The 2022 Daytona Bikeweek Trip on 2 Wheels
My objective is to make a run to Bruce Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson® motorcycle dealership located in Ormond Beach Florida by Saturday, March 5th. I’m co-producing the 2022 Daytona Bikeweek Flying Piston Benefit Builders Breakfast on Sunday, March 6th.
I decide to take the Sportster on the 2,000-mile roundtrip from Indianapolis. Three weeks before the event, I hear a ticking sound in the engine so I slid it into a “new” local shop. I check with them 2 weeks later and the mechanic says, “I’m not sure if I can work on Sportsters”
No Sportster, so, Plan B. I pull the cover off the ’95 Dyna that I bought from a friend at Sin-Central Garage in Iowa. I scramble and install a set of D&D Pipes, tighten all the bolts, run a tank full of gas through it, and start stuffing my Leatherworks INC. saddlebags with necessities.
Four days before blast off, I pull the bike out of the shed and get it stuck in the soft grass. After an hour, I get it stuck in the mud as rain arrives, coming down in sheets. I take a break and call Atomic Bob from Ohio for advice. He gave me 2 words. Kitty Litter.
Kitty Litter To The Rescue – I head to Kroger’s for kitty litter. I spread it around the wheels, and in no time the bike is moving – only I can’t make the turn quick enough and run it into the 6-foot wooden fence. Even with the kitty litter, I can’t budge it backward. Stuck again.
I then call AAA, and they let me know they can’t help because they’re busy. “You know, it’s raining, for god’s sake.” They recommend following up the next day.
I make a 411 call to the bike shop, and they snatch it out and take it for an oil change. They notice a groove in the rear tire. I speculate that while trying to get it unstuck, my mudslinging found a sharp rock and it peeled a line in the center of the tire. SAD!
And let me tell you, it was deep, So, along with the oil, I put a new Metzeler ME888 on the back because they don’t have my Brigstones in stock.
And just $376.01 dollars later, I am riding again with new hooves on the rear.
Packing for Daytona – After each run of over 700 miles, I make a list of what’s needed and how my equipment performs. Based on previous rides, here is my Daytona pack list:
- Check weather
- Check credentials
- Select primary credit card
- $50 cash, $100 hideout
- Battery charger
- Credentials in plastic
- AAA membership
- Smart wool t-shirt
- Smart wool high-collar shirt
- Smart wool socks
- Venture Heat heated glove liners
- Regular glove liner
- Ski Gloves
- Knuckle dragger wrist gloves
- 5 Ball Leather Shirt
- Motorcycle tools
- Full face helmet
- Insulated jeans
- Insulated underwear
- Rain gear
- CBD & Advil
- Velcro bags from Aerostitch
- 2nd Wallet
- TCX riding boots
- Velcro strips
- Bunge cords
- (2) iPhone cords and chargers
My first stop is in Columbia, SC, to meet up with social media photographer Greg “Edge” Scheuer and volunteers George Miller and Mike Ludlow.
197 miles to a Winery – The next day is a light day of riding as we motor down to Watermelon Creek Vineyard in Georgia for a sermon, meal, and wine tour. The proprietors, Charles and Deborah Tillman, produce 11 muscadine and blueberry wines. The wines lean to a sweet taste and a promise of adventure.
The Wine Story – Watermelon Creek Vineyard began on the banks of Watermelon Creek in 1820. It was there three members of the Padgett family settled and began a legacy that forged its influence on agriculture, business, and spiritual life in Tattnall County for over 150 years.
Once the site of a sawmill, grist mill, turpentine still, barrel making, general store, post office, and the Padgett home place, Watermelon Creek Vineyard now flourishes as a testimony to the love, labor, and devotion that the Padgett family dedicated to this area.
Watermelon Creek Vineyard is a destination venue and full-service Georgia farm winery with Tasting Room and Restaurant. The 20-acre site includes The Barn Yard, The Pond, The Mill House, The Vineyard, the Watermelon Creek nature area, and the Winery Complex. It is a delightful experience.
Pin-up girl – Charles Tillman spoke with us about his Ohoopee Whoopee label design. “After purchasing the 1820 Padgett homeplace, various artifacts and memorabilia were uncovered during its restoration. One item that caught our attention was a calendar print Aunt Lawana had saved. It’s a 1940’s illustration by Rolf Armstrong, entitled, ‘SURE ENOUGH!’. It’s our pin-up girl for our ‘Whoopee Series’. Model Jewel Flowers embodies the pure satisfaction of just being herself and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.”
We spend the night in Glennville, GA, and early Saturday morning, I’m motoring to Bruce Rossmeyer’s H-D where I meet my partner-in-crime, Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News Magazine. We did a walk-through and met with the owners’ Mandy and Shelly Rossmeyer. Their advance person, Carrie Repp, did a good job of the setting up and we were good to go for the Sunday event.
The event goes off without a hitch. We enjoy meeting and seeing the builders, including Cory Ness, Chop Docs, Brian Klock, Rusty Wallace, and a host of others.
After settling up the online silent auction and getting the products to the winners physically at the Benefit, we ship the remaining products to the out-of-state winners.
I stay around until Tuesday morning and at 8 AM the 3 amigos, Bear, Edge, and myself, head North. We shoot up 95 North and over to Columbia, SC. Bear and Edge peel off for home, and I stop for lunch.
Edge wanted me to tell you that you can check out one of the greatest riding videos, Road 2 Smoke Out here. He’s not biased, he’s the Director.
I stop for a late lunch, add some Delta 8 and CBD combo to take care of my back, and jump on the DYNA. Five minutes later the bike shuts down, and I am coasting across 3 lanes of rush-hour traffic to the shoulder of the road.
It turns out my starter had stuck on, and with the combination of the throaty growl of the D&D Pipes and the earplugs, I didn’t hear it. It burned out the starter and blew a fuse.
I get on the horn and call AAA. They say I don’t have the correct membership level (!) and I could get a tow at commercial rates. They also suggest I could get an upgrade but would need to wait 72 hours to use the service. Which was a polite way to say, “Boy, you’re screwed.” They quote a commercial rate of $350.
Harley only works on Vintage bikes in the offseason – I call the local dealership, Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson, but they only work on vintage bikes in the offseason. Vintage? I didn’t think a ’95 was that old. But 27 years old does make it an antique. It doesn’t look that old. Then I remember the story about how exotic dancers and Harleys are the same, when you stop spending money, they quit.
What to do? I call Edge for a rescue.
He hooks me up with Joe Licketto of Madness Motorcycle. Joe takes my bike in and then goes home because he’s sick.
And is sick the next day. Finally, on late Thursday afternoon, Joe and the bike are good to go. And just $475.31 dollars later, I am riding again with a new starter.
I start for home on Friday and am running pretty good.
- NOTE TO SELF: I’m going to have to play with the jets as she stumbles a bit off idle.
- 2nd NOTE TO SELF: Make sure Joe didn’t give you COVID.
- 3rd NOTE TO SELF: Buy more CBD and Delta 8
CBD really made a difference on the ride. Click here for details.
A few miles outside of Lexington, KY, the Polar Vortex that was racing to the East Coast sweeps through the area and creates a whiteout on the road. I head for the nearest exit and find The North Star Inn and Cafe.
The registration desk is in the Cafe. Only the Cafe doesn’t serve food, they have a dress shop. And the dress shop is actually a buyer’s club that is accessed on Facebook. But they do have rooms; rooms for travelers.
I’m not the only one with the idea of getting out of the cold. The only room left is the one with a jacuzzi. Sweet Jesus! I am cold to the bone and my hands feel like needles are piercing my fingers.
I park the DYNA next to the motel door out of the elements. Or so I thought. Two inches of snow found the black beast.
One of the reasons I like the Leatherworks saddlebags is because they lock on the bike. And the bags themselves also lock. This means I can set them and forget them and unlock them and take them into the hotel. Another benefit is if I go down, these heavy 10oz leather bags take the road rash and not the painted pieces.
The next exit up is the Ark Encounter museum.
The reason the Inn is full was not just because of the weather. The next exit up is the Ark.
The Ark Encounter is a Christian religious and Young Earth creationist theme park that opened in Grant County, Kentucky, in 2016. The centerpiece of the park is a large representation of Noah’s Ark based on the Genesis flood narrative contained in the Bible. It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high.
Weird. Who goes to these things?
Turns out, people from across the world come to visit the ark. It must be a satisfying experience as each year the exhibits get bigger and bigger.
The next day is cold. There’s a thin layer of ice under the snow. The temperature hovers around 20 degrees. I had planned for sun, rain, and cold. But not 20 degrees and ice. So, I stay the day and buy a pizza at the gas station – which gives me a mild case of food poisoning a few hours later. It was a tasty pizza with dubious origins.
Sunday morning, I’m up early, packed, and ready to go. The bike turns over a couple of times and then won’t fire. I unpack the saddlebags and locate the Battery Tender.
I roll the sled into the sun and hook up the juice. At thirty minutes past check-out, the Inn, dress shop, and Facebook promoter /owner are giving me the hairy eyeball. So, I attempt another start… it almost fires. SAD!
Voodoo Hoodo – When I lived in California my hippie girlfriend nicknamed Lisa Armbong, (she had a thing for herb), took me to a Reiki class where we moved energy with our hands. So, I dust off the digit instruments and lay hands on my battery, say a few things, tell the DYNA I’d take a hammer to its tail light if it didn’t start, and hit the power switch.
It starts right up.
Now we are cooking! I throw a leg over and head to Indy.
Event Recap – The ride was excellent. Enough things happened to make it memorable. I planned a 7-day trip, it required 12. I got to hang out with great people and had lunch with Donnie Devito, President of KIRSH. It took 5 days to make it back to Indy where I was on track to make it in a day.
Next Event – The Sturgis Flying Piston Benefit is shaping up to be epic. And we are taking what we learned in Daytona and applying it. Don’t forget to get your Sturgis tickets early, here is a link.
Keith “Bandit” Ball gave me a 5 Ball Racing Motel Keychain years ago. Back in the day, all motels had physical keys. And if you left with one of them, you could pop them into a post office box, and they would get delivered back to the company.
Pictures from Sunday’s Event
How could you not have a good time with this cast of characters at the Flying Piston Benefit Builders Breakfast? It made the 2022 Daytona Bikeweek Ride so much fun.
About The Flying Piston: The Successful 2022 Daytona Flying Piston Benefit is produced by Marilyn Stemp of Iron Trader News and Jeff Najar of Horsepower Marketing to raise awareness and funds for non-profits and individuals in the motorcycle community. Visit www.flyingpistonbenefit.com or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, 828-205-8482. To get involved with the Piston, click here