In less than two weeks, we'll be heading to Savannah for Bike Week 2014. We've been getting a lot of questions from folks, many of whom will be coming down for their very first time.
We've made our share of mistakes, on prior trips, and thought it might be a good idea to share the tips we've learned with others, to make their trip even more enjoyable.
The first question people ask usually involves the schedule.
On Friday and Saturday (March 7 and 8), Races will be held at Savannah, GA's Oglethorpe
Speedway. To be technically accurate, the mailing address is Pooler, GA, but it is referred to as Savannah by just about everyone you speak to, so...
Anyway, the first race is an All Star event. The second is one of the three Hole Shot events for the Bike Week series. Camping is available (no charge for primitive camping, $30 for the first day and $15 for each additional day if you select one of the 20 RV/camper spots with hookups), and there are several motels in the vicinity.
This track has been called the fastest half mile in the nation, and it's easy to see why.
On Sunday and Monday (March 9 and 10), the races head to Volusia Speedway, in Volusia, FL. The first race is an All Star event, the second is Round Two of the Hole Shot series. While these races are on the half mile track, Tuesday the 11th will feature a short track race at the Volusia Speedway short track(Round three of the Hole Shot series). This is a favorite among the racers, with a pine syrup surface coating that provides a traction that can't be described. Camping is available, and there are motels... however, be warned, prices of motels tend to be high, and they fill up early.
On Wednesday, March 12th, the annual celebration and induction at the Daytona 200 Memorial will be held from 11:00 until 1:30. This monument was constructed by Dick Klamfoth to commemorate the original beach and asphalt course... the race that began Bike Week. This gathering brings many of the legends and current racing stars together, as new names are added to the beautiful marble plaques surrounding the center stone. This year, one of the featured guests will be Bobby Hill. While you are there, be sure to snap some shots of the huge stage... the "Bandshell..." that overlooks the Memorial. This is the stage where the original Daytona 200 riders stood, to draw their starting positions out of a helmet.
Afterwards, the SDTA crew will be holding races at the Marion County Speedway in Ocala, FL. The "Florida Boys," as we call them, are doing a remarkable job of reviving flat track throughout Florida, and really know how to make you feel welcome!
Make sure you bring:
SUNSCREEN: I learned this, the hard way. Even with overcast and rainy skies, and cold temperatures, I wound up with sun poisoning last year. Even if you don't think you need it... bring sunscreen, and apply it often!
BLUE GEL TOOTHPASTE: Just a trial-sized bottle, of any brand. This is the best stuff EVER for fireant bites. Fireants are not our friends. Be prepared.
TOILET PAPER/WET WIPES/TISSUE and HAND SANITIZER: Some of the restrooms and Port-a-Pots get serious use. Bring your own supplies, as odds are pretty high that you will find yourself without one of these necessities sometime during your trip.
LAYERS OF CLOTHING: Florida mornings can be FREEZING, and the afternoons can be hotter than...well... the Florida sun. The best solution we have found has been one that campers have known, forever... LAYERS. A tank top or T-shirt, with a long-sleeved shirt, and a hoody on top. A warm hat and scarf, in your bag, to replace a sunhat and sunglasses from the afternoon. Plan on experiencing everything between 40-some degrees and 80 degrees, in one day.
RAIN GEAR: It seems like there is at least one drizzly day, each year that we go down. Plastic rain ponchos are cheap, and can fit in a pocket. A zipping plastic bag for your camera or cellphone is a lifesaver. If you are in a tent, take an extra tarp and tethers, for extra rain shelter. Word of warning... if the rain gets bad enough, tents WILL flood. Make sure anything that shouldn't get wet is up off the ground, or in your vehicle, and beware of fireants that WILL seek shelter in an unzipped tent.
CAMERA, BATTERIES, and a SHARPIE: You never know who you are going to run into, or the memories you will make. Keep these things on hand for those unexpected memories and autographs. You'll be glad you did!
Finally, for my fellow Northerners:
Two things you HAVE to try, while you are "down South..." alligator meat and boiled peanuts. Now, I am the only Chewvillian who loves the peanuts, so just get a little sample to try them out. The gator, on the other hand, is one of the most delicious meats we have ever tried... kind of like the most tender porkchop on earth. Give it a shot!
So, there you have it... Bike Week in a nutshell. For those of you who will be joining us, we wish you safe travels... please say hello to us, while you are there! For those of you who can't make it, this year, we will do our best to share our adventures here and on Facebook. It's not the same as being there, but we'll do our best.
Peace, Love, and Pea Gravel!
Chew & Mia
(The Fans in the Stands)