Okay, I know it's 6+ weeks late, but hey.. Better late than never right? I would have had it out earlier, but things have been pretty hectic, which I'm sure you can all appreciate. Anyhow, here's a small trip report with some pics of how my trip to Daytona Beach, FL for Bikeweek 2000 was. Check out the "pics" link at the bottom of this page for bikeweek pics.
Day 1 Sunday 3-5-2000.
With Bike packed in my buddy Todd's trailer, and GMC Jimmy loaded to the roof we depart Charles Town, WV at about 5:00 am. Our goals for today were simple. (A) Get away from work and kids. (B) Successfully travel to Savannah, GA where we stayed in "The Marshall House". Although this may seem irrelavent, I still wish to note it as it was a GREAT place to stay. Nothing out of the ordinary to mention other than a phenomenal Bananna Flambé, but I'll spare you the details.
Day 2 Monday 3-6-2000.
Made our way down into Flagler Beach, FL and to Bulow Campground which was to be our home for the next week. The weather was absolutely perfect. Chrome and Leather every where the eye gazes, but very few sportbikes. That's okay, I fear not.
The campground cabins and actual "plotted out" sites are booked years in advance so we wound up in "overflow" which is basically just tons of wooded area. This worked out to our advantage as you will see later. Anyhow, stake here, pole there, shit, pole _THERE_ not there, and voila we have a home for the week.
Get everything put up, don some leather and off to town we go.
Here's where I guess I disappoint some of you. I can't even begin to describe how many bikes were around. The news said between 7 and 800,000 bikes. Of which 90% were Harley's or a Jap facsimile of one, 8% were BMW's and the remaining 2% would be sportbikes/dual sports.
Anyhow, moving right along.. It amazed me how all the local vendors just packed up and left for the week. You could be in this huge parking lot and building with nothing but motorcycle doodads and then look up to realize that it's a huge GM Car dealership with not a car in sight.
We made our way to the Corbin Showroom because I have wanted a new seat, but was NOT going to spend $$ without at least feeling the seat first. So the guy there (who wasn't the least bit thrilled to be working) brought out a Gunfighter with Lady, and after some minor adjustments, it's on. The seat felt quite a step above the comfort of stock so I'm sold. The wife wants to check out the back rest, so he runs off to get it. Well, he manages to cross thread the backrest so now we're having problems. Not a problem for me because I didn't want the damned overpriced thing anyways, but if the person who arranged this whole Daytona thing has a problem, well, I need to fix it. Manuel Labor says he has no more backrests so it's this one or none. After driving a new bolt down through the top several times, I managed to get just enough shaved off the threads of the bolt to where it goes in and out without a problem. Not a biggie, I'll get it tapped out later. "Will you knock a few bucks off for messing up the backrest?", "nope, 10% off already.". Oh well, I tried. $450 on the Visa and back to the parking lot we go.
Here's where the story gets good...
I take off the stock seat and hand it to the Corbin guy and go to put the new seat with backrest already mounted onto the bike. The Corbin alone weighs probably about an extra 2-3 lbs over the stock seat, and the backrest adds a bit more so I'm trying to be careful when I put it on, but no dice. BAM I drop the F*$%@#er onto the bike creating a 3" crack in the tail section. Now I'm pissed. My virgin bike is now marred (well other than the scrapes from corners, but those are cool). So here I am, not really pleased because (A) this chap bones the back rest, (B) I just dumped $450 into a seat, and (C) I just cracked the tail section.
This chap on a full dressed Hardley pulls up and parks kind of behind and to the right of me. Well, mind you, the parking lot already has way too many bikes in it, but hey what's one or 10 more?? Anyhow, he goes to get off his contraption and screech, crunch, bam. The F*$%#ing kickstand breaks off send the whole shit to the ground just missing my bike, but sending one of my brand new, been worn 45 minutes, Monza Red $225 Shoei RF-800's spinning across the parking lot. Pick up the helmet, dust it off, no visible scratches or damage (I'm impressed). I help this guy pick his mobile junkyard up and fix his kickstand. We're making small talk and he starts admiring my new Corbin (I was going to say seat, but that might just bring about a wrong visual). I let him throw a leg over to see how it (the Corbin Damn it!!) feels. He's impressed. He then looks at the backrest and it happens. Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I don't think this could have been scripted any better if written in Hollywood. Harley dude says, "I really like this seat, check out this backrest, you could hang a tool kit right off the back of that thing"; without so much as a pause, I fire back "Dude, this is a Honda, what the hell would I want with a tool kit?, This thing will never break down!". Not really knowing how to respond, he gives up and leaves. Feeling triumphant, we depart also.
Rode around for a while and then back to the campground for the largest piece of Prime Rib that I've ever seen in my life (and I got the medium sized cut). The end to a very busy day came early at about 11:00pm (or so we thought it was the end).
Herein lies the problem. A couple mills of nylon is no sound barrier against a few thousand drunken maniacal morons who wish to do donuts and burnouts or just wish to jump on and rev the piss out of there friggen bikes. This sucked. Within hours, I told my wife that on day 2 we would buy a D&D slip-on and treat these chumps to the wail of a fine tuned pipe at oh say 13,500 rpm's (the collective total red-lines of all harley's on the planet). This plan was fine until the visions arrived of being beaten with chains, and molested by that (hell, "that" implies singular; let's use "those" instead) 75 year old "biker bitch" donned with fish-net hooker hose and leather tube top.
All night long we were treated to the wails of "hey, WAKE UP!!!" and the "BRAAAAPPP" of yet another harley within a 20 yard radius. By 4:00am I was convinced that Harley's don't fail mechanically, they are all sabatoged by innocent folks like myself. 5:00am and all's quiet.
Day 3 Tuesday 3-7-2000.
Back into town we go, using Corbin's parking lot as I feel my $450 contribution entitles me to indefinite parking rights. We walked around admiring the sights and such when about 2 hours into it I suddenly think "where's my key?".. Well, if you own a Honda, you know the answer to that one.. Yeap, 2+ hours with a few hundred thousand folks walking around and I leave my damned key in the seat lock!!! A quick jog back down the strip to find bike still in lot and key dangling right where I left it. By now I'm starting to think that this whole blasted week is going to be cursed and something really bad is right around the corner.
After lunch (which was spent batting seagulls off my table as they were trying to steal my crablegs), my wife sees this "ride". No, not a motorcycle, but more accurately described as a "lose your lunch slingshot from hell". Picture this.. Two towers about 250 or so feet high. Each has a "bungee" attached to a gyroscope looking seat. The rider (that would be her, no way in hell I'm going on this thing) is strapped into the seat and the bungee's start being tightened. When they are stretched all the way to the top, they let the "cage" (currently attached to the ground) loose. I don't have any idea as to the accelleration, but I'm sure it's faster/harder than most have experienced as this "ball from hell" lurches toward the sky. It goes up way past the tops of the towers and then back down and bounces back and forth for a good bit before they lower her back to Earth. I (the person who lives to take corners 1/2 a degree from destruction) tell her she's crazy, likewise, she (the person who will do the above but gets squeamish before we even hit 100mph) says I'm a chicken. Oh well, such is love.
Wandering around some more in awe of how little folks will wear on a motorcycle just to get noticed. G-string and chaps were commonplace. Everywhere you look (and this is not an exaggeration) there is some girl writhing around on a motorcycle while taking her clothes off for a hundred or so very ready cameras.
Bedtime comes much earlier than expected tonight due to the sleepless night prior. However, this night was different. Aside from the distant roar of someone flying down the access road to the campground, or chewing off a tire in the burnout pits, there was relatively little noise. Thank God, maybe Monday's racket was just a fluke.
Day 4 Wednesday 3-8-2000.
Being as how we're without kids for a "vacation" for the first time since our oldset was born 9 years ago, we are free to do whatever. Jennifer reminds me that she really wants to go to "Disney". This is not something I would personally choose when considering the alternatives such as the "Oil/Mud/Coleslaw wrestling contest", but she was generous enough to arrange all this so what the hell, I'm game. Besides Disney has rollercoasters, rides, etc. Well we're just getting into Orlando when she says "it's the next exit". I say "I thought you wanted to go to Disney?". Well somewhere the confusion came in and when she said "Epcot" I heard "Disney" and vice versa. Now I'm thinking.. What the hell is Epcot center anyway?? I'm a person who doesn't care for Museums, Aquariums or Zoo's, and here we are going to this "Epcot Center"?!?! Tension builds. I pay my token $6.00 for parking. What the hell is that?? Do they expect me to walk from the nearest hotel or whatever? As if the price for the park isn't enough? Things are looking a little more gray, I think there's a storm brewing somewhere. I pay our $94 to get us into the park and now my true asshole mode sets in.
I don't know what's wrong with me, but for whatever reason, I just can't look past this boring (to me) place and have fun for my wife's sake. My entire view on Epcot center is that: unless you have children under 12 or elders over 60 with you, you have no business at Epcot. To me it was not very fun and the minutes dragged on like I was in a dentists chair.
In honesty, I will say that there were a few events at Epcot that I did enjoy, but I don't think that I'd return for them. Here's where I must Publically apologize to my wife. "I'm sorry for being a shit when you just tried to bring some fun into our vacation."
Back to the campground after a good dinner and a good few beers (driving the truck today). Do we get to sleep tonight?? Nope. Damn! They regained their energy by sleeping last night. This would repeat itself throughout our stay. Every other night was doomed until 5:00am. Tonight it was some asshole yelling at an RV behind us for them to "WAKE UP!!!" he was banging on the sides of it and reving up his Hardley which just fueled a 3am "dick measuring" contest of who has the loudest pipes.
After listening to this fool yell "Wake Up!!" for about 15 minutes, on behalf of all tenters around us, I replied "We're awake, Thank you very much!!", then my wife starts asking me what the hell I'm doing and I quickly put my hand to her mouth. See, there's about a billion tents out there and if Billyjoejimbob (trial lawyer by day, harley hardass by night) doesn't know which one I'm in, what can he do?? We smiled as he snuck around wispering "who the hell said that?" as if I'm going to jump up and say "I did you asshole, now shut up!"
Day 5 Thursday 3-9-2000.
Well, she bought these "all inclusive VIP" tickets to the track, so let's go use them. Off to the speedway we went. Oh man, way toooooo cool. I had tickets that let me do all but get on the pavement of the speedway. I was in the paddock, garages, and hot-pits with all the riders. This was far too cool.
Of course, this was akin to my Epcot center visit for my wife, but having more tact than I, she simply went to a shady section of manicured lawn and napped while I walked around with this distorted "brush with fame" smile. My autographed poster list for Thursday and Friday is:
Today was also the day that Jennifer had the need to commemorate our vacation my getting a tattoo.
Day 6 Friday 3-10-2000.
Wife stays at camp to catch up on reading and sleep and I venture back to the track for more. I held lengthy conversation with Nicky Hayden before he raced the 600 SuperSport and was taken out by a lapped rider. I also talked for a good long time to Steve Crevier about young talent and his new RC-51 ride in Canada. Later during a practice run, Miguel damned near took me out when he came out of the garage on his 51 and it died which made it "jump" over to the right (directly in my path). Leaving the track with a Cheshire Cat grin, I headed back to the campgrounds to find "The Clampet's" have moved in!
Folks, I don't have anything against anybody, but let me tell you.. When Rednecks go camping, they go CAMPING. We're talking full sized circus tent, Monster rusted out gas BBQ grill, bring along the ole picnic table too. Hell, we have to have carpet down over this here sand. Set up the tiki torches, light a bon fire, strew out more food than would feed a small nation, crack a PBR, fire up a joint that would make Bob Marley proud, crank up the CCR or Steve Miller's greatest hits and retire to a lawn chair with at least 5 broken nylon straps.
This is what I returned to. Now it wouldn't be bad, except for the fact that the whole personal space thing obviously didn't apply in FL. They staked their tent down within 2 inches (and this is NOT an exaggeration) of mine. I couldn't even use one of the doors! To make matters worse, the room of my tent closest to their's was where we slept. This was going to piss me off. I was going to tell them that they had to move their whole damned circus, but the wife pleads for me to "be nice". I got to talking to a few of them and they seemed nice enough and didn't make any excess noise so it wasn't "that bad". However, that whole tent on top of mine thing still pisses me off.
By now, the campground could accurately be described as Woodstock. I don't have an accurate count, but I'd guess somewhere around 6 or 7000 campers, most all flying the rebel flag and blaring Steve Miller. I don't know what the deal is with that. There are a million classic rock bands that would have been just fine, but for whatever reason it seems that admission to the campground required owning and playing Steve Miller's greatest hits.
Day 7 Saturday 3-11-2000.
We should have gone to the Supercross as we did have tickets, but I just wasn't feeling up to it. I forgot to mention that early in the week, I developed a pretty bad head cold that normally would have put me in bed, but not this week. We pretty much just hung around the campground during the day, napped and enjoyed the fact that everyone else was out raising hell. Then came the wonderful discovery of "what the hell is this?"; "That looks like, oh man, say it isn't so.". Woodticks. Not the usual "pencil eraser" sized ones, but these little tiny "ball point pen head" sized ticks. And tons of them. Enough to where I was picking off 3 or 4 at a time before I'd flick them on the "too close" tent next door. Man, I must have picked 50 of them bastards off us.
We couldn't leave Daytona (well, I couldn't) without going to at least 1 (organized) public display of flesh. Of the hundred or so that there were to choose from, we opted for the "Bare Chaps" contest. This instantly became the "who's got the nicesest breasts and how quick can you get your top off to show them to us" contest. A majority of the women there (who were honestly not that good looking) were obviously professionals. I don't know if I'd spend time or go out of my way to go to another show like it, but now I can die saying I did.
The noise levels on Friday and Saturday night were unparalleled. This was to be expected, but not necessarily welcome. I was truly hoping for a little sleep tonight as tomorrow is the Daytona 200 and I really want to be well rested. Not a chance. Jennifer was smart enough to take some sleeping pills but even through them we were completely roused sometime between 2 and 3 when the RV morons behind us started banging on the truck that pulled the RV, incessently yelling "Steve, WAKE UP!". After 15 or so minutes of this, Jennifer says she's off to use the bathroom. She exits the tent and asks Mr. and Mrs. Asshole if they'd like a light to see if "Steve" is even in the damned truck. They reply that he is in there passed out and they're trying to wake him up. Jennifer (way out of character for her) says "well hell, are you sure he's in there because I was asleep on sleeping pills and you woke me up.". That ended their attempt to wake the quite possibly comatose "Steve".
The noise however refused to subside, with many a drunken rider trying to manhandle his "Shovel handle, Pan head, Fat boy whateverthehell" through the now very soft sand "roads" of our campground. My prayers however were completely answered when I woke to complete silence excepting the light tap of rain on the roof of my tent. Thank you God.
Day 8 Sunday 3-12-2000.
Daytona 200 day.
I won't dwell on this as I can't possibly describe how incredible of a race this was. If you didn't see it, find someone who has it on tape and borrow it. You won't be disappointed.
We had VIP Skybox seats. They consisted of a dozen or so rooms on level 2 and level 5. Of which, we opted for a somewhat empty room on level 5. Food and drinks were catered in and all was incredible. From the impeccable service to the instant replays on the closed circuit track TV. This was what we came for.
After the race, we made our way back to the campground where we were delighted to see that not only did the Clampett's move their tribe from on top of my tent, but about 95% of the rest of the campground was vacated. FINALLY a night of good sleep. Now it was just so damned cold that I could barely sleep. If it wasn't one thing, it was another. Oh well.
Day 9 Monday 3-13-2000.
Packed everything back up, loaded the truck and made it as far as the VA/NC border before calling it a night and getting real good sleep in a hotel bed WITH SHEETS!
Day 10 Tuesday 3-14-2000.
Made it back home before noon with no casualties (other than that severe beating my wallet took). All was good.
So here are some things I discovered during the week.
1.   Corbin's are not really _that_ much heavier than stock seats.
2.   The F4 power wheelies much easier with 2 onboard.
3.   The wife doesn't like to ride when I wheelie or drag pegs.
4.   Sport bike riders give off more attitude than Harley riders.   This was evident as the majority of them were wearing shorts and "skull cap" type helmets and wouldn't wave or nod or anything at me as apparently I wasn't "cool enough" because I had on a full faced helmet, leather jacket and gloves.
5.   It doesn't matter how far "inland" you are, if you are in Florida, you're still on the beach.
6.   WV does not own the patent on "Rednecks", FL does.
7.   Tents are generally either too hot or too cold.