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Daytona Beach Bike Week:
THE Ride...Destination Daytona Beach from North Georgia

by "Teebird", Harley Women Riders Forum & Women Riders International Forum

With all the excitement and anticipation of long motorcycle ride ahead of me , I always feel like a kid on Christmas Eve the night before a trip. I was extra psyched up the eve before my hubby and I would leave for Daytona Beach. For one, it was our first trip of the year and first time ever to Bike Week in Daytona. To top that off, my hubby had just that afternoon rode up on my '01 Fatboy with new pipes....the exact ones I been drooling over but never told him...They were Vance and Hines Pro Pipes along with the Stage I kit downloaded in the EFI bike. I took a quick spin that afternoon and was pumped. I could feel the extra power and yes...I could hear THE Harley sound I hand been longing for. I could not wipe that grin off my face that night even with the thought we could very well have to drive in the rain all the next day to get to Daytona. (My hubby sold our trailer...I did not care. I wanted to ride!) I went to bed hearing the "new" rumble of my motorcycle in my dreams!

The next morning was a total rush. Trying to get last minute business stuff done, getting my 3 year old to daycare packed for a week with the grandparents, and figuring out how to pack our bikes securely for the long haul. My husband's 20 year old son was going to join us on a '89 FXR. Because my bike had no bags or back bar, he had to pack my stuff. I did put a little bag on my back seat with my rain gear and extra jacket and thought I had secured it with bungie cords. Hubster's Screaming Eagle Road Glide could handle tons of stuff. I had sent a box of clothes ahead UPS for me since I knew my space was limited. So we got loaded and were ready. Since I figured it would be raining soon, I put my new rain pants on over my chaps. Mistake number one...My pipes burnt a hole in them. Oops. I put the chaps over them after that.

As my husband was getting on his bike, he giggled a little and then said..."What are we doing? Are we really going to drive these bikes to Daytona? We must be crazy." He was excited though and it was good to see that big grin on his face. He had been working so hard and was in need of some time away.

We were set though. Our engines and hearts roared with delight as we hit the first major highway...Daytona Beach here we come!

So with a little mist in the air coming down that Friday morning, we headed off. I had such a mix of emotion: I was praying for a safe trip, wondering how my little 3 year old will do a week away from us, and hoping for good weather to ride in. Overall, I was pumped and ready with a grin to zoom.

Right away I started to have problems with my helmet. I had put my face shield on the half helmet and it would not stay down. Not this again, I thought. I had done the same thing last year on the way to Myrtle Beach and said I would never ride with one again because it shook and flipped up so bad. Then I made one big riding error right off the start. As we were getting on to the Interstate, my hubby and son zoomed ahead while I was left figuring out how to merge with a Semi-truck coming on strong in the right lane. Stupidly, I rolled on the throttle but ran out of road!! Egads! Thank goodness there was no major drop or debris in the road....I did make it around but it scared me good. Too close for comfort that's for sure. Well, the next hour I proceeded to scold myself for such a stupid mistake. On top of that, I could not keep the face shield down as it kept flipping up. I eventually just flipped my face shield up and left it there as we made our way thru the city of Atlanta on I-75 south.

We rode about 185 miles before our first stop for gas. I right away gave the shield to my hubby to pack away. We decided to go up the road a bit and get something to eat since we all had skipped breakfast. We rode on for another 80 miles and stopped at a good ole Waffle House. Nothing like a little of the "WH" when you feel a quart low on oil. I had a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with covered hash browns, large water and coke. Why does food taste so good when you are riding? I felt like it was the best meal I had eaten in a long time....I decided to leave my rain pants on under my chaps as we were in an area where there was an 80 percent chance of rain. My hubby's motorcycles has a radio and one of the NOA weather thingies so he could keep tabs on the weather. So far so good....We could even feel the air getting warmer.

So we were making good time heading down to Daytona. This was my first major trip on the Fatboy and I immediately realized my bars were a little too forward. My shoulders and back were aching from the way I sat reaching for the bars. . I'd put my arm around back of me to stretch it and to check on my little luggage behind me. Well....I did that again and got the shock of my life. The bag was gone! Worse I looked down at my back wheel and there it was hung up...I drove up to my hubby and his mouth fell open when he saw it. We took the next exit and got off the bikes. What I saw sent chills down my back. The bag got hung up and should have locked the wheels up. I even remember reading about how this happened to this guy and how he managed to not crash and pull over. The bag was tore up...Later I put the jacket that was in it on and it had holes from where the tire burned it. Lesson learned!!! Phew. Thank God I didn't have a wreck to learn that lesson. I kicked myself...Then realized I had to get over it and get on with the ride. I left that stop with a thankful heart and another prayer to God for safety. By this time I had taken all my rain gear off as the sun was out! The excitement was building for me as we passed one trailer after another full of bikes. My hubby's son asked why we were missing the boat and not trailering our bikes. Later at the next stop, everyone in their trucks and vans trailering bikes came up to us and said they wished they could ride! So he got the picture quick...Riding is part of the adventure!!

Everyone on that Interstate seemed like they were on their way to Daytona. How exciting to be a part of it AND riding there....

The closer we got to Daytona Beach the more the bikes we saw. I was amazed at how many people were trailering their bikes. For some reason I thought I'd see way more people actually riding. I started to watch for their license plates and soon realized just WHERE these trucks and trailers were coming from...All northern states where the snow was taunting the folks left behind that Spring would never come.

Once we got on I-10 we started to see more riders on their motorcycles. I enjoyed riding up on them and passing them with a smile and a wave. By this time my neck and back was burning from the ride....All I could think of was "I have got to change these handlebars". It was that bad....But the nagging pain did not keep me from enjoying the ride. And the more bikes we passed, the more excited I was getting. I had to stay on my toes (er, rather on my throttle) to keep up with my hubby too. I have to say I experienced 90 mph for the first time. One time I gunned it and felt 100 mph. (If my mom reads this she is going to have a cow!). I was impressed with how stable the Fatbaby still felt at these speeds. Our bikes were like horses running to where the water was....They just seemed to want to get to Daytona Beach as fast as they could. (Ok hubby was the one with the need for speed to get there!) I enjoyed the amazed looks on some people in cars as we passed them and they realized I was a woman. I actually read the lips of this one young guy...His mouth fell open and then he said "It's a girl!" Oh brother. I liked to wave to the kids I could see in the back seats of vans and cars. They'd break out in big grins and always wave back. One little girl gave me the thumbs up. You got to know what a great feeling that is!

Before we knew it, we were on the final stretch of the trip cruising down I-95 and feeling the balmy ocean breeze on our cheeks. It was one exhilarating and thrilling feeling to finally roll safely into the parking lot of the motel which would be "home" for us for the week. We quickly got checked in, unpacked, and headed to get something to eat. We had only made a few stops...once for a meal and the rest for gas....So we were tired, happy and hungry!! That night I feasted on seafood: broiled halibut, cheese topped crab, succulent broiled shrimp dripping in butter, and cheese mashed potatoes, topped off with a tall glass of a refreshing beverage. Ahhhh...This was going to be one incredible vacation!

End of day one....520 miles!

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About Teebird:
The mother of two, Teebird started riding dirt bikes as a kid. She eventually got into street bikes and has owned and ridden a Buell Blast, '00 Softail Deuce and a '01 Fatboy. The Fatboy, the love of her bike life, was recently replaced with a '03 Screaming Eagle Softail Deuce (shown right). Theresa is an active poster in many online forums but spends the majority of her time in the
Harley-Davidson Women Riders (HDWR) and Women Riders International (WRI) forums.

WHAT YOU NEED to Know! Cyclechex Motorcycle History Report.
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