Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Daytona - Day 2

For day two we planned a sightseeing ride through the Ocala National Forest followed by more racing in the evening and then return to downtown Daytona for the night scene.  It didn't turn out as planned.

We had breakfast at the campsite, I had eggs and Texas style toast with hot coffee, decent breakfast, it was cheap and fast, just what I needed before hitting the road.

Our campsite
Interactive Map, zoom in on the point closer to Flagler Beach and the starting point is where we camped, check out the satellite view.

View Ocala Forest in a larger map

We headed south from our campsite towards Daytona and then took route 92 west past De Land and making the first stop just outside West De Land by the river crossing at Tuttle's Shady Oak Restaurant.  It was still early for lunch, we took a break to sit by the river and looked for alligators, the owner told us one is usually lurking around in the morning but we never saw him.  We did see a few fish under the walkway.  We took a few pictures and then hit the road again.

We continue west until Altoona and then take route 19 north which cuts right through the Ocala National Forest. The Ocala NF is the second largest National Forest in the U.S. state of Florida and covers approximately 607 square miles.
The Ocala National Forest, established in 1908, is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River and the southernmost national forest in the continental U.S.
The forest contains the largest concentration of sand pine in the world as well as some of the best remaining stands of Longleaf Pine in Central Florida. 
We make a stop in Salt Springs in one of the parks where I find an amazing lake with a fresh water spring that feeds Lake George. Lots of kids enjoying the warm water and sunshine.

These guys apparently were looking for a giant blue crab that lives deep in the hole, they told me his body is over a foot wide and they can see him walking around catching food that comes from deep underground.  This is the spot where the water is coming out from under the ground that feeds into Lake George.

The rest of the park and ride were uneventful.  We continue north until Palatka on mostly straight as an arrow roads and with little traffic then take route 100 south until Bunnell.

We stop in Bunnell for lunch when we see Choppers and Chaps Bar & Grill but to our disappointment the waitress tells us the cook didn't come in and there was no food.  We needed food, I was craving a succulent burger, we walk out and cross the street to a shack that passed as a restaurant.  I think the place was run by drug addicts, they looked like they had just been released from the local jail.  To my surprise the burger was really good. I didn't take any pictures and didn't hang around to chat with the locals.

We return back to the campsite to try and figure out what to do with the rest of the day.  We all decide to go in different directions.  Wayne and his dad went back to Daytona for the races, I decided to skip and go sightseeing, my brother went on his own way, not sure where he took off to.

I went looking for curvy roads and the beautiful Florida scenery.  Didn't have to go too far before I was all alone going through Bullow Creek State Park.  The moss covered trees lining up the road and offering a little cover from the sun.

The road winds along a canal, at times the water is just a few feet from the edge of the road, all I could think was a little sand around one of the turns and I could be friends with an alligator.

I make one stop for a picture and then continue east towards the Atlantic coast, I could already feel and smell the beach.

I reach the end of the road, it's a T and in front of me is the beautiful Florida coast, the Atlantic staring me in the face and throwing a cool breeze over the road.  I really love Florida and would move there tomorrow if I knew I had a nice job waiting for me.

It was late afternoon, the sun setting on the other side of Florida, Daytona was to the right, my sense of adventure said go left and so it was, I went looking for a place to stop and have a drink.  There's something to be said about riding alone, you make your own adventure.

I ride a few miles up the road and see the "High Tides at Snack Jack", surfside eats & drinks, lots of motorcycles parked outside, perfect place for a drink.  I pull in and park where the attendant tells me to park, smack in front of the joint, my bike is the one right in the center of the picture below.

I order a beer and hang outside enjoying the warm weather and admiring the beautiful bikes.  Some guys spend thousands of dollars accessorizing and chroming their rides.  I liked the two below in particular, one a beautiful chopper and the other a cruiser I would love to ride all over the US.

I hang around for a while but it was starting to get dark, I was about 50 minutes away from Daytona and knew the traffic was going to increase as the night approached.  I finish my drink, mount my bike and head south along the coast.  There are some really amazing homes along the coast, I pass lots of beautiful mansions as I make my way towards Daytona.

A few miles down the road I see another restaurant with motorcycles parked outside, I pull in to take a few pictures and to scout the place.  I will come back to this place again.

I decided to take a few artistic shot on the beach but I didn't have a tripod, had to use the rail on the stairs leading down to the beach.  These two pictures are long exposures, the first 6s at f20 and the second 15s at f22.  I was trying to get the ghost effect on the water and I think it worked pretty well.

I continue south making two more stops as the sun was quickly disappearing behind the horizon.  Saw more amazing homes with their private docks behind the house and their expensive cars parked in front of the houses.  This is a rich area of Florida, but of course, it's along the coast where only rich people can afford to buy a home.

I finally arrive in Daytona and go straight to the biker hangout, had to fight the traffic to get to the main strip, slow going with lots of loud pipes all around me, you could hardly hear my Tenere running, at one light I had to look down to make sure the engine was still running.

I park the bike, grab the camera and join the madness.

I find it amazing that bikers are proud of what they have regardless of the type or state of the motorcycle.  You see sport, touring, cruisers, choppers and the rare adventure bike.

You see motorcycle groups showing their colors, young riders with their swing-arm extensions, biker girls or should I say woman bikers.

By 10pm, with the crowd growing and the partying in full swing, the place was a madhouse.  Woman were dancing on top of the bar counters and the police were patrolling the streets in their Segway's.

The crazies were in full swing doing their little stunts, riding standing up and without helmets or shirts.  Coffins were coming out of the dark, I always wonder what makes one want to travel with a coffin behind.

Monstrosities were out in force, big V8 powered motorcycles, trikes and even a Quad Goldwing.

A Quad Goldwing
The crowd was growing by the minute, by midnight you could hardly walk on the sidewalks, there were thousands of bikers and other Florida vacationers strolling up and down.

This had to be the weirdest motorcycle going up and down the strip, I don't even know how this thing turns, does it even lean?  The wheels must have cost more than the bike.

I took a stroll to the beach, less than 100 yards away to take a few shots of the amusement park.  It's a small park but I could her the screams of the people being sling shot up into the sky, looked cool.

Woman were showing their tattoos and bodies all over the place.

You have to have a great body and confidence to walk around in a bikini at this time of the night.  Saw her as I was returning from the beach, she saw me taking the picture, I wasn't hiding it, she winked at me as she passed me, I'm sure she was happy I took her photo without hiding it.

Bikinis and thongs were in force, I particularly liked the thong this woman was wearing, she isn't a young woman but she had an air of confidence that comes from knowing you have a great body and look. I liked the little playboy stamp a few inches below her navel.

There was so much to see even the dog was wagging his tongue but it was getting late, very late, I still had 15 miles to get back to camp and I was alone.  My brother had gone his own way, Wayne and his dad had gone to the flat track races and I never saw them again.
I left Daytona around 2am, saw many deer on the side of the road, had to ride a bit more careful because of them but got back to the campsite without incident.  Everyone else was sleeping, I had to ride in very slowly not to wake anyone up, after all we were camping at the BMW campsite and we know they have to get to bed early.

More to come in the next installment of my saga.


  1. MAn I have never seen bikes like that before! If you were looking for a alligator why are you dangling your feet?

    I be t you could of stayed there all night people watching.

    1. Ha ha, the guy had told us he's never there in the afternoon, only comes in the morning. By the way, have you ever seen an alligator jump out of the water? :-)

  2. Looks like a great time i'd love to go to see this in person some time.

    It looks like a bit of a freak show of both man and machine.

    1. You have to, at least once. I have been to Americade a few times, now Daytona, will go to Sturgis, Laconia and Myrtle Beach one day. It's an experience.

  3. Wow, did you ever pack a lot into the day. I think you made a good call when you went riding off on your own. It looks like you found a great road.

    It is hard to believe all the people and bikes that attend Daytona. What an eclectic mix.

    And 2 am. And how did you stay up that late? I can't make it to midnight on New Years, lol. Must have been the adrenaline from seeing all those bikes and scantily clad ladies.

    1. Sometimes the best times are when you are alone. 2am is nothing, I have lots of energy for my age ;-)

  4. A very interesting read George and some great pictures, I would love to do a trip like that someday. I look forward to the rest of the saga, go well Bro.

    1. Thanks,
      Well, people are always shipping bikes to ride in Africa, you should bring yours over here ;-)
      Spend a couple of months riding across the country.

  5. George,

    Beautiful colors, beautiful rides, beautiful roads and beautiful... scenery. Nice. Too bad my internet is so damned slow. Took forever to cycle through those, but it was worth it - very good.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

    1. Thanks Brady
      Wow, where are you living now? still in Germany?
      I reduce all my pictures to either 1600 or 1200 pixels wide, if I uploaded them full res you would never be able to see them :-)

  6. Yeah George, still Germany. It's not the internet here, it's the internet that my landlord has set up. Sometimes I wonder if he even uses it. If he does, I'm pretty sure it's the german equivalent of "i'm going on the email."

    Behind Bars

    1. Ha ha, in the land of fast Porsche's and the autobahn??

  7. Love your images along the coast. And while your images of bike week ae interesting...I still think I would rather look at someone else's images than be there taking my own. So thank you for sharing, in that respect. :)

    1. Yea, it's nice to see pictures but you miss the sounds and smells ;-)

  8. Lots of great pics, really great job of capturing the spirit of the show. Thanks for Sharing (HWM)