Friday, November 23, 2018

Stahlratte sails from Panama to Colombia...without me

Thanksgiving Day. Bit of a sad day. Yeah, I’m surrounded byfamily, enjoying some great food, watching the Macy’s parade.  But there’s someplace I’d rather be.

You see, today is the year’s final sailing from Panama to Colombia on the Stahlratte. And I was supposed to be on board. Ah, well...

As many of you might recall, I retired, moved far away and was looking forward to a motorcycle adventure to Ushuaia, at the tip of South America. And all was going according to plan...when I busted myself up in Baja. The doctors asked me to give it a year before trying anything crazy.  That pretty much scuttled any plans I had for a 4-6 month ride around Latin America.

So as I said goodbye to family and packed up the leftovers, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of regret at not being on that boat. Ah, well...

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Tampa Triumph Rocket Riders Head East in Search of BBQ

I don’t know what it is about seeing a row of Triumph Rocket III motorbikes lined up waiting to roll out, but I sure do like it. And that’s the sight I witnessed this morning in Ruskin/Sun City Center, Florida: Three nice Rocket III Tourings ready to go. 

It was brisk when I rolled out to the meeting place—not even 60 degrees yet. The sun was out and the skies were blue—the makings of a perfect day to ride!

I met PreStaged and PaddyO at about 9:30 and my wife rolled up to snap a couple photos. We we’re in the road after a brief discussion about tires and oil (just kidding!). 

We departed the Home Depot parking lot in Ruskin/Sun City Center and headed east on the 674 through towns such as Wimauma, Balm, Ft. Lonesome, and Streamsong. This is truly “Old Florida.” Lots of phosphate mining in that area. 

We turned north on Hwy 37, then east on Hwy 630. Almost immediately, we turned north on Old Highway 37 and passed through the tiny little town of Bradley Junction. 

At Pierce, we went east on Pebbledale Road, them almost immediately turned north on Bonnie Mines Road.

We continued north on Bonnie Mines Road until we hit the 60 and went east for a few miles then turned south on Agricola Road/Hwy 555 right before Bartow. We crossed SR 640 and then turned east at the 630 until we hit Highway 17/98 at the small town of Historic Fort Meade. We rode south for just a few miles to the town of Bowling Green where we stopped to eat at Smokin’ Joe’s BBQ. 

It was there that I apologized for all of the railroad crossings—we must’ve gone over a dozen or more! That’s phosphate mining for ya...

Leaving the BBQ place, we went south toward Wachula, turning west onto the 62 and rode across toward Parrish at Hwy 301. That was 40 miles through some cow pastures and citrus groves. Really nice. 

We turned north at the 301 and ended up back in Sun City Center at the 674. We all filled up at the WaWa gas station there and said our goodbyes.

This was a nice ride with little traffic, truly great weather and miles and miles of farmland and citrus orchards The entire ride took us under 3 1/2 hours for the 120-mile loop. I enjoyed it very much and I hope they did, too. 

I headed home as the other two mapped out the Tail of the Gecko ride. Can’t wait to hear about that!