I have returned from Daytona with tales of t-shirts, custom
bikes, warm weather and some interesting observations.
As you know, this was my first trip to the
Mother of all Bike Weeks. I had been to Sturgis in 2005 with some fellow
Spokes-Women, so I was somewhat prepared. We (Jan and Pat went with
me) unloaded the luggage and bikes on Saturday, March 3rd (we trailered,
good thing, it was a monsoon when we left-why does it always rain when
Spokes-Women leave for a trip?). Sunday we ventured out to Destination
Daytona (US Rt. 1 and I95), what I call Disney World for Bikers.
The Destination Daytona was only one of many
on (and off) the beaten path to attract biker's and their $. On US Rt.1,
there was the Broken Spoke Saloon, Tattoo venders, more bike related
vendors, food and t-shirts. There were attractions on Beach Street,
on Rt.1 into New Smyrna and at various gas stations and bars in and
outside the Daytona area.Destination Daytona
is located at Bruce Rossmeyer's Harley Davidson dealership. Some areas
are still in the process of construction, but there was plenty to see.
Besides the huge dealership (I believe that this is the largest in the
world), there is an Arlen Ness store, a trike store, condos, food, a
pub and miscellaneous bike stores. There were also the vendors (t-shirts,
pins, sunglasses, bike accessories, etc.). Across the street, there
were more vendors, a band, more beer and my favorite, the Wall of Death
pictured at left. For those of you who have never heard of the Wall
of Death, it is an old wooden cylindrical area that several men
ride 250cc bikes around at break neck speeds until they are at the top
of the "wall" pictured at right. I thought it was amusing
that besides paying for the show, they requested a donation to help
pay for any medical expenses incurred during their stunts (insurance
doesn't cover this line of work-go figure)!
However, Main Streetin Daytona, pictured below,
was the "Hot" spot. This main drag was the stage for thousands
and thousands of bikes. This was the place to show off the goods! And
show off they did! Although Harley Davidson's ruled, there was no shortage
of custom bikes. The imagination, craftsmanship and money
that went into some of these bikes was mind boggling (Google "Daytona
bike week" and check out the sites that post the pics). The noise
from the pipes was deafening all the time.
Besides the bikes and the sea of t-shirts,
there were plenty of ink on almost everyone. Parking always cost you
$5/bike. Beef jerky ruled as well as BBQ and beer. Then of course there
were the young girls dancing (clothed, but very little) who poured liquor
down the throats of those who paid for the privileged as well as the
guys whose jaws were on the ground staring at the women selling beer
with only silk flowers pasted on you know where. Makes for a complete
"Bike Week" for the testosterone crowd.
The Daytona International Raceway also hosted
the myriad of bike manufacturers and vendors (food/more t-shirts, trucks
and RV's). There were plenty of bikes to test ride, from Harley, to
Victory, to Boss Hoss, Honda and Suzuki. For a moderate fee you could
take 2 laps with your bike around the infamous speedway.
also rode "The Loop" and visited the 800 year old oak tree
at the Bulow state park, pictured at right. The weather was cool at
the start of the week, but had almost reached the 80 degree mark when
we left. Riding was free and easy although Daytona's finest where out
ticketing from speeding to absent brake lights (Lynn!) to unauthorized
parking. We also were able to see "Wild Hogs". The movie was
predictable but cute. Harley Davidson had on display not only the bike
John Travolta rode in the movie, but the jacket, pants, boots and gloves!
Harley had a very large presence in Daytona,
utilizing all of the convention center to display bikes, gear, apparel
and hospitality. I was thinking that it was more of "Harley Week"
since the number of Harley's out numbered other brands by at least 1000
Overall, it was a great experience. We also
were able to meet up with Laura, Danny and Pita at Lynn's house and
go out for dinner. I just wish that I had stayed longer to soak up more
sunshine before coming home!
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