Friday, March 27, 2015

Animal Kingdom and Daytona Beach

We arrived to our destination late on Sunday March 8th. Conner greeted us with joy and couldn't wait to show us the animals from the balcony of their condo at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. We spent some time watching this giraffe and the other animals roaming the park.

Giraffe can be seen between Conner's chin and hands.

Monday was the day I'd been waiting 8 years for, Dayton Beach in all its glory during the annual Dayton Beach Bike Week. After a slow morning start and a meandering back roads trip from Disney Lodges to Daytona, we arrived eventually around midday. Here I finally crossed the famous bridge I'd watched so often in the videos of others as they made their way to the beach. 

The day was hot and we took to the sea breeze of Joe's Crab Shack for some late afternoon lunch at the end of the pier. Here we enjoyed the views, people watched, and of course devoured our meal at Joe's. With our hunger satisfied we walked off our lunch with a stroll and some shopping up and down Main St. As typical you can see all types of motorcycles from traditional to outlandish. The Jesus people are out along with the panhandlers working the crowd. What I found impressive was the orderliness of the crowd. And while we saw a police presence it was not "in your face." Everyone was respectful of everyone else.

Late in the afternoon we made our way to the Daytona International Speedway. The speedway is about 5 miles from the beach and is where all the big vendor tents are set up. Andy needed a new front tire, so we found the Dunlop tent. Not only did they have a tire, they could replace it on the spot. This is what I love about motorcycle events like this. You don't have to get your bike to a shop, find a ride home, or make any appointment. You're in and out. Well almost.

With Andy's bike up on the lift, a guy on a custom Fat Boy rolled in with a plight. One of the bolts "here we go with bolts again" had wiggled it's way out of the rear pulley drive. (At least that's what I think it's called.) This is where the belt loops over and drives the back wheel. He's lucky to have heard a strange noise or things could have gone very badly for him. The bolt had not sheered off, but was badly bent. The other bolts needed attention as well, so the mechanics were diverted from the tire as everyone was focused on this guy's custom Harley. This bike was a beauty even I had to admit with its fifteen grand worth of custom work. Even the state license plate matched. How cool is that!

We arrived back at the Animal Kingdom where the little "lion cubs" were already snoozing. However we enjoyed a pleasant evening with Stephanie and Phil recounting each our day's adventures.

Come back and check for video traversing the bridge to the beach. I'm catching up at the moment and haven't uploaded this yet. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Whirlwind Tour and Last Goodbyes

I'm posting a short note to let my readers know that I do intend to cover my trip to Daytona. However, once I arrived home my siblings and I were faced with saying our last goodbyes to Dad. While we are sad for ourselves at his passing, he left this world on his own terms. In addition his final moments were so touching that we are forever grateful for all the kindness shown to him in his last hours. He is home and at peace.

I am taking a little time, but I will surely be back with a written account of our adventures, along with some great photos.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Daytona Bound March 7th 2015

It's been a long wait. Several years ago, our daughter and son-in-law joined us in Lake George for Americade. While we had a good time, I'm not sure it was the roudy time the son-in-law expected. You see he'd been to Daytona with his buddies. One night he says to me that come March he'll take us to Daytona. Well, I think he had more fun than he was letting on, because the followiing March our granddaughter was born. You do the math. Our granddaughter will turn 8 years old this week. And while I love my granddaughter, that seed her father planted in my brain 8 years and 9 months ago has been germinating ever since. 

This morning we left cold and snow packed New Hampshire and pointed the fenders south. Yea sure, they are on a trailer, but hey, it was 5 degrees when we left. It was no small chore digging that trailer out all winter as storm after storm blasted the North East. Then getting the bikes warm enough to start was another matter. Out came the propane space heater and placed near the motorcycles to warm them. Once warmed, we then needed to slip and slide them along the frozen snow packed drive and up the ramp onto the trailer. I owe Andy a great bit of gratitude for taking on this task. The long winter of constant shoveling was in itself a great test of endurance.

As we began our journey in the wee hours of the morning, a particual sound coming from the right front of the van was driving me crazy. It sounded like a cricket to me. Chirp chirp chirp. Andy shrugged it off as just the luggage in the back rubbing against each other. But I was sure it was coming from the front.

After a few hours as we are making our way through New York. The roads here are SO bad. The potholes are so prolific they look like a field of goffer holes along the roadway. On one particular bad stretch as Andy realized we would hit hard, he actually pulled up on the steering wheel as if he were on a bike and manuvering. While funny, and we were lucky not to blow a tire. The line of cars along the highway with their drivers jacking up their own cars and putting on the spare was not.

Finally we cross into New Jersey and travers the entire length of the state without trouble, almost. Just before we leave this state the front right tire sound like it's about to fall off. Then we hear sounds like we either ran over something or something fell off.  We hobble off the highway and find a truck repair shop. While waiting our turn, Andy notices a bolt on the trailer. Just sitting there. He pockets it not knowing where it came from. To our great surprise this bolt turns out to be the exact bolt that has wiggled its way out of the break housing that bolts to the frame! I suspect that the cricket I heard was this coming loose and all the potholes did the rest. Yet what are the chances that bold would bounce back up off the road and onto the bike trailer? Phenomenal in my opinion. So I feel blessed indeed to still be on my way and tomorrow we shall be in the Sunshine State!