"Dan's Day Trip Goes on the Road"
If you're looking for an adventure, something to break up the routine of life, then maybe it's time to ditch a couple of wheels and experience the open road on a bike. But there's no pedaling involved.
"Get your motor running...head out on the highway...lookin' for adventure...and whatever comes our way."
Those lyrics by Steppenwold are words to live by for this group of friends who get together just about every Sunday for a road trip.
"There's nothing better than the open road and clearing your mind on a motorcycle traveling through the back roads of Florida," says biker Chuck Clemons.
In the words of one, there's no membership dues or set meeting times. Someone just picks a place and enjoys the ride.
Today I get to tag along and we're on the road to Steinhatchee. It's pretty much a straight shot from Gainesville on State Road 26 and Alternate U.S. 27.
[CG :single lineMarc Cauchon]
"You get a nice ride out through the country," says motorcyclist Marc Cauchon. "There's hardly any traffic, the scenery is wonderful and of course, there's food at the end, it can't be beat."
Marc's companion for these weekly trips is his daughter Madison, 10, who kept her arms wide for just about the entire trip.
"Whenever I see a bird, that's what it feels like to me on the motorcycle," explains Madison Cauchon. "That i'm being a little more free than I can usually be."
"She's the love of my life and i can't imagine riding without her" says father Marc.
Before you know it, it's time for the turn on State Road 358. And that's good because riding has revved up my appetite! We're stopping in at Roy's restaurant, right on the bank of the Steinhatchee River. After a morning in the open air, it felt nice to feast in air conditioned comfort. And if you're looking for something to eat, i recommend the fried shrimp dinner.
With the sun shining and full stomachs, it's time for the return trip. We'll take a different route home, this time winding through Branford and Fort White before finally reaching Gainesville. It's a little longer, but the scenery is even prettier. And that's Madison's favorite part.
"You see all the scenery but you also feel that you're there," says Madison. "It's kind of like a picture that's being painted for you but you're enveloped in the picture."
"I would say the motorcycle is the modern horse," says biker William Storoe. "It just gives you the freedom to be able to ride. It's enjoyable having the wind blow in your face. It's one of those things that once you do it, you can never go back."
If you don't have a Harley, you could still enjoy the trip by car, especially if it's a convertible. But for this crowd, two wheels and a loud engine is the only way to go.
"You get a good group of friends, a wonderful day, a great place to ride to, life is good," says Marc.
"You are only limited by your imagination and your willingness to endure the elements," adds Chuck.
A special thanks to Chuck and his friends for letting me tag along. If you're ready to take this adventure, here's a description of our trip.
We started going west on State Road 26 from Gainesville to Fanning Springs. We picked up Alternate U.S. 27 until we turned south onto State Road 358, veering right and remaining on 358 in Jena and finally arriving in Steinhatchee. Roy's Restaurant is located at 100 First Avenue SW.
For the return trip, we went back out on State Road 358 and Alternate U.S. 27. In Cross City we went left at the light for County Road 351. We continued north onto State Road 347 till we hit U.S. 27 and turned east, traveling through Branford. In Fort White, we took a right and turned south onto State Road 47. We turned left and went east on County Road 232 until we arrived back in the Gainesville area.
It may sound a little confusing, but like Chuck says, you are limited only by your imagination.
We are leaving the pavement behind in next week's Dan's Day Trip where we go back out on the water for an amazing paddling experience you won't forget.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News