Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Did ya make your way down to Biketoberfest in Daytona, only to follow the suggested routes given you by Daytona’s Chamber of Commerce? It’s their job to keep you in the area so they can reap the rewards of their efforts to get ya down here to Florida.  That’s all well and good, until you’ve ridden in the same grid so many times you feel like you’re in your own version of “GROUNDHOG DAY”.  

 So I’m here to give you a few more options to riding in the Central Florida region.
Many newcomers to Daytona stay within the confines of the party.  They ride to Main Street, then to Beach Street and attend the parties, visit the vendors and watch the parade of characters that ply the streets.  They ride to Ormond to visit Destination Daytona.  Here they walk the parking lots of Rossmeyer HD and JP Cycles, visiting the various tented venders. When the shopping is done, they leave the opulence behind, turning their front wheels toward The Iron Horse Saloon and the Broken Spoke, and the White Eagle Saloon. Upon arrival they leave their steeds in dusty lots and mill about the masses of humanity exploring the venues. They will find food, drink, bike shows and live music. 

If you’re here for 7 to 10 days, don’t you want to ride? I believe you do!  I recommend you gather your sweetie or best friend, mount your steed and discover Florida. You’ve come to celebrate the advent of fall so how about discovering Florida’s swamps, lakes, space shuttles, gators and manatees?   Let’s ride the “REAL FLORIDA”.  

A ride I enjoy quite a lot is in Brevard County: Brevard lies just south of Daytona by about 55 miles. When I’m in the area, I try to fit in a trip to the Kennedy Space Center.  I like capturing my Lil Girl in front of the Space Shuttle on display there.   

After visiting the Space Center, a must ride is North Tropical Trail south from the Cape to SR-528. This is a pleasant stretch of road with Spanish moss hanging from stately oaks along the trail. You’ll also find historic churches and a county park (Manatee Cove) with a lagoon where Manatee stay during the winter months. I recommend you park your bike here and walk the edges of the lagoon, allowing you to visit with as many as 20 manatees sunning themselves near the water’s surface!  

After a visit with the manatee, I re-join North Tropical Trail just south of SR-528 and continued south, crossing SR-520. It’s here the name of the road becomes South Tropical Trail.  This part of the trail is magical. The beauty of both the natural and the human habitat coincide with each other. It’s a magnificent ride to the finale of this visually delightful road.   

There is a marina and a swing bridge at the end of the trail. I generally stop and walk over the bridge to observe the sail boats as they roll gently over lapping waves while lying at anchor on the river.

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Later I ride to SR-513 East toward A1A North for Port Canaveral.  I recommend stopping at the port to enjoy Grill’s Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar near Flounder Street.  They love bikers! From here it’s an easy trip back across the SR-528 Causeway to US.1 north to your vacation abode.

 The next day I rode into the splendid Ocala Forest. The route I took was SR-40 west to US-17 North. I travelled to Satsuma, Florida to visit with a great friend, Banshee.  Banshee led me to 2 cemeteries; both are the final resting places for soldiers of the Confederate States.  I am a huge fan of old or forgotten cemeteries as well as a collector of the images of decaying headstones dotting the American landscape.

After leaving the cemeteries we arrived at a biker bar far off the beaten path called Hermit’s Cove Marina. It can be found near the Seven Sisters Islands which are off small roads known as East Buffalo Bluff Road and St. John’s Court.   The bar fronts the St. John’s River; enabling you to sit on their dock, have a few beers, perhaps some BBQ and enjoy the gorgeous view of the Seven Sisters.  

Central Florida has many roads that explore the REAL FLORIDA.  I mean the Florida where history comes alive, where swamps, wildlife and river culture combine.  ARE YA WILLIN’ TO COME RIDE THE REAL FLORIDA?