a misunderstanding had me waiting an additional 5 minutes for my chow. After everyone called it quits, I headed south on Lakewood Ranch because MapSource said I could. It's blocked! One U-turn and we were headed home, across familiar roads aqround Lake Manatee, past the golf course, into Rubonia and across the Skyway again. The clouds were building and we managed to hit some rain at the north end of the Bayside Bridge, but not enough to be a problem. North of there, the roads were wet, but the rain had passed. Another lucky day on the roads!
Saturday, September 11th - Day 1 of the 15 day ride to Arkansas. We departed from Countryside Mall a bit later than planned, but traffic in Pasco wasn't as bad as it could have been, so we got to Nellie's about 15 minutes later than expected. There must have been one cook and one waitress on duty - we lost about a half hour more. Fortunately, it's a long daymile-wise, but short in time because of the open roads. We rode through Tallahassee rather than around it and quickly were reminded that Tally is hotter than anywhere else in Florida - upper 90s. We got to Bainbridge mid-afternoon, checked in and started the restaurant search.A good mexican Restaurant was just two properties south of the hotel, so it was walkable. After dinner, a party broke out in the breakfast room, where some adult beverages were consumed and stories were told. Bedtime was early.
Sunday September 12th - Bainbridge to Birmingham: We departed the Jameson Inn at 8:00 and headed north. US-27 is good road, so we made excellent tim to Blakely, our gas stop. After fuel, we headed for the Walter George Locks at Fort Gaines. We could get down the access road, but the lock is now fenced off, so the view of the lake is about all you see - the fence keeps you so far back that you can't see into the lock or down the river. Another trip with no activity in the lock!! Heading north again, we stopped on the west side of the lake in Alabama for a comfort break. the store was more sporting goods tyhan anything else, but quite interesting. The proprietor told me that Tom Mann's place was open again as a Texaco station, but, as we passed it, I didn't see anything about the bass display that was once there. Mushing on, we found some nice scenic roads through farm land - lots of cotton - and some small towns. Once we got onto US-280, the road was like interstate, with lots of traffic and trucks. As we approached Birmingham, it was like riding US-19 through Pinellas. We reached the Hampton around 2:15 (Central time) and checked in. There's a plaza right next door with restaurants. Greek food tonight! BTW - the lobby is being renovated, so it's kinda ugly. Breakfast has moved to the meeting room.
Monday, September 13th - Birmingham to Memphis - We departed the hotel when it was a brisk 58 degrees Farengrade, heading northwest, where it was a bit cooler. It was quite pleasant all the way until lunch time, maybe even beyond. Once we were out of the city, US-78 was a nice, wide, well-paved, scenic highway. Some was 2 lane, some was 3 lane. It's a lot like an interstate - in fact, the signs say it's the future I-22 corridor. Since it was a short day of just 223 miles, we detoured through Tupelo and stopped at Elvis Aaron Presley's birthplace, leaving a few coins at the gift shop. One of the workers at the house/museum/church suggested that we stop at Johnnie's Drive In for lunch... the place where EAP often stopped when he went home to Tupelo. The place was one of those places that has to be visited for the ambiance more than the chow. It was packed when we arrived, but several folks cleared out so we could get to tables. One of the locals asked if we were staying in town for a few days - the Cannonball Run will be here Wednesday. I 'splained we'd get to see them in Hot Springs on Friday. After our BBQ, we headed back to US-78. Soon we discovered that the Mississippi portion of US-78 wasn't as well maintained as the Alabama portion. That was about 10 miles of spine jarring before we headed north on a narrow two-lane road through some small towns. Before i knew it, we were on US-72 and looking for the Hampton. The sign was very clear to me about the time I passed it. One U-Turn isn't a bad day. Dinner isn't in walking distance tonight - we have to ride about 1.6 miles to find the Longhorn. Yes, the afternoon was hot, but not as hot as Saturday in Tallahassee. P.S., the trip to the Longhorn was worth the trip for me... the prime rib was good and just as I ordered it - the cow still had a high probability of surviving the wound.
Tuesday, September 14th - Memphis to the Ozark Folk center, Arkansas. The day starts out with too much Interstate highway, but you can't cross the Missippi just anywhere. Actually, the day started with too much city road that had workday traffic and an accident being managed by the local LEOs. It took an hour to get out of town, then we started making time. About 15 miles of I-55 got us to US-63, another road destined to be an interstate (I-555). It was fairly good road, but definitely needed some maintenance. We saw lots of small towns and lots of crops - more t-shirt fields, rice and corn. When we first found Arkansas 14, it was flat and straight. It finally got good just before lunch. BTW, lunch was in a town called Oil Trough, at Sissy's cafe and pizza pit. Good home cooking, lunch with the locals,and low prices. Good tour diner. After lunch, we put on the rain gear because the radar showed a line of rain coming our way, polus the locals said it was raining west and north. We were headed northwest. Right - we were prepared, so all we got was some sprinkles and a couple miles of wet roads. The closer we got to Mountain View, the better (for motorcycles) the roads got. We arrive around 2:30, checked in and unloaded the mules. Now it's rest time until the 6:00 dinner gathering. There's a restaurant on-site, down the path. We were also granted access to ther meeting room at the registration building should a party break out. This qualified as a good day on two wheels!
Wednesday, September 15th - playing tourist at the Ozark Folk center. We started the day with a bus ride up to the restaurant, where we discovered they had 7 eggs for the 14 of us, plus some of that pre-scrambled eggs-in-a-bag stuff from Cisco. Somewhere in teh prep process, teh Cisco truck showed up, or one of the staff drove to town... eggs apeared! After chow and a trip through the cabins, we again were on the bus, this time to the Folk Center Craft area. We saw how to make furniture, brooms, jewelry, food, herbs, knives, guns, and other stuff. Just before lunch, we saw the free music show, which featured a 12 year old girl on the fiddle and Dobro (plus a bit of dancin') along with a master bass player and a couple locally famous old men on a guitar and fiddle. We had lunch at the smoke house, saw some more mountain crafts and took a mule-powered merry-go-round ride before we went back to see the free music show again. Another bus ride to the cabins, a bus ride back to the restaurant, dinner and a bus ride to the night time music show. That was two hours of musicians playing and singing pre-war (WWII) music as part of maintaining and teaching the mountain heritage. It was a good show. The last bus ride of the day and back to the cabins.
Thursday, September 16th - riding to Russelville, Ar. We intentionally rode through down-town Mountain View to check it out - very 'cute' town. The first hour was good open road. Eventually, we found Arkansas 123, recommended by Mr. Wattam. It was quite a road in places. Several sections prohibited trucks and that says something about the road. After a sign that said 'steep and narrow next 5 miles', we did two uphill, inside 180s within a mile of each other. The rest was a piece of cake. The scenery off to the side was often spectacular, but someone has to watch the road and Zumo. 123 took us to Arkansas 7, a reportedly great motorcycle road. We didn't travel much of it because of the recommendation to take 123. We did find a scenic overlook with an impressive view. Shortly thereafter, we found our way to Dover and lunch. It was another restaurant that everyone should know about. The rest of the ride after chow was only 15 minutes, so we checked into the Hampton before 3:00. The cookies were already baked and waiting. This is another dry county, but a couple of the local restaurants have work-arounds. Dinner will be a short walk from the hotel. Thanks for the road tip, Jim! After dinner update: Why are restaurants so smart? We told the hostess we needed two 4s and one 6. Sure enough, we got one table for 14, one waitress and not quite enough elbow room. The waitress did a pretty good job, except for the calling out the 'who had the peach tea?' and stuff like that. You;d think that they could look at the order pad and figure that out. The only complaint i heard, however, was one 'overcooked' chicken. The Lady Bass Anglers Association has a tournament in town this weekend; several of the competitors were at the next table (with a male tournament director) talking about fishing. Finally a group louder than motorcyclists! Another good day in the books.
Friday, September 17th - the Antique Motorcycle Cannonball Run stops in Hot Springs for the day. Quite coincidentally, we had Hot Springs on our agenda, too. We left the hotel at 8:30 ayem and headed down highway 7 toward the National Park. Although it was only 68 miles, it took two hours because highway 7 is quite twisty - so twisy that the 68 miles of road only get you about 55 miles as the proverbial crow flies. The road into the National Park is all uphill switchbacks, fortunately a one-way road. When we reached the parking lot at teh observation tower, the bikes smelled hot. Most of us took the elevator ride to the top of the viewing tower, reportedly 216 ft high. The stairs were being painted, so we had no choice. The view was excellent - we happened on a clear day for this activity. Leaving the park isn't as challenging as entering it - no uphill switchbacks, just lots of turns. A short ride got us to the Civic Center, where the Cannonball Run bikes were being worked on by their riders. They had three of the exhibit halls, so their entire rigs were also inside with them. Ther are 45 bikes on the run, plus support vehicles, but it looked like only 25 to 30 were in the center. Some were stripped of their engines, some were missing wheels, forks or primaries. Almost all were in unrestored condition. We saw Harleys, Indiands, Hendersons, a Pope and a few other marques. At the local Harley dealership (where we stopped after the Civic Center) we saw another Harley and a Militaire. All the competitors had to be on bikes of 1915 vintage or earlier and all engines had to be original, with original type carburetors. I asked a couple when they thought the ride went from adventure to the dumbest thing they ever did. One said 'day 1, but it's getting better'. After the Harley shop stop, it was back up highwat 7 to the hotel. The Dixie Cafe is on the agenda at 6:30 pee emm. Update - teh Dixie Cafe was worth the walk - good food, reasonable prices. Menu items were much like the Cracker Barrel, but without the general store feel..
Saturday, the mid point of the trip - we travelled from Russelville to Queen Wilhelmina State Park, through Fort Smith. This was planned to be an easy day of just 151 miles, but I got the hair-brained idea to stop in Fort Smith and visit the Trolley Museum. The museum was quite a place, mostly created and maintained by volunteers, from what I could see. hey have one restored trolly that can be ridden for the amazing fee of $2 per adult. The driver was also a tour guide and history teacher. There are grand plans to continue expansion of the track to create a loop ride. After the trolly, we went two blocks to Fort Smith. The original is just remnants of the foundation. The walls of the second fort are also gone, but the barracks building has been preserved and turned into a museum... it served at teh courthouse between being abandonded as a fort and becoming a tourist attraction; the courtroom where the hanging judge passed down his decisions. The gallows have been recreated out back. Quite inpressive handiwork. We walked to lunh a block away and found a place full of Razorback fans watching the football game against Ga Bulldogs. We had the only Dawgs fan in the building in our group. The game was tied when we left, but the Dawgs lost. The ride after lunch took us into Oklahoma. The road was uninteresting, but in good shape. The last 15 miles of so was designated a scenic highway, but also not impressive. The entry into the park was a bit twisty and uphill, but not as challenging as the Hot Springs NP entry. The lodge is nice, dinner is right here. I'm ready!
Sunday September 19th - Sightseeing in Arkansas - We rode from QWSP to Crater of Diamonds State Park to dig for diamonds. The ride to the park was more good twisty road, with rare opportunity for gas or comfort breaks. The traffic is amazing - you can ride forever without seeing a car or truck. Back to the diamonds. You pay a fee to enter, then you can rent the equiupment to dig and sift through the dirt to find the gems. Because it was about a million degrees in teh diamond field, less than half of the group ventured out into the open-air oven. A nice Ranger lady told me where to dig and how. Then I improperly screened the dirt in the water trough and found 6 Jaspers, one sandstone and one somethingelse. NO DIAMONDS!! The rest of the group also came back without diamonds. We went back into town and filled the remaining seats in Buddy's Cafe. Another good choice accidentally stumbled upon. The ride back to QWSP was HOT, mayber even hotter than HOT. We found a lonesome gas station where we got water and other drinks, then continued back to the lodge. Dinner downstairs once again (not a bad choice).
Monday, September 20th - QWSP to Mena Mountain Lodge. This is just 15 miles, so I had to improvise a bit. The original plan was a 203 mile ride to Mount Magazine and back to Mena, but the temperature was going to be just like Sunday, only a degree ot two higher. I cut the ride to 80 miles or so, put in two museum stops. The first stop was the Mena Train Depot. We also wandered about the town, peeked into the ESSO station and the Studebaker dealership - both full of collectibles, but only open on special occasions. Then we headed for the Lum and Abner museum, which I managed to miss. Fortunately, that got us back into Mena in time to have lunch at the Skyline Diner. Home cooking, small town prices and it closed right after we finished lunch. Another opportunity to shop the quaint stores, the on the road again for the 5 mile ride to Mena Mountain Resort. See http://menamountainresort.com/ This place is like a mansion in the mountains, with spacious rooms, luxurious appointments, a lounge area with two TVs, a dining room and a dinner theatre. Motorcycles get to park under the entryway... this place is run by motorcycle enthusiasts (AKA Bikers). Since it's a B&B, they have kitchen facilities, so we're having a steak dinner here tonight - no more miles in the heat today. Update: Lots of the group went to the saltwater pool while I got up to speed on Dr. Phil and the website. Before dinner, we gathered in the pool room / shuffleboard room. I think J9 ruled the shuffleboard, but i'm not sure. Somehow, the Dick beat Jerry at pool, but then Al came in in the electric chair came in and beat Dick in what was probably the ugliest 8-ball game I have ever watched. Dinner was good - ribeye cooked to order. This is the place to stay in Mena! Oh, we also had birthday cake for Shirley, Steve and me. HBTY, HBTY, HBDS&S&E, HBTY!
Tuesday - September 21st - Mena to Magnolia, Ar, through Texarkana, Tx. After another good meal at the Mena Mountain Resort, we were headed south through DeQueen and into Texarkana. Out target in Texarkana was the Ace of Clubs Museum, right in town. When we arrived, the door was locked, so a local took me to the office to see what was up - the website says they open at 10:00 and it's now 11:00. The office staff said the place was locked because the docent was on tour and there would be another tour at 11:45. Not on the website!!! I went back to retrieve the group when the earlier tour group came out. The docent said the next tour was 11:45 and couldn't take us early and besides, a group of 12 would require another docent. I said we'd go somewhere more hospitable, so we went into town for drinks. I guess they didn't have budget issues and didn't need our 12 admission fees. We also took lots of pictures stradling the Ar/Tx state border. A stop at the Stone House ane back on the road. Half-way to Magnolia we found a BBQ joint that was also the butcher shop and convenient store. Good BBQ was quite accidentally had by all. Arrival at the Holiday Inn was just after 2:00 and dinner is a walk next door. HooRah! OOPS! Just emptied my pocket and found the key to last night's room. Apologies to MML, it will be in the mail soon. Yes, today was hot. I thought the starch in my jeans was beginning to burn here in town. It was also very windy today, from the south as we headed east... the FLTRU is very stable, tho. As the hotel is on th eeast end of town, the only dinner choices toninght were Pizza Hut or Taco Bell. Not being a fan of Chee-Hooa-Hooas, I opted for the pizza. We walked across the street, dined and returned safely. The gathering in the lobby broke up quickly and we're all tucked in for the night.
Wednesday, September 22th - Magnolia to Pearl Ms. "Unseasonably warm, but not as hot as yesterday." according to the local radio weather guy about noon today. Yep, it was hot today, too. We had 263 miles to cover through cotton fields, corn, rice, and catfish farms. The first couple of hours was directly into the sun. How could it get any worse? Ever been to Jackson, MS? The roads are terrible!! They were even a news feature on the 5:00 braodcast. That was all the bad stuff and the venting is done. We had open roads, saw some deer, saw creatures sleeping in the road, saw a momma dog trying to eat the roadkill,found gas and food when we needed it, and the food was good, too. Did I mention the U-Turns? Twice I was watching the scenery better than the ZUMO, so we missed the turns. When we got to Pearl, the ZUMO had a brain fart and sent me to the wrong hotel. Oh well, three more U-Turns and we're at the Hilton Garden Inn safely. Dinner is right next door and the Bass Pro Shop is a ten minute walk. I shopped, I ate, I updated. Another day complete. Another good day on the road with friends and family.
Thursday, September 23rd - Pearl to the Gulf Coast of Florida - Navarre Beach. US-49 is a terrible road. It appears to be paved over concrete and the slab seams create big bumps in the asphalt. Ouch! We departed from the Hilton at Oh-Eight Hundred and headed south. Aside from road quality, it was clear sailing all the way to Hattiesburg, Ms. From there, it was US-98 to Mobile and open road again all the way to the edge of town. Through town, stop light to stop light it was hot. At the bay, we got on I-10 and cruised to Pensacola with one Cracker Barrel stop in Spanish Fort (missed the Bass Pro Shop exit). After lunch, more I-10 and then into Pensacola, with a stop at the Harley shop, then on to the beach. We're in Navarre Beach, with a view of Santa Rosa Sound and Santa Rosa Island from the 4th floor, and a sports bar for the only dinner option, unless we want to ride 7 miles. Bar food again! At least it is a bit cooler here on the Gulf Coast. I hear the Hampton cookies calling... Update - the bar and grille worked out well. The food was good, the prices reasonable, and the walk was only 0.2 miles each way.
Friday, the 24th of September - Navarre Beach to Perry, Fl. over some very familiar roads. Well, the roads through Fort Walton, Valparaise, and Niceville weren't so familiar - they've been moved since I lived up there. Once we got past the middle bay bridge, SR20 was that familiar road I started with. It's largely straight and open, with a couple towns. Between Blountstown and Bristol, over the Chattahootchee River, we re-entered the Eastern Time Zone. I had the Wakulla Springs Lodge targetted for lunch, which we made at 1:00 easter, so that worked out well. After lunch, we wandered around the waterfront and through the lobby area since some of us had never been there. Once we were back on the road, we quickly got to US98 aand 41 more boring miles. Just before 4:00 pee emm, we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Perry, That's plenty early to get ready for their happy hour before dinner. Update: The happy hour was first class. After 90 minutes of socializing we walked up to the mexican restaurant for a quick dinner. Yep, another good choice.
Saturday, the 25th of September - Perry to Clearwater in time for the FBACC HOG meeting and a birthday dinner at Carmelita's afterward. Yep, we did it! Six bikes rolled into Pinellas County shortly after lunch at the Inn on the Gulf in Hudson Beach. About 2900 miles and the only problems were shift levers falling off of two bikes. We also had two chase cars, but they separated from the group before we hit Pinellas. I assume no problems with them, either. Today was that long boring stretch of US-19 from Perry, southward. We had a couple gas and/or comfort stops, plus the lunch break, and we still got home before 2:00 pee emm. I think it was 15 good days for almost everyone in the group. OK, maybe 13 or 14 good days for some... I know I enjoyed all 15.
Sunday September 26th - I think I need a ride - 2900 miles in 15 days isn't enough. I decided to go to Inverness for lunch, so I called Chuck to arrange a get-together. I started at Lenny's for breakfast at 7:41 ayem, then headed north and east. I took every twisty road I could think of between Clearwater and Inverness, so it took four hours to reach Cockadoodle's from Lenny's. I included Bayshore, Patterson, Boy Scout, Hutchison, Lutz Lake Fern, Newberger, Parkway, Ehren Cutoff, Pasco, Jessamine, Weatherly, Istachatta, Gobbler, Withlapopka and Trails End. I had to string these together with a few straight roads, too. After lunch, it was quite a bit straighter, but I did cover Ehren Cutoff and Lutz Lake Fern again. 223 miles to collect quite a few love bugs. I think this was an excellent month on the road.
Sunday, August 1st - It's still summer, so we're still doing breakfast rides. This week's adventure took the eight of us into Hillsborough County, to a gourmet breakfast restaurant called J Christopher. Barb, Jerry, Larry, Cathy, Steve, Cathy and WHN went with me from Starbuck's in Clearwater Mall, deperting at 6:49 ayem. From there, we took a 36 mile ride to breakfast, via Tarpon Springs, Keystone and Carrolwood, getting to J Christopher just after 8:00. We beat the crowds, so we had excellent service to go along with the good food. Once the locals showed up with their precious children, we headed back to Pinellas, a short putt of just18 miles for me. Thanks to all who joined us today.
Sunday, August 8th - We gathered at Sears at 6:35, as planned, but the weather was closing in fast. Because of the radar data, we dropped the plan to head north for the Leprechaun, and went east to McMullen Booth, then south to Drew, and west to Lenny's. Dick, Tony, Cathy, Steve and I agreed that after breakfast, it was time to head home. This is a record short breakfast ride, and hopefully not a record to be broken.
Sunday, August 15th - WHN and I will be in Helen, Ga, visiting with William and Lisa. No ride for us...
Sunday, August 22nd - I planned to lead a club ride today. It rained out. Bummer!
Sunday, August 29th - 5 of us gathered at Starbuck's, waited for the cell clock to show 6:58, then headed directly into the sunrise. Many lefts and rights later, we arrived at Snellgrove's in Plant City. We were not ahead of the crowd, but not behind it, either, so we were able to get a prime table near the old people. After our fair share of heat-treated animal parts disappeared, we were back on the road, heading south and west. Once we neared Tampa, we turned north to yuppytown, then split Hillsborough and Pasco counties (on County Line Rd) to Lutz, then south and more west to Oldsmar, then home. We covered about 130 miles, getting me home at noon, as planned. Another good day on the road with friiends.
Sunday, July 4th - Independence Day USA. Be independent today. No ride planned.
Sunday, July 11th - Breakfast in Plant City was the plan, specifically, Snellgroves. We gathered at Clearwater Mall, near Starbucks at 6:30, then headed out across the Courtney Campbell (saw a bad wreck there), through the 'hood, Ybor, the port area, Progress Village, farms land and finally, Plant City. This was about 60 miles, some of which was described as 'cool' or 'almost chilly'. The return route took us south and east, then south and west, with a stop in Wimauma. It continued to be pleasant as we worked through Rubonia and onto the Skyway, but started getting warm as we left St Pete for the congestion and stop lights around the St. Pete - Clearwater airport. I was home at 11:30, with plenty of time to freshen up before the club's LOH dinner ride.
Sunday, July 18th - We gathered at TWBMD at Oh-Seven Huindred, then headed around the block, then south and west and more south for breakfast. The ride took us down Gulf Boulevard, with a nice view of the beach at times. The return route continued south to the end of Pass-a-grille Beach, then north through Pasadena and east in front of Stetson Law School. Somehow, we managed to put about 25 miles on the odo on both legs of the ride. Oh, I forgot to mention that we were surprised to have former chapter members Jim and Sherry along for this ride. Nice to catch up with old friends.
Sunday, July 25th, I led a club ride to Zephyrhills for breakfast. There were eight of us on six bikes for the 55 miles ride to BJ's Country Kitchen. Four of us stayed together for the 55 mile ride home, too. I pulled in right around noon and it was getting pretty sweatty.
Sunday, June 6th - Five of us, including a surprise rider (JT), headed across the Skyway to the pancake joint in Lakewood Ranch. This is the place with 112 different pancakes on the menu, plus another four dozen or so baked pancakes, and about as many unique waffles. After way too many carbs, we headed east on University, but soon discovered MapSource lies - you can't get there from here, so we saw some redundant roadway, then headed east and north, through Duette and Wimauma, up to Tampa and west across the Courtney Campbell, back to home. bout 150 miles all together.
Sunday, June 13th - A small group - just 5 of us - took the 20 miles ride from Fletcher's H-D to Skyway Jacks II on 4th Street in St Pete. After chow, we headed across the Gandy, up Bayshore, around the airport and north on Hoover. Anderson, Hutchison, Mobly, Crawley, Boy Scout, Patterson, Keystone, Old Keystone, Pinellas, Alt 19, Sunset Point, Hercules, Nursery, Belcher, Belair and US 19 got us back to Fletcher's in just 72 miles... the other 38 were skipped due to the heat/humidity which made it tough to enjoy the breeze. It may have only been 92 miles, but a good day, nonetheless.
Sunday, June 20th - Fathers Day - no ride today, unless you count the Acadia ride to Country Pancake House in Lakewood Ranch and the trip down I-75 to the Bass Pro Shop in Fort Meyers.
Sunday, June 27th - the heat index will help determine the route, but the starting point will be Clearwater Mall, near Starbucks and the Men Swearhouse. From there, it's north to Caposey's Whole Works for breakfast, followed by a ride home, the length of which will be determined by the temperature and humidity. In any case, we'll be done by noon, fer sure. Departure is 6:55 ayem. 32 miles to breakfast, 53 miles home (planned).
Monday, June 28th - it's Harley-Davidson's Million Mile Monday. I headed for Immokalee with fiv others following. We accumulated 391 miles each, for a total of 2346 miles of the 4,324.240 amassed around the world by all HOG participants.
Sunday, May 9th - Mothers day. No ride.
Sunday, May 16th - The riding resumes, but, due to the weather, we planned to have a breakfast ride instead of a lunch ride. So, four of us gathered at the Men Swearhouse at Clearwater Mall (OK, by Starbucks) at 6:53. We then headed out of Pinellas as quickly as possible, with a stop for breakfast at the Cortez Cafe in Bradenton. From there, it was south on the barrier islands to St Armand's, then east on Fruitville Rd until we reached it's eastern terminus, then we headed north, with a comfort stop at Lake Manatee. A route change took us through Parrish, up US 301, across Gibsonton Rd to US 41, then around the ports and onto Bayshore, then Gandy, wrapping up at Fletcher's H-D. The Credit Union Cruide for Kids Poker Run had the lot jammed, so I parked by service and went in to arrange leaving my bike there. I did wash off 50 or more love bugs before I pulled it inside. Another good day in the books.
Sunday, May 23rd - Fletcher's Harley-Davidson is a major supporter of the DART organization, a group of animal rescue organizations and devotees that perform rescues after natural disasters, hoarding finds, and overcrowding at shelters and puppy mills. Today was the 'Fun Run' that will raise money for DART. The event started and ended at Quaker Steak and Lube and included an 83 mile ride to five animal shelters in the bay area. We saw the first bike at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay just before 11:20 and the last one a bit after 12:30. It looked like a good crowd - I should have counted the bikes,
Sunday, May 30th - Memorial Day weekend. We needed to go somewhere, so seven of us went to Zephyrhills for breakfast... The trip was just over 50 miles, and breakfast was at BJ's Country Kitchen. I heard no complaints about the food, so it must have been worth the trip. After chow, we covered another 80 miles or so on some of the straightest, flattest roads in Hernando and Pasco counties. We beat the rain and the heat, getting back around 11:30.
Sunday, April 4th - Easter for both halves of the Christian world. No ride today.
Sunday, April 11th - WHN and I are returning from Milwaukee all day - no ride today except in the big silver bird.
Sunday, April 18th - Another rainout! First it's always cold, now it's always wet! Thanks Al Gore!
Check the SoCar in 2010 page for the summary of our 9 day ride to South Carolina.
Sunday, March 7th - We began the adventure at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton, at 7:51. I was surprised when Barb and Jerry turned into the lot, and again when we saw the other Bonnie and Ed leaving the restaurant. Six of us, including Cathy, Steve and Bill, did our damage to the fare offered up by the restaurant, then headed across Gandy to Tampa. We traversed south Tampa, skirted the channelside district, then visited the port area. A comfort stop was found in the Progress Village area, then we headed for the phosphate areas, passing through Picnic and Fort Lonesome. Somehow I found Bartow before heading west to Plant City. My original destination isn't open on Sunday, so we started the hunt for an eaterie. We happened upon a dude in costume, shilling for an Italian restaurant, so we picked that place for lunch. It was a nice place and the food was good, but our server was basically dumber than a box of rocks. I'll try it again, hoping for a different server. After lunch, it was the scenic path north around the strawberry festival and then west to Pinellas. As predicted, I was home with 180 miles on the odo, just after 3:00, in time to change shoes and head to Plant City for the Strawberry festival - we had Darius Rucker tickets. Another great day on two wheels, plus an evening at the festival with a good show.
Sunday, March 14th - I led the FBACC HOG club ride to the Tampa Bay History Center at 9:00 a.m. We numbered seven when we departed TWBMD, nine when we arrived at the museum. Two of the three floors were dedicated to Florida's history, focusing on Tampa bay, with the third floor reserved for the rotating temporary exhibits. This month's subject was the Negro Baseball Laegue. During our visit, we dined at the Columbia Cafe, the only one of the Columbia restaurants I hadn't yet visited. The entire visit took about 3.5 hours after an 1.75 hour ride (55 miles), followed by a quick one-hour ride home. I was another good day in the saddle. BTW, I sat in a real horse saddle at the museum while watching a video abbout Florida's cattle industry and the Crackers that were our original cowboys.
Sunday, March 21st - Another Rainout!!!
Sunday, March 28th - Breakfast at the Lucky Dill happened at 7:52. After too much food, we headed north instead of east because of the weather forecast - rain at noon. We shared the road with the idiot bicyclists out by the power plant, then cruised the east bank of the Cotee River. The Chesta Fiasco had some of the road closed, but we managed to use that closure to get us our new road requirement. We made it to Moon Lake via Ridge Road, then off to Ehrens Cutoff (Where I noticed that the Deer Creek Sporting Clays signs are down). Due to the impending rain, the only good road we used on the way home after the cutoff was Crawley, but I did meet the goal of getting home dry. Thanks to Tony, Larry, Cathy, Barb, Jerry, Larry and Carolyn for joining WHN and me despite the lousy forecast.
Monday, February 1st - Another ride rained out.
Friday, February 5th - Paynes Creek State Historic Site was the destination for this FBACC HOG ride, from TWBMD at 9:00 Bill and I were the only ones to believe th erain would hold off until 4:00. We went south over the Skyway, then east through Rubonia to Parrish and on to Bowling Green and the Payne's Creek Stete Historic Site. We toured the visitor's center, then the site of the old fort, watching more for animal tracks than unfriendly indiginous people. After the site, lunch was at John's Drive-In in Fort Meade. We had the table next to Sherriff Grady Judd. After lunch, we suited up because WHN said the weather was moving in ahead of schedule. We made it to Parsons just south of MLK before we hit rain and strong winds. To avoid the bridges, we withstood the millions of traffic lights (all red) on MLK and Hillsborough. When I hot home, a few leaks had managed to get me in spite of the Frogg Toggs. It was still a good day - better than being at work.
Sunday, February 7th - We gathered at the Lucky Dill at 7:52, dined on the usual good fare, and dash off to points north and east. At least, that was the plan. With the temperature seemingly dropping a dregree every 5 miles, the route was changed after the scheduled comfort break. We decided to head back toward the west, hoping the temps would rise as we approached the water. Another good plan, but the weather didn't support it. We arrived in Floral City just after noon and stopped at the Leprechaun for lunch. A large group of Buell riders filled two of the large tables, including Tommy from Fletcher's H-D and Wes from Cycle-Rama. After chow we headed south, avoiding the direct route, but still getting home in plenty of time for the football game
Thursday, February 11th - draft horse pulls Fl State Fair noon. WHN and I spent all afternoon watching tons of horses pulling the 'dynamoneter' across the show grounds. Amazing animals!
Sunday, February 14th - Another good day ruined by the weather prevaricators.
Sunday, February 21st - The Children's Cancer center Poker Run day. The weather was good, the turn out was better than I hoped, but I had terrible hands - too bad to be good and too good to be bad. I did win two of the raffle prizes, however. Anyone need throw-over saddle bags? I'm keeping the gift certificate to Russell's. Thanks to alla y'all that supported this event. Maybe i'll have a results report later in the week.
Wednesday, February 24th -The draft horse show has been cancelled. No ride to Fort Meade today.
Friday, February 26th - The AMCA swap meet in Eustis was today's destination. Steve and I ignored the temperature and headed northeast. We arrived just after 11:00, spent 2 hours looking at bikes, parts, junk and old guys drooling over old bikes. Lunch was in Eustis, followed by a 3 hour ride home. The morning was cold, but the afternoon was quite pleasant.
Sunday, February 28th - We'll start with heat treated pork products and hen output at the Lucky Dill at 7:52 ayem. From there, we'll head north, with Inverness as our destination. we'll lunch, we'll return home. All in about 200 miles and 8 hours.
Sunday, January 3rd - The day started at Lenny's at 7:35. No surprise here - i was alone. After breakfast, a fuel stop and an indirect route, I arrived at TWBMD around 8:30. At 9:00, I headed out on an 8.6 mile, eleven minute ride home. Buncha sissies!
Sunday, January 10th - Steve Jerve predicted 31 degreees. That's too cold for a group ride. Steve was close, it turns out.
Sunday, January 17th - A predicted rainout. Maybe i'll go to the dog show.
Monday, January 18th - a good day for a ride. Fletcher's H-D at 9:00. Seven of us, on four bikes and one trike went to Arcadia for lunch and almost 200 break-in miles on the new 2010s in the group. Good weather, good friends, good roads, great day.
Friday, January 22nd - We took an FBACC HOG ride to the Yulee Sugar Mill Historic site in Homosassa. Three of us braved the rain and fog to make the trip. It cleared up nicely after we got into Pasco or Hernando. We toured the ruins, then had lunch at the Museum Cafe across the street. The ride back repeated a few of the roads we used to get there, but sometimes there aren't any reasonable alternatives. The fog was settling in as I reached home. Another good day with almost 200 miles on the odometer.
Sunday, January 24th - I had to dry-run the Children's Cancer Center Poker Run route with the run committee. Four of us made the ride, or at least most of it. No changes required, just the addition of the alternate route for those who want to take the fast way through Tampa.
Sunday, January 31st. - No ride today - i'm going to watch the Professional Bull Riders compete at the SP Times Forum.
Sunday, December 6th - The day started at Lenny's at 7:51, then we headed out for points east and south. After 120 miles of some nice roads, including a few canopy roads, we stopped for lunch at the Crab Trap. After lunch it was a quick hop over the Skyway back to Pinellas.
Sunday, December 13th - We were on our way home from the FBACC HOG Christmas light ride to Disney. No KLEEK tour today.
Sunday, December 20th - The day began with breakfast at Lenny's, 7:51 ayem. Three of us braved the weather to gather for chow, but I ventured out alone afterwards. Since I was alone, I changed from the original TECO Power Plant plan to an easy ride north on some of my favorite twisties. I made at as far north as the HESS at SR 50 and Spring Lake Highway. It was cold when I left home and it was no warmer when I stopped up there. A large group of sport bikes gathered at their back lot. From there, it was more twisties back to Pinellas, then lunch. No friends along, but it was still a good day on the road.
Sunday, December 27th - It was quiet at the Lucky Dill at 7:55 this morning. A couple fisherman beat me there on their way to search for redfish and trout. After chow, I headed north and east to avoid the rain reportedly coming ashore in Citrus. I skirted Tampa and Kathleen en route to Lakeland where I checked out a couple boat ramps and got some fishing reports. The return route found some light rain just west of Kathleen which lasted all thge way home - just enough to cover the windshield and visor, but not enough to get me wet. I was home about 1:30
Sunday, November 1st - Today was the Leigh Nolan Memorial poker run. Did I see you there?
Sunday, November 8th - Today was a green day - we recycled our roads rather than use new ones to and from lunch. We took a nice leisurerly ride north and out to the salt marshes of Ozello. It all began with Jerry and Barb (with the new Ultra Limited), Larry on his Gold Wing, Steve and Cathy, Bill N and me meeting at Lenny's for breakfast. From there, I took the curviest roads I could think of so Jerry could appreciate the handling of his new ride. We survived the rock and gravel of Peck's parking lot before we headed south on some of the same roads we used to get there. Not necessarily the same sections of those roads, but the same roads nonetheless. We managed to ride over 200 miles round trip - in fact, my low fuel light came on after I stopped at Northside Hospital . In spite of the wind, it was another great day on the roads with friends.
Sunday, November 15th - Four of us began with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:45, then headed east a bit, then south. We went over the Skyway to Rubonia, then to Mexico ( I mean Wimauma), through Picnic, Keywtone, and along side Lakeland Liner Regional Airport. Then through a bit of Lakeland, then Polk City and finally Fantasy of Flight. The trip was about 125 miles. The return route was a bit more direct, using Knights-Griffin from Lakeland to Tampa, then the red light tour through the upper part of Tampa, over to Oldsmar and on to the house. Another good day on the road - about 210 miles of it - with friends.
Monday - November 16th - just a day ride to run errands and check on Tommy. I cruised through Tarpon, past the power plant and inland to Blanton. I stopped at Tommy's to see what's happening and he has one full calendar. He said he needs to get us on his calendar again. I got to see the new additions to the collection and talk about what's been happening. He has swap meets on teh agenda for the near term, and the Cushman club a bit later. He said that the Cushman club met in his back yard this year - about 200 people, dozens of motorhomes and hundreds of Cushmans. They're planning a big Cushman meet at Sturgis in 2010 during the August annual melee. After Tommy's, it was through Brooksville and on to Homosassa to find a good boat ramp. Once that was accomplished, it was back on US 19 to head south. I managed about 190 miles today, with perfect weather and clear roads (except the US 19 part).
Sunday, November 22nd - Andy Johnson says thunder showers, not just rain, so the chicken in me says postpone. See you next week?
Sunday, November 29th - Thanksgiving weekend. Starting with breakfast at Lucky Dill Deli at 7:55, we headed north and east to see how many twisty roads were could link together before we got to Lake Eustis. We managed a new road or two, Small group today, but still a good day.
Friday, October 2nd - WHN and I headed out for Kentucky at Oh-dark thirty, towing the trailer behind the Sierra. The Ultra is safely inside. Since this is a make-miles day, we took the interstate all the way to Tennessee.
Saturday, October 3rd, - WHN and I made it to Lexington at noon, as planned. William joined us at the hotel around 1:00, then we had a quick lunch before wandering over to the Man-O-War Harley-Davidson dealership. About 2:30 Lisa and Noah joined us. Nothing much planned for the day except dinner at a fancy steak restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. Twas a good day.
Sunday, October 4th - Read it and weep - the temperature gauge on the Harley was pointing between the 4 and the 0 when we crunk it up this morning (somewhere about 40 degrees?). We were told Tampa may set a record high today... But, the needle did reach the 0 by 10:00 (maybe 46 degrees?) and approached the 6 at noon (gettin close to 60?). Yes, WHN and I are riding in Kentucky with William and Lisa. William picked out the roads, so there was only one or two stretches of 1/4 mile or so that were straight in the 181 miles we racked up. The rest of the ride was ever-changing elevations and directions. The highest altitude seen by Zumo was 1430 feet. We saw barns, cows, horses, shacks, estates, rivers, creeks, the ferry (free ride across the river south of town), dogs, squirrels, possum and skunks. Lunch was in McKee, the county seat of Jackson County, at a place that was the kind of place you look for on a ride. After we picked out of meals from the buffet, the waitress asked if we wanted dessert before the church crowd arrived - which they did just seconds after the pies were decided upon. The ride home was as scenic as the ride to lunch, only a bit faster because the turns weren't as tight. We saw a couple of the schools Lisa attended ten or more years ago. Post ride time was spent on MapSource lessons, then dinner at Carrabbas. Another good day!
Monday, October 5th - We headed out at 8:30, following William into the sun. I'm not sure yet how we got to Natural Bridge State Park, but about 30 or 35 miles into our ride, I saw a sign that said it was 20 miles to the park. Shortly thereafter, we turned onto a narrow road that had a long, dark, one-lane tunnel, followed by miles of climbing, dropping, turning right and left, with almost no traffic. We peaked at just over 1300 feet on this part of the ride, which turned out to be the highest part of the ride. When the odometers hit 85 miles, we arrived at Natural Bridge in time for lunch, followed by a hike to the bridge. The hike was pretty rugged in places, so Lisa and I left William and WHN behind and headed up. It was either 1/2 or 3/4 of a mile to the bridge (signs vary), with a 600+ foot rise. We walked under and over the bridge (also about 1300 ft altitude), took some pics and headed down via a different path. Maybe because it was downhill, it seemed like the return route was easier than the advertised easy route up that we chose. Back on the bikes, more twisties, more ups, more downs. By the time we got back to Lexington, the odometer was showing 188.9 miles. Another good day on the road with friends.
Tuesday - October 6th - the rain was predicted to be late, so it's more sigh-seeing by bike today. We went north to avoid the incoming weather, all the way to Ohio. We crossed the river and had lunch in Ripley, in a small cafe overlooking the Ohio River. The town (we took a walk) is close to dead. The buildings are largely in disrepair, mostly vacant in the business section. The homes are also mixed, but the Methodist Church is very nice and well kept. The roads to lunch were very rural, through horse farms, cow farms, corn farms, tobacco farms, sorhgum farms and hay fields. The return route was a bit more direct to beat the rain, but we did stop at Blue Lick Battlefield park and museum for a while. After looking at the artifacts, it was back on the road and just 20 or 25 minutes from Lexington when we hit the rain - enough to stop for rain gear. Once we were suited up, the rain slacked off and we were on dry roads most of the way back to the hotel. Dinner will be by car tonight because thunderstorms are predicted. Today we managed 179 miles, but got 60 miles from Lexington, so the twist factor was a bit lower, but it was still a good day - new roads, new places, good lunch, good friends. What more could we want??
Wednesday, October 7th - last day to ride the twisties of Kentucky... We started at 9:00 and headed south (i think) over new and familiar roads, to McKee. The weather was clear, sunny and cool - about 50 for the morning part of the ride. The roads were every bit as scenic as the three previous days. On the way, we again topped 1400 feet - Zumo indicated 1471 feet briefly. After lunch, and after sidewalk-supervising some new concrete work on the city sidewalks, we found more twisties, followed by some open roads to the town of Berea, home of Berea College. William gave us time to wander through the various art shops before we headed for the ferry for the last crossing of this trip. The roads to and from the ferry are excellent riding roads, except for maybe the last 40 feet on the south side of the river - it's steep! We stopped for dinner, then loaded the bike into the trailer with 184 miles on the odo. That means we managed about 750 miles in 4 days - without pushing or bypassing the better remote byways. Saying goodbye wasn't easy, but had to be done. Somehow we have to get back here for the history tour William promised us.
Thursday, October 8th - We departed Lexington and headed south, with US 441 the goal. Once we found it, we were well on our way to Pigeon Forge, so the mandatory meal at the old mill restaurant and a trip through the pottery shop were required. Afterward, WHN saw that the Gatlinburg Craftsmans Fair opened today, so we spent some time wandering and shopping. We stayed at the Big Bear Inn on the river. Lisa told us that she has posted about 20 pictures on the website - see the photo gallery. An easy day.
Friday - October 9th - we continued down US 441, including a nice ride over the Smokies and through Cherokee (only one shopping stop). There was a lot of color at teh higher elevations of the park. The rest of the day was pretty quiet, just miles and miles on US 441 and lots of cops. We got off 441 and took 221 toward Valdosta where we put up for the night. Tomorrow should be an easy day.
Saturday, Octobuary 10th - Valdosta to Gainesville via the interstate, then over to US 41 and Archer. We followed 41 through Inverness and Brooksville, to Lutz and then west on L-LF to Keystone, East Lake and home. It was an easy day, arrived before 3:00. Opened the trailer, the bike was still upright and secure. WHN and I unloaded and called it a day. A great trip is in the books.
Sunday, October 11th - Back from Kentucky, ready to ride, but today is the FBACC HOG's Experienced Rider Class. See the FBACC HOG website for details.
Sunday, October 18th - A commitment with the Children's Cancer Center says there's no time for a ride today.
Wednesday, October 21st - FBACC HOG ride to St Augustine for the state rally.
Sunday, October 25th - The ride home from St. Augustine
Tuesday, September 1st - We started this month off with a weekday ride. Breakfast was at Lenny's, followed by a scenic ride on some of my favorite roads between Clearwater and Inverness. We were able to stay ahead of the rain all the way to Coach's place in downtown Inverness. The return trip was a bit wetter, but not wet enough for rain gear. Thanks to Bill and Steve for joining me.
Sunday, September 6th - Labor Day weekend. I think it's a good day for a breakfast ride. Let's gather at Starbuck's in Clearwater Mall at 6:51 and get some grub. I'll have you back in Pinellas in time for the FBACC HOG picnic.
Thursday, September 10th - the big silver bird took us to Providence, Rhode Island today. The rental car then took us down to Newport, and a tour bus took us around town. Lots of old buildings up north... maybe because they don't get many hurricanes? Or the long history? The tour highlight was the Breakers mansion built in the last part of the 19th century by one of the Vanderbilts. Totally cool place. Dinner was in Tiverton at a place found by Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (food network show) called Evelyn's. I learned what Rhode Island Clam Chowder is - and it's good! Clam Cakes are a bit like hush puppies with some clam chunks.
Friday, Sep 11th, we drove to Lebanon, Connecticut to find Kelly and Glenn's farm (ca. 1850). Glenn has turned this place into quite a homestead over the years with only a zillion man-hours of work. We went into town for lunch, drove some scenic roads, visited with more family, then back to the farm to wait for Glenn to get off work. Dinner was at Michael Jordan's sports bar at the Mohegan Sun casino. What a place - possibly the biggest casino I have ever seen. A trip across the floor with occasional rest stops in front of the machines filled the evening.
Saturday the 12th, another Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives place was selected for breakfast - O'Rourkes in Middleton CT. This place has an amazing menu - nothing was off limits for ingredients. We all had something different and all was reported as good. The owner even came out to visit every table. After b'fast, the scenic back roads took us to Hebron and the Hebron Fair. We spent the entire day at the fair, complete with fair food, tractor pulls, farm animals, rides, games and even lawn tractor pulls (kid drivers as young as 6). Dinner was pizza at a local non-chain place with good food and good service.
Sunday, September 13th - no ride today. The day began with breakfast at the Bozrah Moose lodge. AYCE for just $5 - even with eggs to order. After a tour of the facility, we headed back to the farm, gave the goats some green beans and wandered around the front barn looking at the work already complete and the work yet to be done. After a couple hours just sitting under the shade tree, it was time to head for Worcester Mass. I took the time to update the website and get ready for dinner with one of Kristen's childhood friends (Jennifer), her husband, sister and niece. Larry and Carolyn arrived at the hotel in time to join us as well. Fortunately, there was a place right next to the hotel so we could walk.
Monday, September 14th, we drove from Worcester to Meredith, NH. En route, we stopped at a Shaker Village where we toured the old buildings, chatted with the docents and had lunch in the restaurant built into the old blacksmith shop. Quaker buildings are not like many other old villages - they're huge by comparison. The communal lifestyle put large families into large homes, the shops were community shops, so many workers had to have work space. After the village, we stopped at two covered bridges and some some really cool scenic roads. We were even routed down six miles of dirt road. After arriving at Meredith, we walked to the shore of Lake Winnepesaukee, watched the sea gulls, visited some shops and went to dinner in a building built in 1825. Our friends Ben and Jerry finished off our evening.
Tuesday, September 15th - A short drive to North Conway. Short for some, that is. We stretched an hour ride into almost 5 hours. We took a few more dirt roads (well, maybe more than a few), saw five covered bridges (only three were planned), visited some country stores, shopped at LL Bean's outlet store and had lunch en route to North Conway. Our stop tonight is the Farm by the River, a B&B surrounded by horses and guarded by one weimaraner. I don't see a TV anywhere! Soon it's off to town and dinner. BTW, a cold front is surging south - I think we saw mid-60s for the high today. We're expecting as low as 40s over the next few days - but NO rain!
Wednesday, September 16th - today was the 5 hour train ride out of North Conway. The train took us 25 miles up the hill to Crawford Notch, over Frankenstein trestle, through the granite cuts and alongside the river. We stopped at the top for a rest break and for the crew to swap ends with the engines. The ride down seemed faster than the ride up, but took the same amount of time. On the way down, WHN noticed a guy filming the train at every crossroad. We also saw him at the North Conway stop shooting stills of the cars. Must be some kind of a train freak. Aftrerwards, we squeezed in a bit more shopping and dinner at a Thai restaurant.
Thursday, September 17th - today is buggy ride day at the farm. It was a 45 minute ride around the lower pastures, close to the river, past the sorguhm fields and back up the hill. The buggy was pulled by two brothers - Belgians, light tan in color, and well manereed. After that, we headed out for another rural destination - Gorham and the moose tour. We started by following the train tracks so we could try to get some photos of the trestles we crossed yesterday. Too many trees in full bloom to see the tracks unless they were right beside the road. We stopped at the lodge at Crawford Notch for lunch, then headed for the 'rural' route. We took a road that gets gated in the winter - a good day to be in a rental car to the road that takes you to the Mt Washington Cog Railroad. We went to the parking area of the Cog, but just turned around and went in search of more 'rurality'. The Zumo gods found us a perfect rout to Highway 2 - 8 miles ofr narrow dirt road (very dusty dirt road). This route wasn't very scenic until we reached pavement again. When we arrived on Gorham, we checked in at the visitor center to get the details of our evening moose tour. We are supposed to be 95% sure of seeing meese. When we checked into tonight's hotel, we discovered our rooms are at the Androscoggins Valley Hospital rehab center... at least that's downstairs... 6 rooms of the hotel are above it.It's a big place, but we got shunted off to the side building somehow. After dinner, it was 4 hours of looking for meese. We started at 6:30 and finally saw a moose about 8:45 - a solo female. We went to the nearby viewing area, but she stayed in the woods. About 30 minutes of cruising up and down the road, we saw her again, but this time was a much better view.
Friday, September 18th - this is the 62nd anniversary of the formation of the United States Air Force. Happy birthday USAF! It's also the day we drove to Booth Bay Harbor and LOBSTER DINNERS. Once again, Zumo picked some interesting roads. One was two ruts through a field, one was a dead-end dirt road. We chose to skip both. The roads we did use were very scenic, twisty and hilly. We arrived after lunch and walked the city. Our B&B has a great view of the harbor and city. We walked across the bay (on the walkeway) to the Lobster Dock for dinner and a great view of sunset. Did I mention the mosquitos? Lots of mosquitos with dinner.
Saturday, September 19th - Today was the Maine Eastern RR ride from Wiscassett to Rockport, followed by a two hour sailing adventure on the 'Morning in Maine' two master. It was so windy that we didn't raise the main sail, but still made 7.3 knots in a boat with an 8 knot hull speed. (that's pretty good for you non-sailers). The train ride started at 11 ayem and ended a little after 5 pee emm,so that was most of our day. When we returned to BBH, we stopped at the Lobster Wharf to consume more of those red treats, followed by some blueberry pie when we returned to the inn. An other successful day!
Sunday, September 20th - WHN and I are still roaming moose country, looking for those wild blueberries. Or is that blueberry country, looking for mooses? Whatever, unless you came to Maine, we wonld not have seen you at breakfast - eggs benedict served by our B&B host. After chow, we had time to kill, so we ventured over to Pemequid Point for a scenic drive, then back to BBH for our scheduled whale watch cruise. It was a pleasant day, a bit windy, but the temp was heading for 70 degrees. On the water, it was windier, and probably cooler. We did see three minke whales on our way out to the feeding grounds (good thing) where we say no additional whales. On the return trip, we saw some porpoises and harbor seals, plus three bald eagles. T'was a good day for the naturalist on board. After the cruise, there was some shopping, followed by resting. Dinner was on the waterfront in BBH, followed by a rousing Skip-Bo game back the inn.
Monday - September 21st - the plan is an alpaca farm and the Owl's Head Lighthouse Museum. This is also a scenic drive through the country roads day. The actual day was a trip to a podunk town with a credit union, then some back roads to the alpaca farm, complete with a bearded collie who ran the place and a store that consumed some of the budget. More back roads got us to Rockport and lunch at the Rockport cafe. I discovered their seafood chowder is good stuff. After lunch was a search for the Owl's Head Lighthouse which isn't recognized by Zumo, then the Owl's head transportation Museum. That's quite a place - all sorts of transportation (no trains) are on display here. Eventually, we made it to East Booth Bay and the Lobsterman's Wharf. The special was twin lobsters, so twins it was. The southern tip of that peninsula is quite scenic - worth the drive! Zumo found an interesting route back to BBH that included some non-existant roads and a boat ramp. A stop at the ice cream shop in BBH and back to the Topside Inn for another game of Skip-Bo.
Tuesday, September 22nd - travel day to Portsmouth NH and some scenic roads. somehow, we managed to travel 120 miles in just over 8 hours. Along the way, we tripped over Freeport and the L.L. Bean store. We wandered about the outdoors shop and the main store for a while, then headed south once again. We drove circles around downtown Portland, found a parking garage, found someplace for lunch and enjoyed some different food - no lobstahs. After lunch, we crawled through town to the Big Moose H-D dealership, where we found NO t-shirts with Big Moose on the back except a few mediums. After working back to US-1, we found our way to the Portland Head Lighthouse Museum. We wandered there a bit, then back to the journey south. Zumo once again found some interesting back roads with lots of scenery. Construction, seasonal traffic and the odd road choices made for a long day. When we arrived at our hotel, we discovered a suite big enough for a family, lots of laborers in the lobby working on the 'welcome home' evening buffet, and discount happy hour drinks. We passed on the last two and headed to the waterfront in search of dinner. We found the Portsmouth Brewery and passed on the lobster once again... time for pub grub. After dinner we ran into some guys outside that were from Florida - one was even working at Honeywell until recently (as a ManPower temp).
Wednesday, September 23rd - travel day to Plymouth Mass and the big rock. Along the way, we were on US-1 and I-95, so the scenery was limited. We did find a Harley dealership that wanted to lighten the load in the wallet. Nice place - but they had 'leftover' new Buells all the way back to 2007. Most of the inventory was on the second floor, se we didn't get to take inventory. When we arrived in Plymouth, we found the rock, which is less than impressive. It is reportedly 1/3 the size it was when the pilgrims first landed nearby. After the rock, we took a harbor cruise on a paddlewheeler, then headed for the hotel. Dinner will be a short walk across the shopping center parking lot - we drove enough already.
Thursday, September 24th - we started with sight seeing in the morning, before traveling to Providence RI and the airport in the afternoon. Our sights started a reproduction of an old grist mill alongside Town Creek. The proprietor gave us a 20 minute tour (for a fee) and gave us a lot of history of the area as well. From there, it was the old town hall, an old church that was last reconstructed in 1897 and the public cemetery atop cemetary hill. Great view of the city from up there. From there, it was out of town to a cranberry bog where we got to see dry harvesting. The bog owner let us walk around the bog as he harvested, and the lady of the bog gave us a bag full of cranberries to take home. I managed to pick a couple dozen from the edge of the bog where the harvester couldn't pick. Once that adventure was over, we headed through some gawd-awful traffic to the Providence airport. Thanks to some favorable winds we were on the ground in Tampa 25 minutes early. Another vacation in the books - when do we go again?
In summary, i'd have to say it was a good trip. Zumo sometimes confused me, but provided some really cool 'off the beaten path' routes, the water adventures were worrth the cost, both in time and money, and, even though i'm not a fan of B&Bs, the places we stayed were exceptional. I'd go back to the Inn On The River (North Conway) and the Topside (Booth Bay Harbor) again. We found some good restaurants, interesting local foods, an even a few friendly people. The roads (aside from the dirt roads) are largely horrible with poor signage, and the drivers aggressive. The area was rich with history, some of which was shared with us, some we discovered through the displays and brochures. The weather was a nice change from home, and the colors changed every day. We've done this area before and we'd do it again.
Friday, September 25th - Today is the birthdate of many famous people. William Faulker could be 112 with lots of support from science, Barbara Walters turns 80, Michael Douglas becomes 65, while his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones hits 40. Cheryl Tiegs turns 62, Anson Williams of 'Happy Days' is but 60, and Heather Locklear gets 48 candles on her cake. Will Smith celebrates turning 41 while Mark Hamill creaks to 58. Sports figure Scottie Pippin hits 44, Matt Hasselback goes for 34, and Rocco Baldelli takes a swing at 28.
Sunday, September 27th - We began at Lenny's at 7:42, thinking that the cooler weather was supposed to be here. It wasn't. It so wasn't here, that we hit summer showers and really got drenched. We were heading for several stair-steps sections, but managed to lose Bill in traffic when we trurned off Collier PArkway and discovered the range of my CB is less than edequate. Steve, Cathy, WHN and I turned onto Parkway which was where we found the wall of water. By the time we reached the old truck stop west of I-75 on SR 52. Watching the sky led to the decision to turn back west and then south. We managed to hit one more shower right after we got fairly well dried off, so when we stopped at the sports bar on East Lake, we were appropriately seated on the vinyl chairs. It was wet - a cold wet, but we managed to get in 110 miles.
Sunday, August 2nd - We departed from TWBMD at 6:50 ayem and headed east through Tampa and Ybor City, to Plant City and Snellgrove's Restaurant for our heat-treated animal parts and supporting vegetable products. On the way, we found some nice canopy roads in Hillsborough. Beside being scenic, they also blocked the intense sun. We managed to get there about 8:20, after logging just under 50 miles. After leisurely sipping coffee, we headed back into the sun, then south. We found a few more canopies in the Welcome area, then headed toward the power plant at Big Bend, then turned north, through the port area, around the upper bay, along Bayshore (which was being ground smooth today), north of MacDill AFB, and across Gandy Bridge, back to our starting point, The World's Best Motorcycle Dealership, AKA Fletcher's Harley-Davidson. The return was under 100 miles, and i walked into the store before noon, as planned. Oh, there was also no rain today - no refunds or rain checks!.
Sunday - August 9th - Another breakfast ride, to the north this time. Four of us departed from the Starbuck's in Clearwater Mall at 6:57 A.M. and headed for Tampa Airport, via SR 60. Just before the airport, we went north along its west side, then a short jaunt on Hillsborough to Hoover and north again. We worked our way up to the Keystone area, then took Gunn Highway to SR 54. A turn to the west and a few miles heading away from the sun got us to the Windmeal - a place already full of motorcycle enthusiasts. We grabbed a table and waited for Dick and Shirley. Before long, they arrived and we all ordered our share of the available pig parts and hen eggs. After breakfast, it was just Tony and me heading for Hernando county and the wide open spaces. We managed to encounter the required idiot bicyclists using the middle of the road, plus a few that actually rode single file at the right edge. We also saw a LOT of folks out enjoying the open roads on their motorcycles. After racking up about 150 miles, I arrived home before noon, as predicted.
Sunday August 16th - The weather prevaricators once again ruined a good ride. WHN and I hopped in the Acadia and headed for Floral City just before 7 ayem. It was sprinkling a bit here from the edge of TD 4, but that didn't last long. We passed a few motorcycle groups who didn't listen to the weather forecast, and the usual Hernando County Bicycling Idiots. The ride up was not only rain-free, but the roads were dry, too. We had breakfast with Chuck and Micki at the Leprechaun, (and quite a few motorcycle enthusiasts including Wes from Cycle-Rama) then took the scenic route home through rural Floral City, Istachatta and Ma-scary-town. We stopped for lunch in Oldsmar and still made it home during the noon hour without encountering rain. Stoopid weather geeks!
Sunday, August 23rd - No ride today - too much rain predicted. At 6:30, the originally planned departure time, it was pouring here. Probably a good choice to cancel. WHNand I went to Ocala and wandered the Gander Mountain store. Kinda like a Bass Pro Shop without the boats and a smaller selection. I did get a new rain suit, tho.
Sunday, August 30th - Six of us - three bikes, one SUV - gathered at TWBMD and headed north, then into the sun. There were a few north or south roads, but all the rest were east and into the sun because we were headed to Tampa and J Christopher for breakfast. We arrived before 8:00, so the place was close to empty, so service was quick. After cleaning our plates, we headed north again, then a bunch more east into the sun. We worked our way up to Dade City over roads that we haven't seen lately (but should see more often). There were a lot of bikes out today - pedal power and engine power both. After cruising through Blanton, we headed south and west to Lutz and a short comfort stop. We were soon back on the road and headed to Pinellas County with all its traffic and red lights. We got about 135 miles in before noon, with NO RAIN!!!!
After the ride, I was scheduled to spend the afternoon with our daughters. It turns oiut that it was a ruse to get me to a surprise retirement party. People with whom I ride, or with whom I worked, or dealt with at the ghetto, or are part of the family gathered in Tampa to shower me with attention and gifts. Thanks to all who were involved in some way.
Sunday, July 5th - no KLEEK Tours ride this date - WHN and I were in Mobile, Alabama, visiting family. If you think the Tampa Bay area is hot, go to the Florida panhandle and lower Alabama! One afternoon was spent in Biloxi, MS, touring BoomTown. The new Bass Pro Shop on the east side of Mobile Bay is quite a place. If you need it for hunting, fishing, boating, camping or similar outdoor activities, they have it. I need to go back so I can visit the USS Alabama.
Sunday, July 12th - The breakfast rides began. We gathered at TWBMD for a 6:49 departure for points south. We dined at a new (for us) destination, the Country Pancake House in Lakewood Ranch. I was really surprised that there were no cars ourside when we arrived - any good breakfast joint is usually picking up at 8:00 (think Lenny's and the long lines outside). This place was quiet when we walked in. Our waitress took the drink orders while we perused the many pages of the menu. The pancakes list was over 100 choices, including some that are oven-baked, the waffle list was also lengthy, and there were lots of other choices for those not wanting flapjacks. I think there were two dozen premiun juices available, plus the usual orange/tomato/V8/apple. Bill was the first served - the four pancakes covered the platter and were thick. I took a picture to add to the photo page for y'all - see photo album, last 4 pics. Talk of coming back started before many of us were even served. The food was good, the prices reasonable for what was served, and I heard no complaints. I did see a lot of plates that weren't cleaned, plus a doggie box! After breakfast was over, we headed for Gamble Plantation It's hard to imagine building such a place when there were no trucks to haul supplies into the site, nor electricity to power tools. It is also amazing that the place was saved by the efforts of private groups and the Florida government. After the mansion tour, we headed across the big bridge and back to Pinellas County. We could see rain off to the east while crossing the bridge. After discovering some wet roads north of Sunset Point, I arrived home about noon-thirty, which was about the time it was getting too hot to enjoy city traffic.
Sunday - July 19th - Today was a breakfast ride to Caposey's Whole Works restaurant in New Port Rickety. Remember, these folks have the recipes from Kuzzin's, so if you want pancakes or eggs benedict, this is the place for you. Their eggs and side dishes are good, too. When we arrived at Clearwater Mall, Phil and Bea were waiting for us, with Steve and Cathy. Tony, Carolyn and Larry showed up, and as we were leaving, Shirley and Dick fell in line. We headed through Safety Harbor and Oldsmar on our way to the Keystone area and NPR, using the twistiest roads available between the mall and our destination. The restaurant opens at 8:00, so our 8:03 arrival was just what we needed. The staff was pretty quick in taking care of our needs, and soon, that old familiar Kuzzins food was in front of us. While sipping my last cup of coffee, I was watching the sky to the west. It was black and getting darker. As we gathered in the lot, it was decided the direct route home was the best choice. I avoided US-19 and headed south on CR-77. Near Veterans Village, we were in a downpour. I got home and discovered I was soaked to my socks. Even with the free shower, it was a good day for a ride with friends. Larry later reported that we would have stayed dry had we taken US-19.
Sunday, July 26th - I was suposed to lead the FBACCHOG club ride to the Tampa Bay Auto Museum. After breakfast at Lenny's, WHN and I rode to TWBMD, parked and took off our helmets just in time to feel the rain on our heads. Two other club members were waiting, so the four of us watched the downpour for just over 30 minutes. There was also considerable lightning seen in the distance. Checking the radar showed that more rain was moving in off the Gulf, so we all headed for home. Fortunately, although we had wet roads, we had no rain. The day changed from riding to carpentry thanks to the weather prevaricators. I'll try to get this ride on the calendar again. See http://www.fbacchog.com/Chapter_Album/2009%20Ride%20Photos/07%20Tampa%20Auto%20Museum/Tampa%20Bay%20Auto%20Museum%20005.jpg
Saturday, June 6 - Saturday night at the dirt track. Dick and Shirley joined WHN and myself for a night of Late Models and Sprint Cars, plus the usual support classes. We stopped at Carmine's in Ybor City for dinner, then headed to the track. Good seats with backrests were still available when we arrived, so we didn't have to break our backs watching. The heat races were fairly quick. There were enough Late Models to fill the field, plus some, so there was a consolation race after the heats to determine which six cars went home early. The 4-cylinder outlaw class had so many restarts that the lady who lead the race from the start ran out of gas on the last lap (or maybe just broke). The win went to her daughter, who was almost as dominant on the track.The Late Model feature only had a couple cautions, with the last ten laps being run non-stop and racing for position all the way around the track. We skipped the stock 4-cylinder bomber class and headed for home around 11:00.
Sunday - June 7th - Some days start out bad and stay that way, some start out bad and get better. Today was in the latter category. Breakfast at Perkin's took them off the approved eateries list - at least until a memory dump erases today's experience. We were in before 8:00, still didn't have food at 8:30. We didn't order anything out of the ordinary, either. Once we hit the road, I knew we were not going to make the Payne's Creek Historic site in time for the 11:00 movie. We did have a nice ride through Tampa, over to Fish Hawk and our first break. After hydrating, we headed through the phosphate area, then south on old US 17, where we say a fish in full flight, courtesy of an osprey. We arrived at the historic site about 11:20 - BTW, we were also held up by two trains slowly crossing the highways - once on US 41 and once in the middle of nowhere. We walked the old fort site, looked at the displays and rode past the picnic areas. Then it was off to lunch at Paul's in Wauchula, which you might remember as Granny Graham's. We beat the church crowd in, got two tables and perused the menu. Today's specials included chicken and dumplings - a real hit at my table. I had the fried chicken. The meals included salad, vegetables, starch and dessert. While we were there, a nasty storm blew in and out.The radar showed rain everywhere west of us, so we dug out the rain deer and suited up. Our trip across SR-62 was in the rain, albeit light rain. We even found a section of flooded road, which was a surprise - a very wet surprise. Even though we slowed considerably, the front wheel wake made a nice wave that came up and over the rider. (note - not as bad as the wave that engulfed us on Cow Pee road a few years back) The weather toward the south Skyway area looked bad, so we went north to Tampa. Once we turned north on US-301, we stayed dry, discounting the sweat from having rain deer on. Studying the sky got us through Tampa on MLK and around the rain. A traffic report said skipping the interstate would be a good idea - a crash on the bridge. I arrived home at 3:59. This adventure required about 95 miles to get to the food reward, and close to another 90 to get home. Another good day with 6 friends along to share it.
Saturday, June 13th - We departed from Fletcher's Harley-Davidson at 5:00 PeeEmm for a 100 minute ride along the Gulf Beaches and dinner at the Columbia restaurant on Sand Key. The ride was good, once we got to Park Street - before that it was kinda full of red lights. The trip up the beach was very pleasant, traffic wasn't bad, and we were on time. Eight of us dined in style at the Columbia - with all reporting good food - then went our separate ways. The separate ways was up through Clearwater beach for all of us, including the infamous round-a-bout, then up Fort Harrison and home.
Sunday, June 14th - Today was the Rays ball game ride. Since we had a small crowd, half of whom were going by way of car, we all went by car. We dined at the brew house out behind the outfield, then wandered to our seats . We were on the third base side, just past the visitor's dugout, up high enough to see the entire game, but close enough to duck when foul balls came to the left. Not only did the Rays win, but I was on TV, sitting right behind the kids who won the 'sign of the day' award. Afterward, we had Pizza from a new joint that was donating the day's take to two children's charities.They're on Enterprise, just west of McMullen Booth, north side. Give them some business to thank them for their generosity.
Monday - June 15th was National Ride to Work day, so I hope you rode to work! Unfortunately, I needed my truck so i missed the opportunity. There's always next year!
Sunday, June 21st - Happy Fathers Day!! Lunch ride to the Bartow Municipal Airport day. I asked if you remember this place, and apparently most of you did - only one person who had been there before with me chose to return to the scene of the crime. Seven of us began with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:53, then six headed east. We took about 100 miles to get to the airport as the temperature climbed After lunch, we went through downtown Lakeland, on to Plant City and then Tampa. It got a bit warm in Tampa. WHN was riding in the Buick with Larry and Carolyn - they reported temps up to 103 as we traversed Hillsborough Avenue. It didn't feel that bad on the bike. As predicted, I was home at 3:00.
Wednesday, June 24th - The D-Zert ride experiment was definitive - WHN and I were the only people interested in riding in the heat of the evening. We changed the route and destination, got home in time to see 'So You Think You Can Dance'.
Sunday, June 28th - The weather permitted, we led the FBACCHOG club ride to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. The group was nine on six bikes, plus the two car-bound folks we met at the museum. The ride south took us through a couple small rain showers, but they were more like cooling opportunities than a nuisance. We arrived at the museum a bit after 11:00, wandered around for about an hour, saw some really cool cars, some unique cars and some cars. The place was worth the admission - especially since we got the group rate. After the museum, we headed north to Kojak's in Palmetto for BBQ and fixins, then back up over the Skyway. The ride home was a dry ride, but the sky was looking a bit unfriendly at times. We rolled into the driveway right around three o'clock, in time to watch much of the NASCAR race in Louden, NH. Their day was rain-shortened... we were luckier! Post script - on the way down 49th Street, we were passed by a small patch-wearing group - red something or others. They sure needed some group riding skills!!!!
Monday, June 29th was the Harley Owner's Group's second 'Million Mile Monday'. Bill, Steve and I met at Clearwater Mall just before 7:00 and headed south through St. Pete. When we approached the Trop, we hit rain - a lot of rain. It stayed with us almost to the Skyway. When we stopped for a comfort break, Bill literally had to wring out his socks! Since we were a bit ahead of schedule, I stretched the route about 20 miles, logging 195 miles by the time we hit Clewiston. Our route to lunch took us through a lot of sugar cane, cows and citrus. And rain. Lunch at the Dixie Fried Chicken and Seafood restaurant wasn't anything to write home about, but it wasn't terrible, either. We filled up the gas tanks after lunch, and headed west on US 27. When we turned north toward Belle Glade, we hit another downpour. I altered the return route a bit to stay south of a bad looking sky, but we continued to run in and out of rain. It felt like laundry day - wash, then dry. Wash again, dry again. We were very eco-friendly - we used no detergent and only solar and wind-powered driers. Fortunately, I think we were a bit ahead of the rush hour traffic through St Pete, so the trip north of the Skyway wasn't too hectic. I arrived at the shop around 4:00, spent 3 hours taping up a Honda, then headed home. Pulling into my garage, I had logged 385.1 miles, which I recorded at the HOG website for the group. The HOG Million Mile Monday total was only 1.3 million when I logged in our trip.
Sunday, May 3rd - Breakfast was at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton Road at 7:56 ayem. Eight of us gathered, ate, departed and headed east through Tampa on the interstate. Columbus / MLK took us through Plant City, then US 92 through Lakeland and on to Kissimmee. The weather was good, the roads were clear. We arrived at the park where the airboats begin their rides. With no ticket office in sight, I called their number and discovered that they do business on the boat, so just walk on up. The owner's daughter manages the business in the park parking lot, from the tailgate of their truck with a cell phone. We got the 12:00 ride and had the boat to ourselves. We saw aligators, good fishing spots, open water, grass flats and osprey nests. We even saw one with a bass in its claws. After the airboat ride, we headed home, with a stop at Subway. We did about 200 miles with no problems. Another good day!
Sunday, May 10th - Mother's Day. Happy day to you all. WHN and I spent the entire day with Kristen and Natalie. Life is good!
Sunday, May 17th - Cathy, Steve and I met for breakfast at Lenny's at 7:41, then headed to TWBMD, waiting for the masses to join us for the day's adventure. We were going to Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City in Punta Gorda. Muscle Car City is a private collection of about 200 muscle cars, mostly GM, with a lot of corvettes. The owner had them stored in various warehouses around the county, so he bought an abandoned Wal-Mart and put them all in one place, added a diner and gift shop, and charges a reasonable fee to see them. We were joined at TWBMD by Patty, Alan and Bill, so the six of us headed over the Skyway, through Rubonia, Parrish and down to the Lake Manatee Fish Camp, where we had a quick comfort stop. From there, we headed through Bethany and Verna, around Myakka River State Park and on to SR 72 and CR-679 into Punta Gorda. A short section of US-41 and we were at Muscle Car City just in time to follow Sue and Al into the parking lot. It took us just two hours to see the cars, have lunch in the diner, browse the gift shop and get back on the bikes. The return trip got us onto I-75 in just about 9 miles, then it was I-75 all the way back into Pinellas County. Around SR-64 we hit some rain, but we were essentially dry by the time we made it to the South Rest Area on the Skyway. That was good! For those of us who continued on north of 22nd Avenue, we again hit rain on the south end of the Bayside bridge. Again, drying off was quick, so when I got home, I wasn't dripping all over the place, so no sympathy was found. We can chalk up another good day on the roads with good friends. BTW, the museum is worth the $10; some were nice looking restorations with unique distinctions, but some of the cars were disappointing - not original, or some lack of attention to detail. It's never good for someone who works on cars to look at the work of others.
Sunday, May 24th - So, once again, I believed the weather talking heads and cancelled the ride planned for Arcadia. When I got up, the weather was perfect for a ride,so I got on the bike and headed up to Bill and Beth's house to escort Dick P out of town. Bill decided to ride to Marianna with Dick, so tagged along to Caposey's for breakfast where we were joined by Dick M. After breakfast, we all headed up US 19, stopping for a comfort break in Chiefland. Since the planned lunch stop was Perry, Dick M and I parted company with Bill and Dick P and headed inland, looking for some new, interesting roads. We found little, ended up riding east to US 41 and south to Inveness for lunch. After that break, we took the scenic route past Sleepy Hollow and through Istachatta, to Brooksville and points south. We managed to hit some serious rain as we approached SR 52. We got soaked, even the backs of my legs were dripping wet. We quickly ran out of the rain into sun and heat, so we started drying off. Another patch of rain on SR 54, then dryness again. By the time I got home (3:30 ish), I was only mostly dry, but dry enough to avoid changing into really dry clothes while I attacked the leaky plumbing once again - and for the last time. Success can be slow in coming. When you get a minute, check out Dick's BLOG at http://the-bucket-tour.blogspot.com/ and keep up with his adventures. He has a bigger rain problem than we encountered while returning from assuring that he really left town.
Sunday, May 31st - After eleven of us finished noshing at the Lucky Dill Deli, we headed for beautiful downtown Inverness. I picked as many less-travelled roads as possible when I planned this ride, but when I went to load the route into the Zumo, the Zumo was declared 'full' by my computer. I had to wing it for the first hour, then I was able to manually add waypoints to the GPS and get back on the roads I wanted to travel. We arrived at Coach's just a few minutes early, just ahead of Chuck and Micki. Lunch was leisurely, took over an hour. It wasn't because there was 13 of us, or the service was slow, we just talked too much! We were back on the road in search of some twisties, which I again managed to manually load into the Zumo. Gobbler and Istachatta were some of the best roads today. I think I managed to max out the twisty / turn index on this ride.We saw a lot of bikes on the road - a sure sign that the weather was perfect for riding. I failed to mention that Terry and Veronica joined the mostly usual bunch, plus Larry and Carolyn followed in their car.
Sunday, April 5th - The Rascals joined us for breakfast at Lenny's today. Beaulah can get up early when she wants to! To avoid St Pete Grand Prix traffic, we went through Countryside, Oldsmar, and the north side of Tampa to get over to Dover. Then we headed south, wandered through Picnic and Wimauma, then Parrish and Bradenton to get to Anna Maria Island and Rotten Ralph's. The traffic getting onto the island was horrible and the open draw bridge didn't help, but the food and service at Ralph's compensated. The trip home was a breeze - or maybe a series of gusts. Right after the troll booth, I set the cruise on 66 and never came off cruise or changed lanes until I exited the interstate at Roosevelt. Got home at 3:00, as planned. Another good day with good friends.
Sunday, April 12th - Thirteen gathered at the Lucky Dill for chow and discovered the Easter masses. The mob and the chatty waitress delayed our departure, so the trip to Ozello was shortened to just over 100 miles. The ride was pleasant - cool and sunny, a few idiots on bicycles hogging the road, but no serious traffic issues. When we arrived at Peck's, it looked closed - just two cars in the lot, but appearances can be deceiving. Right after we were seated, the placed started filling up. The service was good, the kitchen was fast, the food worth the trip. The road to the place was even better. We don't need no stinkin' DRAGON here! The ride back was also uneventful, except for catching every red light in Pasco and Pinellas Counties, I think. It started getting hot waiting for the green. After 180 miles, I was home just a bit after 3:00. Another good day on the road with friends.
I don't know about you, but my March was ruined by a virus - not the computer type, either. Not a single KLEEK tour in March '09!
Sunday, February 1st - Eight hardy souls braved the elements to dine at the Lucky Dill at 7:59 ayem. After being overexposed to thermally altered animal proteins and carbohydrates, we headed to Brooksville via a special shortcut I know that got us there just a bit after noon. The shortcut was probably the strangest route ever to get there - 113 miles between breakfast and lunch. We ran across a small group of touring bikes that were holding up traffic on Old Pasco Road. The leader was on a Screaming Eagle bagger and probably really irritated the sport bikes we let pass when we first reached OPR. We saw quite a few bikes out, but almost no bicycles. Our return trip was pretty direct, making the return to Pinellas around 3:00.
Sunday, February 8, 2009 - The lonesome ride... Headed south! Not very far south, just to the Manatee Viewing Area at the Big Bend Power Plant south of Tampa. We took the long way to the viewing center, then another circuitous route to lunch afterwards (at Chattaway's), so we filled the morning with roads, as well as the manatees and sting rays that gathered in the warm water of the outflow canal. There was a very large crowd there - even a group from Jim's showed up. Chattaways was also a good stop, but they were troubled with a swarm of honeybees. It was still possiblel to get into Lenny's, but the crowds are getting bigger. Spring training is just a few weeks away. Steve should have been there when some senior asked if I had a hang tag for the bike. I suggested he check the facts before accusing.
Sunday, February 15th - We headed south again, farther south! i was thinking airports once again. I found a place on the north side of the Venice airport that's open on Sunday until 2:00. That fit our schedule, so we went to check it out. Five of us amassed at 7:48 at the temple of culinary science next to the Mazda dealership, AKA Lenny's. This ride was 150 miles to lunch and 80 miles home. I swas home in time to see the NASCAR race..
Sunday, February 22th - WHN's BIRTHDAY! She picks the day's activity. It will not include motorcycle riding. We used purple font in her honor. Happy Birthday to George, too! See you next week at breakfast. Steve picked the destination city.
Sunday, January 4th - ten of us started the day at Lenny's, followed by a ride through Tampa, down to Gibtown, east to Welcome, south throuth Fort Lonesome to Duette, and back by Lake Manatee, through Parrish and on to the Crab Trap on US 19, just south of the Skyway. We managed to find a few new roads on this ride, plus a few idiots on motorcycles that held us up for a while on Keysville and Jameson roads. Someone even announced over the CB "look, someone who rides slower than EEK!" I'll not name the person just to protect Tony's reputation. By the time I got home, I racked up 196 miles. Another good day on two wheels.
Sunday, January 11th - We started at the Cracker Barrel on Ulmerton Road, at 7:51. From there, we headed across the Gandy bridge, through south Tampa. checked out the bouncing baabies on Bayshore, then headed for the scenic parts of Hillsborough County and beyond. I didn't count, but we probably crossed every rough RR crossing in Hillsborough and Polk counties on our way to Bartow. We found a little place with a view of the Bartow Airport, a buffet, sandwiches and diet coke. What more could you ask for? Eight of us made the trip, including Patty, who has never joined our group before. Maybe she'll bring her FXR back to join us again. At the end of the day, I racked up just under 200 miles, so, by definition, it was a good day - with a couple of new roads thrown in to make it complete.
Sunday, January 18th - No ride this day - a dog show in Brooksville took top spot this week. However, we did stop in Brooksville for lunch and found a new destination for the group. The Bistro on the main drag is run by a real chef, you can get breakfast for lunch on Sunday, they have sandwiches, salads, soup and burgers on the lunch menu. Even though the food prep takes quite a bit of time, we'll be back there soon!
Sunday, January, 25th - Lake Panasoffkee was the target destination this week. Eight of us gathered at Lenny's for chow, then, due to the workloads of two, only six of us ventured out on Florida's finest backroads, plus a few not-so-fine specimens. MapSource sent us down two roads not fit for anything other than horses or mules, one of which was a dead end. You gotta love mapping programs! We travelled 109 miles to the Harbor Lights restaurant in Lake Panasoffkee. It's on the lake, easily reached, but onle serves from the buffet. The food was truly homecooked and really good stuff. After eating and touring the lakeshore, we headed toward Inverness, then Floral City, Brooksville, Mascara Town, Gowers Corner, Lutz and, eventually, home. We managed about 200 miles for the day. BTW, the weather was EXCELLENT!!
December - the final chapter of 2008:
Sunday, December 7th - Pearl Harbor Day in the US. A ride to Hawaii was out, so we stayed in Florida. The usual gathering at Lenny's, followed by a trip over the Skyway, then east through Lakeland, then on to Polk City and the Compass Rose restaurant at The Fandasy of Flight attraction. The weather folks said it was 55 for the low, with a high of 66. I think the 55 was right, but it seemed to get colder as the day went on. Once we crossed the Skyway, it really cooled off. I don't think it warmed up until well after lunch - today was not the right day to use as many canopy roads as we did. Even though we were only 75 degrees warmer than International Falls, MN., today, it was still a good day for a ride.
Sunday, December 14th - WHN and I were on our way home from Disney World all morning, and lead the FBACC HOG Christmas light ride that night. After a couple hours of local sight-seeing (i.e. light-seeing), we stopped or coffee and dessert on SE-60 at some coffee shop near Sam's Club. Another good day.
Sunday, December 21st - The Sunday before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, because we were all out putting some miles on the bikes. The day began.with breakfast for six of us at Lenny's, then a trip through some of the better roads in Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties, ending up at Papa Joe's for lunch. We managed to get in right at 200 miles for the day - in perfect weather once the fog burned off.
Sunday, December 28th - The day began at Lenny's of course. After we took the red light route through the county, we went past the power plant north of Tarpon Springs, where we saw a bald eagle perched atop a tree just off the roadway. My second eagle sighting this year! After we went inland a bit, we worked our way north to Hernando county, followed by a scenic ride down Old Dixie Highway to Hudson Beach. The Inn on the Gulf served up some good grouper Once the grub was gone, we headed south, through Tarpon Strings again, and home. We managed over 150 miles for the day without problem. Another great day with friends, good weather and clear roads.
Sunday, November tooth - This was the big day for the Leigh Nolan memorial poker run, organized by FBACC HOG. Start and end was at QS&L. I managed to lose the poker run with two normally good hands - one was a full house, aces over something, and the other was four fives. Sombody pulled a straight flush! At least I picked up two of the gift baskets. It was a very long day. For the details, log onto www.leighnolan.com.
Sunday, November 9th - we headed for Inverness today, after we had breakfast at The Cracker Barrel on Tampa Road (Oldsmar).We arrived in Inverness about noon fifteen, because we took the long way. It was about130 miles to lunch, 100 for the return, most of which was on some of my favorite roads. We were but seven, but it was still a good day on the road with friends.
Sunday, November 16th was the not-quite-annual ride to the Small Museum. We departed TWBMD at 8:00 in two groups due to our numbers. Thanks to Dick McCall for leading the second pack. The ride north was very pleasant, albeit a bit chilly. The weather guys got it right for a change. We arrived at Tommy's about 10:10, and spent about 2 1/2 hours looking at and playing with Tommy's collection of toys. A couple of the old favorites are gone, replaced with some new pieces. The new cars are really nice! The local Mustang (car) club also came by to see the collection, as did a few of Tommy's friends who ride, one of whom was Dennis Allen, former Director of the St. Pete HOG chapter. We wrapped up the day with lunch at Papa Joe's and about 65 miles of scenic back roads back to Pinellas county. Another better than good day on two wheels. I was even home in time to see the start of the NASCAR race from Homestead.
Sunday, November 23rd - It was time for us to head south again. We began at Lenny's at 7:50, dined on the best kosher pork in Clearwater, plus cholesterol-free poulty seedlings, then headed for the Skyway. We took the trip around Terra Ciea, across Rubonia and through the golf course SE of Parrish. After passing by the north side of Manatee State park, we took SR 72 for a while, then the road south to Sr 761, over to US 17 and north through Ft. Ogden and Nocatee. The target eaterie was no longer in business, so we continued north to Arcadia. We stumbled across a little cafe that had fried chicken as one of the specials. It was way better than the fried chicken at the Pioneer in Zilfo Springs. It was the right place to be. The place was jammed, so we had to squeeze seven of us into a six place table. We'll be back to this place. After we finished, we headed west and north, back across the Skyway and found ourselves at home around 3:30, just in time to put up Christmas decorations in the front yard. Another good day with friends.
Saturday, November 29th, I need to file for bankrupture protection - I don't have the 34 million dollars I promised to those of you who voted for me. The guy from Mozambique and the guy from Somalia both failed to send me my 500 million after I jumped through all the hoops necessary for the bank transfer. On the positive side, I don't have to give up the regular KLEEK tours on Sundays to lead FBACC rides. Life is still good.
Sunday, November 30th - The weather prevaricators said we had 40% chance of rain, so there was nothing planned for Sunday. Once again, by listening to the paid professionals, I missed a good chance for a ride in pleasant, but windy, conditions.
Sunday - October 5th - Nine of us met at Lenny's at 7:49 for breakfast, then headed for points north afterwards. The overcast skies were predicted to get us 20% wet, but we only got 0.003% wet on our way north. Lunch happened in Homosassa, on the river, while we were watching the residents of Monkey Island. The plan was 180 miles and we hit it almost exactly. I told everyone to be prepared for a new road, and we managed to find a couple of them. The ride home was also overcast, but we never hit any rain. Another great day on two wheels.
Sunday, October 12th - We began the day at the site of Clearwater's best breakfast, i.e., Lenny's, once again. We were just three, so getting a table was easy. We got the one near the kids. Since we were in and out quickly, after we rode through phosphate country and orange groves, we were at Lake Wales too early for chow, se we headed west. You know, if you don't have a restaurant picked out, chances are you won't find one, other than fast food, when you're wandering north of I-4. With no gas stops, and no lunch stop, the ride got me back home just after 2:30. Have I mentioned how nice it is to have a 6 gallon tank?
Sunday, October 19th - Eight of us met at Perkin's on Curlew at 7:48. After piling on calories and cholesterol, we took a ride to Mount Dora. The ride over was a little chilly, but clear. We passed a few bikes that appeared to be returning from Daytona. The closer we got, the more bikes we saw, so I was surprised to find very few in Mount Dora when we arrived. We lunched at the Chew Chew Express, a fairly new establishment close to the train station (previously, they were walk-up, carry-out only) After lunch, we spent 30 minutes playing tourist in town, then headed south, through some of the best roads in the area. We also covered Green Pond Road and Rockridge roads to avoid using SR 50. We saw more returners along the way. This was a 230 mile ride RT, and, as predicted, I made the 4:56 pee emm return to the home.
Sunday, October 26th - In spite of this being the fifth anniversary of our crash in 2003 where we lost a good friend, Kathy Kane, we went for a ride. We began with six of us enjoying another Lenny's breakfast at 7:49, and followed that by a ride to Celebration for lunch. We managed to ride through some great scenery, including cows, oranges and phosphate. When we arrived at the Columbia, we were seated in the far corner, away from any noisy groups. Our server was quite competent, so we enjoyed our lunch thouroughly. This was a long ride, covering 240 miles RT, so we were not home until 4:45 Despite the historical significance, it was a good day with good friends.
Sunday - September 7th - WHN and I were in Montana, en route to Glacier National Park. I hope you enjoyed your day, too!
Sunday - September 14th - WHN and I were at Jellystone NP, looking for Yogi and Boo Boo. Keep an eye on that pic-a-nic bask et! Let me know where you rode, so I don't repeat it too soon.
Sunday - September 21st - Arrivied home on Saturday, went for a solo ride because I didn't have time to invite y'all.
Sunday - September 28th - It started to cool off a bit, but not enough to get back to all-day rides. W meet at Clearwater Mall, in front of Starbuck's at Oh, seven hundred for a ride to breakfast at the Cortez Cafe. Another good meal, another good ride. Sorry the website got hosed.
August 3 - Sunday - boy, the year is flying by! We stuck to the trend started last week and went to Grandma Sally's. Departurization was from the Men Swearhouse on SR 60 (Clearwater Mall) at 6:51. We headed NE into the burning sunrise and cooked my retinas, then found the target eatery, where we were treated nicely, wandered around Pasco County for a while, then headed south once again. This ride terminated during the noon hour, just in time to avoid melting the legs.
August 10th - Sunday - We had to keep the theme running a bit longer. Starting from TWBMD at 6:35 ayem, we headed over the Skyway, through Parrish, and east to Wauchula, where we found Granny Graham's where we loitered for breakfast. This place is off the beaten path, but worth finding (except the overcooked poached eggs). On the way, we managed to pass a sewage treatment plant, a dump/incinerator, Tampa Bay at low tide and skunk remnants. It was definitely a foul smelling ride at times. On the way back, we passed a pig standing alongside the road, plus one sleeping a bit further down that same road, surrounded by guard birds trying to poke it awake. Several other animals were sleeping in the road, too. Our fuel/comfort stop in Wimauma was just before a pack of 15 sport bikes came in and swarmed the pumps. I was surprised that they never cleared the pumps after they fueled up - just blocked the pumps till it was time to go, I reckon. When the day was done, we managed to squeeze in just over 200 miles. I'm over half way through the breakin period. YEEHAW!!
Sunday, August 17th - We departed from the Starbuck's coffee shop in Clearwater Mall at 6:38 ayem. Jim and Sherry joined us for today's journey north to Maw's Vittles. This was a short ride, about 70 miles. After dining in a joint in which we were surrounded by motorcycle enthusiasts, we headed just a bit more north to Floral City, then west past the Citrus Wildlife Management area, and ultimately south on the west side of Brooksville, through Pasco's ugly traffic, and back to Pinellas, returning home right at the noon hour. The return trip was about 100 miles. I put this one in the 'good day' file.
August 24th - Sunday - This ride was rained out. Bummer!
Sunday - August 31st - Happy Birthday to my sister! After we leave the Men Swearhouse at 6:37, we will head north to Sam's on Hudson beach. This will be over familiar roads through Pinellas and Pasco counties, then out to the Gulf of Mexico for breakfast. The target return to reality will be the noon hour. No tolls this week. No promises on the restaurant, either! Interesting note (to some): Rosa Rio will be performing on the mighty Wurlitzer at Tampa Theatre at 3:00. The movie is 'Wings'
July 6th - Sunday - Here's hoping you had a happy Fourth celebration. I took Sunday off from riding and went to Fantasy of Flight with the family. Natalie and I took the New Standard bi-plane ride over Polk County, then we all toured the museum. Kermit must have close to an unlimited source of money. It's quite a collection! Lunch at the Compass Rose interrupted the museum, but we finished up after lunch. It's a bit pricey, but worth the price of admission.
July 13th - Sunday - Ride cancelled due to too many wet roads and threat of rain.
July 20th - Sunday - We gathered at TWBMD - Fletcher's Harley-Davidson at 6:47 for a ride to breakfast. We headed up to the leprechaun in Floral City for our dose of protein and liquid stimulants. Afterwards, we headed east to a 'new' road through some fine pastureland. The weather was VERY pleasant all morning and we managed to get back to Pinellas about 12:30. All in all, a good day.
July 27th - Sunday - We tried a repeat visit to Grannie's restaurant down in Ruskin. We gathered at TWBMD at 6:49 and headed out across the Gandy Bridge, across the lower peninsula of Tampa, around the ports and on to Progress Village. When we arrived at Grannie's there weren't enough tables, so we split up and put two at the counter. Counter service is better than table service, and coffee refills are SLOW. After we finished, we headed east and north to avoid town and bridges. A short stop when the rain hit (several drops worth), then back on the road, getting home right at noon. It was a good day to put some break-in miles on the new scoot.
As the temperatures begin to rise, the rides will start earlier. Be sure to read the fine print, as we may switch to seven o'clock breakfast times for a while before we switch to 6:00 start times and ride to breakfast, with rides ending around noon. Aah, the benefits of living just 28 degrees above the equator.
June 1, Sunday - We began with breakfast at Lenny's at 7:53. It was amazingly quiet at Lenny's today. From there, we traversed the south Tampa peninsula, saw the happy cruisers leaving their ship, went through east Hillsborough, around the Z-Hills airport, zigged and zagged around the cattle farms of Hernando county between Belamy Brothers Road and Spring Lake Road, ultimately arriving at Papa Joe's for lunch. This was a short, but love bug free ride. The plan was to be home early, and we were. We did find some wet roads when we got back south of Lutz, but no real rain. Another good day.
June 8 - Sunday - It was just Cathy, Steve and me at Lenny's, so we changed the plan and repeated the ride to Brooksville. That made for a shorter day, getting us home before the oppressive heat. I got to see some of my favorite roads again, and this time, none were wet.
June 15 - Sunday - Father's Day - a chance to spend time with the girls. I hope you got to enjoy your day, too.
June 22 - Sunday - No KLEEK Tour this date. I travelled to Fort Meyers with some friends to see the Edison and Ford estates, labs and gardens. I recommend the place to anyone who has ever driven a car, used electricity, heard recorded music, or toasted toast electrically. The tour costs $20, but there's an unadvertised discount for AAA members. Go! Go now!
June 29 - Sunday - we began the day, meeting at Six fifty at Clearwater Mall, near the Men Swearhouse, then boogied across the byways to Snellgrove's in Plant City for some heat-treated cackleberries and grilled ground pork bellies. As uaual, the place was jammed. We encountered many good roads, little traffic and excellent weather. It was about 65 miles to, 80 miles home. I was back by noon.
Sunday, May 18th - Airboat rides south of Kissimmee anyone?? Check out http://www.bcairboats.com/index.shtml The airboat rides are 30 minutes, cost about $25 per person. It was a 145 mile ride to the airboats, a bit shorter back. This took pretty much all day - I got home about 4:30. We began with breakfast at Lenny's, then cruised across the Skyway, through Sun City, Wymauma, Fort Lonesome, lots of phosphate property, and eventually arrived at the south end of Lake Toho just after noon. Did I leave out the part about we were in and out of rain? J9 and Lloyd were on Dynas and they noticed it more than the four of us on Ultras. Back to the airboats. Tony and his granddaughters met us at the destination, so we filled up half of the 17 passenger boat. Nine ladies took up the other half. Thanks to Steve's military ID, we saved $5 per person. We saw cows, herons, cranes, kites, gators, and ospreys. Got a little wet on the boat ride, too. On the way back, we stopped on US 92 for lunch at a Firehouse subs, after which, Tony and the girls headed for the Interstate. The rest of us motored on, on US 92. Another good day, 250 miles, on two wheels.
Sunday, May 25th - Breakfast was at Lenny's at 7:52 a.m. After that, we headed to Tavares and lunch at Harbor Side, the old Dead River Vic's by way of some of Florida's straightest and flatest two-lane roads one could find, mixed in with a few more scenic roads like Sloanes Ridge Road and Bay Lake Road. On the way back, we tossed more scenic byways and capped them off with the Suncoast Parkway. About 250 miles of riding fun, plus some good company. Not a bad day.
Monday, May 26th - Memorial Day- We started with breakfast at Perkin's on Curley at 7:53, then zoomed up the Suncoast to SR 50 in Hernando because we had a long ride ahead to get some fish corpse at Cedar Key. From the troll road, we wandered along and through the Citrus forest, into Inverness, then up US 41 to Morriston, then west to US 19, north to 24 and west again to Cedar Key. We were there with about a hundred other bikes and many more cars, all vying for the same dozens of parking spaces and hundreds of restaurant seats. I picked the slow restaurant. The slow restaurant with the good grouper. After dinner, we header south, again using the Suncoast (most of us), arriving safely in the five o'clock hour. It was almost a 300 mile day; sore, but good.
Sunday, April 6th - I get some culture with Avenue Q - no ride for me.
Sunday, April 13th - After breakfast at Lenny's, we took a ride to the Ringling Museum in SarySota, in keeping with the cultural theme started in March. There is a $19 admission fee to tour the art museum, circus museum, mini-circus display and the Ringling house, so we toured the circus related stuff and took a quick walk through the art museum to see the Grandma Moses display (today was the last day for this exhibit) so we could get back on the road before the expected rain. Lunch was at the Crab Trap on the way home. Two short sections of road with some rain, but not enough to do more than wet the windshield. The air was cool, traffic wasn't bad, so I'd call it a good day. Too bad there were only four of us in the group to enjoy the ride - a nice one tank trip.
Sunday, April 20th - I let you pick, and you picked Mount Dora. We had a small group of six. we started with breakfast at the IHOP on US 19 and NE Coachman Rd at 7:53, followed by a tour of Safety Harbor and Oldamar. we quickly picked up the pace and headed out into the open spaces of Hillsborough and Pasco. We found heavy enforcement on Hayman Road. Yery heavy enforcement! We were safe. We arrived in Mount Dora just in time to find two open parking spaces across from the Gables, so we took them. We had lunch, wandered a bit, then hit the road. There were lots of other bikes on the road as the weather was perfect for riding. We managed to travel about 230 miles without a single raindrop. I'd call it a good day.
Sunday, April 27th - Family day to celebrate Art's 92nd birthday. No ride.
Sunday, March Tooth - After breakfast at Perkin's, we headed north through Brooksville and Lecanto to Ozello for lunch. We managed to get in ~120 miles before we ate, so back roads must have been the way. Possibly due to Bike Week, we didn't see as many motorcycles on the road as usual, but the bicycle count was low, too. The weather was perfect for riding. The service and food at Peck's was worth the ride. Unfortunately, we didn't know aboutthe big car show at Crystal Chevrolet, so we didn't plan any time to look at the rods and classics. It looked like a big crowd. Matbe next year.
Sunday, March 9th - the trusty steed was broke - no ride this date. Turns out the problem was probably bad gas. Did a compression test - fine. Changed plugs, added fuel conditioner, changed oil and filter, adjusted primary chain, changed primary gaskets, installed new horn, installed new shift linkage, added nitrogen to the tires and washed it. Two tanks of gas later and it's back to normal.
Sunday, March 16th - This was the FBACC HOG chapter picnic date. For seven of us who prefer riding to picnics, we started with breakfast at Lenny's. After that, we headed over the skyway, through the fog and rain, through Parrish, down to Lake Manatee and more rain. Once that cleared up, we headed for Ona and Solomon's Castle. Just before we reached the castle, more rain! The third rain encounter was enough to actually get a little wet. As we we leaving the parking lot, a group from Cigar City HOG pulled in on some loud bikes, but the boy scout group ahead of us was louder, I think. Mr. Solomon no longer gives the tours due to emphysema, but the tour guides still use some of his humor. There were several concurrent tours happening, so we were rushed through some of the galleries. Lunch at the Boat in the Moat was some of the fastest service we have ever encountered. Good food, however. The ride home was dry, but uninteresting. All in all, a good day.
Saturday, March 22th - THIS RIDE IS POSTPONED DUE TO THE FORECAST!!! I know, that's not a Sunday, but it's on this page because I wanted it here. There will be Late Models and Sprint Cars on the schedule for Saturday night racing at East Bay Speedway Park in Hillsborough County. It might be a nice night for a ride to the races. They start at 6:30, so we need to arrive just before 6:00 to get seats out of the mud zone. $12 gets you in, $10 if you're over 55. We will have to stop for early dinner or settle for track burgers, so I'm all for a 4:00 departure from The World's Best Motorcycle Dealership, with dinner somewhere in Tampa. Let me know if you have an interest in this event - I'lll need to let you know of changes, should the weather prevaricator necessitate any.
Sunday, March 23rd - Easter weekend. No Sunday ride. The FBACC HOG ride leaves Fletcher's Harley-Davidson at 6:15. Their destination is the sunrise service at Fort Desoto Park.
Sunday, March 30th - we took a 115 mile trip to Pinellas Park. After a very slow breakfast at perkin's on Curlew, we headed north through Tarpon Strings (nice new pavement, BTW), past the Anclote power plant, east to CR 577, south to Keystone, Patterson, Crawley, Lutz - Lake Fern, Sunset, County Line, Cross Creek, Morris Bridge, Tom Folsom, Joe Ebert, CR 579, and then some more citified stuff into WhyBoor Sitty and lunch at Carmine's. The Italian festival had paking a mess, but Carmine's wasn't overrun, just slow. After lunch, seven of us continued on to Pinellas park and the Tampa Bay Auto Museum. The owner was on site and he spent quite a bit of time with us, showing off details of the cars that would have otherwise gone unnoticed or not understood. The cars have current tags and he delighst in driving them on the local roads. Stop in when you have some time and $8; it's worth the time and money. See http://tbauto.org/ or, even better, http://tbauto.org/info.htm for inflamation.
Sunday, February threeth - We started the day with eleven folks having breakfast at the Village Idiot in Clearwater. We lost one of the group to the chapter ride, but picked up three others en route to Parrish. The Gulf Coast Train Museum in Parrish has 'Steam Month' during February with the museum train ride pulled by a real steam engine. The adjacent display showed the abandoned engine being restored in 2003, after 50 years of deterioration due to neglect and abandonment. We made the 10:00 ride since we didn't dawdle over breakfast. After our train ride, which included the not ready for serious, or anything even close to serious, theatre players reenactment of a wild west shootout, we looked at the static displays, took some pics, and headed for lunch at the Crab Trap. We lost two of the group, so lunch was also eleven folks. After chow, a tour of Terra Ciea, a trip over the Skyway, and we were back in Penniless County. What better way is there to spend Super Bowl Sunday? We were home before 3:00 with just under 110 miles on the trip meter. Editorial comment - this adventure proved you CAN be the baddest woman gunfighter in the entire southeast even if you only have two teeth (nice tobacco-stained front teeth at that).
Sunday, February 10th - There was no KLEEK Tour on this date. We joined the FBACC HOG group at Andreychuk's before attending the ice racing at the SP Times Forum. There was a good group at the races and, I believe most of them had a good time. I can't say much for Andreychuk's however.
Sunday, February 17th - I warned you! It was time to see the monument to the first white man killed in Florida. The monument is in a park/boat launch in Punta Gorda. It's not real exciting, but we saw it. Up close, too. Breakfast was at Lenny's, lunch was on the Peace River, at Harpoon Harry's. Because we got there right after 12:00, we were away from the windows and the service from the kitchen was SLOWWWWW!!Return to Pinellas County was around 4:00 - WHN and I got home at 4:05. The total distance was over 230 miles, with way too much of that on I-75.
Sunday, February 24th - It was time to visit the Sun N Fun Air Museum, adjacent to the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Admission is $8, $6 for seniors. They have about three dozen restored aircraft on display. In the main hall, there are many small aircraft, some smaller than small. The larger craft are in the annex just down the walkway. About half of the planes in the annex belong to the owner of Fantasy of Flight. See more at http://www.sun-n-fun.org/content/interior.asp?section=museum&body=about. When we stopped at Tony's airside for lunch, we discovered it's closed permanently now. There's a hotel out front of the airport that serves food, but they don't serve Sunday lunch. So, we hit the museum first, then went to Lakeland and the Ale House for lunch. It was still a good day, just a bit off plan. A few - very few - rain drops on the way home didn't slow us down a bit.
Sunday, January 6th we took Lisa and William on their last Sunday ride around Florida. Breakfast was once again at Lenny's. Our destination was Bok Tower - the scene of the crime a few years back. We arrived around 11:00, then spent about two hours at the attraction, including lunch at the on-site cafe. On the way home, we visited Spook Hill to have our motorcycles roll uphill from a dead stop. OOOOH! EEERIE!!. The last gas stop was hugs for all.
Sunday, January 13th - With the forecast at 40% rain, I decided to make other planz for Sunday. The dog show in Brooksville had over 2500 entries and we saw quite a few of them. Breakfast at Lenny's was the usual good stuff, plus we got one more chance to wish Lisa and William a safe trip back to Lexington. We did see rain in Brooksville and much of the trip back was wet, too.
Sunday, January 20th - there was nothing planned this week. Too many other priorities. I did sell my truck and get a phone call from William with the good news that they arrived in Lexington safely.
Sunday, January 27th - WHN and I enjoyed breakfast at the Bob Evans' in Pinellas Park. The Solomon's Castle destination was changed by unanimous vote of the riders toKissimmee, so we could find restaurant options for the Feb ride to the Monument to States. Close to Kissimmee, the low-level clouds really increased the humidity and the concomitant bite (i.e, wind chill) of the atmosphere at 70 mph. (Yes, I took I-4 most of the way there) After visiting the monument, I cruised the downtown area looking for eateries. A couple possibilities popped up. Stay tuned! Solomon will reappear in the not-to-distant future.
Sunday, December 2nd. We began with 11 folks having breakfast at Lenny's at 7:51 a.m. After dining, and gaining three and losing three, the new 11 headed east, then north, through Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando and into Citrus counties for lunch along the Homosassa River at the Yardarm, adjacent to Monkey Island. We were able to get two window seats. The return trip was less scenic than the to trip, but we got back to Pinellas around 3:00.
Sunday, December 9th, we were headed inland for lunch. The day started with breakfast at the Village Idiot on SR 60. From there, we headed into the sun, to have lunch at Fantasy Of Flight's Compass Rose Restaurant,, then returned to Pinellas county. We managed to see some roads we haven't ridden on in quite a while.
Sunday, December 16th, we were gonna ride, weather permitting. Well, the weather didn't issue any permits that day. Squalls passed through before sun-up, the wind was whipping and the roads were wet and full of debris. The wiseness gene said 'keep it parked'. What a boring day!!!
Sunday, December 23rd. We headed north towards Brooksville after breakfast at Lenny's. We stopped at Tommy's on the way to Papa Joe's and got the one-hour tour of the new toys. Many of the old toys have been sent to foster homes, with a few more on the list for adoption.
Sunday, December 30th, Mr. Pritchard lead a group ride to the Dade Massacre reenactment near Bushnell.
Sunday, November 4th was the FBACC HOG Leigh Nolan poker run.
November 11th was an FBACC HOG club ride to Peace River Refuge and Ranch in Zolfo Springs. About 30 folks on 20 bikes made the journey over the Skyway to Zolfo Springs and a tour of the refuge.
Sunday, November 18th, I was lounging poolside in Orlando (yeah, right - me at a pool!) after taking in the Florida Classis feetsball game. No KLEEK Tour this date.
Sunday, November 25th, I was heading home from a couple days in the N Ga mountains. The eyeball prevented riding, but we kept busy the whole time we were gone.
Sunday, October 14th - Twas a small group the ventured north to Citrus County for lunch at Stumpknocker's on the square. we began with quite a few at Lenny's, but commitments and equipment malfunctions dropped our ranks to the riding few. The ride was good - cool, little traffic, good roads, no rain. What more couls you ask for?
Sunday, October 21st - We began with breakfast at McCabe's in Clearwater at 7:55, then headed north through Tarpon, Moon Lake, and Brooksville to have lunch in Floral City. The weather was good - not too hot and overcast, but NO RAIN! The return wasn't even bad, until we sat at a few lights in Pinellas County. Just under 200 miles of good riding today. Too bad y'all were in Daytona or wherever.
Sunday, October 28th - Another lunch ride to the interior of Flarda. Breakfasting occured at Lenny's in Clearwater at 7:53. We headed south across the Skyway - big time winds on the bridge - then through Rubonia to Parrish na and across Sr 62 to the Duette store. The owner at the Duette store admitted he has the restroom out of order just because people trashed it. No more stopping there for us! After touring all the gypsum stacks along Sr 640, Agricola Mine Road and Alturas-Babson Cuttoff, we stopped in Fort meade for lunch. The return home was the direct shot across Sr 640 through Fish Hawk, up US 41, through Tampa, down Bayshore and across Gandy. We hit one small shower on SR 640, but it didn't last long.
Sunday, September 2nd - Today, at 7:03, fourteen of us, aboard 8 motorcycles, headed for Caposey's in Pasco County. Included in the fourteen, along with perenial favorites were our favorite surprise guests, Barb and Jerry. Bill joined us without Sharon. Steve Jerve cooperated, no rain in sight when we left the Sears Parking lot for Tarpon Springs. Just for a change, we went around Spring Bayou and skipped the power plant. Thanks to several long lights in Pasco, we were a few minutes late getting to Caposey's, but the locals hadn't arrivd en masse yet, so we claimed the middle of the restaurant as our own. Bill surprised us all when he dropped in, sans Beth. After breakfast, we did take the power plant route north of Tarpon after the architectural tour of Moog Road. Glad I don't live there. A few clouds to our left stayed far enough away that we had no weather concerns at all. It was only 50 miles, but still a good ride. HOT started invading our space, so 'twas good that we planned for short today.
Sunday September 9th - Unfortunately, we had to postpone this ride. We'll try it again when it matches the weather.
Sunday, Sep 16 - Today we'll be gathering at Fletcher's Harley-Davidson, AKA The World's Best Motorcycle Dealership, at 0700, headed for breakfast in Hillsborough County. The outbound segment will take us through Tampa, the return trip will take us across the Skyway Bridge, so bring your $1US. Based on the ride length, and knowing NOTHING about the restaurant, I assume we'll be back in Penniless County by 11:00 a.m.
Sunday, September 23rd - We departed from the world's best motorcycle dealership once again at seven ayem. Our route took us around Pinellas County, with the destination being Country Legends (really strong coffee anyone??) in Dunedin - for breakfast. En route, we saw Weedon Island, Gulfport (at least the edge of it), Park Street, the new bridge to the beach on Central Avenue (WHY WHY WHY 20 mph??), Guld Blvd, Bellair, Clearwater downtown bypass, Stevenson Creek, and Main Street Dunedin. After breakfast, we all went on our way to wherever. Another good day without rain or ptomaine.
There was no KLEEK Tour on Sunday August 5 or August 12th - I was vacationing with the family.
Sunday August 19th - Breakfast in Brooksville. We departed from Clearwater Mall at 6:04 a.m. to beat the heat. The clouds just above the sunrise made for some brilliant reds in the sky. The roads were clear, the temps tolerable to cool. After breakfast at the Country Kitchen, we headed for 581, 577, Bayhead and Ehren's Cutoff. A few idiot bicycle riders, but still good temps. Once I reached Sr 580, the wait at traffic lights started getting uncomfortable - especially the right leg. Home befor 11:00 as promised. 130 good miles.
Sunday, August 26th - another early ride to beat the heat. This ride took us to Tony's Airside at LLRA before the rush, then home around 11:00. Four of us departed from the Sears Automotive parking lot in Countryside Mall, 6:01 a.m. We picked up Steve en route through Tampa, then headed directly into the sunrise. It was very colorful around 7:00, and really annoying about 7:09. Fortunately, the road was largely tree-lined, so there were protected spots between the occasional annoying spots. Tony's airside wasn't busy when we arrived, not many plane flying, either. The return route was a real Architectural Digest scenic delight. When we entered Pinellas county, the cool was fading fast. Another good 140 mile day!!!
July 1 - Sunday. The last lunch ride of the season will take us north through some spectacular roads and alongside some idiot bicycle riders. The long way to Papa Joe's will take us 125 miles or so, but the return will be a short 60 miles, so we should be pack to Pinellas around 2:30. The departure point for this ride is the Oldsmar Cracker Barrel. Gathering time is 7:54, at the table(s).
July 8th - I still can't ride, but I can eat. Breakfast, for those who have nothing better planned, will be at 7:54 on SR 60 in Clearwater, just east of Belcher Road, south side, in a place called McCabe's Cafe. It's old, but it's new, because it was in the old Publix shopping center, which was torn down and is being rebuilt near the same place. Joins us in the adventure.
July 15th - Summer heat dictated a short morning ride to breakfast, which, this week, means Pasco County. We moseyed up the Pinellas coastline, through Tarpon Strings and the marsh area just north thereof. We arrived at Caposey's about 7:53 and found no life forms in the parking lot or the building's interior. Since we had passed aplace back about 1.5 miles, we decided to head back the way we came. When we arrived at Grandma Sally's, the hostess came out to see how big the group was, and the table ready when we walked in. The menu was typical, but reasonably priced. The food was good and the service really fast. I coulda had one more cup of coffee, but that's just me. Aside from some expected Pasco County seniors, we were also entertained by some tattooed bikers. Amazing where people will put ink! Reminds me of Steve's first five years... When we got back to the bikes, the new Zumo wouldn't perform. In fact, it wouldn't do anything. I had planned to take a few jogs on the way back, but instead, we took the safe approach and headed south on familiar roads. I was home way before 10:00 and had the Zumo working before 10:30. It must have been a dirty connection at the battery, which is screwed in. Say la Vee!
July 22nd - I forgot my dark glasses, but we headed to Snellgrove's in Plant City anyway. The sun was bright and seeing the Zumo was difficult. Today's big surprise wasn't the weather, it was finding Jerry and Barb waiting at Starbuck's when I arrove. Dick and Shirley were right behind me, leaving William and Lisa to be last. I reckon everyone else was pinned in at home with the scattered storms tha popped up early. We had perfect weather all the way to Snellgrove's - I think thare was some rain ahead of us, or off to the north that cooled us off. The restaurant wasn't crowded, so we got right in. After breakfast, we headed south, then west out of Picnic, through Why Momma?, and Rubonia, over the big bridge and back to Pinellas County without a drop. Well, I actually did get a couple microdrops on my faceshield near the Skyway, but nothing more until I got to Enterprise and McMB. SR 580 had a bit more rain, and I actually had to wipe my shield. I arrived home, very dry at 11:30. Thanks to those who joined me today.
July 29 - I was pushin the clock this week, arriving at TWBMD, Fletcher's Harley-Davidson, with only 8 minutes until departure time. We were again greeted by Jerry and Barb, this time with Tony, Larry and Cathy on the front porch. We took the strangest route to Skidder's on St Bete Beach. Some traffic lights seem like they take forever to change for those on lightly travelled side roads. We took a lot of those strange side roads. Our route included the Jungle area and the brick portion of Park Street. We arrive at Skidder's right on time, got seated in adjacent tables and started annoying the waitresses. All went well, food was quick, no complaints. After breakfast, to keep the schedule I committed to, we took just six streets back to the heart of Pinellas. Two bikes ventured off along the beach. For those of us who stayed on plan, when we crossed the Bayside Bridge, we beacme concerned about rain. Clouds ahead and to the left. Jerry and Barb turned at Sunset Point, Beth, Bill, Dick, Shirley, WHN and I continued north. As soon as we topped the hill, we discovered that was the wrong choice. I U-turned and stayed dry, meeting up with the black Road King. Just before reaching home, we hit more rain, even though there were no clouds directly overhead. Fortunately, it was a fairly light rain. I'm sure those who went up to Union got very wet. I was home, not too wet, before 10:00
June 3rd, Sunday. After breakfast at Perkin's on Curlew, we headed through Tarpon Strings, Anclote Road, Moon Lake and San Antonio to Socrum and small towns whose names are bigger than the actual burgs, to Polk City. My favorite part is the Socrum Loop - especially the cool old cemetary. Once we arrive at Polk City for the second time, we stopped at the Fantasy of Flight Museum restaurant for lunch. After lunch, we headed back to Tampa and attended a silent film showing at the Tampa Theatre, featuring Rosa Rio at the Wurlitzer. The theatre held a birthday party for Rosa - she claims to be 105 now. Love bugs are still with us, but they coulda been worse.
June 10th, Another Sunday in the South. - After breakfast (7:51 at Lenny's) we headed north to Crystal River for a fishy lunch at Charlies. When we arrove, Charlie's was closed for vacation; we went to Cracker's, right up the street. Real crowed, lots of riders there. The ride was about 120 miles with an on-time arrival. The anticipated return to Penniless County before 4:00 happened at 3:30 for me. It wasn't too buggy, a bit warm, but all-in-all, a good ride.
June 17th, Sunday once again. - This week we were joined by a special guest from Kentucky - NOAH!!! He was riding with William. We gathered at the world's best motorcycle dealership, Fletcher's Harley-Davidson at seven, them headed south across the Skyway bridge, through Terra Ciea, Rubonia and other ruralness, to the shores of the Manatee River and the Riverside restaurant for breakfast. We captured three tables along the windows for maximum river / dock viewage. After chow, we headed inland, then up through Gibtown and Tampa, along Bayshore and back to Pinellas. I was home before noon, just like the plan said. I was amazed at how many bugs i picked up on this ride - the love bugs are sposed to be gone! For those of you who missed it, Noah did speak, however softly. He'll be back, I hope, to ride with us again.
June 24th - Sunday in the South. Today was a good day for some Pioneer Chicken. After gathering at Lenny's at 7:52 we headed into the sun. About 125 miles later, we were at the Pioneer in Zolfo Springs. In case you missed this ride, even though the parking lot looked full, we walked in and were seated immediately. The chicken was good as usual, but they had no greens today. Whn we left, there was a group of motorcycle enthusiast lined up inside the door, waiting for a table. As we were preparing to leave, a small flock of motorcycle enthusiast were scattered about the parking lot looking for a safe place to park their machines. We apparently got there at the right time. Hmm, the same kind of thing happened at Lenny's this morning, too (only with regular tourists, not motorcycle enthusiats
May 6th, was the return from Mississippi - the last day of a nine day ride. See the Mississippi page for the details.
Sunday, May 13th, was Mothers' Day. No ride planned. Weather was also a factor - breathing was difficult.
Sunday, May 20th, we met for breakfast at Lenny's at 7:51. We had a waitress that we had not previously encountered. She obviously dealt with pre-verts before, so we were no problem for her. Afterwards, we headed north for lunch, hoping to avoid the love bugs. We did, for a while. After a stop at SR 50 and US 301, we found the little buggres. After a few new roads for some in the group, we turned onto SR 48. I felt the rear tire step out a bit, so I really underdid all the corners the rest of the way to the Lepperkon. After lunch, I checked the tire and it had about 24 psi in it, so I filled it to about 40 and headed out. It appeared to have some strange scalloping, too, but that was a visual on the ground with bags still attached. Not wanting to need help on some scenic back road, I stuck to major thoroughfares. The group followed. I made it home just fime, but when I went out an hour and a half later to take the bike to the shop to get the wheel off, the tire was FLAT. I'll have to get to it after dinner. BUMMER!!
Sunday, May 27th, since I didn't get a new rear tire, I wasn't riding.
April - TAX SEASON Rides
Sunday, April 1, 2007, the KLEEK Tours ride began with breakfast at Perkin's restaurant on Curlew (at US 19), at 7:52. From there, we headed into Florida's open wilderness in search of lunch. Well, not so wild after all - there's growth and new traffic lights everywhere. We lunched at the Gables in Mount Dora, after traversing some of the high country immediately south of Dora, including Sugar Loaf Mountain. The return trip was less scenic, but safe. This ride was about 120 miles each way..
Sunday, April 8th, we again met for chow at Lenny's at 7:50. Afterwards, we headed in a big loop around Pinellas, north Hillsborough and down into Manatee so we couls have lunch at the Crab Trap. Weather was good, companionship better. All in all, a great day.
Sunday, April 15nd, was a rainout..
Sunday, April 22st, breakfast was at Lenny's. After breakfast, 43% of the group headed home and 57% of us (roundoff) headed for Celebration. About an hour later, half of the travelers headed back home, so Tony and I decided to go exploring. I had fould a place on my map software that I had never visited. It's Sleepy Hollow, just outside Floral City. We headed north after our break, across Bayport Rd and up Bellamy Brothers, 581, Mondon Hill and a few others to Istachatta, Pineola, and Floral City. Since I didn't have a route in the GPS, we had to do some dead-reckoning to find Gobbler Rd and then Sleepy Holllow. WE stopped in the very large mulch-covered parking area and went up to the bar. That's when we learned the bar was open, but lunch wasn't served until 1:00 and it was Bar B Que. After a quick look around, we continued east on Gobbler and south on Withlapopka. I felt like I was on Haines Road in St Pete. We stopped at the Shamrock for lunch. About 16 riders were already there, but the service was still pretty quick. The group already there was from Pinellas County, from what we could tell. After lunch, south it was - down 41, across 480 and 576, through Brooksville, Masaryktown and Lutz. Home before 3:00
Saturday, April 28th was day one of a nine day adventure to Mississississippippippi and the historic sights of Hattiesburg, Natchez and Vicksburg. Nine days, eleven motorcycle-riding adventurers (plus two convertible riders), much fun. Check out the NEW Mississippi page - It has gotten a real-time daily update every day of the trip..
MARCH Too thousand sevin
Sunday, March fourth, based on a weatherforecast, the ride was postponed. I shooda ignored the forecast and went riding. We'll make the trip another day.
Sunday, March 11rd, there was a ride, after having B-fast at Lenny's at 7:51 A.M. After B-fast, we headed through Tampa, avoiding the Forum area, and then south. After passing some FINE game animals, we arrived at the Pioneer at 11:52. We didn't beat the rush, but we were seated quickly. En route, we passed a pig sleeping in the road, and a deer beside the road. The guard birds were all about, protecting them from harm. We also saw an alert squirrel in the road, a turkey crossed in front of us, a hawk flew by and another turkey was spotted in a field on our right. After lunch, we saw another pig with large tusks sleeping alongside the road and his entourage of guard birds. A large black dog was also spotted, I mean seen resting. Lots of birds, too. A swarm of something I didn't recognized (Swifts) had me ducking behind the windshield for a while. All in all, it was a good day. Seven of us made the trip, three othere joined us for breakfast, and the weather was near perfect.
Sunday, March 18th, ten of us gathered for breakfast at the Oldsmar Cracker barrel, after which, six headed for the picnic and four headed to Tavares and the Harborside restaurant. The chill in the air didn't deter us - we saw the edges of Webster, including Cow Pee road, and Howie's secret entrance, Number 2 Road, while en route to Tavares and the Harborside restaurant on the Dead River. You might remember this place as Dead River Vic's. If you're inclined to stop in, ask for Shane - he'll serve you well and also provide some entertainment.
Sunday, March 25 - No KLEEK Tours ride.
Thank the weatherman - no ride 2/4/07. Just like up north!!!!!
Sunday, Feb11th, we headed east to lunch in Auburndale after breakfast at Lenny's.This 200 mile trip took us through Tampa, down to Apollo Beach (we stopped at the Manatee Viewing center at TECO's Big Bend power plant so some first-timers could watch the manatees romp. A couple lazed about on their backs, snout out of the water for quite some time. (manatees, not riders) The weather was excellent for a ride - the cloud cover came in and kept the temps down to perfect. Lunch was a bit screamy, especially for Steve who had an unhappy little gurl about 8" from his head letting her mommy know that she wasn't ready to enjoy her Nuclear Wings at Beef's (or whatever it was she ordered). The ride home was over some roads we haven't seen in a while. There sure are a lot of snow birds in Z Hills this time of year! Good weather, good roads, good friends, great day.
Sunday, February 18th, I was able to ride sweep on my own ride. Never once needed the rear-view mirrors. Apparently my friends are smarter than I - they stayed where it was warm, while I rode along the Pinellas County beaches from Bellaire to Pass-a-grille. I probably passed up the best opportunities for breakfast, not having a specific destination, but I found Skidder's - not a bad choice for just stopping in when I saw a place with no line outside. It appears to be a popular place with visitors with accents - not yankees, mind you, real accents, with gutteral sounds and absolutely no idea what grits are. It's funny listening to a non-southerner explain grits to a visitor from Europe. I would have never used the word 'oatmeal' in a description of grits. After breakfast, I managed to find a sailing regatta just south of the pier in St Pete - they definitely had the wind for sailing - maybe even a bit too much. Lots of boats had the roads around Progress Energy Park totally blocked.
Sunday, February 25th, WHN and I joined the Clearwater HOG ride to the Babcock Ranch for their Eco Tour. Babcock bought 175,000 acres way back when for harvesting the pines. Through some land management, they managed not to clear-cut the forest and some timber operations still exist on the ranch. Cattle, sod, honey and mining also co-exist to keep the ranch viable, along with the Eco-Tours. The state has recently purchased 75,000 acres to keep the place free from development. If you're ever in the area, or need something to do for a few hours, I recommend a visit. Get the scoop at http://www.babcockwilderness.com/
There was NO KLEEK Tour on Sunday Jan 7, nor on Sunday, Jan 14. See, I do have a life!
Sunday, January 21st, we traversed the Skyway, heading south to Punta Gorda for lunch, after we had breakfast the the Village Idiot. The return route from Punta was a dash up I-75 since there aren't many open roads down there. The weather was perfect - most had jackets, but the sun was pleasant. Lunch on the river at Harpoon Harry's was also quite enjoyable - not freezing cold like the last time I was there. We got there in time to get a table close to the water and parking at the door. Cathy forced us to walk through the shops, so an Ice Cream stop was mandatory, too. A 250 mile day.
Sunday Jan 28rd - a rainout said the weatherman. No ride. Instead, we visited Full Throttle's Motorcycle Expo at the Harborview center in Clearwater.
December of the shortest year on record (2006):
Sunday, December 3rd was a lunch ride to the south and east. After breakfast at Lenny's, ten of us headed over the Skyway bridge, toured Terra Ciea, through Rubonia, travelled across Moccasin Wallow, US 301, Butch Cassidy, US 41, and ultimately worked our way to Apollo Beach and the TECO Big Bend power plant. Erika, our special guest from Kentucky, got to have her first up-close look at a live manatee, along with some tarpon, needle fish, mullet, jacks, sharks, a sting ray and a blue crab, all in the same canal. We went through Tampa near the cruise port and SP Times Forum, then headed down Bayshore and finally stopped for lunch on the front porch of Kojak's .
Sunday, December 10th, there was no KLEEK Tours ride - I was out-of-town!
Sunday, December 17th, the ride again took us north. After breakfast at Perkins' on Curlew raod at US 19, we will headed into Pasco and Hernando counties through some of our favoritest roads in Pasco and Hernando counties. The target eatery, the Bayport Inn, way out in the tidal swamp area west of Brooksville was surrounded by motorcycles when we arrived and was overtaken by more before we left. The fish basket wasn't as good as their grouper basket was, but better than a lot of fish I've tried recently. Perhaps grouper will return some day. We were be back in plenty of time to refuel and get to the FBACC HOG LOH dinner / Christmas lights ride. Thanks to Cheddar's restaurant on Roosevelt, it wasn't our best event.
Sunday, December 24th, there was no KLEEK Tours ride.
Friday, Decembuary 29th no one showed for breakfast at Perkins on Curlew or the ride to Homosassa. The restaurant there that makes authentic Cuban Sammiches was full of Pinellas County folks who read the review in the SP Times. The food was a lot like the stuff at Rio on US 19, across from the Jag dealer.
Sunday, December 31st, we met at Lenny's at 7:52 for breakfast. Once the animal corpses and vegetable byproductswere consumed, we headed to Inverness. Lunch at Stumpknocker's on the Square was good, as was the company. Excellent weather, considering this was December.
Sunday, Nov. 5nd was the FBACC HOG Leigh Nolan UPARC Poker Run. Getting off to an early start, we managed to get in over 50 miles before we hit the first stop on the planned route.Crawley, Boyscout and Patterson roads were a great way to start the morning. The ride between Taylor Park and lunch was pretty busy traffic, but survivable. The crowd at QS&L was lighter than I expected. As always, my best hand wasn't even worth putting my name on - no winners in the bunch! Maybe next year.
Sunday, Nov 12st, there was no KLEEK Tours ride
Sunday, Nov 19nd, there was no KLEEK Tours ride.
Friday, November 24st, was a a ride to lunch in Micanopy. The weather was perfect for a 280 mile day. Three of us made the journey to the ice cream store in Micanopy for lunch (they serve more than Ice Cream). Because we were late getting out of breakfast, we skipped the tour of Paynes Priarie and headed home.
Sunday, November 26rd, our target lunchery was the Lake Susan Lodge. After breakfast at Bob Evans, we headed East and North. The restaurant at Lake Susan Lodge was 'Closed for renovation', which usually means bankrupt. We went up to Clermont and had lunch at Pasta Vino. About 100 miles later, we were again home safe. A very good day for a ride.
October started with a great ride to Maggie Valley, NC. (Actually, it started on Sep 30, but this is my story, so I'll put it wherever I want) Day one took us to Americus, Ga. and the Windsor Hotel. Although the Windsor was a once stately inn, I have to remove it from my preferred hotels list. We were put is a dinky room at the back of the hotel, the restaurant was closed for a wedding, and we had few options. Fortunately, the Station restaurant was a close-by, good service, good food choice. Day two got us to the Johnathan Creek Inn in Maggie. No problems en route. Day three was a tour of the Biltmore mansion and winery. Had lunch with some old friends from Clearwater who now live in Asheville. Good day. Day four was NC 215, Blue Ridge Parkway (BRP), US 276, Pisgah Inn and Wheels through Time museum. Another good day. Dale was his usual character. No one should enjoy his job as much as Dale does! Day five was a trip ove the mountains to Pigeon Forge and lunch at the Old Mill, some shopping, Ice Cream, and crafts fair. Back over the mountain to Maggie and another good day in the books. Day six was a trip to Whitewater Falls and more good roads, lunch at a local deli (good food, fair? service, good prices) and a safe return to Maggie. Missed an opportunity to have lunch with a former co-worker who now resides in the hills of NC. His 'retirement' includes a full-time job selling real estate to Floridians trying to escape heat and hurricanes, and a business meeting pre-empted our plans for lunch. Day seven included a stop at Ghost Town Harley-Davidson in Waynesville, some shopping in town, lunch at Fat Buddies (on the preferred dining list) and more of the BRP. Day eight caused us to leave town and head for Washington, Ga., and the Fitzpatrick Hotel. Built in 1898, closed in the 50's and refurbished and opened in 2004, the place was an excellent choice. It is high on the 'go back there' list. The Jockey Club across the square provided dinner and local color. US 178 was one of the better roads, too. Day nine was open Ga. countryside to Valdosta, good roads, interesting eateries and good weather. Day ten was a pleasant ride down US 41, US 129, US 19 and the Veterans. More good weather, minor road construction delays and no problems. 1950 miles (GPS log) in ten days, from sea level to over 6000 feet, Interstates to one lane bridges. Can I go back?
Sunday, Octobuary 15th, was a short ride (100 miles, including some of Pasco and Hernando's best roads) to Papa Joe's in Brooksville.The weather was fabulous, Dahling!! Lots of bikes on the roads. The six of us who made the trip had a good ride.
Sunday, October 22th, will be a ride to Inverness to meet a couple friends for lunch. Feel free to join us at breakfast, or after, if you wish. Breakfast will be at Perkin's on Curlew Road, just west of US 19, south side. Breakfast is 7:55, departure should be 8:40. This is a 100 mile ride up, 80 mile ride back. Estimated return to Penniless County is 3:22 p.m., EDT.
Sunday, October 29th, after a Cracker barrel breakfast, eight of us headed SOUTH for lunch. Sharkey's in Venice was the target purveyor of food and beverage. We travelled about 100 miles south, 80 miles north. Sadly, the fish camp on teh Manatee river at SR 70 has new owners (it appears) and the place is not as clean as before. Tsk, Tsk! Fortunately, with perfect weather and good food, it was a great day to be on two wheels.
September 24th was the ride to Zolfo Springs and fried chicken at the Pioneer Restaurant. This ride started with breakfast at the Egg Splatter in Pinellas Park. I was joined by three regulars, all of whom thought it was a bad idea to ride through bugs and hot, so I went alone. Bugs weren't bad, it wasn't sweatty until I stopped at my shop to wash the bike. 260 miles on a good day.
September 17th, we departed from the Starbuck's Coffee joint at Clearwater Mall, US 19 and SR 60, at 9:00 A.M., EDT. Well, some of us did. Eventually we bacame a pack of 13 aboard 8 bikes. We headed to Mount Dora and lunch at the Gables Restaurant, followed by thirty minutes of willy-nilly shopping at the finest dog treat store in town, people watching and dripping sweat. All the comments about the Gables were positive - probably high on the list for a return visit. Our departure from Dora took us south through orange groves and future condo sites. The ride was about 120 miles each way. Our return to Pinellas County was just before the storms hit - at least for most of us. Two bikes that peeled off at Keystone encountered a toad strangler, while the rest of us stayed dry.
September 10th was a morning ride to Oldsmar for breakfast. We departed from Sear's Auto Center at 7:00 a.m., and headed in a big loop to Oldsmar and the Cracker Barrel. Afterwards, several of the group headed to Fletcher's Harley-Davidson to join in on the Hospice rides. We were back in plenty of time to attend the FBACC HOG LOH dinner ride to Pasadena and GiGi's restaurant. All in all, a good day in the saddle.
August 27th was a big one - Caposey's. Under 45 miles each way. We were back in plenty of time to allow attendance at the LOH fundraiser event. Departure from Sear's Auto Center was dry, we encountered wet roads, but never any rain. Another good day, albeit short!
August 20th, we actually made it to the Leprechaun in Floral City. We left Fletcher's Harley-Davidson at 7:00, as planned, headed north and were quite surprised at how pleasant it was - nearly cool for an August day. The ride home was dry, but began to warm up. Pinellas County got a wee bit sweaty.
August 13th WAS supposed to be the Floral City ride to the Leprechaun ,but I listened toBay News 9 Meat Urologist Julie Marquez and changed the route to head south - it was supposed to rain to the north. We took the scenic route to the Riverside Cafe on the Manatee River. A longer route back took us through a zillion red lights and some quiet country roads. A good day!
August 6th was a 55 mile ride to Snellgrove's in Plant City, into the bright sun. It was very clear, so it was very painful heading east. The return route of 65 miles was with the sun to our backs, so no problems. It started heating up when we got into Pinellas County. A quick stop at the Fletcher's Harley-Davidson garage sale made the day complete. Thanks to those who joined us.
July and June - lost somewhere.
On May 29th, Dick and Shirley joined WHN and me for another 100+ mile ride to Bongo's at Downtown Disney. Lunch was followed by shopping and ice cream from Ghirardelli's.The 100+ miles home was almost bug-free. Good thing - there wasn't room to save any more on the fairing.
On May 28th, sixteen of us travelled over 100 miles to rush the doors of Papa Joe's at opening time. As usual, good food and service added to the fellowship. Love bugs were an issue. When it was all over, I had three bikes to clean, not just one like most of y'all.
On May 21rd, we joined the Florida Bay Area Clearwater Chapter of the Harley Owners Group for a ride to Zolfo Springs (Fried chicken at the Pioneer restaurant) and a visit to the Peace River Refuge and Ranch. Lisa Stoner toured us through the facility and toldus about the many hours it took to clean up and reconstruct after being hit by three hurricanes in one season. Several members had not yet seen PRR&R, so it was amazing to them that a family could devote their lives to rescuing exotic animals.
See their site at http://www.peaceriverrefuge.org/