Date: March 5th, 2010
Starting Location: Orlando, FL
Destination: Daytona Beach, FL
Starting Mileage: 12,580.4
Distance Rode: 133.6miles (round trip)
Ending Mileage: 12,714.0
Motorcycle: 1992 Honda Nighthawk 750
I haven’t been to Bike Week in two years. My cancer prevented me from going last year. You can imagine how excited I was to be able to go this year. If you read my last blog, you know my motorcycle was in sorry shape and that I had, just last week, gotten it in running condition again.
Carey and I mounted the motorcycle at 8:30am in 45-degree weather. Yes, it was cold but we were layered up. I had on long underwear, an undershirt, 3 pairs of socks, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and of course, my boots, jacket, and gloves. Carey was similarly attired. We were not cold at all as we started our journey.
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and the ride to 5&Diner, our rendezvous location, was gorgeous. I was a happy man as the asphalt flew beneath me and I felt Carey holding me from behind as we rode. There’s something almost spiritual about riding a motorcycle and I felt it even more so on this day. I felt a vibrant joy for life and an overwhelming love for the woman riding with me.
At 5&Diner, we met John, Jaime, and Rick. Jaime and Rick are both riders, but without bikes at the moment; they drove to Daytona behind us in a car. John rides his Victory. We had a nice breakfast where we ridiculed each other as we ate. Standard fare for a bunch of guys about to go to Bike Week. Carey, familiar with the routine, wasn’t fazed and even joined in. Of course, that made it fair game to pick on her, so the guys jumped in with a gusto. A good time was had by all.
After breakfast, we mounted our bikes and rode to Daytona. We avoided highways and took back roads the entire way. That’s the only way to go to Daytona on a motorcycle. Bikers prefer to avoid highways. We saw farms, cows, little country stores, and the real flavor of life between metropolitan Orlando and tropical Daytona beach.
We rode SR 50 to SR 419 to Snow Hill Road to SR 46 to SR 515 to SR 92. That ended the first leg of the trip at the Daytona International Speedway. The total miles, from our house, was about 71.5.
Once at the Speedway, we really began enjoying Bike Week. We spent a couple of hours at the Speedway, looking at the 2010 models of bikes, then we went to Main Street, where the heart of Bike Week is. Main Street was, as always, a steamy mass of humanity crowded so closely together that we were little more than a mob moving up and down the strip at 1 mile per hour. There were all sorts of characters there – from the scantily dressed ladies to the old and fat bikers, to the religious zealots passing out bibles and preaching to the masses.
Beer, cigarettes, and cigars were everywhere. Blatant and overt sexuality and commercialism was everywhere. T-shirt vendors, who for 11 months out of the year struggle to stay in business, were packed with bikers and aficionados buying Bike Week souvenirs.
After we walked the strip, we decided to grab a late lunch at Hog Heaven. This, too, is part of our annual routine. It’s not the best BBQ I’ve ever had, but it’s pretty darned good and it fills one nicely on a day full of beer drinking, walking, and riding.
After we walked the strip one more time, we stopped for a beer, ogled the ladies, listened to some music, and decided to head back to Orlando. It was almost dark, and we were getting a little tired. Rather than take the back roads back, and prolong the journey home, we hopped on the interstate and quickly made our way back to Orlando.
I had a blast – and will probably head back today for some more fun at Bike Week, as soon as I can drag Carey out of bed.
The following pictures/video detail out the experience a little from here. You can view the full photo album here.