Yesterday was another motorcycle day. I’ve known and worked with The Badgers and Support Bikers for several years. I helped less than I’d planned to with their World Record Poker Run in 2021, mainly due to the fire and beginning my life on the road, but I still chipped in and wrote stuff for them from time to time. Right now I’m helping plan their Route 66 Passport Run for this July since I have recent intel from my own Route 66 journey. Now that I’m spending an extended stay in Florida, where they live, we had to meet up for the first time in real life at some point.
Angie, a.k.a. “Momma Badger,” put me in touch with Andy, a friend who wanted to meet up with them and show them some fun roads around central Florida. We planned to meet Saturday morning, ride together an hour south, and meet the Badgers. I arrived at the agreed-upon Circle K first and let Andy know where I was.
He said, “Great, save room for ten.” As you can see in the picture, there was not room for ten, because as far as I knew it was just the two of us. But there was a parking lot next door with plenty of room, so I moved there.
Andy and his crew arrived, and that’s where I met the Central Florida Rejects, a totally informal group of riders out of the Orlando area who meet, ride, and talk smack on Facebook. It was mostly Harleys, but there was a classic Kawasaki in there, as well as a BMW. I certainly have nothing against Harleys myself, even if they’re not my two-wheeled weapon of choice. My V-Strom and I were welcomed into the ragtag fugitive fleet. Before we’d even left the parking lot, one of the BMW’s saddlebags fell off. With the addition of zip ties to the superior German engineering, we were off.
I honestly couldn’t tell you where we went next. I was in the middle of the group and just stuck with them down some highways. We ended up at Gloria’s Restaurant in Bowling Green, which naturally led to some comments about Corvettes, which are made in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Right town, wrong state.
The Badgers were already there — the whole family, just about. Even Nerdy Badger made a rare public appearance. This occasion was not about meeting more internet personalities (even though they are), but meeting people I’d become friends with online while working with them over the past few years. It was fun to catch up and chat with them over lunch. Even better, Granny-Ma Badger is a big Smokey Da Van fan. She and her husband are transitioning to full-time RV life with the motorcycles in tow, and have looked to my videos and social media for info and advice. I gave her one of my very last Smokey Da Van stickers. I stuck the other to one of Momma Badger’s saddlebags at her request while she shot a video.
Then we all rode. Andy’s goal was to show us that Florida is not all flat and straight lines. Indeed, his route took us up and down some hills and around some gentle curves. No, it wasn’t the mountains, but he is absolutely correct that curves and hills exist in Florida.
Our destination was Bok Tower. I hadn’t heard of it, but Andy raved about how beautiful it was. Unfortunately, our group got split up at traffic lights in Lake Wales, leaving the Badgers, the BMW, and I to figure it out on our own. We did, and actually arrived before the rest of the group. We chatted a bit, decided not to pay the $17 admission fee, and went on our way. I had an uneventful ride back to Lakeland.
Sonny Badger is a daily vlogger, just making videos about his everyday life. Because this ride and I were part of his day, my bike and I are scattered throughout his video of the day.
It was a long day on the bike for me, but a lot of fun. I made some new friends and met some people who I already consider friends in real life for the first time. It was well worth the trip. I also have absolutely no regrets about staying off my motorcycle today.