Jim Abbott on Travel
Postcards from Florida
October 6, 2012
Roaring engines and crashing waves are the soundtrack for this week's Postcards dispatch.
Let's start with the engines.
Biketoberfest returns Oct. 18-21 in Volusia County, a magnet for motorcyclists worldwide interested in riding in the fall weather — or at least the prospect of it — in Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and nearby towns such as Port Orange and Ponce Inlet.
Events for this year's edition are still coming together, but bikers can find updates at biketoberfest.org. Ground zero again will be Riverfront Park on Beach Street in Daytona Beach. That's the spot to see promotional displays from assorted motorcycle and biking accessory companies, find souvenirs and get information about concerts and other activities.
There also will be crazy contests and other events at Sopotnick's Cabbage Patch, an earthy inland watering hole at 549 Tomoka Farms Road in rural Samsula. I watched a cole-slaw wrestling match there once from atop a paisley-colored school bus. Once is enough for me, but that's an idea of the diversions there.
Idling along Main Street in Daytona Beach is the favored way to show off a gleaming bike, but there are plenty of more inviting stretches of roadway to explore. In Ormond Beach, the "Loop" is a picturesque 22-mile route that goes north on Beach Street through Tomoka State Park and then south on State Road A1A.
Another quiet stop is tiny Ponce Inlet, a favorite getaway on the southern end of Volusia County. On a recent visit, I walked the wave-pounded jetty and the dunes but opted against climbing the 203 steps to the top of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse (ponceinlet.org). At 175 feet, it's the tallest lighthouse in Florida.
I spent time in Ponce Inlet when an author pal had rented a rustic beach house there in the 1990s. There are more towering condominiums now, but it's still possible to see dolphins splashing in the Halifax River.
There are angling excursions at Critter Fleet Deep Sea Fishing (critterfleet.com) and nature programs at the Marine Science Center (marinesciencecenter.com).
Dine on fresh seafood at Down the Hatch (down-the-hatch-seafood.com), where pelicans will watch you through picture windows in the indoor dining room. On the deck, a squirrel might ask to borrow a napkin, but I can guarantee he'll do it politely.
If You Go
Oct. 12-14. Sanford Bikefest. Sanford. Getting a head start on Biketoberfest, motorcycle enthusiasts can enjoy traditional biker fun with live music, bike and air shows on Lake Monroe. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday. 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. At Fort Mellon Park. East First Street, Sanford, FL, 32771. 407-322-2212. sanfordbikefest.com.
Oct. 18-21: Biketoberfest, Daytona Beach. Biketoberfest in Daytona Beach is a rousing, fun-filled weekend that attracts more than 125,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from near and far. Activities include bike shows, rides, concerts, food, Fall Cycle Scene races and shows at Daytona International Speedway and much more. Free Lita Ford concert at The Pavilion on U.S. Hwy 1 in Ormond Beach on Saturday, Oct. 20. Free Saliva concert at The Broken Spoke Saloon on Friday, Oct. 19. Events all dozens of venues in Volusia County from Daytona Beach to New Smyrna Beach to Ponce Inlet to DeLand. Admission: Free. 386-255-0415. www.biketoberfest.org
Oct. 19-21: Hogtoberfest, Orlando. Orlando Harley-Davidson offers an alernative to Daytona's Biketoberfest with its own three-day motorycle fest featuring nightly bands, a motorcycle stunt team, traveling stunt and circus sideshow Hellzapoppin, food and drink vendors, family-friendly activities, demo rides and more. Noon-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 11 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. 3770 37th Street Orlando, FL 32805. 407-423-0346. orlandoh-d.com/appr/Hogtoberfest-Site-2012/site/Home.html
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