We have camp set up. We have not ridden a freeway since we left San Antonio. The
roads have been very interesting, but now it is Daytona Bike Week.
This is the usual motorcycle bike week madness. We start by going down south of
town and visiting the supposedly GoldWing oriented merchant booths. Not really much
there, some chrome, some knives, some DVD's on riding better and insurance.
Next we went to the Riverside Park area and looked at booths and bikes and souvenirs
for an hour.
Then we went to the center of it all.
Main St. in Daytona Beach. This is about 4 blocks of bikes on both sides of the
road and lots of t-shirt/souvenir shops, bars, and people. But this is much smaller
and less crowded than Sturgis.
We found a free parking place on the street (lots of pay lots on the side streets)
right in front of the Boot Hill Saloon. It has a big outdoor drinking area with
very loud music. We walked both sides of the street, had lunch and a beer and were
back at the bike in 4 hours. This is much smaller than Sturgis. Here in Daytona
Beach, yes, but there are several outlying venues too. The racetrack has a huge
vendor area, the Harley dealer has lots of venders, at a nearby town there is a swap
meet with vendors, the GoldWing area, and another vendor area at the junction of
the freeways. Lots going on that is not in Daytona Beach itself.
We visited several of these sites over the week long stay here.
One thing we did was go to the RTE (Ride To Eat) put together by "Wheels" of the
GL1800Riders Board. He lives in Maryland and with an immense number of emails, phone
calls and effort he got a lunch set up at a Golden Corral restaurant. Then a week
before our meal it closed, after having agreed to serve about 50 people on Wednesday. So
he called around and got us in at Duff's Restaurant and then tried to get the word
out to everyone who had indicated they were coming.
But his troubles are not over, we arrive and find that the power company's transformer
or fuse has blown. They don't know if they will be able to open, fuse = yes, transformer
= no. It turns out to be the fuse and we finally got to have our RTE thanks to Wheels
hard work and worry.
Jim (Wheels), at left in the wheelchair, was the one who got us together. We are
all readers or members of the GL1800 Riders Forum.
(His t-shirt says "I'm only in it for the parking". He rides a red trike with a
carrier for his wheelchair on the right fender.)
We also went to the old Dixie Highway where there is a part that is still in brick. This
is about ten miles of brick and sand. As you can see the tire tracks are all sand
while the center still has bricks visible. The road runs between pine plantations
and is heavily used by logging trucks and equipment and has no preservation or maintenance. This
has beat the bricks down along the edges. It was only about 12 feet wide when it
was built, now the whole road is wider but the bricks are still original. This used
to be the main highway down Florida.
At places the entire road is sand for anywhere from 2 feet to 50 feet. By that time
we were 8 of the ten miles into it. A GoldWing does VERY poorly in sand! But we
made it through with only one spill. In a deep, long sand pit, at about 1 mph I
dumped the bike. No harm to the bike but I twisted my left knee. I strained the
ligaments behind the kneecap, like a football player. I bought a brace for my knee
and am doing OK. We took the next day off and rested it.
Of course there are custom bikes everywhere, on display and running down the road. This
one was at the racetrack in front of a custom bike builder's booth.
This is Saturday at the International Racetrack. We are here for the Superbike race
at 11:00 and the Daytona 200 at 1:00.
We have seats at the top of the reserved grandstand with a great view of the entire
track. The track is a tri-oval with a squiggly part inserted (not visible in the
picture but we could see it fine) for the motorcycle races. That is pit lane in
These eight leaders ran hard and hot until the first pit stop, then things got broken
up. They had all lapped several bikes by this point and the racing was now scattered
around the entire course in small groups fighting it out for the front of their group,
even if it was for 23rd place. There was always someone to watch either in front
of you or across the track.
After the race ended there was the "Daytona Dash". This is where, for $30 you can
ride the same track as the racers did. Dash? No! I rode most of it in second gear. They
let anyone with the price of a ticket go out there. There were lots of sport bikes,
Harleys, little scooters, Can-Am's and even a sidecar rig with four people, 2 on
the bike and 2 in the sidecar. There were t-shirts, sandals, no helmets, kids and
pets. (I'm an ATGATT [All The Gear All The Time] type guy and wore boots, gloves,
jacket and helmet. I'd really not like to get hurt any worse this far from home.)
Then they led us twice around the track at 25 mph or so. As with any parade it acted
like a Slinky Dog and so I did get to fourth gear once for about 3 seconds before
I caught up with the crowd. It was interesting for a first timer but I would say
to anyone "Save your money and go to a Track Day at your local racetrack. It will
be a lot more fun.". I'm the yellow bike in the middle near one of the cops that
kept us in line.
Today is Sunday, the party essentially ended yesterday with the Daytona 200. I am
again resting my leg and we are doing laundry and maintenance before leaving tomorrow. I
will upload this when I get to wifi. We are headed to Key West next.