My whirlwind trip to Florida


Reports and stories from trips, planning of gatherings, questions about how to get there!
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My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Wed May 22, 2013 11:30 pm



WA9FWT wrote:
littlebeaver wrote:I have not heard of this vacation yet...What... :shock: Flordia...Hummmm...oh I know .. I'm willing to bet he is taking the children to Disney Land...I could be wrong but just guessing...In any case I sure hope he enjoys the heat that Florida provides...His family will love it there.. :D


It didn't sound that way with Family.Just a fast ride into Fla. I think he left Thursday..... :? Martin

WA9FWT Phil


Yup, I headed out Thursday at 6 am, after only about 6 1/2 hours sleep - I was up later than I expected putting my bike back together (rear wheel bearings replaced) and getting it all packed!

Leaving at 6 am
Leaving at 6 am


The weather was lovely, not hot, sunny, with a couple very brief showers, but not enough to bother with rain gear. Riding through the mountains in West Virginia and Virginia is one of my favorite things to do.

West Virginia Mountains
West Virginia Mountains


I rode nonstop from suburban Cleveland to Kissimmee, Florida. I had a couple 30 to 45 minute delays for road construction, and a half hour stop each for lunch and dinner. Maybe 10 minutes every 150-180 miles or so to gas up. Other than that, I rode straight through.

Traffic jam
Traffic jam


At 12:15 am, only 7 miles from my destination...I got stopped in my second large construction-traffic-jam. How frustrating! I finally got to the hotel at 12:45 am, after almost 19 hours riding, 1056 miles.

Up at 7:30 am the next day to head out to the airport. My two brothers and I had purchased an hour's flight time for my dad in a P-51 Mustang. His lifelong dream was to fly one of these planes - he's been a pilot all his life, but never thought he would get the opportunity to fly one. So we made it happen, with help from the folks at Stallion 51.

My dad with P-51
My dad with P-51


We had a one-hour briefing that my brother (also a pilot, flies 737's for a living) and I got to sit in on. That was fascinating, and we got a real good feel for the physics and performance of the airplane.

After that, my dad got loaded up and strapped into the airplane.

Ready to go
Ready to go


They took off, and at about 500 feet AGL, the guy turned the controls over to my dad. My dad spent the entire hour doing every aerobatic maneuver he (and the instructor) could think of. Rolls. Four-point rolls. Barrel rolls. Loops. Cuban eights. Cloverleaves. On and on and on. My dad has never had the opportunity to fly aerobatics in an airplane that could handle it without ripping the wings off, so he really took advantage of it.

The instructor had my dad do an overhead approach, and then let him land it as well. My dad was absolutely beyond thrilled!

Triumphant return
Triumphant return


Afterward, we headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day by the pool.

Me, my brother and my dad
Me, my brother and my dad


My plan was to leave reasonably early on Saturday morning, head up through Macon Georgia, where I did my flight training, to visit some people, then head up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. I would go across the Parkway until I got tired, then find a place to sleep for the night. Sunday I would start out again, until noon at which time I would bail off the Blue Ridge and head up towards home.

This is not what happened. As I was getting ready on Saturday, I checked the weather - and saw nothing but thunderstorms, pretty much everywhere in between Florida and Ohio. I decided to give my Blue Ridge plan a pass, go sit by the pool for the day, and leave REALLY early on Sunday to try to beat the heat (and thunderstorms, which are produced when the heat starts up).

Sitting by the pool
Sitting by the pool


I went to bed at 9 pm Saturday night, and got up at 3 am. I was on the road by 4 am. I was in the middle of a thunderstorm by 4:30 am, with all my rain gear on. I would keep my rain gear on for the remainder of the ride.

I rode in and out of rain through the entire trip, including 5 solid hours of rain as I traversed the Virginia and West Virginia mountain ranges. That was NOT fun riding. At all.

I got home Sunday night around 11 pm, tired and in need of a shower. My waterproof boots turned out to be, well, not waterproof. Time for some new boots.

Overall, despite the dismal ride home, it was a great trip, and my bike ran perfectly the whole way. 2100 miles over two days of riding, time for an oil change!

I've got a ton of video from the P-51 flight, and I'm working on putting it together into a produced piece for my dad. When I've got it done, I'll put it up on Youtube and link it in so you can see it.



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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Thu May 23, 2013 6:42 am

Wow, a trip of a lifetime. BTW, I really like how you have your instruments laid on your Wing.I know what you mean about wet feet, once your feet get wet you are miserable. Had the same thing happen on a rainy trip from Lansing home, should have taken seven hours, took nine and most at night. Not good. The flight you guys arranged was fantastic, that would be a dream come true and I am sure he appreciated it.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 23, 2013 6:45 am

bustedwing wrote:Wow, a trip of a lifetime. BTW, I really like how you have your instruments laid on your Wing.I know what you mean about wet feet, once your feet get wet you are miserable. Had the same thing happen on a rainy trip from Lansing home, should have taken seven hours, took nine and most at night. Not good. The flight you guys arranged was fantastic, that would be a dream come true and I am sure he appreciated it.


At least it was hot, so it wasn't so bad. I've ridden a trip before where my feet were soaking wet and it was freezing cold out. Now THAT was miserable.

I've actually got one more you can't see in that picture - the XM Radio mounted to the handlebar:

GL1500 dashboard
GL1500 dashboard

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Thu May 23, 2013 6:59 am

That is nice, we just bought a car with Serris (not sure if that is spelled right) radio. Before that I never believed in subscriber type radio but since we have had that car I have changed my mind. When you are traveling you don't have to search for radio stations, and the options are so much more. It's great and the price isn't that bad either. My '90 wing don't have it, yet but someday. And yes that trip I was talking about was cold, temperature was mid 40s which would not have been bad but for being wet.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WA9FWT » Thu May 23, 2013 8:19 am

Glad you made it back safe and sound. What better experience to be with Family, and that Gift to your dad.
You left with a smile on your face and came home with one too.
Thanks for sharing with all of us.

73 Phil WA9FWT

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bjatwood » Thu May 23, 2013 9:58 am

Sounds and looked like a great Trip!

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby Mag » Thu May 23, 2013 10:42 am

Makes me wish I took the bike to California, but hit rain both ways, would not have been fun, though I have a rain suit and waterproof boots, though 750 miler first long run on this bike would be a gamble, though I should have taken the bike to Cali ;)

2 questions....
- How did you take pics while on the bike?
- How did your XM unit handle the rain? (Not the reception, but the radio getting wet).

I dig my Sirrius, I listen all the time, though that Margaritaville station is always on. I have a car, boombox, and now an extra car set up that I will use on the bike (hint hint, nudge nudge). I did not get to install it this winter, will do it as part of next winter project.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Thu May 23, 2013 11:03 am

Hey Mag, a true biker don't mind the rain, it's those darn lightning bolts that bother me. I don't look good with an afro.. But I share your curiosity about the receiver and how it handles the weather.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Thu May 23, 2013 11:19 pm

Mag wrote:Makes me wish I took the bike to California, but hit rain both ways, would not have been fun, though I have a rain suit and waterproof boots, though 750 miler first long run on this bike would be a gamble, though I should have taken the bike to Cali ;)

2 questions....
- How did you take pics while on the bike?
- How did your XM unit handle the rain? (Not the reception, but the radio getting wet).

I dig my Sirrius, I listen all the time, though that Margaritaville station is always on. I have a car, boombox, and now an extra car set up that I will use on the bike (hint hint, nudge nudge). I did not get to install it this winter, will do it as part of next winter project.


Pictures: My good camera was in the trunk. I have a small Pentax waterproof camera, inexpensive (around $100) that I just put in my jacket pocket. Put bike on cruise control, unzip pocket, put strap around my wrist (just in case), hit the power button, point the camera, press the shutter release. Hope you get a decent picture. A lot of them aren't. :) I can do it without taking my gloves off.

XM unit and rain: I have a super high-tech solution for this, and all my other electronics: zip-lock bags and elastic bands. I use freezer Zip lock bags (they're thicker), I carry a bunch in one of my backseat cubbies. Just pull it out, put it over the top of the electronic device, wrap an elastic around the bottom to keep it in place, you're good to go. You can still read the screen and press the buttons if you need to. 1000+ miles of rain and it worked fine.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Fri May 24, 2013 8:43 am

Wow, that's great that freezer bags would work to save your electronic equipment from rain water. I would have thought the little bit of wind that touches there would affect your unit, but evidently not. Great. Thanx.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby Mag » Fri May 24, 2013 9:23 am

bustedwing wrote:Hey Mag, a true biker don't mind the rain, it's those darn lightning bolts that bother me. I don't look good with an afro.. But I share your curiosity about the receiver and how it handles the weather.


HA! :D

And Admin....after all your hi-techie stuff, we go with the freezer bags? Ok, I can handle that "mod" to my bike when I get there.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Sat May 25, 2013 7:42 pm

bustedwing wrote:Wow, that's great that freezer bags would work to save your electronic equipment from rain water. I would have thought the little bit of wind that touches there would affect your unit, but evidently not. Great. Thanx.


There's no wind behind the fairing, just water dripping down from the top of the windshield, so it works great. I've used this method before and it's always worked.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby GRAPEAPE94 » Sat May 25, 2013 11:06 pm

I make the ride from just below Sarasota on Florida's west coast to Cleveland every year. With quick stops about every hour (I am a smoker), gas at the 250 mile distance and a meal stop I normally make the run in about 19 hours. It's all interstate I 75, I 4, I 95, I 26 then I 77 from one end to the other. I like riding at night so normally leave around 2:00am to miss rush hour traffic around Orlando. I like the ride from Wythville,Va. north. Finally get some elevation changes and there are actually curves in the road. there is one long uphill going north that makes for some fantastic views. Three years ago when I came back down south it rained from just below Canton all the way home. That ride took me 22 hours.

I have an XM radio on my left handlebar and when it starts to rain I have a nylon pouch that I put over it held there with a rubber band. What I like about the radio on my wing is that I can hear my music at highway speeds with my helmet on.

It's amazing that when I go out for a ride no matter how tired I am I seem to come alive and I seem to have more energy. Before I retired I worked graveyard shift at a plastics plant for 18 years and would be dead tired when leaving work but when I started the bike and hit the road for the 35 mile ride home I just wanted to keep on going. It was like I was on speed, wide awake and ready to go.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby redial » Sun May 26, 2013 1:56 am

That was a great trip, for an even greater purpose - well done to you and your brother for thinking of your father.

As forthe wet boots, I see you mention plastic bags over the radios and stuff, why not similar over your boots? I rode 400 miles (once) in incessant rain, and I put plastic bags over my boots, until they shredded themselves. I then put new plastic bags over my boots, and taped them with some 'duck' tape. That worked.

By the time I got home I was wet through the layers I had on, including rain gear. Riding a naked bike in the rain has not been removed from all of my memory cells, even though my Honda 250 is naked, it does not have to go out in the rain - and besides, I only go short distances on that to the local shops and stuff.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Sun May 26, 2013 8:13 am

Grapeape that's the magic of the Gold Wing. I have done this many times. Just taking a ride anywhere makes you feel so great you almost hate to turn into your driveway. And Redial I remember doing that a a kid going to school, bread wrappers. It would work in a pinch.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Sun May 26, 2013 8:44 am

Wing Admin, looking at your layout I have two questions; first did you remove the radio speakers to install the appliances in front of them or did they distort the radio any? Second; Do you have two different GPS or is that something else mounted on the left? Thanx.
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 26, 2013 12:19 pm

That's precisely the route I took, up and back.

GRAPEAPE94 wrote:I make the ride from just below Sarasota on Florida's west coast to Cleveland every year. With quick stops about every hour (I am a smoker), gas at the 250 mile distance and a meal stop I normally make the run in about 19 hours. It's all interstate I 75, I 4, I 95, I 26 then I 77 from one end to the other.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 26, 2013 12:20 pm

The boots were SUPPOSED to be waterproof. By the time I discovered that they were not, it was too late! :)

redial wrote:That was a great trip, for an even greater purpose - well done to you and your brother for thinking of your father.

As forthe wet boots, I see you mention plastic bags over the radios and stuff, why not similar over your boots? I rode 400 miles (once) in incessant rain, and I put plastic bags over my boots, until they shredded themselves. I then put new plastic bags over my boots, and taped them with some 'duck' tape. That worked.

By the time I got home I was wet through the layers I had on, including rain gear. Riding a naked bike in the rain has not been removed from all of my memory cells, even though my Honda 250 is naked, it does not have to go out in the rain - and besides, I only go short distances on that to the local shops and stuff.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Sun May 26, 2013 12:28 pm

bustedwing wrote:Wing Admin, looking at your layout I have two questions; first did you remove the radio speakers to install the appliances in front of them or did they distort the radio any? Second; Do you have two different GPS or is that something else mounted on the left? Thanx.


The speakers are there, the displays are mounted to the front of the grills with very strong two-sided tape. It doesn't distort or limit the sound at all, but I rarely use them anyway, I virtually always have my helmet plugged in. The other stuff:

Stuff mounted on my bike
Stuff mounted on my bike

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby GRAPEAPE94 » Sun May 26, 2013 1:19 pm

The next time you are in the Kissimmee area you should jump on I 4 and head towards Tampa. Along the way you will find FANTASY OF FLIGHT. This is the largest privately owned aircraft museum in the country. You name it, everything from a CONNIE (that he flew in) to a BEE GEE. He also has a restoration facility on site.

Speaking of the CONNIE, my first airplane ride was on one from Cleveland to Orlando in 1953 when I was 8 yrs old. Myself and my best friend by ourselves with a stack of comic books. That was back when Orlando airport was quanset huts by the naval air field.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby bustedwing » Sun May 26, 2013 8:03 pm

Ah, I thought the pc was a GPS also, wow, you have more gagets then Carter has liver pills. Neat tho, I can understand, you want to know everything about how your ride is running. Do you have to worry about security with all them items?
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby redial » Sun May 26, 2013 11:45 pm

I see on your layout photo that you have a "Bike PC". My friend Google does not find this in his inventory. Could you let me know what it is called?

The manufacturer?

Where you purchased it?

and, How much did it cost?

With the features you have listed in the photo, it looks like the answer to a number of shortages. Also, will it work on a 1988?
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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 27, 2013 12:34 am

bustedwing wrote:Ah, I thought the pc was a GPS also, wow, you have more gagets then Carter has liver pills. Neat tho, I can understand, you want to know everything about how your ride is running. Do you have to worry about security with all them items?


The Bike PC and TPMS are permanently mounted and can't be removed. I pop the GPS and satellite radio off of their docs and throw them in the trunk when I park.

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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby WingAdmin » Mon May 27, 2013 12:38 am

redial wrote:I see on your layout photo that you have a "Bike PC". My friend Google does not find this in his inventory. Could you let me know what it is called?

The manufacturer?

Where you purchased it?

and, How much did it cost?

With the features you have listed in the photo, it looks like the answer to a number of shortages. Also, will it work on a 1988?


It is called "Bike PC" because I haven't come up with a better name for it.
The manufacturer is me.
I didn't purchase it, I made it.
Around $100 or so in parts, and a few days worth of programming.
It would work on any GL1500 were I to decide to actually manufacture it. :)

I posted about it here: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=10172&start=75#p50777

You can see me talk about it more (and demonstrate it) here:




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Re: My whirlwind trip to Florida

Postby brettchallenger » Mon May 27, 2013 8:11 am

I really don't know how you do it Wingman. I would need physiotherapy for a month if I attempted such a feat.

To put it into a European context, I used Google maps to see where 1000 miles due South would take me. Barcelona! In a day! This of course assumes that the French aren't on strike and the Channel Tunnel is open, and that I actually survive the nightmare that is driving through Paris.

You have managed to make me feel very old!!


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