Sunday, January 30, 2011

Calling my name

During our 300-mile round trip to Cape Girardeau yesterday, the subject of Daytona Beach Bike Week came up.

Charlie says he’s not interested – he’s saving his days off for a ride to Alaska this summer. I’m having Daytona thoughts, not because I love Bike Week. I don’t. It’s a freak show that gets less interesting every time I see it.

I went in 1992 and ‘93 and again in 2009. The ‘92 trip was the best of the three. I camped with several friends from the Indianapolis BMW Club at the Space Coast BMW Club enclave at Bulow Plantation and we hit all of the high spots – the Jap bike bash, women wrestling semi-nude in coleslaw at the Cabbage Patch, the Harley-Davidson style show, Main Street and the Boot Hill Saloon, the vendors at Daytona International Speedway… I had a great time.

The ‘93 trip was motivated largely by a desire to relive the previous year’s experiences and to connect with a woman from the Florida Keys I’d established a long-distance relationship with. It fell short of my expectations on all levels and left me with no desire to go back.

Over the years, the Bulow venue went away and the BMW folks established a new enclave at a campground northwest of Daytona along I-95.

Encouraged by the fact that several of my Indy club friends would be there, and that I now had a more southerly route to Daytona from my Arkansas home, I decided to revisit Bike Week in 2009. It was a mistake.

My Indy friends left the campground the day before I arrived, fleeing to South Florida in search of warmer weather. I spent two long teeth-chattering nights in my tent wondering why in hell I was there before I finally packed up and rode home. The only thing I enjoyed about being there was sitting on a bench at Flagler Beach and gazing out at the ocean. The most fun I had was the adventure of riding there and back. I made one circuit of Daytona, cruising Main Street and hitting the local BMW shop for a new cap and t-shirt.

So why am I thinking about Bike Week 2011? Beats the hell out of me. I think maybe I just want to go for a ride. Maybe I’d be better off taking a few days to look for sunny beaches and warm breezes in Texas.

All I know is that I hear a BMW K1200GT softly calling my name from the garage.

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