Norman Reedus Takes His Final 'Ride' With Peter Fonda In Florida
Photo courtesy of AMC
For the final episode of "Ride with Norman Reedus," the actor got to live out one of his lifelong dreams — taking a ride through the Florida Keys with one of his heroes, Hollywood legend and "Easy Rider" star Peter Fonda. The two actors met up at Joe's Diner in Naples, FL, one of Peter's favorite spots.
Fonda, who first met Reedus while working on the sequel to "Boondock Saints," lived in the Florida Keys from the mid-70s to early 80s and has some wild stories to share from that time which made the episode pretty interesting. At one point, he casually tells Norman about the first time he smoked a joint, laced with opium, with another longtime Key West resident, Tennessee Williams. If anyone else was telling the story, no one would have believed it. But, considering the source, it seemed completely plausible.
After breakfast, they check out Tamiami Tyrants a Naples bike shop that specializes in restoring old Harleys. Norman points out that local bike shops are the best places to get routes and stops in an area, so they take the owners' advice and head out on US 41 toward Joanie's Blue Crab Cafe in Ochopee for some alligator.
This was definitely the most colorful stop of the ride. As Norman pointed out, it's a "swamp shack with big portions and even bigger personalities," that also happens to be located in the oldest existing building in the Everglades. They each had the swamp combo, a plate chock full of frog legs, gator nuggets, crab cake, Indian fry bread with Joanie's famous salsa and cole slaw. If you've never had alligator and you're wondering how it is, Norman claims it tastes like "chicken and calamari mixed together."
While at Joanie's, they learned about Lucky Cole, whose photographs — of mostly nude women — have made him a sort of local legend. They stop by his house on their way to Miami and check out his work. Though you might not be able to just pop into Lucky's like like Norm and Peter, you can check out his NSFW online gallery any time.
After a brief stop at another bike store in Miami they cruised down US 1, through the Florida Keys to Key West. The one complaint I have about this particular trip is that they didn't make any stops between Miami and Key West. Alabama Jack's and the Hungry Tarpon are two of my favorite, classic Keys eateries that would have fit in perfectly with Norman's biker vibe.
But, instead, the guys rode straight through into the night and arrived in Key West just in time to do some bar hopping on Duval Street. The next day they skipped breakfast and went straight for lunch at the Hogfish Bar and Grill where they both order the Hogfish sandwich and Peter schooled Norman on a little Key West history.
After lunch they meet up with one of Peter's friends, Dink, out on a pier where they attempt to do some fishing, and Dink tells them that not only was his family among the founders of Key West, but his father was also one of Ernest Hemingway's close friends until the day he died.
While watching, I began to realize that everyone in Key West must have a hard-to-believe story about Tennessee Williams or Ernest Hemingway, but I also see that it has become part of the island's charm. With their journey coming to a close, Norman and Peter make one last toast to their trip at Salute on the Beach.
As Norman explains in his final voice over, "I wanted to be Peter Fonda in ‘Easy Rider’ and the last few days I got the next best thing." Hearing Norman wax philosophical about having a dream come true all I kept thinking was, “may we’ll all be that lucky.”
More by Christine Bord
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