Day 15: Comfort Zone Termination

I am Chezz’s apprehension. Tomorrow marks the the day where I will be venturing into uncharted territory. I’ll be out of my comfort zone with only 2 friend stops for the next week at the least. It’s a shame it was cloudy and rainy every day I was here in Florida but the sun did manage to come out for 2 hours and I took advantage of it by taking a walk.

I started my closing preparations for the house I’m at. This trip has been hot/cold. I think about my night in Jacksonville… I was way out of my comfort zone but had one of the best evenings conversing with strangers for 3 hours. Hopefully I will have more of those experiences along the way.

I decided to check out a new place for my final evening in Naples. Tavern on the Bay was packed with people I had no desire sitting with. I had a pretty good Mahi sandwich and I’m a sucker for sweet potato fries. After the meal and drink I headed home. I’d rather watch the playoff games alone than with a bunch of lunatics.

I bought a wrist brace to hopefully alleviate some of my hand numbness. I still really fear that I will develop some permanent carpel tunnel from this trip. I’m due for new tires and maybe a rebalanced front will reduce the vibrations. I really am doing this on the wrong bike but all part of the adventure!

It’s time to enjoy my last 11 hours here. Tomorrows update will document my long trip west.

Day 14: Outpost Naples

Last we spoke I was enjoying writing yesterday’s article beach side. After I finished up, I packed up my bags and climbed into the tent. Almost instinctively I decided to close up the rain fly. As I was climbing back into the tent the winds really whipped up and it started raining very hard. I remained dry inside but was worried about how well I staked the tent. Being waterproof is good but it wouldn’t matter much if I started blowing away. That storm cell lasted maybe 30 minutes. I had a hard time falling asleep with the heat and lack of airflow that the rainfly creates. I was expecting much heavier storms around 3AM so I left it up. It rained once but not heavily. At about 7AM you would not guess what woke me up. I saw this glowing orange glow from inside my tent almost like the sun decided to come out.

I was in the middle of a tropical storm and was fortunate enough to wake up to a clear sky and nice weather. I couldn’t be happier. I broke down camp while trying to reduce the amount of sand that was in everything. It’s inevitable that I will find sand all throughout the rest of the trip from this past evening but that is just fine. I proved to myself that I can correctly stake a tent to withstand 20+MPH winds.

I was on the road by about 830AM. I desperately needed to clean and lube my chain so about 40 miles from camp I started my routine cleaning routine. Step 1: Buy coffee, water, and a snack. Step 2: Clean chain with WD-40 and grunge brush and wipe clean. Step 3: Apply chain lube and let sit. Step 4: Drink coffee while letting the chain lube dry and fill up camelbak.

I decided to postpone leaving FL tomorrow because of this tropical storm. There is no purpose in me spending a full day or two in the rain while being miserable.

Short update today but I’ll take a look at the digital camera photos tomorrow and hopefully upload some gems. Lets go Hawks!

Day 13: As South As You Can Go

Today I embarked toward the Keys. I am ruling out Miami on this trip and will come back sometime with friends to enjoy that. A motorcycle tour with lots of bags and unwillingness to get a hotel just doesn’t make for a nice “going out” experience. I’m plenty happy where I’m at right now… trust me. Honestly, I did not know the keys were so far off mainland Florida. Then again I never really bothered to look into it since I never went on any crazy spring break getaways. The sun tried to peak its way out as I was setting up camp but the clouds once again overtook it. Luckily it only rained for the first hour and a half of the ride. Once I made it through the Everglades and crossed a few bridges I decided to grab some lunch. Since this trip makes me feel like a hobo sometimes it was only fitting that I stop at Hobo’s Cafe.

The service was excellent and I can’t even begin to tell you how good the blackened mahi mahi quesadilla were.

As I continued south I finally found a spot to take a photo right near the water. I wish I had time to take a dip but I decided to pass on having wet clothes and arriving at my campsite in the dark.

I arrived at Bahia Honda State Park earlier than expected which was nice. I set up camp quickly. I don’t think you can really beat the view my spot came with.

As with any of the long roads I have been traveling, you have lots of time to think… especially when you have no service to listen to internet radio. Today I found myself thinking about my ex-girlfriend. I’m not really going to get into that. I forced those thoughts out of my head and continued to enjoy the amazing areas I was riding through.

I was under the assumption that I would set up camp and then relax here at the site. Since it was so early I decided to take off toward Key West and go as far south as this trip would allow. I’m glad I decided to do that tonight because tomorrows weather is not looking as promising as todays.

Right around the corner from that photo I happened to find exactly what I was looking for.

I grabbed my last meal for the day, soaked up the beachside cafe and bar atmosphere and then headed back to camp. Dave was a gentleman I talked with in Jacksonville who said that Orlando is where the south ends. I’m going to agree with him because it seems that once I was further south, I seemed to be surrounded by your typical Florida retreat folks. Key West gave me the same feeling. Couples enjoying the beaches from all over the world. I don’t have a problem with that but I still think I’m searching out those local establishments that actual residents frequent. I’m sure as I venture west and stay off the beaten path I will run into more of those environments.

Right now I seem to be lucking out with this storm cell. The forecast is predicting some storms later this evening and tomorrow. I would be very thankful if that didn’t happen. My camp is setup in the sand right now so I’m sure I’ll be carrying around bits of sand the entire rest of the trip. Packing up a wet campsite is not what I would call an ideal morning but what the hell… all part of the adventure, right?

Oh yes, I even went in the water a bit.

Tomorrow we venture back to outpost Naples and then the next day we’re heading west.

Day 12: Maintenance and Laughs

I started today still worried about my hand. I was hoping another good nights sleep would have resolved the tingly feeling but it did not. After a quick breakfast it was time to change my oil.

Look at that square!

I must have torqued the hell out of my oil drain bolt because I couldn’t get it off for the life of me. I had to use a piece of conduit as a breaker bar. I made sure to not over tighten it this time. 2.75 quarts later, she was brimmed with fresh oil.

After that I decided to take a trip to Florida Motor Sports. You can almost say this was a moment of weakness. I was still feeling uneasy about the hand.

I talked with a nice gentleman around my age for about an hour regarding various bikes. I think I was more interested in seeing how badly they would low ball me for my bike. They took her back and gave her the inspection. I had various bikes in my sight. I wasn’t planning on pulling the trigger on anything because I really do love my bike. If I had a plan it would involve keeping the R6 as my fun/track bike and then acquiring a second bike.

That last bike was $1800. After the inspection, I was told they would give me $700 for my bike. Pardon my french but what a fucking joke. I started laughing, thanked the gentleman for his time and walked out. I was told the bike was in poor condition and wouldn’t be safe to continue my travel. KBMOD has taught me a great phrase and that would be, “nah… cya bud.”

I headed back, did a load of laundry and then it was time for the Blackhawk’s game. We lost this one but we still lead the series.

Tomorrow we head off into the Keys. Hopefully mother nature decides to play nice. I’ll be camping in Big Pine Key. Wish me luck.

Day 11: A Day of Rest

Today started at about noon. Don’t think I didn’t wake up early though. The smoke detector was talking to me at 5AM. It actually says, “low battery.” I was hoping the sun would wake me up but the sun didn’t really come out today. It is a bit stormy here but I don’t mind at all.

I reviewed my GoPro footage to find that a good amount of it is not really usable in the video sense. I can still grab some nice stills from them. Tomorrow I thought about taking off toward the Keys but that would involve me changing the oil on the bike tonight… and I’m already on the couch. We shall complete bike maintenance tomorrow and then explore Florida after that. I hope this storm passes quickly because I would really enjoying spending an evening on the beach further south.

I started to get restless and felt like I was wasting the day so I decided to go out and get some lunch/dinner and pick up the oil for my bike.

I’m starting to wonder how many more miles I’ll get out of these tires. They are squaring up as expected but the tread in the middle is getting thin. I’ll take a better picture tomorrow when I have the garage open. I need to be conscious of this because I don’t have the luxury of changing my tires anywhere. The way I see it, I have a few spots that I can get the job completed. Florida is one place, Texas another, and California. I wish Yamaha would sponsor this trip to prove that a 2003 R6 can handle the rigors of cross country travel. A man can always dream…

I’m also getting concerned with the numbness I still feel in my throttle hand. It’s not that I have no feeling in it but it almost feels like I hit my “funny bone” but to a lesser degree. Another day off the bike will determine if this will go away. It needs to get better or I need to resolve it immediately. I am not going to suffer permanent nerve damage because of this trip so if anyone has any suggestions please let me know in the comments below. I have Pro Grip 761 Touring Gel Grips and these generic bar ends ( My gloves are two years old and I’m positive the padding is about gone. Short post today but what can I say.. it was a day of rest.