I guess it was around 6am or so when I got back to the hotel room. When I walked in, Mike and Dad were both sound asleep and surprisingly, not snoring. I quickly feel asleep but woke shortly after 10am when they got up. Since we left a day earlier on this trip, our plan was to spend the extra day in Daytona checking things out. However, it was apparent that wasn’t going to happen as I looked around the room. Dad’s throttle lock gave out on him during the first leg of the trip forcing him to hold the throttle open the entire time. As you can imagine his shoulder was very sore. Mike seemed ok, but he was saying that he was beat as well. So instead of heading to Daytona, we made our way across the parking lot to Bob Evans for breakfast after having Barb Smith and Ray King sign our witness papers. While waiting on our food I sent off all the Waffle Houses photos to the WH rally email and began working on the paperwork for the ride.
After breakfast was over I still felt like crap since I was running on minimal sleep for the past 3 days and the nap I just had wasn’t cutting it. I went back to the room and passed out till around 2:00 that afternoon. After my nap I headed down to the lobby of the hotel where Mike and Dad were sitting around working on paper work and chatting. During our morning chat with Barb, Mike mentioned to Barb and Ray they he wanted to have dinner at a small seafood joint. Ray, a local to the area, suggested a few spots and asked if we would want to meet around 5 that evening. So once I got my wits about me after my nap I contacted Barb to find out the details for the evening. We were to meet her around 5ish out front of the Ramada.
Around 4 we headed over and started looking around at the other LD bikes there in the parking lot. While snooping around we ran into the Joey and his father again. I introduced them to Dad and we started drooling over Joey’s ST1300.
After a few minutes of discussion we met up with Barb and rode in her car over to Trenton’s Seafood which was next to the Airforce base there in Jacksonville. The food was outstanding as was the company. After dinner was over we headed back to the hotel to have drinks at the hotel bar. We set up some chairs in the corner next to the piano and were joined by Tim Yow, Mike Kneebone, Barb Smith, Joey Lawson and countless others who made their way over to say hello as they finished up the Florida Mountain 1000 that the IBA was hosting that day.
Later in the evening I found Rob Wilensky, Greg Rice, Kevin Lechner and Brian Bray. After talking with Rob and Brian for a bit they decided to head over to Stake and Shake for a bite to eat and shake. Around midnight we left the restaurant and I head back to the hotel to crash again.
The next morning (Friday) we headed over for breakfast in the Ramada. My back was starting to bother me a bit from sleeping on the cot, so I made it a short event and went for a walk around the parking lot to get it to loosen up. On my way back to the hotel I ran into the Rob and Greg and decided to try and ride down with them to Flagler Beach for the RTE hosted by Ray King.
We gathered in the hotel parking lot and then headed down I-95 towards Daytona. On our way out we got separated in some traffic lights. However, we have all heard rumors about how those guys rode, so we figured it wouldn’t take long for them to catch up. It didn’t. Within 15 miles or so we could see the array of aux lights coming up on us as Greg, Rob, Kevin and a couple others made their way through traffic. We joined in as they passed and made our way south, in a hurry.
Once we made it to the restaurant we parked the bikes and socialized (tire kicked) in the parking lot for a bit before heading upstairs in the restaurant for lunch. The food wasn’t a good as I remember it being last year, but we did have a huge group and the service was doing a fine job for how many of us there were.Quick photo of the crowd at the RTE in Flagler Beach, Florida.
After lunch Mike, Dad and I made our way down to Ormond Beach to check out the events going on at Ross Myer’s Harley Davidson. This, btw, was my second trip ever to a Harley shop…. Allow me to vent a little as I start this. The motorcycle owners that come in for this event either, A. Have little experience riding in groups, B. don’t care about other owner and/or riders, C. are simply idiots. As we make our way into Ross Myer’s, we have several other people cut us off and get in the middle between Dad, Mike and I. It wasn’t like we were leaving a huge gap or anything, they just moved in.
Now I guess part of me gets a bit cocky when I’m around a bunch of guys on Harleys seeing as how I’m in gear designed to be drug across asphalt and they aren’t… I realized quickly that we were sticking out like sore thumbs. Here we are in bright colored riding gear, helmets, dirty bikes, hard bags and extra fuel tanks. So to try and blend in with the surroundings I started shaking my arms violently with the handlebars. Dad looked over at me and said, “Easy, Cowboy.”
Once parked, we walked over to the shop and to the area where all the tents were located. As we made our way across the street, Mike asked the traffic cop if we had to be dressed like pirates to enter. This puzzled the traffic cop so he just smiled, laughed and said sure. Mike walked off laughing at the whole scenario.
After making our way through the shop we headed out to the vendor area. I don’t know what was more entertaining during this, the random things that the vendors were selling or the things that some of the women were wearing. Wow. Mostly it was over weight older women wearing way too little clothing. Why they thought it was ok to wear that out in public, I’ll never know. As we made our way though the vendors we passed a guy with a microphone head set on that was trying to sell some miracle polish. He didn’t have anyone to entertain so he was trying to get attention from the foot traffic in front of him. Wouldn’t you know it, he reached out to me. “What color is your bike man?” My response was simple, “Dirty.” He immediately fired back with, “Let me show you how to fix that problem.” I waved him off and replied, “Nah, I like it that way, I’d rather ride it.” The look on his face was priceless.
After wandering around the Ross Myer area for a while we decided to head back to Jacksonville to get ready for the IBA dinner. On our way out we were cut off by some assholes on custom choppers with fat tires. This wasn’t the first time this had happened to us while down here. Dad came over the radio after this happened and said, “I think guys with fat tires have fat heads.” After doing the stop and go thing for a while we finally got some distance between us and the fat heads. They found a hole and moved on up to the turn lane to go south on 95. As we got closer I could see the guy that cut us off was sitting on the right side of the turning lane, just shy of the white line. Seeing this I decided to do the only thing I felt was right. I moved over to the left side of my lane with bags just kissing the white lines. Just as I passed him I nailed the throttle and laid on the stebel air horn which is mounted on the left side of the bike. I looked back to see that the combination of 139db of ear piercing goodness and my line placement had him struggling to keep the bike upright. Oops.
Back at the hotel we changed clothes and headed back to the Ramada to join the rest of the group for dinner. We got our food and then sat down with Joey and his parents. As we were getting settled a couple other gentlemen joined us who happen to be in the WH Grand Tour as well. (Sorry don’t remember your names)
The dinner was great as was Rob’s intro speech. He introduced a man that had been riding at least 10 miles every day for the past 12 years! Impressive! From there Kneebone came up and discussed some of the events that are coming up and had the riders stand that had completed various rides. (We got to stand up a several times this year)
After dinner was over I went back to the bar to buy a round of drinks for everyone and then headed back to the table to talk with David Gillespie, Joey, Ed (Eds Last Resort Rally), Rob and a few others. After we finished the drinks, Joey and I headed over to look at my Vstrom as he wanted to see it first hand from watching my build on facebook.
Sometime later, Dad and Rob headed over as well to discuss some things on the bikes. I bet we sat out there for at least an hour chatting about rallies, various rides and upgrades. Dianne and Betsy walked over a bit later and joined us in talking about their upcoming ride on Monday, a 100CCC. (Which they completed on time. Congrats to both of you!)
From there we headed over to the speedway to see what was going on there. The crowd was still in full swing even though some of the vendors were starting to pack up. Don’t know why the scenery was a different here, but the women were a bit better dressed here and the women that did reveal a bit were at least somewhat attractive. (some of them)
We headed home the next morning, picking up a few Waffle Houses along the way. I topped off in Jacksonville (both tanks) and didn’t put fuel in the bike again till I got to Charlotte, NC. J After fueling in South Charlotte, Dad went on home and I went over to the University area to have dinner with some friends. (While getting a photo op in Charlotte, a bright yellow wing rolled in that was unmistakably Don Jones. It was nice to see a fellow rider out and about on his way home.)