It was dark and rainy….. I left late afternoon on Monday in my rain gear for what would be the wettest rides I have done in a long time. Some light showers getting through Baytown and I10 East toward the Texas border to heavy rain through much of Louisiana and Mississippi. The lightning show riding over the Atchafalaya Basin was both awesome and terrifying. Nowhere to run for cover up there. Some rain heading into Mobile and I finally got out of the rain when I got into Florida. As I made my way toward Jacksonville I was able to shed more gear and finally go with no jacket just outside of Jacksonville. I made it to the hotel in Palms Coast after 19 hours of riding. Not too bad considering the conditions. After unpacking my damp gear to dry out, I jumped back on the bike for a ride through Tomoka Park. If you ever go to Bike Week, you don’t want to miss this area. Tomoka State Park is one of the most scenic areas to be found. I enjoy the river and riding along the Atlantic Coast, but riding under the canopy of trees in Tomoka is one of the most relaxing times I can remember. It started getting chilly as the sun went down and I had about 27 hours of saddle time so I headed back to the hotel to eat and get rested up for the visit to the rally sites. Link to pictures (need to be logged into Facebook – pictures are open to public)
Got up early the next morning to hit the Daytona Speedway Rally site and do some shopping. I got a good deal with Cycle Sounds and left the Midway listening to tunes off my iPhone. Now that I have it, I wish I had gotten it sooner, music really helps on long rides. From the Midway you go up Intl Speedway Blvd and hit Beach St, another Rally site with Vendors and a vintage bike contest. All bikes (including a 1930 HD) had to be in working order to enter. Really enjoyed the atmosphere and energy of the area, bikers are a blast!! From here I took the long way around (coastal route) to visit the Bruce Rossmeyers HD shop on I95. They had all the fun stuff, cage of death, steel ball, etc…. plus lots of vendors. I bought a few Tees and headed back to the hotel. Of course, on the way back, I saw the exit for Tomoka Park and detoured. So again, I did not get back to my room until later that evening.
The run home was really nice. I left the hotel about 10 AM and made it back to La Porte about 3:30 AM the following day. I have a lot of friends that kinda shake their head at this but I get a lot of that being an IBA rider. Besides the feeling of accomplishment for pulling off a long ride, I saved hundreds of dollars on food and hotel bills I would otherwise incurred. Kinda lets me justify my new sound system installed at the rally
For info on safe long distance riding go to the Iron Butt page.
My rally tips:
1 Most rallies are in scenic areas, plan extra time to ride and enjoy the unique aspects of the area.
2 Get a waterproof and shock proof camera for pictures. Most of what we do is outside, just makes sense.
3 If you are hurting for space, you may consider shipping tee-shirts and other items back home. HD in Sturgis has a Fed-Ex setup during the rally. Many Walmarts do this as well if you cannot find a post office.
4 Pick up a couple of bottles of water before getting to the rally site, I had to pay 4 dollars for a small bottle of water at Galveston and Daytona. Really annoying
5 Vendors will usually give great deals and cheap installations in order to promote thier products. Be on the lookout for things you may want for your bike.
6 Be ready to walk alot. I walk around the site first and I buy stuff as I am ready to leave to keep from having to lug it around.
7 Most rallies have activities and events listed on a web site and send e-mail updates as the rally time nears. Just a little planning goes a long way.