Last month, fellow CMA/Romans 8 Riders member Roland Caron graciously invited me to Daytona Bike Week 2010, which takes place from Feb. 26 to March 7. This would be my first time at a major bike rally, plus a chance to ride in temps in the 70s and 80s, while New England deals with temps in the 20s, 30s and 40s.
Roland goes to Daytona every year, towing a luxuriously-appointed travel trailer (complete with a 'garage' for his motorcycle) behind his heavy-duty Ford pickup. Myself and two other CMA members have been invited to stay in Roland's trailer for a week.
Since Roland goes down for two weeks, and his wife joins him the second week, I would have to provide my own transportation there and back (my cargo van, with my motorcycle in the back), but at least I would have place to sleep and cook, for very little money. Let's put it this way - my share of the campground fee for a week would be roughly the cost of one night's motel stay. Plus, I get to hang out with Roland and some other CMA brothers - and you can't put a price on that, lol.
Roland called me last Wednesday to update me on the plans and give me more details on what to expect for expenses if I decide to go on the trip. It appears my biggest expense may be gas. He said it takes him about five full tanks of gas, each way. My Chevy Express van gets 14-15 mpg highway, roughly the same as his diesel pickup truck, but I have a smaller gas tank, so I might need an additional gas stop. Based on $2.75 per gallon, multiplied by 31 gallons equals $85.25 per fill-up, times six fill-ups, equals $511.50 each way, or a total of approximately $1,000. Oops, I forgot, I will also need gas for the motorcycle!
If I wanted to drastically cut fuel expenses, I could attempt to ride my motorcycle to Florida (I know of a guy from Massachusetts who rides his scoot to Daytona and back), but Roland doesn't recommend this, even with a touring bike, because that kind of continuous riding is very taxing on the body and it would be nice to arrive in the Sunshine State looking forward to riding, not being tired of riding. Besides, I would have to fight the gauntlet of cold weather (and possibly snow) much of the way, and my hands do not take kindly to the cold (see my previous post).
Besides gas, the other major expense would be for food. Some meals would be eaten at the campground (there is a supermarket nearby, Roland said), but since we would be making day trips on the bikes, with early starts, that means stopping on the road and eating out, he explained. Then there is any pocket money needed for souvenirs, etc.
Roland said he plans to leave Rhode Island on Feb. 26, and says I have until mid-January to decide whether I want to go. I would definitely like to go, and I certainly have the time. The only roadblocks are whether I can get a Harley between now and then (I just started looking), and how much money (if any) I have left over from purchase of said Harley. Taking my little Yamaha Virago 535 to Daytona Bike Week just wouldn't be the same as taking a Big Twin Harley ...