The bitch is back!

No, that is not a confession about my personality, although all those who know me know that, yes, I am a bitch and proud of it. However, the person who rides on the back of a bike is commonly referred to as “riding bitch”. That was me. I don’t yet have my motorcycle license so I was relegated to riding bitch the whole way down and back from Key West. Not that I minded, it’s a great view when you don’t have to pay attention to the road. However, I must sadly disappoint some of you who were looking forward to some photos. Yes, I took pictures, but it is nearly impossible to get a good shot off while holding on to the back of a Harley going 60+ mph along the coastal roads and bridges. Never mind the “Oh shit, don’t drop the camera” factor, getting good photos when the world is passing that quickly just doesn’t work for an inexperienced photographer like myself, so all of my photos were taken at various stops along the way.

The drive down was beautiful and since I had just finished reading a Carl Hiaasen book (more on that later) I was in the perfect mindset to truly appreciate the beauty of The Everglades as we drove through the outskirts on the way down to the islands. I was entranced by the mangrove fields and suitably horrified at the highway expansion projects that have caused the algae blooms which are killing off all of South Florida’s natural coral reefs (again, more on that later).

We started off at around noon, which admittedly, wasn’t the most intelligent thing to do considering the midday heat down here, but well, what can you do? Idiots will be idiots. Surprisingly we only hit one patch of rain and that was before we even hit Florida City. Before I get carried away with talking about our trip, here is an image from Google Maps to give you an idea of the route and distance of the route:

The first marker on the map is Florida City, which is where we picked up our first cards for the poker hand. Our trip started about 25 miles north of there in South Miami, but from first stop (Gusto’s Sports Bar) to the last stop the trip was just over 127 miles. There are 42 bridges connecting the 100+ islands of the Florida keys which meant that about 15 percent of the total ride time was spent on bridges. If you’re interested in some of the more official stats, check out this link.

As you can see from the map image, the majority of the trip was spent along the water which allowed for some absolutely beautiful backdrops to our rest stops. Here was the second stop in Islamorada. This was at a place called Holiday Isle. Fitting no? It was around mile marker 87 (The tip of Key West is Mile Marker 0) and hosted a hot dog and hamburger grill tent along with a bar and a raw bar. CableDad and I thought better of the raw bar as oysters in a fully belly baking int he sun just didn’t sound so appetizing. We also stayed away from the bars since only an idiot would drink and ride a motorcycle… but yes, there are always idiots on the road. In addition to the food, Holiday Isle was also host to the most dispicable toilets I have ever seen. By the time I got in to one of the stalls (because let me tell you a motorcycle vibrating a full bladder necessitates many pit stops that might not be otherwise so emergent.) I was wishing that I had just found a secluded bush outside. Ugh. I’ll spare you further details.

Our second stop was about thirty miles further down the highway on Marathon key before the seven mile bridge. It is a well known spot to most South Floridians: Tiki Bar! Tiki Bar is kind of a Keys staple for all of us who spent our time road tripping down for random weekends or for Fantasy Fest (another story for another time) in high school and college. You had to stop at Tiki Bar for a few! Naturally the Poker Run officials knew this to be true and arranged for Tiki Bar to be our third stop. The picture to the right is a view from around the side of the bar looking out westwards into the Gulf of Mexico. I was trying to give you an idea of just how many bikes were actually on this trip. The few that show up in this pictures don’t even comprise a half of those parked at the stop.

The other wondrous joy of Tiki Bar was the nice man with the hose. If you haven’t yet put two and two together, let me draw a picture for you. It’s easily 95 degrees and since it is still summer and hurricane season don here, it is MUGGY AS HELL. Now, while you’re flying along at 60 miles an hour on the bike, the wind keeps you cool enough. Stopping for traffic or at lights is an entirely different story. Let’s not forget the fact that we were wearing large black helmets on our heads assuring a brain scramble and near heat exhaustion. So, my love goes out unconditionally to the nice man with the hose who was having his own great time, I’m sure, spraying down all the women who asked for a wet t-shirt. πŸ˜‰

I did not take any pictures at our fourth stop since we had hit traffic due to an accident, a fatality from what I later read, in Deer Key, just on the other side of the Seven Mile Bridge (which is exactly what it sounds like.) We sat and baked in the sun for a good hour before we got moving again. See my above comment on the heat and humidity in a helmet if you want further explanation. I’m hoping to forget that segment of the journey. πŸ˜‰ Needless to say, when we got to the BoonDocks, it was time to get off the bikes and have a cold drink.

One of the joys of riding bitch is that I wasn’t hurting anyone by having a ever-so-yummy margarita while the drive was still on. πŸ˜€

The last leg of our drive down was simply beautiful. The sun had gone behind a cloud and there was a gorgeous breeze coming off the ocean. Heavenly. We rolled into Key West at around 5 or 5:30 (a total guess since I wasn’t wearing a watch) maybe 6 in the afternoon and went straight for our hotel and the showers. Yes, I even got CableDad to allow me to wash the sunblock and sweat off of me before he demanded going out to eat. Have I mentioned that CableDad is a real foodie?

Here is the view from outside our hotel room. The hotel was great. There were about 10 little efficiency rooms, great for having the ability to make morning coffee. We were only about a 10 minute walk from Duval Street, aka the main drag.

For your edification here is a Google Map of Key West. We were staying on Eaton a few blocks past White. The Green arrow marks Duval St. We spent Friday night walking up and down Duval admiring the various bikes. I’ll spare you most of those photos, but if you are curious, just let me know, I can put some up later. Here, however are two photos from Saturday to give you an idea of what the streets looked like. Duval was pretty much closed down to all traffic due to the number of bikes parked and the number of people on the streets. These photos were taken midday so most people were smar enough to be in out of the sun, drinking heavily.

The view looking up the street in one direction and then looking down it the other. As far as the eye could see down Duval was bike after bike after bike. Some were incredible. Some were absurd. I’m always amused at the homogeneity of the so-called custom bikes. Let’s have just a little originality, guys.

On Saturday we also stumbled across an interesting little “competition” called bikers on trikes. Yeah, it’s as silly as it sounds. But the boys wanted “their bitches” to compete, so compete we did. Marietta was not comfortable being blind folded and preferred to scream commands at me. Yeah, we debated for awhile who was the bigger bitch and could therefore take the title, but in the end I acquiesced and donned the blindfold. The object of the game was to have the “bitch” give auditory commands to the “biker” so as to be able to navigate the obstacle course. We made it through in just over a minute. Not an impressive time, I assure you. πŸ˜‰

You can very clearly see my white back as I had been wearing a tank top on the ride down the day before. You might want to break out the sunglasses for this photo.

And one last photo for the road. Here is the gruesome foursome preparing to jump back on the bikes and head north out of the Keys and back to Miami.

So that was last weekend. Now I head off to VEGAS tomorrow. Hell yeah!







~ by CableGirl on Tuesday, September 18, 2007.

5 Responses to “The bitch is back!”

  1. Thanks for the new pic for my laptop screensaver.
    Love ya,

  2. Thanks for the photos, maps, descriptions, all of it! What a great ride. We took the boys to Key West when they were 6 months old so you brought back some nice memories.

  3. It sounds like great fun! I’m envious.

  4. great post. how fun. you make florida look real good!

  5. This reminds Bossy so much of her day: she mopped the porch floor and took a nap in the family room.

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