Ride from Raleigh NC to Key West FL. Blog includes all details such as route, planning, photos/videos, interesting places visited, restaurants, hotels, expense report etc
All motorcyclist interesting roads and places throughout North America can be found here : https://map.motorcyclistmap.com/
Riders : Latesh | Praveen | Behram
Dates : 02/18/2022 - 02/24/2022
Miles : 2100
One of the several negative feedbacks from FB for Key West FL was "Got to be one of THE most boring places ever to ride a bike! Just one road in a straight line. Find some mountains. It’s also extremely overpriced. Got to be better places". Let me share our experience ...
Day 1 - Friday Feb 18th 2022
We met around 2pm at a gas station near Apex NC. To our surprise, we had a lot of folks from our group come to see us off. It is a humbling feeling to know that so many people take the time off from work and family just to encourage and support you.
We left at about 2:30pm taking all backroads towards Sumter SC. The roads were beautiful and our plan all along was to take back roads while going to Key West and return would be highways. Checked in to our hotel by 7pm and had dinner
Day 2 - Saturday Feb 19th 2022
Continued our backroad journey all the way to the Abandoned Bridge Over Sawanee River. We parked our bikes at the starting point of the bridge and were walking and taking pictures until we met a biker that showed us his videos with the bike on it. Oh boy! We were excited to get our bikes on the bridge and did end up taking some awesome pictures with our drone and cell phones. I think we took way too many pics and videos as you can see in our album
Day 3 - Sunday Feb 20th 2022
Continued our backroad journey all the way to the Ginnie Springs FL. Its such a beautiful, surreal place. The water at the corners is crystal clear and you can see right through it. There were a ton of folks kayaking, camping, snorkeling, rafting and so on. While getting out of the water, Praveen did end up hurting his foot and finger since it was very slippery.
We spent about 2 hours there and headed to our hotel which was situated between two lakes. Very pretty location. They did have sign boards about alligators and snakes but we werent lucky enough to spot either.
Day 4 - Monday Feb 21st 2022
This was our day to reach Key West and we were excited. Wasim from our group had recommended stopping at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand and it was so much worth it. Large variety of fruits and fresh sugarcane juice and coconut water. After our refreshments we started heading towards our tiring and torturous ride to key west. It was hot and there as a lot of traffic. Agreed its quite scenic at certain stretches especially the Seven Mile Bridge but that was about the only good thing. The ride tires you out most likely due to the traffic and constant stop and go.
We stopped on the way at a Walgreens to pickup some medicine for Praveens foot and finger and he ended up seeing Key West hats and TShirts bundle offer. Deepak had reminded us to continue our Alaska tradition so we had to buy them :-)
On Praveens recommendation we walked over 2 miles to Duval street. It was the perfect place to be. We could get some Wet Willies (not exactly the brand) and then walk the entire street and enjoy the night life. Temp tattoos, 0 mile marker etc. Quite a happening place! Had an awesome dinner at Fogarty and their key lime pie was brilliant.
Walked back to the hotel and on the way stopped at the Southernmost Point In US. Behram took his bike and went back there to get some night pics of bike. Latesh was too tired so he went to bed early but Behram and Praveen sat till 1am at the fire place right by the beach. Moonlight in the water, breeze, waves .. very serene. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and that property is very impressive, the rooms not that much
Day 5 - Tuesday Feb 22nd 2022
Packed our bags and left to get pictures of our bikes at the Southernmost point. The place was packed during the day with a queue to get pictures. We somehow managed to squeeze in our bikes amongst all the commotion and traffic and were able to get decent pics.
While getting ready to leave for Miami, Latesh did come up with a suggestion to bungee our jackets and helmets due to excess heat and no helmet laws. That ended up making a huge difference on our return ride from Key West. We truly enjoyed the ride back even though its slow moving traffic. We felt the breeze, slow road and worked out perfect though we did get tanned a bit.
Reached hotel, changed and ubered to south Beach Miami on Praveens recommendation. Another good experience for a person like me who had never been there. Beautiful walk along the beach with restaurants and cool places the other side of the road. There were way too many cops patrolling that location and even though it was a very lively and happy atmosphere, it did not give the same vibe of walking on Duval street. We ate at Manogs retaurant (another Praveen recommendation) but after that Latesh was still hungry. Guess what he found? Burger King!! That where he ate his dinner of all the places on South Beach :-)
Day 6 - Wednesday Feb 23rd 2022
This was our highway ride all the way to St Augustine. But to our surprise, Florida Turnpike was very good. It was a 6-8 lane highway and we were lucky to not get a single road block or traffic. The drivers werent as caring for motorcycles but thats not just with Florida. All in all, it wasnt that bad to ride that highway.
On the way we went to Smyrna beach where bikes are allowed to ride on the beach. It was $20 admission fee. Behram took his bike there and rode for a few mins. It wasnt that exciting with too many people and too many vehicles. Praveen took his opportunity to remove shoes and head straight to the water. While heading back, Praveen braved up and got his bike on the beach for a few pics.
On our way, we stopped at Brownie The Town Dog's Grave and Memorial and Fort Matanzas National Monument but unfortunately both were closed. We did get some cool pics at the entrance of Daytona beach. We took Hwy 1A1 from Daytona to St Augustine and that is a beautiful road with beach/sea on one side. Cool breeze but a little moist/sticky. Some amazing restaurants on that road.
St Augustine historic district was very good to walk through. The architectural structures in that city are beautiful to visit. Before entering the city, we stopped at the Bridge Of Lions as well. Met Praveens friend Ashu for dinner. Some amazing sea food and desert
Day 7 - Thursday Feb 24th 2022
Stopped at Castillo de San Marcos National Monumentto take some pics. There was no time to visit it. We did see it the previous night as well. Also took a quick stop at Buc-ee's which is supposedly the largest gas station. It has an entire large grocery store, about 50 gas stations and so on. It was impressive. Behrams bike didnt start there so we tried to remove seat to jumpstart but then it started. Continued on our way hoping there would be no further issues.
It was a good 500 mile run to home from St Augustine. The highways were awesome and the only time we were taking breaks is when Latesh's VRod would run out of gas. Right at the border of NC, we took backroads all the way home. We started at 88 degrees and ended at 44. The last two hours were extremely cold and wasnt enjoyable. But we made it!
Amazing experience, saw a lot of cool places, loved the riding and bonding. We reached home safe and sound without any incident which is most important! Looking forward to many more such rides!