I thought I was done with riding a motorcycle.
I live in South Florida in a city that you’ve probably never even heard of; Port Saint Lucie. My family and I moved out here in January of 2018. Since that time, I have grown to love the state of Florida in a way that I never thought possible.
The beautiful scenery, the food and the people have made this a great year.
More than twenty years ago, I used to ride a motorcycle. It was nothing fancy, in fact, it was kind of a dog. It was a 1980 Hondamatic 750. Yes, you read that correctly, it was an automatic. Needless to say, it was not the most powerful machine around but, it did get me around.
Twenty year ago, Southern California was still (mostly) a fun place to ride. Cruising up PCH was majestic! Winding through the local canyons was a complete blast, and the run from LA to Vegas is one of my fondest memories.
However, things changed. Traffic increased to the point where riding was not the joy it once was and my faithful Hondamatic and I saw less and less of each other.
I eventually sold it. In 1996 I managed to pick up a ’79 Honda CB650 and used to as my daily driver because I had no car. Yes, traffic was still miserable but there was no denying the absolute pleasure and the feeling of freedom tooling around on two wheels. As so many old (and I must confess not so well-cared-for) motorbike do, the reliable CB650 croaked.
At that time, I thought I was done with riding forever and, only once, was on the passenger pillion of a bike for a ride up to San Francisco and back — something I do not recommend.
Then, we moved to Florida.
Now, my job is driving for a private Transportation company, taking older folks to their medical appointments and kids with special needs to the various daycare facilities in and around my adopted home town.
Initially, I had a route that kept me in town and on typical, suburban streets. I’d driven the Turnpike through Central Florida, down to South Florida a couple of times but did not have any chance to get out into the country (and Florida definitely has a lot of country!). But one day, I was going to train on another route. One that made its way from Stuart to Okeechobee. This route included a two-lane road, State Road 714 also known as the Martin Grade Scenic Highway.
Remember how I said that I was done with riding… for twenty years… not even the faintest of itches. Well, this gorgeous stretch of asphalt changed all that. Changed it immediately, powerfully and irreversibly.
This 12 mile stretch is covered with old-growth Florida trees, draped in Spanish Moss and runs alongside a small creek. The creek is visible mostly where the
forest breaks and one can observe alligators sunning themselves on its banks.
State Route 714 was a revelation! After my initial encounter I was slated to drive a customer from Fort Pierce to Saint Cloud. It was on this run that I discovered U.S. Highway 192 from Melbourne to St. Cloud and beyond. Overall, this road has a multitude of cattle farms, ponds and a couple of small towns perfect for stopping off and enjoying the scenery. This run bit me and bit me bad! I had to get a bike again! I have been able to think of little else since and the desire only continues to grow.
There are so many roads to discover here! So many miles of highway that beg to be ridden!