Saturday 15 November:
And so we arrive at our last day of riding. We all slept remarkably well, not waking up until about 7am. We showered and headed off about 8am, stopping once more at The Country Kitchen for breakfast.
We have to get the bikes back to Orlando, which is not far away. Our initial plan was to string it out a little more, heading south along the coast past many beaches and visit Cape Canaveral. The prevailing opinion on the day, however, was to head straight into Orlando, get the bikes back and do some shopping. This was not an opinion that I shared, but there was no way that I could find my way on my own, so I had to go with it.
Before heading off we did at least head back to see Daytona Beach, which we had missed yesterday by going shooting. Daytona Beach is of course the home of Daytona Bike Week in March, the reason we have brought these trusty Harley’s across the country. The city has a population of around 61,000, and it is the hard-packed sand on its beaches that have made it a mecca for motor sport.
We arrived, passing beneath the sign welcoming us to ‘The World’s Most Famous Beach’ and parked up. I went off to take pictures, but barely had my feet touched the powdery white sand than everyone was ready to move on.
We drove down International Speedway Boulevard (Route 92) to the Daytona Speedway Stadium, but could only see it from the car park and again we were off.
We headed inland to Orlando on Interstate 4, which was efficient but not fun. As we set off I really didn’t feel ready to be taking the bikes back – I would happily turn around and take the bikes back to LA if we had the time – but after an hour on the freeway I was less enthusiastic. It was tedious, windy and we were riding into the sun, which once again had the effect of making me very drowsy. In the end I was glad to see Eagle Rider.
Eagle Rider, on the other hand, were surprised to see us. We were welcomed by a friendly young lady called Mindy, who apologised that the beer was warm as they hadn’t put it on ice yet as they weren’t expecting us until 4pm – it was only 1200!
The bikes were checked in as Andy and Paul went off to pick up the hire car that had already been ordered. “You certainly managed to get the bikes dirty”, said Mindy, “but I suppose it’s not surprising as you have ridden them across the whole country”. And so we had. This officially marked the end of our adventure, all 3166 miles of it according to my trip counter.
It was a bit of an anti-climax really. Maybe it would have been better if we had arrived with the big group, where we could have all enjoyed a cold beer and a bit of a chat, but maybe it was always going to be an anti-climax whatever.
We got in the hire car and headed for the hotel.
We were booked into the Comfort Suites, which is where we thought the other Hadrian V-Twin guys were staying, though we didn’t see them. We dropped off our bags and headed out shopping, stopping first for lunch at a Fudruckers.
We stopped at a huge mall, where we entirely failed to buy anything: we agreed to spend an hour there which was not enough time to do anything unless you knew exactly what you wanted and where to get it from, which we didn’t. Andy & Jane, on the other hand, are obviously more used to speed shopping and came back laden with bags.
Things looked up after that. First we stopped at a luggage store to buy a bag that we could put in the hold on the way home so that we could travel in a little more comfort with fewer layers of clothing. Then we stopped at a boot store as the only things that I wanted to buy on the trip were some cowboy boots.
The store had a big sign up say “buy 1 pair and get 2 free”, which I read as meaning get a second pair free. Initially I thought they were too expensive, but Andy also found a pair that he wanted, so I figured that splitting the cost would make it affordable so decided to go for it. The assistant then asked where our third pair was – the sign meant what it said: buy one pair and get two pairs free. How do they do that!? Anyway, Jane was happy as she’d also seen some boots she liked, so we considered that we had ourselves a bargain.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and then, as there was nowhere to eat near the hotel, Paul volunteered to drive us out to a place called Fish on Fire, which turned out to be excellent. It was certainly popular, with a 45 minute wait for a table. Luckily we found a free table outside and, since it was a reasonably balmy evening, decided to eat there. I had blackened wahoo – I had never heard of wahoo before, but it is a sushi grade fish: dense and meaty and very tasty, especially with the blackened spices.
And so, for the last time, we headed back to the hotel.
Miles today: 91
Total miles: 3166