What a fun day! I was so excited because after a two-year absence I would be accompanying Randy on a bike ride with friends Dennis and Connie to attend the 75th annual Bike Week at Daytona Beach.
The morning we left was just perfect for a motorcycle ride. The air was clear with a slight breeze that promised to keep us cool as we rolled along. We were riding on Randy’s 1992 Yamaha Venture Royale touring bike while Dennis and Connie were riding his 2015 Harley Davidson Ultra Limited.
I love it when we take to the roads on the bike. While Randy is guiding the bike to our destination, I spend my time sitting back and taking in the sights along the roadways.
We left around 10am taking a route that was very familiar. After leaving the community, we traveled down CR 25 to Oklawaha turning on 314a making our way to SR 40. I love this route as we pass so many beautiful water oaks along the way. These majestic trees with their limbs stretching out draped with Spanish moss have become a favorite of mine since moving to Florida.
Our next turn took us onto SR 40 which is a long, almost solitary ride, through the Ocala National Forest. We eventually emerged and made a turn onto I 95 south eventually taking the exit to the International Speedway.
At one point during the ride through the forest, I found myself fixated on the sky that was filled with small, beautiful white clouds. “The sky is so still,” I thought. As I continued to look up I started to imagine an artist climbing high into the heavens and painting those lovely clouds onto the light blue morning sky. The sky was beautiful; just beautiful.
Our first stop would be a new venue for Randy and I; the International Speedway. In the past we have gone straight down to Main Street. Dennis and Connie had been to the speedway in the past and wanted to see what changes had been made since the renovation.
The newly-renovated speedway was amazing! We were able to park our bikes within walking distance of the activities on the midway. Vendors, places to eat, TVs turned to ESPN, demonstration rides; it was all here.
For the next two hours we walked through rows of vendors, past a line of bike manufacturers offering demonstration rides and an eating area under a canopy of solar panels. We stopped here and there to shop for tee shirts, pins and patches, registering with several insurance companies who were offering free tee shirts and admiring the many custom bikes along our walk.
Lunch time was drawing near so we mounted our bikes for the short ride to Main Street. It was fun to look at the license plates as we road along. There were plates from as close as Georgia and far away as Maine.
As we rolled along towards Main Street I asked Randy, “What did you think of the venue at the International Speedway?”
“I thought it was big. So, big I don’t think we got to see the whole thing. But, it was well organized,” he replied.
Once we crossed the bridge we were able to locate a parking space quickly and headed to the Sunsetters Riverfront Bar & Grill. The restaurant is located near the bridge and overlooks the Halifax River. Randy and I have eaten here several times and the burgers are always good and the beer always cold. We took our time enjoying the view and watching, and at times hearing, the bikes coming and going across the bridge.
After lunch we took a walk down Main Street. Walking Main Street has always been a fun activity. Everywhere you look there is something interesting to see. Keeping a steady walking pace is impossible as you find yourself stopping constantly to look at the many beautiful and interesting bikes parked along the sidewalk and stopping periodically to watch the endless parade of bikes driving up and down the center of Main Street.
There are old bikes, new bikes, custom bikes and bikes made from everything but the kitchen sink on display. At any given time you would see a Harley Davidson, VMax, Indian, Victory, Gold Wing, Suzuki, and many other bikes slowly cruising up and down Main Street. And, if you are a people watcher, what a fun day you will have.
Randy loves Main Street because, to him, it represents what a classic bike week should be. “Main Street is mass hysteria,” he said as we walked along. “Lots of bikes, lots of people, lots of music; just lots of everything”
Randy mentioned that the funniest thing he saw as we walked along was a man selling a tee shirt with a picture of presidential candidate Donald Trump dressed in leathers with the caption, “Vote for Trump”. I missed that one but it would have made me laugh too.
The restaurants, taverns and shops along the street had a steady stream of customers coming and going. We stopped in a few shops finally finding just the right tee shirts and pins to mark our visit to this year’s bike event.
After walking the length of Main Street down one side and up the other, we made our way back to our bikes for the ride home.
It had been a fun, fun day. We enjoyed the company of our friends taking in all the sights and sounds of bike week at the Speedway and Main Street. I will be looking forward to next year.