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Thread: The back way to Bike Week

  1. #1

    The back way to Bike Week

    Weather? Check. Clients? Check. Other important logistics? Check, check, check! Finally... all the stars aligned and I could steal away to Daytona without any undue stress.

    Having made this pilgrimage for over 30 years, I've been taking a different route to Daytona, and a somewhat different approach while at Daytona for the last decade or so (minus the years when my business partners became enthralled with choppers and I was forced back into the Main Street and Cabbage Patch madness recently for 3-4 years...).

    GA15 provides a great, straight shot to Daytona for me, completely devoid of slab and right through the heart of rural Georgia. It heads south from Athens (just east of Atlanta) through Greensboro, Sparta, Sandersville, Soperton, Vidalia, Baxley and Blackshear before merging with US1 at Racepond, just north of the Florida border. From there it's a straight shot to 295, and then 95 south to Daytona. Or... in this case, where I planned to camp for the weekend.... a top secret location.

    Here is a map that traces the GA15 route.

    Along the way, there is plenty of interesting places to see, such as Vidalia, the sweet onion capital. If you happen to wind up staying here for the night, don't miss the Li'l Rebel... the classic biker combination of bar, pool hall and party. We (my business partners and I) stopped there on the way down last year... it's a hoot!

    Pardon the quality of the pic, it's from my camera phone... I sent it to my partners, who elected to stay home this year (they're burned out on choppers and now interested in riding GSs...)

    The ride down 15 isn't any faster than riding the slab, but it's a great alternative with much local scenery.

    I shot this pic as a study for a house that we are building up in North Carolina... my wife and I like the rustic nature of the old barns throughout the South.

    Some hours later, I reached the first place I needed to go in order to access the top secret camping location. This non-descript governmental facility held the keys to the campsite... and the letter of permission required to camp there. Heady stuff!

    With permits in hand, I headed to my campsite. Featuring about 5 miles of soft and sandy road to get to the site, I was certain that I would not be disturbed by noisy bikes doing burnouts at 3am.

    This is looking good!

    Last edited by Visian; 03-18-2005 at 09:18 PM.

  2. #2
    After reaching my campsite next to a slough, I staked out my tent (a new one for me, Sierra Designs Clip Flashlight) and elected not to set up my Moss Parawing since the weather looked like it would be excellent the entire weekend.

    This place is nice. It's classic Florida... pure natural, like I remember it as a kid. Not a person around, no noise except for the geese flying north overhead, it was time for a cigar and a beer.

    Well... I did get some work in... checked e-mail and sent some replies. Sent Sue that pic to post on the Forum.

    Spent the evening at a friend's house on the beach, he's a blue harmonica player and was playing with some friends.

    Riding through those woods at night was an adventure. Why did I *not* take a picture of it?

    The next morning dawned clear and cool... actually cold for Florida standards.

    Last edited by Visian; 03-18-2005 at 09:21 PM.

  3. #3
    It was a busy day planned. Went to two meetings related to Rally planning, one at BMW of Daytona... the only 10 minutes I spent anywhere near the Main Street area the whole weekend.

    Interestingly, BMW of Daytona rented some parking lot space to Confederate Motorcycles. I snapped this pic of their "wraith":

    I personally feel that this bike is the most significant thing going on in the custom bike scene today. The fork is reminiscent of the carbon-fibert exoskeleton construction techniques used in the Britten roadracer. I think this technique holds major promise for motorcycle construction. It's strong, light and looks cool as sh**.

    Over to the track, I visited the show, saw nothing other than a sittable K12S at the BMW booth.... why they would *not* have all their new models there I will never figure.

    However, the true objective of the visit was the Friday night Supercross. This is by far the best race of the series... because of the Gary Bailey-designed track. It's long, it's tough and it's closer to natural terrain but still supercross-technical. This track separates men from boys.

    The 125 class was won by Josh Hansen and the 250s won by Chad Reed. The 250 race was particularly excellent... a hard-charging Ricky Carmichael crashing out in the whoops trying to catch Reed. Wish James Stewart were there. The most impressive moment of the evening was watching a kid named Davey Milsaps, a local boy from Georgia that I watched coming up. Davey was 1 second faster than everybody through the whoops... truly impressive.

    Back at the camp, the next day I elected not to go to the road races. Yes... the campsite was that good. Instead, I hiked throught the woods.

    But first came breakfast... and the espresso was most excellent.

    During breakfast, I had a three visitors to my campsite. Two on horse and mule...

    ... and a nice lady in a kayak.

    Last edited by Visian; 03-18-2005 at 09:10 PM.

  4. #4
    During my hike around the camp, I came across the lodge, which was built in the late 1800s in a style that emulated the camps in the Adirondacks. It did have a Florida touch... the walls were built of coquina... just like the forts in St. Augustine and Matanzas.

    Sunday dawned the best of the weekend, I folded the tent, packed the bike and headed back north to home. I think I like riding 15 better from North to South.

    One last barn study for the house project... I wonder how long it will take my roof to rust like that?

    Hope you enjoyed the ride.

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________
    '67 Trail 90 || '86 R80 G/SPD+ || '97 F650ST || '00 1150 GS || '07 Xchallenge || '13 CB500X || '14 Grom

  5. #5
    Rally Rat supermoto7's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Lithia, Florida
    Great pics. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Registered User DLilah's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
    Chicago/Central Illinois
    Felt like I was there! Awesome!!!

  7. #7
    Registered User barryg's Avatar
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    Aug 2003
    Looks like one of those guys is riding a mule, not a horse.

  8. #8
    leave my monkey alone LORAZEPAM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    West Salem, OH
    Great ride report Ian, sorry about the gator line earlier
    Gale Smith
    2009 Versys
    1999 R1100RT

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by barryg
    Looks like one of those guys is riding a mule, not a horse.
    ye-gads... you wouldn't believe how many people actually know the difference!


  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by lorazepam
    Great ride report Ian, sorry about the gator line earlier
    Haha... I am a Yankee who grew up in the south. I play that gator line on fellow yanks all the time. Ya wait until they're right next to the water and then tell em the story about the time when...


  11. #11
    El Dookey loves to ride. 99007's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Ada, MI (outside Grand Rapids)
    nice. thanks for sharing. that carbon fiber exoskeleton thingamabob is one wild scoot.
    Don't winterize; Rounderize!

  12. #12
    On the Road xgman's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Western North Carolina
    Great pics & write-up. Thanks, Ian. I like to take the backroads either to or from Bike Week. This year I took 441 & 221 north.

  13. #13
    sMiling Voni's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    53 sMiles south of Alpine, TX USA
    Wonderful pictures. Wonderful fun!

    I thought I saw you at BCubed, but when I looked later, you were gone.

    Sorry we missed you.

    Paul and I enjoyed a route from Kansas to Daytona with only 12 miles of interstate. Such fun to slow down and smell those RED roses . . .

    Live fully. Laugh deeply. Love widely.
    BMW MOA Ambassador Emeritus / FOM / Roving Forum Moderator/
    Selected Friends of Wile E Coyote/ A Million 100 thousand BMW sMiles

  14. #14
    Focused kbasa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Marin By God County, California
    Nice report, Ian.

    And I'm with you - the Wraith may be the harbinger of a new era of motorcycle design. I SO badly want one of those things. The design is just amazing. Formed by a series of interlocking circles, it's a drastic change from the lines we're all accustomed to seeing.
    Dave Swider
    Marin County, CA

    Some bikes. Some with motors, some without.

  15. #15
    Slowpoke & Proud of It! BRADFORDBENN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    State of Confusion
    Very cool. Thanks for the pictures.

    I lived in Central Florida for 10 years and have a few friends in Athens, so I know that route well. I also know your super secret camping spot.... I think it might be the same as mine. But the world may never know

    It isn't what you ride, it is if you ride

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