Daytona, Florida – The heat is on at Spring Break!

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Daytona, Florida

March 6-31, 2008 - Slipping down from northern Florida, we arrived in Daytona

just in time to watch the Daytona 200 motorcycle race.  When we first stepped

into the grandstand and heard the motorcycles go by I had to brace myself.  I

could feel the roar of the engines in my chest.  The speed was shocking -- and

exciting.  It was a duel between a pair of Honda riders and a pair of Kawasaki

riders.  The Honda rider #1 led every single lap, trading pulls with #98 for the

first third of the race.  Then #98 had a mechanical problem and #1 was on his

own.  The crazy thing about this race is that the leaders lap the losers many

times during the race, and it is absolute mayhem as the leaders weave through

the pack of slower riders.

#1 held out and

won the race

handily -- only to be disqualified the

next day for having illegally polished

part of his engine.  Mark caught the

checker flag moment with his camera

-- quite a feat given that the bike was

going 180 mph!  The winner took a

victory lap and we staggered away

breathless.  What a thrill !!

We wandered down to Daytona Beach and discovered it was the peak of

Spring Break.  What luck!

Daytona Beach has several areas where you can drive your vehicle right

on the beach.  This is where the "cruising" action is.  Parked cars, beach

towels, and vendors line the breakwater below the hotels, while the kids

cruise up and

down the strip of

sand just beyond

the waves.

It was a study in

showing off your

assets while pretending not

to care if anyone noticed.

The girls banded together in

an impenetrable group,

while the boys hung out with

each other a healthy

distance away.

The girls strutted.  The boys tossed a

football.  It was the mating ritual of

the college crowd.  Even the pelicans

cruised the beach in a tightly packed

formation, twenty feet above us.

We noticed a bevy of beautiful babes

approaching us on the beach.  They

had caught our attention going the

other way twenty minutes earlier.

Without doubt, they were the hottest

things on the beach that day.

We were delighted

when these bathing

beauties surrounded

Mark for a photo.

As the angels radiated

youth and promise, the pelicans soared in the heavens above.

Not far from Daytona we looked to the heavens once again as we

watched a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral.  We stood four miles

from the launch pad, but the rumble from the rocket shook the

ground.  This particular rocket was launching a satellite that

would support a new startup company's venture.  The company

was planning to provide satellite based music and movie

entertainment as well as GPS, internet and telecommunication to

drivers across the US.  The launch was broadcast on TV monitors throughout the viewing area, showing the progress of the rocket

as it flew through the sky towards the equator where it finally unleashed its load into orbit.

The pride of the Space Coast was evident everywhere, with Space

Shuttle icons displayed all over the place, from McDonalds to

convenience stores.  It is a close-knit community of people who

work in a really cool industry.

We returned to Daytona Beach for a post-Spring Break stroll.

Our punk-rock friend, the Royal Tern, surveyed the ocean views

while a sandpiper played in the wave.

Like clockwork, the waves

swished on the sand and the

birds dashed in and out of

the foam.  It was a pattern

that seemed relentless in its

consistency.

I turned and looked at the

highrise behind me hanging

over the beach.  It held a

similar pattern, manmade,

rhythmic...and relentless in

its consistency.

It was a beautiful day on a

beautiful beach, and we

happily left our bare

footprints in the sand.

From Daytona we ventured to Miami and the

sights of south and western Florida.