I'm writing this from the comfort of my home in Maryland. Yesterday, my buddy Skip & I drove back to Maryland from Daytona Beach, Florida, after a fantastic week of motorcycles, parties, great rides, motorcycle races and more motorcycles.
Total attendance seemed to be lower according to vendors and traffic enforcement officers, maybe 100,000 bikers, although the local tourist boards claimed much higher attendance of 175,000.
I don't think so -- and the vendors I spoke with told me repeatedly that, whatever the number of Biketoberfest attendees, bikers were not spending as much money this year as they had in previous years.
Still, even if it was 'only' 100,000
bikers, that's still a lot of bikers in one place. Lots of crowds, plenty of beautiful motorcycles and beautiful women, tons of motorcycle gear and accessories; it is an incredible sight to see. Spending appeared to be down on everything except for food and beer; I've never seen so many beer trucks making multiple deliveries during the same day.
Skip and I took a number of rides throughout the greater Daytona area, however, no matter where we went riding, somehow Skip always managed to work a cruise down Daytona Beach's Main Street into our agenda.
Main Street is where a number of restaurants and bars are turned into wild party spots with throngs of motorcyclists crowded together into a crazy patchwork of food, drink, motorcycle accessories, body painting, sexy lingerie, music, leather, roaring motorcycles, flashing police lights, sparking chrome, beautiful paint jobs and of course the ubiquitous t-shirt shops.
Lots and lots of t-shirts. At least 75% of all t-shirts at a bike rally are black t-shirts. WHile ther are lots of other colorful options, motorcyclists seem to be drawn to black t-shirts. Every imaginable style, size, pithy quote and/or manufacturer's logo can be found, but always tons of black t-shirts.
Yep, Main Street in Daytona is like no other place around. It's where everyone goes to see and be seen.
As far as I'm concerned cruising main street is a pain. It's basically an incredibly noisy, eight block long traffic jam with constant stop and go traffic, all under the watchful eyes of dozens of police. However Skip loved the fact that thousands of people were all watching the bikes go by.
Of course, almost every motorcycle rider thinks their bike is one of the best looking bikes around and Skip is no exception; he had special lights installed on his Harley that change colors and he was convinced everyone in Daytona needed a chance to admire his ride floating along on a cloud of colored light.
And, now that Skip has shaved his head, he looks like an incredible bad ass. He's not but he sure has the 'bad ass look' nailed.
I'd rather park my bike and walk through the bars and venues than drive through on a motorcycle. For me, Main Street is people watching heaven. First of all, almost all of the bartenders are female and, working on commission, each one does their best to attract as many motorcyclists to their bar as possible. It's the ultimate use of clothing (or lack thereof) as a weapon. And what can I say -- it works.
And motorcyclists themselves are a fantastic subject if you enjoy people watching. You'll see every size, shape and color -- and that's just the hair. The guy in the picture above was not the only person rocking a mow hawk, even if he did have to resort to a stick-on version. Many motorcyclists revel in being seen as a unique individual and are willing to wear, say and do just about anything.
Over the weekend the weather took took a 15 degree dive; the high for the day was only 65. After a week of hot and humid weather the cool weather was actually pretty refreshing. Great for riding and even better for watching the motorcycle races at Daytona International Speedway. Saturday was an 8 hour endurance race and on Sunday they held the finals for all pro and semi-pro classes.
I was finally able to get the pin stripping done on Scott's motorcycle and it looks fantastic to see the Road King back in full fighting trim.
Sunday night we took our last ride around 'the loop' (and of course down Main Street for Skip) before loading the motorcycles into the trailer. Another great meal at Billy's Tap Room and we got to bed early knowing full well that the 5 am alarm would be a shock to the system.
We were on the road by 6 am and flew up Interstate 95: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and finally Maryland rolled under our tires. Even though we had a fantastic time at Biketoberfest it was great to be back home. And a whole lotta fun to show Scott his bike was in great shape.
I would definitely go again. Sturgis, Bike Week and Biketoberfest -- you can't go wrong if you like to party -- or even just like to observe a party.
Posted by Dale, Mary Lynn & Dobbie at 8:54 PM
2nd Trip: June 2008 through November 2008
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1st Trip -- February 2008 Through April 2008
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Maryland to Arizona to Prince Rupert, BC
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