The temperature was 67 degrees when I thumbed the starter on the bike at 10 a.m. Friday morning. I knew the temperature would be comfortable as I rode south, but rain had been forecast for southern Georgia and Florida. The plan for the weekend was to ride to Daytona on Friday, where I would spend the evening solo, before being joined by long-time friend and riding companion Susan Kennerly on Saturday to spend the day at Biketoberfest.
My route to Daytona would be a direct one, I-75 to I-16 in Macon, exiting on State Road 23, and then heading southeast across the state of Georgia. While being the most direct, this route would still allow for a bit of sightseeing in the rural Georgia countryside, and then eschewing I-95 in favor of A1A for the 90 odd mile ride to Daytona, giving more of an opportunity to enjoy the scenery while riding south.
The first hours on the interstate were uneventful but necessary travel. With a forecast for a cooling trend and rain, I expected the remainder of the weekend's riding to be a bit more of a challenge. I enjoyed the leisurely pace through southeast Georgia, stopping occasionally for fuel and coffee, with one improvised stop for a break in the small town of Callahan, owing to the increasing rain that was very heavy at times.
Near Jacksonville, I made a phone call to my friend Susan to make plans and coordinate for the next day. Then for the next few hours I struggled through the continuing heavy rains with intermittent stops to wait it out as I made my way south to Daytona. All those on motorcycle heading south were experiencing the same ride that I was: wet and a bit cold. On days like this, I envied those who passed by trailering their bikes.
Arriving at a very nice Holiday Inn hotel on LPGA Blvd. at about 4:30 on Friday afternoon, I checked in and unpacked, took a hot shower, got a quick meal, and turned on The Weather Channel. They indicated that the Friday rainstorms would shortly pass, and a cooler dry front would begin that would remain for the weekend, so I decided to take a ride down to Main Street to sample a bit of the Biketoberfest nightlife.
Once near the Main Street area, avoiding the traffic and finding a place to park was surprisingly easy to do, as streets in the area are laid out in a grid pattern, and parking is available on most of the side streets off the "main drag" at a not-too-costly price. It wasn't long before I was able to find a parking area right off Main Street-the center of activity during the Biketoberfest weekend.
Welcome to Hooterville
Well, if you're looking for a party, you've certainly come to the right place. Being part of the 24 hour a day Main Street parade that runs throughout the weekend is as easy as riding your bike to the back of the line that begins near Peninsula Street, then slipping your clutch and at least temporarily losing your hearing in the volume of some very loud pipes for an hour or so until the parade ends at A1A. Peeling off right or left off the strip allows you to circle back around and do it again, as many times as you like. Motorcycles by the thousands lined each side of the street, and my guess is that most of the rides of these bikes had to have arrived much earlier in the day to secure a parking place on the street.