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
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
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
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 waves.
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
I turned and looked at the
highrise behind me hanging
over the beach. It held a
similar pattern, manmade,
rhythmic...and relentless in
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.