Last Wednesday I took my first long solo trip on the Magic Carpet. By solo I mean just me on the motorcycle and not just one motorcycle. I’ve grown very accustomed to having Donna sitting behind me and having her to talk with. I just enjoy having her back there and it’s not just for the neck and shoulder rubs on long trips (although those are a big plus). Our young beagle had very recently had spinal surgery and Donna needed to stay at home with her as she can’t be put in a kennel yet, even though she is healing ahead of schedule. I headed down from metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia to the Daytona Beach, Florida area. My Mom is a breast cancer survivor and has now acquired another malady that puts her in yet another fight. Mom & Dad needed some help with a few things. Mom’s just not up to getting out and doing things like cleaning gutters and patio furniture with Dad right now. This is a 480 mile door to door trip and would be all interstate this time.
I had planned to leave at about 6:00 am so that I could be well ahead of rush hour traffic on the interstate. Well plans don’t always work out and I wasn’t rolling until just before 7:00 am. Yes, I got up on time. I kissed Donna goodbye and was rolling. I wasn’t on Interstate 75 very long before I was greeted with brake lights in front of me. The traffic was brutal. It made me happy that I’m retired and no longer have to make that trip everyday at that time. The traffic added at least another hour to my trip. My travel time was over 10 hours to get to Florida! The weather wasn’t bad either, being cloudy or overcast most of the way.
Coming home the following Tuesday was just the opposite. It was the same route but I got on the road at 6:00 am this time after saying goodbye to Mom & Dad. The sun began to rise from the Atlantic Ocean over my right shoulder as I rode north. Temperatures were even the same as the trip down. Both times I started out with temperatures in the low 60′s (F) and they rose to the mid 70′s (F) for my destination. Only for the return trip I had blue, cloudless skies. This time I made the trip in 7 hours and 16 minutes of driving (moving time) according to the GPS. I arrived home 9 hours and 10 minutes after I left. That time included two meal stops and 3 gas stops. I was pretty impressed that I made it from Daytona Beach to Valdosta, GA on a tank of gas and still had just over 50 miles left according the K1200LT’s trip computer.
This was my first long trip using my earplugs which made a world of difference. The earplugs had a lot to do with the lack of fatigue from the sound. A quite noticeable difference. Wearing the ear plugs for that long (other than meal stops) caused me no physical discomfort. I also paired the Scala Rider Teamset Pro with my Windows Phone instead of the GPS this time. As I approached my parent’s home while I was traveling on I-95 I was able to call them with an updated ETA. They had no idea that I was actually calling from the motorcycle and said it just sounded like I was outside. I know the nemesis of motorcyclists is text messaging drivers. But on the way home, a friend and Donna both sent me a few, that the phone read to me and I replied by voice commands and speaking he message coincidentally while either pumping gas or preparing to leave from lunch (so I guess I wasn’t texting and riding after all). I really wasn’t too happy with the volume of the messages and the few phone calls until I remembered that I had to raise the volume on the phone and not on the intercom! Would I leave the phone paired to the Scala? No. I’d just assume leave it paired to the GPS. But this was a special trip and I didn’t need the GPS for directions and just used it for arrival time purposes. My new Windows Phone doesn’t have all the features my last Windows Phone did. In testing it, the old phone would voice announce the caller by name and use the phone’s ringer or the caller’s unique ring if they had one. It would also announce who the text message was from so you could “listen or ignore”. The new phone just uses a generic phone ringer with no voice announce and merely informs you of “new text message” and asks if you want to listen now or later. I liked the features on the old phone better. But since I don’t plan on using except for an interstate trip like this one, it doesn’t really bug me. I’d rather have the GPS directions sent to the Scala. The Scala Rider Teamset Pro allow only one additional Bluetooth connection to each headset in addition to the one already taken by the intercom.
When leaving Florida in the dark, a motorist pulled up next to me and told me “You know the back of your helmet is flashing?” I told him it was to make me more visible, especially in low light conditions. He laughed and said “Well I guess it works then!” Our helmets have a red LED light in the rear that can be set to off, steady on, slow flash or fast flash. He was right, I guess it works. My Dad had also run down the driveway calling at me to tell me my helmet was “blinking”.
Florida Welcome Center. The clouds behind me look like mountains.
The traditional stop at the Florida Welcome Center
We just got back from a trip to Florida and the Daytona Beach area. We left on Tuesday morning in the dark and got back today on Sunday afternoon. We combine our trips to be a vacation and visit my parents who live there. For us, Daytona Beach is less than 8 hours away if we take the highway. Donna was a bit anxious to try out the flashing red LED light on the back of her helmet since we were leaving before sunrise. After our customary breakfast stop at Waffle House in Forsyth, Georgia we ran into just a few spots of misting rain. It wasn’t much, just enough to wet the windshield and then stop. But Donna was again ready and turned on the LED on the back of her helmet for that extra bit of conspicuity.
Once there we visit with my parents and of course ride up and down the beach or see some sites. We are tourists there after all! This trip was a bit more special because it was also my parent’s 53rd wedding anniversary while we were there. We’re accustomed to riding on twisting mountain roads but there is something to be said for riding down the road with the ocean literally just feet away at times. Florida does not require that you wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle (an are 21 or older) if you carry a certain amount of insurance. It doesn’t matter to use because so far we always wear helmets. One parking lot speed incident almost 25 years re-enforced helmet use to me. One thing we did notice is that it seemed everyone who was not wearing a helmet was riding a v-twin motorcycle and nearly everyone who was on a sport bike had on a helmet. And of course we have our own little Rides To Eat (RTE) while we’re there. One of our favorites while there is Boondocks in Wilbur By The Sea (yes that is the town’s name) where we rode on down to the Marine Science Center after lunch.
VAC Warbird Museum. Yes those are the tails from a B-25 Mitchell and a MIG-15 on the left.
This year my Dad added a new twist to us. We went to Titusville for a tour of the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum. The museum has aircraft from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and later on display in the hangars. Many of the aircraft still fly. Good find Dad! There’s only one propeller aircraft they have that doesn’t fly and it’s a recovered WWII Grumman F4F Wildcat in the main atrium. Every other propeller airplane they have flies, including the C-47 that flew 3 missions on D-Day. Even a good many of the jets fly. This is a museum where you can touch history and sometimes see it come alive.
And of course since we’re motorcyclists and were on our motorcycle, we stopped in BMW Motorcycles of Daytona Beach to look around. While looking around, a nice salesman tried to sell us a new BMW K1600GTL with a lot of option for a mere $27,000.00. The only things it didn’t have was the GPS and the brake light in the top case which are dealer installed accessories and not factory installed options. We figured it was less expensive to ride out 2002 BMW K1200LT on to lunch at Racing’s North Turn on the beach. The restaurant gets its name that it was the north turn for the original Daytona Beach races and was the north turn where the cars turned from the sand on the beach to the road on A1A.
The Magic Carpet and crew lunch at Racing’s North Turn.
This time our trip home was even different. We rode the trip down to Florida in a day pretty easy. But we wanted to take our time coming home. We left Florida about lunch time on Saturday and headed for a stopover in Tifton, Georgia. The only issue was the coastal winds in Florida from the the distant tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean. From Daytona Beach to Jacksonville we were batting 20-25 mph cross winds and it felt like I was crabbing into the wind. On Sunday morning we took our time getting ready. While “pre-flighting” the motorcycle I had 3 different stop by and talk with me about the bike and ask questions. Once we got on the road, half our journey was over and we were home in time for a late lunch before heading off to the kennel to pick up our dogs during the afternoon pick up.
We took a few pictures at the warbird museum and you can look at them for a sampling of what they have by clicking here.
Fall is officially here and October is going to be a motorcycling month for us.
We’ll start off with a Blue Knights Chapter Meeting followed up by a trip to Florida to visit family in the Daytona Beach area. We’ll be getting out of there before the Biketoberfest crowd starts showing up. We’ll end the month with a weekend trip to the Iron Horse Motorcycle Lodge in North Carolina. I bet we’ll add some weekend riding in throughout the month too. The leaves are starting to change and we’re lucky to live so close to the foothills of the Appalachians with so many great roads that seem to be made for motorcycling.
Ride often and ride safe!
We came back home from Florida today. We took the “standard” route of I-95, I-295, I-10 and I-75. Personally I like the route we took on the way down and it really didn’t add any significant amount of time. Our route home was 478 miles and it took us 7 hours and 17 minutes to drive it.
We enjoyed the time with my parents while there along with time riding around. One day we ate at Crabby Joe’s on the Sun Glo Pier in Daytona Beach Shores and got to see rays playing below us in the shallow surf. It was a great time to be in Florida; between Spring Break and Summer Vacation. We’re thinking about heading down for Biktoberfest this year. Mom says the weather is perfect then!
When we were coming up I-95 we were passed by 3 Outcast MC members on their Harley Davidsons. The first two were wearing their “cut” or “colors”. The third, bringing up the rear just simply had a large white “P” on the back of his vest. I think we all know who the prospect is!
Donna at the Florida Welcome Center on the way down.
Categories: General, Trips
Categories: General, Trips