Ride: Orlando FL to Lake Weir (Fat Daddy’s)

Destination: Fat Daddy’s, 10135 SE Sunset Harbor, Summerfield FL
Ride type: Lunch/Dinner, Loop
Total miles: 170 miles roundtrip
Travel time: 4 hours roundtrip

Overview of the Ride

This ride is a quick jaunt for some chow. Even though the destination is pretty close, this route gives you a nice two hour run from Orlando, keeps you away from the Villages and gets you to a spot that has one of the best burgers in Central Florida.

Fat Daddy’s is basically Key West on Lake Weir. Our server was laid back, the atmosphere was laid back, and everyone hanging out there was basically, laid back. You’ll be looking for a flat-roofed orange stucco from the street, but don’t let that throw you off. In the back you’ll find a Tahitian-themed bar. After a while, you start to realize the décor is more Margaritaville than Tahiti, but who cares, you definitely feel inclined to sit around all afternoon. The first table in the back door has a fire pit in the center – not what we you might be looking for in June, but come January, a good spot to park yourself.

If you’re into beer, this is the place for you. They have more than a bajillion different beers, and we’re not talking the various light versions of domestic brands. You’ll find Guinness, Newcastle, Bass, Yuengling, Amber Bock and about fifteen other brands on draft. Yes – I said on draft. We were on the bikes, so of the bajillion available to me, I had one – but with the temps in the 90s, it was the best single beer I’d had during the month.

The food was great. I had the Black and Bleu burger, which was a healthy-portion of Angus beef smothered in bleu cheese. Princess had the Big Mouth burger, and J&M each had the antipasto salad. I do have to say the salad looked very tasty with nice-sized portions of fresh Italian meat cuts. We had onion rings as an appetizer, which were a nice non-greasy compliment to the Newcastle.

Once our casual lunch of two hours had timed out, we hit the road. This is a great area for small restaurants catering to the locals. Keep your eye out for the next eatery adventure as you’re headed back. Oh – and I believe there might be an ice cream opportunity or two along the way.

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Riding With Allergies

Spring’s coming on, and in Florida, March means pollen counts in the 9 to 10 range (considered high to very-high). Riding when you have pollen allergies can be miserable, and dangerous. I try to stay off any kind of medication when I’m riding, because there’s nothing worse than feeling drowsy or blurry-eyed on the road (we’re talking allergies right now).

Of course, sneezing constantly is no fun either.

What causes pollen allergy reactions?

  • A grain of pollen looks like a very spiky sea urchin. When it enters your nasal and bronchial passages, it latches onto the mucous membranes and gets stuck.
  • These membranes have cells (called mast cells) full of histamines.
  • When an allergen trigger (like pollen) lands on one of these cells, a receptor sitting on top of the cell tells the cell to let loose on the histamines.
  • The histamine starts a series of annoying reactions like sneezing, watery eyes, and itching to help you get rid of the allergan.

What are some natural solutions?

  • Neti Pots are a way to flush your sinuses, but are really for after you ride. Someone mentions this in the LiveJournal discussion mentioned below.
  • Quercetin is a natural plant-derived compound (flavonoid) that helps keep the mast cells from releasing histamine. Flavonoids can be found in citrus and green tea.
  • Food can help. Add some horseradish, chili peppers or hot mustard to your food. They’re all temporary decongestants.
  • Stinging nettle is a natural antihistamine without the side effects (drowsiness, dry mouth) associated with the drugs most commonly used.

So, what are you options?
I usually go with a bandanna over my mouth and nose when riding in a half helmet. It helps cut down on what you’re breathing in, and actually works on days with moderate pollen counts. A full face gives you additional protection if you keep the vents closed.

Before I start out in the morning, I try and get an idea of the pollen count. You’ve got several options available.

You should also avoid certain kinds of food during ragweed season since they share allergans with ragweed:

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Melons and bananas
  • Zucchini and cucumber

What have others tried? Here are a few conversations on the web:

  • LiveJournal’s gerardwing got a good “Riding with Alleriges” thread going with several riders giving their solutions.
  • Masks are available from several manufacturers. You can find reviews and comments on several different types at AchooAllergy.com’s blog. Respro does make a bandanna-style scarf called the Bandit Scarf.

You can also get more information on natural remedies and causes from several web sites:

Rolling Thunder: Ride From Florida


Ride to the Wall…Southern Style

This second annual event leaves Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Harley-Davidson the morning of May 22nd. This is a police escorted ride. A pre-ride party will be held at the dealership on the 21st. Pre-registration ends April 30th.

Packages depend on accommodations and food preferences at dealerships. All include a t-shirt, patch, gas ($4.50/gal):
Gold – $735 per bike
Blue – $635 per bike
Gray – $505 per bike

The police escorts include: Volusia Sheriff’s Office, Savannah/Chatham Police Dept., Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Iredell Sheriff’s Office, Virginia State Police.

Ride Schedule – Stage 1 (May 22)
1.) Leave Destination Daytona ride to Savannah GA
2.) Lunch at Savannah HD
3.) Savannah GA to Tilley’s Harley-Davidson in Statesville NC
4.) Pig Pickin’ party at Tilley’s (music and prizes)

Ride Schedule – Stage 2 (May 23)
1.) Leave Statesville NC ride to Shenandoah
2.) Lunch at Shenandoah HD
3.) Shenandoah VA to host hotel (Radisson Inn Reagan Airport) or secondary hotel (Sheraton Crystal City)

Ride Schedule – The event (May 25th)
1.) Ride to the Pentagon parking lot

Gas Stops & Estimated Times
Detailed Schedule
Package Information
Registration Information

If you’re coming from Florida’s West coast, there will be a ride on the 21st headed from Crystal River HD. Breakfast will be served between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. Riders will leave at 9AM for Stormy Hill HD in Clermont for lunch. After lunch, the ride will head for Destination Daytona.

Video documentary available:
Ride With Thunder

Bears, Eating and Bike Week 2008

Riding down for Bike Week is great. There are bikes everywhere, people everywhere, drinking everywhere, and sometimes bad things happen. So, rather than warn everyone, I thought I’d share a couple of handy map mash-ups from the folks at OrlandoSentinel.com.

First – Bears!! I’m with Stephen Colbert on this one: we’re all still in the dark regarding where they use the bathroom, they hock everything from cereal to gelatinous candy, and even young ones outweigh a Rottweiler. If you’re headed to or from Daytona via the Ocala National Forest, don’t make the mistake of thinking bears are hibernating so won’t be out. Be careful. You don’t want to hit one. Here’s a map of where some bears have been found on Florida’s popular roads.
Second – Eating!! OK, enough about safety and bears. You want to know where to eat, so here are a couple of searchable listings that give you some listings/reviews and health inspection reports.
And, you probably need some coupons, so here’s a link for some local eateries.

Book Review: Hawk Hagebak’s Motorcycle Adventures

Good books with decent maps are hard to come by. They’re either too long on copy and too short on route information, or just spend too much time on being a tourist guide book than on being a book for riders.

I love to take a good ride book with me and bust it open each night to get ideas for the next day’s ride. Hawk Hagebak has a great series of books titled Motorcycle Adventures that are geographically based, so if you know where you’re going, you take along a book and have enough rides for an entire week. There are three in the collection, and all cover the south, primarily TN, NC, and GA. Hawk also maintains a site called Motohawk. A review in case you’re curious from CarolinaMCEvents.com and a sample ride in the Southern Appalachians.

I found my copies of his books in a Harley shop in Chattanooga TN, and ended up using some of the rides from the North Georgia portion the next day. You can find used copies on Amazon for about $11.00 apiece.

For additional rides outside Florida, check out the Ride America blog.

Ride: Orlando to Ocala (BBQ)

Destination: Backwoods Smokehouse, 888 County Rd. 310, Interlachen FL
Ride type: Lunch/Dinner, Loop
Total miles: 236 miles roundtrip
Travel time: 6 hours roundtrip

Overview of the Ride
If you haven’t been through the Emeralda Conservation area, you’ve missed out on some great Florida scenery. Emeralda Island road has some surprising sites, like a red pick up with antlers, and some of the better curves on this ride. Be careful on this road: there are some hairpin turns around objects like barns. The street signs are pretty well placed, and if you end up on a road other than Emeralda Island Rd., it will either dead end or lead you back out to a main artery.
The Emeralda Conservation Area is known throughout the state for the variety of birds that thrive in the marsh. The conservation area has been around since the early 1990’s and includes some great viewing areas.

Most of the ride up and back is through and around the Ocala National Forest. While you’ll get some very straight road, there are some interesting towns, many harkening back to the days when roadside attractions were the norm and everyone cooled off on the porch with some ice cream.

Lunch at Backwoods Smokehouse was great. The restaurant fills up pretty quickly with locals and bikers. On the day we went, a group of twelve showed up on their Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas, and a Ridley. Our table of four all had sliced pork, coleslaw and pinto beans, but once I’d smelled the ribs I had second thoughts about my order. Next trip for sure. The meal was great, the company exceptional (Mike & Jill), and the ride was only half over! Make sure you look into the free candy box near the register before you leave. There’s nothing better than a little jolt before you hit the road.

On the way back, we made a brief stop at Nicole’s Produce on CR 314A just after crossing CR 40 for some peaches, sweet corn and vine-ripe tomatoes. If produce isn’t your thing, check out the Lake Weir Fat Daddy’s ride. You’ll find plenty of great food and beverages at this local hot spot.

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