Monday, January 26, 2015
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Monday, January 5, 2015
This is what I was hoping for. To hell with tourist traps, I want to explore the real South Florida.
I've been here a little over a week now. Pretty much settled in now, can't say I have been worth my salt as of yet. I keep asking what they want me to do, they keep saying just settle in, enjoy and we will put you to work soon enough. So be it.
That's what sprung me loose on this first of what I hope to be many recon missions of South Florida. I've fantasized about doing this for decades. Pretty much started thinking about it since the collapse of my second marriage. I should have done it then, it would have saved me wasting 10 years on a third loser marriage.
Since I have been still occupied getting my camper set up on the new site I didn't have a full day to explore so I set my sights on riding my Honda Shadow to Immokalee by way of Corkscrew Road.
After 13 miles of riding the flattest, straightest and open road I was wondering where the hell it got its name.
The home version of this is what we back home called The Samaria Flats.
This was The Flats times 10! Somewhere along this stretch I passed a little metal shack of a building t-boned into an old beat up camper as to make living quarters.
The front part of the shack had a sign that advertised "Corkscrew Country Store".
Note to self, gotta stop here on my way back from Immokalee.
About then Corkscrew Road was starting to live up to its namesake with some with some sexy long smooth bike loving 90 degree turns. The kind that you don't have to be a Cafe racer to lay into and enjoy.
You just get a nice lean into the corner and with perfect visibility and no opposing traffic you let the throttle dictate what position of the road you take. Centrifugal force at its best. Corkscrew Road is the exit I took off of I75 the day after Christmas. It led me directly to the park that will be home to me and my Toy Hauler camper for the winter.
Leaving the park heading east on Corkscrew this very warm, humid January day, the mass of restaurants, condo developments and numerous Publix grocery stores give way to citrus groves, marshes, panther warning signs and open roads.
After a few nice long curves and passing some hiking preserves that will need hiking in the near future Corkscrew Road tees into State Road 82 that will head me toward Immakolee.
The main industry of Immakolee is the Seminole ran casino. I don't care much for casinos but only thought it fair to drop in and pay reparations to my Native American brethren.
Took me a grant total of about 10 minutes and were all good now. Squared up. Your welcome Kimosabe.
Heading back on this short 70 mile test run I saw a sign in Immokalee on S.R. 29 that said Everglade City 47 miles. That would be due south of Immokalee and that was what I was looking for. A route to Everglade City that kept me off of interstates or the stretch of Tamiami Trail that drudges through heavy traffic and monotonous planned communities.
It will take me longer to get there for sure but I'm more interested in exploring the real South Florida than making good time to each place I intend to visit.
Heading back across Corkscrew Road I kept my eyes peeled for the Country Store.
When I came up to the gravel drive to the stores parking lot there on a trailer was the craziest coolest homemade swamp buggy rig I ever saw.
I pulled up to the front of the shambled store and saw a few locals sitting on the stores porch.
"How y'all doin?" I spoke in my best Southern Indiana drawl.
"Good, how you?" they responded.
"I'm good" I said. "Just a bit parched, ya don't happen to have any cold beer in there for sale do ya?"
"Yeah, I got a little bit" she said and led me inside to an old fashion style coke bottle cooler.
Inside was an ecletic collection of beer. No Coors Banquet to be found but there were a couple of Carona's of all things so I settled on one of those sans lime wedge.
I'm sure fruiting the beer in this place would have been an egregious error of protocol.
I sat down with my thirst quenching beer a couple of seats down from ol boy who I was sure to be the craftsman of this mutation of motor city.
Ol' boy was more than happy to talk about his swamp conquering machine when I asked about it. I sat on the porch with ol boy and the others had a good conversation about much of nothing. The proprietor of the store had migrated down south from Ohio some thirty five years ago. She had run the store for the last twenty.
Seems like in Fort Myers you can't throw a rock without hitting a Publix store.
I kinda of like this store better.
After a half an hour my limeless Carona drained, it was time to head back to my home on wheels. I told them I'd see em again. This store is right on my way to a lot of other places I need to see.
As I was heading back across Corkscrew Flats I recalled the decisions I had to make when the idea of becoming a park volunteer carney first started taking shape.
I had serious thoughts about taking my brother up on his offer to buy my bike and just get a standard travel trailer instead of a toy hauler.
I finally came to the decision to sacrifice comfort space for cargo space and found a camper that offered both.
Some toy haulers have dedicated garages in the back. I didn't like that configuration. I wanted a camper that would allow the cargo area to be used as practical living space when not hauling my toys. Finally found the perfect fit, a 2014 Grey Wolf 25RR.
The low gas prices hit at the perfect time and with trailer in tow dragging my MPG down to a little over 8 miles it's a damn good thing.
Saw we are having a cold front coming through later this week, gonna drop down to 50 as a low Thursday night. Course it's supposed to be 2 below back home.
See ya in the spring back home folks!