US-1. Here come the bikes.
This morning I woke up knowing I was going to wake up in the same place for the next few days, walked out of the hotel and went for a swim in the ocean. Quite a difference from the past week's routine. Watching the sunrise over the Atlantic was an added bonus.
On Day 7, I spent 24 hours chilling out with family and friends in Fort Lauderdale. It was a good unwind for me. Every day on this trip - after about Day 4 - it had become a little harder to get started each morning. Once on the road, everything was fine and I enjoyed the challenges and joys of riding across the country, but just getting started was tough. So today, I had no problem hopping up and getting on the last road to Daytona Bike Week.
Feels to me like an island...
Feels to me like an island getaway.
Lots of other bikes now.
This is the East Coast version...
This is the East Coast version of my desert Interstate shot from my first day, but since I'm not from here. It's not nearly as boring for me.
My buddy Contos, down in Lauderdale, asked if I was going up I-95 or taking US-1. I replied that I was taking 95, but once I got on that road, dodging morning traffic out of the South Florida Metroplex, I questioned that decision. So taking a quick look at my Droid's GPS, I looked for where the city ended and I could just cruise US-1 the rest of the way. It looked like that place was Fort Pierce, which was also a good distance for a gas stop, I reckoned.
US-1 in Fort Pierce is still in the midst of town, with lots of stop lights, plus my gas didn't last all the way to Daytona, but once I got up the coast a bit, I didn't regret my decision. Sure, it's got relatively low speed limits, but just having all those frequent looks at the expanse of the Intracoastal Waterway, and knowing I had all day, was nice.
Signs like these make riding...
Signs like these make riding US-1 bearable.
Somebody's happy to be he...
Somebody's happy to be here.
I probably could have upgraded to views of the ocean by taking A1A along the barrier islands, but that was more navigating than I felt like doing, as you frequently have to hop back over a bridge to the mainland.
Somewhere south of the Kennedy Space Center, the bikes started getting thicker and thicker. I have a theory that the closer you get to a bike event, the less people wave, and that pretty much held true on this trip (though there were occasional bouts of waving quite close to the rally zone). My favorite part was the semi-wilderness between New Smyrna Beach and Port Orange, a road I'd never been down despite years of covering Bike Week, and my late grandfather living in the area.
Pulling into Daytona proper might have been a an exercise in frustration (due to traffic), but years of covering the rally means I know all the back roads. So, now that I'm here, would you guys like updates from the rally itself? Speak up in the comments section!
Bike Week at last.
Sunrise, Day 9. No, this place...
Sunrise, Day 9. No, this place doesn't suck.