When George asks for volunteers to lead a ride, you know something is off. Sometimes you can figure it out right away, and other times the dark mystery lies in wait until an inopportune moment. Today - it was the latter of the two. I warned George that if I were to lead there would be no one there. I volunteered only if the emergency back to the emergency backup was unavailable and there literally wasn't anyone else going on the ride. So George announces on all channels that your's truly (Bobby B) would be leading today's ride.
No one wants to follow he that cannot be found...
I arrived at Good Things Donuts and waited for no one to show up. Frank W rolls in on his comfort cruiser about five minutes till. Frank was all smiles and jovial, it was nice to see a familiar face and one of the easiest going members of the club. We chat for a while, then I realize that it's three minutes past
I've already broken a law of the ride and we haven't even started yet!
Frank and I have an uneventful jaunt up through Crestview, then over to Baker, where we stopped for me to pick up brunch/lunch. Frank was a little shaken by some deer of the side of the road. We swapped battle stories of motorcycles and wildlife and head north then west towards Krul Lake. About four miles from our destination, I see a message pop up on my Garmin from George. He states that since the low turnout, I should make this a ride day instead and save the lake for another day. Just one tiny problem: We already had lunches cooking on the bikes, we had swim gear and towels, and by the time I received the message we had entered the dead zone that is North Santa Rosa County Florida.
We were committed at this point and continued on.
We arrive at the entrance of Krul Lake and are immediately stopped by a Forestry Service employee. The employee informs us that we will not enter without a pass. Passes have to be purchased online, in advance using their reserveamerica website. There is no cellular reception for Verizon customers in the forest. He smiled when he pointed back to the road and told us we were welcome to try Bear Lake back up the road. I explained that I had gone on the website earlier last week, and did not see any such requirements for Krul Lake. I did purchase the annual Day Pass from the Florida Forestry Service. The employee was happy to point out that would not get us into Krul Lake. I was instead welcomed to turn around and seek cellular service, then use my annual day pass to get a "free" Krul Lake day pass. He was unable to let us in without a pass specifically for Krul Lake. I hear Frank turn off his bike, and say "you know we went through this last year. I forgot all about it!"
that was when I knew I had been had; the jig was up.
Thankfully there was only one other member there to witness my failure to leave on time AND get to the destination.
I rolled my bike back beside Frank's and started looking through my phone to read the fine print on the day pass I purchased. I was sure it did say that it counted towards all State Forests but there was a disclaimer that said that each park could change the rules at the gate depending on what was going on that day. While I'm looking, Frank starts talking. I think he's passing the time while I'm looking up my info, but no
Frank W had other ideas.
They talked about the area, construction, bridges (on that topic both Frank and the Employee had some distant connection), and real estate. Before I can even marvel at just how silver tongued Frank is, the employee is handing me his person cell phone to look up my information. He tells us that he stopped a group of motorcycles yesterday and they sat at the gate for two hours before they finally left. The employee starts telling us how to get through, and when I had trouble accessing my account, he tells us to just go on through. He then asks us to use only one parking space. I'm in disbelief. What in the world did Frank say to him, and why are we suddenly given access after adamant refusal?
I ask Frank if he wants to go back to Bear Lake or go in. He says we are here and we have permission, so we might as well go in and look around. So into the parking area we went. There were four cars in the parking lot. This place was quiet, peaceful. I imagine they didn't want the riff-raff to enter and make a lot of noise. Frank and I parked, and sat at a table and enjoyed a very early lunch. We talked for a while and enjoyed the peace and quiet of the forest. There were a few family's around and a few more pulling in as we talked. Frank and I decided to head back sans swimming for this adventure. We parted ways as he went southwest and I southeast.
Two members clocked in just over 98 miles. We had some laughs, and I learned the importance of having backup plans ready at all times. I also learned that Frank "Silver Tongued" W can befriend just about any human being on this planet.
- Bobby B