This is my trip report from my first motorcycle trip to Key West FL in May 2008. Somehow it does not seem that long ago …
Day 1 (Saturday) – Philly PA to Savannah GA
There were a total of 5 of us, 3 who left Friday and 2 (me and another guy) left Saturday, May 10 at 7:00 am from the Philly area. 2 of us on sportsters, 2 on softails, and 1 on a street bob. Everything was going great, stopped in Delaware for a quick fuel stop and to use the restroom. Sky looked kind of black, but did we think of putting on raingear, nope! 15 minutes later, we stopped under a convenient overpass to put it on. I had a full face helmet in my bag so I swapped it for the ½ helmet. For the next 150 or so miles it rained, to Fredericksburg VA. Stopped for fuel and food, and the rain stopped. Smooth sailing for a bit, till we got south of DC and traffic all but stopped. Got thru that ok, and I decided the trip home would be up the Delmarva Peninsula. Started raining somewhere in NC, and rained until we got to the SC border. Stopped for fuel and there were a few other bikers wringing out socks and stuff. Got out of the rain gear, switched helmets and into a mesh jacket since we were finally warm for the first time that day. Rest of the day went great, and we pulled into our first stop in Savannah GA around 10pm, about 770 miles and 15 hrs later.
Day 2 (Sunday) – Savannah GA to Daytona FL (originally Miami)
We left in the rain. It was warm and humid, so all glasses were fogging up. Took about 30 minutes to get so we could ride and see. Finally got out of the rain around the GA border. About 30 minutes later, winds were from our right gusting around 45 mph. After the wind catching the rain gear and full face helmet and making me change lanes, I stopped and swapped helmets and got off the rain gear. That was the last time I had to wear it! By this time we were split up, with the guys on the soft tails leading up the rear. We had plans to all meet at the Daytona Dealership right off 95. 3 of us got there around the same time, and the other 2 about 20 minutes later. One guy had no rain pants, so we stopped next door at J&P and he got some, I picked up water proof gloves. We must have spent enough to keep the rain gods happy since it rained no more. We decided that the wind was too much, so we decided to spend the night in Daytona. We found a nice cheap motel with a convenient bar and restaurant nearby. Had dinner and a few beers, and then a few more beers, and a few more. It was my birthday, so we had to celebrate! We noticed we were alone and the staff was all looking at us, so we decided to let them go home and we moved over to the bar next door. Had a few more beers, and a few shots, and I am not sure what happened after that, but I did make it back to my room.
Day 3 (Monday) – Daytona FL to Miami FL
I woke up to my friend saying something about Petersons in Miami, and the door shutting. I thought that was odd, but looking at the time it was only 9:00 am, and the last conversation I recalled was we were leaving at 10:00 am. I heard bikes starting and figured they were going for breakfast. Took my time getting up, and after a shower and packing up the bike realized that Petersons was the dealership in Miami and my friend was saying to meet them there. Since I had broken my sunglasses the night before, I rode to the dealership to get new ones and realized I was in no condition to ride. Two hours, several bottles of water, and an English muffin later I was feeling much better. Got on the road and about 20 miles later I was feeling the effects of the water I drank. 20 miles later again, and again, and again … I arrived at the dealership in South Miami about an hour after my buddies and they came and got me. We were staying at a friend’s house 2 blocks away. I drank water all night.
Side bar – the guys on the soft tails had planned to get the rest of us to over sleep so they would not be leading up the rear. This backfired when one of them decided not to get gas at the gas station since he only had a 100 miles on the tank and figured they would be stopping anyway. What he forgot was he did not top off the last time either, so imagine his surprise when he ran out of gas an hour down the road. His buddy on the other soft tail went to get a can and a gallon of gas, and when he returned he found a good Samaritan who was a fellow rider had a gas can with him since he rode that section of 95 often and always saw guys out of gas. He stopped and filled up our comrade, so our buddy strapped the gallon can of gas on the back of his bike and we carried it most of the rest of the trip.
Day 4 (Tuesday) – Miami FL to Key West
Here we split up. The guys with the soft tails decided to stay with our friend and see the sights (at tbe topless beach). The rest of us drove to Key West. What a ride! It was hard to watch the road for much of it. Got to Key West, followed US RT 1 since we wanted see mile marker 0 and take a picture there. What a letdown, it was an intersection with no where to stop. We drove around a bit, got our bearings, and found a place to stay 1 block from Duval street and a short walk to the clubs (he lied, it was a mile). We road down to Hogs Breath Saloon, got dinner, toured Old Town a bit, and retired to our rooms to shower and change. Walked the short mile to Mallory Square to watch the sunset, but someone put an island in the way! So we decided to sample the nightlife and hit a few bars (I stuck with soda and water after 2 beers). Wife got to watch us on the web cam in Sloppy Joes. We walked the long walk to the hotel, stopping at Denny’s for food. Got to the room and I switched on the weather as I pulled my boots off my aching feet. As I could hardly walk, and I was looking at the forecast weather and noticed a huge front moving in with rain forecast for the entire east coast on Friday, and decided I was leaving in the morning.
Day 5 (Wednesday) – Key West to Port St. Lucie FL
Our two wayward comrades arrived on their soft tails around 10:00 am. I told them I was leaving due to weather, and we chatted for a bit. All 5 of us decided to head out so we did not have to ride in the rain. Grabbed breakfast at Denny’s, and started to slow ride back to the mainland. Picked up the FL Turnpike and followed that for 100 or so miles. We learned that Miami has some of the worst drivers, with cars coming right through our 5 bikes when I would have bet there was no way a car could fit. Learned then the best place to ride is the left lane since cars can only come from one direction. We stopped in Port St. Lucie FL. Grabbed dinner, watched the weather and decided we may need to wait it out somewhere on Friday. Consulted the map and realized that Myrtle Beach was about 550 miles away and south of the forecast weather for Thursday, so we decided what better place to spend some time than bike week.
Day 6 (Thursday) – Port St. Lucie FL to Myrtle Beach SC
Awoke to a wake up call I never placed at 4:30 am, was falling back asleep at 5:00 am and awoke to another. Awoke for the last time at 6:00 am, rather tired. Packed up the bike and informed my wonderful caring friends that I would be making frequent stops to rest. We took our time and ended up splitting up, with me with the soft tail guys. Cruising down the road about 50 miles from Myrtle we passed a biker on the side of the road on a cell phone. We stopped and he was cursing his fuel injected bike for not having a reserve since he had run out of gas. Imagine the look on his face when we produced the gallon can of gas! He could not believe that an idiot would carry a can of gas with him on the back of his bike. Arrived in town and hooked up with our two buddies who had found us a room in a convenient spot near food and a bar. (notice a pattern here?) We checked in, and I was given a smoking room since that was all they had. This place had character! It was a really nice looking motel, about 50 years ago! We went out on the town, had a blast (still 2 beer max for me!), and adjourned to one of the rooms with 2 pizzas and 20 wings. I went back to my room, sat on my bed, and heard water running. I did not recall leaving water on when I showered. After walking into the room, I saw the water running … out of the ceiling light mounted on the wall. I brought this to their attention and they shut it off. Bathroom was a mess, but no more rooms.
Day 7 (Friday) – Myrtle Beach SC to Norfolk VA
Fortunately the room I was in had a small kitchen, so I used that sink in the morning. After coughing a few times due to being in a smoking room I decided it was time for me to pack up and go home. Weather was good as far as Norfolk VA, so I informed my friends I was heading out. We said our goodbyes, and I started off. Took my time and followed RT 17 all the way to Norfolk VA. Hit rain for 5 minutes, stopped in Norfolk. Got an early night.
Day 8 (Saturday) –Norfolk VA to Philly
Awoke to a bright sunny day and headed out. Realize a mile down the road I was no longer down south, and begrudgingly put the leather on. Had an uneventful but enjoyable ride home along RT 13 up Delmarva to Philly.
Remember my 4 comrades? They left Myrtle Saturday. Just entering VA they noticed the other Sporty was sounding rather sick. Consulting the Harley Atlas, they went to the dealership in Roanoke NC. It was diagnosed with a bad front cylinder. They dropped what they were working on to work it. A mechanic came in on Sunday to work on it. Last heard, it is due to be finished Monday morning. Its owner and one guy remained, and the other two came home on Sunday.
Over 3,000 mile ridden.
One bike got sick
No one got hurt
And we all had a blast!
Took a few pics, not many
Me and sporty at the southern most point
Seven Mile Bridge
Loaded bike on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel