Ducati to Daytona - Day 6

Blowing Past the Finish Line

I know I've been talking about Bike Week the whole time, but the plan was always to relax over the weekend in South Florida with friends and relatives first. Problem is, I took all weekend getting there. The previous day I'd had success dodging the general mayhem on I-10 by bypassing it on US-90. It was a nice, relaxing ride through what passes for hills and turns in North Florida, but I wasn't covering enough miles, so I gave in and hopped back on the 10. Then down I-75...

The thing about freeways is that when they're good, you can't beat them for making tracks, but when they stop, you're screwed. I hit late afternoon traffic near Ocala and panicked, checking for a hasty re-route on my phone, and it ended up costing me a couple hours... My ride through the Ocala National Forest, while lovely, ended up costing me a couple of hours by the time it popped me into the western suburbs of Orlando. Back roads with occasionally low speed limits aren't too bad for travel times, but back roads with lots of lights are horrible. And bad for gas mileage.

Actually, the Diavel has been getting pretty good mileage considering the performance level. In the constant headwinds of Texas it hovered about 30 mpg, but at times it's hit the high 40s with an average of 38 (mostly back road and freeway miles). When I turn loose my inner hooligan in Daytona, it may be a different story.

If I was actually going to Daytona first, the Ocala Forest trip would have been a good idea. As I was headed to South Florida, it sucked, in part because I had to use something I'd been avoiding the whole time -- Florida Toll roads. Specifically the Turnpike, which cost me $14 to get down to South Florida for a day and a half with family before heading back up the peninsula to Bike Week.

The Turnpike was actually quite fun. There's a center section with nothing on it, just dark swamp on either side. I eased in with a pair of fast cars for speeding protection, slowing whenever we met up with slower traffic, but regularly hitting triple digits. That wouldn't have happened on many other bikes, and I gotta say the Diavel is rock-stable well into the ton. All these stunts were performed on a closed course, naturally, bla bla blah...

So one day of rest in Fort Lauderdale hanging out with old friends and bike pals, and then the games begin. For me, on Tuesday.