Day 34: Flagler Beach to New Smyrna Beach - Grampies Go to Florida - CycleBlaze

March 8, 2015

Day 34: Flagler Beach to New Smyrna Beach

We slept in just a little, kind of confused by the one hour clock change. Heading again down A1A, the ocean and beach are right by our side. Strangely, because we are on the inland side of the road we can not actually see the beach, nor read any beachside natural history type info signs. Whey not cross the road to look at the sand or at a sign? Too much darn traffic!

Near the beach at Flagler, there are a few custom and nice houses
Heart 0 Comment 0
South of Flagler Beach, housing back from the beach is standard suburban stuff
Heart 0 Comment 0
But Flagler beach front mostly features dull condos
Heart 0 Comment 0

The motorcycles are getting denser as we approach Daytona Beach, and the road noise is getting quite tiresome. Still, any kind of something going on is kind of exciting. We understand there is also a Clydesdale horse event happening as well. That could be better - just a little gentle whinnying, maybe.

We just called down south 60 km to check on a campsite at a private place that actually does specify tents. They reminded me that "It's Bike Week" (gee, thanks), so they have doubled (yes doubled) the price. Ain't capitalism great!

Ormond Beach is a spot where the ACA and other routes recommend ducking inland a bit. We were dubious about the need to do this, but at the intersection of A1A and 40 a runner advised us that our shoulder was about to disappear. So we turned right, and in so doing crossed the Intercoastal Waterway. This is quite a wide stretch of water at this point, spanned by at least a couple of tall bridges. Rather than proceeding as the route seems to show, along highway 1, we are noodling along beside the water. Even here, we are not immune from the hoards of loud motorcycles. A local pointed out to us that last week was "race week" and next week is Spring Break. Spring Break, though, is not what it used to be since a crackdown on misbehaviour. The local said that during the recession they tried to attract the Spring Breakers back, but with not much success. Oh well, we can't leave and come back next week, so it's us and the bikers!

The interesection of A1A and 40 is not a pretty sight, but at least A1A was nicer than 1, which we ened up following for most of the rest of the day.
Heart 0 Comment 0

Basically since we took the turn away from the ocean, at Ormond Beach, we have not spotted any architectural, food, or natural thing that we could consider of any value, or worth remembering. It's not that this is something like a Box Store desert, a slum, a metropolis, or any other standard yucchy thing. It's just sort of .. a nothing. Ok, yes, the photos will show one nice picnic stop by the Intercoastal Waterway, and one or two interesting houses, but that's it.

This place is devoted to speed. We are devoted to ëasy does it".
Heart 0 Comment 0
The Intercoastal Waterway from one of the bridges.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Brief respite from sprawl, but not from noise.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Dodie liked this house
Heart 0 Comment 0
In the small Ormand historic district, and oldish house
Heart 0 Comment 0
Another house in the historic district of Ormand
Heart 0 Comment 0

It could be that our assessment is coloured by the constant battering of noise from the thousands of flatulent motorcycles zooming up and down the roads - all the roads. Plus, as I write this - holed up in a motel that will be described a few lines down - I can barely hear myself think for the sounds of cycles on the road and of shouting bikers from rooms all around.

The noise, caused by so many cycles, put us in a bind. Dodie got really tired out by it - despite the unusual (unprecedented) step of putting in her ear buds. ( She really would have needed at least those orange noise plugs to get much effect). So we looked for a motel to hide in. But the biker traffic has caused not only the campgrounds to double their prices, but the motels as well. The first one we checked, a classic rundown fleabag, wanted $100, and warned that we would see prices of $200 or more. That was in fact true, at least for the more brand name places listed by Trivago. We tried another flea bag. Bikers were swarming around it, and revving engines, so it was hard to call out to find the owner around the premises. We were giving up, but then he did appear. He claimed his price was $150, but he had had some cancellations and would give us a room at his regular price of $65. We took it.

In the relative calm of the room we have looked up "Bike Week". First off, it runs until March 15. That gives us two whole Bike Week free days before we fly back to Canada! Actually, looking down the coast at motel prices, it seems like another 80 km will take us out of range of abnormal ripoff pricing and back to good old South Florida regular ripoff pricing. Presumably we will also be back to good old South Florida loud, vs. deafening, traffic noise as well.

The Bike Week website claims that the event will attract 500,000 bikers this week. I believe it. I estimated while cycling that we have seen tens of thousands of bikers personally today. Sometimes you read numbers in statistics about the United States that seem impossibly large - like the annual sales of Best Buy, or something. But today, with bikers, you get a real street level demonstration of just how big things can really be.

I hope I have struck the right balance of crabbiness in describing the conditions here. If not, I will try to concentrate through the noise long enough to say that the weather has been really fine and the wind either a help or no problem. So riding conditions have been good, and I am trying to absorb as much cycling fun as possible before we have to leave. On the other hand, back to the bikers, Dodie has just woken up enough to ask if I included that the riders are most often fat old men, and that any women on the back seem hard and worn out. (We have one very dear friend who is quite taken with a motorbike - so Dave, this assessment does not apply to you!)

Bike Week

Heart 0 Comment 0
Bikers, some of hundreds of thousands. The next six or so shots all feature bikers!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Dodie vs oncoming bikers
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
How about this one?
Heart 0 Comment 0

Today's ride: 53 km (33 miles)
Total: 1,793 km (1,113 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 0
Comment on this entry Comment 0